Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Full of beans

I was taken by this letter in the paper earlier in the year. sent by Gareth Tarr of Chertsey:
Sir, as a chartered accountant I must say that the scandal regarding tax avoidance schemes is a rare case of positive PR for my profession. Rather than condescendingly being labelled as dreary 'bean-counters' we are now described as clever and innovative. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Harry Potter and the Balance Sheet


ONCE UPON A TIME there was a boy called Harry Potter, whose uncle told him he was a liability. But the boy felt unwilling to accept this designation without qualification, since his parents were off-balance sheet, ie, missing.

One day, a strange visitor named Hagrid gave the boy professional advice. “This advice is provided to you without prejudice,” he said. “Your fortunes may go up or they may go down. But due diligence requires me to inform you that you are not a liability of the muggle class, but an asset of the wizard class.”

The young asset travelled to Hogwart’s School for a set of “add value” courses expected by analysts to cause a significant appreciation in his book value.

In class, Harry met a female asset called Hermione and thought about having a merger with her. But he was distracted because an outside party called Voldemort earmarked him for 100 per cent depreciation, ie, death.

A huge takeover battle followed, with Voldemort attempting a hostile acquisition followed by a total liquidation of Harry and associated assets. Harry won by using an unlisted extraordinary item called heroism.

In a huge EGM of interested parties at Hogwarts Hall, Harry found that his book value had increased considerably. However, there was no merger with Hermione. “Also, I haven’t found my parents, who are still listed as receivables,” Harry said. As a result, analysts suggested that there may be room for subsidiary or spin-off adventures.

As imagined by Nury Sam Jam Vittachi

Friday, October 12, 2012

MGO are "Proud to be boring accountants"


Boring may be Optional but MGO, a top 100 accounting firm in Sacramento, California, celebrate the fact that they (claim to be) Boring. And have been for 25 years. They explain how being Boring benefits clients, they introduce their Boring Partners and have a self proclaimed Boring Mission.

Of course in so doing they stand out as being very different and anything BUT Boring. Nice one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

He would have been a true financial wizard

Back when I was Chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty I was also on Council. I well recall that during one Council conference we discussed what the Institute could do to make chartered accountancy more sexy and appealing as a career option.


One of the best suggestions I can recall was to encourage a then relatively new author, JK Rowling, to change the direction of a series of books she was writing about a boy wizard. 

We thought it would be great if we could encourage her to end the series with Harry Potter graduating from Hogwarts and going off to start a career as a chartered accountant. We thought that might inspire thousands of potential financial wizards to follow his lead.  

I haven't read the last book but It didn't happen did it? Can you imagine what would have happened...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Problem Clients

Almost every accountant who completes self-assessment tax returns will recognise the following three archetypal clients:

Kara Earabahg – She saves everything up for you and lets you have it in a big plastic bag. You or your staff have to work through a load of irrelevant papers to identify the data that is relevant to the tax return. And sometimes you wonder if you’ve found it all.

Ian Complete – He never sends over everything you need. Typically he forgets to provide details of his pension contributions, gift aid donations and sundry allowable business deductions.

Lars Minit – He ignores all your requests and prompts. He gets you everything you need only just before the filing deadline and has faith in your ability to ensure he avoids late filing penalties.