November 11th, 2005

Bureaucracy gone mad...

As some of you may know, when you begin to supply goods or services to a company, that company may well ask you to fill out a supplier information form. Usually found around the accounts departments of bigger companies, this can range from a simple "please tell us your name and address and where you would like us to send money" to "please enclose audited copies of your last three years' accounts, your inside leg measurement, a blood sample, your address details for the last fifteen years, your family's address details for the last fifteen years, and a monkey".

I particularly enjoyed the one I received earlier this week. It was for a largish organisation whose name would be instantly recognisable to any UK-based reader of this journal (which is why I am not including it, duh), and was fairly standard except for:

  1. a request to know my tax district
  2. a line which said "I agree to abide by organisation Financial Terms and Conditions for Suppliers"

I'd never been asked for (1) before (and couldn't think of a reason why they'd need to know it given that I was supplying goods rather than services), and prefer not to agree to abide by things I haven't seen yet, so I asked for a clarification of (1) and a copy of the Financial Terms etc. etc. etc.

Days passed. Tumbleweeds rolled by.

This morning I finally got a mail back including forwards from the Financial Controller of the organisation concerned. It boiled down to "if we're not hiring you as a contractor, we don't need your tax district. Er, and we don't seem to have any standard terms and conditions."

Well, that's all right then...