After Education at Kingswood School, Bath and Southlands College, Wimbledon I started a career as a Management Accountant, firstly with the P&O Group for 10 years, then as Chief Accountant or Finance Director in Freight Forwarding, Slazenger and Marine Engineering.
A move into Life Assurance with the General Accident Group as Head Office Finance Accountant followed. Here the need to install new computer systems precipitated a switch to Systems work, coinciding with the arrival of the first PCs in the UK and installing one of the first networks in the world.
Redundancy as the work moved out of London, indirectly resulted in an opportunity to establish a new company in Bristol. This unfortunately coincided with the Banking Crisis 1990 precipitating the next move.
Project Management opportunities arose and have become my main speciality. These have included, refurbishment of a Victoria Church, associated hall and new Link building, Railway Signalling System, Jet Engine for Military Aircraft, Installation of Accounting Systems, Y2K for national Government Body with offices throughout the UK, NHS National Spline Project, Procurement Project under OUJC rules for Local Authority. Whilst taking opportunities to slip back into more pure accountancy work during temporary breaks.
Formal qualifications include Membership of the Association for Project Management, University of Sheffield Diploma in Informatics, Membership of the Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers, Membership of Insitute of Profesional Sound, also Accounting and Teaching Qualifications.
Membership of the ISCE and IPS is explained by a lifelong interest in Electronics and Sound Engineering developing from a hobby into a small business hiring out and installing Sound (PA) systems.
My other main interests are as a youth leader, Officer in The Boys’ Brigade, and a Methodist Local Preacher.
My principle hobby is Amateur Raio, licensed as G8HKP, when I find time to get on the Air!
For sport I enjoy mountaineering, rock climbing and canoeing.
Culturally I have sung Tenor my whole adult life, currently being a member of Lucis, a choir in Bath.
I meet my wife Celia at College we have a married Daughter and two grandchildren.
Tool Bars etc
The key questions about the new Ribbons / Toolbars etc is not so much what they look like but is two fold:-
1) Will those of us who have been building spreadsheets since the days when 123 was a teenager not have too much difficulty in adapting both our brains to the new way of working and more important using and probably updating existing worksheets?
Preferably can we just use old workbooks without any change on the basis "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?
2) Many of the worksheets I prepare are for use by people who just have to "fill in the blanks" - I do not want them to have any but basic functionality, neither do they want it - can all this super new functionality be switched off?
Microsoft with all their new gismos seem not to realise that most of us use thier products to get a job done - not to produce works of art. Sorry no wavy lines round this reply!
The problem with Accountants
The real problem with using a system recommended by "your accountant" is that most of them are very good at preparing Final Accounts and Tax returns, but havn't a clue when it comes to running a business.
The small start up business needs an accounting system to run your business first and foremost so it needs to be set-up and geared to that objective. Sadly, particularly small buiness packages, mostly do not do that very well. Especially when set-up by an accountant "in practice".
Wizards are a particular danger area, as they tend to assume that all businesses run in the same way. They don't, particularly when it comes to getting information for the management of a busines, especially if it has diverse product lines.
To set up an accounting package, you really need a "Systems Accountant". One who has previously had experiance of producing Mangement Accounts for the operational staff of a company. And preferably one who has a mix of industries in their experiance. Also one who has experiance of non accounting operational aspects, such as procurement, stock control or even manufacturing. OK, I may be quoting from my own CV but having set up quite a few systems for both major PLCs and much smaller companies, and had to start again when the "accountant" had set up the system. I have as they say been there and done that.
It is worth getting a Systems Accountant in who can specify what is required from the system and any associated products such as CRM, Stock Control before any purchase is made. The System Accountant will also be able to Project Manage the introduction of such the packages and prepare procedure manuals relevant to your company. The cost of change in the future will far outway any fees we might charge.
As for "on line" packages - having just experianced over a month of system failures with my ISP - I have one comment - NEVER!
Has anyone had their incentive payment from the IR for making an online return?
I always thought reason 3 was the standard meaning of the "blue screen" error messages!