Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not another boring accountant (part two)

I explained how and why I came to appear on Newsnight in a previous posting.

My actual TV slot comprised a very short magic trick (the self assessment pom pom stick) followed by me entering into the spirit of things, by being shown 'magically' changing from one outfit to another.. The idea was to provide examples to match the voice over - If not a magician then what next for the chartered accountant in films? So, through the wonders of television, as they say, they showed me magically transforming into a mad scientist then a James Bond style secret agent and finally a gumshoe detective.

At the end I recall Peter Snow, who hadn't seen what we filmed, started his subsequent interview by saying. Of course, not all accountants are as entertaining as Mark Lee. How kind!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Traffic Wardens and Tax Inspectors

Imagine you are driving and see two people ahead of you who won't get out of the way. You recognise them as a local traffic warden and a tax inspector. If you had to hit one of them which would you choose?

Accountants would generally go for the Inspector of Taxes. After all, it has to be Business before Pleasure.

Thanks again to Keith Gordon for sharing that one with me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The legend of Gutter Lane

Many years ago Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) was simply called Cooper Brothers. They were originally based in Gutter Lane, London. Indeed they may have been the only building with an address identified as being in Gutter Lane.

Legend has it that at one stage the partners wrote to the Corporation of London suggesting that in view of their long tenancy it might be appropriate to rename the place Coopers Lane. The Corporation, so the story goes, wrote back saying "as we've been here longer why don't you change your name to Gutter Brothers."

Post script: When, much more recently, the Corporation was selling off at auction the old City street signs, Coopers bought the Gutter Lane set.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Had to happen

At the CIOT London Branch Dinner last night Keith Gordon feigned disappointment at finding himself again responsible for introducing the after dinner speaker. It seems he only knows one clean tax joke and he'd told it last year.

Keith said that had asked a contact at HMRC for ideas. Apparently the contact claimed to have such a big collection of tax jokes that he promised to send them to Keith on a CD.

Sadly it never arrived.

[In case anyone is still reading this blog long after 2008, you should be aware that there was a big news story in the UK earlier this year when HMRC lost 2 CDs' containing the personal data of 12 Million taxpayers. Thus Keith's joke was well received!]