Good morning and welcome to Friday's 9am Lowdown. In the news today we have HMRC rolling out a new voice ID service, an LGBT equality index celebrates Big Four firms, and an accountant finds success with her first novel.
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HMRC rolls out voice recognition service
Taxpayers will soon be able to access their HMRC information through voice recognition.
The voice ID service is available from this month for people calling the tax credits and self assessment helplines, which HMRC believes, will speed up the security steps customers are asked when calling.
Those calling the helpline will be asked to repeat a vocal passphrase up to five times and the recorded passphrase will be securely stored.
Director general for customer services, Ruth Owen, said: “Millions of our customers are choosing to use our digital services rather than picking up a phone or pen, with more joining them every day. But we know that not everyone can, or wants to, deal with us online, and so we’re continuing to improve our services across all contact channels. Voice ID is the latest example of the cutting-edge technology we are using to make it easier for people to manage their tax and tax credits”.
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EY celebrated in workplace equality index
Big Four firm EY has been recognised as one of the Stonewall star performers, a workplace index celebrating LGBT equality.
EY was named star performer after five years in the annual ranking’s top 10. Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said: “The innovative ways EY has reached out to staff and fostered a community within their Unity LGBT network is a valuable example to others.”
Maggie Stilwell, EY managing partner for talent , said “We want all our people to feel they can be themselves at work. When a person works in an inclusive workplace they have the best opportunity to reach their full potential — and this means that we serve our clients even better as a consequence.”
Elsewhere, KPMG jumped 100 places to number 44. Philip Davidson, interim head of people at KPMG said the firm’s equality recognition sends a “strong message”. “Our aim as a diverse employer is to recruit, retain and promote the best people from a wide talent pool and create a truly inclusive environment that brings out the best in everyone. The Stonewall WEI is an important acknowledgement of our commitment to our staff, our clients and the communities we work in.”
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Former accountant wins writing award
Former accountant Julie Roberts won the Reading Writers’ Don Louth Award for her debut novel, The Hidden Legacy, reports the Henley Standard.
Commenting on her award, Roberts said: “My entire working life revolved around figures and reports but once I’d retired I never wanted to see a calculator again.”
Roberts is not the only accountant who has recently scribed a book. Mike Thexton has published his first book, a swords and sorcery yarn called The Magistrate’s son.
Now the end of self assessment season is in sight, are you tempted to pursue a literary career?
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's Practice Editor. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.