Thursday, December 27, 2018

A tax themed xmas carol

We nick ye merry gentlemen and confiscate your sleigh
For using it to bootleg booze and ciggies from Calais
To you we're wise, you've dodged excise,
We've tailed you all the way.
You're go-o- ing to pris-i-on old boy!
Oh what a joy!
You're go-o-ing to Wormwood Scrubs old boy!

Written by Chris Williams of Baker Tilly (as it was back then) and first published in Taxation magazine 20 December 2007

Friday, December 21, 2018

Heather's 12 days of accountingmas

This wonderful final verse of Heather Smith's take on the 12 days of Christmas includes some lovely gentle ribbing of accounting speakers and conferences. 

Friday, December 07, 2018

How to manage a firm of accountants

A new managing partner was about to be appointed at a large accountancy firm.

His predecessor met with him privately and presented him with three large numbered envelopes. “Keep these in your desk drawer and open them in order as and when you run up against a problem you don’t think you can solve,” he said.

Things went along pretty smoothly, but after six months, a number of key partners resigned and the new managing partner started to take some flak. At his wits end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to the drawer and took out the first envelope.

The message read, “Blame your predecessor.” The new managing partner called a Partners meeting and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous managing partner.

About a year later, the firm's profits had dipped and partner drawings had to reigned back.  Having learned from his previous experience, the managing partner quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, “Blame your management committee.” This he did and a couple of members of the committee duly stood down and were replaced.

The firm’s fortunes quickly started to improve again. After a while however the firm was once again experiencing problems as a couple of their largest clients moved to a competitor firm.

The managing partner went to his desk and removed the third envelope. The message inside read, “Prepare three envelopes.”

Friday, November 30, 2018

Tax issues arising from the Cinderella story

You know you've been talking about work too much..

A tax adviser had just read the story of Cinderella to their four-year-old daughter for the first time.

The little girl was fascinated by the story, especially the part where the pumpkin turns into a golden coach. Suddenly she piped up and asked her parent, "When the pumpkin turned into a golden coach, would that be classed as income or a capital gain?"

Friday, November 23, 2018

New names for Accountants

I asked for suggestions on Linkedin recently for new ways to describe accountants. Most people offered serious ideas. But my favourite fun ones were:
  • Anxiety Transfer Expert - Alan Smith
  • Business continuity practitioner - Kris McCulloch 
  • Numbers facilitator - Melanie Curtis 
And the overall winner (as I'm sucker for acronyms):

Money And Numbers Inspector And Counter (MANIAC) - suggested by Adrian Markey

Friday, November 16, 2018

Five funny money and tax one-liners

“It’s tax time. I know this because I’m staring at documents that make no sense to me, no matter how many beers I drink”
- Dave Barry

“This would be a much better world if more couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt” 
- Earl Wilson
“I love America, but I can’t spend the whole year here. I can’t afford the taxes”
Mick Jagger

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t  need it.” 
- Bob Hope

“A father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be" 
- unknown

Friday, November 09, 2018

"Goats ate my accounts" and other excuses

Some of the most outrageous reasons given to Companies House for late filings over the last 12 months include:
  • “goats ate my accounts”
  • “I found my wife in the bath with my accountant”
  • “pirates stole my accounts”
  • “we delivered the accounts to the betting office next door to Companies House”
  • “a volcano erupted and prevented me from filing”
  • “slugs ate my accounts”
  • “it was Valentine’s Day”
  • “my company was more successful than I thought it would be, so I was too busy to file”
Taken from the news story posted on Companies House website

Friday, November 02, 2018

Tony Hancock - The Income Tax Demand

This classic half hour radio episode first originally aired on 4 November 1956.

Tony Hancock receives a tax demand for £14 12s 3d re ten years' back tax. He refuses to pay as that represents 50% of his income over the period! (Even fifty years ago this would have been a tiny amount!) so he goes to see the Inspector - played by Kenneth Williams.

The inspector tells Hancock that most people ignore his letters. Once they've been ignored twice he ignores the taxpayers! He also recommends that Hancock should go to see a Chartered Accountant "you'll probably get away with it then!". Hancock takes his advice but the accountant turns out to be a crooked Sid James and mayhem ensues.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Late arrivals at the Accountants' Awards dinner

I’m often a judge for Accountancy awards. The dinners and award parties are often spoiled by latecomers.  Love their names:
  • Mr and Mrs Lentry, and their daughter Deb
  • Mr and Mrs Itor, and their daughter Aud
  • Mrs Tor and her son Cred E
  • Mr and Mrs N' Counter and their daughter Bea
  • Mrs Itnloss and her academic husband the Prof
  • The Preciation family and their dipsomaniac daughter Dee, whose balance is always reducing and who never seems to go in a straight line...
  • Mr Uaddedtax and his daughter Val
  • The twin Entrybookkeeping brothers - it's double Entrybookkeeping
  • Mrs Ternalaudit and her son Ian  (her divorced husband, couldn't make it. He's her Ex)
  • Mr and Mrs Shion and their female cousin from the southern USA, Tex Eva.
  • Mr and Mr Trolacount and their son Con.
  • From Germany, Mr & Mrs Inkind and their son Benny Fitz
  • Everyone's least favourite vicar, the Rev Enue
  • Mr and Mrs Quidasset and their son Lee
  • Mr and Mrs Enture and their daughter Deb
  • All the way from Bermuda, Mr and Mrs Haven and their son Tex
  • They've been written off previously, but they're back, Mr. and Mrs. Ization and their son A. Mort.
  • Mr and Mrs Vertible-Bond have arrived with their debonair young man Conn. what an asset he’ll turn out to be one day.
  • Mr and Mrs Peemgee and their daughter Kay
  • Mr and Mrs Payedtax and their adopted Korean son Un
  • Mr and Mrs Taxation preferred not to be announced as late. They asked if their arrival could be described as 'deferred'.
Finally, please welcome Mr and Mrs Prophet with their daughter Annette, and their tall son nicknamed Grows. They work in a laboratory where they have to wear an overall. ;-)

The above were suggested in response to my request in a facebook group: I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue Appreciation Society (It's a homage to the popular radio 4 comedy show)

Friday, October 19, 2018

20 famous films with accountancy related themes

  1. Never say never again - An outgoing accountant resolves never again to allow his clients to force him to work crazy hours in January. 
  2. 10 things I hate to accrue (starring Heath “Nominal” Ledger)
  3. Schindler’s Listing – A heartbreaking story about Schindler floating his company on the FTSE. 
  4. Dude! Where’s my FAR? – A comedy about two guys who misplace their Fixed Asset Register. 
  5. The Shawshank Exemption – a film about a wrongly convicted banker who helps guards avoid an audit [Bit ironic if you know what it was really about!]
  6. LIFO Pi - An abstract story about an unaccepted accounting estimate stranded on a boat with a tiger. 
  7. InSSAPtion – A sci-fi blockbuster hit about the implantation of statements of standard accounting practices into one’s subconscious.
  8. Star Wars: Annual Return of the Jedi – Luke Skywalker battles against an evil empire when he discovers they aren’t filing their annual returns with companies house on time.
  9. Accrual intentions – Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a wealthy teenager taking Reese Witherspoon, a naïve student, under her wing to teach her the accruals concept. 
  10. An ACA is born - The senior partner of a large firm, encourages the career of a talented young partner who eventually takes over running the firm
  11. Minority audit report – In a future where a special audit unit is able to establish whether accounts are true and fair before they start their fieldwork, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future fraud. 
  12. File Hard with a vengeance - A tax adviser gets a little carried away when he can't access the Companies House portal he uses to submit annual accounts.
  13. The Signing – An auditor becomes possessed while on an away job in an isolated hotel where an evil and spiritual presence influences the RI, while his audit team sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. 
  14. Final estimation – a group of young auditors try and fail to escape death after miscalculating depreciation charges.
  15. The Accountant - Chaos ensues when an efficient accountant who is a bit too focused on his work forgets to keep track of his time and which client should pay the bills.
  16. ACA Ventura: PET detective – Jim Carrey stars as a personal tax accountant who goes in search of a dolphin gifted as a potentially exempt transfer for inheritance tax purposes.
  17. Accrual Runnings – a team of Jamaican accountants with absolutely no knowledge of UKGAAP come to the UK and set up as an audit firm. Hilarity ensues.
  18. SA SA Land - a musical imagining of what would happen if everyone filed their SA tax returns with a smile each year
  19. Home A-Loan – an incredibly boring film about a child trying to get a mortgage but failing because he’s too young. 
  20. Groundhog day - An outgoing accountant resolves never again to allow his clients to force him to work crazy hours in January. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Typical problem client

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.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Best excuses for late filings at Companies House

Each year Companies House receive unusual excuses from directors who fail to file their company accounts on time.

 Some of the most outrageous reasons given include:

  •  “goats ate my accounts” 
  • “I found my wife in the bath with my accountant” 
  • “pirates stole my accounts” 
  • “we delivered the accounts to the betting office next door to Companies House” 
  • “a volcano erupted and prevented me from filing” 
  • “slugs ate my accounts” 
  • “it was Valentine’s Day” 
  • “my company was more successful than I thought it would be, so I was too busy to file”

Friday, September 28, 2018

Texting abbreviations used by Accountants

LOL = Lots Of Ledgers
TIA = Taxes In Action
WAYF = Where Are Your Files
CRM = Client Rates Me
BRB = Brilliantly Reconciled Bank
FTW = Fin-Tech Wizards
ROFL = reporting on financials live
LMAO = loving my accounting online
IMHO = invoicing my heart out
BFF = bank feeds’r fast
WTF = wicked tax filing

Friday, September 21, 2018

Materiality - the music video

The ever-so material accounting song you've all been waiting for!! Materiality is an auditor's anthem created by two accounting musicians: Petty Ca$h [rap] & Auditor Meri [lead vocals & music production].

Friday, September 14, 2018

The role of an auditor

The role of the company auditor is commonly misunderstood.

To help clarify the the limited responsibilities of auditors, reference is often made to the immortal words of Lord Justice Stopes in the Kingston Cotton Mill case: "The auditor is a watchdog not a bloodhound".
Many years later this phrase was famously corrupted by an aspiring young accountancy student. During an examination where he felt under significant time pressure he wrote, in evident frustration: "The auditor is a watchdog, not a bloody greyhound".

Friday, September 07, 2018

When Allan was an accountant on the streets

Many years ago I met Allan Kutner at a local club for aspiring speakers. 

Allan was a city-based Chartered Accountant who told a wonderful story about his early years. I encouraged him to send it in to Accountancy Age who duly printed extracts in their ‘Taking Stock’ back cover feature. 

I recently traced a copy that I must have retained over the years and am delighted to be able to record it on this blog for posterity:

Allan’s hope was that his cautionary tale would help others to overcome the stigma and guilt that society instils in accountants.

After exhibiting an early obsession with maths Allan says that he started going up the city and hanging round Threadneedle Street

“I’d go up to business men and ask if they wanted an audit” he writes. “At first they would just look at me disgustedly and rush off. But gradually some would stop and ask ‘how much?’. I would tell them – for a full audit and typed report, £250. But if they just wanted an interim and handwritten report, I’d do it for £50.”

One thing led to another and soon Allan was asked to do a full corporation tax computation, including group relief. “I’d heard of people doing that sort of thing ended up in institutions! I needed help – and fast.”

“I’d heard of an institution that helped people like me. I went along to a meeting of the English ICA. They got me off the backstreet accounting and helped me to lead a decent life.It’s thanks to them I reformed.”

Friday, August 31, 2018

What Big 4 accountancy partners do outside of the office....

A newly qualified accountant in one of the larger firms was having a celebratory drink with some of the partners in his firm.

They were encouraging him to take an interest in professional affairs - as they all did.

''What do you do,'' he asked. One said he was on the local branch committee, another chaired a tax discussion group, a third was a practice support member.

The oldest partner was unusually coy and then announced that his involvement in professional affairs was limited to making regular appearances in disciplinary hearings after clients complained about his work.

One of his fellow partners was quite new to the firm and was astonished to hear this. Later the new parter asked if what he'd heard was really true, that the older partner made regular appearances in disciplinary hearings after clients complained about his work.

''Oh no'', came the reply, ''The senior partner's a member of the Financial Reporting Council; he's just too embarrassed to admit it!"

Friday, August 24, 2018

Synonyms for accountants

Some of the newer synonyms I've heard for accountants include:

  • The books bandit
  • A double entry deviant
  • The financial first lady
  • A financial wizard
  • The finance fairy
  • A journal juggler
  • A month end maniac 
  • The prince of payments 
Any more?

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Public Accounting Anthem music video

This well crafted rap video of his 'Public Accounting Anthem' explains the career history and professional life of CPA qualified accountant Petty Ca$h.

Friday, August 10, 2018

5 acronyms of interest to Accountants

I'm a bit of an acronymaniac. Here are some that might be useful for accountants.

We've all had them. Challenges or things that don't go as we hoped. We might smack our forehead in frustration. Maybe January was an AFLO for you this year. Another Flipping Learning Opportunity!

Maybe this is your approach when talking with clients about your service offerings: Take It Or Leave It

An approach to following up after attending networking events: Deliberate Acts of Relationship Enhancement.

Another way of explaining why the senior partner gets the last word. It's because it's the Highest Paid Person's Opinion.

What you might think of these acronyms. They offer a GLIBO: Glimse of the Bleeding Obvious

Friday, July 27, 2018

Fun names for Inspectors of Taxes

I heard a lovely true story recently about an Inspector of Taxes whose name was Mr Millions.  he worked for the Inland Revenue - in the days before it was rebranded as HMRC.

Many years back before the self assessment system started, Inspectors would 'list' appeals against estimated assessments for hearings before the General Commissioners. And then accountants would routinely call the Inland Revenue to ask for the hearings to be postponed.

This Tax Inspector often had to handle these calls and adopted a standard response when answering his phone. He said: "Millions, no jokes please!"

Friday, July 20, 2018

Which parrot should be in the accountant's office?

An accountant went into a pet shop to buy a parrot for company in his office.

The shop owner showed him a pretty parrot on a perch and explained that it was ideal for an accountant as it knew some mild swear words but only used them when it heard someone say  "HMRC".

The accountant asked how much it was and the shop owner said it was only a hundred pounds.

The accountant felt he could invest more than this so asked if there were any other parrots.

"Certainly" replied the shop owner. "This blue one doesn't swear at the taxman but he will learn your clients' names and greet them personally whenever they come into your office. This one is for sale at one thousand pounds".

This was more than the accountant wanted to spend so he asked the price and talents of a third parrot that was sitting quietly in the corner of the pet shop.

"Aha" said the shop owner. "That's the most expensive parrot. It costs five thousand pounds".

The accountant was astonished any parrot could cost that much. "What the heck can it do?"

To which the shop owner replied "To be honest, I've never seen him do a darn thing, but the other two say he's their Senior Partner."

Friday, July 13, 2018

The altruistic dead accountant

An Accountant dies and goes to heaven.
Saint Peter starts asking him all the usual questions required to get into heaven.

The accountant, it seems, has repeatedly helped people cheat on their taxes and embezzle funds.

Finally, in exasperation, St Peter asks, “Well, have you ever done anything good, anything totally unselfish and altruistic in your entire life?”

“Well,” says the accountant, “Once I saw this pretty lady being beaten up by a bunch of hoodies. So I yelled “Hey jerks, why don’t you pick on somebody your own size” and then I reached for my mobile phone to call the police, and took off running. They forgot about her for a second and she managed to run also.

Saint Peter asks, “I’m looking through the book of your life, and I don’t see this incident recorded. When did it occur?”

The accountant replies, “About five minutes ago.”

Friday, July 06, 2018

The interchangeable accountant

I love this story of the interchageable accountant.

Peter spent ages asking around his local area and getting positive testimonials. He eventually chose a very reputable firm based on several recommendations.

Unfortunately, the day he went for his appointment he was running late and inadvertently walked into the accountants next door to the one he was supposed to be visiting. They said they had no recollection of his appointment (not surprising really), but sent him to an office really quickly and in no time he was talking to his new accountant.

Peter says he has since been really happy with the service they provide and wouldn't change them. He's glad he did all that research!

Friday, June 29, 2018

7 ways to avoid winding up your tax adviser

Your tax adviser leads a stressful life dealing with HMRC (the Taxman) and cannot cope with you being depressed as well.

Your tax adviser's ethical code requires him to be objective and independent.

You must appreciate that tax IS DIFFICULT and an occasional experience of negative income is only to be expected.

Unfortunately the jargon inherent in tax matters is not compatible with explaining it to someone like you in a way you would understand.

Though the planning may be ineffective and cost you a lot, the resulting thesis on the deficiencies of such schemes may result in the tax adviser acquiring further letters after his name.

It is an honour and a privilege to contribute, however modestly, to the well-being of such doughty fighters of Government rulebooks.

This will only cause your tax adviser unnecessary publicity and embarrassment.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Do accountants make the best patients?

Five international surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients.

The Danish declares: "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered".

The African  surgeon replies: "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded."

The German surgeon observes: "I think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The American surgeon points out: "I like construction workers. They always understand when you have a few parts left over."

The British surgeon shuts them all up by pointing out that: "Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There is no guts, no heart, no brains and no spine, and the head and the derriere are interchangeable."

Friday, June 15, 2018

Putting accountants out of business

In 1965 the Chancellor (Jim Callaghan) introduced his Budget Speech with the prophecy that he would so simplify the system that accountants would be put out of business.

The 1965 Budget is particularly memorable as it introduced two new concepts - Corporation tax and Capital Gains Tax.

At the time, tax specialist Adam Broke was a newly married breadwinner. He was initially concerned that perhaps there would be no future for tax advisers. He recalls that the Chancellor's ambitions were thwarted by the inclusion in his proposals of "small minded concepts such as close companies".

As a result, Adam spent only milliseconds worrying whether he had chosen the wrong career.

Little has changed over the years. Each tax change that purports to introduce simplicity into the tax system is similarly bedevilled by undue complexity, oversights and 'small minded concepts'.

Friday, June 08, 2018

4 quotes about the tax system

"The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf."

"Who is the figure behind every great man, the individual who knows his ultimate secrets? A father confessor? Hell no, the tax expert."

"A tax loophole is something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you it is tax reform."

"Taxation with representation ain't so hot either."

"I'm proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is - I could be just as proud for half the money."

Friday, June 01, 2018

The News Quiz insults Accountants

On 18 May 2018 panellist Jeremy Hardy on Radio 4's News Quiz commented on negative press comment about big 4 firms of accountants, This was in the context of the failure of Carillion.

He suggested that Carillion is what you might call a number that’s a million times higher than a number any sane person would think of. And added: 

"I’m a bit jealous that there are high rolling accountants. Mine’s quite lacklustre in comparison to that lot. 
I just give him a carrier bag full of receipts and he keeps me out of prison. That’s all that happens."

There was a later reference to a phrase in a select committee report “Carillion was brought down by a combination of recklessness, hubris and greed”

Which prompted fellow panellist Simon Evans to respond: "Recklessness, Hubris and Greed sounds like a good name for the accountants".

Friday, May 25, 2018

Accountants practice safe XXX

XXX = Tax of course. What did you think!?

AIDS = Accountants In Deep Shit

It's what accountants get if they don't practice safe tax.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Married at First Sight: Accountants stuck in a bad marriage

What follows is an entertaining analysis of the merger of two accounting bodies as if they had met and married in 2014 in a lavish ceremony agreed by their respective members.
Together, the lovers formed CAANZ, an alluring acronym which stands for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. 
The great promise of this matrimony of professional bodies, as laid down in the nuptial documents, otherwise known as the Explanatory Memorandum to the merger, has not lived up to its vows. 
Perhaps it is a case of haste to the alter. NZICA appeared only borderline solvent before the marriage. It was the ugly duckling which somehow married a swan, albeit a worn out old swan, with sweet talk and forget-me-nots in an Explanatory Memorandum. As the private equity turnaround merchants say: “You only have to look good for the wedding day.” 
Since the nuptials,  the New Zealand bride seems to have been on a frolic with the marital credit card, spending up in the Shaky Isles and apparently taking liberties with joint possessions like the nominations and governance committee, fellowships awards and professional independence.
The above is an extract from a longer and more devastating analysis written by Michael West, an Australian journalist and Associate Professor with Sydney Democracy Network, Sydney University.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Do accountants laugh?

"Do accountants laugh?" was a question posed online by top Comedy Magician, John Archer ahead of a gig for accountants.

Among the replies he received were:
  • It depends on their clients
  • Only where they lose their balance
  • When it's at someones else's expense
  • Yes, when their balance sheet balances
  • As soon as you pay their bill

Friday, March 30, 2018

How many accountants are witch doctors doing magic?

In a 1964 speech British law lord, Lord Justice Harman, told an audience:
‘Accountants are the witch doctors of the modern world and willing to turn their hands to any kind of magic.’

I note that this quote has appeared on dozens of firms of accountants' websites.

(You need to know me to know why that quote so appeals to me. There's a clue in this much earlier posting on this blog)

Friday, March 23, 2018

What do taxi drivers know about tax?

Many years ago I travelled by train to Penrith in Cumbria, to present a talk to the local CIOT branch. In the cab I then took to reach the venue the driver asked me what I was doing in Penrith and I explained:
“I’m here to give a lecture to a group of tax advisers”.
For a moment I was thrown as he seemed very miffed. It then became clear from his reply that he had misheard me:
“It would be nice to have been invited. I’ve been a taxi driver here for over ten years!”
I was unable to keep a straight face!

I shared the story during my talk and at the tea-break one of the delegates came over to explain she’d had a similar problem recently.

When arranging her car insurance by phone, she was astonished by the premium quote. It was more than 8 times what she had paid the previous year. She queried the figure and was told this was due to her profession, and the risks inherent in this.
“What are the inherent risks of being a tax adviser?” she asked.
At which point it became apparent the insurer had thought she said she was a ‘taxi driver’.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Yes Prime Minister - How the Treasury work out how much tax to raise

In January 1986 the political comedy " Yes Prime Minister" featured an episode "The Smokescreen" in which The Prime Minister, Jim Hacker, favours abolishing smoking through heavy taxation but he runs into strong opposition from the tobacco lobby and the Treasury department.

The following exchange between the PM and his permanent secretary seemed especially worthy of inclusion on this blog:

Sir Humphrey: Taxation isn't about what you need.
Jim Hacker: Oh, what is it about?
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, the Treasury doesn't work out what they need to spend and then think how to raise the money.
Jim Hacker: What does it do?
Sir Humphrey: They pitch for as much as they think they can get away with and then think what to spend it on.

Here's the whole episode if you're interested. At the start Sir Humphrey explains his view as to how all new Prime Ministers want to cut either taxes or public expenditure.....

Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Are HMRC scared of witches putting spells on them?

Some years back the Romanian government passed a law to tax the income of witches, fortune tellers, and astrologers.

Associated Press had previously reported that Romanian senators rejected a proposal to tax witches and fortune tellers. The suggestion was that they were scared of hearing those feared words:
"Abracadabra, we'll turn all of you into toads!"
At that time the draft law would have required witches and fortune tellers to produce receipts, and would also have held them liable for wrong predictions!

The BBC then reported that the witches were using cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the government for making them pay income tax. Apparently Magic and superstition in Romania are taken very seriously. The president and his aides wear purple on Thursdays, allegedly to ward off evil spirits.

Somehow I can't imagine HMRC being worried about wrong predictions. They get enough of these from 'experts' ;-)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Abracadabra - economics and tax

"Abracadabra, thus we learn the more you create, the less you earn. 
The less you earn, the more you're given,
the less you lead, the more you're driven,
the more destroyed, the more they feed,
the more you pay, the more they need,
the more you earn, the less you keep,
And now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to take,
if the tax-collector hasn't got it before I wake."

Ogden Nash, American Poet, 1902-1971

Friday, February 09, 2018

A Valentine message for an Accountant

Debits are left
Credits are right
When I looked at you
Love at first sight.

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Balanced Ledgers
Have me thinking of you

Unbalanced Accounts 

Are near misses
Perfect though

Are your hugs and kisses

Fraud makes me sad
You make me glad

Please be my Accountant Valentine

Friday, February 02, 2018

How to simplify the PAYE system (or not!)

I'm told that an official from HMRC, who wishes to remain anonymous, has identified two key changes that would simplify our PAYE system and avoid most problems:
  1. Stop anyone from having more than one job at a time; and
  2. Only allow people to change jobs at midnight on 5 April each year.
No - I don't think they were serious.

Do you have any other ideas in a similar vein?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Analogies for how HMRC operates

If HMRC ran a café it would drag passers-by in from the street, 
force them to cook their own lunch, 
then fine them for overcooking the eggs. 

Two weeks later, it would dispatch a leaflet explaining that cooking eggs is easy! 
But doubling the fine.

This analogy formed part of Richard Godwin's Comment piece in The London Evening Standard on 21 December 2011.

Can you do better?

Friday, January 19, 2018

"Now that's what I call Tax Advice!"

Years ago I spoke at a large ACCA meeting at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. Just before I was introduced, Steve, an eagle eyed accountant asked me about the third set of initials after my name on the title slide projected on the screen. After my FCA and CTA (Fellow) I had included MMC.

I explained this was a bit of fun as they are the designatory letters for members of The Magic Circle (and, yes, I am a member, indeed, I am now The Treasurer). Steve then told me that he had an unusual hobby too. He said he was a poet.

The following day I received an email from Steve containing a poem he had written for me to deliver. I loved it - but never performed it as I can't do all the tricks he references!

The Third Person to Ask
(aka : Now That’s What I Call Tax Advice)
Though it is true I can produce a rabbit from a hat
I’d rather extol savings from the flat rate scheme for VAT
The sleight of hand required in Three Card Monte I do know
But ways to grow your practice is what I’d prefer to show
To cut a woman in two halves, the secret I find plain
I’m sure you’d much prefer to know how to offset a gain
The most secure of lock and chain I’ll escape in a trice
It really is much better to just give good tax advice
For whilst my skills at magic give me a qualification
They’re not what I’m best know for, throughout the English nation
And since tax is my living, I’m sure that you can see
Why my lectures do not highlight those three letters, MMC.

Written by (and posted with the permission of) accountant poet: Steve Brown

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another accountant goes to the doctor.....

An accountant knocks on the door of the local GP's surgery and walks in.
"Hello, doctor. Please help. I just don't know what's wrong with me. Goodbye." With that the accountant turns around and walks out.

30 seconds later they are back. "Hello again, doctor. Please help. I just don't know what's wrong with me."

The Doctor looks up from his desk and asks: Are you an accountant?"


 "Ok, In that case I think it's obvious. You have a serious case of double entry."

Friday, January 05, 2018

An accountant goes to the doctor.....

"Doctor, doctor, I've taken the medicine you prescribed but it's not working. What should I do?"
"Try using your calculator."
"How will that help?"
"I'm not sure, but it's something you can count on".

The journalist, the engineer, the lawyer and the accountant

A businessman was interviewing applicants for the position of Divisional Manager. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable perso...