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Coffee time

Dec 19, 2007, 07:19 AM
Authors : Richard
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Post date : Dec 19, 2007, 07:19 AM
When Mike Truman told me that, following the loss of information on computer disks, he was thinking of starting a Stop the Staff Cuts campaign with regards to HMRC, my suggestions for a ‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ campaign were overruled!
Those that agree with Mike can log on to and register their support.
However, I don’t think that I will be signing the petition and the other ‘coffee drinkers’ among you may like to consider my alternative petition proposal: that HMRC start to act like a commercial organisation – which might have the added benefit of the department understanding the pressures that the rest of us work under – where actions have consequences on the profitability of the business (the ‘accountability’ which the interim Poynter review found difficult to relate to roles in the department).
The department’s resources, both staff and financial, are not unlimited and are to be reduced and there is thus a need to ‘cut cloth’ accordingly, time to ‘get real’, decide where priorities lie and then balance the associated risks.
Perhaps what is needed, once he has finished with the NHS, is for Sir Gerry Robinson (or someone of that ilk) to come in and review operations with a commercial eye and ascertain exactly what can and cannot be done with a reduced staff level.
The downside is that we in the profession may have to get used to a reduced level of service (something that we hear about on a regular basis anyway).
It may therefore be an opportune time for HMRC to re-examine its relationship with the profession and look at how to improve the dissemination of information to it (especially to the smaller practitioners) to improve the running of the system.
Perhaps the ‘accountants forums’ that were operated by one or two offices could be reintroduced.

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