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I can often be found reading blogs, whether for business purposes or in my never-ending pursuit of the perfect eyeliner. My favourites are those where you really get to know the person behind the words, as well as learning new things, with Lenka Koppova and Rachel Extance both doing this very well. In fact, I enjoy Lenka’s “What I learnt this week” series so much I’ve been inspired to do my own version, so join me as we go behind the calculator!

January is typically a very busy month for bookkeepers and accountants, bringing as it does the self assessment tax return deadline. I had actually submitted most of my returns before Christmas (*smugface*), but this didn’t mean that my month was quiet, far from it.

When will I, will I be famous?

It might not have been my picture in the papers, but the beginning of the month saw this ninja make their debut in print. One of my self assessment tips made the Metro Online as part of their advice for last-minute returns. Of course the main last-minute tip I’d give is not to leave it to the last-minute! Earlier is definitely better in my opinion when it comes to tax returns, in fact I wrote last year about why you should complete your return as soon as possible.

Something a bit different

As well as working with lots of great micro businesses, I also work with a few consultants on a subcontracting basis. The middle of the month saw me head to London on one such project to assist with an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) meeting, which is an alternative way of dealing with VAT disputes with HMRC. ADR’s bring together HMRC and the taxpayer to discuss the issue and, with assistance from a facilitator, hopefully reach a solution that is far to all parties. The day was long, but ultimately rewarding as we saved the taxpayer quite a lot of tax, and it was nice to see the resolution to a project that I’d started working on back in 2016.

Conquering my fear of video

As you know, I’m a big fan of Xero (link), so much so that it’s the only accounts software I use. I’ve had brief dalliances with others in the past, but none have been enough to tempt me away. To share this love with as many people as possible I recorded an introduction to Xero video for Drive the Network. As well as my video, there’s a library of advice from other business owners covering a huge range of topics.

These are just some highlights from what was a great start to the year. I think as business owners it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what didn’t get done, or what we struggled with, but it’s really important that we also look back at what we’ve achieved and what we enjoyed.