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0 In Stories from an Accountant

Holiday, (on the business) Celebrate?!

Account-ant - Holiday, (on the business) Celebrate?!

As the October Half term approaches your thoughts may be turning towards a little getaway with friends and family. Be that jetting off for some Autumn sunshine (Vitamin D is very important!), staycation or just little day trips.

Our happy place is Scotland, the Highlands to be exact. So much so that we got married there and the retirement dream is to run a small “The Shining”-esk hotel. We ALMOST took the leap a few years back, but that’s another story.

As a self employed person you may dread holidays to some degree. After all, who’s going to pick up the slack and you don’t get paid holidays like your employed friends.

Your mind starts whirring and, ding, a light blub moment hits you…. Surely my holiday can be a “Business” Trip (and therefore tax deductible).

Rachel Account-ant

Well…. Hold your horses there matey. Although we would all LOVE for that to be the case, it’s not.

However, there are some instances where you can team up business with pleasure and save yourself a little cash.

For instance, say you need to fly abroad for business but your family are bugging you for a holiday. They can tag along. The business can pay for your tickets BUT not your family’s fares.

But what about connecting flights? For instance, you have business in China and you and your family have always wanted to go to Australia. You could claim your flight to China and the equivalent cost of a return flight from China. However you would most definitely need to keep evidence of what the return leg would have cost at the time of booking your outward journey.

Now you might think this is an extreme example for most “ordinary” folk but I do know people who have taken advantage of this opportunity.

“How about day trips?” I hear you say. You would need to keep proof of a genuine business reason for the trip.

For instance, you are a Carpet Fitter based in Halifax. Your family is going to Flamingoland for a day trip so you tee it up with some quotes near Malton. Well that’s fine but is it realistic? Are you really going to take a small job on such a distance from your home? If yes, then you could claim your travel cost, but if you’re just doing it to get around a loophole, don’t bother. If you get an inspection from HMRC, it will be disallowed AND trigger a more in depth look into your affairs.

OK, last example for you. You’re a Mortgage Broker in Thornton who regularly travels for work. Hotel stays are a regular occurrence. Could someone tag along on a trip and stay in your room? Yes. As long as having that person along with you did not change the ordinary costs of the trip.

For instance, you usually stay in a Premier Inn and get a breakfast on your business trips but your companion suggests something a little more upmarket. Well you would only be able to claim the Premier Inn equivalent as tax deductible and keep evidence of this!

I hope this Blog has cleared up some of your questions! Still got questions? Well count me in! No questions too big, no questions too small! Please do get in touch should you need any help at all.

0 In Stories from an Accountant

Good Times Never Felt So Good

Good Times Never Felt So Good - Account-ant

As the saying goes, there are no rainbows without some rain.  It’s so true. In 2011, my family and I had a horrendous year. My mum was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, 2 weeks later my 19 year old brother died from pneumonia. Mum battled hard, but succumbed within 3 months.

Our world was turned upside down and I was also sitting my CIMA finals.

That left just Dad and myself from our surprisingly small Irish family (if you know, you know 😉).

My Manager at the time had the audacity to point out that these events affected my work…. Well no doubt! In place of judgement, he might have suggested to go see the doctor for coping with my grief!

Rachel Account-ant

However, this experience taught me a few things.

I would NEVER be that kind of Manager

Life is too short.
Everyone needs a “community”.

To always have a plan.

To never, ever let go of what really matters to you.

So this blog post is actually about Goals and Horizons.

It’s important to have goals. In life and in business. I think it’s an evolutionary throwback to if you stood still, you’d die…. Rundown by a Mammoth or disease.

I like to have plans for our holidays. You’ll find me buying a Lonely Planet book whilst still on holiday. Getting excited about our next big Adventure (true story…. In Iceland, I ordered “Romania Lonely Planet”, inspired by What We Do In The Shadows…. If you have not seen this genius film, I would highly recommend 😂)

But I only had clear Business Goals once I made the leap from side hustling to setting up Account-ant with a name, a brand design, and a website (many thanks to my multi-talented hubster, James 😉), and an idea of how I’m different from the big accountants with high Street presence etc.

Do you have goals, have you written them down?

I keep mine on Google Keep. It sets out what I want to achieve in terms of client numbers, what I want to give those clients in return for their faith in me, (if you’re already my client, you know I love you 😘) and a point in time that I want to achieve each goal by.

Admittedly, it feels awesome when you look back and realise you are on track.  But equally it could be upsetting you missed your goals. 

So rather than boring you to death with explaining SMART goals et al (you probably know what they are anyway!) We’re going to talk about…..Horizons. 

You can set your goals, and you’ll have an idea of where you want to be when x goal is achieved – you’ll see it far off…. in the Horizon. When you get to that goal, you’ll realise there’s something else that needs to be achieved. Again, you’ll see it off on the Horizon as you sail towards it, smashing tasks and missing some goals as you go.

It could easily be disheartening if you think at the beginning of any project that your end goal is in sight, only to find there are a few more hurdles. But as I have said before, there cannot be rainbows without rain, so steadfast my friend.  You’ll get through it.  You WILL smash your goals.

I find it’s important to have a Community.  Especially if you work solo.  Peers and people you can talk to that are in the same boat.  I’ve found there are a few Facebook Groups for my profession that really help me.  There’s also Networking groups etc, but they can be hit and miss.

When we had our Son it was super important to me to find some mummy friends and baby friends for our little one.  That’s why I brought him to the local toddler group from 7 weeks old.  Admittedly I arrived around half way through the session, but, the point here is that I ARRIVED.  I showed up, no matter how late.  I made some friends and connections in the village where I live.  Connections that have helped my business and myself. 

You might just be starting out on your self employment journey, or you may be years into it.  You decided to make this leap (rather than being employed) for a reason.  It must matter to you, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it! 

My life goal is to spend at least the 6 weeks holiday as a family, rather than having to worry about childcare and rushing our time together.  That’s what matters to me. I also like to think that my Mum would be super proud of what I’ve achieved in a relatively short time.

What matters to you?  Are your going to hold on tight and make sure you get what you want? Life is too short.  Live your life, do what makes you feel alive.  Because in the immortal words of Neil Diamond (my mum’s favourite singer) “Good Times Never Felt So Good”.

I’m cheering you on!

Do you need some help sifting through your goals and making sure all your ducks are in a row for your business?  Give me a call and we’ll have a chat over coffee and the ever present cake!