The Practitioner: time for tax returns

JANUARY IN THE OFFICE is akin to the first day of the January sales down the road at Selfridges – every man for himself.

Staff fighting over which tax returns are their responsibility and which ones they aren’t going to touch with a bargepole is fascinating to watch. I have the privileged position of being able to chose the “easy” tax returns to do, and delegate all the crap downwards.

“It’s all part of your learning curve,” I convince them.

“Next year we will give this one to someone else,” I lie to them.

Any sense of belonging to a team that may have materialised after the fifth round of vodka shots at the recent Xmas party has well and truly been forgotten.

When it comes to preparing certain clients tax returns, staff members will do anything to avoid them.

Of course regular staff meetings are held to try to control the work flow in this busy month and list after list is prepared delegating the outstanding returns to be completed.

I feel sorry for anyone who may happen to miss attending a staff meeting in January. They come back to find their workload has significantly increased and their list now contains the dreaded Last minute Larrys!

This is about as exciting as it gets for accountants, so I am happy to let the horse trading carry on while I sit back and monitor proceedings with a smirk on my face. My mole is good at keeping me in the loop and that way I can have a quiet control over proceedings.

The most recent staff meeting was another interesting one, with the office manager visibly starting to lose control of the team.

Staff members were quite freely planning their own work load, trading tax returns for other jobs, and the manager sat there unaware who is doing what. I’m quite convinced now that she’s actually not even bothered any more! I can hear the famous February axe being sharpened in the distance…

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

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