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Welcome to Small Change, a weekly catch-up with an accountant in practice to find out their daily routine and ask them about the biggest trends in the profession.
If you’ve taken even a cursory glance at AccountingWEB, the chances are you’ve heard of Charlie Carne. You’ll often find him imparting his insights on the tech pages, and thanks to his cloud pioneer status he previously held the hallowed position of AccountingWEB tech champion at the site's annual community awards.
AccountingWEB caught up with Carne at last month's chilly QB Connect conference. Not only did Carne join the No Accounting for Taste podcast (plug alert! Check out that episode from our archives), but he also took the Small Change challenge during the refreshment break.
Considering the arctic conditions across the country, it was appropriate that Carne discussed skiing and the delights of a toasty cup of coffee to kickstart the day.
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What's the first thing you do when you start your day?
Oh, make a cup of coffee, and the second thing is to have a second cup of coffee. It wakes me up a little bit.
Making tax digital or making tax difficult?
They've watered down the proposals so far that what's proposed at the moment isn't really much of a change from what I am doing already. I think it's sensible that [HMRC] is going take it slowly, starting with VAT and then slowly roll it out. So I think they've finally, finally been sensible.
What do you do to escape the world of tax and accounts?
Skiing: I just forget about everything else when I do it, you just focus on not breaking your leg. But I haven't had the chance to go yet this year.
What's the biggest change in the profession since you qualified?
Cloud. It's transformative. I do remember life before cloud and it was hell.
Do you check your emails outside office hours?
Are you tempted to break that routine?
It just means that when I go back to check them again, there are far too many and you get brain freeze. It's not worth leaving it.
Can you remember your first calculator?
I remember my dad buying one when I was a kid, and the first calculator I had ever seen was an enormous thing, which shows how old I am. I am upset that a Casio calculator I bought over twenty years ago isn't really working much anymore. It was my favourite calculator. It had rubber buttons, so I could hit them, and because they're rubber not plastic your finger doesn't slip off and I would rarely hit the wrong button. But it doesn't really work as well now.
What KPIs do you obsess about?
Erm.. The answer is probably none, which is an embarrassing answer for an accountant to say, or maybe it's because I am doing well so I'm not too bothered. Thankfully, it's not critical at the moment. The firm is not of a big enough size and I don't have my overheads small enough that it's not critical.
Do you actually understand blockchain?
I understand it a lot more now than I used to after I went to a day-long conference on blockchain in the music industry, which was fascinating. It was by a singer called Imogen Heap who is an expert on blockchain and a complete evangelist for the subject. So I understand it a lot more than before, but no, I probably couldn't explain it.