Member Since: 31st Mar 2016
15th Oct 2021
I don't give a tinker's cuss for gender quota. I have always looked to hire based on best person for the role. That said, one always has to consider "fit and balance" in the team as well.
In terms of our esteemed PM's notions of a "high-wage economy", I think he may be spending too much time "getting down with the fairies"! What on earth does he think is going to happen to general inflation in our economy once wage inflation filters through to prices. And, whilst understanding fully, the concept that paying people a market wage for a job always has and will be important in attracting and retaining people, the concept of paying anyone fresh out of university £50,000 to join is, to my mind, utter folly, whether or not the Big 4 and Major Banks are already doing it or not. These people know somewhere in between nothing and very little, have almost no experience (if any, even) and will need training and development by the organisation for a number of years, and as one observer has noted, what will this, in turn do for wage differentials between those who are senior and very experienced, and the (still) junior staff. Fees will have to rise, and clients will be even less inclined to want to pay for what they are increasingly seeing as (boiler-plate) audit and compliance work. Personally, I favour taking them straight from school, running them through apprenticeship-type scheme, involving AAT and then ACCA/CIMA/ACA if the employers and they so desire. After 3 or 4 years, you get a much more experienced, skilled and valuable person to my mind, than someone who just punted down from Oxford on The Isis.
All Boris is going to do is bid up the cost of everything in this economy and then [***] off (one hopes!)
14th Jul 2021
Lucy, Sooo close to my own situation. I left full-time work as a CFO/COO, at the start of 2019, having worked for 40+ years, and decided to go part-time as a portfolio FD. I was just getting some of the "marketing-type" stuff done (which, to be honest, I didn't particularly like!), when I was walking the dog (must be something about dogs!), and I felt a stitch across my upper chest. Within 6 hours, I was in my local hospital, sat there for 3 weeks to get to the top of the list for my triple bypass (bit like a ring-road, only much better for you!). I have to say since recovering from that, my goals have definitely changed. I now am not pushing the portfolio thing, but looking to work 1 -2 days a week if I can find it (which is another story), plus 1 -2 days a week at a local charity, overseeing the Finance side. I don't want to stop working altogether, or I risk turning into a root vegetable, but now totally on my terms, and at my pace.
I think these types of things are called "life-changing" for a reason - and in our case, it seems as though they really were!
8th Mar 2021
Just not sure I can see how a wealth tax could either do much to significantly up the tax take, or re-distribute between richer and poorer (and, of course, these are 2 different - not necessarily complimentary - objectives). As said, the problems of implementing an ongoing wealth tax system without some re-alignment in many of the other taxing regimes at the same time seem massive, to me. A "windfall" wealth tax would have to be astronomical to raise enough to seriously help with the financial impact of Coronavirus, to my mind. Someone mentioned pensions. Afraid I don't know anything special about public sector pensions, but, on the assumption many may be DB schemes, then the concept of "value" seems less relevant than income, and the tax system already deals with that. Taxing "value" in any pension fund scenario seems odd, as the whole system is predicated on the "no tax going in, taxed on the way out (via Income Tax)" principle. Equally, being asset-rich and income-poor would seem to mitigate against major success on the wealth tax front, and of course, any attempt to force people to liberate assets, just to pay the tax doesn't feel much different to the current IHT system, where people with significant taxes to pay are sometimes seen to gift them to organisations like the National Trust. No bad thing, perhaps (except for the upkeep issue), but does nothing to raise tax funds. And, as said, those who can afford to, will just "offshore" their assets to avoid the taxes.There is a small part of me thinks that accumulating wealth to leave to future generations doesn't feel great, but, on the other hand, what would that say about the idea of working, saving prudently, and having control of what to do with it in later life, and on death? Why should people not be able to choose what to do with it, subject to taxing excessive death transfers (but don't for God's sake ask me to define "excessive"!!). It's a conundrum for sure, and I suspect some mash-up of a number of different approaches might end up being offered up as a solution, ultimately. For example, finding a more equitable method of taxing of the multi-national companies earning vast amounts from jurisdictions they pay little, or no, tax in, at present, might not be a bad thing.
18th Feb 2021
Not quite so sure I would call it a scam, but the topic is definitely being hyped up by interested parties. Many small businesses, care first and foremost about survival (paying the bills, keeping family and/or staff employed), some acceptable form of return to the owners that allows them to meet or work towards their "whole life" goals. If growth fits with this, then I find they are prepared to contemplate it, but a lot of the time, the change and extra risk that comes with growth scares a lot of them off, and they would just like things not to change too quickly, whether the consultants of the world tell them they have to get with the program! I am afraid I see it all the time, that "innovation, digitalisation and even sustainability come way down their list of priorities, in comparison to the basics. and the big boys might as well be in another galaxy, not just a different planet. Wake up and smell the coffee, and understand and work with what the typical small business owners need, and stop trying to create a "want" that you would all like to satisfy, to make yourselves feel better, hit some targets and get richer!
13th Nov 2020
I am pretty relaxed about the whole thing. It will either happen or it won't and after a 40-year plus career in business, I am not phased by rejection, and know very well how recruiters work. It does however, frustrate me to see the talent (at all levels, ages, and roles) that must be being wasted by the markets, and I wonder to myself how on earth we can find a different way to do something about it. I also know the current situation has only made the job market harder to succeed in. I am one of the fortunate ones, as I am able to survive the financial rough-and-tumble going on, but I feel for those who are not so fortunate. Let's see what 2021 brings!
12th Nov 2020
I too am disillusioned with the recruitment market. I gave up full-time work after a 40+ year career, always having worked in different companies. Not really interested in setting up my own business at 60+, but definitely did want to find another role in an SME as the lead finance person, or as a NED (I have been a member of In Touch for a few years now, without any success), having operated at the FD/CFO level for around 30 years. But, the current state of play, where there are very few roles for part-time work at this level, and then there are 200+ applicants for almost every role, makes me wonder if retirement isn't the only option. Trouble is, I know I am likely to turn into a root vegetable if I do! I have decades of experience, in Large Cap. and SMEs, both in the UK and Internationally, as well as charities, but it appears that either the market does not want that, or doesn't want people with my amount of experience, at this level. Ageism is still rife, but dressed up pretty well, so as not to be too obvious!No disrespect to anyone, but I don't want to be a book-keeper and I don't want to be so busy, that I just end up trading one senior level F/T career for another F/T role at much less pay. I fully understand how the other person feels, and no amount of great Chinese proverbs will change that.
29th Jun 2020
Whilst I don't disagree with you "Putting aside the issue of age discrimination and the fact that the job market should offer a level playing field no matter how old you are." is possibly THE major obstacle to individuals making job moves in the later stages of their career, so to put it aside does not do the situation justice. Having myself made a major move at 57, proved an interesting experience. I am currently at the stage of trying to reduce my working hours significantly and to find interesting NED roles, and I can tell you, first-hand what a challenge this is proving. There is an informal "club" that operates to try to monopolize the NED marketplace that is making it very difficult to break into that particular arena. So, whilst I fully agree that it is firstly about one's own approach to age, please let's not pretend it is anywhere near so straight-forward as this, and that it is largely how the market perceives us, and not merely about us, alone, that dictates the art of the possible!
10th Jun 2020
Just had to declare over-payment in our claim submitted due to payroll provider error in April NIC, but the system did not want to let me put in a negative NIC figure, so I had to fudge the furlough salary payment box to get the overall total right, after the refund! Pretty sure HMRC may not like that, if they check it, but couldn't get it to work any other way......
15th Jan 2020
I too am of a certain age, and I don't know, but I always felt accounts were being prepared by accountants for users who are (in the main) not accountants. Our role is to be able to communicate information to owners and other users. Merely preparing them is surely only half the story. I have found that SME owners understand cash in a way that they don't really understand the term profit, to the same degree. Therefore, being able to say how they have accumulated and paid out cash, in arriving at the cash they have at the end of a reporting period feels like a rather good wheeze to me. Of course they can understand profit, but my experience tells me it tends to lack the "tangibility" that "cash" has for them! Understand fully the theoretical benefit of having a cash flow statement produced using the direct method, and the improvement that can give over the indirect (Balance Sheet movement) approach, but as one who has also struggled for years with large company accounting systems inability to track the other side of the transactions to allow them to arrive at direct movements, I too know the difference between theory and reality. More recent developments in accounting software may well improve things, but it seems that large-company systems do not seem to move at the same pace as those such as Zero, QB, etc. Until they can, the indirect method is often all we have. Anyway, I shall hoist a glass and lament the passing of another SSAP, whether that makes me "old-school" or not! Nice article.
24th May 2019
Of course the accounting community wouldn't recognise the social immobility. For the most part they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Turkeys never, ever vote for Christmas, and this is just a mirror of the other professions where the very same issues are at play. Never going to change, where one group of people have much to lose. Creating an illusion and aspiration of social mobility is a veneer and not a solution. Can't imagine why anyone could be surprised at the conclusions. Accounting firms can all express concern at the recruitment problems this may cause them, but it helps keep salaries, profits and bonuses up!