Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Are You Thinking About Your Befores And Afters?

Not dinner, but business ...


Now as much as I like food, this isn't about starters and puddings! It's about your business. Everybody has a plan for their business. It might be a detailed business plan that you have worked on ...

You can think about your befores and afters on your own, but your accountant can certainly help!

You can think about your befores and afters on your own, but your accountant can certainly help!

copyright: gstockstudio / 123rf stock photo

Or your business plan could just be a couple of thoughts that you are 'sort of' working towards. But the point is your business is different now to how it was a little while ago.

"Are you aware of the changes, really aware?"

Quite often in business, change happens without you thinking a lot about it. Yes, there will be significant changes where you have implemented something, but also there will be little changes that almost happen without you noticing.

This happens in every walk of life and to that extent, business is no different. But the point of this blog post is to get you to take notice; to take a snapshot of your business every so often and be aware of what your business is doing.

It can go deeper than this. What about the befores and afters your customers have? Now if you are selling greetings cards or other retail products, then this is going to be harder to identify than if you are an architect where your after is, for example, a new building. But as that is whole discussion in itself I will ignore this aspect for another day.

Similarly, what about the befores and afters you and your family get from your business? This is something that is also worth tracking.

"So how can you go about working out what your business' befores and afters are?"

Every year, you and your accountant will prepare a set of accounts and this gives the perfect opportunity to take a snapshot of what your business looks like. Your accountant can help in this process.

You can easily look at the physical aspects of your business (the people, the place, the vehicles, etc), but taking a snapshot of what your business does, and how it does it, is a bit harder:

  • How many customers do you have?

  • Who are the people who work for you?

  • How many people work for you?

  • What are the range of services or products you offer?

  • How big is your premises?

  • What systems and processes do you operate?

These, and many other questions, mean a more narrative approach needs to be taken. It can get a bit complicated, but thinking about and then writing down and recording, the vital statistics of your business can be very helpful.

Your business's accounts aren't a full picture of your business, as a snapshot, they contain limited financial information. Yet you use them to judge if it was a good year or a bad one. How much better is it to have a full picture of what your business as achieved, to identify your befores and afters?

And, lets face it, you can be complex or you can simplify this down to a dozen or so statistics or comments that you put together every year to form your snapshot.

"Why go to the effort of identifying and recording your befores and afters?"

Like a lot of things, taking the snapshot is only half the picture. The other half is taking time out to sit back and reflect on the picture that is revealed. Is it a good picture or is it a bit lopsided or out of focus?

Taking your snapshot helps you to be aware of changes, what you have changed and what you still need to do. Too often, we are focused on the goals we are aiming for that we forget to celebrate the distance we have already come. This process helps you to be more aware of all the little decisions. Those little decisions that you take automatically or without really thinking about them!

All good stuff, but the real power is in taking the time to reflect and ponder on the picture it presents of your business. To think about your befores and celebrate how far you have come (your afters) and to help you plan for what happens next.

"Will every business do this? No of course not!"

But if you want your business to be more successful then maybe this is something you need to do. You can do this yourself, but if you would like our help, either looking at your befores and afters and recording a snapshot of your business (or your family's befores and afters) then give me a call on 01234 752 566 or click here to send me an email enquiry and let's talk.

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566