Feeds

Keep the lights on, the budget needs it

Going green in a penny pinching world

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Column Lights don't turn themselves on.

I hesitate to offer this bit of technological know-how to such an intelligent audience, but after last week, it has come to my attention that there may be people who don't realise this. And they may work in Accounts.

The trigger for the observation was a report on the TV news last week that the UK Government was falling behind its targets on carbon consumption (reduction in). To illustrate the point, the newscaster dug out a lot of Official Figures, which gave us percentages. And then - realising that only people in Accounts would understand those, the camera crew went out into Whitehall, to show us what it looked like in the real world. (OK, Whitehall is the centre of the Civil Service, but unreal though that world may be, it's still geographically non-virtual).

It was late at night, and the days are still short in Britain, and yet the images that flared onto the screen were brighter than day, because every light in every office in the background was switched on. Not a soul was in the building - not even the office cleaners who are so often quoted as the reason big companies put their lights on at night. And the newscaster represented this as carelessness.

It goes to show how little the BBC knows about Accounting. Anybody who has ever worked in a large commercial corporation will know at once what those lights are doing.

Clues for the rest of you: 1) It's March 2) It has been a very warm winter in the UK.

Got it? OK, here's another clue: 3) the financial year ends at the beginning of April.

In a warm winter, the amount you need to spend on heating office buildings is down - way down. People recently made some capital out of the fact that although the UK is culturally careless about switching off TVs and leaving them on standby, thus consuming unnecessary energy, the spend per household on energy in the UK was low. The inference drawn was that we "weren't that bad" in Britain. The real implication, of course, is that winter in Britain is a lot warmer than in Germany. And when it's warm, you spend less on heating the building.

So the nation's accountants are facing a real problem. They have budgets for heating. The winter of 2006-2007 will have seen a huge under-spend - as much as 15% - on the energy budgets. And that - as we all know and understand - means that unless urgent action is taken NOW, next year's budget will be reduced by 15%.

Why?

What a very ignorant question! That's how budgeting is done! You take last year's figure, and you set the budget for next year as being the same.

Why?

Because that's how it's done! Goodness gracious, what monumental innocence of the real world. You have to have a budget! How are you going to work out a budget if you don't base it on last year's budget?

I suppose you might argue that you could work out what you actually need to spend. And then you might work out what the costs of doing that are. And you might find ways of reducing the amount you spend on things that aren't needed.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.