Roland Dürre
Monday February 18th, 2013

You Will Discover Absurdities When You Do Your Balance Sheet

Well, we all know that, don’t we? But this time around, I am not talking my personal life balance. No: last week, assisted by our partner from the learned profession of certified accountants, we did the InterFace AG balance sheet. Again, I discovered some very absurd regulations required by this legislation of ours that by now is rather impoverished and powered by interests.

Here is an example:

During last Friday’s meeting, where we discussed the final issues of the business year 2012, I discovered a loss in the Loss&Profits titled:  “Deduction on Stock”.
I am surprised. Since when does the InterFace AG own stock? I never knew about it. But then I remember:

Of course, we have stock! In our company, employees can exchange some of their overtime (if they have worked overtime and so desire) for additional old-age reserves. The technical term for this procedure is “long term working time account” (nomen est omen).

It means that the overtime an employee who participates in this program has worked will not be paid to him directly. Instead, the sum will be added to his personal pension fund. Since this money does not belong to the enterprise but to the employee, the enterprise has to be very careful with it: they have to make sure the accumulated money will not be included if there is a bankruptcy. Consequently, we saved this money as so-called “charge securities“ and pledged them to our employees. That was exactly what the regulations said we should do.

Like many other things in this country, the system involves quite a bit of bureaucracy. But it might well be a reasonable addition to your personal old-age security. Apart from the fact that, in all probability, the money will be worth next to nothing by the time you eventually get it. But then, all “Riesterers“ will face the same situation.
A few years ago, our legislation hit again. In its famous regulation mania, it added a few laws on “long term working time account”. Allegedly, this happened in order to improve a bad situation. In reality – at least this is what I think – .it was promoted by lobbyism.

Employers were forced to save these kinds of money exclusively as so-called “certified stock“. Common things like your savings account or fixed-term deposits are not an option, regardless of the fact that, at least nominally, these would be ways not to lose money over the years.

Consequently, we had to turn our “charge securities“ into “certified stock“. And we always selected giving priority to the criterion security.
And what happens? – In the very year 2012, when the DAX had a dramatic development, our “certified“ stock suffered a significant loss.
So what is my conclusion?

When they initiated said law, the most important parts of it were written by lobbyists and then copied into the law by our legislators. Just like quite a few of our politicians and non-politicians who hold doctoral titles did a lot of copying. And I find this kind of copying less harmful when it comes to a doctorial thesis than when legislation is initiated. In fact, I would wish for more transparency when it comes to the legislation process.

Which plays right into my prejudice that everything that is called “certified“ basically smells fishy.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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