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2004-02-10 Accounts

Being self-employed sadly involves a certain amount of D.I.Y. Accounting. Naturally, I also employ the services of an accountant, and at this point I want to say that the amount of flack accountants come in for is totally unjustified. I endeavour to make it to all my accountants appointments  its just that they always seem to clash with my bath day.

 

When my wallet begins to bulge, not with money, but rather with miscellaneous bits of paper, and my receipts bag is splitting at the seams, I know its time to set aside a week to bring my accounts up-to-date, anything that helps to make those tax-bills less astronomical. I keep planning to get some sort of system in place, but gosh, its just so mind-numbingly boring. It is far worse than ironing. I would almost prefer to watch repeats of The Dunphy Show  almost, I said.


 

You see, you are dealing here with someone who used to have to bring a shrink to Double Maths lessons in school, in order to avert insanity. Yes, I did scrape a B in Pass Maths in the Leaving Cert, by some miracle. It was possibly the prayer to Blessed Saint Matthew, patron saint of Maths, that swung it in the end. I fully see the point of mastering addition,subtraction, multiplication and division, but after that - whats the point? Who needs theorems I ask you?

I used to think logarithm was when a lumberjack was getting in his stride, that a cosine was a type of joint bank account, and that a hypotenuse was a seriously overweight dentally-challenged semi-submerged animal in the Nile, or else an out of reach simmering saucepan.

And remember those irritating puzzles  Mary has half a dozen eggs. John has a bakers dozen. If Mary cooks an omelette using half her eggs, what age is John?.

There are those of course who say there is a link between music and maths. Maybe that is the case, but please let me introduce myself  the exception to the rule.


 

I pay my accountant a sizeable annual fee, surely for that he can sort out some bits of paper in a plastic bag? It is those inexplicable receipts that were kept for some unknown reason which annoy me the most. You know, the ones with ¬2.50 and no name, no date, nothing? Then you find that there are about three days in a row where you seem not to have existed, you have no receipts at all for those dates. And there are certain things, that no matter how hard you try to justify, they simply do not count. Thankfully I am not one of those singers who has to explain receipts from Baron José Mari-Juana from Bogotà, but I sometimes do have a problem trying to explain a few of my expenses.

Taxi bills, phone bills, flights, and receipts for petrol, stationery, photo-copying and sheet music are all easy to prove, but others may come across as a little dubious to those who may not fully understand our business. Take eyeliner, mascara and blemish sticks for example. Reports that I wear make-up anywhere other than onstage are completely without foundation  pun intended. So when filing my make-up receipts, I find myself always underlining for stage use.

Dinner with a manager or with our record company is redeemable against tax, but after a while when you find yourself writing things such as Dinner with The Corrs, and blaming large bar bills on The Dubliners, then you know you need to rethink. And for all you self-employed out there, alcohol does not come under the medicinal category. And when it gets to the stage where you are trying to justify desserts, or you are writing Banoffee Pie, for a friend, then it has all begun to get a little out of hand. It is equally difficult to bring yourself to write Go Large beside a meal receipt.


 

When at last the job is done, the chocolate is finished, the receipts are in order carefully stapled to sheets of paper and all organised into a neat sheaf of A4, you almost expect a fanfare when you arrive into the accountants office. But I am sure I ought to have someone to do all this for me. Any offers?