A detailed analysis of last week's pre-Budget shambles of a speech (mercifully I missed it) by Gordon Brown prompted an insightful response from Anne Porter. The core of her argument said:
"What is more important though, is an accountant’s ability to carry outproper “what if” analysis based on what will almost certainly becomelaw. This is important not only for those companies which haveunderstood what the Government is trying to achieve but also for thosewho will be oblivious to its consequences on their business, whetherpositive or negative. It is this sort of foresight and service thatsmall businesses need and should expect.”
But we live in uncertain times. Clarity is essential for solid advice and there really is no point in offering tax advice if it has to be caveated because of government uncertainty in the current climate. That may sound extremely negative but clients don't care if the government can't make up its mind. They expect you to find ways of resolving problems in ways they understand. In clients eyes, you're supposed to be a magician.
Even so, I believe the UK remains one of the best places to set up business anywhere in Europe. If you don't believe me then ask yourself why so many French and Belgian businessmen are turning up on the UK's shores, often in high profile positions.
France (where I lived for a number of years) offers a slew of incentives for new business - especially where there is a technology or agricultural component. But they cane you on the way with huge social security contributions and a myriad of other 'taxes' that make innovation almost impossible at the level it really matters - the SME/SMB. It is often too hard financially to stay in businesses. That's why the French business failure rate is so high. Of course the lifestyle can compensate, but that's not much good if you're struggling to pay bills in a country where credit is not easy to obtain.