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Showing posts from November, 2008

A timely retelling of an old joke - now featuring the Chancellor

Alastair Darling and the Michael Izza (CEO of the ICAEW) were arguing over who had the more noble profession and agreed it was whichever had been around the longest.

Michael, an accountant, convinced he'd won, quoted the bible. Even before God created Adam he created an orderly universe from chaos. An orderly universe implied the involvement of accountants to monitor and keep track of developments. By definition some of the angels must have been accountants. There were no taxes so no tax inspectors around that early in human history.

Alastair, a politician (the Chancellor no less) wasn't beaten. He listened patiently and then simply said: "Who do you think created the chaos?"

The HMRC tax office genie is brighter than you think

A modern day cowboy has spent many days crossing the western plains without water.

His horse has already died of thirst.

He's crawling through the sand, certain that he has breathed his last breath, when all of a sudden he sees an object sticking out of the sand several yards ahead of him.

He crawls to the object, pulls it out of the sand, and discovers what looks to be an old brief case.

He opens it and out pops a genie. But this is no ordinary genie.

She is wearing an HMRC Tax Office ID badge and a dull grey dress.

There's a calculator sticking out of her breast pocket, a bulging file in her hand and a pencil tucked behind one ear.

'Well, cowboy,' says the genie... 'You know how I work. You have three wishes.'

'I'm not falling for this.' said the cowboy. 'I'm not going to trust a Tax Office genie.'

'What do you have to lose? You've got no transportation, and it looks like you're a goner anyway!'

The cowboy thinks about …

Tax advice anyone?

Accountant and profit consultant Keith Lawrence was telling me about a recent experience he had with a prospective new client.

Could this happen to you?
There was an initial phone call from someone wanting help with their tax. After a brief conversation Keith invited them in to meet with him to see if he could help (and to see if he wanted to take them on as a client). On their arrival the 'client' looked around and expressed a little surprise that the office was smaller than he'd expected. He was also surprised to learn that Keith was an accountant as well as a tax adviser. He just wanted tax advice.

They sat down together and the 'client' started to explain his tax problem. When Keith raised the question of fees the 'client' was shocked. He'd assumed that tax advice was free.

After a few moments it then became apparent to Keith why the 'client' was so confused. He thought he had called The tax office. HMRC.

VISTA has become a permanent and welcome part of my life

For as long as I have owned my laptop running Windows Vista I have hated the programme. That flying blue bagel of death just winds me up. Still, earlier this week I became a changed man.
Expect to hear me praising VISTA in future.

What changed?

I realised that VISTA is the perfect acronym for the Tax Advice Network. It’s what you get when you come to our website: Vetted Independent Specialist Tax Advisers. VISTA.

Fred McCauley on the News Quiz

During last weeks' show Fred suggested that the audience seemed less interested in interest rates than at a recent conference of chartered accountants where he was roundly applauded for telling a joke where the punchline was: “.....and that was 2% over LIBOR!”

Ten laws of Accounting

1.Trial balances don’t
2.Working Capital does not
3.Liquidity tends to run out
4.Return on investments never will
5. Bottom line is only the tip of the iceberg.
6. If you need accounting to prove it, it was probably not true in the first place
7. There is nothing more permanent than a temporary account
8. An accountant is a man hired to explain that you did not make the money you did
9. Accounting is economics without assumptions
10. Obviously accounting pays, otherwise there would be no accountants.

Any more?

Seven tips for managing your tax adviser


Your tax adviser leads a stressful life dealing with HMRC (the Taxman) and cannot cope with you being depressed as well. 2. DO NOT EXPECT YOUR TAX ADVISER TO BE SYMPATHETIC WITH YOUR PROBLEM Your tax adviser's ethical code requires him to be objective and independent. 3. DO NOT COMPLAIN IF YOUR TAX ADVISER'S ADVICE LOSES YOU MONEY You must appreciate that tax IS DIFFICULT and an occasional experience of negative income is only to be expected. 4. DO NOT ASK YOUR TAX ADVISER TO EXPLAIN WHAT HE'S DOING OR WHY Unfortunately the jargon inherent in tax matters is not compatible with explaining it to someone like you in a way you would understand. 5. BE PREPARED TO TRY FIENDISHLY COMPLEX TAX SCHEMES WITH ENTHUSIASM Though the planning may be ineffective and cost you a lot, the resulting thesis on the deficiencies of such schemes may result in the tax adviser acquiring further letters after his name. 6. PAY ALL YOUR TAX ADVISER'S BILLS PROMPTLY …