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How dare Hague tell us to work harder

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Thursday May 24, 2012 at 9:00am
Were you as incensed as I was a few weeks ago when reading the headlines that ‘Hague Tells Bosses to Work harder’? At the time I thought, you idiot, I’m not sure most business owners feel they can work any harder. I don’t know any who are sitting back and resting on their laurels. 

Having had some time to calm down and reflect, and trying to give Hague the benefit of the doubt I wonder whether what he was trying to get at is the need to work smarter. Clichéd I know but when I think about business finance, personal financial planning and tax saving strategies our clients can’t really work harder at these things – more effort, more time, more blood sweat and tears won’t help. It’s about stopping, taking stock and thinking

Maybe I could have had more respect for him if he’d said what British business needs to do is ‘think harder’ – that’s probably more accurate. With the challenges from the BRIC countries we can’t keep doing what we’ve always done. We need to find new ways of doing things in all areas of business. I drive the people who work with me a little bit crazy as I’m always looking for new opportunities and challenging the way we do things, but in my view that’s no bad thing. 

Finding new ways of doing things isn’t new news. Over the years for manufacturers this has meant looking for more cost effective production methods. Interestingly the solution used to be manufacturing in China and the Far East but if you saw the great TV programme The Town Taking on China (worth a watch on BBC i-player if you haven’t seen it already) the tide is starting to swing back toward Britain as wage costs increase in China and transport and logistics issues, coupled with the lack of flexibility of making goods thousands of miles away, make UK production almost, if not as competitive. 

The demands from our markets are great. Our customers are all used to having information at their finger tips. They can log on to their bank account from their mobile phone, place orders over the telephone or on the internet at any time of the day and even track delivery of items from the time they leave the supplier to their arrival. 

This presents a challenge to anyone in business. As accountants we’ve noticed a big shift in the way business owners want to do their book-keeping and the type and frequency of information they demand to help them run their business. We’ve launched our Xero Accounts online package, to try and address the needs of our clients for instant information access as well as professional accountancy services. We don’t claim to have thought through every solution – but we’re certainly working on it. And we try to help clients think through their challenges and come up with new solutions too, after all, that’s what we’re here for. 

So, let’s all show Hague what business owners are really all about and start ‘thinking harder’ and reaping the rewards.

Andy Parker
Chartered Financial Planner, Birmingham

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Parker Chartered Accountants and Financial Advisors is the trading name for PLW Advisors Ltd (Registered No. 10396831), and Parker Financial Planning LLP (Registered No. OC347027). Parker Financial Planning LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. All companies are registered in England and Wales – registered office contact details here