IR35 rearing its ugly head[QQ] I was interested in Patricia Hewitt’s statements (‘Keep regulation to a minimum’, 6 January, page 10) about what the government is doing to help small businesses. However, she neglected to say that this help is not available to the small business if it provides consultancy services for its clients. Small independent consultants, far from being helped by this government, are being targeted with draconian and punitive tax measures, which are commonly known as IR35. The effect of these measures, which will be finalised in the Finance Bill, will be to force small consultancies to treat 95% of their turnover as their salaries and related expenses bill, with only 5% allowed for running the company, research and development, growth and profit. I would urge all your readers who provide consultancy services to read up on this to see if it affects them. There is a website at www.ir35update.co.uk which provides a wealth of information about IR35. B Beattie, Linlithgow, Edinburgh Saving money in moderation Ann Baldwin (Opinion, 13 January, page 8) is of course right with her worthy advice to live within our means, however even this exhortation should be taken in moderation. I worked as a finance director in an operating subsidiary of an FTSE-100 group for 14 years, during which time four fellow FDs, three chief accountants and the group pensions manager all died in harness, and one FD was let go with a nervous breakdown. All were financially sensible, and planned for a future they never had a chance to enjoy. In the same 14 years not a single FD or chief accountant made it to retirement. The conclusion I drew was that there is little point in becoming the richest person in the graveyard. I believe in life before death, and even the most sensible regime should recognise that there is more to life than counting the cost. As Ruskin said: ‘There is no wealth but life.’ D Heenan FCA, Niton, Isle of Wight Don’t attack summaries I am not sure how Tony Hart (Letters, 6 January) earns his living but I suspect that he is not involved in the preparation of accounts for clients, from incomplete records. I consider that these summaries are one of the best things that has ever happened. Perhaps it is wrong for me to take credit, but when Lloyds Bank started to produce them I did write to other banks to urge them to follow suit. There is another excellent opportunity for banks to provide a very time-saving and accurate service to clients with little cost to them. I have put this proposal to the leading banks but their intransigence is unbelievable. I reckon the first bank to introduce such a system would probably obtain about 100,000 new business customers overnight. There is a lot of unnecessary literature churned out by banks but please do not attack summaries of payments and receipts. H James, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset ICA should stand ground So now it’s game on! Ernst & Young are switching trainees to the Scottish institute. Chartered accountants in England and Wales voted to maintain the high quality of their qualification by voting against giving students a choice in the design of their course content. Scottish CAs went the other way and opted to give their students options and flexibility. It is to be hoped that the English ICA continues to have the courage to put the maintenance of rigorous training standards above the vested interests of the large firms. Clients can demonstrate their desire to receive the highest quality of service by giving work to firms of accountants, large and small, who support the training methods of England and Wales. R Jackson FCA, Beaconsfield, Bucks In-flight rest is nothing new The idea of having beds in first class cabins on airlines dates back much further than 1995 (Business Travel, Accountancy Age, 13 January). In the 1950s I travelled regularly between Britain and Venezuela. All the international airlines we used provided beds in first class. All the aircraft were propeller driven and you usually got a good night’s sleep unless the plane hit an air pocket. RS Greenly, Grantham Concern for jailed FD’s pint-pulling wife I was amazed to see a photograph of a jailed FDs wife in Accountancy Age (13 January, page 1). Can you please tell me the purpose of publishing a photograph of the wife of a convicted person … Surely his crime has nothing to do with her, otherwise she would have been convicted as well. Presumably she now has to work in order to maintain some form of lifestyle. Are you implying that working behind a bar at a local pub is some sort of unacceptable job for the wife of a former finance director? C Slyfield, via e-mail … So Christopher Harrison’s wife Joy, is now left pulling pints at her local pub. So what? Anyone actually reading this article could be forgiven for mistaking it as a news item, with its prominent position on the front page plus colour photograph of Mrs Harrison pulling pints. Whatever the ACCA decide to do with Mr Harrison is entirely a matter for them. Are you not adding to Mrs Harrison’s problems and letting your readers indulge in a dose of Schadenfreude? J Watkin ACCA, Horsforth, Leeds … I found this item, and in particular the accompanying photograph, unacceptable for what is a professional publication. Unless you obtained permission for the photograph to be used, it was an intrusion into the private misfortune of an innocent party. Even if permission was obtained, it remains an inappropriate exposition of ‘tabloid’ values. J Hunston,Carlisle … Douglas Broom, editor of Accountancy Age writes: I would like to assure our readers that the picture reproduced above was taken with the full consent of Mrs Harrison. Indeed we rejected some of the pictures because she was so obviously posing for them. It would, in fact, have been quite impossible to obtain them without her consent as she was photographed on private premises. The point of using her picture was precisely to bring home the human cost of financial wrongdoing. So often we write about fraud and irregularity as a technical accounting issue and we overlook the consequences for those involved. All letters should be sent to: The Editor, Accountancy Age, VNU House, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London W1A 2HG Tel: 020 7316 9236 Fax: 020 7316 9250 Or e-mail us on: accountancy_age@vnu.co.uk Accountancy Age reserves the right to edit letters for space or clarity. Please include your title, company name and a daytime telephone number.

Related reading