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There is something worse than the Plague

Hard to imagine, but I have had some practical experience of this and know absolutely what I am talking about.


The Plague was (apparently) mostly fatal as Camus set out in his book "La Peste" - a great book to read, although you should try it in English - much easier on the whole. There was an irrationality about who caught it and this underlined the irrationality of life - yes, one of THOSE books.


Business life doesn't have to be irrational though, you can apply some degree of order and certainty in your business by doing some simple things. This post doesn't tell you what they are - I'll save that for another rainy day - what it does tell you though is one technique to avoid "like the plague" although there is an irrationality and randomness about this technique that just creeps up on you when you least expect it!

The technique I'm talking about is assumption.


It is a fatal enemy and needs constant vigilance if you are to avoid pain.


An example as usual will make things clearer.


An "accountant" dropped in to see me recently. We need an audit, can you help?


I explained that while we are chartered certified accountants and can do everything (except make time go backwards), to carry out Audits you need to be extra specially registered. He was disappointed - as was I - as a potential client sidled towards the door. But I know a man who can help you and gave him our audit associate's details. "I'll get him to call you", I said.


Later in the week, I met the accountant again and we got chatting. It turned out that the company's turnover was below the threshold for compulsory audit and that they had been getting an "audit" done because they mistakenly believed that they needed one for the tax-man.


So what went wrong?


When I heard the words "I'm the accountant for ..." I ASSUMED that he knew about the Audit rules and that turnover was indeed above £5.6m.


Not my finest hour. I should perhaps have asked a bit more about why he thought he needed an audit etc. But hindsight is an amazing learning tool.


So if I had asked just one question, I would have undoubtedly hit my new customer sales target for the month AND quarter. As it is I am now a mere £799 short of my aggressive target with just 7 days to go.


Anyone out there not need an audit doing?



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