The Practitioner, Accountancy Age, Thursday 7 October 2010 at 00:30:00

Why do some people never ask for help? Maybe it's just The Practitioner

Is it me, I often wonder? Am I totally unapproachable? Why don?t people justask? Rather than spending a whole day running around like a headless chickenlooking for something, why not just ask for help?

Some staff appear to have a problem with asking for help with even thesmallest of things. I have, however, started to suspect that certain people likerunning around on wild goose chases as this means they don?t actually have to doany proper work.

Sometimes you can?t blame them; I would rather jump off a bridge than doFarmer George?s tax return. I have never seen so many dividend vouchers, salesof investments, offshore savings accounts, etc, etc.

I always have my door open, except when on the phone to difficult clients orthe bank manager, so staff hopefully see me as approachable.

I remember some of the partners I used to work for who would make people feelscared to death of knocking on their door. They seemed quite content to sit intheir smoke-filled room all day reading the newspapers and accountancy press andwould only communicate with staff via written file notes and query sheets.

I sometimes wonder how those partners managed to build up successfulbusinesses with such poor inter-personal skills. Having said all that, there issomething to be said for shutting the door and keeping the moaning sods outsometimes.

?If you don?t ask you don?t learn,? that?s what I got told by Big Frank whotaught me everything I know. He also taught me that ?debit is nearest thewindow?. This served me well for a good three years until they moved the desksaround in the office, after which debit was definitely NOT nearest the window.

Some clients can be like the moaning staff sometimes. They want somethingfrom you but don?t tell you till you phone them up after receiving a clearanceletter from the non-qualified firm of cowboys down the road. All they had to dowas ask and I would have quite happily reduced the bill by 50!

For some clients, however, I would quite happily walk down the road andintroduce them personally to the cowboys.

Farmer George, if you?re reading this, I?m not referring to you? honest.

The Practitioner?s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of aregional firm in the heart of England