Don't jump on bandwagons Article icon


Dear communications professionals: this is a bandwagon. Please resist jumping atop.  

If only somebody had offered that advice to the press team at DSR Tax Claims, a Nottingham-based tax reclaims service run by David Redfern who, according to its website, is ‘passionate about all matters tax’. He is also, it seems, ‘leading the condolences’ for IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad.

Yes, that’s right. Redfern, not Kamprad’s adopted daughter Annika or even one of his three sons, Peter, Jonas or Mathias? Nope, that solemn duty has fallen upon ‘one of the UK’s leading tax experts’ who gushed that ‘the business world has lost one of its greatest innovators’.

As an old hand at press release gobbledegook, I scanned the document to find the connection between Redfern and Kamprad. Had he perhaps mentored the would-be maths whizz, or even helped him assemble his Billy bookcase? But no, it seems the two have never met. Instead, unknowingly, the Swedish businessman inspired the young Redfern from afar.

‘The way that Ingvar Kamprad married the two ideals of creativity and innovation when he founded IKEA has been an inspiration for my own business model,’ he continued. Yikes. Creativity and innovation! They’re not two words usually associated with tax experts, and I’d hazard a guess that HM Revenue is not in favour of either creative or innovative accounting.

While Redfern ‘noted that the businesses were in very different areas’ – just in case, there was any confusion out there – he witters on about the ‘non-hierarchal nature’ of DSR Tax Claims, how staff are encouraged and rewarded for sharing ideas and collaborating to bring in ‘new and inventive ways of working’ and the company’s very own Think Tank room, complete with padded walls. (I made that last bit up.)

Strangely, he doesn’t mention Kamprad’s notoriously frugal nature (he bought his clothes at second hand shops, visited vegetable stalls at the end of the day to get the best price and always saved salt and pepper sachets in restaurants) or even his disdain for taxes, preferring to live in Denmark and Switzerland rather than pay Sweden’s high duties. Sadly, ‘one of the UK’s leading tax experts’ glossed over the EU investigation into IKEA’s tax affairs but it is good to know that Redfern’s ‘business ethics have been greatly inspired by [Kamprad's] way of working’.

There now, I wrote all that without needing to bother Marie Scott in the press office with my queries. I’ll also pass on the hi-res images, but thanks for the offer.