The Philip Fisher column | AccountingWEB

The Philip Fisher column

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.

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The writers of Yes Minister had an uncanny knack of finding not only comedy but truth in the mysterious world of civil servants.


Despite my finest efforts to stay in the neutral corner, when tax stories continue to hit the headlines for day after day, there is no choice but to weigh in.


It may be good news or bad but a press report today suggests that, in the future, the retirement age for many might hit 80.


It is often instructive to test sporting values against those of the accounting profession. If Dylan Hartley applied for a job with their firm, I suspect any self-respecting practitioner would run a mile.


Readers might well have had mixed feelings to learn at the end of last year of the American Federal Reserve decision to increase interest rates to 0.5%.

There are a number of different perspectives that might be considered when looking at this issue.


With the advent of the mobile phone and e-mail, accountancy has become a 24/7 job. That makes the holiday season special, as nearly all of us could take a breather.


My Christmas stocking from AccountingWEB contained a brand-new crystal ball.

Time will tell as to its efficacy but after a couple of hours of intense activity, I can reveal the following 10 almost certainties.


With all due respect to the Scottish tennis star, Britain must have had a really bad sporting year if he is a worthy winner.

Murray is undoubtedly the best British tennis player for generations but even he would struggle to claim to be the finest in the world at the moment.


Does the prospect of having your own personal tax account with HMRC thrill or terrify you?

It was only matter of time before HMRC went the same way as eBay, your own (quite often no longer on the) high street bank and pretty much every other large institution with “customers”.


Having listened to the latest Autumn Statement proposal, the very cynical might wonder whether HMRC’s biggest enemy today is no longer the multinational conglomerate that arranges its affairs subtly or rampant tax evaders but the man controlling the country’s finances.