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Inside AccountingWEB: The UK’s own National Accounting Day

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As National Accounting Day approaches across the pond, Joanne Birtwistle shines the spotlight on accountants. In her latest despatch, she reveals how AccountingWEB is going to tackle the gripes keeping you awake at night.

16th May 2024
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In the US, it’s National Accounting Day on Sunday. In the UK, though, we’ll have to wait until International Accounting Day on November 10 to celebrate with the sparklers and fireworks we have left over from Bonfire Night.

Typical, you might think, that your counterparts over the pond get two days to celebrate all that is great and good about being an accountant and the impact the profession can have on not just individuals and businesses but the economy of the nation as a whole.

I’m here to tell you that you DO have another day too - The Accounting Excellence Awards are THE event of the year to celebrate UK accountants. In fact, I’m calling it – 8 October is awards night and it is now officially the UK’s National Accounting Day. The party will be at the Roundhouse in London; you are invited.

We have just a month to go until the deadline for entries closes. Share what makes your firm a shining example of best practice, and then come along and celebrate with others from your profession on the night. 

This isn’t about us - it’s about you

Talk of putting the spotlight on you brings me to my next request. Last month, I shared with you the findings from our first editorial board meeting. We invited engaged readers representing sole practitioners, small firms, mid-tier, large firms, and bookkeepers to attend an hour-long discussion. I then outlined some of the changes we’d like to implement as a result. 

I also asked for feedback on what you thought would improve AccountingWEB. I asked why and how you visit AccountingWEB – where the value is, what we can do more of, and how we can get better at what we do. Your response? Muted.

So, I’m here again with an update and a new approach. To complement our editorial board - which will next meet in the summer - the editorial team will conduct in-depth, qualitative one-on-one interviews with accountants and bookkeepers who are perhaps newly registered, have low engagement, or don’t currently read AccountingWEB, as well as with some who are here for it all every day (we appreciate you!).

Importantly, these interviews will not ask what you think of AccountingWEB. The aim of this exercise is to understand our audience better. So, we will focus on you and the issues you face every day in your roles as accountants and bookkeepers, in business and in practice. 

Tell us your pain points, your biggest issues, and what keeps you awake at night. Where do you get the information from to do your jobs better, stay informed, and be compliant? What information sources do you value the most, and what is missing or what could be improved?

We are hoping to gain a more in-depth understanding of your challenges and the resources you use to help and support you when dealing with those professional challenges so we can work out how we could improve the information services that we offer to the AccountingWEB audience. 

Alongside these in-depth interviews, I’m welcoming (again) feedback on these points from you - our existing readers - either as comments below or via DM.

Early bird emails

Finally, thanks to those of you who responded to our latest round of AccountingWEB Intelligence research, which this time focused on the content you value from vendors and how you consume it. I know our tech editor Tom Herbert has found that insight hugely valuable and informative. 

It also contained a few nuggets of information that are directly relevant to how we deliver our news to you. Specifically, survey respondents told us that the optimal time for you to receive newsletter emails was overnight or around 9am, so they were in your inbox when you first sat at your desk—or even before you started work.

If you’ve opened this article from a link in our Friday Insider newsletter, you may have already noticed it arrived earlier than usual. We’ll test sending the newsletters out earlier over the next couple of weeks to see whether an earlier arrival better suits you.

Replies (10)

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By FactChecker
16th May 2024 22:15

Just got to the final para and read: "If you’ve opened this article from a link in our Friday Insider newsletter .." - and for the first time in a while find that I must be on the leading (bleeding?) edge, 'cos it's still Thursday evening. Who needs emails/newsletters huh? :=)

Thanks (4)
Replying to FactChecker:
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By FactChecker
16th May 2024 22:40

But on a positive note, I applaud the intent to "conduct in-depth, qualitative one-on-one interviews with accountants and bookkeepers who are perhaps newly registered, have low engagement, or don’t currently read AccountingWEB".
They are your future (just as long as you don't forget our current needs)!

Can I suggest that you keep the bookkeepers and accountants in separate sets of analysis ... of course they overlap and are both valued, but too many 'flare-ups' on this site come from people not recognising the distinction in terms of their questions (this isn't a qualification issue).

Having said that ... given the push/threat (depending on your perspective) on professionalising the broader sector and the ineluctable focus on qualifications, it would be a good idea to include in your sample a reasonable smattering of those at varying levels of early progress in their quals (who often seem uncertain as to what to stick with vs what to move across to vs whether they can practice part-time with only partial knowledge and/or experience).

Anyway, it'll be fascinating to see what analysis comes forth.

Thanks (5)
Replying to FactChecker:
Joanne Birtwistle
By Joanne Birtwistle
17th May 2024 10:22

Thank you for your great suggestions. As always, I'll share our findings here and communicate any changes we make as a result.

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Jessica Pillow
By Jessica Pillow
17th May 2024 07:38

Love the earlier delivery!

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By johnjenkins
17th May 2024 10:57

There is only one gripe and that is HMRC. Down again today, can't get through on the phone. They are going to need a lot more than £51m to put things right. Perhaps they should have a National HMRC day or even an HMRC excellence awards.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
FT
By FirstTab
23rd May 2024 20:47

"HMRC excellence awards" - Please not another one of these.

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Mark Lee headshot 2023
By Mark Lee
20th May 2024 10:36

Great initiative Joanne
Off site in FB groups I was saddened to read recently of accountants and bookkeepers who have been turned off AW due to what they perceive as arrogant and hurtful replies to queries on Any Answers.

I am sure there's only a few members here that are so dismissive and I appreciate that when they're in a good mood they can be very helpful. But sometimes their demeaning replies negate all the good stuff and hurt the site too. Also their negative style, when left unchecked, probably encourages others to reply in a similar way too, which is also unhelpful.

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Replying to bookmarklee:
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By FactChecker
20th May 2024 21:46

Speaking as one of the people who appears to generate more hate mail than most (as well as more thanks than most), there are two main reasons that 'spats' break out:
- the majority are where (despite the Aweb registration warnings) a brand new member registers and patently is not a professional accountant/bookkeeper/tax adviser .. but demands answers and cuts up rough when not given a 'b&w answer' (preferably the one they wanted);
- the minority where, although undoubtedly a professional, it seems to others that they've stepped outside their comfort zone and yet appear to be trading within that zone of uncertainty .. and similarly to the previous category don't take kindly to being questioned.

Of course there are a few regulars who seem to enjoy winding others up (public forums the pros & cons?) and a few who occasionally fly off the handle for no apparent reason (having a bad day?), but the quality AND patience of most of the contributors is beyond excellent - which for a free site is quite something.

It would be a shame if the sensitivities of those who must find day-to-day life tough in the business world were to dilute the quality of contributions - which is what will happen if/when any more of the most highly regarded give up on the site (a much bigger existentialist threat to Aweb than a few moaners on FB).

People need to understand (apparently learn in some cases) that life requires you to be robust (as well as kind to those in need) and polite (not just demanding) ... known as 'you reap what you sow' to those of earlier generations.

Thanks (4)
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By User deleted
21st May 2024 07:46

Thanks for your great work!

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FT
By FirstTab
23rd May 2024 20:51

Sift - Just treat all members equally. Mean this rather than just words in the rules.

Please stop going for the same names for opinions and provide input for articles. I know what they will say or write just by looking at the name. I do not read the rest.

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