A late entry for the 'Can They Hear Themselves Awards 2020' was registered this morning. “I was terrified when I read the headlines,” said Rob Kniaz, a partner at investment fund Hoxton Ventures which has backed Deliveroo and Babylon. “Start-ups are run fast and loose. There can be mistakes... it really worries me, taking on that board risk."
There is uproar that directors may actually be made accountable for their actions and have to check pesky details in balance sheets and those (I want to say P&O?) things. Kim Kardashian thought she had a sure-fire winning entry for the top Award with her classic: "I hate it when women wear the wrong foundation colour. It might be the worst thing on the planet when they wear their makeup too light." You're right, Kim. Just ask those Syrian women picking their children's body parts out of building wreckage. Their worst nightmare is to wear the wrong foundation colour, their faces looking all shiny in the TV news reports lighting.
Nothing should affect the Lifetime Achievement Award due to be given to George W. Bush for his classic from 2000: ''Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?", up against himself from 2004: ''Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country.''
Back to those directors. If they are made responsible for the accuracy of financial reports, whilst painfully sliding along the thin end of the wedge, where will we go next? American presidents having to unblindfold before they start to push buttons? Parents having to move knives and other sharp objects away from small children? “If it puts off directors and investors from being involved in UK companies then it’s very bad,” said Charles Delingpole, the chief of some business called ComplyAdvantage which should be welcoming an HMRC visit anytime ... now.
Dominic Wheatley is a video games entrepreneur, which means he lives at home with his Mum and works from her garage. "The reforms will do a lot more harm than good,” he said, splashing mayo on a pastie his Mum had just brought him for his lunch. “It will have the unintended consequence of putting off men and women whose advice could be very useful and replacing them with people who are useless.” We have some advice for you, Dominic. Buy yourself an 'Accounting For Dummies' book and find out that its title contains two c's, where you clearly only have one.
We in the NTI newsroom get that the Government is hoping to attract even more fast-growing tech companies to the UK by reforming the listings regime to reduce red tape, but there has to be some tape and those sticking to it have to know something financial about the businesses they are running. It seems that those who wear their Sketchers to board meetings are not impressing our new mate, the Business Secretary. Kwasi has been clear that audit reform is a priority for the department and will publish comprehensive proposals shortly.
It means that old Chinese adage is probably right: know something before you do something.