When we look at a map we always try to find our home. Why can’t we do that in accounts? Besides the fact that accounts are not maps

My sons, Murphy Richards Jr and Murphy Richards III, reminded me of a joke last night. I think the original was by Michael McIntyre. He is a popular comedian who specialises in observational humour. Therefore the substance of his joke is true and everything that I have assumed is meant by this joke that follows in this post is also true.

The joke is about using maps on a mobile phone – and that the first place we always want to find is our home. The same is true of street view, or whatever Google call their service where you can view a road on a map. This is true for upper-middle class sorts such as myself who have nice homes in nice areas, so I imagine it must still be true for people who live on council estates too.

It is certainly not true simply because when we want to play with our new smartphone’s map function, our home postcode is the only postcode we can actually remember off the top of our heads.

No, that would not support my tenuous argument that home matters to us so much that we want to check it out – even when we’re at home.

But look at a set of multinational corporation accounts and you can’t do that. Apparently I am so insignificant that they do not declare how much profit is attributable to my custom from them. My household is noticeable by its absence because customer-by-customer reporting does not exist within the pages of such a document.

Those accounts do, as a result, fail to meet a basic human need, which is information on what is happening immediately around us. And even now when the case for customer-by-customer reporting is being won (because I say that it is being won), those responsible for the preparation of accounts are fighting back against the provision of that information.

It is obvious that they are trying to hide something by not providing this information (not that there is no requirement to publish it and there is no interest to your average shareholder). My only question is what?

Michael McIntyre has clearly endorsed the need for customer-by-customer reporting. So why haven’t accountancy firms?

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4 thoughts on “When we look at a map we always try to find our home. Why can’t we do that in accounts? Besides the fact that accounts are not maps

  1. When I studied English Literature at school I was taught that when reading a novel, the reader looks for himself in the story. This is a lot easier now we have eBooks and one can search for one’s name without having to read the boring bits.

  2. Pingback: ‘What is the difference’ jokes for our times – accounts | The Justice for Taxes Network

  3. Murphy
    No big company can be trusted to provide the public with relevant information that they hold on their customers. I was outraged to discover this morning that my name and number was not listed in the local telephone directory, despite me living in the catchment area and having a phone. Am I a mere insignificant number to them (or even non-number)? How can we trust the fat cats, except when it comes to extracting inflation busting fees from us?
    PS I have to add a wholly immaterial addendum here. My wife has just reminded me that I had asked to be ex-directory. This does not in any way undermine my argument – I believe it is a breach of my human rights for them not to list me as “anonymous” in their phone books. Is there a telephone ombudsman to whom I can complain or is it something that Margaret Hodge might take this on when she next grills the telecoms chief execs?

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