As it’s Friday and I’m allowed to go rogue on the email newsletter, I thought I’d write a bit of a thank you to my team and perhaps to all the other accountants out there (even our competitors) who have worked really hard for their clients in the past three weeks to try and help them deal with everything that’s been fired at owner-managed businesses. 

Don’t worry, I’m not going to overplay my hand. None of us are risking our lives in the way that some of the medical profession are. Or even in the same way that bus drivers, shelf stackers, care home workers and shopkeepers are. 

I did have to veer off the pavement to avoid a small dog that looked menacing when I was going to the postbox and I gather that one of my team banged their head whilst trying to get a cable into the back of their computer but other than that we’ve not experienced any real danger.  

In fact, we know we are privileged to be still working. In our slippers.

But everyone in my team has gone the extra mile. From my partners and Board members, who in some cases are trying to be part-time teachers for their children whilst doing an amazing job for their clients and the practice, to the support teams keeping us all going, the marketing team getting all our content into a form that we can send out on the nightly emails, to the new staff and juniors who are building their skills without being in the same location as the managers who are training them. 

So, perhaps to amuse you over the long bank holiday weekend, I thought I’d publish an email I sent my team three weeks ago when all this started.

The youngest member of our team, Jake only joined us 8 months ago and was at school this time last year. I think it’s fair to say that the first year of his career is unlike anything that the rest of us experienced in our first year. 

Roll forward 71 years and Jake Everest or Great Grandad Jake as 13 of the attendees at his 90th birthday party call him, has just made a little speech thanking everyone for coming.

He’s still in good health. He only stopped playing squash at 82 when he ran out of people to play against. And he still likes a round of golf with his friend Jordan who he’s known for almost 60 years. They usually walk the first 6 holes, then order an Uber Segway to take them through the second 6.

Jordan has had an interesting career. He was the chief engineer on the Liverpool to New York underwater tunnel which the High-Speed Greta Thunberg electric train goes through, getting passengers to America almost as quickly as the planes used to do before the UN banned them to prevent global warming.

One of the great grandkids, 8 year old Borisina (don’t ask) stares intently at the carbon container containing the hand sanitiser that everyone is required to use at least once an hour when in the company of more than 3 people.

It’s not the brand she’s looking at although it is unusual. Great Grandad is the only person she knows who buys “Dan Smith’s Traditional Gel” in its old-fashioned packaging.

“Woss occurrin Boz'” says her cousin Treacle (a common name amongst children of all genders born in the 70s).

“What happened in 2020?” asks Borisina. It was the bottom of the label she was staring at you see. The words “established in 2020” that made her ask.

“Great Grandad Jake always talks about 2020”

Treacle likes getting asked questions like this by younger children. History is her favourite subject although she is slightly miffed that she only got an Alpha triple plus in her HCSE exams when she’d been predicted to get an Alpha quadruple plus. She thought that getting the year that California declared independence from the United States wrong probably made the difference.

“Ah, that would be the great Coronavirus pandemic and recession” she said. “Lots of people died and the country came to an almost grinding halt”.

“Great Grandad Jake said that there was a lockdown and most businesses stopped overnight. He was an accountant and he said that every single person in his company did an incredible job helping people so that they could still carry on their businesses when it was all over. He said at one stage there were customers crying down the phone because they thought they were going to lose their homes.

When it all ended, business owners were really grateful for all their help. They even got quite a few new customers who wanted help rebuilding and starting up new companies.”

“Oh” said Borisina pretending to understand. “But what’s an accountant?”

“Actually, I don’t know either” answered Treacle winking at her young cousin. “But everyone trusted them and relied on them to give the right advice to people in 2020”.

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Malcolm Palmer


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