H&R Block, the Income Tax Experts who have recycled the same business model, and the same business leaders, since 1955, has made its annual "apologize for losses and announce layoffs" speech, in the form of its fiscal 2010 results report.
CEO Russ Smythe, the man plucked from a leadership role in McDonalds to head a company whose employee benefit stock options haven't been worth exercising since Reagan was farting into the Oval Office's furniture, explained why Block is broke, and what he intends to do to fix it.
"We're down 4% in same-store, YOY results. But, it wasn't my fault," he said on the earnings conference call Thursday, while simultaneously editing his Careerbuilder profile and resume. "Here's how it was everyone's fault but mine."
"First, unemployment was at 10% nationwide, and between 15-30% in our core client base, whom we refer to as 'Earned Income Credit cheats'. Now, those who know the business know that even the unemployed have to file returns, but 15-30% was such a great stat, I couldn't help blaming it."
Russ continued: "Where we really got our ass spanked is in digital solutions. We realize that we've ignored Turbo Tax for years, but our FY 2010 plan to change that was foolproof: We changed the name of our software. In fact, we named it after ourselves! Because nothing should exude quality in Digital than H&R Block, the least successful national tax return preparation software in the country.
Our new tagline for the product will be "H&R Block Digital. It might be worse than Turbo Tax, but at least it's more expensive."
"Since that didn't work, the obvious next step was to demote the VP of Digital. She will be leading tax offices in Siberia next year."
Just before biting into a cyanide capsule, the CEO concluded, "Our plans for 2011 are novel, and fresh, and are guaranteed to win."
"We will relocate home office middle-managers, continue to blame District Managers for the decline in sales, buy more Super Bowl ads and rehire tax professionals who couldn't be nice to a client if they wanted to. And . . . wait, isn't that what we tried last year? Oh, and in 2008, you say?"
"Ok, well, here's the best part: I received compensation valued at $5.3 million in fiscal 2010! HA! What a f***ing SCAM! Hey, if I make Block completely insolvent, I'll probably earn $10 Million!! Bwah ha ha!"
"Hey, doesn't this light usually flash when I'm on Mute? Oh. . . Oh, no."