• Tomorrow is my 58th birthday and I am going to take the day off.

    The day after tomorrow is the 18th anniversary of the end of my last full-time, permanent job. Life begins at 40, eh?

    Back in 2005 I didn’t know that it would be my last job. I was a local government finance director and I left the job because I wanted two things that it could not give me: variety in terms of content and location.

    Over the last 18 years I have moved from interim management to consulting (on outsourcing, mainly) to teaching and writing. I have worked in many different parts of the public sector here in the UK and also done many projects in or for other jurisdictions. This photo was taken in 2017 during an assignment in Sri Lanka.

    For many years my answer to the question, would I ever get a ‘proper job’? was you can never say never. However, after all this time, I think the answer is never. I think I would struggle to fit within the confines of an organisation. I have spent too long working for myself, doing things my way, using technology I like, at times and places that suit me. The rise of home working post COVID-19 means it’s possible I could have a job and still be here, but I would still struggle with completing timesheets or having to ask permission to go on a holiday.

    It seems, therefore, that the best thing would be to continue doing what I’m doing. It’s worked out well, so far.

  • Check your invisibles

    After you’ve written a document in Word do you find the text does not look right? Are there unexpected line breaks or extra-wide spaces between some words? The way to fix this is to show the invisible characters in your document. You do this by clicking the button that has a backwards P on it (the … read more

  • Triple your productivity. Write with your voice!

    There are authors who write their books by hand. With a pen or pencil. Until the industrial age this was the only way Writing by hand can help with creativity and maybe there are times when you would benefit from this. Many, many years ago I wrote a novel. The first draft was written by hand. Typing … read more

  • Take 5 minutes to improve everything you write

    “I apologise for such a long letter - I didn’t have time to write a short one.” — Mark Twain. Accountants (and lots of other professionals, I’m sure) write convoluted documents because they don’t have (make) the time to write clear ones. If you want YOUR reader to get YOUR message then YOU have to … read more

  • Writing tip: Short not shallow.

    Your reader has limited time. Do them a favour with your emails and reports and keep them as short as possible. If a document is short (it fits onto 1 page or 1 screen) the reader can read it and remember what you want them to remember. If you include everything in your email or document (all the … read more

  • Are you ready to take the stage?

    Here’s some advice for your first presentation to a large audience. I understand that many accountants are more at their keyboard than talking a crowd. Many of us are introverts. I fall into the 99th percentile of introversion so that almost certainly means I am more introverted than you. But I’m … read more

  • TIP: Don’t use pie charts

    Pie charts are easy to create and they’re colourful and you might want to include lots of them in your documents and presentations. 👇 Let me explain why you should avoid pie charts — and donut charts — in most situations. garybandy.micro.blog/uploads/2… read more

  • Writing tip: use a style guide

    Does your organisation have a style guide? This is a document that sets out standards for written communication. It could cover preferred spellings, rules for capitalising words, lists of words and phrases that should be avoided, etc If your organisation has one you should, of course, use it. If … read more

  • Pro tip: Use your body when presenting

    To deliver a successful accounting presentation, you need to write good content, design effective supporting visuals and rehearse. You also have to be aware of your body language. What you do with your body, hands, face will affect the tone and impact of your presentation, and whether your audience … read more

  • 3 ways to write faster and make fewer mistakes

    1. Use keyboard shortcuts There are shortcuts for most of the popular actions such as copy (Cmd/Ctrl + C), paste (Cmd/Ctrl + V), save (Cmd/Ctrl + S), and open (Cmd/Ctrl + O). In Word the shift key combined with arrow keys highlights text faster than you can drag a mouse. Don’t try to learn every … read more