Yesterday I met with our corporate accountant to close the company’s fiscal year and file our financial statements. Like Pavlov’s dog and the bell, every time I see the accountant I break into a cold sweat in anticipation of bad news: Taxes underpaid during the year, unacceptable deductions, etc.

I joked with him that every time I see him I’m reminded of Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies, and how he would break into an extreme facial twitch at the mention of Clouseau’s name.

But he’s a great guy and my Sister-in-law’s brother, so we have a personal as well as a business connection. And he’s an excellent accountant; conservative and not from the “when in doubt, deduct” school which often comes back to bite you.

The numbers this year were good or not good depending on your perspective. Business was way up, but we had seriously underpaid the taxes in our quarterly remittances, which means a rather large whack at year-end. I lamented that it seemed that I had to work harder and harder each year just to keep up with rising business costs, not to mention the need for more money to fund living expenses that seem to rise much faster than the rate of inflation.

We also got on the topic of how many friends had died this year at quite young ages….5 since January…at ages 43, 46, 49, 49, and 58 respectively.  That’s when he gave me a great line that I believe will stand me in good stead when the going gets tough and I start to lose perspective. He said: “Whenever I have a problem, I ask myself: Would writing a cheque fix it? If the answer is yes, the problem seems much smaller than it did at first”.