The Positive Accountant - Vol 2 Ed 49

So now we know - lockdown v2 is ending next week but replaced (for most of those reading this) by being in tier 2 with related restrictions. Except that on 23rd December the little COVIDs are going on holiday for five days before coming back with a vengeance.

I don't know enough about the science to comment, but don't trust politicians further than they can be kicked. And the media continue to report disgracefully.

I heard the news on Radio 4's PM tonight, who told me as a headline that '55 million people in the UK are in top two highest risk areas'. They continued to tell me that the only tier one areas were the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Scilly and Cornwall, according to them less than 700,000 people.

But everywhere I look tells me that the UK population is over 66m, so that leaves about 10m people unaccounted for ...presumably in their cars en route for Cornwall as I write.

A reminder for those who are doing their own furlough claims - the deadlines have contracted, periods to 31st October inclusive have to be submitted by 30th November, and November onwards must be submitted by the 14th of the following month.

Sounds like we need some positivity, so here goes...

I have a new cookbook - regular readers will know I love cooking, and especially trying new recipes.

The same wouldn't be said of Trevor, who is my longest suffering client (I first started working on his company accounts whilst a trainee in 1990).

A year ago I would have said that I had a greater chance of playing Premier League football than of seeing Trevor cooking. But this week I have been sent a complimentary copy of his 'COVID 19 Cookbook'. The introduction says it all - basically what does a 77 year old scientist living on his own do when all the restaurants close ?

Anyone interested in a copy can find one at

I'm looking forward to testing some of the recipes, but first I have to return Jose Mourinho's phone call....

Working from home reducing shredder usage.

Winter is coming, and temperatures are falling. In the office that means switching on the heating, at home it means lighting a fire. There's nothing quite so satisfying as feeding draft accounts to the flames (they were draft weren't they ?)

First Furlough Scheme Enquiry Completed.

This is a sad tale in many respects, it involves a company who wasn't a client until recently, and who had their previous accountant prepare their furlough claims. I could call what was done a dog's dinner, but to be honest my spaniels would have turned their noses up at the prospect.

It was hard to know what was right about the claims, and unsurprisingly HMRC chose to open an enquiry - the first I've seen.

I've been exchanging correspondence with HMRC on the subject for the past couple of weeks and today was the day for a two hour grilling (you guessed it, the previous accountants can't be seen for dust).

What I can take from it is

(a) HMRC are approaching these enquiries constructively

(b) They accept their guidance was confusing and changing and are open to interpretation being applied

(c) Penalties are available to them but they quickly back down in the face of 'reasonable excuse'

(d) They are keen to close enquiries down as soon as possible

(e) They are only opening enquiries where something looks obviously wrong. In this case it was the fact that the amount per month claimed varied substantially and where the month three furlough claim was 300% of the payroll (80% would have been normal)

(f) They are learning too - the Inspector told me he was working on his fifth case and he said he was one of the more experienced ones !

The result wasn't great, but these have to be positive points to take away for most.

Stay safe, stay positive.


Trevor's cookbook. Words I thought I'd never see on the same page

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