Thursday, 13 April 2006

Easter Break

Easter has officially started. Took the day away from the client's since there's some paperwork I need to catch up on. All of which meant a nice lie in this morning. Only thing is that Jacqueline is still working so the alarm still went off at 7 o'clock.

My idea of a paperless office has come a step closer to reality. Whilst I was completely up-to-date last October, I hadn't scanned anything in since then so there's a fair old pile of paper. The trouble is, although it is a great idea, the scanning process is not quite as straightforward as it could be. I have one of all-in-ones, and although it has a sheet feeder for the scanner, I generally ended up having to scan one side at a time, so it was quite slow. (I have found that with all-in-ones, they may do many things, but they don't do any one thing particularly well.)

Anyway, the "step closer to reality" has come with the purchase of a dedicated document scanner. Wasn't cheap, cost almost as much as the all-in-one did (and even that was the bottom-of-the-range model) but it is really good. Getting the documents from paper to PDF is a one-button operation, and the scanner has a good sheet feeder system, and scans both sides at once, so all-in-all it is quite impressive. Of course, once it is in PDF format I still need to add metadata to the documents so as to allow me to search for them later, but at least I can do that part whenever. So, one of the tasks for today is to start driving through the mountain of paper that has gathered since October. Fortunately I bought a decent shredder last year, so I can rapidly get rid of the paper once its scanned. I suppose my best-case scenario would be to backtrack through the filing cabinet and retrospectively scan and shred, although whether I'll ever get around to that I'm not sure.
Last weekend was a quiet one, since the agency decided to pay a week late so there were no funds in the account. This is the first time they have let me down since I've had to go through them, hopefully it is the last. It puts you in a difficult position since the only action you can take is to stay away from the client, which ultimately is self-harming because you don't get fees for the time you stay away. Of course the flip side to this could well be that you haven't been paid because the agency is going bust, in which case it is best to stay away from the client in order to minimise the amount you'd ultimately be owed. Unlikely as it may seem, this scenario has happened a couple of times, though fortunately never to anybody I've been involved with.
The perils of being a small service business - it really is laughable when the Inland Revenue claim that people operating as a business take no more financial risk than do employees.

Better get a move on, since although I am away from the clients there are still a half dozen things I want to get done today. Some nice plans for the Easter weekend, will update later.

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