The economy may be bouncing along the bottom of a recessionary rut deeper than the Grand Canyon, but 2012 has been a brilliant year on AccountingWEB.co.uk.
So far this year, we’ve averaged well over 1m hits a month (up nearly 15% on 2011), with visits from up to 30,000 individuals a day. But passing trade isn’t what matters most to us on AccountingWEB; we’re far more excited by the ideas, suggestions and advice shared by our regular members.
Our Blog page has thrived during the past year and now boasts 18 featured bloggers catering for every professional taste. The same could be said of our Discussion group area, which includes some very active and supportive gems, including David Winch’s Money Laundering and Crime group and the Sage 50 Accounts group.
But the Any Answers section continues to be AccountingWEB’s most popular gathering place - and long may that continue. More than half of all our traffic is driven by the conversations, quips and arguments in Any Answers, and the editorial/community team frequently take our leads from what is posted there.
It is this collaborative spirit we want to celebrate in this year’s AccountingWEB Community Awards. During the past few weeks, AccountingWEB members, staffers and sponsors have been chewing over nominations in categories covering different aspects of our online life. We’re grateful to those who made all contributions that we’re applauding here, and to those of you who took the time to nominate and endorse contenders in the different categories. There were a lot of very close races, but as far as we’re concerned, you’re all winners.
That’s enough chat - now is the time to find out who won!
- Blogger(s) of the year: There were nominations for longstanding AccountingWEB diary-writers The CEO and Practitioner. But we ended up with two main contenders, one from each wing of the profession. The writer of our Sole Practitioner’s Blog received the most nominations for his “simple, brutal, relatable honesty...”, as fellow member wilcoskip put it. But when it comes to getting under the skin of AccountingWEB members, you cannot overlook The Accountant in Business (aka the Flying Scotsman). Whether complaining about the smell on Virgin trains, the lack of responsibility among public servants or the momentum growing behind anti-tax avoidance campaigns, he consistently got a big reaction from AccountingWEB, averaging more than 7 replies on his 75 posts throughout the year. The Flying Scotsman may have considered not accepting a New Year’s Honour from the Queen, but we hope he’ll accept the Blogger of the Year award from AccountingWEB, shared jointly with Sole Practitioner blogger FirstTab.
- Technical thread of the year: Thanks to our Any Answers sponsor Tolley, this category actually carries a meaningful prize! There were some great technical debates throughout the year ranging from how one-man limited companies would cope with the RTI regime to the legality of emailing tax returns to clients. But based on a strong nomination from George Atazdeer and the quality of the contributors and their answers, the prize goes to a query in April about Alphabet shares for directors. The original question was posted by long-standing AccountingWEB member TROGGY, who will be rewarded with a pick from the Tolley/LexisNexis catalogue.
- Boffin of the Year: Many of those who featured in the top technical thread category showed up in this category too, including some of the experienced members of the community who are most generous with their time, including Steve Kesby, Euan MacLennan and Paul Scholes. But the overall winner is Mr Money Laundering Support himself, David Winch. In addition to running AccountingWEB’s biggest and most lively discussion group on crime and money laundering, David regularly pops up in Any Answers to help members with legal, tax and money laundering queries, for which he has been thanked more nearly 250 times in the past year.
- Technology champion of the year: This was yet another category where the case could be made for a communal prize for Johndon, Witch-Queen and Sarah Douglas, three members who help make the Sage 50 Accounts discussion group such a useful and vibrant section of AccountingWEB. All three deserve a public pat on the back, but helping people to use Sage deals with only one aspect of technology evangelism - and a standout candidate emerged from other members’ nominations. Merlyn has been a member of AccountingWEB for nearly two years and has already racked up 58 thanks this year for comments on technology issues such as Encryption (on the controversial Dropbox thread), Network Attached Storage, and using Excel to prepare accounts. Merlyn appears to be a normal, feet-on-the-ground accountant with a clear-headed attitude to tech and is a very deserving winner of this prize.
- Most charitable member of the year: We put a bit more work into the charitable sector this year via the Charities discussion group, where in addition to monitoring the issues that matter to those working in the third sector, we’ve also tried to promote news of accountants’ fund-raising campaigns and stunts. By the acclaim of members in that group, this award goes to Paul Scholes. When he’s not answering technical and practice queries, or trying to get fellow accountants interested in sustainability, Paul also finds time, in the words of Moonbeam, to make “charitable work sound interesting!”
- Quirkiest thread of the year: There were quite a few honourable candidates for this award, including Paul Scholes’s contribution on Guatemalan worry dolls and Flash Gordon’s brush with the FBI. But the winner chosen by his peers was George Attazder’s thread on Magpies and their economic behaviour.
- Swiss Toni Top Comic prize: If Yuletide is a time for retrospectives, we thought it was opportune to hark back to one of the legendary AccountingWEB members of yore. Swiss Toni stepped out of the ‘Fast Show’ to make regular appearances on our site during 2008-9 with bon mots such as, “Speaking to HMRC is like making love to a beautiful woman, you have to push the right buttons, speak slowly, scream in frustration and finally hang up your handset.” We left the decision to members of our Time Out section, where led by Shirley M, they plumped for Flash Gordon, just ahead of George Attazder and Mouse007. A special mention is due to Constantly Confused, who asked in another thread if there would be a “member whose avatar looks most like a duck” prize. Sadly not this year, Constantly, but we’ll bear it in mind for the 2013 awards.
- Born Dull?! Personality of the Year is another memento for old timers who can recall the days when AccountingWEB used to hunt out those within the profession who had done the most to subvert the nostrum that all accountants are born dull (hence the outraged punctuation marks). We revived the award in the Born Dull?! discussion group, whose members put forward the same number of nominations for Monsoon, the mastermind behind the naked accountant project and Jennifer Psyche Coderre of Death and Taxes, whose clients warm to her Goth-friendly service. Gun ‘n’ Roses bass-player-turned-financial adviser Duff McKagan also got a look in. We’ll be hearing from all three in the months to come, but on the editor’s casting vote, Monsoon wins the prize for getting so many other accountants involved in her uninhibited, but charitable project. The calendar wasn’t ready in time for 2013, but she is looking ahead to seeing it through for 2014 and so are we.
- Overall AccountingWEB member of the year: The final, and most significant award in our motley collection salutes those who put the most into the AccountingWEB community with their comments and advice for other members. As you may have noticed, our thanking mechanism is a handy way to monitoring what members are thinking. To ensure that this prize was not subject to any editorial interference, we decided from the outset to rely on a straight count of thanks received throughout the past 12 months. On that basis, our member of the year for 2012 is ShirleyM. The table below indicates just how popular and busy she and the other leading contenders for this award have been on the site. We’d like to thank them all for their efforts, but also advise other members that they don’t have to compete with this bunch - we understand that you probably have job and family responsibilities to fulfil that should take precedence.
Whether or not you spend most of it on the site or doing self assessment tax returns, have a great holiday and Merry Christmas from all at AccountingWEB!
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