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The Practitioner: Wearing too many hats is headache-inducing

I MAY BE giving away my age here, but I remember watching Mr Benn as a child, him going into the shop and coming out as a different person every time.

This week I’ve learned a valuable lesson, no matter how much I think I’m Mr Benn, able to try my hand at everything, when it comes down to it I need to consider what I really am.

I am an accountant.

I’ve been guilty over the past few months, when making my regular visits to a large client, of trying to fix everything even if they’re not in my remit.

When the bookkeeper ‘hasn’t quite finished’ his tasks to enable me to finish month-end, rather than turn back around and demand it’s completed before I come back, I’ve become the bookkeeper myself. And when the stocktake hasn’t been carried out because the warehouse manager was ‘too busy’, I’ve put my stocktaker’s hat on and done it myself.

Now, at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. However, now I know it wasn’t actually helping at all. It was in fact making the situation worse.

I’m an accountant. I’m not being paid to finish the bookkeeping or count the stock; I’m there to look at the bigger picture. But wanting to get everything done so that I could do my monthly report to the client, my first thought was to roll up my sleeves and chip in.

What this meant of course was that I spent more time than I should have done to complete the MI pack, due to spending most of my time doing someone else’s work.

Despite my making comments to this effect in the past few monthly reports, it has all come to a head this past week when the client asked me to do something. I didn’t get round to being able to do it, because, guess what?

The bookkeeper hadn’t reconciled the bank.

Up steps Mr. Benn…

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England


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