It is only a few days to go before Christmas
Alternatively Christmas is only a few days past.
There speaks the true accountant. He/she has not committed unequivocally and leaves the decision open. You have been given all the options. You make the decision. If you are right, then the accountant takes the credit having advised you correctly. If you are wrong, then the accountant will deftly mention that his/her advice was not taken. So be it.
Christmas Day can also be called “Landlords Day”. If you see happy smiling people it is not the festive season that is the reason. It is because it is a Quarter Day, when the rent is due and of course the landlord is happy – it is pay day. (An easy way to remember a Quarter Day is the number of letters in every third month. March = 5 letters = 25th. June = 4 letters = 24th. September = 9 letters = 29th). Did you know that? What a social asset you will now be with this little gem of information.
Accountants do not enjoy Christmas Day. Indeed do they enjoy any day? But the end of December is not a good time. You have to give your staff time off AND still pay them, and since New Year’s Day is also a holiday, invariably the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, are no go days. No go into the office that is. And to suggest otherwise will not endear you to your staff, since all offices seem to close. Indeed the tax office is closed, but since they never seem to answer their telephones nor reply to letters at the best of times, who knows whether they are open or not? And when Christmas or New Year falls on a weekend, an extra day is given in lieu. So, to avoid any confusion, accountants like everyone else, just close down, but not before the Secret Santa “celebration”. This is something new. Well it must have been some time. So everyone congregates to draw the name of another, from the partner’s bowler hat. Invariably a limit is put on the present but since no one knows who is the donor you can get away with a purchase from the Pound Shop or their rival, the 99p Store. To keep in the tradition of an accountant, we usually wrap the present up in a pink Financial Times past. The budget edition invariably. Everything is chargeable. Remember to take the price off or add a figure before the real price. And do not be smart by recycling last year’s pressie. You may be giving it back to the person who gave it to you in the first place.
Sometimes your clients give you a pressie and, of course, you know how much has been spent, since they will charge it up to “gratuities”.
I once bought a Dinky toy (the very name dates my largess). I found a very large discarded stationery box in which to wrap it. I thought that this was very amusing. Not so the recipient or indeed anyone else. Perhaps the fact that I was smiling loudly gave my Secret Santa identity away. In addition, since the cleaners do not come in over the Christmas/New Year period, it was still there after the break to remind everyone what I had done.
The real downer at Christmas and New Year is the tax system, whereby all tax returns have to be submitted by 31st January or else you get fined and threatened with penalties galore and an enforced break in the Tower of London. And since January is already a reduced work day’s month, the pressure is on with a vengeance. All those clients who leave their affairs to the last minute and promise to reform “next year” – do not! Why should they? That is what they pay you for. And horror of horrors, whilst everyone else is spending what they have not got at the sales, the accountant is ensconced in his/her office trying to catch up. And of course it is in January that the computers go down. Well that is the excuse anyway. Gone are the days of the abacus, pen, pencil and ruler. Here are the days of the A pod, I pad, the E pod, the P in the pod or whatever. And of course it is your computer not the tax office. Methinks they turn them off over the Christmas/New Year break and forget to turn them on again. But of course no one would ever admit it. As in life, it is never your fault, always someone else’s. My ex wife, the Ayatollah belonged to this club. Sorry darling only joking!