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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Walking and other solutions to those common freelancer distractions

A good freelancer that uses an accountant in Richmond is also likely to keep up to date with all of the other aspects of their professional practice, training up their weaknesses and building on their strengths in such areas as making a proposal, negotiating a fee and marketing their services effectively. However, sometimes, there is a more elementary problem that the freelancer faces: the inability to concentrate and knuckle down to work.

This is a serious problem for any conscientious freelancer, given that every hour in which they are unable to motivate themselves means money lost. However attractive the low overheads of working from home can be, such an environment can also bring the greatest difficulties concentrating. There are many ways in which freelancers can recover their motivation and creativity and return to productive work once more, with one of them – taking a brisk walk – being the subject of a fascinating recent study in the Netherlands.

Anecdotes and literature have, for centuries, recommended going for a walk to those suffering ‘writer’s block’, and a Leiden University professor couldn’t pass up the opportunity to prove its effectiveness. In unveiling her findings, Prof Lorenza Colzato said that she had set volunteers convergent and divergent-thinking tasks to find conclusive evidence that creative powers could indeed be boosted by physical exercise. The test of each volunteer’s creative thinking was whether they could come up with ways of using a pen that didn’t involve writing, and sure enough, volunteers exercising four times a week outperformed those with more sedentary lifestyles.

The professor ensured the diversity of the test by also asking volunteers that exercised regularly and those that didn’t to find a common link between three words. Once more, it was those participants that spent more time regularly exercising that fared better on the test. The conclusion of the study was that a person’s brain was trained to “become more flexible in finding creative solutions” by physical exercise – although it didn’t seem to be a long-lasting edge, and also wasn’t as pronounced in people that were very physically fit. Nonetheless, the findings will intrigue many a freelancer using an accountant in Richmond (not, by the way, the worst place to go for a wander in the Surrey area).

Walking is not, of course, the only recognised technique for a freelancer whose concentration is flagging. Other known methods include switching off email, mobile phones and other frequent distractions, breaking down larger jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks with mini-deadlines and setting the morning alarm clock earlier. A freelance client of an accountant Richmond could also choose to perform certain tasks at a certain time of the day, only open an application when it is absolutely necessary for the task in hand and/or start with the easier work first, among the vast range of trusted concentration-boosting methods that probably haven’t been subject to a university study!

Ministers slammed for overlooking creative industry potential

There is likely to be many a creative freelancer among those using an accountant in Canary Wharf, with many of those certainly likely to take an interest in the latest warning from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) that the government could be “missing a trick” in its failure to include the creative industry in its 11-sector economic blueprint. The think-tank described the omission as a snub to the considerable growth and job creation potential of this section of the economy.

The IPPR said that the government didn’t appear to be taking the creative sector seriously, despite 2012 seeing it surpass average industry growth 25-fold. The think-tank’s analysis also showed the creative industry’s growth to be almost three times the average since the bottom of the crash in 2009. While GVA growth for the economy as a whole was 1.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent in 2011 and 2012 respectively, the equivalent figures for the creative sector were 7.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent. In addition, GVA growth since the crash’s 2009 trough was 3.1 for the whole economy, but 8.7 per cent for the creative industries.

None of these figures will be greatly surprising to many of those at the sharp end of the creative sector making use of an accountant in Canary Wharf. Nor will they be shocked by the 8.7 per cent rise in turnover since the bottom of the crash in 2009, or the 18 per cent increase in the number of enterprises between 2008 and 2012 – from 185,000 to 217,000. The film and TV, advertising and marketing and design industries have been responsible for the greatest rises. However, noting the patchiness of growth across the country, the IPPR also suggested measures to support growth outside London’s boundaries.

IPPR Associate Director, Will Straw said that although the government was showing a commitment to a “march of the makers”, what he described as “the impressive efforts of one of the fastest growing industries in the UK” were not being noted sufficiently. He said that despite the likes of Arts Council funding, spectrum policy, broadband roll-out and the BBC license review already lending the government “major impact” on the sector, a coherent industrial strategy had not been provided across government departments. This, he stated, raised the possibility of some of the sector’s potential being squandered.

Mr Straw concluded, in words that will find little disagreement among creative freelancers using an accountant in Canary Wharf: “Given the rapid growth of this sector, which has been rapidly outstripping the rest of the economy since the financial crisis, there is a strong case for the creative industries to be prioritised by government. Eleven other sectors have been chosen but there seems to be little rationale for their inclusion while omitting one of Britain’s most thriving and exciting industries.”

 

Entrepreneur advocates investment for superfast broadband, not HS2

Many freelance clients of Richmond accounting firms are likely to have amassed, through considerable experience, much knowledge of what practices can financially help and hinder their work. Hence, they are likely to be opinionated about the recent claims of Scott Fletcher, an entrepreneur and the founder of award-winning cloud expert ANS Group, that the government should invest in high-speed broadband rather than the intended high-speed railway commonly known as HS2.

Mr Fletcher suggested in an article recently published on the website of Freelance UK that the move would bring greater financial benefit to the country than spending in excess of £46billion on the High Speed 2 railway. HeeHeHe proposed that UK businesses should be equipped with two forms of broadband, fibre-to-the-premises or FTTP and fibre-to-the-home or FTTH.

The entrepreneur argued that FTTP would be more useful to businesses in the short term, while FTTH would be similarly helpful to businesses over a longer period of time, given the increase that it would bring in the rate of development of new technology. This was because, he elaborated, common business practices in the UK are rapidly changing and will continue to rapidly change, leaving as the only certain prediction that fast data speeds will be crucial as the UK corporate world becomes increasingly digital.

The ANS Group founder’s suggestions are likely to provoke intriguing responses from freelance clients of Richmond accounting firms, and we reckon that the suggestions do have some merit. It is worth pointing out, for example, that though the government has claimed that HS2 would result in £12.6billion of economic benefits simply due to the reduced time spent on business travel, the National Audit Office has taken issue with this figure. The NAO claims that the figure has been reached due to “a simplifying assumption that that time spent travelling is unproductive.” This therefore suggests that corporate productivity could be boosted more cost-effectively through the provision of speedier broadband and a greater number of carriages on existing inter-city trains.

The Internet has done much to revolutionise corporate practices and, it seems, will continue to do so for a long time to come. For example, digital conferencing and mobile computing devices are likely to be used more and more often by businesses in future. This means that over time, face-to-face business meetings will likely become less necessary and therefore, so will very fast trains. We reckon that many UK businesses, including Richmond accounting firms and the freelance businesses that rely on them, will agree with such sentiments.