Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Bonus - how big is yours?

22 September 2016

Once the preserve of City gents and Wall Street sharks, the culture of the bonus has spread so far into the economy that for many people it’s become part of their expectation. So when it comes to talking about it, why are we still so shy to admit that we get a little bit extra on top every year?

Springfords like to keep you on the straight and narrow. After all, it’s the taxman’s duty to collect all the taxes he can, and it’s a full time job making sure you don’t hand over more than you have to or less than you should. Which is why we account for everything that’s taxable. Ask us to help, and we’ll scrutinise your pay, your earnings, your incomes, and your bonus … plus all those allowable tax deductions too.

Yes, the bonus. The great unmentionable. Be it cash or in kind, the annual icing on the cake leaves many people in a state of dumb distain - especially about other people’s cherry on top, so to speak.

We’ll talk about almost anything these days. Sex, religion, politics are all on the agenda in ways that would make our parents raise an eyebrow and our grandparents fall into a swoon. No longer are the delicate subjects hidden behind a subterfuge of euphemism and entendre. They’re right our there in the open - like Lady Gaga’s tattoos or Donald Trump’s wig.

Sit on a train or sit in a coffee shop, and your ears will soon be burning, and maybe your cheeks too, as the conversation in the row in front or the next table turns to matters that not so long ago would only have been discussed in the doctor’s surgery, or the priest’s confessional, if at all.

However, there’s one subject that remains off the agenda in polite conversation.

Yes you guessed it. As if even mentioning them would invoke the devil incarnate. We still don’t like to talk about bonuses. Bonuses are off limits.

Now, that’s not the case at Springfords of course. We talk about money all the time. It’s our job to talk about money - your money - all the time. We’re professionals. That’s what we do.  Accountants talk about accounting, in the same way as engineers talk about engineering, bakers talk about baking, and proctologists talk about what they do as well.

However, even these worthy professionals, some of whom have seen things only a fibre optic camera can reveal, are reticent to mention the big taboo - the bonus - and it’s all down to one thing. Jealously.

The professional accounting body - The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants or CIMA as it’s known - thinks that not only are we too shy to talk about money, British workers are also among the most jealous in the world, which leads to colleagues and friends fuming in private, especially when it comes to the round of annual bonuses.

Yes, good old British reserve, coupled with good old universal jealously, adds up to a widespread feeling of malcontent with the fortune of others.

CIMA research found just over one-third of finance professionals believe bonuses given to top earners are unjustified.

Does this lead to some concealing their pay package from colleagues? Of course it does. After all, it’s very British to avoid a conflict if at all possible. Some parts of the country are astonishingly coy about the whole thing, and possibly with good reason. In North East England, 97% of those surveyed said they resented the payment of rewards to colleagues who they feel are not deserving. Of such figures are lynch mobs made, so probably best to keep your own counsel and talk about the weather instead - or Lady Gaga’s tattoos.

However, there’s one place that frank and open comment wouldn’t bring about a burning at the stake. That’s in the offices of Springfords. Here, we’ll encourage you to talk about all those taboo bonuses, and get them all out in the open so we can keep you right with the taxman - a bit like taxation therapy for the conversationally challenged.


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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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