The Practitioner: Tough decision looms despite employee sympathy

IT’S DIFFICULT SOMETIMES to be as tough as you need to be. Being the boss brings with it tough decisions, decisions you wouldn’t normally want to make.

A long-standing employee of ours has recently been off for the past four weeks, to look after his sick partner. Two weeks of these have been taken as holidays, and two as part paid.

He is requesting that he works from home as much as possible, and comes into the office throughout the week to pick up and drop files off as needed.

Logistically it’s not a problem as all our data is on the cloud but practically it can’t go on for ever. The office needs his experience and technical knowledge on hand.

I’ve left it to him so far, hoping that after the first few weeks he will realise that he needs to be back in the office. If I get another phone call before the weekend is over, saying that he needs to be at home the following week I am going to have to make a tough decision. Being sympathetic is one thing, but at some point I have to do what’s best for the business.

I’m obviously hoping that he makes the decision for me. I’m out of the office for the next two weeks which makes it more important to have that extra body in the office in my absence.

Dividend decision time

We held a seminar last week focusing on the forthcoming changes to the dividend tax rules. Most of the clients in the room were at the smaller end of the turnover and profit scales, and a large majority of them mentioned they are thinking of becoming a sole trader or partnership again to keep things simpler.

It seems to me that tax is becoming more complicated, and is therefore persuading a certain type of client to go back to what they understand. Let’s face it: being a sole trader is certainly simpler for them to understand. The more the tax advantage lessens between being a sole trader or limited company, the more clients are choosing to revert back.

Who said tax was being simplified? Maybe the government’s plan is push a large number of businesses back to sole trader status, and once that’s achieved push them all into doing their own ‘simple’ tax returns online. The way it’s going, it’s not such a tough decision for clients to make.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice, having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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