Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

If Santa was an accountant... (part two)

If Santa was an accountant...
  • ...he would report true and fair (naughty and nice)
  • ...he would require that you had 95% utilisation rates all year round
  • ...his work shop would be a grotty conference room without windows
  • ...you'd only have to be "materially" good to get "substantially all" of your gifts
  • ...most of the insignificant things on your wish list would be disregarded and "noted for next year"
  • ...he would give you review comments on your christmas list
  • ...he wouldn't get paid overtime but his elves would
  • ...it wouldn't be called an Xmas list, it would be a request list and listed in order of importance.
  • ...he'd have to follow those Hobby Loss Rules. Not much profit in the Santa business :-)
  • ...he'd wear a suit and tie instead of a red suit
  • ...he'd divide the world's children into assets and liabilities
  • ... there would be 4 big santas
This is a further selection of the suggestions volunteered by users of twitter in response to an invitation to use the hashtag: #ifsantawasanaccountant

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If Santa was an accountant... (part one)


If Santa was an accountant...
  • ...Christmas day would be referred to as "sign-off"
  • ...he should worry that Wikileaks would publish his list of presents
  • ...all of the kids clothes would be from "Baby GAAP"
  • ...his helpers would work in a small room cranking out toys during "present season" which gets longer every year.
  • ...letters to Santa would be carried forward from prior year
  • ...He'd take advantage of the North Pole's tax haven status
  • ...He'd probably moan about all the red tape he has to deal with
  • ...his family still wouldn't have a clue what he does at work
  • ...he would think about the mileage deduction for his reindeer drawn sleigh!
  • ...planning would be done after the gifts were delivered
This is just a small selection of the suggestions volunteered by users of twitter in response to an invitation to use the hashtag: #ifsantawasanaccountant

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What do the initials ACA stand for?

A recent advertising campaign by the ICAEW makes no mention of Chartered Accountants. It simply mentions ACAs.

Assume you didn't know that an ACA is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). What would you find out if you ask Google?
Looking just at the first few results you would have a choice of:
  • ACA training - for ICAEW
  • ACA is the representative body for UK consulting actuaries
  • ACA Sports Limited, a UK based online sports shop stocking Football Boots, Football Shirts, Team Kit, Footballs, Shin Guards, Goalkeeper Gloves and Clothing
  • ACA is an acronym that may refer to: A Current Affair, an Australian current affairs based television program [Thanks Wikipedia!]
  • Association for Continence Advice (ACA) - organisation for health and social care professionals concerned with the progression of care for continence.
Methinks someone is taking the proverbial!

And if you think that's bad, check out this more comprehensive list of ACA acronyms. It includes examples such as:
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics
  • Australian Cricketers' Association and
  • Asynchronous Criticality Avoidance
  • Oh, and this one: Association of Chartered Accountants.
Eh? An Association of Chartered Accountants? I thought it was an Institute.

The Americans aren't the only ones to be confused. ACA is also defined as 'Association of Chartered Accountants' on the BPP website. The links from that site make clear though that this is the same ACA as I have defined above. There is no Association. It's an Institute!

Many thanks to Justin Silverman for alerting me to the issue and thus inspiring this blog post.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Genuine tweets about tax, taxman and accountants

TAX!!! SO MAJESTICALLY BORING! I want to stick these receipts into the empty heart shaped cavity in the chest of the inland revenue.

STOP PRESS: The Inland Revenue wasted postage/ink/admin/ur taxes to advise that I owe EIGHT PENCE! Really, never knew they had such gsoh..
[ur = your; gsoh = good sense of humour]

Ugh...do I have to get up and go to work today? Haven't I already put in enough hrs this week? Sometimes I hate being a tax accountant :(

My accountant uses the words "bangin'" and "smoking" when discussing my tax return. I find this oddly comforting.

Visiting my tax accountant today - the only loud talker I can tolerate. Being friendly and the fact that I only see her 45 mins a yr helps.

I have embarrassingly ardent feelings for our accountant, Mel. He's in his seventies but efficiency and accuracy are SUCH a turn-on.

Really....one day I'll be a really great accountant. But the statistics are starting to get on my nerves today.

Just got a very nice tax rebate from the lovely people at the Inland Revenue. :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tax related xmas pressies - a Batmobile

If frivolous spending revs your engine, drive no further than a working replica of the Batmobile, available complete with rocket-exhaust flamethrower from Firebox.com for a whopping £120,000.

It’ll get the driver to client meetings at a fair lick; top speed is 90mph, which ain’t bad for an oversized toy that weighs nearly two tonnes. And, given that it’s the fabulously-finned version from the 1960s TV show, the car qualifies for road tax purposes as a classic (it says here). If it’s really authentic it’ll run on nuclear power and therefore create zero carbon dioxide emissions – thus qualifying for 100% capital allowances and a 5% benefit-in-kind charge. Vroom, vroom!

As suggested by Daniel Selwood, Taxation magazine's online editor.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Accountants' 10 Commandments (Dec 2010 version)

ACCOUNTANTS’ 10 COMMANDMENTS

1. You shall have no other Gods before me.

2. You shall not make for yourself any graven image of a tax inspector to throw darts at.

3. You shall not take the name of George Osborne in vain.

4. Remember the 5th April to keep it holy. If you have not saved tax by then, you may as well rest on that day.

5. Honour your accountant, who is doing a very good job for you.

6. You shall not murder, unless it is a City banker.

7. You shall not commit adultery – because marriage is tax efficient.

8. You shall not steal, unless you are Robin Hood.

9. You shall not bare false witness against your neighbour, unless your neighbour is a benefit thief.

10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s hammock, unless your neighbour is Gillian McKeith or Lembit Opik.

With grateful thanks to Michelle Fisher, of Sobell Rhodes, who tells me she prepared this for a recent 60second slot at her local BNI networking group.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

There's nothing certain but the UNDEAD and taxes

I've lost track of how many people have drawn this new game to my attention. Thank you everyone.
In 2010, a terrifying zombie outbreak threatens to consume humanity and you fall victim to the undead curse, doomed to hunger for human flesh. In a startling turn of events, the army actually manages to contain and eliminate the threat. Life quickly returns to normal.

Except you’re still a zombie. And it’s tax season.

Complete tax returns as fast as possible without eating your coworkers! With any luck, you can still make it to zombie partner.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Accountants anonymous

Allegedly heard at an accounting support group:
"It seemed so harmless. I started making journal entries..then, secretly at home, I would post the entries to T accounts, and then I started recording them in ledgers. It just felt so good, and then I started doing financial statements and I couldn't stop.... "
My apologies to anyone attending such a group and for whom this is a real issue.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

That nice man on the radio.....

After the ubiquitous John Whiting had spoken at an event recently, I was talking to one of his ex-colleagues. Let's call her 'Mandy'.

Mandy told me that her mother had been very impressed to learn that she worked with
"that nice man on the radio"
John of course has long been the BBC's first choice to explain tax issues on radio and TV.

I asked Mandy, in jest, if she'd ever thought to ask John for his autograph - as a gift for her mum. Maybe a signed photo even. She laughed.
"I'm pretty sure my mum has this picture of John Whiting in her head and imagines he looks like the actor John Forsythe who played Blake Carrington, in the 80s TV show, Dynasty."
We mused for a moment about whether Mandy could ask John to autograph a photo of 'Blake' and decided, for various reasons that she wouldn't do it.

Still, the question is, should John Whiting carry a stack of photos to provide autographed copies to his legions of fans. Or is Mandy's mum a one off?

Friday, December 03, 2010

You may be taking accounting too seriously if…

You may be taking accounting too seriously if…
  1. You can't wait to do your own tax return.
  2. You think the GAP store sells accounting standards.
  3. You think the CMA awards on TV relate to accounting (CMA is the Country Music Association).
  4. You cheer at the Oscars when they announce the accounting firm in charge of the envelopes.
  5. You read film credits to identify the name of the Production Accountant.
  6. You double underline your mother's name when preparing her death notice.
  7. You do an NPV calculation when you receive an indecent proposal (Of course this makes perfect sense if you are married).
  8. You do an NPV calculation before deciding not to have children.
  9. You can explain the difference between "downsizing", "right sizing", "re-engineering" and "firing people".
  10. You use the term "value added" with a straight face.
  11. Your Valentine's Day cards have bullet points.
  12. You schedule a meeting with your spouse to discuss the past year's performance.
  13. You aren't sure, but you think that you can claim depreciation on your human capital as a tax deduction.
  14. Your idea of "absolute terror" is an unbalanced T account.
  15. Your idea of "creativity" is a one-sided journal entry.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

500 not out

This is the 500th item posted on the blog. Think that should prove something about accountants having fun! ;-)

To 'celebrate' I offer a selection of the references to '500 accountants' courtesy of Google:

14 Jun 2010 ... The survey, carried out by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA), questioned more than 500 accountants employed in ...

25 Nov 2009 ... Obviously the only way you could spend an evening in the company of 500 accountants is if someone else is paying, so I'm very grateful to ..

22 Mar 2004 ... But 83 per cent of the 500 accountants, IT managers, retail workers, builders and doctors surveyed were weak on Brit Art, the most talked ...

20 Jul 2007 ... Over 500 accountants in practice have already joined the scheme, which sets new benchmarks in the quality of the services and products ...

Since 1988 has acted for over 500 accountants and represented well over 300 before tribunals. Member of the Academy of Experts 1991. ...

5 Nov 2009 ... Sharon Ward, Managing Partner of Roffe Swayne commented 'John is one of only 500 Accountants nationally that have been awarded the Diploma ...

Nearly 500 accountants in the Gulf region already hold the ACA and are members of the ICAEW, but this will be the first time that the qualification will be ...

2 Jul 2010 ... More than 500 accountants turned up on Wednesday to learn about iXBRL-based Corporation Tax solutions in the slightly surreal surroundings ...

Questionnaires were sent across the USA to a random sample of 500 accountants who were members of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) or the Institute ...

2 Nov 2009 ... Indeed, although a majority of the Fortune 500 accountants and Big Four auditors believe that the SEC should adopt IFRS, only 44% believe ...

22 May 2010 ... Some of the best are reproduced here, but just like 500 accountants on the bottom of the ocean, it's only a beginning. ...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

David Gauke's schoolboy interest in taxation

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, introduced his speech at the ICAEW's recent Hardman memorial lecture with an amusing observation. He said:
My first experience of tax policy was, as a schoolboy, listening to Philip Hardman’s analyses of the Budgets of the 1980s.

Now I don’t want to give a false impression that, as a teenager, I had a precocious interest in tax matters, or that I rushed home from school for the sole purpose of watching a discussion about the tax changes contained in a Budget. I like to think I was pretty normal for my age. And that my interests were fairly typical for a teenage boy – cricket, football, girls and, of course, macroeconomics.