The Practitioner: The art of changing light bulbs

HOW MANY accountants does it take to change a light bulb?  It’s a joke as old as Frank, but now I know where it comes from, my office!

I kid you not, it involved five accountants in our office to organise having a bulb replaced in the reception area. Seriously, five, and it still hasn’t been changed yet.

Is that just a result of us being accountants or is it indicative of the lack of decisiveness among the managers and senior staff members? Either way if it wasn’t so funny I’d cry to be honest.

It’s not only the changing of light bulbs that take up too much of too many people’s time – take your pick from the following list of classic time wasting activities:

Printer drum needs changing; photocopier not working; ant infestation in the filing room; shredder machine needs emptying. The list goes on and on and every week seems to bring a new tedious task that eats into people’s time.

I’m thinking of redesigning the ‘non-chargeable’ time codes list to include all of the above. At least then people won’t just post it all into the ‘admin’ code and get away with it. Maybe we need to get a new office manager, one with balls and a bit of an attitude.

Maybe that’s the problem with us accountants, we just don’t have the balls to make tough decisions. Maybe I should do it after the Friday lunchtime drinks session; stroll back into the office and make a few ‘tough decisions’ while under the influence of three pints of Speckled Hen.

The senior partner did just that a couple of years ago and ended up seriously regretting it the next day, having to make apologies, buy flowers etc etc. He has then spent the next couple of years regretting that he regretted it, and has been close on a few occasions to speaking his mind again, this time without the aid of alcohol. He’s now in charge of changing light bulbs and other such important tasks…..

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