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Grey is the colour of an accountant or so popular culture tells us. Personally, I prefer red - for warmth, passion, love, adventure and danger. Maybe that says more about my personality than my profession. Many accountants choose the tried and trusted blue, grey, gold and sometimes, purple.

Designers will tell you that all of these colours have psychological overtones and that is why so many accountants' websites are a cold, chilling blue!

So here we have a very defined interpetative boundary between two primary colours.

Pets Cartoon #6239 by Andertoons

Nothing is so clear cut in life: mostly the edges are fuzzy, one colour often gradually becomes another making it a "grey" area between the two. Clarity and sharpness is an important characteristic of my profession, although my clients always want me to find grey areas in tax!

Many people have a less clear cut, black and white view of life, often finding opportunities to muddy the edges.

Take a very simple thing like an excuse. An excuse is what someone offers e.g. for not having done something they ought to have. A reason for not doing something "feels" more acceptable than an excuse but it depends entirely on whether you are the victim of the failure or the cause of the failure how you see or describe it. The words are the same: " I couldn't do it because..."; interpretation is flexible. So when is a reason really a reason or is it always an excuse?

Whatever your take on those words, what's important in business and in relationships is to take personal responsibility and ownership for the things which are yours, things to which you can (and ought to) say, "I am responsible for that....". That contrasts with the more normal situation where you ARE responsible but don't want to admit it. Once you accept responsibility there is no longer any need for a reason or an excuse. You simply live or die by your actions or lack of them.

The next question is, why was this article not published in the usual timeframe of 5 -9 am on 17th October?

Well, I had a lot on this weekend.....

 

JohnF

 

5th October 1143

A long time ago, you'll agree. On that date, Portugal obtained its independence from the Kingdom of Leon, although it was a different kind of independence from that obtained by other countries in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Whether or not you agree with Scottish Independence is a matter of fact and no doubt in a time to come, we'll find out if we want it or not. It's difficult to separate out partisan fluff from real facts and indeed even if you knew what the facts were, how could you be sure they were true! That would depend a lot on who was doing the telling, I guess.

Truth be told, I don't care who wins. - An Andertoons Cartoon

In the UK, we rely on the judiciary to be independent because of the measures it puts in place to preserve its independence. Yet in many countries of the world today and in the Nazi dictatorship of the mid 1930's in particular, independence and certainty of a fair trial is/ was non existent in the legal system.

Should accountants be independent or should they simply do what they are told?

As a firm of accountants, we are often asked to provide certificates of earnings or complete various forms on behalf of our clients for lenders or awards organisations. Yet the client knows the information as well as the accountant - in fact often BEFORE the accountant does, so why do the agencies come to me for the certificate?

Quite simply because I have nothing to gain by making the report and so my professional independence from the transaction is important and it is that very independence that makes my opinion worth so much more to the agency that is asking.

Independence is not easily won as almost every country in the world will tell you: in the past, independence from a colonial power was often won or lost only through war. Yet professional independence is so much more easily lost by a slip of the pen or through a momentary lapse, and once lost, it is almost impossible to regain, so I guard it carefully. In the same way that the justiciary puts in place systems and processes to preserve it's independence, so do I.

One of my all time favourite films is A Few Good Men. While much of the script is memorable, one phrase comes easily to mind and sums up the whole thing:

"..... without passion or prejudice...."

That is independence in a nutshell.

JohnF