PRIVATE EYE ARTICLE

#1
I was tickled by the following in Private Eye relating to an exchange between Richard Bacon MP and the MOD's Trevor Woolley. The exchange took place during a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee meeting into the sale of DERA / QinetiQ. Since the sale, some staff have made £millions from the sale of shares.

Bacon. “Mr Wooley are you a chartered accountant?”

Woolley “I am not”

Bacon “Are you a qualified financial person of any kind? Do you have any financial qualifications?”

Woolley “I do not have any financial qualifications?”

Bacon “What is your job?”

Wooley “I am the financial director of the Ministry of Defence”
 

Bowmore_Assassin

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#2
Just about sums up the importance given to the MoD by the socialist PC party called Labour. Add in a part-time Minister and you have a bunch of walts at the top of MoD f*cking us all about with no concept of things like competancy, honour or duty. Stopping now before a massive rant kicks in...I can feel it coming.
 
#3
total class! but does it really suprise you?
 
#4
Good spot AT55 haven't seen a copy yet, but it speaks volumes that it has not been reported elsewhere.

Filbert's about right - anyone tracked down what a none-accountant earns as FD at the MOD yet?
 
#5
ABrighter2006 said:
Good spot AT55 haven't seen a copy yet, but it speaks volumes that it has not been reported elsewhere.

Filbert's about right - anyone tracked down what a none-accountant earns as FD at the MOD yet?
My bold

Haven´t got a clue, but no doubt it´ll be in the top bracket of Good CO´s "How much do you earn" poll :roll:
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#6
Anyone who thinks that having an Accountant as head of Finance is a Good Thing has never worked with Accountants. I have worked forTrevor Woolley at various times over many years, and he is a far better Financier for the MoD than any accounant brought in from Deloitte or PWC could ever be.

Parliament is full of Accountants and Lawyers - is this good? TW is a Top Bloke, who will fight MoD's corner as hard as he can (and has done recently). Do not be taken in by consultant propoganda! Richard Bacon MP is a career politician, unfit to do anything else, and it ill befits him to abuse anyone else. TW has been involved in MoD finance for over 25 years, and knows his stuff. I just don't like to see a good man disparaged by a puffed-up politico who has very little idea of what he is talking about.
 
#8
AT55 said:
I was tickled by the following in Private Eye relating to an exchange between Richard Bacon MP and the MOD's Trevor Woolley. The exchange took place during a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee meeting into the sale of DERA / QinetiQ. Since the sale, some staff have made £millions from the sale of shares.

Bacon. “Mr Wooley are you a chartered accountant?”

Woolley “I am not”

Bacon “Are you a qualified financial person of any kind? Do you have any financial qualifications?”

Woolley “I do not have any financial qualifications?”

Bacon “What is your job?”

Wooley “I am the financial director of the Ministry of Defence”
Classic.

I have had some dealings with Richard Bacon and can say, though I am no fan of MP's as a whole, that he isn't that bad a guy.
 
#9
Its no different to putting a 2* general in charge of a major procurement project - chances are that they've got no formal qualifications or experience. The whole point is that you've got Staff Officers and appropriately qualified Civil Servants to do the in depth stuff - HM Forces and MOD have a tradition of appointing non specialists to head areas up - for instance the last DCDI had never done a J2 job in his life, didn't stop him from being good at it though.
 
#10
OldSnowy said:
Anyone who thinks that having an Accountant as head of Finance is a Good Thing has never worked with Accountants. I have worked forTrevor Woolley at various times over many years, and he is a far better Financier for the MoD than any accounant brought in from Deloitte or PWC could ever be.

Parliament is full of Accountants and Lawyers - is this good? TW is a Top Bloke, who will fight MoD's corner as hard as he can (and has done recently). Do not be taken in by consultant propoganda! Richard Bacon MP is a career politician, unfit to do anything else, and it ill befits him to abuse anyone else. TW has been involved in MoD finance for over 25 years, and knows his stuff. I just don't like to see a good man disparaged by a puffed-up politico who has very little idea of what he is talking about.
I agree with you!

Litotes
 
#11
Fair comment Old_Snowy, I posted from a "surprised" that the man at the top did not have a formal qualification in the area of his responsibility and I can understand Jim's comments re 2* in procurement.

I would be interested in what % of the FTSE 500 employ a Finance Director without a solid financial qualification. no matter what their experience?

If this were a FTSE 500 company that was so starved of cash despite the "business" demands of it, how long would that FD survive in the boardroom?
 
#12
A) Seconding Snowy, likewise from personal knowledge (that's our covers blown, mate).

B) In answer to AB2006, tis indeed Her Majesty's Treasury who are insisting that all such Finance Directors in future be qualified accountants.

Now then, given that:
- chances are high that a really high-powered accountant type would have to be recruited in from outside;
- that said accountant would have diddly-squat knowledgeof / loyalty to the Armed Forces;
- would cost a fortune;
- be at risk of being rail-roaded by HMT;

in whose interests do you think having such an imported FD work? Ours? Or HMTs? Hmmm.

(And given that Trevor has over the years proved more than a match for HMT in exploiting their self-same rules and regulations to our advantage... and don't they know it.)
 
#13
I tend to agree with Old Snowy. "qualified" accountants have a largely inflated view of their importance in any organisation. I conceed that accounting qualifications are very difficult to get ( helped by the fact that the various accounting bodies restrict the numbers that pass, and therefore keep salaries bouyant, in a way that that would make Bob Crow blush) - talk about closed shop!


Richard Bacon MP

In 2006 his fellow MPs voted him ‘Backbencher of the Year’.
Hope he got the message

Richard is married to Victoria, a BBC news producer.
nuff said really
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
ABrighter2006 said:
Good spot AT55 haven't seen a copy yet, but it speaks volumes that it has not been reported elsewhere.

Filbert's about right - anyone tracked down what a none-accountant earns as FD at the MOD yet?

Subscribe! It lands on your doormat before it's in the shops. And when the PC brigade get an edition banned from the shops you still have it.
 
#15
ABrighter2006 said:
Fair comment Old_Snowy, I posted from a "surprised" that the man at the top did not have a formal qualification in the area of his responsibility and I can understand Jim's comments re 2* in procurement.

I would be interested in what % of the FTSE 500 employ a Finance Director without a solid financial qualification. no matter what their experience?

If this were a FTSE 500 company that was so starved of cash despite the "business" demands of it, how long would that FD survive in the boardroom?
I think one of the major differences would be that an FTSE 500 Finance Director would do all he could to ensure that the shareholders got a good return, sometimes to the betterment of the company and the reverse.

The Armed Forces are not a FTSE 500 company, or a business of any kind and can not be run as such. Therefore it is highly ineffectaul to have someone who only has a finance background at the top.
 
#16
Litotes said:
OldSnowy said:
Anyone who thinks that having an Accountant as head of Finance is a Good Thing has never worked with Accountants. I have worked forTrevor Woolley at various times over many years, and he is a far better Financier for the MoD than any accounant brought in from Deloitte or PWC could ever be.

Parliament is full of Accountants and Lawyers - is this good? TW is a Top Bloke, who will fight MoD's corner as hard as he can (and has done recently). Do not be taken in by consultant propoganda! Richard Bacon MP is a career politician, unfit to do anything else, and it ill befits him to abuse anyone else. TW has been involved in MoD finance for over 25 years, and knows his stuff. I just don't like to see a good man disparaged by a puffed-up politico who has very little idea of what he is talking about.
I agree with you!

Litotes
And me. Accountants are all to often deeply uncommercial number crunchers capable of creating make believe paper worlds that make perfect sense in Accounting terms but have little in common with reality and cause chaos.

Lawyers have an instinct that, faced with any problem, makes them huddle around a draft contract or propose some new legislation. That is the last thing that should happen, not the first
 
#17
I reckon the guy doesn't need to be an accountant per se, but he says that he has no finance qualifications at all. Surely at least some financial management qual should be a prerequisite for a job where you're running the finances of a huge public body?
 
#18
Tens of thousands of companies go bankrupt / fail every year, guess what...... Most have accountants :eek:

There is a message there somewhere. :roll:
 
#19
PoisonDwarf said:
I reckon the guy doesn't need to be an accountant per se, but he says that he has no finance qualifications at all. Surely at least some financial management qual should be a prerequisite for a job where you're running the finances of a huge public body?
Nope, thats what you hire accountants to do, give advice to those that don't know. You then take said advice, put lashings of common to it and come up with the correct answer.
 
#20
OllieReeder said:
A) Seconding Snowy, likewise from personal knowledge (that's our covers blown, mate).

B) In answer to AB2006, tis indeed Her Majesty's Treasury who are insisting that all such Finance Directors in future be qualified accountants.

Now then, given that:
- chances are high that a really high-powered accountant type would have to be recruited in from outside;
- that said accountant would have diddly-squat knowledgeof / loyalty to the Armed Forces;
- would cost a fortune;
- be at risk of being rail-roaded by HMT;

in whose interests do you think having such an imported FD work? Ours? Or HMTs? Hmmm.

(And given that Trevor has over the years proved more than a match for HMT in exploiting their self-same rules and regulations to our advantage... and don't they know it.)
Thanks Ollie and others - I was playing a bit of Devil's Advocate. Mr Bacon MP may well be out for cheap points scoring, but it raises some interesting points.

Following on from Ollie's post though - Why does the man in charge of the MOD's financial interests have to be bought in? Because the military doesn't have people who deal with finances? Or, is it more a case that the military doesn't really offer mil pers the opportunity to progress to the top of the MOD where finance is concerned?

I agree with the "risks" associated with bringing in a head of finance who knows squat about the armed forces. But on balance (and TW is evidently well regarded by many here), the MOD's finances have been at question for some time now, has he been able to "grip" the Treasury as much as operations demand?

Somebody commented (sorry forget who) about the armed forces NOT being a business. As much as I stand fully behind the statement, the reality is that the armed forces has been managed like a commercial business for years now. We may not like it, we all may have different perspectives on what this means for the guy taking on Terry Taleban, but TW would not have been addressing that meeting, were it not for questions of public interest surrounding the government's funding and financial management of the armed forces and their suppliers.
 

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