TaxAdministrationThe simple fact is, change is difficult

The simple fact is, change is difficult

Can business life be simplified? The Tories think so. Auditors agree. And the FRC is with them too. It’s turning into a summer of simplification. Or at least a summer of good intentions

Damian Wild, Accountancy Age

Last week shadow chancellor George Osborne unveiled Conservative plans to
simplify the UK tax system. Publishing the recommendations of the Howe Group
Report into Tax Simplification, a policy group led by former Tory chancellor
Lord Howe, Osborne proposed a new independent Office of Tax Simplification
modelled on the National Audit Office.

Elsewhere, the Auditing Practices Board’s Clarity project on auditing
standards is gathering momentum.
Meanwhile, as director of corporate reporting Ian Wright tells
AccountancyAgeTV this week, the Financial Reporting Council’s
Complexity Advisory Panel will seek to identify the areas that bring more cost
than reward to UK plc and ‘address the risk that these requirements, and related
influential guidance, are contributing to the increasing complexity of corporate
reports without making them more useful or understandable’.

As Wright acknowledges, easing the complexity of financial reporting is like
turning round a super tanker. Simplifying tax and the audit regime are no easier
tasks.

And there’s the rub. Even if all these projects deliver guidance and
commitments to change, they have to be applied and accepted. There also needs to
be tolerance by regulators. And perhaps more than anything in the current
economic climate, there needs to be an acceptance ­ by government and by the
public ­ that risk cannot be regulated away. And that may just be wishful
thinking.

comment@accountancyage.com

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