Member Since: 9th Jul 2013
28th Oct 2014
Some compliance and tax will always remain
Though there may be a reduction in compliance work I think there will always be a fair amount to pick up (at least in my working career). For all the automations that exist I still have clients who just don't want to do it, no matter how easy it is.
On the tax side - filling in a tax return can already be partly integrated, but you can't really automate the underlying decisions, e.g. whether something is an allowable expense or not. You could in theory bring in decisions menus for certain elements of tax, but just how complex would they have to be? Take VAT for example, can you have a menu saying "is it a grant?", "is it digital?", "where is the customer....", "are they a business or an individual...." etc.
As you say there are some good bits to the CIMA qualification, but I just felt there were also some very poor sections, such as a lot of arbitrary models, which just seem utterly contrived and which give the impression they were created solely to sell the authors latest book.
A qualification is fine, but I would value experience much more highly (admittedly that makes marketing myself a little more awkward, seeing as I have good qualifications, but not so much experience so far!) The other drawback for CIMA in my eyes is that a lot of the focus was on strategic decisions in medium to larger organisations - not really aiming at the very small trader end of the market I deal with.
I have no problem with process improvement, business strategy, but use plain English and cut down on the waffle, the quoted line above is a bit of a classic:
“focus on breaking down silos through influential communication... driving analysis that reveals impact on organizational value and promoting integrity and trust that protects long-term sustainability,”
I'll have a buzzword please Bob! (Holness that is, not Harper....)
Now I have to go, I need to shift some paradigms before I spend the afternoon blue sky thinking, always remember to push that envelope!
27th Oct 2014
Nice going CIMA...
It's output like this, combined with another year of inflation busting fee rises (4.85% for 2015) which makes me seriously question my CIMA membership, if only I hadn't worked so damned hard to get the qualification in the first place I think 'd be happier to let it go....
I often think I'd have been better doing ACCA./ICAEW - more technical less management mumbo-jumbo, though the irony is it's much easier to get a CIMA practicing certificate....(ok so I can't audit, but I wouldn't want to anyway).
At least the ATT send my free books, relevant magazines and the world coolest mouse mat (because who doesn't want a mouse mat listing all of the latest tax rate?!) and for a lower price too. They probably keep the costs down by not galavanting all over the world making up imaginary new designations - wow CGMA..... that's made all the difference to my career so far, might as well put BSC, SSC after my name (Brown Swimming Certificate, Silver Swimming Certificate).
OK so the ATT had a teeny little probably with the ex-president being a little naughty (ok, a lot), but hey nobody's perfect....
23rd Sep 2014
Nice to see a good independent balanced report.....
Report commissioned by public sector union suggests that the most important thing to do is employ more public sector employees. In other news Pope confirmed to be Catholic and bear caught defecating in woods...
Whether the conclusion in right or wrong I don't think that a 4 page report (where 1 of those in an intro page), with 7 references (3 of which are figures they dispute) is really going to win the argument, particularly when it comes from such a biased source.
It's fair enough that a Union is biased - sort of the point really, but you'd think they might try a bit harder than this.
Makes me glad I decided not to join PCS, or any union (was a pretty easy choice to be fair), I'd hate to think my subs were going towards funding this sort of "analysis". Honestly they haven't even tried to flesh it out with some wonderfully informative graphs, hope they didn't spend too much on this.
19th Aug 2014
Cheese puns, I Camambert them!
.. So it's 'blue sky thinking'. I thought it was 'blue cheese thinking' - no wonder I'm putting on weight.
I understand that no Gouda will come from that sort of cheesy thinking, indeed one may well end up a little Feta.
19th Aug 2014
Quantum Leap eh?
"...we need to make a quantum leap"
So the smallest possible change in energy levels then? Gotcha!
Call me a pedant but I hate it when people misuse that phrase.... (though it's note quite quite as irritating as "shifting paradigms", "pushing envelopes", "blue sky thinking" or a number of the other hideous phrases that consultants seem to love).
30th Jul 2014
Public Sector Pension
As somebody who is both employed in the public sector and is self employed, having previously worked in the private sector I have some experience for comparison. Being an accountant I actually tried to calculate some figures to look at the value of the public sector pension I should one day receive (assuming the Govt hasn't moved the age I can claim it to 150 by then....).
First off I would point out I have looked at the current scheme - not those used previously. The previous schemes may or may not have been more generous/overly generous - but that's not what I'm looking at.
As with a lot of the people who started work in the public sector in the last few years I'm on the NUVOS scheme, Google it if you want the full details, but essentially you get 2.3% of whatever you earn in a year as an annual pension when you come to retire. This amount is increased by inflation (although only CPI now, not RPI). When I started you had to contribute 3.5% of your salary, but that has now been increased, depending on your salary band so it's now anywhere from 3.5% to 8.85% (as an aside it works like SDLT, so a small increase in pay over the wrong threshold can see you take home less money for no extra benefit!)
Taking an example of a 30 year old, paying 7.27% and assuming a 3% above inflation increase on a pension pot (research I did gave figures from 2.5% to 5% for this - with predictions that future returns are predicted to be towards the lower end of the scale) and an annuity rate of 6% I calculated that to match this average salary scheme you would need Employer contributions of around 13.5%, increasing the above inflation return to 4% reduces this to just 9.5%, due to the compounding effects.
Interestingly (depending on your definition of interesting....) the Superannuation rates applied tend to be towards the top end of the 20-30% range, I'm not entirely sure how this figure is arrived at, but I presume it it much higher than my figures due to the fact that the pension 'fund' is effectively a giant ponzi scheme, is not invested and so does not make a return.
Obviously there are a lot of variables, annuity rates, return on fund investments etc, but you can see that whilst these pensions are on not miserly they are not absolutely stellar either, particularly if you factor in public sector jobs generally being lower paid than private sector equivalents (generally more prevalent for lower management and very senior jobs - some of the lowest level admin jobs and middle management jobs actually compare favorably with the private sector).
The above notwithstanding I am not a union member, don't go on strike and when push comes to shove I will simply leave this job for a private sector one or full self employment based on a reasoned economic comparison. At the moment the flexible working arrangements which allow me to run a self employed practice at the same time as working, combined with the still reasonable pension outweigh the 20-30% extra I think I would make in the private sector.
Just thought it would be useful to look at some actual figures.
16th Jul 2014
"...and said it was improving its phone service"
She was joking??
Well they are starting from a low base!
It reminds me of the start of my second year at university, where the head of undergraduate studies mentioned that a number of us had put ourselves in a very strong position to go for the "biggest improver" award, based on our year one results...
That said recent announcements show that accurately measuring a baseline figure is not a strong point for HMRC.
1st Jul 2014
"As the idea has developed,
"As the idea has developed, employee’s contributions would be folded into a basic rate of 32%, with higher rate taxpayers assessed at 52%."
Should that not be 42% for higher rate, as it is now (bar the current slight differences in NI and HR thresholds, which obviously would disappear)? I note the error is present in the independent article too, unless of course they are suggesting the tories are mulling over a 10% tax rise for higher earners.....somewhat unlikely!
1st May 2014
"It also appears that Hillgrove’s most recent accountant Mr Shah, who he called as his witness during the trial, is no longer working for him."
I imagine most of us would run a mile having seen the previous accountants being dragged through court, even if only as witnesses. It makes you glad that unlike those in the legal profession we can pretty easily ditch/refuse a client.
10th Feb 2014
Tense meetings with the Auditors?
Maybe the board finally lost it after the 50th time that the auditors asked "and how much is this....?"