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An accounting sitcom?

Does anyone have any stories from their time in practice?

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Morning folks!

I hope you all had a great weekend, whether you were at Glasto or not (I write with no hint of jealousy..!)

In other news, whilst trawling the web for accounting content late last week, I stumbled across a comedy show "made by accountants, and for accountants" according to its creators. The show, which can be watched in its entirety on Youtube, seems to shine a spotlight on the weird and wonderful interactions that every firm has found themselves in.

With this in mind, I wondered if any of you have any humorous stories from your time in practice? Does anything come to mind that still makes you LionofLudesch chuckle?

Have a great week everyone - looking forward to hearing from you all.

Replies (50)

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By Justin Bryant
27th Jun 2022 11:24

You ought to know that jokes/humour etc. and accountancy are usually mutually exclusive. Here's a good joke though.

What's Kermit the frog's favourite saying?

Time's fun when you're having flies.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Paul Crowley
27th Jun 2022 20:04

Portia would love it

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Justin Bryant
28th Jun 2022 14:53

Yes; I thought exactly the same, which is why I posted it.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Jun 2022 12:30

An Economist, a Statistician and an Accountant are all interviewing for the same job.

First up is the Economist, her enters the room, usual pleasantries exchanged re wife/kids/hobbies and then one of the interviewers says they have a small test and asks him what is 2+2. The economist scratches his head and then says that it really depends on the Yen and its relationship with the Dollar, but subject to forward expectations it likely will land in the range between 2 and 6. Interviewer thanks him and asks him on leaving to send in the next candidate, the Statistician

The Statistician enters, interview follows same format, wife, kids dog etc, then same question asked of him, what is 2+2? Statistician pulls out his slide rule (old story) works through his calculations and then states that he has 95% confidence the answer is 4. The Interviewer thanks him and asks him to send in the last candidate.

The Accountant enters, same pleasantries, wife, kids, dog , golf handicap, then the interviewer asks him the question , what is 2+2. Accountant looks left, right, up, down, gets out of his chair and looks in a cupboard, opens door to room and shuts it, checks under the desk and when satisfied sidles over to the interviewer and says "Whatever you want it to be"

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
27th Jun 2022 12:56

"MTD starts April 2024"

I thought it was a joke - seems the joke is on us.

Thanks (3)
Replying to TaxTeddy:
Tornado
By Tornado
27th Jun 2022 13:12

TaxTeddy wrote:

"MTD starts April 2024"

I thought it was a joke - seems the joke is on us.

No, the joke is still fairly and squarely on HMRC.

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Replying to TaxTeddy:
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By MCV71
27th Jun 2022 17:41

Did you hear the one about the project costing millions which benefits nobody except the software companies?

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Tornado
By Tornado
27th Jun 2022 13:13

There was the lady who said she would pay her Husband's bill. I told her I didn't mind who paid it as long as it was paid soon as it was long overdue.

I never did get the cheque I was expecting but years later my wife brought me up to speed on this type of situation and pointed out to me what type of payment this lady had been offering!

How does one deal with VAT in that kind of situation and is there a special coding to allocate this to in MTD ?

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Replying to Tornado:
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By MCV71
27th Jun 2022 13:39

I'm sure there's a joke about double-entry in there somewhere.

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Replying to Tornado:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
28th Jun 2022 06:30

She wasn’t an accounting content creator was she?

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Replying to Tornado:
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By lh3f9764bg1g
28th Jun 2022 09:41

Furnished lettings? Isn't that how it used to be assessed?

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Replying to Tornado:
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By johnjenkins
28th Jun 2022 09:45

How kind.

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By MCV71
27th Jun 2022 13:44

A female client once called, I answered "Hello" as usual and before anything else could be said she began telling me what she would be doing to me when I got in from work. And the erotic sort. Before she got much further I cut in and explaine she had mis-dialled. I sometimes regret cutting in too soon.

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Replying to MCV71:
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By Paul Crowley
27th Jun 2022 20:18

I agree
We have two ears one mouth
So listen twice as long

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
27th Jun 2022 13:59

In the 1980's (pre self assessment / pre internet) I met with a potential new client, a young actress who had become moderately successful but had four or five (can't remember exactly) outstanding tax returns. I reassured her that we could soon have it all sorted out and have her up-to-date with HMRC. Then, radio silence.

Two or three years later she got in touch again and we went through the same discussion except she now had eight tax returns outstanding. Again, she seemed unable to make a decision to sort it out.

Unbelievably, after a few years she once again got in touch and I seem to recall that it was now something like 12 years outstanding. She was understandably nervous but I again reassured her that we could make an approach to HMRC and negotiate a settlement.

The following year I received a postcard from her. She had emigrated to New Zealand.

I'm not sure whether that was a comedy or a tragedy.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
27th Jun 2022 14:13

I'm sure I've told this story before but, back in the eighties, I had a client whose enquiry had been escalated to Enquiry Branch. Whilst HMIT had found a bit of stuff that had been omitted from his returns, there was no way this was EB material. The fella was living on a modest three bedroom house in Cutsyke with no indication of where any surplus funds were being spent or squirreled away.

Anyway, we went to this meeting in Leeds, 10.30 kick-off and we had this interrogation which the client was stone-walling and the Inspector became increasingly desperate to save a bit of face and started badgering him, asking questions that had already been answered.

Suddenly the client shouts, "Look - I don't know what you want me to say; just tell me what you want me to say and I'll say it."

There's a couple of seconds of shocked silence and the lead inspector says "Goodness - a quarter past eleven already!! Perhaps we could usefully break for lunch there and reconvene at 1.30 ?"

The 1.30 meeting was over by 1.35 with a very modest settlement agreed.

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By bluebaron
27th Jun 2022 14:42

I had a client years ago who was basically an out and out crook. When he got caught by the authorities, he carried out an almost comical bodged suicide attempt. In a two page spread, the local newspaper gave him almost heroic status, effectively portraying him as a modern day Robin Hood! I couldn't believe what I was reading.

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By AS44NG
27th Jun 2022 15:01

A number of years ago I left working for an accountancy practice having been a partner to that point. On my final day with an hour or so to go, a new client appeared at the door. My friend (who was the remaining partner) asked me if I could deal with the new client, which I thought odd as this was my last day.

Anyway, I stood up to greet her in the usual manner at which point she reached into her bag, took out a music device, pressed Start, then pulled down her trousers. To say this was the most shocked I'd been in an accountancy practice was an understatement.

The can of whipped cream was a little OTT I thought but I learned two things over the next 15 minutes: 1) the "new client meeting" was fake and 2) parts of the young lady were too.

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Replying to AS44NG:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Jun 2022 15:34

And todays star question is, "Was there any way for the remaining partner to get tax relief for the cost of the young lady, and if so, how?"

For bonus marks- "Consider the correct treatment of the costs of the whipped cream and the false bits within the young lady's own tax return?

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Replying to DJKL:
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By AS44NG
27th Jun 2022 16:52

I'm reliably informed that the costs were included as Entertainment ;-)

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Replying to AS44NG:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Jun 2022 17:10

So, an add back.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By MCV71
28th Jun 2022 07:09

Repairs & Renewals for her false bits

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Replying to MCV71:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
28th Jun 2022 10:46

Hold on- roofs replaced with same material and in same location may well be R & R, but larger roofs replacing the older ones might be considered as capital.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
27th Jun 2022 16:21

Not quite an accounting practice story but, back in the 1990s, I raised an eyebrow when I read in the papers that Sheffield Eagles had made an enquiry about signing the late Jonah Lomu for £1m. To put this in context, £1m would approximate to the club's turnover at that time.

I popped in to see the club's CEO, Gary Hetherington, and asked him if the story was true.

"Yes, perfectly true," he said.

"Have you got a million pounds ?"

"No."

"So are you going to fund it in instalments or what ?"

"No."

"Sponsorship?"

"No."

"So how is this story true ?"

"It's true that we've made an enquiry about signing Jonah Lomu for £1m."

Unsurprisingly, it never happened. But it was great publicity.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By DKB-Sheffield
27th Jun 2022 20:28

I believe it's that keen eye for business that led to his successful career!

Well... that and his many other qualities! All round nice bloke.

I only worked under him for a very short time mind (at the other club, that we won't mention).

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
RLI
By lionofludesch
28th Jun 2022 10:36

DKB-Sheffield wrote:

I believe it's that keen eye for business that led to his successful career!

Well... that and his many other qualities! All round nice bloke.

I only worked under him for a very short time mind (at the other club, that we won't mention).

Gary has this knack of being able to speak to random strangers as though they've been close friends for years.

We probably know a lot of the same people, DKB.

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VAT
By Jason Croke
27th Jun 2022 18:28

Many years ago, my firm was exploring outsourcing, it was still in its infancy then, I'd gone out to India to meet the team, all university graduates, all sharp as tacks (tax).

During our testing phase, we received loads of queries, which was understandable and expected.

One question which sticks in my head, related to a pub client. The outsource team were confused, they could see fruit machine income on the sales side, but they could not see any corresponding purchases of fruit on the expenditure side.

So I had to explain how we call gambling machines, fruit machines in the UK and the team were as good as gold after that...but loved the absolutely solid logic and why the question had to be asked.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By Paul Crowley
27th Jun 2022 20:17

Like it
They questioned the figures. Logic and overview. If only the online people did that.

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By Open all hours
27th Jun 2022 19:43

As a rural practice half way between Heartbeat Country and Herriot Country we increase the stock of stories at about the rate of two a month.
Legal and professional constraints prevent publication but we have a series of books which we could write.
We are privileged to have known some of the real people behind the two series mentioned.

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Replying to Open all hours:
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By DKB-Sheffield
27th Jun 2022 20:36

Well, James Wright managed to make a few bob publishing such stories. I would think your location would give you carte blanche?

Change your name/ client names (and make up a village name whilst you're at it) and you'll be good to go!

I'll even give you a hand with the title... something simple like... 'If only they could count'?

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By Open all hours
28th Jun 2022 17:08

Alf Wight (aka James Herriot) was dealing with animals not bank accounts and you could link 80% of our clients through marriage/affairs/friends/neighbours/other.

Like the working title though. Thanks.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
28th Jun 2022 06:43

I used to have a new restaurant ltd - a chef and a high-flying know-it-all salesman had teamed up. The modest fit out had been second-hand kit and/or cash jobs, so no VAT. I therefore advised not to register until mandatory, which was grudgingly agreed (salesman “knew about business”). Both directors were drawing £7kpcm from day one, “this restaurant lark is easy, I should’ve done this years ago”. One day they send in - within their usual paperwork junk - an unopened letter from HMRC with a VAT Assessment. Obviously I query it with the salesman, turns out he’d left our meeting and promptly registered himself as “all serious businesses were vat registered”. After all, he “knows about business”. I rework the monthly mgmts and give them their vat liability, as which point they find a new accountant as I’ve misled them and not told them to put any money aside for the vat.

Looked them up a couple of years later - in liquidation.

Lesson: anyone who hasn’t run a business, yet says they “know about business”, probably doesn’t.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By Paul Crowley
28th Jun 2022 14:36

Certain types of client do seem to move when they mess it up themselves.
Their egos tend to not permit that forever the accountant will remember that they made a mistake.
Next accountant along pretends to sympathise and believe their story about how it was the other person's fault
Nobody is fooled

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
28th Jun 2022 09:37

.

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By johnjenkins
28th Jun 2022 09:56

I always have a smile when on the London Underground "mind the GAAP"

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By AndyHTA
28th Jun 2022 09:56

Back in the 90's when I had just started my training contract, a client had dropped off his records in a holdall bag which was put with the other client records in the office. A day or so later we could all hear an annoying buzzing sound so we proceeded to walk around the office to find where the noise was coming from.

It was the holdall bag merrily buzzing away. One of the managers opened it and unfortunately it wasn't the client's records but a lovely selection of bedroom toys. He got his bags mixed up. The managers tossed a coin to decide who the lucky person was that had to return the bag and get the actual records. Slightly awkward!

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Replying to AndyHTA:
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By johnjenkins
28th Jun 2022 10:02

I hope the batteries were replaced.

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By Watson Associates
28th Jun 2022 10:05

A trainee was compiling Accounts for a sole trader who used to supply Bank Statements with notes written beside each transaction. He came to me & asked what the client did. I replied that he was a motor mechanic. The trainee then asked 'so why does he buy so many Drawings'.

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By Justin Bryant
28th Jun 2022 10:08

When at the Big 4 explaining to a large Japanese client how the arm's length transfer pricing principle applies they responded by saying: "ah, that all sounds fine, as the Japanese have fairly short arms".

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By Michael Davies
28th Jun 2022 10:11

Probably HMRC investigators have the best stories.Before I jumped ship ;I was investigating a local chip shop.My DI told me to go round the local chippies ,buy some chips and weigh them etc.The DI didn’t want me to waste the chips he was paying for,so I was to take a volunteer from the office to eat them.By about the tenth chip shop,you can imagine what state he was in.
No doubt HMRC will be waving the Official Secrets act at me any time soon..

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
28th Jun 2022 10:39

Whilst they say everyone has a book in them, many accountants feel the need to actually write them.

Whilst I would have no interest in ever writing a book on how to be a better accountant or have the perfect practice etc, I would have some good material for a "confessions of an accountant type book"

Could have legs as a potential modern version of The Office.

I suspect David Winder has some corking stories but is wrapped up in client confidentiality.

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By LAMBERTCLERICAL
28th Jun 2022 11:00

Many (many, many, many . . .) years ago, I was an audit senior onsite at a fish-processing client doing annual audit. I was working in a tiny upstairs room, main offices downstairs. To get between ther two, I had to pass through the fish-packing room, full of fish-wives keen to goad a young auditor.
Three days in, I needed the private ledger from the chairman. On entering the fish room, the "ladies" decided they had a better right to my trousers, and de-bagged me. "what you going to to now. eh?" they crowed.
well, I walked through the General Office, knocked on the chairman's door, entered, asked for the ledger, and apologised for my appearance explaining the fishwives had wanted my pants. He passed me the ledger without a word and I returned to my office. On entering the fish room, I got a loud cheer as my pants were returned to me.
Point of the story:- following year same Chairman approached me to join the firm as Group Accountant. If I could cope with his women, I'd made the grade!

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Replying to LAMBERTCLERICAL:
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By Hugo Fair
28th Jun 2022 12:31

They took your pants (as well as your trousers)?
That's impressive - unless you were helping them!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By LAMBERTCLERICAL
30th Jun 2022 16:38

We've got b**ls here in Yorkshire and we're not afraid to use them!

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Replying to LAMBERTCLERICAL:
Tornado
By Tornado
30th Jun 2022 17:19

LAMBERTCLERICAL wrote:

We've got b**ls here in Yorkshire and we're not afraid to use them!

Steel ones too I guess, of Yorkshire's finest quality.

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Replying to Tornado:
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By johnjenkins
01st Jul 2022 09:13

With "made in China" stamped on them (joke).

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By codling
28th Jun 2022 13:42

Some years ago a very good friend of mine ran a fish and chip takeaway in a seaside town. HMRC (or Inland Revenue as was then) decided to investigate his business and had him in for a meeting. After an hour of two of grilling the inspector then asked him how many covers his business could do.
The answer was "none". The inspector was getting exasperated and asked the question again. My friend stated that his business was purely a takeaway and did not have a seating area although his brother (with a similar name) ran a fish and chip restaurant next door......
Apparently the look of horror on the inspectors face was something to behold!! Enquiry dropped there and then.

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By Catherine Newman
29th Jun 2022 13:36

There was a memo dated 1 April when we were at PW. It changed the surname of a partner and said that when the client asked to go to the loo you had to ask them how many sheets of loo roll they had used.

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Replying to Catherine Newman:
Tornado
By Tornado
29th Jun 2022 13:47

This may have been a way of gauging the state of the client so that the more sheets of paper that were used the more worried the client was and thus the more the fee that could be charged.

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By Ruddles
01st Jul 2022 21:33

Many years ago a client told me that he’d taken a customer to a Jam concert and asked if he could claim a tax deduction for the expense.

“No,” I said, “That’s Entertainment”

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