Third Test, Day 2: A Day In The Life Of An Accountant

by Damian O’Donnell

(Note – at least 50% of this story is fictional)

I’m sitting at my desk with my brown cardigan on (the one with the brown leather elbow patches) singing that well known accountants’ song “For Every Debit There’s A Credit” (sung to the tune of “Stairway To Heaven”). The cricket is on the radio. Just purring along in the background like a good cricket commentary should. Jim Maxwell (and Co) seems to have it all under control.

The Aussies go into day 2 with only three down for 339. North (23) and Hussey (81) look comfortable and the pitch is playing flat but fast. No real tricks in it. The calculator is burning hot, tax returns are spitting out of the printer faster than High Five tickets sell at a kindergarten, Balance Sheets are balancing, Profit and Loss Statements are profiting or losing, as is their wont, and I feel like a master of the universe.

Then the phone rings. It’s the Tax Office. It’s a phone audit. They want to query my private affairs. No problem I think, I can handle this. I’ve got nothing to hide.

The audit should only take 5 or 6 hours the auditor says. Make myself comfortable he says. OK.

You want to start now? “Shoot” I say with more bravado than sense.

The following is an extract of our conversation:

“Do I have anything to declare by way of voluntary disclosure before we start?

Sure do. I reckon North, Hussey and Ponting could all make tons today. The Aussies could make 1000.

You’re not following me? Well the pitch looks to be a beauty despite the extra bounce………..sorry? Oh I see do I have any tax disclosures to make? Ahhh………….well…………there was one thing………

Pardon? Am I aware of the Tax Office crack down on the cash economy?

Oh no!!

Not you Mr. auditor, the cricket. I’m listening to the cricket and we’ve lost an early wicket. Hussey has fallen short of his ton. Out for 82. Damn. Still, no great drama, we’re killing them. 4 for 355.

You don’t follow the cricket? Why not? Oh I see, you’re from Barcelona. By the way I am very aware of your crack down on the cash economy. More power to you I reckon, jail the tax dodgers I say. Put them inside and throw away the keys I say. Worse than bloody bank robbers. You blokes should be congratulated, after all I know most people hate you but I reckon you’re just doing your job…………

Have I been there? Been where? Oh Barcelona! Yes some years back. How did I pay for the trip? With ca……ca……..not cash. With a credit cardy type thingy. After tax. After paying you lot. After fulfilling my tax obligations to the full……….. OK I’ll stop now.

Do I report all my cash receipts?

No! I mean yes. I said ‘no’ because someone just asked me if Ponting is batting and he’s not. They sent Haddin in.

Is Ponting my bookkeeper? No Ponting plays for Australia. He’s a cricketer. Yes, you said that before, you don’t follow the cricket, but Ponting is the captain. You see he normally comes in at number three, a pivotal position in the batting order, which makes him the best batsman in the team.

But yes of course I report all my punting, I mean cash receipts. Sorry Ponting is sometimes called Punter so I got confused and called my cash receipts punting instead of, well, cash receipts.

Do I punt? No not really. Well sometimes. Just got 100/1 that the globe will warm by less than 3 degrees between now and 2020. Not bad hey! I did have a punt on the last federal election too. Couldn’t bring myself to back Kevin 07. What a joke! And as for Gillard………

Oh they’re your bosses! Sorry. But no I don’t punt unless of course I have lots of unexplained cash and then, yes, I punt heaps. That’s how I get the cash. It’s unexplained because I’m a luck punter not a systems punter, so when I win I can’t explain it. It’s pure luck.

Do I have lots of cash now? Unfortunately not. Spent it all on Christmas …….ahh…………Christmas tax instalments. Got to keep those tax instalments up to date! Yep I pay them all the time, on time, every time.

What? Your system shows no instalments paid? Must be an error. I’m sure I paid one last night on the way home from the pub. Saw a Tax Office shop open, walked in and handed the cash over. Mind you I’d had a few so I can’t recall which Tax Office or the person’s name.

What? No Tax Offices are open at night! Wonder who I gave the cash to then? Anyway it’s been paid to someone. It’s the thought that counts isn’t it?

You’re confused?

YESSSSSS, you beauty!!

Sorry, the Aussies are throwing the bat. Exciting stuff. 4 for 406. Haddin and North have produced a 50 run partnership off 41 balls. Haddin is hitting the boundary rope more often than I hit the panic button. Maybe they’re looking to declare?

You don’t care? You’re confused? Why? Oh back to the Tax Office open at night thing. You say I couldn’t have paid my tax because you don’t have Tax Offices open at night? Well I’m sure it was a Tax Office. It had a big sign out the front saying “Cash Converters”. That’s what you are aren’t you; converters of cash? No I’m not trying to be funny. Admittedly Australia is going pretty well but anything can happen in a game of cricket. I’ve got nothing to joke about just yet.

Sorry? Concentrate on the audit and not the cricket? OK I’ll try, but to be fair they do say that enduring an audit is a bit like eating Weetbix without the milk and I have to agree.

That’s not funny? Of course, you’re right.

OK I’ll try and concentrate, but it’s a bit hard. No not the pitch, I mean the concentrating, though the pitch is hard too. Yes I know you have no interest in cricket. You’ve told me three times. Sorry? You’ll tell me one hundred times if you have to? Fair enough, I take your point.

North’s out! How can I concentrate when we’re losing wickets! I find North a bit infuriating; a touch of the Mark Waugh about him. Looks as comfortable as a tourist on a banana lounge then goes out.

5 for 444. Still pretty good. Good luck to the Windies beating that score.

You’ve had a gut full of me talking about the cricket! You want to go through each of my transactions for the last twelve months? That will take hours! Suppose that’s OK, the cricket’s on for a few more hours and the Aussies look like batting for a while. 5 for 458 at lunch.

Where do you want to start? July 1st. Sounds reasonable.

The first transaction in my cash book says what? ‘TAB High Street Kew – entertainment.’

Yeah that’s right, it was entertaining. Entertainment is non-deductible? Since when? By the way what does non-deductible mean? You’ll explain that later?

OK the next one………………………………….

Some time later:

Are we nearly finished? No. Well the Aussies nearly are. They’re throwing the bat. I know you don’t care but I’ve got to tell someone.

Haddin bludgeoned 88 and Johnson smote 30 odd, then we declared 7 for 520.

I’ve got to say I’ve lost interest in answering all these questions.

You’ve lost interest too? Why? Because my cash book makes no sense? It must make some sense, even at the edges. What do you do now?

You’ve decided to proceed with a prosecution?

You beauty, Chris Gayle is putting on a show. Should be fun to watch. But the prosecution thing is bad. Can’t you exercise a bit of discretion? No. OK. It was worth a try.

What? What’s the score? I thought you didn’t like cricket? You don’t, you just want to sound like you know what you’re talking about with your Aussie mates. I see. The Windies finished on 2 for 214. Great fight back all things considered, but they’re still 306 behind the Aussies.

Hope that helps. Good luck sounding knowledgeable with your mates. You meeting them at the pub? No, at the National Convention of Narcissists. I see. Oh that was a joke! Very funny……..no really it was.

Yep, see you in court.”

Footnote:

Gayle’s ton in 70 balls was one for the ages. A mixture of genius and technique. His simple wrist flick that sent the ball over the mid wicket fence was the shot of the summer. The 5th fastest century of all time in Tests.

The writer will hire a very good lawyer.

About Damian O'Donnell

OK – which is the odd one out: Love the Cats and flannelette shirts, especially in winter. I get on extremely well with red wine. We just seem to hit it off. Love horse racing in Spring. Used to love cricket. Go to Stawell every Easter and contemplate life around the fire. Love water skiing, especially in summer. Love a great oil painting. Will read most things put in front of me. Thought ‘The Sorpranos’ was the best TV show ever made – by miles. Run an accounting practice in Melbourne’s suburbs.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Dips

    Can you do my next tax return?

    Creativity should be encouraged.

  2. Peter Flynn says:

    Highly amusing Dips.

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    It was Jerry Seinfeld who said that having an audit was akin to undergoing a complete rectal examination. Was that how it was for you Dips?

  4. Phil – Junior Soprano (from the TV show “The Sopranos”) also put it well:

    “I’ve got the Feds (read any government agency) so far up my arse I can taste brylcreem.”

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    So the rectal motif is appropriate then, hey Dips? Therefore the Tax dept is a metaphor for sodomisation or being f$%#ed without consent. That seems about right!

  6. Steve Healy says:

    Dips, did Jimmy Bartel really kick a goal after the siren against the Hawks?

  7. Steve,

    He did in the Almanac!

  8. Steve, do you really use whiteboards to score games?

  9. Steve Healy says:

    Maybe it was a goal from Dips’ perspective.

    And no, I don’t use white boards for the last bloody time!

  10. Steve – no Jimmy did not kick a goal after the siren against the Hawks. My barrister is preparing a case against the editors as we speak.

  11. Steve Healy says:

    I’ve got a case of my own against the editors as well, so you’re not alone.

  12. Maybe Dips should have started his Round 17 report the same way he started this report: (Note – at least 50% of this story is fictional)

  13. Steve Healy says:

    More like 0.1%, but it was a a huge 0.1%!

  14. Josh – maybe Dips finds your last comment just a tad offensive.

  15. Sorry Dips

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