A week in the life of Peter Holgate, senior accounting technical

Monday[QQ] This time of year there’s lots to do on the HR front: salary reviews, promotion candidates. Sat on a panel for a candidate for promotion to senior manager. A 50-minute interview: an ‘opportunity to demonstrate their experience and skills across a range of criteria’ (candidates use the term ‘grilling’).


The regular round of emails, phone calls and impromptu meetings with people in the department. Then two hours on the accounting implications of a structure we are designing for a big outsourcing contract: whose balance sheet are the assets on (or off)? Can the operator recognise a profit in the first year?

As increasingly happens these days, we also need to consider the questions under international accounting standards as well as UK GAAP.

A bad end to the day: met an unfortunate audit partner whose client has received a letter from the Financial Reporting Review Panel. A rare event of course. My initial reaction is that, whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, the points at issue seem to be entirely immaterial. But will the panel see it the same way?


Joined some banking colleagues for a further session on the firm’s response to the 300 pages of proposals on accounting for financial instruments.

Weekly meeting of the technical department, then off to a client – an investment bank that I’m advising on a tax-based preference share structure.

The day ends with a ‘comparability’ meeting on salaries.


Sat in on the meeting of the International Accounting Standards Board. Today they were meeting the chairmen of the standard-setters of the seven major countries. A talented group of people, but it’s early days for the new IASB.

Back to the office for a PR meeting; what’s our public line on the timing of IASs being introduced into the UK, and other burning issues. Then another panel for a senior manager candidate.


An occasional day’s holiday, but of the busman’s variety: preparing the accounts for my wife’s private medical practice.

Spend far too long agonising over the accounting principles for capitalisation (or not) of £1,500 of software.

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