Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ten things I've learned about being an accountant

Not me - this is a fun piece from the David Letterman show in the USA. I featured a similar clip on this blog last year containing his top ten reasons I like being an accountant. once again he's got ten local accountants to give their views and ranked them in a pretty fair way I guess.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A new kind of financial super hero - for small businesses

The Association of Accounting Technicians have released a recruitment video that is evidently intended to be half serious and half (or more) bad video. After an extended intro we get to meet Colin in his green mask and cape. he comes to the rescue of a small business struggling with red tape.

I liked the way that the emergence of a new kind of financial superhero results in other superheros retraining as accountants. Not sure about them all travelling on a train and how does Colin manage to type wearing those superhero gloves?!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HM Revenue joker tweets pre Budget

Clearly NOT an officially sanctioned Twitter account for HMRC, but I've still copied elements from today's twitter stream here for posterity:

BUDGET CONSULTATION: Please tweet us your ideas for the Budget as Alistair has not got a clue. The final TwitBudget will be published here.

BUDGET2009. Treasury msg to HMRC: Shitting ourselves here, we haven't finished writing the Budget yet and Alistair has gone AWOL

Budget2009 update: Alistair has locked himself in the toilet and won't come out. Gordon has called in MetPolice to break down the door.

Budget2009: Back of fag packets currently being assembled into final document

Alistair has been shown his MI5 file - he has now agreed to give the Budget speech. Some more Red Bull and we're nearly ready

With thanks to

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Clients? Who wants them? I do!"

Veteran accountant Cyril Shaw is lifting the lid on the profession with the publication of his first book: "Clients? Who wants them? I do!"

An insight into the Accountancy profession in its dealings with the general public and government agencies. Particularly in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when direct taxes were higher.

Quoting cases of clients from vegetable stealers to the entertainment profession, and written with wit and humour by the author who has spent over 65 years in the profession and over 50 years in practice.

Cyril has adopted the pen name of Peregrine St John as he prefers it to his real name. Although semi-retired he has run his own practice for more than 60 years and claims the book is semi-autobiographical.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Help for MPs struggling with their expenses

I read about this and thought it was probably the best piece of topical PR I have seen this year. And as it's accounting related it merits a place on this blog.

The boss of accounting software company KashFlow, Duane Jackson, claims to have the perfect answer for all those MPs who are struggling to get their expenses right. He says his solution will "empower" MPs rather than "weighing them down with cumbersome paperwork".

"Because it is online, MPs can access their accounts anywhere", he added, "whether it is a laptop at an airport, constituency office, London home or on the road, and with shared access possible, they are completely transparent".

In addition, Duane said the colour scheme is green and grey so it is reminiscent of the House of Commons.

Love it!

Story picked up on BusinessZone website


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Swedish taxman gets paid to watch online strippers

Sweden's tax authorities are seeking the bare facts about webcam strippers' income, estimating that hundreds of Swedish women are dodging the law.

The search involves tax officials examining websites that feature Swedish strippers, in an effort to identify them and chase them for tax returns

A Swedish tax investigator said the Swedish tax authorities had been tipped off about Swedish internet strippers by the Dutch authorities, who had started a similar investigation earlier.

Web search tools like spiders had failed to detect the Swedish strippers.

"When we investigated the sites manually it worked better," he added.

Picked up from BBC news

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

TaxPayers' Alliance quote generator

This is fun. Produced by 'The Other Taxpayers' Alliance, the quote generator is for anyone who wants a quote from 'The TaxPayers' Alliance'. (For the avoidance of doubt, yes there are two quite separate organisations involved!)

Described as a handy tool for the modern journalist the quote generator is also another in a series of digs at the original self titled 'Taxpayers' Alliance'.

'The Other TaxPayers' Alliance" go on to describe their quote generator as follows:

Let's face it: as a journalist you turn to the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) for one reason - to provide an attack on public spending. Whether the spending is valid or not, the TPA always says the same thing. So why not cut out the middleman and generate your own quote?*

This tool is perfect for:

  • The reporter in a hurry, who hasn't got time to check sources and stuff like that.
  • The hard-pressed local editor whose journalists have been laid off.
  • The TPA - which can now practice what it preaches and cut down on staff.

*Our InstaQuote system is based on real-life TPA comments for extra realism.

Why is dealing with HMRC like wearing a condom?

Why is dealing with HMRC like wearing a condom?

You get the feeling of safety and security while being screwed with no sensitivity at all.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The 300th post: Budget09 'leak' April Fool revealed

Yesterday I sent out a spoof email re a leaked Budget09 document which I had posted to my TaxBuzz blog.

Most readers spotted the giveaway in the final para which implied official recognition of my TaxBuzz blog. So far I know, no one spotted that the initial letters of the words starting each the 9 paras quoted on the blog spelled 'April Fool'. Too subtle I suspect.

I must apologise to anyone 'caught' or in anyway inconvenienced by the spoof. I did get two complaints for time wasting so I fear there may have been others. I did also receive dozens of positive comments from people who'd enjoyed the joke and I know you can't please all the people all the time.

Some of the replies made me laugh so I'll share them here:

- I saw this very day a small pink animal with a curly tail fly past my window.
- An Acrostic April fool even better (we all need to get out a lot more).
- A battalion of flying pigs passed overhead as I read the last paragraph.
- Very good, Mark! I hope you get bail in time for the Easter Holidays. White Rabbits!
- You are unquestionably the most amusing accountant/tax consultant I have ever known. Brilliant staff. As well as the Chancellor, I would like to thank you for the 1st April gift you have given me.
- If you want my opinion, you've been set up (or have I?). I do not believe there is any way that the final comments would ever find their way onto a Budget Notice, draft of otherwise - but maybe I'm wrong.

and my favourite:

- I can conclusively declare that this is not correct. My wife's brother-in-law's second cousin's ex-wife's son has given me an inside track to the hot news from the Treasury that in fact VAT is to be abolished and is to be replaced by a new tax on software (to be known as Windows Tax).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Latest funny tax tweets on twitter

Just when I thought I was done with weird & invasive bureaucracy, behold HMRC Form P86, Q 17: "What are your intentions for the future?"

Can't believe I gave all of my wages to the inland revenue by mistake! That's going to be easy to correct (he said sarcastically!)

hmm. HMRC helpline has Pachelbel's Canon in D as hold music. Love the music but not in this context

HMRC playing 'Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini' at me - soundtrack to a film in which Chrstopher Reeve literally dies of frustration&boredom

Negative of working from home: Working 12 hours to get 7 hours work done. Positive: Dealing with HMRC whilst getting cuddle from 6 yr old.

Finally an end to VAT return-related anguish, for me at least. Is there anything quite as satisfying as a good spreadsheet?

HMRC Software 'helpline' ... there are 34 minutes of my life I'll never get back ... and now I've got anger issues to sort out too .... grr!

Looking at the Trends list (recommended for making connections) and "Happy Tax Day" is listed. That phrase is just wrong on many levels.....

Before PwC, before Coopers & Lybrand, there was Cooper Brothers.....

Long before the merger of Coopers and Lybrand and Price Waterhouse created the firm we now know as PwC,  Coopers was originally called Coope...