Fertility Treatment

NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, has recommended that the NHS extends fertility services to women up to the age of 42 and to same-sex couples. Although I understand the deep desire for children that many people feel, the simple fact is that every pound which the NHS spends on what is not a life-saving treatment is a pound which is not being spent on essentials such as cancer drugs, many of which are already restricted on grounds of cost.

Bookmark and Share


I ruptured my Achilles tendon on 15 April. It took 9 days to be correctly diagnosed by a private physiotherapist (Matt at the Forge Clinic in Richmond) – the NHS drop-in clinic failed to spot it. Anyway, as a result, life has been rather difficult and I haven’t felt much like blogging. I shall return in earnest shortly.

Bookmark and Share

Online Job Sites

I signed up to a recruitment site recently. You know, you give them your details, tell them what sort of job you’re looking for and they send you details of suitable jobs. Well, that’s the way it is supposed to work.

The way it actually works is that they send me totally unsuitable jobs. There are plenty of jobs for HGV drivers in Walsall. The only trouble is that I don’t have an HGV licence and I live at the other end of the country. Nearer to home, there are plenty of jobs for financial analysts, but I’m not a financial analyst.

More bizarrely, they sent me details of a job as a DJ for a gay, black radio station – or, rather, I imagine they mean a radio station for gay black people. Do they know something I don’t? As far as I am aware, I’m white and heterosexual and, with some exceptions, my favourite music isn’t much more recent than Handel.

Bookmark and Share

Accountants – The Scourge of Business

Since setting up a limited company a few years ago, I have discovered the full horror of accounts. I would be the first to acknowledge that keeping accurate accounts is important. I would also admit that my own record-keeping has left something to be desired. However, the complex business of submitting accounts for a limited company to Companies House and HMRC is so time-consuming and expensive that it is surprising there are so many SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) around. If the Chancellor wishes to bolster the economy, he would be well-advised to simplify this area.

In theory, small companies can submit simplified forms to both Companies house and HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs). Unfortunately, the rules exclude the use of the short tax return for companies with foreign earnings. In effect this means that there is an enormous disincentive for British companies to export goods or services.

That, in itself, would be bad enough, but HMRC doesn’t provide any mechanism for creating the full accounts in the required iXBRL. Instead, the company has to find a way of converting its statutory accounts to this format – not an easy matter. You can then attach the iXBRL version of the accounts to HMRC’s online form. The problems really start when you need to attach a form containing information on loans to participators. As far as I can see, there is no way to do this unless you fill in the short accounts, which you shouldn’t do if you’re attaching full accounts.

There are ways around this. I’m converting my accounts to iXBRL using a template from TaxCalc and I’m going to submit the tax return, with the converted accounts attached, using CallCredit Ftax. However, all this is taking up weeks of my time in which I cannot be earning money, either for myself or the the Exchequer.

The answer must be to employ an accountant, surely? Not if my experience is anything to go by. I am having to submit two returns this year, one correcting all the mistakes that my accountant made last year. I am still to angry to go into details of all the problems but here are some of the highlights:

  1. She told me the accounts had been submitted when they had not.
  2. She failed to reduce the tax bill by using capital allowances
  3. She included the wrong figures for cash in the bank. I should have noticed this but she had all the paperwork at the time.
  4. She failed to inform me that 25% tax was levied on loans to participators.

That is why I have decided to do the whole thing myself. I am not really comfortable doing this but I’ll certainly do a much better job than she did.

Many people who have used solicitors to handle probate will probably have a sense of déjà vu reading about the relative merits of employing a professional. In my experience, it is far quicker and easier to handle probate yourself than to pay a solicitor to do it. The few thousand pounds you pay for such services are really beneath their contempt, so the work is handed to some over-worked dullard (of which there seems to be a plentiful supply in solicitors’ offices). You end up paying the solicitor to do in years what would have taken you a few months.

Bookmark and Share

Hot Cross Buns and British Decline


Are hot cross buns emblematic of the decline of British Society? When I was young hot cross buns were only available on Good Friday and possibly the day before. In Waitrose, they appeared just after Christmas. It is rather like the extended celebration of Guy Fawkes Night which is both tedious and unnecessary.

What I really lament, though, is the passing of the Baker’s Dozen which ensured that one received thirteen buns for the price of twelve. Even more generous was the baker’s half-dozen – seven for the price of six. No accountant would stand for that! Accountancy, although an important tool, has taken over every facet of our lives. It is not a productive industry; it sucks out what little profit British companies make and creates no wealth itself.

I made my own buns this year. They may not look very pretty but they do taste good. However, even they will be seen as a sign of decline by devout Christians and the pedants of all faiths and none. They don’t have crosses because, as an agnostic, I couldn’t be bothered. They are hot buns rather than hot cross buns and soon they will have cooled and be just buns.

Bookmark and Share

Animation using Tumult Hype

With Flash falling out of favour, web designers have been searching for new ways of creating animation using what is loosely called HTML5 but which is just a mixture of html, Javascript and CSS3. It has some way to go before it can provide all the features which Flash offers but Hype from Tumult is an easy-to-use program which seems well on the way to being a Flash replacement. The above animation is a simple example of what can be achieved with it in a few minutes.

Other examples can be seen on my danckwerts.co.uk website.

Bookmark and Share