The old Business Link website was also developed and managed by Serco. They claimed that set-up cost was £35 million, made up of £6.2. million for strategy and planning £4.4m on design and build, £4.7m on hosting and infrastructure, £15.3m on content provision and £4.5m on testing and evaluation.
For reasons that have never been made clear the running costs of the site following set-up were also £35 million each year.
In 2010 the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones asked the head of a firm specialising in building websites for public sector clients for his reaction to the costs cited by Serco. His response?
"It's a completely unfathomable ..... I can't imagine how that could be spent. "
By the beginning of 2017 Jamie's Italian ltd. had spent £63 million on "improvements to leasehold property" capitalised and depreciated at around 4% a year. That meant that by then a fixed asset with a net book value of £43 million was sitting in the balance sheet, possessing no fair value at all and creating an illusion of strong profits for seven years. The cost of that was reflected in working capital £5 million in deficit and long term debt at £33 million. He simply ran out of cash - his and other peoples.
My experience of meetings with clients is that they are mostly concerned with what's on the table apart from the biscuits.
Forecasts & Budgets
We use figurewizard.com for budgets and forecasts. They have a screen called whatif calculator that is ideal for testing the outcome of changes to budgets on just about everything imaginable with a single click per item.
Diesel Tax - No!
The only good thing about imposing taxing diesel cars is that no government would want to do so on the grounds that having been responsible for encouraging their use they would then be seen to be losing credibility..
NI and Tax
For me Della Hudson's prediction of combining NI with taxation in the interests of "true tax simplification." stands out as the most unlikely. This is because history dictates that any kind of tax simplification is complete anathema to any government of this country of whatever stamp.
Why on earth do they bother?
For years we have had assurances from all political parties that they will decrease the burden of regulation on small businesses. Instead as this latest example shows the exact opposite is actually the case. Given the cost of managing such "initiatives" what possible economic benefits can flow from this sort of thing?
So some idiot in ICAS suggests that anyone possessing considerable experience acquired over many years qualifies as being "over the hill." It sounds to me like the author of such nonsense was over the hill before he or she ever got started.
HMRC and Friends?
After the Goldman Sachs£20 million sweetheart deal and the conceptualisation (whatever that is supposed to mean) leading to the waiving of hundreds of thousand in PAYE deducted from the charity kidscompany staff's pay packets, HMRC appears to have one set of rules for the chums of past governments and another for SMEs.
If you use Figurewizard, simply entering headline figures for sales margins, overheads and investments will produce just about every forecast anyone could possibly need including profits, balance sheets, cash flows taxes and analysis, all of which can be instantly amended with a single click, then exported to excel if need be. We find it an excellent (and profitable) advisory tool and are surprised that it rarely gets a mention here.