Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ode to auditing

We test without apology
Both safety and ecology
And inventories, budgets, and production.
Checking scrap and sanitation,
Overtime, and transportation –
Not forgetting cost accounting and construction.
We test sales and check insurance
(EDP tries our endurance
As we audit payroll, cash, and simulation!)
We study management by objective,
Test controls that are defective,
And evaluate employee compensation.
We do sampling and regression
And there is a strong impression
We’re responsible for catching all crooks.
We are really in our element
With research and development –
But thankfully we do not keep the books.
We check aircraft, trucks and motor cars,
And rockets that fly up to the stars,
And leases, loans – even personnel.
We examine engineering
Even salvage is endearing
And we check on records management as well.
There is nothing we can’t verify –
There’s nothing that escapes our eye.
Alert to all misconduct and to fraud.
We will go where others fear to tread
And as it has often been said,
"We are the eyes and ears of management and the Board."

- By Lawrence Sawyer

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Possibly the best email disclaimer ever

It's at the foot of emails from Peter Disney of Wood & Disney, a firm of Chartered Accountants. Peter has kindly given his permission for me to replicate it here.

DISCLAIMERS, RENUNCIATIONS AND IN GENERAL DENIAL OF EVERYTHING

Despite being based just 2 minutes from the internationally famous Gnome Magic (although we don't actually know anyone who admits to having visited it) and I have the unfortunate name of a well known cartoon creator we accept no responsibility whatsoever for anything particularly towards those with no sense of humour.


This communication together with any attachments transmitted with it ('this E-mail') is strictly private and is intended for the use of the very special and unique individual named above. It may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for those with a sensitive disposition.


If you are not the intended recipient, any review, retransmission, disclosure, dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is not authorized (and could even be a criminal offence if we get the right judge) but at the very least constitutes an irritating social faux pas.


Addressees should check this E-mail for viruses, contaminants, pollutants, infections and any other form of submicroscopic organisms. wood and disney makes no representations as regards the absence of such potential nasties in this E-mail.


If you have received this E-mail in error please notify our IT Systems Team immediately by telephone on + 44 (01206) 233170 or via E-mail at grumpy@wood-disney.co.uk


Please then immediately destroy this E-mail including all attachments or corresponding hyperlinks etc and any copies of thereof. Don't forget to delete from your recycle bin and from all forms of backup media. If you are one of those strange people who prints out your emails but do not have a shredder then you are legally obliged to eat this message even if it gives you indigestion.


Wood & Disney Limited does not enter into any form of contract by means of Internet e-mail. All contracts to which Wood & Disney Limited is a party are to be documented by original paperwork and real signatures which is a bit tricky since everyone who works here is a cartoon character.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can Economics and tax be fun?

Dr Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute, is attempting to prove that economics is fun. In this, part ten in a series, he explains taxation by ref to Adam Smith's four basic canons of taxation.

Friday, March 09, 2012

How to value something that can't be sold

I am indebted to that doyen of the UK tax world, Robert Maas who has written about this on his blog. I will simply summarise the issue here.

The case involved the need to impute a market value to a work of art called “Canyon” by Robert Rauschenberg. This is a collage. Unfortunately it incorporates a stuffed bald eagle. It is a criminal offence in America to sell a bald eagle under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act 1940.

The owner didn't sell it but, when she died, the question was what value to place on the collage?

Three separate art appraisers told the executors that “Canyon” is valueless as all that the owner can do with it is gift it to a US art gallery. The IRS disagree. They say, apparently, that the executors should be able to find a reclusive Chinese billionaire who would buy the artwork on the black market and smuggle it out of the USA in order to hide it away. On this basis the IRS value the artwork at $65million. They are also apparently seeking a $11.7million penalty for “gross valuation misstatement” even though the executors accepted the unanimous view of three separate professional valuers that the artwork had a nil value!

Not so much a tax funny as a bizare true story, worth sharing I thought. If you agree do read the full story on Robert's blog.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The purchase ledger accountant's lament

Piles of purchase invoices, in all colours and sizes
Apparently so varied but with very few surprises
The Boss will read them carefully before he authorises
Then it’s my job to process them as my blood pressure rises

I say each number quietly to get it in my brain
And as I type it to the screen I say it once again
The others in the office think my mumbling’s a pain
They say it shows I’m mad, but can I promise you – I’m sane!

Once input to the system I’m so careful where I pile ‘em
Too close to the window, they’ll be gone before I file ‘em
And that would be the end of me, straight off to the asylum…
My loving caring colleagues would be very quick to dial ‘em

So here I am, an invoice clerk until the bitter end
Most of the time I work real hard but sometimes I pretend
I’m living in a different world, with mates and cash to spend
Oh please won’t someone rescue me? I’M GOING ROUND THE BEND!

Written by Sean Kelly.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Proposal for a Mustached American Tax Incentive

The American Mustache Institute, an organization that has tasked itself with protecting the rights of and fighting discrimination against mustached Americans by promoting the growth, care, and culture of the mustache, has proposed a $250 tax deduction for the cost of mustache grooming supplies.

The so-called “Stache Act” is based on a paper by Dr. John Yeutter from Northeastern State University titled “Mustached Americans and the Triple Bottom Line: An Analysis of the Impact of the Mustache on Modern Society and a Proposal for a Mustached American Tax Incentive.”

In the paper, Dr. Yeutter examines the environmental, social, and economic impact of the growth and maintenance of labia secuculas (Latin for “lip sweaters”). He concludes that “stached” Americans should be provided an itemized deduction for expenses exceeding 2 percent of their adjusted gross income.

Some of the expenses listed in the paper include:
  • Mustache and beard trimming instruments
  • Mustache wax and weightless conditioning agents
  • DVD collections of “Magnum P.I.” and “Smokey & the Bandit”
  • Burt Reynolds wallet-sized photos