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Tweet, tweet, tweet ….

he recent move from BBC to ITV of political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg (and her audience of nearly 60,000 followers on Twitter) produced much debate …..Is it right that she takes this following with her or should this remain the property of the BBC and she start from scratch again in her new role? As Twitter is designed for individuals to communicate, engage in a conversation and show some personality and character in doing so, then many people feel it is absolutely right that this following goes with the individual.

This brings some challenges for businesses where employees may leave and take key contacts with them ….you can have all kinds of restrictive clauses in employment contracts about non – solicitation of clients …but if you change jobs and send out a quick update on Twitter and Linkedin to all your contacts….then job done in the click of a mouse! I’m sure there’ll be lots of developments to this in the years to come.

P.S As a Twitter newbie, I’m building up my followers …sign up to follow me on Twitter, @catcookson to see what an exciting life I lead!?!

Push to have business taught at school.

Back in my high school days business wasn’t so much a dirty word, as an unspoken one. Sure, the careers master could point you at the CA qualification if you didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but the fact that the majority of us would end up working in some form of commerce just didn’t register. So I was pleased to read The Aldridge Foundation’s latest report that now 90% of teachers think schoolchildren should be better prepared for enterprise and entrepreneurship. But the teachers themselves say they are ill-equipped to do the teaching. We should be teaching teachers to teach enterprise, says the foundation’s president Rod Aldridge, And in turn, he says, the National Curriculum should ‘embed the entrepreneurial mindset at the centre of school life’.

Full marks and a gold star, I say.

Successful careers; to plan or not to plan?

A recent report suggests that CFOs consider that young consulting and finance professionals don’t plan their long-term career properly.

But are careers better for being carefully constructed at the outset or is an element of serendipity important?

Have you noticed that when very successful senior people talk about their career they often say the same things?

1. Someone – usually a parent or close relative – said or acted in a way that spurred them on
• “My father told me that there was nothing a man could do that a woman couldn’t”

• “My mother wasn’t allowed to go to university”

• “I didn’t want to end up like my dad”

2. They remember a teacher or other adult authority figure who inspired them, supported them or simply stopped them from throwing away an opportunity.

3. They recall a particularly demanding manager who frustrated them, and reminds them how not to behave now that they are the boss

4. They believe it is ok to make mistakes; but to learn from them. And ‘fessing up is the only way forward!

4. They acquire and very much value a mentor

5. They admit they didn’t have a plan; it “just happened”.

These comments are crucially important because they evidence the self-awareness and “common touch” that is pivotal to senior level success.

However, the reality is probably somewhere in between; success didn’t really “just happen”. The person worked hard, raised their profile, found themselves “in the right place at the right time” and acted on it by taking up a challenge; be that a move to a role they are not sure they were fully qualified for, a significant relocation or cultural change, or investment in a new qualification or technical specialism.

All successful people mention the how important support, sponsorship and teamwork have been; that they are keen to “give back” by championing others coming up the ranks, and that they have learnt the value of personal reward beyond the financial or hierarchical.

Do you agree? If not, why? What is your experience?

How much do lap dancers earn?

How much do lap dancers earn? It’s a question I ask myself when I pass the local gentlemen’s club on Grays Inn Road. After a long day at BLT Towers I see the ‘glamorous hostesses’ checking in for their shift.

Well now I know. Thanks to a University of Leeds study for the Economic and Social Research Council, as reported in the Financial Times, it’s £232. But the lap dancers said earnings had fallen since they first started dancing, when they reported earning an average £284. “They call it a race to the bottom,” said Teela Saunders, lead researcher, in one of the delicious double entendres which pepper the FT’s report. The sub-editors will have a field day when the research findings are published in full in September

The Tax Awards 2011 – Congratulations to all the winners and nominees from at BLT!

The LexisNexis Tax Awards made their debut in 2001 and quickly became widely recognised as a standard of excellence within the tax sector. It’s a major annual event in the industry’s calendar and is considered by many to be the Oscars of the Tax world! It’s a glittering awards ceremony, held at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane and usually attended by around 700 tax professionals and those linked to the sector through the accountancy and legal professions, government, charities and support industries. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with people they may not have seen all year, whilst celebrating the achievements of friends and colleagues.

This year the event was held on the 26th May and I think it’s fair to say that everyone had a fantastic night. There was a great atmosphere , undoubtedly as a result of more confidence in the market, and the sense of having survived a tough couple of years. We started with a drinks reception overlooking Hyde Park, followed by a meal in the Grand Ballroom. Entertainment was provided by the comedian Sean Lock and the awards were presented by Natasha Kaplinsky. For those wanting to party into the early hours, the bar stayed open and there was a charity casino and a disco. Quite a line up, I’m sure you’ll agree!

BLT has sponsored the Best VAT team award since 2001and we are proud to celebrate the achievement of the winners and nominees. This year the McGrigors VAT team was the well deserved winner of the award. The team has been in the forefront of group litigation, and right at the heart of some very important VAT issues.

We’d also like to congratulate Graham Elliot, a VAT specialist who was awarded Tax Writer of the year. Graham was praised as a writer who does not just accept the status quo, and who manages to make VAT interesting!

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