‘Tis Christmas Eve and we are eavesdropping on Santa and Rudolph as they sort gifts for the business community. Rudolph: (Inspecting a pile of paperbacks and reading out the title.) ‘Emergency fixes for millennium bugs.’ Santa: Give one to every small business. And the airline and NHS trust on my blacklist. Rudolph sorts through the Christmas stockings and reads Santa’s e-mails at the same time, a skill he learned on a recent multitasking course. Rudolph: Listen to this. ‘Please send me a Porsche.’ Two more want Jaguars and another wants a third home in … Santa: Don’t tell me, it’s the corporate finance specialists on high bonuses. Give them a charity envelope each. Put ten pence in the packets to encourage them to open them. The phone rings, but Santa and Rudolph ignore it. The answer machine kicks in. Answerphone: You have reached Santa’s grotto. You will be given a series of options. Press one if you wish to help distribute gifts to those less fortunate, as part of Dame Sheila Masters’ Everybody Counts initiative. Press two to give away your presents. Press three if you want to request a gift for another. Hold if you want something for yourself and we will connect you when we can. The caller is obviously holding. Santa and Rudolph are doubled up with laughter. Santa: Don’t they know nobody’s ever written the software for picking up from hold? Rudolph: So gullible. Speaking of which, what shall I do with these copies of KPMG’s assessment of the limited value of mergers? Santa: They’re for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, the major law and accountancy practices. And pension fund managers. Rudolph: Done. This is boring. I’ve been looking at accountancy jobs on the Web and I could be doing something more interesting than this. Santa: But they work long hours all year round. Rudolph: I knew there was a catch. What are these for? The answer phone clicks off. The caller has given up. Santa: Stress balls. They help release tension. They’re for practitioners struggling to complete tax returns on time. Rudolph: What about the people at the Inland Revenue? Santa: Forget them. They’re trying to prove IR35 applies to your company. Rudolph: Fair enough. We have some ‘How to manage difficult people’ audio tapes. Shall I send them to anyone thinking of setting up a multidisciplinary practice? Santa: Got it in one.
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