Monthly Archives: October 2023


Not the sort of thing you will normally hear from me but exactly what I told Classical Music magazine just before I packed away my abacus and Excel spreadsheets for the weekend.

I was discussing the latest chaos at HMRC HQ with Florence Lockheart (the editor of this excellent publication) with regard to the pickle that overseas workers are finding themselves in
when attempting to register as self-employed.

You can read the article HERE – registration is FREE so don’t worry about that.

If you want the gist and don’t fancy reading my chat with Flo (although you really should) it goes a little something like this…

Quite a few months ago, HMRC stopped using a system called “Verify” in order to deal with the verification of people who needed to be registered for Self-assessment and self-employment.

“Why?” you may well ask but ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and…well if you are on hold long enough (any many sadly are!)…

They then made a load more changes and updates but as I was helping a client through this it came to the verification bit and it was nigh on impossible to make progress, largely because the
ID required was UK-based.

Guess what?

If you ARE NOT UK-based you are unlikely to have such prized proofs! Payslips can help here BUT there is another layer of admin to break through after you have navigated this level where they ask once again for two items out of a UK passport, UK photo card driver’s license, or credit reference.

Spoiler alert… an overseas worker living and working here will struggle.

I certainly did and I have all manner of shortcuts and agent clearance so imagine if English is not your first language or you simply don’t have the time or iron-will to sit on the phone to HMRC
for hours on end when you should be practicing or performing!

We’ve had 3 months of a closed helpline and queues can be well in excess of an hour when people do get through. Come on HMRC, think about the customer experience, wherever they are from!

A night at the Oscars – well, for me anyway

The lights dim, the audience settles into their seats, eager to hear the opening lines.

The tension is unbearable.

Sort of.

A dim rustle of sweeties is heard near the back of the room and the traditional coughing fit begins somewhere off to the right of the stage.

“Good evening everyone and welcome to the annual Accountancy Excellence Awards!”

*Crowd goes mild*. (we don’t really go wild in our industry – trust me)

Mercifully for you, dear reader, this is not something you will have to endure.

Fear not, I have bravely taken this responsibility on for you and can exclusively reveal that I did NOT win at the Accountancy Excellence Awards.

It transpires that I am not quite the BEST in the UK, just one of the best.

Like top 5!

So that’s actually pretty cool when you think about it.

Curiously, I think they may have made an accountant error. You see, the category was “Sole Practitioner” and that is indeed what I am, along with my trusty PA who keeps me organised.

You hire me, you get me.

You know, the former opera singer turned “Singing Accountant”®.

However, the winners (note the use of the plural) were, well, more than one.

Now, my abacus tells me that the sums don’t really add up but I’m genuinely not fussed.

I’m proud of making the final and any moaning would be sour grapes and we can’t have that.

However, grapes aside, I might be “raisin” it before I enter for 2024 to avoid the “current” affairs!