The writer of this column is frequently criticised for being judgmental and opinionated. On this occasion, my intention is to ask questions rather than answering them.
I have spent decades working in the accountancy field and, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Making clients happy and helping them to negotiate good but fair tax outcomes, while helping younger members of staff to develop their skill sets, should be enough to put a smile on anybody’s face.
However, all of us are obliged to put up with occasional irritations, some of which are enough to drive you round the bend, while others can be accepted as nothing more than an undesired part of life’s rich pageant will go away soon enough.
The funny thing is that what drives me to distraction might actually be fun for somebody else, for example, auditing.
I thought that it might be worthwhile to discover the facets of our professional lives that make days in the office more difficult than they should be.
At worst, discovering that we're not alone in our irritation at certain aspect of the job might help put things in perspective.
But even better, we might be introduced to fresh workarounds or solutions which can help to take away those occasional moments of pain in the future.
To set the ball rolling, here are some of the issues that I would much rather see wished away forever:
- Clients who argue interminably over tiny fees or elements of fees, whether they be £5, £50 or £500 (depending on scale).
- Clients who refuse to pay fees until they receive a legal letter.
- Members of staff who struggle to complete even the most basic of tasks.
- The HMRC telephone system.
- Complex and unintelligible legislation.
- Inspectors of taxes who think that they are above the law.
- Computers that misbehave at the most inopportune moments.
- Big Four firms (and others) that lowball to steal our clients.
- Clients that seem surprised when auditors turn up at the time appointed and take three days to deliver the agreed data then blame your firm.
- Private clients who send in tax return information in late January.
- Partners who refuse to promote you or offer a decent pay rise until you hand in your notice.
As the song says, these are a few of my favourite things – well perhaps not. If any readers have solutions to these knotty problems, all of us would love to hear them.
You may also have your own beefs that could do with a good airing and sharing and this might be the perfect opportunity to get them off your chest.