Avoid nice people | AccountingWEB

Avoid nice people

Why you should never accept a free lunch or befriend John Whiting

Having lunch with John Stokdyk was a great chance to catch up. Despite avoiding alcohol in anticipation of an upcoming client meeting, somehow I agreed to write a regular column for AccountingWEB.

This is a familiar pattern. On joining PKF just over four years ago, it seemed a good idea to introduce a mental policy to say 'yes' to every request for the first six months, with the intention of changing that to 'no' thereafter. It worked a treat for those first six months.

Of late, in addition to this project, a terribly nice lady from Tolley's suggested that writing half of an online publication on Employee Share Schemes would be a good idea. Soon afterwards, one of her colleagues needed a speaker at a Disguised Remuneration conference. To add to the fun, a third was looking for both an article and a webcast on the PA Holdings case, with something on Morality, Tax Avoidance and Retrospection to follow (which was actually volunteered).

It is very flattering when the face of UK tax speaks to you. Getting on to a conference panel with John Whiting must be the peak of most tax professionals' ambitions. The upshot of all of this was regular visits the Treasury to sit on the Office of Tax Simplification's Share Schemes Committee. Halfway through that project, it has proved to be richly rewarding and time-consuming in equal measures.

The problem is finding time to do the day job. Therefore, it would be great to learn how to say 'no' on occasion. Until then, readers of AccountingWEB.co.uk can look forward to regular appearances of this column.




chatman | | Permalink

Is upcoming really a word? I thought if something was coming up it was forthcoming.


Philip Fisher | | Permalink


Can 694,000,000 entries on Google all be wrong?

Perhaps but the OED also recognises the word, which is good enough for me.

runningmate's picture


runningmate | | Permalink

We can let him off with upcoming - but threater???


Google as Oracle

chatman | | Permalink

Philip Fisher wrote:


Can 694,000,000 entries on Google all be wrong?


John Stokdyk's picture

Apologies for "threater"

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

That was a mistake I introduced when altering Philip's original introductory text. Apologies to him and any readers who were offended by it.

However, there is a worrying tendency to jump all over people on AccountingWEB for minor transgressions (one word in an entire blog post). Should we expect this as a natural characteristic within a detail-obsessed profession, or would it be reasonable to ask people to forgive the occasional blooper?

As the all-time Aweb typo champion (including the notorious "taking the O out of accounting" in one email bulletin), could I lobby for the latter position, please?

Taking the "o" out of "accounting"

chatman | | Permalink

Wish I'd seen that.

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The world is overrun with blogs and tweets. While they serve a purpose, this column is something slightly different. You will not find out what the author had for breakfast or the colour of the socks he is wearing. You will not be pestered with tedious listings of every film, book, play etc that your correspondent has ever seen or his latest success or otherwise on the golf links.

What readers have come to expect from a writer who has been associated with AccountingWEB almost from its inception are objective but on occasion quite possibly opinionated articles about topics that might be of interest to accountants as people. The intention is to be simultaneously challenging, thought-provoking and entertaining.

Since the writer is a partner in the Human Capital team at BDO LLP these columns will frequently take on issues relating to taxation, business and government policy. For light entertainment, he is also London Editor of British Theatre Guide so there will be plenty of hints and tips about what to see and not to see.

He also regularly writes about technology for London Accountant and almost anything else under the sun for a variety of publications so there are always going to be odd surprises in store. Travel, art, books, theatre, sports and consumer issues are all likely to receive consideration in coming months - but so are taxation issues, thoughts on the latest technology and, inevitably, the activities of the Chancellor and HMRC.