This is a bit of a rant, which is not my preferred style of blogging. I have just returned from a local group of tax advisers evening training session. It was supposed to be ‘Tax planning with LLPs”. That was the title in the promotional note, on the website and on the cover of the notes. (Actually they weren’t notes, just copy slides).

The title slide though didn’t mention tax. It was ‘Partnership structures’ and the lawyer who largely read her talk verbatim even started by admitting she wasn’t going to talk about tax. And she didn’t. Barely a mention, other than on the odd occasion when she noted that the audience probably knew more about tax than she did.

I felt short changed. As a regular speaker for groups of professional advisers I wouldn’t dare do what this lawyer did. She ignored the subject she had been asked to speak about and chose a subject of her own. Of course she could afford to do this. She is a partner in a large firm and almost certainly wasn’t being paid for giving the talk on a cold winter evening. No wonder she spoke on her preferred subject rather than the one she had been asked to present.

Maybe she thought she knew better than the committee who had booked her to speak as to what would be relevant and topical. How arrogant. How insulting and how unprofessional. There were almost 200 local tax advisers and accountants in the room. Some may well have found elements of her talk interesting. But it wasn’t on the subject they made time to go and learn about.  I’m sure many will feel they should have stayed at home (or the office!)

Maybe it serves me right. I had only booked to attend the session as I have a series of talks on partnership tax to present over the next few months. The first is next week and the slides AND NOTES are  already done. But I thought I’d see if there were any new ideas I should mention. Well I didn’t pick up any tonight that’s for sure!

I get paid to present my talks. If I didn’t keep to the subject I was booked to present I would be concerned that my fee might be withheld. And I would never be so arrogant as to insist on presenting a different subject to the one I was booked to address. I think tonight’s speaker was disrespectful, rude and unprofessional in her approach. But to an extent, you get what you pay for. As noted above I’m sure no fee was due to be paid to her. I charge a decent professional fee and present and operate in a professional manner (if you don’t mind the odd magic trick to liven things up a bit!)

If you were in the audience tonight do let me know if you’d like to attend my forthcoming half day talk on Partnership tax planning, tips, traps and news. Full details here. Anyone can come but I’ll extend a discount to those who also felt short changed tonight.