accountingcpd.net offers online cpd courses directly to accountants. Our blog will feature thoughts and comments, from our prestigious team of authors, designed to stimulate and challenge you. It will also keep you up to date with what's happening at accountingcpd.net, new courses and special offers.
Blog summaryLast updated: 29-Nov-2013
What are the most important trends to understand in the world of business crowdfunding?
Journalist and accountingcpd.net author, Andy Davis, identifies the most important trends in business crowdfunding.
By Andy Davis
There are obvious answers you could point to – for example, the creation of markets in different types of finance, where multiple lenders can compete to advance funding to a single borrower. This is genuinely new and potentially far more beneficial to the company than the traditional one-to-one relationship between a business and its bank, where the bank sets the terms and the business takes or leaves them. If you believe markets and competition are good, there is much to applaud here.
I’m certainly not suggesting that creating markets in finance isn’t an important trend. It is, but arguably its influence is perhaps a little more limited than is often realised. For a start, the days of unconstrained "Dutch” or reverse auctions ...
Crowdfunding sites grow upwards of 100 per cent year on year
Journalist and accountingcpd.net author, Andy Davis, looks at whether alternative finance is a genuine option for funding.
By Andy Davis
2013 has arguably been a breakthrough year for the peer-to-peer and crowdfunding movement, online matchmakers that enable individuals to lend money to businesses and other individuals, and to buy shares in small private companies.
The industry is growing fast and recent successes such as Kevin McCloud’s record-breaking equity offer via Crowdcube – in which the presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs raised more than £1.9m from the public for his sustainable development start-up Hab Housing – has done much to increase its profile. Debt Crowdfunding and P2P sites are well on the way to being fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (as their equity counterparts are already), with the final rules ...
Making the right decisions for new ventures - more science than art
In her latest blog accountingcpd.net author, Anna Faherty, promotes a scientific approach to entrepreneurship.
By Anna Faherty
How do you or your organisation make decisions about where to target resources? Why do you choose to pursue one new product or service idea above another? What kinds of targets do you set for success? And how do you measure whether things are going well?
Most organisations look at past sales revenue and profit figures, research what their customers want and set out grand plans to deliver feature-filled offers supported by detailed budgets and schedules. That – says Eric Ries, author of business book The Lean Startup – is almost the worst way to make decisions when you’re launching a new product or service in conditions of extreme uncertainty. ...
Launch of new course on Alternative Finance
When businesses find it hard to secure finance from banks, they turn to their accountants for advice. But what alternatives can you suggest?
In his new online CPD course, FT journalist, Andy Davis explores this rapidly expanding market and shares the very latest information on the crowdfunding and peer-to-peer finance movement. He focuses on crowdfunding platforms in three distinct sectors of the market: business loans, short-term working capital finance and equity fundraising.
Alternative Finance uses the latest information and real-life case studies, providing finance professionals with an overview of this new and fast-growing market.
New course on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Enterprise and Entrepreneurship is all about creating and exploiting business opportunities. Have you ever wondered whether you'd be good at it?
In her new course, Anna Faherty, shows you how companies and individuals apply enterprise skills to turn their business ideas into successful and sustainable ventures. She looks at the importance of strategic thinking and considers how to develop effective business models, value creation methods and, if required, exit strategies.
There are many factors that influence entrepreneurial success and in this course you can explore what they are and learn how to manage entrepreneurial projects through both good times and bad.
In his latest blog accountingcpd.net author Brian Plowman takes a look at how you can rebalance resources within your organisation, and the surprising benefits this can bring.
by Brian Plowman
At the heart of the approach you need to ask a series of questions focused on:
Restructuring (to change the level of tasks) and on
Reengineering (to remove the causes of process failures).
By thinking about activities in different ways it is then far easier to make changes across an organisation in a structured manner, looking at the relative merits of making reductions in some areas and increases in others.
The discipline of asking specific questions about each category of activity ensues that everyone is focused on reducing costs and improving service levels. ...
Top 5 courses for you
At accountingcpd.net we know that accountants in business and practice need different things from their cpd. Accountingcpd.net offers a wide range of courses designed to help you complete your cpd requirement whichever area you work in.
This year the top 5 courses purchased by accountants in practice have been:
Shoot for the moon: managing remote teams
International and Remote Working author Anna Faherty looks at what we can learn from an early remote working success story: the Apollo Program to put a man on the Moon.
By Anna Faherty
In 1968, Science magazine suggested that the greatest long-term benefit of the Apollo Program wouldn't be technological but managerial, because NASA were providing 'better knowledge of how to plan, coordinate, and monitor the multitudinous and varied activities of the organizations required to accomplish great social undertakings'.
The cost and complexity of tackling John F. Kennedy's bold 1961 pledge to put a man on the Moon within a decade certainly required a new approach to project management. So NASA waved goodbye to their authoritarian top-down ...
New course on Financial Control in SMEs
The way SMEs approach financial control needs to be different to the approach of large organisations. SMEs are not distracted by share prices and can afford to think long term.
In our latest course author David Allen encourages you to be proactive in the management of your businesses; looking both outwards and forwards and dealing with the inevitable uncertainties that entails. It looks at how new concepts such as risk management and corporate social responsibility should be considered alongside more traditional techniques like standard costing and budgetary control.
Financial Control in SMEs also contains advice on how to develop a comprehensive structure of financial control appropriate to today's conditions and can be bought as part of our 2 for 1 offer which ...
An interview with David Allen
David Allen's latest course Financial Control in SMEs has just launched on accountingcpd.net and so we thought it was the perfect time to sit down with the author to find out a bit more about him.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself, ie what do you do within your profession, what specialist areas do you have?
I qualified as a management accountant and company secretary as part of a commercial apprenticeship in an engineering company and, as 'UK Apprentice of the Year' won a travel scholarship to the United States.
I was awarded the CBE in recognition of my work for the accountancy profession: president of CIMA, chairman of the Management Accounting Committee of IFAC, a member of the FRC Review Panel, a visiting professor at Loughborough ...
Updated Project Management Course
Project Management for Accountants is one of our most popular courses and project management skills are increasingly sought after in the accounting world. Changes in business culture, where collaboration is now more the norm, mean that accountants are increasingly being asked to perform project manager duties.
In light of this, we have updated the course to reflect the latest in project management thinking and methodologies, including agile and scrum - techniques that were formerly used in IT project management and are now ubiquitous across all industries. As well as reviewing and revising the content, we have also incorporated new graphics, interactivity and video to illustrate and explain the learning points and to engage the learner.
Get two online cpd courses for the price of one throughout September
As the year flies by your cpd completion deadline is drawing ever closer. Before you know it, you will be wondering how to fit it all into the final month of the cpd year.
To help you get on top of your 2013 cpd requirement, accountingcpd.net are offering 2 online courses for the price of 1 AND giving you access until the end of December 2013.
This means if you order before the end of September you can get 8 cpd hours for the price of 4 which you can complete any time until 31st December.
Go to accountingcpd.net, add your chosen courses to your basket and use the promo code ACPD160 when prompted to do so in the checkout process.*
Feel free to share this offer ...
Hans Hoogervorst comments on global adoption of IFRS
accountingcpd.net author, Lisa Weaver, reflects on Hans Hoogervorst’s recent speech in Hong Kong, about how the use of IFRS is developing globally.
By Lisa Weaver
On 5th June 2013, Hans Hoogervorst, Chair of the IASB, delivered a speech in Hong Kong, in which he spoke about the great strides that have been made in the global use of IFRS in recent years. The speech coincided with the publication of 66 jurisdictional profiles that have been compiled by IASB staff over the last year, which summarise the level of adoption or convergence with IFRS around the world. The profiles are based on survey responses from national standard setters, securities regulators and large accountancy firms.
The research shows overwhelming support for the use of IFRS as the single set of global accounting ...
New online cpd course on Outsourcing
accountingcpd.net have just launched our newest online cpd course, Outsourcing by Alan Lewin.
There are many potential benefits to outsourcing – reduction of costs, increased company focus in key areas, variable costs structures, access to skills – but there are also potential risks. Whether you are advising clients or overseeing outsourcing activity in your own organisation, this course will help you to set up, maintain and monitor outsourcing relationships.
Our Outsourcing course helps you to discover the real benefits and challenges of outsourcing, and helps you decide if it will work for you. The course can count as 4 hours of verifiable ...
Launch of Anti-Money Laundering
Money laundering is something that happens in almost every country in the world. A single scheme can involve transferring money through several countries in order to obscure its origins. Money laundering, at its simplest, is the act of making money that comes from Source A look like it comes from Source B. In practice, criminals are trying to disguise the origins of money obtained through illegal activities so it looks like it was obtained from legal sources and the methods used by money launderers are many and varied.
Anti-Money Laundering will introduce you to the concept of 'money laundering' and how it works. You will learn about money laundering schemes and understand the principles and the methods used. The course shows you how to comply with regulations, what is required from you and how to report laundering.
Posted 03-Sep-2013 at 16:51
Launch of Writing a Business Plan
A good business plan can ensure your great idea gets the backing it deserves; a poor one can undermine even the most inspired proposals. Writing a Business Plan, by Chris Bruce, takes a practical approach to how to write a high quality plan, looking at what should be included, where to find the information, who to ask for help along the way and how you can ensure that your plan gets the backing it needs.
Writing a Business Plan helps you to create a well-constructed business plan which allows decision makers to better understand a potential project, helps you to fully think through a project and can be used as a benchmarker to track the success of the project. Throughout the ...
IFRS discussed at parliamentary hearing
Lisa Weaver, author of Managing your Transition to IFRS, reflects on the UK's Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards focus on IFRS.
By Lisa Weaver
Last week the UK's Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards turned its attention to IFRS. The Commission's Panel on Tax, Audit and Accounting discussed not just the accounting treatments relevant to banking institutions, but also the whole regulatory framework of IFRS, leading to criticism of the International Accounting Standards Board. ...
Working in Accounting and Finance Teams
Teamwork skills encompass many things which are essential in today's business environment, and are one of the top characteristics that employers look for in potential new recruits. Issues relating to teamwork, such as ensuring the competence of the team and the importance of supervision, are closely linked to quality control; and for accounting and finance professionals, especially those providing assurance services, demonstrating compliance with relevant quality control regulations will always be of the utmost importance.
Lisa Weaver's latest course, Working in Accounting and Finance Teams, looks at how to establish, manage and monitor a successful team.
This course can count as 4 hours of verifiable cpd and the first 20 people who ...
Will lease accounting remain a controversial area of accounting?
Lisa Weaver, author of Managing your Transition to IFRS, this week looks at Hans Hoogervorst’s recent speech at the London School of Economics, which addressed some recent wins for the IASB and some mountains they still have to climb.
By Lisa Weaver
Recently Hans Hoogervorst, the IASB Chair, delivered a speech at the London School of Economics. He spent some time discussing some of the more controversial aspects of IFRS accounting, and highlighted how the IASB has made great strides in the last 10 years in pushing through some unpopular accounting treatments, despite a huge amount of lobbying. He cited the accounting treatment of stock options and pension plans ...
Online cpd works best when it’s social
Last week, accountingcpd.net was a winner at the annual E-Learning Awards with the judges going so far as to say that we'd turned cpd into "something of a 'guilty pleasure' for accountants rather than a chore."
The judges were particularly impressed that accountingcpd.net's online courses allow learners to learn from each other as well as from the experts, and really promote the 'social' elements of being online. Our courses are being recognised by the professional bodies too, who have praised our unique learning as "a more valuable approach to cpd".
accountingcpd.net's managing director, Alan Nelson explained why this is important for the profession. "We are delighted to win this award and for all the right reasons. The judges were struck by the way accountants and ...
Anna Faherty in International Accountant
Ethics and professionalism is a topic ever present in the accounting world and it is great to see author Anna Faherty asked to talk about the topic in this month's International Accountant (pages 23-25). In her article Anna discusses ethical dilemmas, identifying ethical issues, resolving ethical conflicts and much more.
These are all topics which Anna covers in further detail in her Professionalism and Ethics course which helps you discover the challenges and rewards of behaving ethically in the workplace, consider your own moral values and explore perspectives that will challenge your views.
accountingcpd.net shortlisted at the E-learning Awards
accountingcpd.net has been shortlisted in the Best use of social media for learning category at this year's E-Learning Awards. The E-Learning Awards aim to recognise real excellence in the e-learning industry and are presented by e.learning age.
"We are delighted to have our work recognised in this way" says Alan Nelson, Managing Director of Nelson Croom, publishers of accountingcpd.net. "accountingcpd.net launched at the end of 2010 and was immediately embraced by the professional community. As well as being a commercial success, it is changing the way accountants maintain their professional knowledge and competence."
Don't forget that for the rest of September you can get 2 of our courses for the price of 1 with the promo ...
Risk Management Update
Our course on Risk Management, written by David Allen has been updated this month. The final section of the course looks at recent issues and disasters in terms of risk and includes new content around the topics of miss-selling by UK banks, and the issue of rate-rigging and the manipulation of LIBOR.
The course looks at the context in which the concept of risk management has developed, the sort of infrastructure and processes it requires, and the impact it has on traditional control systems, as well as looking at some of the problems which have made national and international news.
How socially responsible is your business?
What is a corporation's role in society at large? What is their 'Corporate Social Responsibility'? This debate has been raging for some time, most recently focusing on how enterprises align their economic considerations with social and environmental ones.
accountingcpd.net's new course, Corporate Social Responsibility, from author David Allen, looks at the wider responsibilities of businesses. It explores the problems brought about by damage to the physical environment (pollution and degradation and resources) and the risks and opportunities they engender for individual enterprises. The course looks at the increasing amount of regulation and guidance, such as on diversity and fair trade, and outlines the vital role that the finance function can play.
Getting the most from staff working remotely during the Olympics
International and Remote Working author Anna Faherty shares some tips for managers considering implementing remote working during London 2012.
by Anna Faherty
As an east London resident I’m mightily excited by the prospect of the world’s largest sporting event happening on my doorstep. I’ve already been to the Olympic Park for two sneak preview test events, and cleared my diary for both the Olympics and Paralympics schedules. As the date draws closer, however, I - like many Londoners - am starting to worry about the impact the games will have on both my personal and professional life.
Transport, it seems, will be a nightmare. For businesses, the answer according to the Cabinet Office’s London 2012 document
Posted 03-Sep-2013 at 13:34
For everybody, there comes a time when you have to consider your departure from business life, and wonder if the firm you have built up will have value in someone else's eyes.
Developing a solid succession plan means nothing is left to chance. It ensures the best return for you and gives a degree of comfort to any staff involved.
accountingcpd.net's new course, Succession Planning, based on the IFAC Guide to Practice Management for Small and Medium Sized Practices, helps you to develop a succession plan, value your firm and consider both internal succession and shared ownership.
Buy this course before the end of June and receive 10% off with the promo code ACPD147.*
*Can not be used in conjunction with any other ...
Launch of International and Remote Working
Whatever organisation you work in, you are bound to collaborate with colleagues who work at home, across the globe or at different locations and times. Yet many people are unprepared for the challenges - and rewards - of international, flexible and remote working.
accountingcpd.net's new online cpd course, International and Remote Working, helps you discover the challenges and rewards of working at a distance and lets you explore some practical tools and techniques to improve your own and your colleagues' performance.
The first 50 people to purchase this course will get 15% off, just go to accountingcpd.net and use the promo code ACPD145 in the purchase process.*
New online cpd course – Becoming an Expert Witness
If you act as an expert witness or are planning to do so, accountingcpd.net's new course Becoming an Expert Witness is for you. The course looks at what it takes to be an expert witness and helps you prepare to testify and defend your report and opinion.
This online cpd course helps you:
Understand what is expected from an expert witness
Prepare to give evidence in court
Know how you can qualify as an expert witness
Understand witness liability
We're offering a 15% discount to the first 50 people to buy this course. Simply go to accountingcpd.net ...
ACCA launch a new CPD focused area
ACCA have announced the launch of the new cpd section of their website and you can find all accountingcpd.net's courses listed here.
In keeping with ACCA's goal to provide easily accessible learning solutions the new resource places all learning opportunities together in one place under 10 main subject headings. You will also find details on ACCA's cpd policy and guidance on how to meet your cpd requirements.
The new cpd section offers you:
all learning opportunities in one place
ability to browse by topic - organised under 10 main categories
one-stop access to: articles, e-learning, podcasts, online seminars, research and qualifications from partners
the option to view a brief ...
How to manage your team to high performance
The most effective teams are made up of individuals who can work together to a common goal and make the most of their resources. They have reached 'high performance' status.
accountingcpd.net‘s new course, Managing High Performing Teams for Accountants, will equip you with the skills to create, develop and nurture such teams and handle issues such as team performance, politics, dynamics and power structures.
For a limited period, this course is available as part of our 2 for 1 offer. Order before the end of March, and use the promotional code ACPD143 when prompted*.
*Can not be used in conjunction with any other offer.
Fresh Thinking with respect to Cash
Working Capital Optimisation and Cash Flow Management author John Mardle looks at why fresh thinking is needed in regard to Working Capital.
by John Mardle
Working Capital is at the top of every CFO's agenda, according to CFO Europe Magazine and Global Treasury News, which is a change from the 'Cinderella' status it held for much of the boom times. So what has fundamentally changed?
Firstly credit is hard to come by for most organisations and if available it is increasingly made expensive by fees, ...
Launch of Managing your Transition to IFRS
Since 2005 all EU listed companies have been reporting under IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) in their group accounts. The UK and US are both currently considering a transition to IFRS, as are many other countries such as India and Japan.
The switch from local accounting standards to IFRS must be well thought-out, and its implications understood. The lessons learned by the EU's listed companies are that a broad perspective is needed, and that the conversion must be treated as a project, carefully planned and executed.
accountingcpd.net's new online course, Managing your Transition to IFRS, tells you everything you need to know about the new standards, the benefits and the implications of using them, and how to make the ...
Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) helping your business
John Mardle, author of Working Capital Optimisation and Cash Flow Management, brings you his latest blog which looks at how an efficient Cash Conversion Cycle can help you reduce your need for Working Capital.
by John Mardle
Latest surveys from leading organisations indicate that funding for Working Capital is becoming scarcer as banks and other financial institutions find it more difficult to raise cash on the money markets.
The news that Moody's has reviewed the credit outlook for the UK and indicated that it will have a grading that reflects a negative outlook will add further pressure on the carrying cost of capital ...
London 2012 is missing a social media trick
accountingcpd.net author Anna Faherty explains why the London Olympic Games Organising Committee are missing out on the opportunity that Social Media presents.
by Anna Faherty
For most people, their social media strategy is either non-existent or based on strict rules about what their organisation says they can or can't say. But if you're organising one of the biggest sporting events in the world, you need to think more creatively than that. You also need a lot of people and a lot of time to make the most of social media around your event.
Almost a year before last weekend’s US Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, marketing company Raidious ...
Launch of Grammar and Effective Writing for Accountants
Good grammar and writing skills are key communication tools for every professional. Using language incorrectly can undermine your credibility; you might be an expert in your field, but people won’t listen or fully understand if you can't explain yourself coherently. Writing concise, accurate and engaging text relies on choosing the most suitable words and applying the correct rules of grammar.
accountingcpd.net's new course, Grammar and Effective Writing for Accountants, will boost your grammar and punctuation skills and help you to craft effective and clear sentences to allow your writing to be fully understood.
Business Performance Management, Culture Building and KPIs
accountingcpd.net author Robin Tidd believes Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) form a key part of Business Performance Management and Culture Building. In the first of this two part blog he looks at why and how KPIs really work.
by Robin Tidd
If you avoid the pitfalls in application and use the right performance indicators well you can expect your organisation to have a competitive advantage. There is overwhelming evidence that this is true.
The right Performance Indicators work by having an effect on performance, both by guiding actions and motivating people. Key Performance Indicators are therefore the ‘key’ ones, the 'red flag' ones which represent the factors which must be monitored at all times. There are also the more notorious ...
Professionalism and Ethics for Accountants launches
From the Enron scandal and BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill to MPs expenses and Wiki Leaks, issues of trust, transparency, ethics and corporate social responsibility have never been so high on the organisational agenda.
Yet recognising ethical issues and taking appropriate and effective decisions isn’t easy. Spanning both home and personal worlds, and never black and white, the management of ethical dilemmas is a challenging situations for all professionals.
accountingcpd.net‘s new online cpd course, Professionalism and Ethics for Accountants, helps you discover the challenges and rewards of behaving ethically, consider your own moral values and explore perspectives that will challenge your views.
High Pay for Directors
Lisa Weaver, author of accountingcpd.net’s Corporate Governance, reacts to The High Pay Commission’s "Cheques with balances: why tackling high pay is in the national interest" report and how it relates to good governance.
by Lisa Weaver
The High Pay Commission this week published its latest report entitled "Cheques with balances: why tackling high pay is in the national interest". Deborah Hargreaves, chair of the commission commented that there is "a crisis at the top of British business and it is deeply corrosive to our economy. When pay for senior executives is set behind closed doors, does not reflect ...
accountingcpd.net partners with ACCA
We are pleased to announce that accountingcpd.net and ACCA are partnering to offer high quality online cpd to all ACCA members. From today all ACCA members can receive 10% off any course purchased from accountingcpd.net.
All ACCA members have to do to claim their discount is:
Log in to ACCA’s new Virtual Learning Centre
Click on the cpd providers list and select the accountingcpd.net link
OR pick a topic area you are interested in and follow the link through to accountingcpd.net
You will find your 10% discount code, which can be used for every purchase made on accountingcpd.net
All of our courses, on a ...
A costly case of poor corporate governance
Lisa Weaver, author of accountingcpd.net's Corporate Governance course, brings you her thoughts on the recent UBS scandal and how good corporate governance could have prevented the situation.
by Lisa Weaver
Swiss bank UBS were in the limelight for all the wrong reasons at the end of October. In a scandal reminiscent of, but exceeding in scale the Barings fiasco of 1995, a "rogue trader" has been found responsible for huge losses. The UBS trader Kweku Adoboli has been arrested and is being held accountable for losses of $2.3 billion – making Nick Leeson's losses of $1.4 billion look like small fry. Clearly such cases are examples of fraudulent activity on a grand scale, but the question is whether ...
Employment Law for Accountants updated
accountingcpd.net has today launched a new edition of Employment Law for Accountants. Employment law changes frequently and we make sure that all changes are incorporated into the course on a regular basis. Every once in a while we consolidate all the updates, refresh the learning activities and the design into a brand new edition.
If you have already purchased the course your current answers have been kept so that you can continue working your way through the course as you please. If you want more information on this update or on our planned future updates you can contact us.
Launch of Practice Management: Building and Growing your Firm
accountingcpd.net are pleased to bring you the next online cpd course in our series aimed at helping you build and sustain your professional practice.
Building and Growing your Firm, the third in this eight part series, looks at issues such as developing a growth strategy, coping with increased regulation and competition, marketing, and how to enhance the "culture” of your firm. The course follows on from Planning for your Firm and Practice Models and Networks, ...
Corporate Governance Update
We have just relaunched Corporate Governance with further content to make it relevant to all international markets. The course covers the two key approaches to corporate governance: the code of best practice approach, for example the UK corporate governance code which was the first code to be developed and has since been widely emulated all over the world; and it also covers the legislative approach which is typified by the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. In addition, other techniques from across the world are also covered.
Written by Lisa Weaver the course takes a practical approach with a myriad of scenarios to bring the subject to life. It enables you to understand the main provisions of Corporate Governance, identify governance problems within a company, establish effective board ...
Managing risk in your business
It is difficult, these days, to pick up a newspaper or magazine and not find stories involving serious problems which have suddenly struck particular enterprises.
Whatever the cause you are left to wonder why top management were not aware of the possibility so that they could take evasive action – or at least be in a position to react quickly and positively when the problem arose.
accountingcpd.net’s new course, Risk Management, from author David Allen looks at some of the problems which have made national and international news. He explores the context in which the concept of risk management has developed, the sort of infrastructure and processes it requires, and the impact it has on traditional control ...
Giving you an edge: how devoting half an hour a week to social media delivers benefits to accountants
accountingcpd.net author, Anna Faherty, looks at the benefits of social media for accountants, and how a little time each week can pay a dividends.
By Anna Faherty
Less than one in ten accountants use social media as a core route to attract clients, according to a survey by CCH and YouGov. So does this mean there’s no benefit to using social media? Far from it. It could be the tool that just gives you the edge...
The Chartered Institute for Management Accountants (CIMA) have just announced that the few management accountants who systematically use social media "report improvements in their ...
A new series on Practice Management
Do you have an agreed strategy for your firm? Successful practices understand what makes them different. They have a clear plan, they understand their practice model and have strong people, technology, risk management and client relationship strategies.
accountingcpd.net are pleased to bring you a new series of courses aimed at helping you build and sustain your professional practice. These courses are designed to improve the management and operational efficiency of your practice by helping you look at the opportunities and challenges you face. The courses show you how you can use these to grow your business’ sustainability and profitability, with help from your peers and the latest global best practice techniques.
The first two courses of the series, Planning ...
Cutting clutter – an issue of information overload?
accountingcpd.net author Lisa Weaver looks at the importance of cutting clutter in your annual reports.
By Lisa Weaver
The Financial Reporting Council published a report in April 2011 entitled "Cutting Clutter: Combating clutter in annual reports".
The report argues that company annual reports often suffer from the problem of information overload, containing too much data and overly verbose narrative explanations which obscure relevant information and make it difficult for key points to be determined by interested parties.
The FRC considers that clutter exists because annual reports contain too many unnecessary disclosures ...
Getting women on board - an issue in governance
accocuntingcpd.net author Lisa Weaver, whose course on Corporate Governance launched this week, looks at the findings of the 'Gender Diversity Report' by the Financial Reporting Council.
by Lisa Weaver
In May 2011, the Financial Reporting Council issued the Consultation Document 'Gender diversity on boards'. The consultation centres on whether listed companies should be required to publish their policy on gender diversity and report against it annually.
Introducing the consultation ...
Avoiding scandal with good corporate governance
The term "corporate governance" is recognisable to almost everyone because of the many shocking scandals occurring in companies and other organisations across the world, and regularly reported in the press. The notorious case of Enron and the associated demise of Arthur Andersen focussed the world’s attention on the corporate structure and management of business, attitudes to risk management, and the relationships of businesses with their external advisors.
But it’s not just big business that can benefit from good governance. Companies of all sizes will benefit from having good risk management strategies and, increasingly, accountants are being asked to advise on governance issues.
accountingcpd.net has launched a new online cpd course on Corporate Governance. The course explores the UK's Corporate Governance Code since ...
Social Media: the Golden Goose
With the launch of our new course, Social Media for Accountants, accountingcpd.net takes a look at how the financial world values the world of social media.
Social media is the new Golden Goose of Wall Street. Witness the crazy performance of LinkedIn's stock market debut last week. Launched at $45, the shares more than doubled in the first day’s trading, valuing the business at $8.8 billion or about 23 times the 2011 revenue, assuming first quarter sales are maintained through the rest of the year.
Last year the business did grow briskly, doubling its revenue to $243.1 million, but it makes very little profit: $3.4 million last year and it does not expect to make any money this year.
If you’re job-hunting, make sure your social media profile is up to date
accountingcpd.net author Anna Faherty looks at the role social media plays in your professional life even before you have a job.
By Anna Faherty
With all the buzz about super injunctions and Twitter in the past few weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking social media is all about whistle-blowing and privacy-hungry premiership footballers. But social media can be of use to us all - especially when we’re recruiting staff or applying for jobs ourselves. Recent research shows recruiters are using social media more than applicants, and even rejecting candidates on the basis of their social media profiles.
Recruiters using social media
Social Media as a professional tool
Have you ever wanted to exploit the power of social media but been unsure where to start? Do you know what is out there but not how to use it to benefit your professional life?
accountingcpd.net have launched a course to help. Social Media for Accountants by Anna Faherty will show you how social media can help you achieve your professional goals, help you explore some of the most common social media platforms and discover how other organisations and individuals use social media in a professional context.
Find out more about the course and how to access it here.
Fraud is on the up!
accountingcpd.net author John Taylor responds to the recent release of the KPMG Fraud Barometer figures, which show that fraud is on the up, and how this can affect your businesses need for vigilance.
by John Taylor
Financial crime hit record levels in 2010 according to the KPMG Fraud Barometer, but this time financial services industry frauds, normally in the top spot, have been overtaken by frauds against the government.
The Fraud Barometer is based on cases involving frauds in excess of £100,000 which have come before the courts. In ...
Special offer course on ethics
Don’t forget you can still get a free hour of online cpd on ethics. The course, Ethical Issues in Professional Relationships, is taken from the first module of our full four hour course Ethical Issues for Accountants, and offers you the chance to complete one hour of verifiable cpd for free.
You can find out more and register for the course here.
Engaging with ethics
Last week accountingcpd.net attended an event organised by the UK Inter-Professional Group (UKIPG) on ethics and the professions. We wanted to look at how professionals engaged with ethics and see what ‘best practice’ there was when creating courses on the topic. Three main points of interest emerged.
Don't get into the detail
It is important to stick to ‘principles’ and not get into the 'nitty gritty' of rules. Ethics is about enabling professionals to make the right decisions and ‘do the right thing’. If you try and tell people ‘what to do’ by writing rules you run the risk of people disputing them, and in time justifying why rules don’t apply to them.
By sticking to the principles and promoting attitudes, you help people make the right choices themselves rather than trying to do that for them.
Make sure the information you have is appropriate
Ethics is ...
Difficulties in implementing Continuous Improvement and-or Lean Six Sigma Part II
Robin Tidd continues his look Continuous Improvement and/or Lean Six Sigma with a focus on the rewards that companies can see from implementing such schemes.
By Robin Tidd
It is important to understand why it can be so difficult to implement change and transformation towards excellence. If we understand the key ingredients we can think about circumventing the difficulties.
Often the responsibility for introducing the transformation into the business in the first instance lies with the external trainers or consultancies. Lots of larger organisations recruit one or more Continuous Improvement managers.
One would assume that the commitment of the CEO was present at the outset, or the process would not even have started. But how can top management commitment be sustained, for it is that factor which ...
Difficulties in implementing Continuous Improvement and-or Lean Six Sigma Part I
In this two part blog author Robin Tidd looks at Continuous Improvement and Lean Six Sigma. This week he looks at where we are now and what role the accountant can play.
By Robin Tidd
Progress so far is quite slow
It is now clear that businesses of all sizes have settled for Continuous Improvement and/or Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as the guiding light for Business Performance Management. Most say they are ‘going for both’, but some see them as alternatives. Although many external providers of the development programmes claim that Lean brings Continuous Improvement the claim is a bit misleading. Lean is in the right direction and will do a lot for culture in the short term, but Continuous Improvement is more or less a permanent culture change and that is another issue altogether. Lean is what you do with a comprehensive set of tools to improve performance ...
A new course announced
accountingcpd.net recently met with Robin Tidd, author of Business Performance Management, Key Performance Indicators, Managing Through a Recession and The Road to Continuous Improvement, to scope out his next course which he is going to begin writing this summer. The new course is titled The Accountant as Business Advisor.
The course includes five modules:
What makes a good advisor?
Opportunities and problems
Tools and techniques
The content will look at what potentially makes an accountant an ideal person to perform the role of a business advisor, and how they ...
Finding hidden cost saving opportunities Part V
Brian Plowman provides the last in his series of blogs. This week he discusses the cost saving exercise of identifying and eradicating NOISE from your business.
By Brian Plowman
How much NOISE is there in your business?
Asking managers to document the detail of where time is actually being spent, categorising it to highlight where problems lie and proposing solutions tends to drop into the "sorry, too busy” box. The level of detail required to expose NOISE is a stumbling block unless an efficient, cost effective way of handling the volume of data can be found. Process visualisation is needed and that means to prompt, prioritise and then track proposals for improvements through to measuring that the benefits are finally delivered.
Finding and nailing down NOISE not only gives an immediate opportunity for cost reduction, it provides ...
Finding hidden cost saving opportunities Part IV
Brian Plowman continues his look at finding hidden cost saving opportunities.
By Brian Plowman
The invisibility and lack of understanding of the interfacing activities previously discussed is always costly and reduces employee satisfaction and levels of service to both internal and external customers.
Undocumented interfacing activities usually take up over 50% of the total activity routinely undertaken and so impact on the productivity, which is keenly felt by staff. For one thing it’s doubtful if all the extra work would have been included in the budget so they are constantly under pressure to get their main work done in the normal hours allotted.
And the rub is staff know that if they were asked they’d come up with solutions or at least attempt to eliminate the root causes.
How big is the hidden ...
Finding hidden cost saving opportunities Part III
Brian Plowman continues to look at examples of unanticipated interfacing activities within organisations.
By Brian Plowman
A prepared food manufacturer
Take for example an Account Manager raising a production order for a special two week promotion for a supermarket chain. The anticipated interfacing activities would include placing orders with suppliers for all packaging and ingredients as well as to provide the schedule to the manufacturing department. The unanticipated interfacing activities would include panic chasing of all the extra materials to make a final extra short production run to fulfil the sales demand for the last two days of the two week promotion.
As well as all the extra work, the impression given to the factory was that the Sales Account Managers didn’t fully understand the impact of promotions on the company’s ...
Finding hidden cost saving opportunities Part II
Following on from his article on hidden costs, Brian Plowman looks at unanticipated interfacing activities within an organisation.
by Brian Plowman
A member of staff requires a piece of equipment. The anticipated interfacing activities include: receive requisition then locate and issue equipment. The unanticipated interfacing activities include having to compensate for the equipment being shown as ‘instock’ when clearly it is still out somewhere.
So the quick fix is to phone the member of staff to see if an alternative will do and if not there is a need to start a search of the many locations where such equipment can be used. As well as all the extra work, the impression given to staff is that most of the organisation doesn’t fully understand its own processes or the importance of adhering to them!
In this case, ...
Finding hidden cost saving opportunities Part I
accountingcpd.net author, Brian Plowman, explains why businesses need to fully understand their processes if they are to save money.
By Brian Plowman
Recognising the need to change your business processes to show quick returns is a first step. But uncertainty about where to start loses precious time and wastes effort on changing the wrong things; where few benefits can be realised or an inappropriate cut damages the core business. In 2011 this uncertainty will be further exacerbated by the need to make changes to the business processes more frequently and much sooner than conventional methods can deliver. And cost constraints will demand rigorously targeted change. In our role as change agents these extra challenges are particularly vexing. Fresh insights are needed if clients are to be ...
Is the dash for cash right for you?
In recent times most companies have had to be increasingly aware of their inputs and outputs yet this is not always carried out in the most effective way. accountingcpd.net author John Mardle discusses why this is.
by John Mardle
With the costs of credit soaring and debts on balance sheets looking increasingly ‘fragile’, as banks keep reviewing their customers covenanants, it seems the only answer is to reign in customers who owe you money on unpaid invoices or not pay suppliers for a considerable period of time.
However both these scenarios lead to difficult relationships that could jeopardise your own company’s performance whether it is in reduced profits or it in fact causes you to suffer cash flow problems.
Recent evidence as portrayed in
Posted 29-Aug-2013 at 16:00
The price of budgeting
Every company needs to budget, it is a necessary part of success, yet can the price of implementing a budgeting system sometimes outweigh the savings you make? Stuart Warner discusses.
By Stuart Warner
Steve Player, North American Program Director for the Beyond Budgeting Round Table (BBRT) and CEO of The Player Group recently said "On average it budgeting takes 4 months and 20-30% of senior executive and financial managers' time."
The Hackett Group, a global strategic advisory and operations improvement consulting firm, found that organisations spend 25,000 man hours on budgeting and planning per $1 billion of revenue.
These statistics and my own experience in speaking to many accountants over the years have demonstrated the significant cost of budgeting to many organisations. If the actual time taken for budgeting was translated into ...
Accounting for changing price levels
Author David Allen looks at inflation in the UK and what it means for accountants.
By David Allen
It cannot have escaped accountants’ notice that U.K. inflation, for many months now, has not only been above the Bank’s target, but also above its own forecasts. Nobody is arguing that this inflation is of the old ‘wage push’ variety: it has its roots in the devaluation of sterling, quantitative easing, and government action to reduce its deficit the effect of which, of course, is to reduce the real value of the government’s debt.
The problem is that, once people suspect that the Bank’s forecasts are deliberately overoptimistic, inflationary expectations could become self-fulfilling, i.e. a spiral of increasing prices, wages and interest rates could develop.
Somewhere along the line, it would become obvious to all that, in such conditions, the traditional ...
accountingcpd.net forms links globally
Last week saw accountingcpd.net spreading its wings internationally. We sold courses to accountants in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America and welcomed affiliates on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Institute of Accounting Technicians has offices in Delaware and Vancouver and 18,000 members around the world, all of whom can now benefit from our genuine learning experience. Closer to home Accountant’s Circle and Accounting Education are also both on board. Linking up to this diverse group of professionals around the world is central to the accountingcpd.net ...
New Course: The Road to Continuous Improvement
The Road to Continuous Improvement is never straightforward. The concept itself was coined by W. Edwards Deming from a series of talks he delivered whilst in Japan in 1950. Since then the theory has been known at various times as Corporate Wide Quality Improvement, Total Quality Management and The Deming Philosophy. No matter the name, the main focus is on ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes by appreciating the impact of statistical techniques, problem analysis tools and ‘soft’ human considerations.
Now accountingcpd.net author Robin Tidd brings you a course on how you can implement Continuous Improvement within your business. The course looks at how to best implement the theory and tackle any issues which occur from implementation.
New Course: Managing Professionals for Results
Hot on the heels of the recently updated series of management courses accountingcpd.net today launches Managing Professionals for Results.
As part of our peer-enriched learning suite, the key ideas, skills and theories are presented and users can exchange their own ideas for meeting the particular challenges of managing high performing professionals.
The course looks at management at three levels: strategic, tactical and operational. It will enable you to develop your leadership skills, coach individuals to improve their performance and balance all that with operating as an individual contributor.
More information can be found here.
Updated course: Managing from Within the Team
Accountants and finance professionals are more often than not required to work within the team which they manage. The necessity to work alongside those you manage can be a cause of tension and conflict. Yet when handled correctly it can also lead to a successful and happy team. The key is finding the right balance. When this is achieved managing from within a team can be one of the most effective ways to lead. You demonstrate your own commitment to the team, as well as building a strong relationship with those you manage, whilst learning their strengths and weaknesses first hand.
Managing from Within the Team helps you achieve that. The course is now updated with a new look and feel, to enable easier navigation for the learner, and updated course content. This content includes information on avoiding and/or effectively managing conflict and guidance ...
Updated course: Coaching Skills
Accountants are often asked to take the first steps as a manager early in their careers. The skills developed at this time can be vital to a career in accounting and should be taken as seriously as competency at accounting. Whether you are part of a large or small team, communication and coaching is vital in ensuring success and results in the work place. By having an understanding of coaching interactions all accountants can look to improve their management skills and so their careers.
accountingcpd.net’s Coaching Skills course has now been updated to include additional content as well as a revamped styling to enable you to make the most from the learning experience. The course now looks at how to deal with root causes of performance problems, the latest theories ...
Updated course: Leadership Skills
In the current competitive and complex financial environment, the ability to lead, pull a team together and ensure that the organisation or end-client receives the most effective possible service has never been more important. It is a common mistake to believe that leadership skills are something which only senior people require when in fact, leadership is a key skill that accountants and finance professional at every level need to master. Everyone has resources which they need to manage within their job, a good knowledge of leadership skills can help you in this no matter how senior your position in a firm or company.
accountingcpd.net‘s popular Leadership Skills course helps you develop these skills and many more. The course has been revamped and updated to ...
Assessing going concern in turbulent times
Recent economic turbulence has raised the significance of the basic concept of ensuring that a business is a going concern.
To help finance professionals with this difficult area, accountingcpd.net have developed a new course, Assessing Going Concern, which provides a succinct refresher to the subject and a briefing on recent pronouncements from the FRC and APB (APB 2008/1 and APB 2008/10) as well as reviewing the guidance in FRS 18 and ISA 570.
The course can be used as verifiable cpd for all the major accounting bodies and counts as an hour of learning. You can find out more here.
Is the public sector catching up?
By David Allen
The last few years have been characterised, in the private sector at least, by a shift away from the old ‘command and compliance’ style of management to the new ‘trust and commitment’ style, and my ‘Managerial megatrends’ course highlights the implications of that shift, and how it affects financial control.
Two of the megatrends identified in the course were:
that from a culture of conflict to one of collaboration (across the functions, and with customers, suppliers and employees), and
that from a top down and centralised approach to a devolved and localised one.
Nevertheless, it came as a surprise to see the establishment of a coalition government (itself an example of collaboration) and, even more so, to see the emphasis its leaders are putting on getting away from centrally ...
Reactions to the ACCA ‘Where next for the global economy’ report
By Brian Plowman
I read the report by ACCA on 'where next for the global economy'. Interesting stuff. However, when you read about predictions for 2030 you should keep in mind predictions made 20 years ago in 1990 about today. Much that actually has happened has been a surprise. The laws of unforeseen consequences tend to dominate.
One of my personal forecasts was that the UK would take a global lead in developing new energy generation options and make a world leading decision to create a UK wide infrastructure for electric vehicles (much like building the railways). However the amount of investment needed to achieve this unfortunately went to bankers and their ilk.
With this in mind my global predictions for 2030 are that ...
New cpd course: Innovation
In times of crisis, innovation is particularly important. Organisations that ignore changes in their customers and clients, the economic environment or their competitors won’t perform well. You may not always make money from innovation, but doing things differently may prevent you losing money.
This new course, designed for accountants, is all about generating and implementing new ideas, breaking the mould to deliver business success. It shows you why innovation is important, how to create and select great ideas and how to support and realise them in their own organisation.
The course can be used as verifiable cpd for all the major UK accounting bodies and counts as 4 hours of learning. You can find out more here.
This is the third course Anna Faherty has written ...
How many taxpayer years are you worth?
By Anna Faherty
For non-accountants like me, getting your head around large numbers can be a challenge. Talk about a few pounds and I relate the cost to a pint or two of beer; mention a few hundred or thousand pounds and I think of furniture, holidays or cars; bring up millions, billions or even trillions and I quickly lose perspective. So what can you do to help your colleagues and clients grasp the relevance of numbers on this scale?
Making numbers – or any remotely technical issues – accessible to non-specialists is all about linking them to subjects and situations relevant to your audience. Unfortunately, most normal people don’t spend hundreds of thousands of pounds or more very regularly. But, as Benjamin Franklin once famously confirmed, one thing we all do is pay tax. And tax was the surprising way in which the coalition government Chancellor, George Osborne, ...
Who are we?
One plays in a rock band, another first coined the phrase Strategic Financial Management. One tweets for the Ragged School Museum in East London and another is a big fan of 24.
With the launch of accountingcpd.net it seems only sensible to introduce you to our authors. As well as being interesting people in their own right, they’ve all been chosen because they are leading experts in their fields and develop high quality courses that meet your CPD needs.
For all our courses, we start with the topic. We research the market and talk to our accounting partners to find out the sorts of topics you want to see courses on. Once we know what courses you want us to publish we set out to find the person most qualified to write the content. Luckily many of us here at accountingcpd.net are ex-book publishers, so we don’t find this too much of a challenge.
accountingcpd.net – now launched with free cpd!
To celebrate the launch of accountingcpd.net we’re offering new members a free hour’s CPD.
This free hour is taken from our Ethical Issues for Accountants course and is verifiable with your professional body.
accountingcpd.net provides high quality online courses for accounting and finance professionals. Our courses:
are written by experts
cover essential technical and business skills
can count as verifiable cpd for all of the UK’s accounting professional bodies
Are recommended by ACCA, IFA, IAT, IAB, IAAP, NIAT and the Association of Corporate Treasurers
provide 4 hours of cpd and a certificate of completion
are available at anytime, anywhere in the world – all you need is an internet connection and ...
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