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2017-03-16
The old accountants blog


What would an accountant blog about? Or what would an old accountant blog about? I will admit that i changed the title of this blog to include the world old only after having been clicking away some memories on my PC and started to feel a little old.

I have been back in the accounting industry for close on a year now after having spend the past 8 years in the web design industry.

One of the things I would like to blog about is the changes in the accounting and tax industry between then and now. Having been away and now back the changes are more visible to me although the lines are getting blurred as time goes by.

Accountants are guided by ethical codes as to how they may advertise and also as on how they use a logo of the professional body that they belong to. I will be mindful of the fact but I do want to have a different type of website. One thing I would try my best to avoid is the typical look and feel of an accountants website. Most websites are designed by web designers who must have this particular view of accountants then?

I am still in the process of re registering so I have to be careful as to what I project to the outside world. (A blog is one place where one can project yourself to the outside world.)

This blog on this website will be focused on accounting and tax matters as this is the kind of clients i wish to attract via this website. I obviously have other websites for my web design business. One thing that I quickly realised when i started out with web design is that people generally do not want to get websites from accountants and vice versa do people not want to get tax or accounting advice from web designers.

People often associate a blog with the sharing of emotional feelings. Whilst being a professional offering professional service it would be unwise or unprofessional of me to share emotional feelings. (Besides I am at an age where one get less emotional, 46 that is.)

The first set of books i did was a handwritten cashbook i did to assist my mother with her estate agency business when I was in matric in 1989. In 1990 I started my articles at an auditing and accounting firm in Durban but I was called up for military service. I can't remember how i thought I would get away with the military service but i opted to start my articles the year after school. My first salary was around R800 per month. Having had no studies behind me I again was tasked with writing up manual cash books. We did at least have calculators back then and not an Abacus to do calculations with. My late father who was one of the first Chartered Accountants in South Africa, his register number was nr 36, told me once that they used to use the Abacus initially.

I have three brothers who also became Chartered Accountants. While one is still in public practice the other is now an advocate / attorney living in Australia while the other is the owner of an IT firm. I have been nurturing the idea of studying further, even if it is only for personal satisfaction. They say the older you get the less sleep you need.

It was an announcement one morning in a Sunday newspaper that convinced me to quit my first job and start my military service at the SAPS. "POLICE GET 100% PAY INCREASE".

I got into my beetle and and left Durban for Pretoria to apply to join the SAPS.

It was only 3 years later that at the beginning of 1993 (March 1993 to be exact) that I started with my articles at my brothers newly founded accounting firm in Barclay Square in Sunnyside Pretoria. I remember the first day at the office that there was 1 computer and the telephone was still on the floor as he had literally opened his offices that morning.

I did spend the previous year at the SAPS head office doing admin work, first controlling semi-officials institutions like sport clubs and canteens and then briefly joining the internal audit division of the SAPS before quitting. About 3 weeks before quitting I was called into the Generals office to be congratulated on my marks for my first three subjects of my B-Compt degree. General Kramer still remarked that he hopes that I do not quit the SAPS. When one looks at current salaries in the SAPS the temptation is there to consider what would have happened had I stayed but that is not the journey that has lead me to this day and this blog entry.

It should be obvious that I enjoy blogging. I am too young or unknown to be writing my autobiography but i do have one or two interesting stories to share about those early days starting out in the accounting world. We started with using DOS and LOTUS 123 as well as Pink Software, the forerunner of Pastel which has now become Sage. I have manually completed a few tax returns and hand written a few IRP 5 certificates in my life. The computer age has changed the accounting profession the most.

It is hard to imagine that most of our correspondence was actually done via mail and that daily visits to the Post Office or the Receiver of Revenue, CIPRO and Master of High Court fro the registration of Trust was the norm.

Bank reconciliations was a different story back then as most people made use of cheques. I wonder if they still teach cheques and bank reconciliations in accounting at school or University these days. The younger generation will also find it hard to believe that online banking has not been around forever or that you used to have a relationship with a personal banker that you could approach for a loan if needed. These days credit decisions are centralised at most banks.

It has taken me almost a year to really get back into accounting and it's a bit difficult when you are working for a company other than an accounting firm. Fortunately i have my brother to approach now and then when I get stuck. I have also had interesting experiences with the auditors who audits the company whom i work for. Well they now audit my work basically. I was laughed at gently when i wanted to hand them a manually compiled file because these days everything seems to be done electronically when it comes to auditing. I myself prefer to do as much online and I do not look forward to the possibility of gathering and storing files of paperwork of my clients. Everything used to be manually done like the tax returns and correspondence with SARS. It used to be files and files of paperwork. Filing cabinets became filing rooms and eventually you had to get another room called archives. Woe to the days when you had to dig out something from the archive! I also remember walking past the cabinet where all the tax returns of our clients where kept. From the number of tax returns you could estimate what work is left before the annual December holidays happened where one could break from the tiring work and studies.

Yes I am an old accountant. Besides the accounting experience gained at an accounting firm whist doing articles I also ran my own accounting firm for three years before a divorce caused me to sink into depression and to sell my accounting practice for R1. (There was a reason I sold the practice for one rand. I think it was so that I did not have to lie on my CV and to mention the divorce as the reason for quitting my own business.)

I have not yet made up my mind about when I want to run an accounting practice on a full time or whether I want to do it at all. I am in the process of reregistering and will be able to offer all services but maybe I only end up doing it for a few family and friends for extra money and to stay abreast with developments in the accounting and tax world. 

I do enjoy the writing of business plans and to prepare budgeted cash flow forecasts and financials so maybe I end up only offering a few of them. One do need to stay abreast with current tax developments to be able to do projections and business plans as the tax environment has a major impact on all businesses.

I am currently employed full time as an accountant at a clothing factory and I am trying my best to ad real value to the organisation so as to ensure a future for myself, which at the age of 46 becomes  a much more serious matter as you have less chances of trying new things or new jobs without the serious possibility of a heart attack.

I remember working right trough the night for longer than 30 hours to meet deadlines when I was a young article clerk.Those days are hopefully gone now.

Maybe I will blog a bit about management accounting as well from a practical perspective or even come up with a new theory, for example on how work in process in a clothing factory should be measured and calculated or other interesting things like an in depth analysis of the cost vs benefits of instituting internal controls at a small medium enterprise. There are a lot of interesting subjects, even in the world of accounting which one could tackle.

I will admit I just felt like writing or blogging and sharing some thoughts on accounting and my new venture.

I only registered the domain of this website today. 10 Years ago when i first wanted to do so it was unavailable. It's nice to have your name as your .co.za domain . It's fitting since my services would be targeted at small businesses looking for a personal relationship with their accountant or business plan writer and not wanting to deal with a stiff corporate environment.

Even though my personality may thus be perceived as a bit casual make no mistake that i will try my best to always deliver the best possible professional service when it comes to offering my services. It's more fun to be good at something than not to not be. (Which reminds me that I used to be good golfer.)

Starting out and with an annual audit upon me I have very little time to do any other work. This blog entry and website should only start to attract traffic in about a month or two so the work being done here is more pro active in nature.



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