The Practitioner

It’s never easy coming back after the weekend, never mind an extended Bank
Holiday weekend!

The first crisis to hit was the failure of the office IT system to back up.
No one seemed willing or able to sort it out so it went to the top of my to do
list, pushing down other equally important tasks such as following up on staff
appraisals, considering the annual pay review, etc.

To hell with it, they can wait. If the staff can’t be bothered to find a
solution to the IT problem without waiting for me to get in and sort it then
they can wait for the pay review to be finalised.

Yes, you may have guessed it, I was in a bad mood.

Don’t get me wrong. I do realise the value of having good staff – I just wish
that they were a touch more proactive sometimes!

The day was going too fast and my to do list was getting bigger not smaller.
I had no option but to delegate some of the smaller tasks downwards to the
office manager. She tried her best to hide her ­disappointment with a fake
smile. I was tempted to say something but bit my lip. One of these days she may
not be so lucky…

My biggest, best, and most important client then chipped in with a classic
problem for me to solve. His car had been written off while it was in for a
routine service and that left him without a motor. We are talking about someone
who does 50k-plus miles a year, and his car, mobile phone, and hands-free kit
are the essential tools of his trade.

He considers me his fixer for all things business related, not just
accountancy and tax. Sometimes I wonder what he would do without me. He
certainly gets good value for every pound of the £5,000 per month we bill him.

The other extreme, however, is an overseas client we have who takes up a hell
of a lot of staff and partner time, and who moans about every bill we send him.
Some of the staff have been reduced to tears in the past by his emails in
CAPITAL LETTERS and his short sharp phone calls.

I think the fact that he is overseas adds to the problem, most of the staff
have never ­actually met him and his legend has grown around the office – so
much so that I’m sure if we asked the staff to dig out his copy ­passport from
the ID records file most of them would expect him to have two heads, three
eyeballs and horns!

Maybe I should invite him to this year’s office Christmas party and scare the
life out of them all.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of a
regional firm in the heart of England

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