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Telling Tales November 2018 


This month:

Kindness Can Be Cruel

Professional advisers, being the kind – and kind of - people they are, thrive on the satisfactions of sharing their expertise and watching the good effects of their directions and will often put themselves to work without charge. Purely one-way altruism isn’t usually how the World works, so more commonly there is pay-back, advancement, or a return of favour in some other way. But sometimes the attraction of simply being useful is all the reward that’s available or desired. … And those are the situations which are most prone to risk or fatal kick-backs. Corners get cut; understandings or ropes of reliance distort or overstretch; stuff is kept hidden from supervisors, record keepers, accountants or taxmen; and the equations of work and financial through-put are set awry. When this happens, neither the law nor regulators are tolerant. Altruism rarely, if ever, is an excuse or even a mitigation for a misdeed.

That’s why a disproportionate number of my ‘gone-wrong’ cases over the years have arisen from projects or deeds undertaken for free, or for undervalue payment. The error, in most of these, was not the decision to undertake the work but rather the incidental ill-disciplines with which the work was done.

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