Avoid nice people

Philip Fisher
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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.


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By chatman
09th Mar 2012 14:59


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

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11th Mar 2012 10:44



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

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

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By chatman
11th Mar 2012 15:44

Google as Oracle

Philip Fisher wrote:


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


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11th Mar 2012 14:38


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


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12th Mar 2012 09:34

Apologies for "threater"

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?

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By chatman
12th Mar 2012 09:46

Taking the "o" out of "accounting"

Wish I'd seen that.

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