an accountant's perspective

DN21 Awards

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Gainsborough DN21 Awards Celebrating Excellence in Business Tonight

You may have heard us talking about the DN21 Awards. We were excited to be a part of them initially because they represented something positive for Gainsborough business. Our excitement grew when Belinda herself and The Studio Gainsborough were shortlisted for two awards.

The event will be held as a result of a partnership between the towns focal shopping centre, Marshalls Yard and Trinity Football Club. They are keen to recognise great businesses that enhance their community and add something worthwhile to the local landscape. There will be ten awards handed out during the event held at The Blue’s Club.

The categories include: Customer Service Team of the Year, Community Engagement Award, Green Business of the Year, Independent Retailer of the Year, Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Shining Star Individual Award, Best New Business and an award for the best Social Media campaign.

The finalists:

Customer Service Team of the Year 2015, sponsored by Gainsborough Golf Club, are Emmalooos, New Look and M and S Simply Food

Community Engagement Award 2015, sponsored by Pygott & Crone, finalists are Browns Department Store, Riverside Training and Sills and Betteridge.

Green Business of the Year 2015, sponsored by Waste Cost Reduction Services, finalists are Wilko, Browns Department Store and Stanley Hunt Jewellers.

Independent Retailer of the Year 2015, sponsored by Elite Signs, finalists are Barnes Jewellers, Pink Pamper, Cream and Horsley’s.

Business of the Year 2015, sponsored by West Lindsey District Council, finalists are Stanley Hunt Jewellers, RH Smith & Sons (Smiffy’s) and Allsop Commercial Services.

Business Person of the Year 2015, sponsored by Road Safety Markings, finalists are Dawn Barron of Barron Bo, Belinda Darley of ABC Accounting and Wendy Stephenson of Browns Department Stores.

Shining Star Individual Award 2015, sponsored by EDF Energy, finalists are Alan Powers of New Look, Paul Cooke of DW and Lilly Dennison of Browns Department Stores.

Best New Business 2015, sponsored by Horsley’s, finalists are Therapy Gold Sports Injury Clinic, The Tool Box, Nail Envy and Pyrus Studios.

Social Media Award 2015, sponsored by MMC, finalists are Williamson’s Farm, The Studio and Stanley Hunt Jewellers

In addition to these nine awards, the public have been invited to vote for their ‘Retailer of the Year’, sponsored by Wright Vigar, by giving their vote to the store who they feel deserves to win.

So our own Belinda Darley is a finalist for the Business Person of the Year 2015 award and faces some stiff competition. As we get dolled up ready for a night to remember and celebrate fantastic Gainsborough businesses we will be full of pride with what we have achieved along with our captain and with what our local community has. We have clients that are sponsors as well as finalists so you can expect the ABC crew to be vocal tonight. The winners will be deserving of the recognition and the runners up have already achieved a win for their business by doing something exceptional for this growing town.

However, to our boss we have this message because we are wholly and unashamedly bias. You have done an amazing job over the last 10½ years and it is an absolute privilege working alongside you. There is no doubt in our minds that you deserve recognition for your growing businesses and all that you have contributed to the town. You would probably defend Gainsborough with your last breath and your personality and presence is felt far and wide as you pursue your two great passions – helping people do business and tap dancing! So whatever the outcome tonight we are very proud of you boss and we hope you continue doing what you do best for many many years to come!

Good luck!

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The Business Woman Must Stomp Harder

There are always headlines in the press that highlight the position of women in business and they are very rarely positive. Yes there are some great women who are both successful and massively influential but there is also ongoing stories about inequality, unequal pay and a lack of women at boardroom level. Isn’t it time businesswomen stomped that little bit harder and left an imprint on the international landscape of business. There are some excellent women doing just that but they will tell you exactly how hard it is for women to hold positions of power, be consistently taken seriously and warrant the same respect and recognition as their male counterparts.

There are plenty of challenges to face out there but why are there? What possible justification is there for these obstacles?

1) Women sometimes get pregnant

There are businesswomen who have been asked by clients if they are intending to have children. This seems to be a deal breaker. But why? Women can take weeks off for pregnancy these days and opt for their partner to raise the child. Is society still hung up on the fact that the woman’s place is in the home with the new-born? – Surely not! Men and women are capable of the same bonds with their children and guilt over taking the supporting role should have died alongside the ridiculous notion that women and men have exclusive roles to play in society.

2) It is the norm!

This is the way it has always been. There are more men in business so they always have the majority and it is a male viewpoint and perspective that drives the majority of decisions. It is habit to promote a man, pay men more, and hep men develop their careers. This learnt behaviour is changing but it isn’t a fast change. The world has to get used to new rules and embrace equality at all levels of management. As younger/newer generations work their way to the top these changes should begin to gather momentum.

3) Religion

It is a quiet force but there nonetheless. In some religious circles women are a classed as the secondary citizen. These views will not change but their reach is fading. These views tend to be limited to the more devout and sometimes zealot faiths but there is no questioning the fact that they can factor in mainstream business affairs. Thousands of years after their origins women are still battling the words of ancient texts and trying to establish equality.

4) Women are ruthless when in positions of power!

I have read this a couple of times – the idea that women become intimidating power hungry assassins when they are promoted into positions of power. Oh please! Why are successful women labelled intimidating man-eaters when all they have achieved is exactly what their male counterparts have. At the end of the day nobody would turn to Alan Sugar and Rupert Murdock and call them sissies! I rest my case – lay off strong independent women.

There is a long way still to go for women to achieve equal pay, equal standing and begin to feel like they are battling for careers on an equal playing field – but at the same time we have made serious progress in the last 20 years. Women do not need special skills or enhanced powers to gain success. They just need to follow the same formula that every businessman/woman follows. They need to possess:

Self-belief: Because everyone with an ambition or dream has to believe in themselves before anyone else will.

Ambition: Because no business is stagnant, they are always reaching further and striving for greater success or more challenging targets. That is what keeps them fresh and competitive.

Confidence: You need to know how to hold yourself and believe that you are worthy of your ambitions. You are no less than anyone else as you enter a room – you are an equal so hold eye contact, shake hands firmly and keep your head up.

Passion: You will not get anywhere unless you have fire and passion to drive you through tough times and continue to drive you through successful ones.

Humility: Part of this is accepting that you will not always know everything and that you must keep training to stay sharp and innovative. You must always remember where you came from and make time for people who support you on your way.

Sense of purpose: Just having blind ambition and passion will not get you where you need to go so a sense of purpose is essential. You must map out your path and stick to your rules and guidelines – stay true to who you are and what you represent.

Assertiveness: Make sure you get your message and your product/service across to the right audience. Be strong and assertive when you need to be.

Hard work: This is a given. You will have to work damn hard to achieve your goals and the business will become your life but nobody got anything by sitting on the sofa!

Bravery: Commit to risks and follow through with your gut instincts. You need to be strong enough to take calculated chances because again you do not get anything by playing it safe.

Persistence: People often forget this but it really is the fuel of any business. You have to keep working and keep putting all that you have into your goals otherwise they will wilt. Never ever give up! Be practical and realistic with your expectations but if the financials weigh up and you have done your research then your dreams are there for the taking.

So there you go. Whether you are a man or a woman you know what you have to do. And if you are a woman then just follow your heart and do not stand for any derogatory remarks. We have proven we can do it and we keep on proving it – one day we will stand side by side with our male counterparts and you will have been part of that change – part of that future!


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The Basics of Bookkeeping and Accounting

The new tax year is well underway so now is a good time to check your approach to your record keeping and make sure you are making the right decisions for you and your business. It is not always easy to know what those decisions are and sometimes your self-belief will dip a little. Don’t let the natural peaks and trough of business pull your dramatically in either direction – learn to keep a even path and keep tethering yourself back to it.

For that to be possible you need a sound financial core at the heart of your business. That does not mean you have to make masses of profit or cannot survive those fairly inevitable tough times, but it does mean that you need up-to-date financial records to draw conclusions from. The more information you have about your cashflow and how your business operates the more chance you have of predicting moments of affluence and hardship and put in place preventative measures or request extra support to capitalise on them.

Ultimately, business comes down to bookkeeping and accounting – the numbers have to add up! These are familiar terms that we may understand and often try to avoid at all cost. The moment you gain a little of enthusiasm towards them and open a book, or scan a website to learn more, you retract in horror at what it can involve. And yet, if you have a methodical system, maintain some legible records then you can survive that initial terrifying moment of realisation. Bookkeeping and Accounting all boils down to detailing your business income and expenditure.

Simple bookkeeping

For the most simple set of accounts you need:

  • a cash book to record money entering and leaving the business
  • a sales ledger, which details money received and owed
  • a purchase ledger, which logs outgoings
  • a wages book, which details salary payments and National

Insurance contributions

These books will most likely exist within a spreadsheet in some computer software these days so you will be able to see everything on a single screen.

It is also a good idea to start as you mean to go on. So get a box file and divide it into months so you can keep cash purchase receipts. Then get a couple of files and store unpaid purchases in one and paid purchases in the other.

For cash, cheque and card payments, till rolls are an ideal means of updating your sales ledger. If your company will be issuing invoices then sales paid and sales unpaid need to be separated into files electronically or with another couple of ring files manually.

You need to keep just about every piece of paperwork that you receive, no spam though, that can be shredded. Keep bank and card statements, fill out paying-in books and cheque book stubs meticulously, maintain payroll records (if you employ people) and VAT records (if you’re registered). For help in any of these areas go to the PAYE or VAT sections.

Electronic bookkeeping systems

The software for basic accounting may not be as expensive as you think. A budget of £100-£180 would get you basic accounting software and you can choose one that comes with free support. The most popular software for electronic records (spreadsheets) is Microsoft Excel.

There are also dedicated accounting packages which are easy to use. See the Mother website ( for the bookkeeping software that ABC backs. It is a great tool and we can recommend it because we have several clients that are very happy with it.

Software is ideal because any errors can be corrected quickly; you can get financial reports with the click of a button. Any money you owe or is owed will be brought to your attention. You can also see sales patterns and costs, which helps with forecasting and budgeting for your business.

If you cannot afford a full-time bookkeeper then you will have to do much of it yourself. As your business expands the role of a bookkeeper can be combined with other duties, such as office or HR manager. A part-time bookkeeper may be more viable for small to medium businesses.

It is possible to do it yourself and then get an accountant to take care of the complex bits that quite frankly would give you sleepless nights and a nasty tension headache. A small business will be faced with the chore of doing the books after hours, or at weekends. Once your business expands then the quality of the accountant you choose could have a great impact on your company.

The best advice when choosing an accountant is to follow your gut feeling, see how up front they are about their fees and test their knowledge before signing up with them. Don’t go for the one up the road before getting a feel for whether they are right for your business.

Hopefully, you have the knowledge you need to build an effective accounting and bookkeeping core at the heart of your business now. If done right you will never regret the extra effort and organisation you put into it from the start. Stress in these areas tends to come when records have been neglected and a years worth of transactions are only known to have taken place because of the bank deposits made. Do it the smart way and get on top of the basics early – you won’t regret it!

the pay it forward concept

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Pay it Forward

The results of the General Election have given some people the feeling that we are heading into hard times – with austerity measures reaching new heights. If this is the case there is very little anyone can do about financial hardship…


Unless we start acting more like a community and supporting each other instead of relying on a government to act in the best interests of its people. In many ways this feels like a long shot but I am not sure why that is the case. There was a film produced in the year 2000 and I have never forgotten watching it but perhaps now is the time to watch it again. I will warn you that tissues may be necessary.

The film introduces a concept but before I go into that here is a clip where Kevin Spacey is giving his students a task to complete in class – essentially to change the world:

I am sure we can all remember that one teacher who made us think differently. They were maybe that little bit more fun than others or perhaps they engaged the class as adults rather than children. Sometimes you remember one sentence spoken to you at your most impressionable moment and you can say for certain that it helped shape who you are. That is the thrill for teachers I am sure. These moments can happen as adults as well if we are receptive to them and do not fall into the trap of assuming we know all there is to know before we have even got started in life.

‘Pay it Forward’ is a somewhat utopian take on a simple flaw in society which has perhaps been highlighted even more recently by our addictions to phones, video games, IPads, social media and TV series. I will let a clip from the film introduce the concept of ‘Pay if Forward’ and then you can decide whether it is feasible:

Since the age of mobile phones arrived in many cases people struggle to talk to the person sat next to them – never mind do something selfless for them. But, what if they did? What if they picked their head up and looked around and considered how the people around them were coping with life. Just stopped to see if they could help anyone simply because they could. It is not a matter of giving people money but offering your skills to help others in a deliberate manner.

What if we lived in a society where this was common place?

You can call me a dreamer but isn’t the antidote to a heavily indebted society, a ridiculous deficit, with a greedy capitalist elite as its driving force, going to have to come from a different source entirely. Didn’t we once as a society borrow cups of sugar, watch next doors kids for them while they popped to the shops, donate food to street parties, check on elderly neighbours to see if they needed anything, and do things as a community?

The thought process behind this blog was sparked by ABC’s director, Belinda Darley. In her role as a local fitness studio owner she has set up a scholarship for young dancers wanting to pursue their dreams by going on to a dance academy of their choosing. She did it because a friend of the family, Jack Dargan, desperately wanted to go to Urdang Academy, had passed the assessment process but didn’t have the finances to go. So she paid for him to attend and he is now completing that course. Enabling someone to pursue their dreams is something she wanted to replicate so the scholarship programme was born and all the fundraising that goes along with it. Gainsborough dance students of all backgrounds now have a chance to take their passions further than before.

Belinda did that not because of a conscious decision to do something good but in response to someone needing her help. I know lots of people who have helped out others in different ways because they are goodhearted individuals. It makes a massive difference to people’s lives.

And we can do more because sometimes it is just as simple as putting the bins out for your neighbours, cutting someone else’s grass when you do yours, making lunch for someone at work who always forgets theirs, offering to pick someone up who usually has to walk everywhere. These are small things that will make others smile. If you can do that three times you will have had a positive impact.

But what if we dreamed bigger than that? What if we accepted responsibility for the state of society and decided to make it better – make the world better?

Could you change three people’s lives if you put your mind to it?

There are plenty of things in this world that we cannot change and dwelling on those will ultimately lead to frustration, anger and disillusionment. Let’s look closer to home at the things we can change and start making our mark on society from within society.

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Each Political Party’s Policies in English

They are all good at talking the talk – whether any of them actually deliver or will ever deliver is something we have to shelve when we enter those poll booths. Voting is important in the sense that it gives us a right to be furious with an Election’s outcome, a political parties actions, a politicians indiscretions and of course those who choose not to vote. You have to go through the motions if you want to vent about the way this country is governed.

There is a meme going around Facebook at the moment saying ‘Vote Muppet – because you will get any anyway’ and featuring a picture of Kermit the frog. Voting in many ways does feel like a pointless exercise for many but going and choosing the Green Party (they have not chance of actually getting in), putting a cross in each box, or writing a nice message to the vote counters, says a lot. These actions all show that you care but you do not have any faith in the candidates meant to be representing the country. If everyone who couldn’t decide on a party or was entirely disillusioned with politics to bother actually did one of those three actions then the Green Party would very probably get in – so maybe not that option. But there would be hundreds of thousands of voided votes saying we do not think that politicians have the best interests of their people at heart. Instead of passing those masses off as lazy, disconnected or not politically savvy, they would suddenly be looking at a landslide ‘no confidence’ vote and we might feel a bit better about lacking any power to change anything for the better. They probably wouldn’t listen but at least we would have spoken as loudly

If you cannot pick a party or refuse to – make sure you still vote because it can matter. So here is a rundown of each political party’s polices in straight talking language in case you are still not entirely sure what they are all preaching about. To be honest there is very little that separates them these days except our historical and personal interpretations of what the parties once stood for perhaps.

Here are three of the big policies and each parties take on them to help guide your decision on the big day:


British keyboard and UK map

Conservatives – Make migrants wait 4 years before they are allowed to claim benefits such as tax credits, Universal Credit, or access social housing. Remove those that fail to find work after a 6 month period. Ruled out capping migrant numbers of halting EU freedom of movement rules. Plan to reduce incentives rather than entry.

Labour – Proper entry and exit checks with stronger border controls. Reduce low skilled migration whilst ensuring ease off access for university students and high-skilled workers. Fines for employing illegal immigrants increased.

Lib Dems – Reinstate exit checks at borders to monitor who might be overstaying their visa. Great English skill checks before Jobseekers Allowance is issued, and  mandatory courses where English is poor. EU migrants to earn benefits.

SNP – Allow devolved government to have control over immigration to Scotland and introduce a Canadian-style earned citizenship system.

UKIP – Bring in an Australian style points policy in order to select migrants with skills needed to work in the country. This would cover those inside as well as outside the EU. Priority lanes given to UK passport holders and tougher English language tests for migrants who are looking for permanent residence. Opt out of the Dublin treaty so the UK would be able to return asylum seekers to other EU countries without considering their claim. Any one already with the legal right to live, work or study in the UK would not be deported.

Greens – Progressive reduction of UK immigration controls. Migrants illegally living in the UK for over five years will be permitted to stay unless a threat to public safety. Extended legal rights to asylum seekers.



Conservatives – Reduce the deficit by 2018. Achieve this with spending cuts and no tax raises. A raise in NHS spending. Tax should start to take effect at £12,500 a year. Higher rate tax to start at £50,000 instead of £41,900. Changes to be introduced by 2020. £25bn in additional spending cuts. No increases in VAT.

Labour – Reduce national debt as soon as possible. No more borrowing. Bring back the 50p top rate of income tax for earnings over £150,000. Bring in a ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth over £2m. Tax bankers’ bonuses. 5% tax cut for each government minister. No increases in VAT or NI contributions.

Lib Dems – Raise personal allowance to £12,500 by 2020. New fiscal rules to reduce deficit by April 2018. Wealthy to contribute the most. Lib Dems invented the ‘mansion tax’ and how it will operate along the same lines of council tax bands. Increase capital gains tax paid on profits from second homes or shares – from 28% to 35%. 8% rate of corporation tax on UK banks to raise £1bn a year.

SNP – Oppose UK plans in Infrastructure Bill which will allow oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing beneath people’s homes without their prior consent. Invest in offshore wind farming. Support International bank tax – limit industry bonuses.

UKIP – Increase personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage levels – £13,500 by 2020. Abolish inheritance tax. A Treasury Commission to create a turnover tax on large businesses. Cut foreign aid by £9bn a year. Scrap HS2. Leave the EU and save £8bn a year in membership fees.

Greens – 50% income tax on those earning more than £100,000 a year. Wealth tax of 1% or 2% on people worth equal to or over £3m. Renationalise the railways and energy companies. Scrap HS2. Give powers to councils to impose extra business rates on out-of-town supermarkets which will then fund local businesses. Crack down on tax avoidance by multinationals. Make zero and negative growth possible  without individual hardship occurring.


Nurse with child patient in UK Accident and Emergency

Conservatives – Extra £2bn to go to frontline health services. Everyone able to see a GP seven days a week by 2020. Recruit 5,000 more doctors.

Labour – Commit an extra £2.5bn a year above Osborne’s plan. This money will come from the ‘mansion tax’, from clamping down on tax avoidance, and a new tax on tobacco companies. Patients in England to receive a GP appointment within 48 hours. End the creeping privatisation of the NHS. Integrate health and social services in the title of whole-person care. Prioritise mental health services. Push money into Cancer drugs, improves access and innovation when the Cancer Drugs Fund runs out in 2016.

Lib Dems – An extra £1bn to NHS every year funded by higher earners paying more tax on shares. Half to go to mental health. Spending on NHS to rise with the growth of the economy. Guaranteed treatment within 18 weeks for people with conditions like depression. Young patients with psychosis to receive treatment within two weeks.

SNP – Slash the number of senior managers in the NHS by 25%. Streamline work of health boards. Realistic increases i NHS spending year on year.

UKIP – £3bn per year extra to the NHS paid for by quitting the EU and middle management cuts. Keep NHS free at point of delivery. Ensure all visitors and migrants (here fewer than five years) are issued with NHS approved medical insurance as a condition to enter the UK. Return powers to matrons. Elected county health boards to replace Monitor and Care Quality Commission.

Greens – Funding diverted away from centralised facilities and into community healthcare, illness prevention and health promotion. End privatisation moves. Abolish prescription charges. Dedicated NHS tax. Ban proactive recruitment of non-British NHS staff from overseas.

Those are the big three. There are many similarities and certainly a few key – stick out like a sore thumb differences. May you make your vote count the best you can. If we face a coalition or hung parliament at least you can say you helped that happen and politics reflected the mood of the country fairly! It is time for Judgement Day.

houses of parliament

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How did politics alienate a nation?

The country is full of educated and insightful people. They will discuss the length and breath of politics with ease because the policies do contain variety and the political figureheads do appear to present different characteristics from time to time. There is often lively and passionate debate and the news stations fulfill their due diligence by giving the run up to elections their share of footage.

But, an underlying issue that has been growing for some time now, has remained unresolved. The majority of the British people have lost all faith in politics. They have no respect for the individuals campaigning and even less hope for an outcome in the general election that will actually benefit anyone but the politicians themselves. We can dance around this issue by raising these educated points:

  • the policies are becoming too similar – left and right wings have become murky waters as politics seems to be occupying central territory
  • There are no powerful public speakers or stand out leaders among Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage that can sway public opinion with any gusto
  • The American style of promotion and theatre does not suit British politics and is turning voters off rather than on
  • In a world of stress and heavy work schedules people just do not have the head space for politics and they are not convinced the result will have any real effect on their current lifestyle

But these are polite points. They would cause a small drop off in voters and procrastination in others. What leads to disillusionment is something embedded into the hearts of voters that leads to annoyance, celebrated ignorance, anger, disinterest and worse of all total abandonment. I am a woman and as is the case for many of our kind, the memory of the suffragette struggle, ensures my trip to the ballot box. If it wasn’t for their passion, fight and sacrifice I would have been tempted to let this one pass me by.

Not because I consider myself out of touch with the political policies, ignorant to the importance of our democratic system, or bone idol, but because I genuinely can’t see a positive outcome given what I have seen to date. So here are seven points that are brutally honest and run around my brain whenever I see any of the local or national candidates pledging their service to their party and to the people:

1. U-Turns

It has to be top of the list. Anyone who voted for the Liberal Democrats at the last election will have noted that their 0% tuition fees policy was abandoned as Nick Clegg agreed to (or should I say wholeheartedly supported) tuition fee hikes as proposed by the Conservative wing of the coalition. So, when presented with a more powerful position in the lime light unfortunately party policies take a back seat, or rather are abandoned entirely, by politicians.

2. Left verses Right

A coalition between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives four years ago essentially united two parties that stood at polar opposites on the politics spectrum. I mean come on the words liberal and conservative themselves sum up this utter divide in viewpoint and yet they ran the country together….how did that happen and why were we not more vocal about it?

3. Expenses scandal

Politicians knowingly defrauded the system that our taxes fund by putting in expenses claims for money they were not entitled to. That is theft and in any other company no cover-up would have ensued and the employees would have felt ashamed and hopefully bad about their actions. Not in politics where everything can be defended and mind boggling issues become minor errors of judgement that happen in any institution – do they? How do we trust politicians who chose to enhance their extortionate pay packets with more perks that we paid for? It infuriated me then and it still does now.

4. Childish

They hurl insult after insult at each other like bickering school children in Prime Ministers Questions. Isn’t that a serious sign of a broken system. Instead of concentrating on real issues they choose to poke fun at each other like they are trying to impress their mates. Enough said on this one, it speaks for itself.

5. They never answer the question

They all do this religiously and it is annoying to watch and ultimately tells the audience one thing – they do not want to answer the question because the answer would be damming to them. We always know the answer so why can’t these serious party leaders answer something straight. Just tell the truth, apologise if you need to, admit a weakness and then rebuff it with your strengths, but don’t just dodge the question. It makes you look like complete idiots.

6. They are detached from real life

Some of the one liners they come out with quickly tell us all we need to know about what they actually understand about life for working men/women. I could list all the faux pas but I think it is more important to list the statements made or sentences spoken that resonated with the voters and made them feel like politicians were on their exact wavelength and not preaching from atop an ivory tower.

I didn’t find any of those.

7. Likeability

It is not a competition based on their looks, humour and charisma. But there are some similarities that I find robotic, false, engineered…because of course they are. The scenes with family, children, babies etc etc that show them in a particular light. Staged perfectly for maximum exposure. Those slick, gelled hair cuts, crisp shirts, immaculately shaven faces, moisturised glowing skin…well there is just something a little smug and slippery about it all isn’t there? I don’t like politicians, well there is the occasional one, but in general not so much.

So will it be a hung parliament? I genuinely hope so because that, and only that, will be a true representation of what this nation is thinking. We don’t know who to trust. We don’t know if they even care about what people live with on a day to day basis. And, how can we possibly know if the policies they enter term with will be the ones they stick with when the time comes and it matters most.

Show us a politician with integrity, character, and drive who is down to earth and we will vote for them…where is that person?

Next week I shall endeavour to compare the political policies of each party so we are somewhat the wiser on who shall get our disillusioned vote in May. I vote out of duty and pride and neither of those are currently levelled at this nation or its politicians.

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Preparing the Office for Spring/Summer

The ABC office is feeling a little bit giddy like so many other offices across the UK. Why? Because the sun is shining! And what does that mean? Absolutely everything to anyone with a sense of humour, a fun loving attitude and an appreciation for life/nature/tans/dry sunny joy filled days!

Yes, we are beginning to sound flowery, girly and somewhat silly but there is just something about those first days of great weather in Spring that cannot help but lift the spirits. And, there might not be tons of scientific evidence (or there might, I haven’t checked) but on sunny days we all feel that little bit more motivated because we are happy to be alive, even if that does mean we are at work.

So here is our roundup of great things that happen in spring and what you need to start thinking about to prepare for summer. That and we should all take a moment to say – thanks nature, you may soak us with your rain, blow our bins across the street, hurtle hail at us, threaten snow and deliver sludge, and serve us up many long dreary grey days – BUT you also give us sun on occasions. And we are grateful right now for your rays of sunshine, flowers, plants and green trees. Of course, we will go off you if it starts raining again tomorrow!

1. Beautiful views from office windows and on the journey into work


It is lovely looking out at greener than green landscapes. There are lots of flowers springing up everywhere, the trees look green and leafy, the plants are starting to bud, and you can see some individual sun rays. It leads people to speculate whether there is a higher power, if the rays are pointing something out to us or just let the mind wonder on how beautiful the world can be and how lucky we are to get to see it.

2. Air Conditioning

If you are going to stay appreciative of the warmer climate then air conditioning will seriously help with productivity levels. Right now the heat is nowhere near intolerable, it is just beginning to enter our radar. So now is the perfect opportunity to sort out those air conditioning units and ensure your staff are comfortable when the temperature gets turned up. It fans and windows are all you can budget for then make sure you do all you can to keep those offices as breezy as possible.

3. Smiley Faces


The sun delivers us a dose of vitamin D which brings some people out of their seasonal defective disorders (SADs). This makes them happier in general and far more likely to smile. It can actually transform some people’s lives and is a serious problem for them, making them depressed, anxious ad generally glum all winter. Sunlight does make us smile more because it is uplifting.

4.  Refreshments

Ice lollies

There is always a place for tea and coffee in the workplace but as spring lands there is need for other refreshments, including but not limited to:

  • sparkling water
  • chilled water
  • ice lollies
  • iced tea and coffee
  • fruit juices
  • salads (time for those summer diets)

5. Spring/summer clothing

Fashion woman wearing a pretty spring dress

It is finally time to shelve the boots and get the shoes and sandals out…well almost. That means summer dresses, skits and light breezy tops. For guys there is the less dramatic shift to short sleeve shirts! It is nice to go out and get some new summer clothing that makes you feel beautiful and fabulous. There can be something incredibly empowering about a tailored dress. Of course, there are those among us that will find dresses uncomfortable, heels impossible to walk on, and flowery patterns just girly and annoying. But for many the feminine attire will make them feel pretty and liberated.

So there you have it – plenty of reasons to welcome spring with open arms. Embrace the moment, acknowledge the sunshine as you are standing with your colleagues and smile. If the sun cannot put a smile on your face you either need another job or more windows where you work! I accept that it will not help shift workers or those who work in windowless factories but hopefully these people will make the most of long weekends and have days off to enjoy the good weather to come. Let’s be optimistic, even though it always rains more than we want it to, it’s the British way after all! Have fun everyone!