Not so Wilde about this Scrooge approach to holidays…

Did you enjoy your Easter break? I hope so because the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) reckons that our 8 (or 9 depending on royal celebrations) bank holidays cost the UK economy around £19billion.

It seems that the spirit of Scrooge has clearly moved beyond the festive season and is now pursuing us all the year round. If that is what bank holidays cost, think what the statutory annual leave must cost. Hey, why don’t we go the whole hog and add in weekends?

The only surprise is that this piece of research wasn’t compiled by a firm of accountants because, as everybody likes to believe, those unemotional beancounters are the ultimate business cost cynics, epitomising Oscar Wilde’s dictum of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Actually good accountants, in their guise as Finance Directors, do not focus on the cost of everything. They seek to understand how the products and services offered by their businesses create value, realising that this is how real profit and cash is generated.

The valuation of such products and services, and beyond that the valuation of a business for sale, involves a lot more than just looking at the tangible cost elements. As can be seen when valuing houses a variety of factors get taken into account, not just the bricks, mortar, land and other materials.

Invariably valuation is in the eye of the beholder. Most employees see the value in their holidays, which is why they are much appreciated and jealously guarded. I suspect the impact of this value is considerably more than £19billion.

Maybe the issue is that bosses need to take more holidays (cue shedloads of comments about how difficult it is for a small business owner manager to take any holiday). Or perhaps the CEBR should themselves take a break…….

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