I had a very interesting conversation with Max, the payroll manager, a week or two ago.
Max likes to ask one of the three of us in the accounts team to review all of his payrolls before he files them to HMRC and lets clients know they are ready. "It's too easy to let something slip under the radar," he says. "Especially if I'm filing payroll en masse for lots of clients at the same time. An extra pair of eyes can spot any errors before it's too late - some of these software packages are really unforgiving about correcting errors in payroll."
Maria and I will generally check Max's payroll figures, and certainly if either of us sees something that doesn't look right, we'll approach Max and ask him about it. Neither of us would tell him he was wrong. He knows a lot more about payroll than we do, and we would never be completely sure he was wrong and we were right.
That week, though, Maria was visiting a nearby college on its open day to investigate starting her studies, and I had to finish a difficult set of accounts for Henry, so Paul took over checking the payroll.
"That Paul, he came roaring in here last week, pointed his finger at my screen and barked, 'That tax figure is wrong'," sniffed Max. "Actually it wasn't. But he wouldn't believe he could be mistaken, Allie. He's far too full of himself, that Paul."
"Did you convince him in the end?"
"I ran the figures through HMRC's calculators, they came out the same as my originals, and he went out looking like a balloon that's had a pin stuck in it," Max grinned into his beard.
I wouldn't be surprised if Paul doesn't move on in the near future. His relations with the rest of the team, except for me and Maria, seem to be deteriorating, and from everything he says, the teaching agency he's been working with have been making overtures to get him to join them full-time. We'll have to see what happens there.
We are also rapidly approaching busy season again, and Teresa is keen to see whether Lucy pulls her weight this year.
"She's been a bit better lately, Allie. I had stern words with her and since then she's seemed to work a bit harder. But whether she'll be really helpful is anyone's guess."
Let's see what happens on both those fronts.