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Paul's Latest Blog - Treat Them Like Thieves

iCAN experiences founder Paul Nicol embarks on his own personal blog, taking the readers on his journey from diagnosis of a sight losing disease through to the present day as he makes iCAN experiences a success in the midst of tough economic times.

Hello and welcome to another week at iCAN experiences and my blog..

Having secured a Web Developer, I was able to focus my energies on the other 99 tasks on my incredibly long task list! The thing that I knew was going to be necessary was to secure both an accountant and a bank account!

Thankfully, the accountant was pretty easy, ican imagine that it is actually quite difficult to find an accountant for many businesses and start-ups, ultimately, as a business, money is your lifeblood and your accountant will play a large part in that side of your business, they can advise and guide you should you need and ultimately, you need to trust your accountant.

Luckily, my Mum has been a self employed book keeper for many years and as such works with many accountants. My Mum was able to recommend someone that would be my accountant without charging the earth and such a recommendation was not to be ignored! As such, I now have an accountant in the relative local area who has been a great help.

One of the first questions I asked my accountant was "Would you recommend any banks for a business account?", short silence "No, no specific recommendation, go see what they have to offer and if you go with the mindset that all banks are thieves, you will be just fine!". What a great piece of advice and a great start to the relationship!

So, off I went to do my research. Being the kind of guy I am, I wanted to meet with someone from the bank and get to know my point of contact, after all, I would probably need there help in the future. I therefore arranged to meet with Barclays Bank and NatWest Bank.

I turned up at Barclays and the staff were very friendly, they came to assist me pretty much as soon as I walked through the door, how can we help? Can we guide you to a seat? So far so good I thought. I waited for the person I was meeting to come and find me. I cannot recall her name, but I recall not being hugely inspired by her. She came across as being new to the job, I was driving the conversation, having to ask questions to get some basic information. I left the meeting with the very nice lady telling me that she would call me and let me know about the accessibility of the online banking and we could take it from there. I never heard from her again!

Next stop was NatWest. I jumped in a taxi which dropped me off outside the door, in I walked and within a few seconds, someone was coming over to offer their help. I explained that I was there to meet so and so, in response I got "Urm, I don't think she's in today, let me go and check", they left me for a couple of minutes whilst I stewed a little. She returned and apologetically told me the person I was supposed to be meeting wasn't in and could we re-arrange. Slightly agitated, I explained that I had just paid for a taxi to get to the bank and I now had to pay for a taxi home again, which was a complete waste of my time and money.

The very helpful lady informed me that to be reimbursed for my taxi journey I would need to raise a complaint and the money would be paid straight into my account. Fair enough I thought, expecting it to be done straight away. After a week or so, I hadn't received my £10 taxi travel back. After that I kind of forgot about it. after about 6 weeks, I received a standard letter that said that they were "Still investigating my case". I wasn't impressed, how could they still be investigating, it wasn't rocket science, so if it was actively being investigated it should be an open/close case. I tried to call them, but didn't get through to anyone. I subsequently forgot about it.

Another 6 weeks later, I received the same letter "still investigating your case", it was like poking an old wound, I had forgotten about it and they kept sending me a standard letter. I called and spoke to someone, explained that it had been 3 months, all I wanted was my £10 back and would they stop sending me a standard letter saying they were "still investigating" when they were clearly not. The lady apologised and said that she would make a note on my records.

Another 6 weeks passed and I received another letter, this time it was different, NatWest had credited my account with £210 as a gesture of good will! My wife Emma had read the letter and we were both astounded! For a £10 taxi journey, all I was expecting was £10 back, we both thought £200 was an unbelievable amount, but sure enough, there it was, £210 in my bank account! Thank you NatWest!

Despite all of this, the damage was already done! on recommendation, I went along to Santander Bank and found the staff to be friendly, the business advisor to be knowledgeable and their start-up rates were excellent. The online banking is brilliant and I don't have to use one of those silly chip and pin machines which I find incredibly frustrating!

So, if you find yourself opening a business bank account, shop around and don't feel that you have to use the big four banks, there are plenty of other options and I found that Santander was just right for iCAN experiences!

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All the Best,

Paul
Founder - iCAN experiences
Where possibility can become reality!