The most pointless letter of 2017


Bad news – HMRC are chasing one of our clients…..and they’re chasing them hard.

They’ve sent a couple of letters to them, and copies to us. HMRC are chasing an outstanding debt that they want paid….and they want it paid now.

And how much is this massive debt? Two pence!

Yes, that’s right – two pence. Now, HMRC are not entirely unreasonable people and have recognised the financial difficulties of paying all of this in one go. Therefore, they’ve actually offered the client the opportunity to pay in twelve equal monthly instalments! This is, of course, very kind of them…. if your bank can actually transfer one sixth of a pence at a time.

Anyway, the point is that HMRC have a system to chase debts and they’re following that system. But, every now and then, we all need to pause and think about common sense.

In this instance HMRC have sent two letters to us and two letters to the client. This has cost at least a couple of pounds in postage. They spent time printing letters, putting them in envelopes, and sending them out. All to chase two pence!

There may be a principle involved in chasing the debt but, ultimately, this is where systems and processes have overruled common sense.

So, our business tip this week is about exactly that. Here at MJF, we love systems. We have systems and processes for most things we do – systems help us be efficient and help us give a consistent service, no matter which team member is doing the task.

But (and this is a big BUT), we do drill into the team that common sense trumps a system. Always.

You do just need to pause, have a think and have a look before pressing “go” on that email or following that process.

Therefore, our question to you is this – what is it in your business you just need to pause and think about? The kind of things that you do on automatic pilot but, if you actually stopped and thought about, you might do a bit differently and have a much better result for both you and for your customers?

Take a look at that this week. Otherwise we’re going to tell HMRC you owe them two pence and you will be in real trouble!

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Any questions?

If you’d like a meeting or a Skype call with a Liverpool accountant to discuss this, please give us a ring on 0151 380 3800 or drop us an email at [email protected].

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Added by Jon Davies
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