Swearing at technologyIts been one of those days.

I recently took on a lovely client who engaged me to get her tax affairs back up to date, and I’ve been working on her sole trader accounts and tax comp for a couple of weeks now. Today was the day that we discussed and agreed her sole trader accounts, and therefore the day that I could finally get on and complete her (overdue) self assessment tax return.

Its late, so I won’t go into a huge amount of detail, but technology wasn’t on my side:

  • Due to my client’s slightly unusual circumstances I couldn’t use the HMRC online tax return software, so I needed to pay for some commercial software. Not the end of the world, I’ve been thinking about doing that anyway, so this just brought the decision forward;
  • BUT – as her tax return is overdue I had to buy last year’s package, which will therefore be of no further use to me once this tax return is filed…;
  • I therefore tried to buy a package which only permitted me to file a limited number of returns, which was cheaper – BUT on downloading it I discovered that I couldn’t use it as a tax agent. Doh!
  • After some research I found another package, still at a reasonable price, which I could use as a tax agent. Hurrah! And I just about figured out how to use it. Having finally completed the return and the tax computations I followed the instructions to create a PDF file to send to my client for her approval. Which didn’t work. And I couldn’t even print the file to PDF;
  • I then spent about an hour printing the form and scanning the pages one by one. Grr…

So its not been a terribly productive evening. I didn’t get on to any of my other client work. And I didn’t get to write my planned blog for this week. Ho hum.

But on the plus side, I managed to keep my sense of humour, got lots of filing done while scanning documents, and then when my client approved the tax return technology gave me a break, and at least the filing part worked!

Its funny thinking that when I first started as a trainee accountant we had no computers, and all our work was handwritten on paper. Now I can’t do anything without my laptop. But I’m not sure that technology really makes things easier… Off to bed for me (with my iPad and my Kindle – maybe technology isn’t all bad).