Professionals don’t agree with me. Punish Them!

And not a single accounting professional took to the podium during the day to explain the role of the accounting profession on this issue. The ACCA and ICAEW were in the audience, the latter being silent, as ever. But the IFRS Foundation, Financial Reporting Council and other regulators with responsibility for ensuring that financial statements deliver relevant, reliable, consistent, comparable and comprehensible information to their users were notable by their absence. And I chose to point this out.

I was told by at least two journalists that the steam could be seen to be rising during my intervention and I am unapologetic for that. I am profoundly ashamed of the fact that my own profession refuses to engage on this issue. I think it negligent on their part that they will not discuss the most important accounting issue of our day. I am furious that they simply claim that country-by-country reporting is just tax data and not accounting information at all, as one very senior Big Four firm accountant told me during the day, when this is utter nonsense: since when was data on turnover, profits, accounting provisions for tax, investment and employment tax data? This is just an excuse to justify opacity.

The fact is that all the bodies to which I refer are supposedly run in the public interest. And what this issue makes clear is that they are not being run in that way: they are being run in the interests of tax avoiders and tax havens. I think consideration has to be given to sanction for that failure.

Quite remarkable isn’t it?

33 thoughts on “Professionals don’t agree with me. Punish Them!”

  1. “I was told by at least two journalists that the steam could be seen to be rising during my intervention”

    “as one very senior Big Four firm accountant told me during the day”

    He never fails to name drop when he has the chance.

    He is a fantasist. Or a lying cunt. Or both.

  2. ” I think consideration has to be given to sanction for that failure.”
    WTF’s that supposed to mean? Stop supplying them with oil, or something?

  3. The “IFRS Foundation”?
    IFRS are set by the IASB. The IFRS Foundation is merely a legal entity and does not comprise a single human being: so how could it be present in audience comprised of human beings?
    Now onto his claim – that country-by-country reporting is needed in order to deliver … – utter and transparent nonsense. When Murphy deigns to read IFRS 8 “Reporting by Segment” he will learn that any *relevant* disclosure is required. IN7 of IFRS8 states “The IFRSrequires an entity to report information about the revenue deriveds from its products or services(or groups of similar products or services), about the countries in which it earns revenues and holds assets, and about major customers, regardless of whether that infotmation is used by management in making operating decisions.” Para 8 of IFRS 8 requires separate reporting for any country or business segment that comprises 10% of *any of* the following: revenue, profits, losses made by loss-making segments, or assets.
    So what would country-by-country reporting do? Waste millions of pounds, thereby impoverishing thousands of people, in order to supply useless information to Murphy and his fellow-travellers. Shell would have to print an extra 60-odd pages in its annual report, every exporter would have to list its exports to every country with columns showing “0” when the accounts are shown to the nearest £k (or £m) and the sales revenue in that country is less £500 (0r £0.5m); some auditor would have to spend hours checking the FD’s estimate of profit on sales to Gambia – which hours probably cost more than the profit on those sales etc etc. Next year, the non-executive directors ban sales to Gambia as the cost of audit is a multiple of the profits earned thereby. Then they ban sales to Mali or Kiribatu or Samoa…

  4. He really is an insufferable little dick. There was a time when I thought he might turn out to be quite a thorn in the side of sane people, but his ego is such that he cannot help falling out with even people who broadly agree with him. He will end up at Speakers’ Corner with a sandwich board eventually.

  5. Hopefully the reason that the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants wasn’t mentioned is because our representatives had work to do.

    What a colossal arse.

  6. If Murphy is an example of a “professional” accountant (God knows who would willingly choose to be an amateur one) then no wonder the profession’s in a mess.

  7. What moron would employ Spud as an accountant? I am surprised that ICAEW has not suspended him for bringing the profession into disrepute

  8. I am surprised that ICAEW has not suspended him for bringing the profession into disrepute

    Maybe they are waiting for an ICAEW member to raise a complaint…

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    Can accountants be struck off like doctors and not allowed to work in the profession?

    I know he doesn’t practice, but the howls of indignation would be rather amusing.

  10. Bloke in Costa Rica

    He’s further cementing his reputation as the Violet Elizabeth Bott of the contemporary political scene.

  11. All professions are conspiracies against the laity. If he didn’t have an incredible track record for being wrong about everything, he might have a point here.

  12. @ Andrew M
    That is no longer completely true – several professional bodies (including those to which I belong) now have codes of professional conduct that require members to place the interest of clients above their own.

    Please note that I said “completely” – we cannot guarantee that individuals abide by the code.

  13. Hm. Yes and no. My profession – being a bewigged cunt – requires me to place the interests of clients above my own. Fine. Let’s assume we do that (stop laughing, at the back). The fact remains that our expensive, state-mandated, credentialisation excludes others from providing the same or a better service, cheaper.

    Rather than saying professions are a conspiracy against the laity, it might be truer to say that state-licensed roles per se are a conspiracy against the laity.

  14. “I know he doesn’t practice, but the howls of indignation would be rather amusing.”

    No, I’m sure he would welcome it with open arms. Look! Look how they defame me!

  15. “the interests of clients above my own”
    Fine in theory, in practice it means they’re all so conscientious about their code of conduct and ‘best practice and all the rest that you can never get them to give you any opinion or useful advice based on experience and common sense. (assuming they had any that is)

  16. John 77,
    As Edward pointed out, it’s not too hard to put an individual client’s needs above those of your profession. But the general tilt of the guild will be towards protecting the members of that guild – that’s its entire raison d’être. Thus accountants call for more complex tax rules; lawyers call for more laws; and so on. Anything which raises the bar to entry.

    Nevertheless, Murphy’s country-by-country reporting sounds like it involves more paperwork, not less; so he certainly isn’t pointing out any great conspiracy.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    “No, I’m sure he would welcome it with open arms. Look! Look how they defame me!”

    Exactly, he would be a cross between Roderick Spode and Violet Elizabeth Bott and perhaps a bit of Churchillian lost years martyrdom. Most amusing.

  18. Anyone seen the film Dead Poets Society? The sequel they never made was Deranged Accountants Society. About one man and his fight to have someone else’s idea implemented despite it not being wanted by anyone sane.

  19. @geoff
    Based on some exchanges I’ve had with him online I have the impression he doesn’t see CIMA as proper accountants, certainly he believes he’s an expert in management accounting based on having done it as part of his training and despite any attempt to correct or educate him as to his inadequate understanding of basic concepts.

  20. Meanwhile…..

    I was asked by a senior deity about the Fair Tax Mark yesterday and whilst I am not saying that the continued failure of the Fair Tax Mark to publish their 2015 accounts on their website is suspicious but three thoughts occur to me

    Firstly, what are they hiding?

    Secondly what have they got to hide?

    and thirdly, suspicious, isn’t it?

  21. @AndrewC, I’m sure they were there as I read them, but I can’t find them now. Will keep looking. I recall turnover was around 75K, which shows why they suck up to SSE and GoAhead group as they must be spunking the most on it, the other tiddlers can’t pay much.

    Meanwhile, the Fair Tax Pledge is storming along…
    http://www.fairtaxpledge.uk (click the “who has signed” button)

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    Noel,

    That fair tax pledge site looks like it was knocked together by a bunch of bored school kids as part of their IT projects using one of those build your own website tools that web hosting companies provide.

    If you click on the “View More” it just pops a new window with the same records and no means to step through them. The only way out is to either click on the Wufoo logo and go to their site or close the window.

    151 sums it up: 151 The Fair Tax Mark is a Dead Duck 9:40am · 2016-12-02

    Less than 50 signatories in the pas year and at least 3 of those are piss takes.

  23. I stopped reading after I saw “IFRS Foundation”.

    John77, bless him, caught it as well.

    Richard Murphy is worthy of contempt on so many levels that sometimes we forget that, first and foremost, he is worthy of contempt for ignorance and incompetence in field he has chosen to make his life’s work. God, what a ghastly fool he is.

  24. But I thought we were supposed to “listen to the experts”? Which, in this case, would be the accountancy profession.

    Surely that didn’t only apply to the referendum?

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