Friday 15 January 2010

The conspiracy against small companies

Libertarians often point out that ever-increasing rules and regulations benefit large businesses who have the necessary administrative resources to deal with them at the expense of small businesses who don't. Indeed, it seems to be the case that many of these regulations exist precisely because big companies have lobbied for them. "Business" per se is not your friend. Liberty is.

A short while ago I attempted to do an online Annual Return for a small company. Twenty years ago I would fill in a paper return, take a photocopy, write a cheque and then send it off with proof of posting. Dead simple. Now one has to file online to get the cheaper rate.

So today found me at the keyboard thinking that all would be straightforward as I'd now got used to what I thought was the latest system. But no, things have changed again. Normally, all of the existing company information pops up and one just confirms "no change" for each item and eventually gets to the bit where the credit card information is entered. Not so today. I was asked why hadn't I entered the "country of residence" of the directors. This is a new requirement.

In the case of this English based company I had the option of "England", "Britain" or "UK". All were acceptable to the system but I was then asked, "When did this change take place?" But of course no change had occurred. I was tempted to enter something like 488 AD for the director residing in Kent. Isn't that around when it changed to being "England"? I wimped out and phoned Companies House and, after several attempts to get through, I was told to enter the date of the Annual Return as the date of the "change". I was also told that thousands of other people had been phoning about just this question.

I wonder if this is a cunning way of the government making money out of the phone calls. To think that we've sunk so far that I now have such a suspicious mind. Then there followed the problem of the credit card not being accepted. This was probably due to the system not understanding the Scottish flat numbering system. No wonder folk vote SNP. After a few more attempts I was able to pay the fee over the phone. After the revolution we'll get Ryanair or Amazon to take over Companies House.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comment made on previous template:

Business Boy
Recently had some dealings with Companies House and I agree with you; pardon my french, it's an absolute clusterfuck of an organisation. 
Business Boy Blog

16 January 2010, 22:14:05 GMT