Thursday, July 25, 2013

Over promoted?

A tax manager was driving up the motorway on his way to see a client when his senior partner phoned him and told him that he'd been promoted to senior manager. The tax manager was so shocked he swerved the car.

A few minutes later the senior partner phoned the tax manager again to say he'd been promoted even higher and would be made a tax director. The manager swerved the car again. Then the senior partner told the manager that he was actually being promoted straight to partner. The manager was so shocked he drove off the road and went right into a tree.

The police came and asked him what had happened. He said 
"I careered off the road"


Monday, July 22, 2013

Stamp Duty and playing cards

So there I was looking to research a new talk that involves a reference to playing cards, when I found the following. Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before?

When you look at the central image of a spade on the Ace of Spades why is it often more ornate than that on the other aces?
Apparently this all began in the 17th century under the reign of King James. He passed a law requiring the Ace of Spades to bear an insignia of the printing house as proof of payment of a tax on the local manufacture of cards. This ornamental embossing was also intended to prevent forgery of the revenue stamp. To forge an ace of spades was punishable by hanging, hence it is sometimes still known as the ‘hanging card’. 
Stamp duty was extended to playing cards in 1711 by Queen Anne and lasted until 1960. All decks of playing cards printed and sold in the United Kingdom were liable to tax under the Stamp Act 1765, and the Ace of Spades carried an indication of the name of the printer and the fact that the tax had been paid.
I am astonished that I have only found this out now - more than 30 years after I started to work in tax and more than 40 years after I started performing magic.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"We are weary and unexciting accountants"

I have promised not to disclose who said this but it was a senior partner at a top 50 accountancy firm:
"We at [redacted] are lone folk, ploughing our furrow in a very weary and unexciting way and not that interested in sharing our boring views with those who have a more exciting life leading their businesses through a series of strategies designed to grow the business in a way which seems to us to be not the sort of way we wish to run ours."
To be fair this was in a 'Friday afternoon' email ;-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

EY's branding advisers may not have messed up

From the London Evening Standard:

Bean counters and crotch kids

Sack the branding advisers! Accountancy giant Ernst and Young has given itself a new name meant — according to new chief executive Mark Weinberger — to “demonstrate clearly and boldly who we are”. 
Alas, the chosen moniker, EY, already has an owner: a magazine packed with shirtless, trouser-less and often pant-less young men, licking lollies and clutching their crotches. 
Given that a swift Google search would have alerted the bean-counters to their new namesakes, it doesn’t inspire much faith in their ability to scrutinise company accounts. 
But if it’s embarrassing for Ernst and Young, consider how the owners of the magazine must feel. For what reader will want their Adonis fantasies infiltrated by images of accountants?
Hmmm. I have seen previous references to the same story but this one seemed to deserve a mention on this blog. However, a quick internet search shows, in the results that Google delivers to me anyway, only references to the accountants EY. Also the Wikipedia entry (at the time of writing) makes no ref to the boys mag. And also makes clear that the accountants own the EY.com domain name.

What I haven't done is to go looking for the 'other' site. Does it really exist or was the original story a spoof?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Football and accountancy in one joke

A Sunday League football team is desperate for players. So desperate in fact that one Sunday they are forced to play a chicken. Rather surprisingly the chicken has a brilliant first half. One minute it's clearing off its own line, the next threading the perfect through ball, the next putting in a perfect cross.

At half time all its team-mates are very pleased and everyone runs back onto the pitch for the second half.

On the way the ref starts chatting with the chicken.

"Great first half mate, you must be really fit".

"Thanks", replied the chicken, "I try to keep myself fit but its difficult finding the time so I try to do an hour in the gym each morning before work".

"What do you do then?" asked the ref.

"I'm a chartered accountant" replies the chicken.

At this point the ref immediately brandishes the red card and sends the chicken off. The bemused team-mates gather round the ref and start complaining.

"Sorry lads", says the ref, "I had no choice - Professional fowl".

Friday, July 05, 2013

Newton's Laws of Accounting

1. For every accountant, there is an equal and opposite accountant.
2. Both of them are wrong.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

An #INABA award for Rob Walsh of Clear Vision Accounting

At a recent AVN conference I was blown away by the passion, enthusiasm and 'clear vision' displayed by Rob Walsh when he talked about how he runs his practice: Clear Vision Accountancy in Corsham, Wiltshire.

I knew immediately that Rob deserved this (virtual) award of an INABA. He evidently operates in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'. INABA stands for 'I'm Not A Boring Accountant' - more on the awards here +++++;

In 2004 Rob decided he was bored operating as a partner in a traditional regional firm of accountants. He founded Clear Vision as a result of his desire to make a change in his life and in the accountancy profession. As he explained at the conference, "I care to make a bloody difference".

On checking the firm's YouTube channel I remembered that a friend of mine, Robert Craven, had previously enthused about the non-traditional approach operated by Rob Walsh and the team at Clear Vision. Having now met Rob, I can better understand Robert's enthusiasm. The video in which Robert explains his disappointment with previous accountants is well worth watching.

More recently Rob told me that:
“I believe accountants can and should change their customers' lives.  
My team and I believe in questioning how things are traditionally done in the accountancy sector: producing accounts within 20 days of receiving books and records from our clients, providing our clients with a guarantee that they can pay whatever they think we are worth and charging on a fixed-quote basis.  
We practice an 'upside down' approach to accounting, where the salary or level of dividends a business owner requires to maintain the lifestyle they want comes top and the level of profit a business needs to make to serve the owner's lifestyle is at the bottom.
I use my experience to be whatever clients need me to be: business consultant, sounding board, mentor or simply an efficient and proactive accountant.  
My team and I work with business owners across all sectors. We will continue to do so as we believe (and have repeatedly proved) that insights from one sector can and will benefit another. Alongside this, we have developed specific skills in working as accountants for dentists." 
If you think you deserve an INABA or you know an accountant who meets the criteria please let me know.