A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Friday, May 23, 2008

On Her Majesty's Time-Consuming Service

This week I've spent much of my time telephoning and filling in forms for Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs. All necessary of course, particularly as our accountant is currently indisposed, but what a bloody chore. I worked for part of the HMRC back in the day when it was called the DSS, so I'm very familiar with the bureaucracy that weighs so heavily upon the organisation. I reckon I've filled out maybe 10 or 12 forms this week, all with a lot of duplicated information. A VAT number transfer alone required 3 forms. And none of them could be filled out online.

Here is my solution: Only have one form. For everything. It would be an online form with tick-boxes, asking, 'What do you want to do?' Every time you tick an option, the form re-jigs itself, until you are left with the form you require. So for example, I would tick 'VAT', 'VAT number transfer' - and the relevant (single) form asking for all of the required information would appear (literally) in two ticks. And I would only have to enter the information once.

None of which has much to do with books or publishing, but then not much of my time spent this week has had much to do with books or publishing. Hooray for the Bank Holiday!


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