PQ magazine September 2017
www.pqmagazine.com / www.pqjobs.co.uk
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News 08Getting qualified How long it takes on average to get a pass 10ACCA exam results The good, bad and ugly pass rates 12CIMA scores It’s steady as she goes for institute’s exam sitters 13What’s on the web? Check out our website for more stories Features, etc 06Mind your Ps&Qs CIMA’s got me confused over student Facebook site; CIPFA woes; and more issues with AAT synoptics 15ACCA CBEs Should you switch to computer-based exams right now? We explain the implications 18Annual reports We run the rule over the most recent set of reports. So whose is the best?
20Ethics Organisations are being
judged on more than the figures
22CIMA spotlight What sort of
30ACCA exam tips Top tips from
the UK’s leading lectuers 31CTA exams Why not become a Chartered Tax Adviser? We outline the steps you can take 34ICAEW spotlight The institute shows off its array of resources 36Careers Life at Ealing council; the PQ book review; and our social media round-up 38Fun stuff – and our giveaways The columnists Robert Bruce Cricket points the way in an ever-changing world 8 Prem Sikka Pitiful regulations make UK a magnet for criminals 10 Zoe Robinson Why practice does not always make perfect 12 Subscribe to PQ magazine It’s FREE – see page 35 or go to www.pqmagazine.com
I don’t know how you feel about our story ‘Five years’ time’ (page 8)? Is five years a long time to get qualified? We understand that people’s lives can be complicated and there are lots of distractions out there. However, some 28% of you have been at it for half a decade. We believe that the accountancy bodies have some responsibility to help get you there. They have some fantastic resources online, but maybe they need to provide a more targeted and personal approach. Perhaps they could offer a more one-to-one exam mentoring/coaching service. Surely if a student has failed an exam more than, say, five times there should be some intervention.
ABC July 2015 – June 2016
Pass rates one and all In this issue we publish ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW pass rates. Last month we had all the AAT rates. We believe it is really important that these are published, so you can benchmark them against whatever body you are studying with, or plan to study with in the future. We know direct comparisons are impossible, but you can see that the ICAEW’s tax compliance exam has a pass rate of 78.5% and ACCA’s F6 tax paper’s is 50% (page 10). Finally, can I also give a big shout out to Tony Era (pictured), who took on the role of being our roving reporter at the recent CIPFA Student Conference (page 29). Thanks for a great job, Tony. Graham Hambly, PQ magazine editor – email@example.com
learner are you? Take our short test and you’ll find out
24Data protection Significant
changes to the data protection laws will impact on your firm
25Let’s get technical Why it’s
vital you continually test yourself on your syllabus knowledge
26AAT Business Tax exam Tips to help you pass this level
29CIPFA conference Reports
from this year’s student event, and meet all the award winners
How long will it take?
Publisher’s statement: We send a digital issue of the magazine to an additional 9,821 requested readers Free to subscribers who fulfil our terms of control Annual subscription: £35 (£50 overseas)
Annual reports We have also read all the annual reports for you, except ACCA’s, which isn’t out yet (page 18). Thanks for listening, CIPFA, and publishing the CEO’s salary. That’s one campaign won – it took 10 years but we never gave up! The bodies will need to look at the layout of these reports in future; what works on paper doesn’t always work online. Our winner this year was AAT. It always produces a strong, clear, concise report.
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PQ have your say
email firstname.lastname@example.org I’m confused, CIMA!
Helicon, the London office of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.” The message goes on to say this is definitely a legitimate Facebook group for CIMA UK students, albeit run by the CIMA marketing people (I’m not sure how healthy that is!). How did PQ get it so wrong, you normally are spot on? Name and address supplied The editor says: We got it wrong because when we rang CIMA they said no one knew of the group, so as far as they were concerned it was ‘unofficial’. They don’t appear to know what is actually going on at The
I read with interest about the ongoing debate over the CIMA UK Student Group. Was it or wasn’t it an ‘official’ group? I hesitate to say it, but I think PQ magazine got it wrong! I have received this from CIMA: “It has come to our attention that a recent article published in PQ magazine has brought into question the authenticity of this Facebook group. This is a regional Facebook group for CIMA students in the UK. The discussions and engagements are facilitated by [CIMA’s] UK marketing team based at The
Helicon, which bodes well! Here’s their official response to me about THEIR cock-up: “PQ magazine recently inquired whether the CIMA UK Student Group on Facebook is an official CIMA group. The response we provided to PQ created some confusion. The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants manages 128 social groups supporting student and member communities across the globe… This closed group is facilitated by CIMA’s UK marketing team and it aims to help students engage with each other to share practical study tips and resources.” I think we best leave it at that, for the time being.
Our star letter writer wins a fantastic PQ memory stick! Synoptic ‘issues’
I have just sat the Level 4 synoptic AAT test and there still seems to be problems with the AAT’s software. At my test centre 10 computers went down at once, when there was just half-an-hour to go. The tutors really need to be better briefed about what to do when things go wrong, although they have been put in an unenviable position by the AAT. And our tutors seem to be as disbelieving as us about how ‘problematic’ these test have become. Sitting and waiting for something to go wrong is no way to sit an assessment! Name and address supplied
Say no to ‘no options’
Does ACCA think that optional pass rates will improve once they take away a choice of questions in the exam? I know this isn’t going to be introduced until September 2018, but that will be about the time I hit them, if everything goes as planned. As a quid pro quo, perhaps ACCA could promise not to keep adding to the optional syllabuses. Maybe they could even take something away! Name and email address supplied The editor says: We would be happy to publish a response from ACCA on either of the issues raised in these letters.
I need pqjobs.co.uk
Is CIPFA ready?
No cheap wins
I have a real problem with your ACCA ‘cheap wins’ article in the last issue of PQ. Are the ACCA really
telling us that taking a look at the ‘five minutes with the examining team’ videos will really mean I am 22% more likely to pass an exam? Using approved content only
improves my chances by two percentage points more than watching the video, according to the data you published. How good are these videos! Well, they are fine as far as they go, but I didn’t feel I had greatly enhanced my chances of passing after watching one. They
seem fairly logical, something a good student should be doing. Come on, ACCA, provide us with some more meaningful stats. A bit more insight into how to pass P4 would be a start – I don’t want to resit that one a third time. Name and email address supplied
I was interested to read your article on CIPFA’s new online learning (‘New virtual learning environment is here’, PQ, August 2017). I have genuine concerns about the institute going down this route after the well-documented problems it had with the introduction of online exams. CIPFA really will have to work hard to take its students with it on this one. Communication will be the key here, so come on CIPFA, start talking to us and answering our emails. Name and email address supplied
PQ Magazine Unit 3a, Kingfisher Heights, 2 Bramwell Way, Royal Docks, London E16 2GQ | Phone: 020 7216 6444 | Email: email@example.com Website: www.pqmagazine.co.uk | Editor/publisher: Graham Hambly firstname.lastname@example.org | Advertising manager: Polly Thrasivoulou email@example.com Associate editor: Adam Riches | Art editor: Tim Parker | Subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org | Contributors: Robert Bruce, Prem Sikka, Carl Lygo, Tony Kelly, Phil Gammon | Origination and print services by Classified Central Media If you have any problems with delivery, or if you want to change your delivery address, please email email@example.com
Published by PQ Publishing © PQ Publishing 2017
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ROBERT BRUCE Cricket shows the way the world is changing The final of the Women’s World Cricket Cup was an exhilarating event. The vast television audience, in part due to India being in the final, was a way of extending that joy around the world. It is a long way from the traditional view of women’s cricket being an amiable eccentricity. It is part of a much wider change. One persuasive argument when the OECD was putting together evidence to help drive the number of women into senior corporate roles was that for many companies women made up the mass of the customer base. If the people driving corporate strategy were overwhelmingly male the company was unlikely to get its strategy right. But times are changing. Part of this change is driven by the old, narrow world of the finance function widening out and embracing disciplines like sustainability, for example. And when this happens on a global scale, like the cricket, huge change is possible in a relatively short period of time. A company like Unilever works right around the globe. Awakening a market like India, for example, can be life-changing, for the company and the customers. Just as the cricket reaches umpteen millions in India simple products bring changes too. Health, hygiene and nutrition can be transformed. Unilever reckons that 70% of its consumers are women and that women reinvest 90% of income into their families. Understanding the importance of that as a means of empowering women and social change is transformational. Robert Bruce is an award-winning writer on accountancy for The Times
FIVE YEARS’ TIME…
Over 160,000 accountancy trainees are still trying to get qualified five years after they started studying, according to the latest figures from the Financial Reporting Council. The UK accountancy bodies have some 576,000 students studying for their qualifications, and more than one in four (27%) of these PQs are still paying their student subscriptions half a decade after they started. The ACCA has the most
EXCLUSIVE students, so it is hardly surprising it has the most students not qualified after five years. While last year there were nigh on 120,0000 students still registered after five years, this year that figure has gone up to 123,000. That is a whopping
TIME REGISTERED AS A PQ IN YEARS <1 1>2 2>3 3>4 4>5 5+ TOTAL
ACCA 87,871 69,223 52,738 37,828 34,897 122,809 405,376
CIMA 33,604 22,131 17,580 11,668 8,273 32,124 125,380
CIPFA 675 845 1,165 621 149 799 4,254
Time to end ‘illogical’ intangible asset rules
The disclosure of intangible assets remains disappointingly low, with $35trn (or almost three-quarters) of global intangible value not reflected in 2016 balance sheets, says Brand Finance. It explained that insufficient reporting of intangible assets leads to a host of problems for analysts, investors, boards and shareholders. With little information on particular assets, analysts’ assessments are not as accurate as they could be, forcing investors, in effect, to act with one eye closed. Brand Finance said this has negative effects on share price volatility, affecting the stability and sustainability of finance. Finally, the lack of real information about the true value of assets leaves boards and shareholders prone to agree to hostile takeovers or to sell individual assets at less than competitive prices.
ICAEW 7,804 6,804 5,180 3,841 1,294 863 25,822
CAI 1,505 1,425 1,391 794 515 704 6,334
ICAS 1,225 950 840 396 215 109 3,735
30% of the total number of PQs signed up to the ACCA. CIMA is not far behind in the percentage stakes. Its five-yearsplus student total stands at 25.6%, which translates to 32,124 PQs. CIPFA also has large numbers still studying for its professional accountancy qualification after five years. The latest FRC data shows it has 18.7% students in this group, that’s up on the 16.4% for the previous year. This amounts to 799 CIPFA PQs. Both ICAS and ICAEW have low numbers of students still studying after five years, some 2.9% and 3.3% respectively. CAI, the Irish accountants, have slightly more students in this position than their counterparts across the water, with a percentage of 11.1%, but that is down from last year’s 16%.
The recent CIPFA national student conference in Manchester was a huge hit. It takes place in conjunction with CIPFA’s main annual conference, which this year was entitled ‘People, place, prosperity: preparing for Brexit Britain’. The CIPFA Student Network has a new President – it’s Chris Roberts, Finance Business Partner (Projects) at Watford Borough Council. Does he remind you of anyone? That guy in Friday Night Dinner/Inbetweeners, perhaps? We bet no one has told him that before!
In brief See into the future There is still plenty of time to register your place at our joint oneday conference ‘The Future of Accountancy: Success in a changing world’, with London South Bank University. ACCA’s Alan Hatfield (pictured), executive director of strategy and development, has agreed to help us open the event on 23 November by looking at some of the ground-breaking research undertaken by the ACCA. 8
It really is leading insight into what the future might hold for accountants. The day will be a fantastic chance to network too. See page 14 for more details. Dealing with the data deluge CIMA has joined forces with ITN Productions to produce a news and current affairs-style programme. ‘Data – Deluge & Decisions’ will premier on 26 September and will form part of an
extensive communications campaign featuring CIMA members, thought leaders and government decision makers. The programme will focus on the importance of making good decisions in business. Free ACCA webinars You still have time to register for some great FREE webinars from ACCA. You can join PwC Academy’s Steve Willis for his session ‘Advice to re-sitters’ on Thursday 24 August, which aims to
help turn a fail into a pass for anyone re-sitting in September. On the same day there is another webinar on ‘Developing that allimportant exam technique’ from LearnSignal’s Peter Woolley. PQ wins nomination PQ magazine has been nominated for the AIA Accountancy Media of the Year award. We find out if we have won on 2 October at the AIA’s President’s dinner and awards – keep your fingers crossed for us. PQ Magazine September 2017
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PREM SIKKA Pitiful regs attract ‘hot’ money to the UK To control money laundering, the regulators need to know the identity of corporate owners and controllers. Yet the UK lacks even the basic checks, as shown by Italian investigations into the dealings of the Mafia. A wellknown Mafia boss was a director of Magnolia Fundaction UK Limited, a company registered in 2006 with a London address. The company’s first accounts for the year to 31 May 2007 show issued share capital of £60m and net assets of £60m. In 2008, this increased to £100m, but the company never traded. The company had a series of shortterm directors. In January 2010, Ottavio Detto IL Ladro di Galline became a director. ‘Il Ladro di Galline’ translates as ‘The Chicken Thief’. Il Ladro di Galline stated his occupation to be ‘truffatore’, which translates as ‘fraudster’. On 27 January, an Italian entity Banda Bassoti Company became company secretary. Did it exist? ‘Banda Bassotti’ is the Italian name for the Beagle Boys gang of crooks in the Donald Duck cartoons. The address given for company was ‘O0 Via Dei 40 Landroni, Ali Babba, Italy 00100’. The address translates the ‘Street of the 40 Thieves’, and there is no town called Ali Babba in Italy. Magnolia Fundaction was voluntarily dissolved in 2011. Companies House always accepted all its documents. Politicians may huff and puff, but this is shameful regulation as governments prioritise laissez-faire over public accountability and enforcement. Unsurprisingly, the UK is an attractive destination for hot money. Prem Sikka is Emer itus Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex
CHOOSE TAX TO GET A PASS The ACCA pass rates stats seem clear: if you want to pass an optional paper then make sure you sit the advanced taxation paper! With a 43% pass rate in June, P6 seems by far the most passable of the optional papers. Two in three sitters are, however, still failing the other optional papers – P4, P5 and P7. Despite all the added resources that the ACCA has put together, plus the other free online offerings, PQs just don’t seem to be able to conquer these final papers.
Saving the world: BPP’s team of tax superheroes just seems to grow and grow. It may be time for the Guardians of the Galaxy to move over because the Tax Avengers are here, all 14 of them… Just one PQ decided to sit four ICAEW professional papers in June. It wasn’t a bright decision as that individual passed just one paper! Most June sitters opted for one or
Protest over Deloitte comeback Almost 30% of Mitie shareholders recently objected to the reappointment of Deloitte as auditor at the cleaning company’s AGM. The
THE ACCA JUNE EXAM RESULTS
June 2017 June 2016 F5 43% 41% F6 50% 46% F7 48% 47% F8 43% 45% F9 46% 46% P1 51% 48% P2 47% 46% P3 54% 48% P4 34% 40% P5 32% 38% P6 43% 35% P7 32% 32% Other June 2017 pass rates: F1 85%; F2 64%; F3 68%; F4 77%
Almost all graduates who take unpaid internships end up worse off three years later than colleagues who just went straight into work. University of Essex researchers found former interns were earning on average £3,500 less than those who opted to work straight away. The study also found that interns were less likely to go on to professional or managerial roles, or be satisfied with their careers!
Two the magic number
two papers, and those sitting two were the most likely to pass all the ICAEW PROFESSIONAL RESULTS JUNE ’17 papers they sat, with a 77.2% success All First attempt rate. The paper with Audit & Assurance 81.8% 83.0% the best pass rate Business Strategy 89.0% 90.3% was Business Business Planning: Tax 79.3% 80.9% Strategy, with an Financial Management 87.4% 88.7% 89% pass rate. First FA & Reporting – UK GAAP 81.9% 82.5% timers to this paper FA & Reporting –IFRS 78.0% 80.1% managed a success Tax Compliance 78.5% 80.4% rate of over 90%. In Business Planning: Banking 85.4% 83.1% all, some 5,890 Business Planning Insurance 78.7% 79.2% students sat exams
New partners for EY EY has announced that 669 people globally have been promoted to partner status. For the third year running, partners from emerging markets represent more than a third of all partner promotions, making up 36% of the total. EY has also continued to accelerate its commitment to gender diversity, with women representing nearly 30% of this year’s partner class.
The P7 examiner stressed that June’s performance was again ‘disappointing’, with too many candidates seemingly unable to think laterally or apply the knowledge that they have learned. She is urging PQs to re-learn the basics of auditing. The Examiner Reports may need to be looked at, as the examiners seem to just be regurgitating what they said last time, almost word for word. At three or four pages long, the reports don’t seem to be helping pass rates at all.
reappointment came just weeks after Mitie had said in its annual report that it had dismissed the accountant. Deloitte has been Mitie’s auditor for some 30 years and the company is undertaking a tender process as we speak. The FRC has now opened an investigation into Deloitte’s audit of Mitie’s financial statements, which will look to see if there were breaches of requirements in relation to the statutory audits of the consolidated financial statements in the years ended 31 March 2015 and 2016. Another tax gap The ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 will sound the death knell for fuel duty revenues. This, says PwC’s Kevin Nicholson, will leave a big hole in the
at the June session, with 10,556 exams attempted. That’s an average of 1.8 papers per sitter. Some 3,500 PQs sat their exams at a computer terminal, and in September both the Financial Management and Financial Accounting & Reporting papers will move over to CBE. PwC students dominated the prizes with Emma Stevens, Mihir Patel, Laura Bushnell and Jolyn Tan picking up prizes. Lloyds Banking Group’s Sarah Nazar managed to stop a PwC clean sweep.
Treasury’s coffers. Fuel duty currently accounts for 4% of the UK tax receipts, and will bring in nearly £28bn this year. Nicolson stressed that environmental policy can’t be dictated by tax, but it will mean the government will need to find alternative sources of revenue. UK prepared for change The latest KPMG Global Change Readiness Index places the UK as the nation 10th most ready for change – that’s up from 13th place. That puts the UK just one behind Germany (ninth) but ahead of global leaders like the US, Hong Kong and France. KPMG’s head of Brexit, Karen Briggs, said this study reminds us not to lose sight of the UK’s potent global strengths. PQ Magazine September 2017
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ZOE ROBINSON Practice does not always make perfect Many people are familiar with the ‘10,000-hour rule’, explored by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success. The idea is that anyone can achieve world-class expertise in any skill if they put in enough practice – 10,000 hours of it, in fact! In a recent Freakonomics Radio podcast Anders Ericsson, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, argued for a much-needed extension to Gladwell’s theory, reasoning that it is the quality and nature of practice that drives results, not just the accumulation of hours. He outlined ‘purposeful practice’, where you pick something specific you want to improve and find a training activity to allow you to do that. Rory McIlroy doesn’t improve his game simply by playing more rounds of golf. He will focus on a specific aspect and practise that over and over again. Prof Ericsson also described ‘deliberate practice’, where you are guided by a teacher with experience of established training techniques who can provide feedback on what adjustments you need to make. Importantly, he is clear that improvement comes from stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s generally not enjoyable – you need to push yourself hard and force yourself to make mistakes so you can find ways to eliminate them. Although we often read that it should be fun, like many things it involves sacrifice, effort and hard work – sorry. Zoe Robinson is Learning and Programmes Director at Kaplan Financial
CIMA pass rates holding steady CIMA’s new pass rates have been released, and the OT and case study success rates are showing no sign of slippage. While the current P1 firsttime pass rate hovers at 49% (the lowest of all papers), the P2 pass rate continues to climb and now stands at 52%. The first-time pass rates for the E papers all look good, and for E2 they are a whopping 86%. CIMA exam chief Steve Flatman (pictured) admitted that the E pillar
is not where the most difficult subject matter is. He felt if PQs are working for SMEs they can bring a lot of practical experience to these papers. The May 2017 case study pass rates are all up on February 2017, although at 47% the operational case study stands out – for the wrong reason. Flatman revealed that the secondtime takers of the operational case had a good pass rate in May, but acknowledged CIMA CASE STUDY FEBRUARY 2017 EXAM PASS RATE that CIMA may May 17 Feb 17 Nov 16 Aug 16 have to reinforce Operational 47% 45% 67% 64% the resources Management 73% 62% 71% 71% available at Strategic 66% 64% 65% 63% CIMAConnect.
Female AAT students enjoy bigger earnings Shock news! There is one accountancy professional body where women earn more than men at both student and affiliate level. That body is AAT. So while there is a small gender pay gap (2%) for AAT members in favour of men, when it come to the student level women earn 9% more than their male colleagues. The difference is not so pronounced at affiliate level, but it is still 5% in women’s favour. The 2017 AAT Salary Guide and Career Survey found the average salaries for AAT student members in full-time work have increased by 2% from 2015 to £18,870. There are big differences regionally, too, with members
working in London being paid on average nearly 50% higher than those working in the North East of England. That’s £34,000 versus £23,000. AAT’s Andrew Williamson said: “It is interesting to see that women appear to be earning more than men at student and affiliate level. “Despite this, we can also see that men are still out-earning women at full and fellow member levels. This would appear to show that women are still not progressing into the highest positions within the organisations they work in, or that they are not earning as much as their male counterparts when they do.”
CIMA OT pass rates 1/7/16 – 30/6/17 E1 P1 F1 E2 P2 F2 E3 P3 F3
Overall 88% 68% 84% 94% 75% 78% 83% 78% 79%
First time Total 77% 75% 49% 45% 72% 68% 86% 84% 52% 46% 54% 50% 68% 65% 58% 52% 58% 53%
He said: “My advice is that when you are working through the OTs you must always have the case study in mind. You will need to integrate all three papers into the case.” CIMA also released the pass rates for the new-look, four-paper Cert BA for the first time. Again, Flatman was extremely pleased with the results (see online at www.pqmagazine.com). “We are very pleased and the pass rates are all very comparable to the old results. Overall, they are in fact a little higher,” he said.
ACCA enjoys 5.5% membership rise The ACCA has ‘strengthened its global reach’ with a 5.5% increase in membership. It now has nearly 200,000 members (the current figure is just over 198,000) and 486,000 students worldwide. ACCA CEO Helen Brand (pictured) said: “During 2016/17 we have seen a number of major initiatives come to fruition – from our strategic alliance with CA ANZ to the launch of our groundbreaking ‘Professional accountants – the future’ research, which examined the prospects of the accounting profession.” She went on to explain the ACCA has announced major future-proofing changes to its qualification based on these findings.
In brief Editored honoured PQ editor Graham Hambly was recently awarded honorary membership of the Association of International Accountants at a special members’ reception at Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. He was one of 28 new honorary members, who included journalist Robert Peston, and Dame Margaret Hodge, MP. AIA CEO Phil Turnbull said all recipients of the honorary membership have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution to their respective 12
business, finance and accountancy professions. Hambly received his award from AIA President Les Bradley. Follow EWI on Volow EWI’s essentials and ACCA texts are now available to download
and read on Volow. Volow is a browser-based eBook reader, which also offers an eBook subscription servivce. With it you can buy individual eBooks or subscribe to a collection of titles for a monthly fee. Everything is stored in the cloud. A full suite of revision question banks (RQB’s) are also now available from EWI for the 2017-18 ACCA exams. ACA PQs itching to leave Some 63% of ACA students said they would consider leaving their current employer within a year
of qualifying, according to new research from CABA. Of those looking to switch roles, 55% said they wanted to move into a more general business environment, and this didn’t necessarily mean as a practising accountant. Less than one in three PQs said they wanted to stay working in accountancy practice. The charity and public sector were almost as popular, but the vast majority (64%) want to work in big business. CABA is a charity supporting the wellbeing of chartered accountants. PQ Magazine September 2017
news online PQ
AAT achievers forced to make costly trip to London awards AAT PQs want to know why there is now just one Achievement Ceremony in the UK, which is held in London. Invites recently went out to PQs who have become affiliates (passed all their exams) and to those who have become full members. However, many AATs said they were struggling to justify the huge expense of attending an event in the capital. Two adult train tickets to attend the London event cost one AAT £241. PQ understands that the AAT used to run events in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester, but these no longer take place. The lure of an AAT pen was just not enough for many AATs who asked: “Why is there not a northern event?” The AAT confirmed that it only has a London ceremony now, although it also has one in Botswana, too.
What’s new at pqmagazine.com There’s loads of great articles online that we don’t have space for in the magazine. Check them out!
The AATs PQ spoke to said that more localised ceremonies at local groups would be better. They would also help create networking opportunities.
Are you exam ready? Not sure? Then test yourself by going to
NEWS Lots of news goes straight on to our home page. It’s where the CIMA and ACCA results appeared first this month. There are also stories and analysis that don’t get in the magazine, including ‘Are the ACCA examiners’ reports still working for students?’; ‘Landlords don’t like young tenants’; ‘Graduates down £51m due to delays’; and ‘Behavioural science key to tax revenues’.
• Our ‘pocket guide’ to all the IFRS, brought to you by the IFRS Foundation • How to pass CIMA’s P3 and F3 exams • June ACCA Examiner Report summary • ACCA examiner workshops – direct form the ACCA global learning providers’ conference • How to choose your AAT tax options • Appropriate audit procedures • And lots more…
STUDY ZONE Remember, the study zone is the best place to find all the articles that have appeared in the past year – and some that don’t! Recently added stories include:
CAREERS ADVICE PQ magazine is all about exams and careers, because that is what you want! Check out the zone to help deal with interview failure and how to become a partner in your twenties.
Use your achievements to become an ICB Member Your qualiﬁcations with AAT, ACCA, CIMA or another professional body could qualify you for membership with the world’s largest bookkeeping organisation. If your qualiﬁcations were achieved within the last 2 years you can apply for exemptions with ICB and become an ICB bookkeeper gaining access to:
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The Institute of Certiﬁed Bookkeepers 13
For accounting professionals of any seniority working in all sectors. Expect expert speakers from leading accounting bodies and organisations, touching upon topics such as careers, technology in the accounting space, and the impact that digital is having on the industry. Speaker topics and areas: • Digital accounting: sage and big data • Career enhancing: how to get headhunted, skills for today, your personal brand • Employer focus: apprenticeships, skill sets for today, wellbeing of staff
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Finish 2017 strong! You only have one more exam sitting left before the end of the year. Standard entry deadline for December exams closes on the 30th October.
Find out more: www.accaglobal.com
ACCA CBEs PQ
ecember 2017 will be the last time UK students will be able to attempt F5–F9 as paperbased exams, ACCA has announced. You may, however, be questioning whether you should move to CBE now or wait for the compulsory introduction in the March 2018 sitting. CBEs have many advantages: ● They simulate your work environment more closely than a paper-based exam as you type answers into a word processing screen or spreadsheet rather than having to write them on paper. ● There are no problems with messy handwriting or poor presentation. Markers of handwritten papers often have trouble reading candidates’ handwriting and if it can’t be read they don’t give the mark! ● You can cut and paste to restructure your answer and if you’ve forgotten to write something you can easily go back and add it in, without having to leave the marker a message where to find the rest of your answer. ● The days of a sore arm at the end of an exam is over because with a CBE you don’t have to write. ● Calculations can be quicker and easier using formulae in the spreadsheet answer boxes rather than manually having to type lots of numbers into your calculator. The copy-and-paste function can also be used in spreadsheets to save valuable time. However there are some drawbacks: ● You will be facing a slightly longer exam at three hours and 20 minutes, ● The exam includes objective test questions rather than just multiple choice questions (MCQ), so you may have to actually input a number rather than ‘blob’ an MCQ. Reassuringly, almost all the students I have spoken to about their CBE experiences have positive stories and are converts to CBEs. Don’t forget that the essence of the examinations are the same: they test the same learning outcomes. There is also lots of support out there to help you transition from paper to computer. ACCA has provided a wealth of specifically designed resources including specimen papers for each subject, exam technique videos, CBE question debrief videos, and much more.
Should you switch straight to CBEs?
Rebecca Evans discusses the pros and cons of both paper and CBE exams
Go to www.accaglobal.com and have a look at the resources that are available for the subject you are going to be sitting next. Tuition providers are also providing more online resources in terms of online question practice and mocks within part of their standard course. Kaplan and BPP have both written CBE mocks for additional question practice that students, irrespective of their tuition provider, can purchase for a small fee via a link on the ACCA website. My advice is to take a simple approach. If you are just starting out on the Skills level and will still be studying this level in March 2018, then I’d recommend you attempt CBE as soon as possible – you will have to get used to it in the end.
However, if you are coming to the end of your Skills level studies and feel nervous about changing your approach then stick with paper. Currently, no date has been announced for the Professional subjects to move to CBE, so it’s more than likely you will be sitting your Professional exams on paper and won’t have to get used to CBEs. Whether you choose paper-based or computer-based exams in September and December, remember the style of exam isn’t going to make a fundamental difference to your exam performance. Only you can influence your exam outcome through proper exam preparation and question practise. PQ • Rebecca Evans, National ACCA and CIMA Product Manager, Kaplan Financial
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PQ corporate trading losses
Dealing with a loss C
ompanies can make trading losses. These could arise because a company made an accounting loss, so the ‘profit before tax’ figure is actually a ‘loss before tax’. Alternatively, a trading loss can occur due to the adjustments to profit calculation turning an accounting profit into a trading loss for tax purposes. For example, if there is only a little depreciation to add back but lots of capital allowances to deduct a trading loss can arise as a result. A company can use the trading loss to reduce its other profits and hence pay less tax overall. Here we shall have a look at how the company can use these trading losses. Companies are quite straightforward, there is a set order for using the loss as follows:
Victoria Cavell explains how companies can use trading losses to their advantage
1. Current year claim First, claim to use the loss against all other profits (before offsetting qualifying charitable donations) in the period of the loss. This is an ‘all-or-nothing’ claim, so in other words either all of the loss must be offset or the profits must be reduced to nil.
2. Carry back claim The loss can be carried back and used against all other profits arising in the previous 12 months (before offsetting qualifying charitable donations). Again, this is another all-or-nothing claim, but can only be made AFTER the current year claim. So the order is set: current year claim first, then carry back.
3. Carry forward Any remaining trading loss is carried forward automatically. The brought forward loss can only be set off against the first available future trading profits from the same trade. As much loss as is possible must be offset. The deadline for making the current year and the carry back claims is two years from the end of the loss making period. Both the current year and carry back are ‘claims’, so they are choices, the company does not have to use the loss in this way. However, if a company does want to do the carry back claim, they MUST do the current year claim first. The carry forward of unused losses is automatic. Most companies want to use the loss to save tax in as early a period as possible. Why wait and carry the loss forward for future relief when it can only be set off against trading profits? The company would have to be very sure it was indeed going to make trading profits in the future to get use out of the loss. So our path for trading loss relief is clear – current year, carry back, then carry forward. For further information on these trading loss reliefs for a company refer to s37 and 45 CTA 2010. PQ • Victoria Cavell is a tutor at Tolley Exam Training, part of LexisNexis. She can be contacted on 020 3364 4500 or email@example.com
A leading qualification for a changing world We’re redesigning the Professional level of the ACCA Qualification
Why? To ensure that the qualiﬁcation is as relevant as possible, so that ACCA professionals continue to be the most valued and sought-after across the globe. You will see the ﬁrst changes introduced from October 2017 with the introduction of the new Ethics and Professional Skills module. This sets the scene for the ﬁrst sitting of the new Strategic Professional examinations from September 2018.
Find out more and start planning for the changes now: future.accaglobal.com/changes-to-the-qualiﬁcation 16
PQ Magazine September 2017
Computer-based exams: guidance and support for ACA students
Online support The ACA Professional Level exams have started to move to computer. The ACA Professional Level Audit and Assurance and Tax Compliance exams are now computer-based only. From September 2017, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Financial Management will also move to computer. Here’s an overview of the guidance and support available to help you prepare for these exams.
• • • •
Exam guide Series of short webinars Sample exams using the new software Question banks within the new software
Find these resources and more information on key dates, how to book your exams and access arrangements at icaew.com/cbe
PQ annual reports
HOW’S YOUR BODY Yes, it’s that time again folks – annual report time. Here is what we found for you…
The AAT’s slogan this year is: “We’re achieving our goals by helping you achieve yours.” So are they living up to the claim? Well, membership is up to over 140,000, a 3.5% rise. Last year (2016) also saw a 6% year-on-year increase in the use of its student online resources. Student numbers are also looking good and the AAT has over 84,000 students operating in 90 countries. We really liked the interview style approach with CEO Mark Farrar and President Mark McBride. Farrar tells us that new student registrations rose by 1.4% (to 27,980); however, there has been a decline in members completing Level 4. New full member numbers for 2016 was 2,608, which is down from 2,889 in 2015. In 2012 this number was 3,915. The AAT is looking overseas for expansion and its new markets in 2016 include Singapore, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Dubai, Pakistan and the Cayman Islands. It’s hardly surprising that international new student numbers were up 23%. Bretix also gets a mention, with Farrar saying he feels bullish about it: “When change like this comes along it can also be a big opportunity.” Total income rose to £28,974,000, and a net income of £2.17m was achieved. Student and affiliate members’ fees amounted to £8.65m, compared with the £6.85m raised from full members’ subs and fees. The accounts reveal CEO Mark Farrar received £179,000 in pay and benefits, up £5,000 on the previous year. The ratio of CEO pay to lowest paid employee is one to eight. Core membership: 140,135 (2015 – 135,369) New core students: 27,980 (27,605) Staff: 249 (235) PQ SAYS: AAT always produces a strong report and we felt it was about time we acknowledged its consistency, so this year’s winner 8.5/10 18
You open the page to CIMA’s annual report 2016 to an image of ‘Mr Messy’, but we were still hoping the microsite was going to give us the information we needed. There is lots of use of talking pictures – but we went straight to the KPIs. So, has CIMA instilled pride in CIMA and the CGMA designation with you? Have you been inspired to act as an advocate for the profession? CIMA admits it missed its new student target with 33,607 (35,300 was the target), but new members hit 4,958 (4,350). Total income for 2016 was £56.7m, up 5% on 2015. The plan for 2017 is for another 3% growth spurt to £58.3m. However, after all its spending CIMA was left with an operating deficit of £4.4m, up on the deficit of £1.9m a year previously. The fall in sterling didn’t help here. There was a drop in the student population for the second year in a row. But exam and exemption income grew by 8% to £13.4m. This, says the report, shows that as confidence in the new assessment platform increased there was greater student activity. Despite the overall drop in the student population new student numbers grew by 33,604 in 2016. CIMA reveals that during 2016 its assessment platform delivered almost 108,000 exams; it is targeting 115,000 assessments in 2017. CIMA now has 106,095 members, that’s 3% up and has a retention rate of 99%. With the help of a director at CIMA we managed to work out what the new CEO is paid. Charles Tilley was replaced by Andrew Harding part way through the year. We took five months of his salary and then worked out how much this would be for 12 (simple!). So Harding’s salary is £242,000. We would, however, like to see names next to the job title in future. Members:106,095 (2015 – 102,942) Students: CGMA and student population – 281,467, of which 106,095 are CIMA student members (279,137) Staff: UK – 269 (258); Outside UK – 189 (201) PQ SAYS: Sorry CIMA, we can’t get used to ‘acquire’, ‘deepen’, ‘retain’ and ‘fulfil’.
On page 21 we are told “acquire refers to the cost of attracting new students”, but that doesn’t help 7/10
Thanks you, CIPFA, for listening – finally we know exactly how much the CEO’s salary is! We have been campaigning for years for this to happen and here it is at last. It’s not something to dwell on, we just wanted to know, and thought others had the right to know, too – its about transparency and fairness. Looking at the accounts there has been a deterioration in the balance sheet, mainly due to a £15.6m increase in the FRS 102 pension reserve. Group income came in at £23.62m, a reduction of £3.52m year-on-year. And with costs going up to £25.53m, this all led to an operating loss of £1.9m. The income statements show that CIPFA receives 20.8% (£4.9m) of its income from E&T of student members. This is offset by the 28.1% (£7m) of income it spends in the same area. We are told that 2017 will see a further reorganisation of staff and wider organisational development. President Brian Roberts explains that there has been a rapid growth in international membership and student numbers, particularly in Nigeria and Malaysia. He admits that the year has not been without its financial challenges for the institute, with growth in some areas of the business falling short of expectations. There is lots of good news too, however, which bodes well for the longterm. Student number are up by a healthy 400, CIPFA and ICAS launched a joint-accreditation scheme, and there is the little matter of the contract to deliver the London Counter Fraud Hub. Oh, and that salary for Rob Whiteman? It is £259,116. Members: 15,400 (2015 – 13,960) Students: 4,458 (4,092) Staff: 275 (274) PQ SAYS: We loved this one, but think CIPFA will have to look at the design. Reading the report online is difficult if the report has been designed in a hardcopy format 8/10 PQ Magazine September 2017
annual reports PQ
Y DOING? ICAEW
Before you even start reading the annual review you are told 2016 proved to be another very successful year! We are also told 2016 was a ‘year of surprises’. Thanks, ICAEW, most of us were paying attention, too. Against this backdrop a record number of students again started training and membership numbers were also up, so it looks like they have been successful after all. Last year saw an ACA student intake of 8,319. That’s an increase of 63 over the 2015 previous record of 8,256. Total ACA student numbers at the end of 2016 stood at 25,822 (24,149). In addition, 5,620 (5,542) students signed up for the certificate in Finance and University Scholarship Schemes. Membership grew to 147,538 and it won’t be too long before the ICAEW breaks the 150,000 barrier. We are predicting 2019.
ICAEW’s operational income was a cool £100m. That is £3m up compared with 2015, and its operational surplus was £0.8m (£0.3m). If you look at qualifications income and expenditure you see a net profit of £2m in the accounts. Finally, Michael Izza’s pay. The CEO was paid £570,000 in 2016, a rise yearon-year of £16,000. Members: 147,538 (2015 – 145,746) Students: 25,822 (24,149) Staff: 724 (711) PQ SAYS: A nice report and you can find most of what you want. Another strong year 8/10
ICAS has stuck to its principle of not making the annual report too long. This year it comes in at 34 pages, so there is no excuse not to give it a quick look. Last year saw revenues grow by 7.9% to £16.8m. This was driven by growth in education and in membership income. All this meant that ICAS returned a surplus of £340,000 (£170,000) after provision of £187,000 for further costs of FRC cases.
Expenditure rose by just under £1m (£900,000), or 5.7%, and it was digital activity that drove this investment. CA education brought in £6.6m and paid out £4.3m, leaving an operating profit of £2.3m. ICAS welcomed 716 new members in 2016, which took membership over the 21,000 mark (up 2%). Some 1,048 new students also signed up. Due to the nature of its business the Big 4 are ICAS’s largest customers. It receives 16% (£3m) of its income from EY, 10% from KPMG, 4% from PwC and 3% (£534,000) from Deloitte. CEO Anton Collela was obviously deemed to have had a good year. His pay was £416,000 and included a bonus of £105,000. Members: 21,388 (21,152) Students: 3,869 (no figure last year) Staff: 144.1 (142.2) PQ SAYS: We know ICAS loves it digital, but it means you have to go on a hunt to find all that you need – it’s not all in one place and if we didn’t know any better we would think they are trying to make it difficult for us! 7/10 NOTE: The ACCA’s Annual Report is not due to be published until later this year – we will review it when it is out
You’ll never guess what I heard...
MSc Accounting and Finance Robert Gordon University (Top Up Distance Learning)
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Making it all add up to
an ethical future Dorothy Wood outlines how organisations are being judged on more than just the numbers – and where you fit in to the new world order
he FT’s Lucy Kellaway wrote an excellent article earlier this year called ‘There is nothing cute about innumeracy’ (FT, 7 May 2017). The angle was that innumeracy is not “a loveable quirk”, but something “stupid, shameful and, if you have a position of responsibility at all, it is dangerous.” I am sure many PQ readers who read that article felt proud of their numeracy skills and their love of numbers. For accountants, it’s not just numeracy and the ability to make sure it all adds up – literally – that are needed to succeed. It’s important to possess other skills, too – strategic insight, excellent communication skills to explain the narrative about the financials, great risk management with a keen eye on future developments and, importantly, an ethical and professional approach are all needed. The business ethics dimension has come under the spotlight on numerous occasions. There are many examples of organisations that have focused on financials far beyond a positive influence and lead themselves towards path to global disaster. The focus on meeting numerical targets has lead to well-known business scandals. Recent examples are Toshiba’s accounting issues and Volkswagen’s diesel engine emissions troubles. While they seem to be very different affairs, the underlying issues are similar – set an apparently impossible target, which means rules are bent or broken simply to disclose figures at one point in time that superficially make the grade. And the pattern repeats on a global level. Countries are ranked by GDP and yet eternal exponential growth, which is what focusing on GDP entails, will break the planet. So what are we going to measure instead as our ‘target’ if financials are not enough? The change is already coming – businesses are now being measured on much more than the profit they make; 20
how much tax they pay back into society is growing in importance. Also, how they make those profits, and divide up what they haven’t paid in tax, is a focus. The EU is bringing in a raft of non-financial reporting disclosures on everything from board diversity to human rights. The rise of the integrated report – ACCA will publish its sixth report this year – and the focus on the triple bottom line reflects the need of stakeholders to better understand the motivation behind the numbers, and where they might be leading. So of course numeracy matters, but so does the narrative and strategic insights behind them. In this changing landscape, the question is “how are accountants supposed to respond?” What we can’t ignore is that society wouldn’t exist without business. From the very first time someone realised that if you measure and record the grain going into the granary then you can identify, allocate and trade the surplus. This was when we became reliant on numbers. Fast forward a couple of thousand years to the development of corporate business that now underpins our modern world, and methods for monitoring the behaviour of owners and managers has opened up opportunities for achievements and returns that would
otherwise be unattainable. Society is built on business, and business is built on trust. The speed and size of modern markets and transactions can’t change the underlying reality that society is made up of humans, some trustworthy, some trusting, some neither. Society still needs assurance that the individuals managing and controlling the flow of productive capability are doing it not just in their own interest, but with the broader good in mind. Accountants are indispensable for giving investors that trust in business. However ethically pure an organisation’s motives are, it won’t survive without a realistic view of the numbers and how they fit into the supply chain – and that’s a view that has to come from a trained and experienced mind. The world needs ethical and professional accountants, taking the wider view of business that society demands. Nothing can take the place of that ability to work with the numbers and to be able to explain them. What accountants need to do now is show how their talents and training fit into the modern economy in a way that no other skillset or automotive process can emulate. PQ • Dorothy Wood, Head of Education, ACCA Europe PQ Magazine September 2017
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PQ CIMA spotlight
Put yourself to the test What sort of a learner are you? Jackie Durham has devised a lighthearted quiz that might help you focus your studying!
1. When you sat your first Objective Test exam did you feel: A. Fine, there were no surprises and it went well. B. Generally OK, not quite like you thought but do-able. C. Confused, this wasn’t what you expected. D. Nothing really, I didn’t know what to expect. E. I haven’t sat an exam yet, I don’t feel ready. 2. When you are reading up on a new topic, do you: A. Follow a set plan, read, make notes, test yourself, review, repeat. B. Want to really get into it and know everything there is to know about the topic. C. Don’t bother with a lot of reading, you like to get straight into question practice. D. Focus on the facts and figures, you love tables and formulae. E. Feel overwhelmed, you never know where to start. 3. Overall, how do you feel about studying CIMA? A. I want to do well and pass with good grades, but I’m not that bothered about the actual studying part. B. I love it, I love studying and exploring concepts and putting them in context. C. I enjoy it although it’s hard sometimes; I just focus on one subject at a time, pass and move on. D. I’m not that interested in the studying side of things, I just want to be a qualified management accountant. E. Not always sure why I’m doing it, I just want it to be over! 4. If you fail an exam what’s your approach next time around? A. I haven’t really failed so far/failed only one. B.I go back and study everything again, in depth, I don’t want to miss anything. C. I just get stuck in and book a resit, I’m sure I’ll do better next time around.
D. I don’t understand why I failed. Help! E. I haven’t failed except failing to book an exam. 5. What study techniques do you think work best for you? A. I always need a plan, I think of it as ‘preparing to pass’ and it works for me. B. I like to study broad and deep so that I feel I am thoroughly prepared and really understand each topic. C. I do lots and lots of question practice from day one. D. I don’t have a particular technique, I try to learn all the facts and figures for the OTs though! E. I think I need a study technique. What do your answers say about you? If you answered mostly ‘A’: You are an ‘organised learner’, you take a very strategic approach, planning and preparing to pass. You might not find every subject easy, but you have a disciplined approach that means you’ll stick with it until you understand everything and have a strong chance of passing. This is the most effective approach for professional exams.
If you answered mostly B: You love learning and enjoy studying for its own sake, you are likely to use a ‘deep learning’ approach. This is a great way to study but for professional exams it can mean you get a bit bogged down in the detail or distracted by the bigger picture. It might take you longer to progress as you feel you need to know everything there is to know about every aspect of the topic and how it links to everything else before you feel confident to enter the exam. Hold onto your love of learning, but make sure you plan your time so your studies are focused and book that exam so you have a deadline to work to! If you answered mostly C: You are most likely a ‘surface learner’. You want to crack on and get the exams out of the way so that you can get on with the job of being a management accountant. You may feel irritated with the new assessments because they require you to study every aspect of the syllabus. Your approach might have been successful in your previous exams, but for the CIMA 2015 assessments you need to adopt a wider, deeper but still focused approach. Become an organised learner (see A, above) and don’t rely too much on question practice as exam preparation. If you answered mostly D: You may have a tendency to focus on ‘rote learning’, trying to cover all the facts and theory, but perhaps not fully understanding their application. This may cause you to struggle as you progress and/or in the case study exams where an integrated approach and broad understanding across the syllabus is required. If you are a self-studier, use the new CIMA self-study guides to plan your studies and help you become an ‘organised learner’ who plans for and achieves success. If you answered mostly E: You need to review your whole approach to your CIMA studies and remind yourself why you are doing them. If you’re not sure about that, maybe a full-scale career review is required. If you are struggling to get started, don’t worry. There are lots of resources to help you on the CIMAconnect, you just need a plan. Our self-study guides are a great place to start, there’s one for each OT on CIMAconnect. Most of all book an exam so that you have a deadline to work towards – you will feel better when you do! PQ • Jackie Durham, Education & Training Consultant, AICPA-CIMA
PQ Magazine September 2017
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PQ data protection
Are you ready
for GDPR? Brian Palmer explains significant changes to the data protection laws that will come into effect in 2018 and will impact on your firm
ay 2017 marked one year to go until new data protection rules come into force – all UK businesses will need to ensure that they are compliant with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) by 25 May 2018. GDPR has been brought in by the European Union to give individuals greater control of their data, because business now collects more personal information about individuals than ever before. Despite Brexit, the regulations are being adopted by the UK, so businesses here will still need to act and be ready. The new GDPR rules split businesses into two different groups: data controllers and data processors. Data controllers are individuals or organisations who determine how and why personal information is processed; accountants fall into this category. Data processors are
third parties who have access to data held by data controllers. Processing activities Under GDPR, data processers will also legally be required to keep records of personal data and what processing activities have been done with them. This is a new requirement that differs from current data protection law, and many businesses will need to be made aware of it. The implementation of GDPR may seem far away, but it’s a good idea for your business to act now to ensure compliance. An important step many accountants should take is to identify the personal data they hold on clients, from contact details to bank account information. Maintenance of customer data will be much more rigorous under
GDPR, and all this information will need to be safe-guarded. Once all relevant data is identified, risk assessments should be carried out, such as a data protection health check to identify any potential risks of non-compliance or vulnerabilities in data storage systems. Another change due to GDPR is that client data will need to be processed lawfully. If consent is used to process data, it must be specific, informed, freely given, and unambiguous. When consent from clients is obtained, accountants must show how this has been gained and document it accordingly. Clients will also have the right to ‘be forgotten’ and have their data erased; for example, if a contract ends. If this happens, a reasonable procedure must be in place to ensure their data is deleted. It will also be the responsibility of data controllers and other companies in possession of data to notify other controllers and processors of the data that consent has been withdrawn and the data should be erased from their records too. In that situation, it will be important to remember that data should also be deleted from backups and cloud storage, so it will be essential that businesses have a record of where and how data is stored, and know how to delete it completely. Cyber protection As most data is now stored on computer, cyber protection methods should be checked and encryption software installed on all PCs and electronic devices used for an organisation’s work, in accordance with ICO guidelines. If the organisation has moved to cloud accounting, the service used will need to be GDPR compliant. As well as being sure to protect computer-based information, it should also be remembered that physical personal data, such as the contents of filing cabinets, will need to be protected under GDPR as much as online information. It is essential that your organisation is ready when GDPR is implemented. Businesses who don’t comply face proposed fines of €20 million, or 4% of their turnover – an amount that not many businesses can afford to lose. PQ • Brian Palmer, tax policy expert, the Association of Accounting Technicians
PQ Magazine September 2017
AAT exams PQ
LET’S GET TECHNICAL Gareth John explains why it’s vital you routinely test your yourself on your syllabus knowledge. How else can you guage your progress?
ormally in my articles I deal with specific technical issues such as depreciation or time series analysis. I certainly hope that students find those articles useful in achieving their qualifications, but this month I wanted to look at something far more fundamental to that journey. I was chatting to one of my level 2 students recently and asked them how they were getting on with their studies. “Great” they replied “I’m really enjoying the things I’ve learned over the past four months. And it’s helping me so much at work.” “That’s excellent to hear” I continued “And how do you find the study material?” “It’s really easy to follow and understand. And I love all the questions and mocks we are given to practise.” “Awesome. I’m really pleased you find it all so useful. How many of the real assessments have you passed so far?” “Assessments? Oh I haven’t sat any of the real assessments yet.” I was lost for words. I am finding this situation increasingly common. Students who dedicate hours a week to their studies, month in month out, students who learn the syllabus content and practise dozens of questions but who never get around to sitting a real assessment! As far as I am concerned, all that precious time spent studying and practising is wasted if you never get around to sitting any assessments. It’s only by sitting assessments that you can possibly pass those assessments and it’s only by passing the assessments that you will eventually gain your qualification; a qualification that can change your life dramatically. And it all starts with sitting your first assessment. I thought I would consider some of the reasons I hear for why students put off sitting that first assessment.
“I might fail” I believe that the fear of failure is probably the biggest thing that prevents a lot of people from achieving what they truly want in their lives. Rather than giving something a go and perhaps falling short, a lot of people would prefer not to try something in the first place. But by avoiding the chance of failure I think they take an even bigger risk, the risk of ending up with a life that doesn’t fulfil them. There is nothing important in my life that didn’t require me to risk, and often to actually experience, failure. My qualification, my career, my business, my wife, my family, my home. All required me to put myself in a position where I PQ Magazine September 2017
could fail but it’s only by risking failure that I was able to pursue success. Failure can be an extremely positive thing. Failure is how you learn what you need to do to succeed, failure is the only way you will find out what you need to improve. Failure helps to focus your mind on what really matters to you and failure will help your eventual success taste all the sweeter! And failure is rarely as bad as you think it’s going to be. If you do sit an assessment and fail it might cost you some money and a few weeks to do a resit but that’s got to be better than spending a year of your life studying for an exam you never sit. I think that the only real failure in life is to not have a go in the first place. “I haven’t sat an exam in a long time” I can understand that when people have a break after school or college – perhaps a year, perhaps a decade – the prospect of sitting an exam again can be quite scary. They probably have dim memories of the stress and pressure they had doing exams as children. But you have to remember that these exams are very different to exams you did back at school. At school, we generally sat exams because we had to. There often wasn’t a lot of choice. Now you are sitting AAT exams because you want to. You are sitting these exams because of the incredible career options the qualification will give you and the impact that will have on the lifestyle you can lead. Refusing to sit your first exam is stopping you making that vision into a reality. Feeling a bit of stress and pressure is no bad thing, as it’s what will give you the incentive to do some work to prepare. But if you are feeling so much stress that you can’t bring yourself to sit the real thing you need to focus on how achieving the qualification can change your life.
Stress is, after all, something we do to ourselves. “I’m not ready to sit the exam” Nobody ever feels 100% ready to sit an exam. Everyone will feel that there is at least one part of the syllabus where they are weak. This can lead them to believe that they will flunk the whole thing. You have to remember that to pass an assessment you don’t need to score 100%. Far from it. As long as you are competent with the basics you can achieve success even if you find some of the fiddlier parts of the paper tricky. The AAT provides sample assessments that give a good feel for what you can expect in the real thing. First Intuition and other training providers also produce mock assessments that help to test whether you are ready. If you are passing those mock and sample assessments you should take confidence that you are ready for the real thing and sit it without further delay. “I need to do more study” This is related to the previous reason, with the student feeling that they are not ready to sit the exam and need to do more study. The danger with this is that the longer your studies drag on for the more likely you are to start forgetting more than you are learning. I think that an ideal length of time from starting a new subject to sitting the exam would be eight to 12 weeks. Much longer than three months and I really think you start going backwards. So, in conclusion, don’t let your fears dictate the direction of your life. Don’t delay, book your assessment today! PQ • Gareth John is a tutor/director with First Intuition and helps to manage their AAT distance learning programme. He was PQ Magazine Accountancy Lecturer of the Year in 2011 25
PQ AAT Level 4
Planning for success Experienced senior tutor Nitin Rabheru offers some tips on passing the AAT Level 4 Business Tax Exam
any students find the Level 4 tax exams challenging. However, with an effective study and revision plan you can significantly increase your chances of passing. From the outset it is vital you familiarise yourself with the terminology to ensure you know what you are doing. The key to success is being able to identify key issues, scenarios and tax problems within a question. Not knowing where to begin or how to start a question is a very common barrier to passing.
Appreciating the skills required to pass You must be able to calculate the taxable trading profit for either a sole trader (unincorporated business) or a company, and appreciate the key differences. You are expected to apply the tax rules to scenarios given and be knowledgeable with regard to tax admin and ethical issues facing business owners. Being prepared Your revision should cover the breadth of the syllabus, as any topic can be examined and all questions are compulsory. Make sure you know the basics – the fundamental calculations, proformas, layouts and tax admin. Deal with those difficult topics you find problematic such as partnership allocation and basis periods. When practising questions, refer back to the course book or contact your tutor for support. You need to ask yourself, have you made a real effort to understand all areas of the syllabus including the admin? For example, do you know the key tax differences between sole traders and companies with regard to loss relief, filing tax returns and payment of tax? Top tips on some technical areas • Adjusting net profit: It is always helpful to make a list of all the items that either require an addback or deduction when computing the adjusted trading profit. • Basis periods: When applying these rules always begin with the start date to 5 April in the first tax year. The second tax year is the 12 months to the accounting date or the first 12 months of trading. If there is no accounting date in the second year, tax 6 April to the following 5 April. The third tax year should be on current year basis and 26
straightforward. It often helps to draw a time line. • Capital allowances: Firstly, ensure you know what type of plant and machinery qualifies for the different pools. For example, energy or water saving equipment are subject to 100% first year allowances. • Capital allowances and cars: Remember, cars do not qualify for the annual investment allowance. Cars with emissions up to 75g/km are given 100% first year allowances. Cars with emissions between 76-130g/km are subject to 18% written down allowance in the main pool. Cars with emissions in excess of 130g/km are put in a special rate pool where the 8% rate is applied. • Capital allowances and companies: If you are computing allowances for a company, the period cannot exceed 12 months and you are not required to make any private use adjustments. • Partnership allocation: Be comfortable dealing with profit allocation after taking into account salary, interest and partners either joining or leaving. • Tax admin: Make a list of all the keys dates for when either a sole trader or a company is expected to file its tax return, keep records and make payments of tax. Effective revision • Revision tools: Create self-made pass
cards or crib sheets. Work through calculation questions and prepare computational proformas. It will help you to note any traps you have fallen into. The more mistakes you make during the revision phase the better. Be sure to make a note of these mistakes to avoid repeating them in the exam. Exam rehearsal and online assessment I would recommend completing a full assessment before the real exam. This will enable you to think about skills such as time management as well as the application. You should also review the reference material before the final exam. Quite a lot of detail is given for free in the exam but you need to know what there is and how to use it! Avoid making silly mistakes, read the question/requirement carefully before diving into your answer. Too many students do not read what the examiner wants and can waste valuable time. You must familiarise yourself with the style of the online questions and the AAT software before taking the assessment. As part of your revision, log in to the AAT website and attempt their online practice assessments. PQ • Nitin Rabheru is an AAT tutor at BPP Professional Education PQ Magazine September 2017
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CIPFA focus PQ
CONFERENCE UPDATE Tony Era, Financial Audit Team Leader at Wales Audit Office and CIPFA member reports on this year’s CIPFA Student Conference
his year saw a return to the fantastic city of Manchester for the annual CIPFA conference, at which a whole day is dedicated to students and attendance is free of charge. This is a unique and fantastic opportunity to meet many different people from all walks of life and at many stages in their careers. It was my second year as an attendee due to my volunteering with the CIPFA Student Network (CSN). Although I am a fully qualified member of CIPFA, I still personally feel a strong sense of duty towards all PQ students, both in the workplace (across a variety of institutes) and in the wider CIPFA world. While my enthusiasm remains high and I still feel I am able to offer useful support I will continue volunteering with CSN. The conference began with a few
sessions for all attendees and we were welcomed by the new President of CIPFA Andrew Burns. Andrew welcomed one and all, and set out his vision and priorities for his year of Presidency. It was a truly inspiring welcome from someone who I personally met at the very first CIPFA event I attended in 2013, and who is always a passionate speaker and advocate for CIPFA. Next up was a panel session by three of the most interesting and engaging speakers I have ever seen. Andrew Lilico, Philip Collins and Grace Blakely spoke passionately and frankly about the
current political and economic climate. With my head swimming with new ideas, I headed over to the main exhibition centre for a quick spot of networking on the way to the Student Conference. It was particularly nerve wracking because up to this point we did not know how many students were at the event but slowly and surely our room started to fill up and we had a great audience. Kathryn Long, President of the CSN, welcomed everyone and the day was filled with thoughtprovoking and engaging sessions from a wide variety of speakers. Of
particular interest were the Senior Manager stories. These sessions are becoming more and more common and I always find them interesting, especially finding out how so many of us are accidental accountants! It truly shows the breadth and quality of the qualification and that it can open up so many pathways. The conference was closed with a handover ceremony to the new President of CSN, Chris Roberts. We all wish Chris the very best for his year, which will surely include some big changes. The day was capped off with the annual prize awards for students and it was so rewarding and pleasing to see the celebrations after what I know were many months and even years of hard work. If I might leave you with one thought it is to really encourage you to get involved with one of the many CIPFA volunteer groups. For me it has given me so many opportunities and it really does provide long lasting friendship and development. CIPFA students wishing to get involved in the work of the CIPFA Student Network are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. PQ
Students take centre stage P
art of CIPFA’s regular calendar of events is their annual Student Conference, taking place last month at Manchester as part of CIPFA’s wider Annual Conference. One of the conference highlights is the annual prize giving for those students whose exam results reflect the best performance in specific modules of the CIPFA Professional Accountancy Qualification (CIPFA PQ). Friends and family of the winners were also invited by CIPFA to help celebrate the students’ achievements. Congratulations to all the winners, particularly Tess Barker of Grant Thornton, who picked up a total of three awards in this year’s ceremony. The winners were: • Arthur Collins Memorial Medal (Best overall in SCS and SPF): Tess Barker, Grant Thornton UK LLP • Richard Emmott Memorial Prize (Best performance in SCS): Tess Barker, Grant Thornton UK LLP • Eric Gilliland Memorial Prize in SPF (Best performance in SPF): Tess Barker, Grant Thornton UK LLP • Best performance in FA: Laura Tymon, Kingsbridge Academy • Best performance in MA: Jeremy Williams, Ministry of Defence • Best performance in CFR: Katherine Sissons, London Borough of Islington • Best performance in AA: Sarah Heasley, NHS Leadership Academy • Best performance in FM: Collins Mitchell, Grant Thornton UK LLP • Best performance in FM: Laura McHugh, Northern Ireland Audit Office • Best performance in BCM: Billie Emery, Wandsworth Borough Council • Best performance in SPD: Linda Major, Self-funding PQ Magazine September 2017
CIPFA student prize winners on stage • Best performance in TAX: Jason Gooch, Nottinghamshire County Council • Best performance in CGL & PSFR: Nicola Jayne Owen, Isle of Anglesey County Council • Best performance in CGL: Callum Justice, City of Edinburgh Council • Best performance in APA: Jessica Hambley, Grant Thornton UK LLP • Best performance in APA: Hiruni Weerasekera, Grant Thornton UK LLP • CIPFA International Student of the Year 2016: Batdolgor Chuluun 29
PQ ACCA exam tips
The September exams are just around the corner. Here’s LSBF’s exam tips… F5 • Sections A and B: costing methods (ABC, throughput and lifecycle) and decision making (relevant costing, linear programming and uncertainty). • Section C: transfer pricing, budgeting and advanced variances. F6 • Income tax: looking at a sole trader or partnership business and calculating the tax adjusted profit. Calculating the income tax liability, with the savings income and dividend income nil rate bands being examined. • Corporation tax: looking at a company with a long period of account, requiring two corporation tax computations. Corporation tax implications of companies belonging to a 75% loss group. • Chargeable gains: calculating gains made by an individual on disposals of residential property versus disposals of non-residential assets. • Inheritance tax: calculating IHT on lifetime gifts made within seven
years, with taper relief, and looking at advantages of lifetime gifts over death gifts. • VAT: calculation of VAT payable, overseas aspects of VAT and VAT groups. • Watch out for some sort of tax planning question, for example, how profits from a company should be extracted or looking at the tax planning opportunities available to married couples. F7 • For the 60mark MCQs in sections A and B the entire syllabus must be covered, including the more obscure standards (recent questions have covered R&D, government grants, borrowing costs, investment properties, etc). Also important are depreciation and revaluation, deferred tax, associates, effect of company payment policies, etc, on working capital ratios. Watch out also for objective test questions, ie
where no alternative answers are given to guide you, usually in numerical questions. • Section C: ratios and interpretation, including adjustments to be made before comparison to last year or a different company; published accounts with standards, including cash flow aspects; consolidations. F8 • Section A: all syllabus areas, including ethics, governance and audit reports. • Section B: practical scenario questions on internal control objectives, procedures and tests; substantive procedures; audit risk and response. F9 • Section A: various questions from across the syllabus. • Section B: valuations and risk management. • Section C: investment appraisal, including an NPV and business finance.
P1 • Agency risk. • Rules v principles governance. • Governance principles (e.g. transparency, scepticism). • Independence of NEDs. • Director remuneration. • Family companies/two-tier boards. • Objective v subjective risk. • Enterprise risk management. • Risk audit. • Need for internal audit. • Internal control reporting and audit (SOX). • Corporate codes of ethics. • Kohlberg moral development. • Tucker 5 questions. • Bribery and corruption. • Corporate citizenship. PQ
Health warning: You will not pass these exams if you do not have extensive knowledge of the syllabus and have a revision plan For more top LSBF tips for P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7, plus all of BPP’s tips, go to the PQ magazine website:
The highest level tax qualification in the UK
Find out more at www.tax.org.uk/ctaqualification 30
PQ Magazine September 2017
CTA exams PQ
How many CTA exams are there? There are four written exams (one Awareness, two Advisory and one Application and Interaction). There is also a computer-based exam on Law and another on Professional Responsibilities & Ethics. So far fewer than the exams you have to sit to become ACCA qualified. Do I get any exemptions for being ACCA qualified? If you passed the ACCA P6 – UK Advanced Taxation exam you will get exemption from the Application and Interaction paper. So if you have this you are down to three written exams to pass. Please note this exemption doesn’t apply to the old ACCA 3.2 Advanced Taxation paper (pre 2007). If you didn’t choose the P6 paper you are still eligible to study for the CTA exams. However, my advice would be first study for the Association of Taxation Technicians exams, such is the step up in knowledge required from the ACCA F6 exam. When are the exam sittings? The written exams can either be sat in May or November each year. Computer-based exams are on demand so can be sat at your convenience. How many written exams should I take in one sitting? The structure of the exams allows you to sit as many as you wish each sitting. However, I would strongly recommend sitting only one paper per sitting as you will find
PQ Magazine September 2017
You’re about to finish your ACCA studies, so how about becoming a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA)? Sheridan Matthew Gray answers some common queries from ACCAs looking to take this next step the content per exam much wider than for an ACCA exam. Which written exam should I take first? The flexibility of the structure allows you to sit the exams in any order. However, I would strongly recommend that you sit the Awareness paper first. Most candidates find this the least challenging of the exams and gives a gentler introduction into the CTA exams. I have heard the CTA exams are hard. How difficult is it? The CTA exams certainly are challenging but they are attainable. To put this in perspective, in the November 2016 exam sitting one the CTA written papers had a pass rate of as high a 73%. In December 2016, the ACCA P6 exam had a pass rate of 34%. How will it differ to what I studied at P6? The CTA syllabus is a fair bit wider but ultimately ‘tax
is tax’. The knowledge you learnt at P6 will form the building blocks of the knowledge for your CTA studies. Also you will be using tax legislation during the CTA exams. This may seem intimidating at first, but with practice you will find how useful it can be in both the exam setting but also in the office. When do I have to register by? You must be careful with this as it is quite a long time in advance. You must be registered with the institute for four months prior to sitting your first written examination. The deadline for registration if you wish to sit in the May exam is the end of the previous December. The deadline if you wish to sit in the November exam is the end of the previous June. What if I have more questions on how to study for CTA? You can get in contact at email@example.com and one of our dedicated Tax tutors at BPP will get back to you. PQ • Sheridan Matthew Gray is a tutor at BPP Professional Education
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Hi Ginny, quick question - what is the difference between CSR Strategy and Strategic CSR? 21:09
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ACCA P4 paper PQ
Time allocation = football formation
Back of the net! Master tactician Sunil Bhandari has a novel way of getting you past this tough paper. Go on my son!
o what has sparked me to write this article on ACCA P4 Advanced Financial Management? Well, these comments from students on the June sitting for a start… “A hard one”; “Pretty brutal”; and “A toughie” is how it was described. One PQ even questioned the idea that P4 can be taught! Another concern was with Q1, which threw quite a few exam sitters. How can you answer a question if you can’t calculate the first bit, many wondered. “I got stuck on first bit of Q1, so how do you then answer what flows?” said a disgruntled sitter. Another felt the examiner had taken time pressure to another level. These were comments published on the PQ website shortly after the sitting of the June 2017 paper. I totally accept the right of students to air their views and opinions. That's perfectly fine. I understand that there maybe an element of frustration or unhappiness if a candidate feels, let us say, ‘hard done by’. As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. However, my attention was drawn to the last comment about the apparent level of time pressure experienced by P4 students. To be fair this is neither new nor unexpected. It’s the same comment made over and over again. Given this fact, I decided prior to this paper, to take a radically different view on how to use the 195 minutes in the exam room. The ‘old school’ way of allocating time using 1.95 minutes per mark along with attempting Q1 first is, in my view, exactly that – old school! I looked at time allocation by thinking of it like a ‘football team formation’. My line of thinking is: I am a manager of a football team and I must get the maximum out of my players. It sounds a bit crazy, but as we know this is a
challenging paper and needs a different type of mindset. Hence I derived this radically different way to use your exam time. Exam time football team formation
45 10 40
Let me explain each ‘position’ in this exam time football team and how you use the 195 minutes available: 5 = ACCA P4 candidates should start the exam by reading the requirements of Q4, Q3 and Q2 in that order. Jot down on the exam paper which of the five core topics that make up the P4 syllabus are being tested in each question. Then cross out the question you will not attempt and rank the remaining two in your preferred order of attack. 45 = Spend exactly this time on your first Section B question. If possible, try to front-load the theory parts, as it is far easier to control your time on the written elements. 45 = See the 45 above, but apply to your second Section B question. You want to score as high as you can, which is obvious, try to reach a minimum of 30/50 after completing Section B. 10 = As all football lovers like me know, the ‘No 10’ position is a key one. Same is true in an exam context. Use
this time to read Q1, starting with its requirements. Understand clearly what you have to do and which of the core topics are being tested. 40 = This is the part that takes selfbelief! Attempt all the theory/written elements upfront. Q1 normally contains a mix of theory requirements not all of which relate to potential calculations. The unrelated written parts are easy to attempt first of all. However, candidates will be requested to comment upon the calculation parts of Q1. Although this may seem implausible, believe me that it is feasible to complete the related comments on the numbers prior to hitting the calculator. Q1 often requests candidates to outline the assumptions made and reservations surrounding the calculations. These can be explained using the data in the question and application of your P4 syllabus knowledge. In addition, candidates can take an assumed value for say an NPV, business valuation, etc, and give a semi-generic view on this. I accept you will not get a perfect mark, but the aim is to ensure you score a pass-worthy percentage overall. Experience tells me many students fail to make any comments at all on the Q1 calculations. That’s like missing an open goal! 50 = Now is the time to use the calculator. Complete the numerical demands of Q1, knowing that you can’t go over time, as the exam invigilator will call time. Finally, I am no José Mourinho that is true. But as a manager he has to get the best out of his players. As a P4 tutor I want students to do their best in the exam room. By adopting the ‘exam time football team’ approach I believe you will score the goals that you need to win your game. PQ • Sunil Bhandari is a P4 freelance tutor
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PQ Magazine September 2017
PQ ICAEW spotlight
Make the most of the ICAEW learning materials on offer ICAEW has a vast array of online resources to help you get a pass
errata on our website for all students to access. • Certificate Level sample exams: These will provide you with the exact format and functionality that you will see in your Certificate Level exams. • Certificate Level sample papers: Sample papers show the weighting and types of questions you can expect. • Past exams and mark plans: For all the Professional and Advanced Level exams, you can download past exams and their mark plans. The mark plans include comments from the examiner, providing guidance and feedback for you to use in your studies. • Study guides: The study guides take you through the study manual and detail where specific learning outcomes are covered. • Useful articles and advice: Each exam has advice and hints and tips from the examiners to help you pass your exams. • Webinars: To help you successfully prepare for your upcoming exams, ICAEW tutors have recorded webinars for each exam of the ACA. • Professional Level computer-based exams: The Professional Level exams have started to move to computer. Audit and Assurance and Tax Compliance are now computer-based only and, from September 2017, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Financial Management will also
ou have the ICAEW published study manuals and question banks, reviewed and approved by ICAEW examiners, and have everything you need to pass your exams. But there are so many more resources available online. ICAEW is here to support you throughout your studies and ensures that all of the resources available to you are up-to-date, helpful and relevant. So here is an overview of our online resources: • Syllabus and technical knowledge grids: These list the learning outcomes for each exam and describe what and how you will be assessed. • Skills development grids: The grids show the professional skills developed in each exam as you progress through the syllabus. This highlights skills such as interpretation and analysis, professional scepticism, communication, and commercial insight that you develop in your ACA training. • Errata sheets: If any errors within the study manuals or question banks for any exam are brought to our attention, we will publish an
move to computer. Access the computer-based exam guidance and support including an exam guide, six short webinars, sample exams and question banks within the new software. Each year these online resources are updated alongside the learning materials. These updates reflect changes in the syllabus, legislation, finance acts and financial reporting standards. ICAEW will also include any changes to the type of questions you can expect to see. So it is important that you use the correct edition of the online resources and learning materials giving you everything you need to get that pass! Explore all of these resources at icaew.com/examresources PQ • Thanks to the ICAEW for this article Reproduced with the permission of ICAEW, this article was first published in Vital (April 2017).
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PQ Magazine September 2017
LSBU conference PQ
Future belongs to you PQ magazine and London South Bank University’s one-day conference takes place in November. It’s free to all PQ readers – so make sure that you’re there
running throughout the day. If you want to get to grips with big data or making tax digital then our digital technology room is where you want to be heading. Or maybe you want to get all technical on us? Then you should make for our ‘let’s get technical’ room. Here you can get updates on crowd funding, money laundering, leases and lots more of the big issues. There are two other rooms as well – ‘own your career’ and ‘employer advice’. We really do have it all covered. And, remember, this is a free event for you. To sign up all you need to do is go to www.lsbu.ac.uk/what’s-on and scroll to 23 November. The PQ team would love to see you there. PQ • See page 14 for more details
s the ACCA says: “Tomorrow’s world is coming”. From new skills to changing roles, tomorrow’s CFOs will increasingly need to be good at brokering external relations as they are at dealing with the media. In many senses ACCA sees them becoming the face of the corporate brand. They, of course, already fill this role with investors, but they will have a broader circle of business relations. The world is changing at a rapid pace, dictating that the skills and knowledge required by professional accountants must change, too. So, how are you going to stay ahead of
the curve? Well, a good start would be to sign up to our free one-day conference, called ‘The Future of Accountancy: Success in a changing world’. We are very excited to announce that we have enlisted the services of Alan Hatfield, the ACCA executive director, strategy and development. He will be helping us to open the conference. There really will be something for everyone, as we have four streams
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social media ROUND-UP We put our ‘Big 4 Firms like a CIMA’ story on LinkedIn and got some great feedback. Adrian Rutter, a man who talks a lot of sense, said: “Don’t get too carried away – the Big 4 prefer ICAEW by far. CIMA’s ‘774’ is still only 10% of the market leader’s share, which make us barely more popular than the coffee crème in the Christmas Quality Street box.”
One of our top tweets this month asked our 4,000 followers what corporate jargon annoys them. We said: “The top three on a new list are ‘touch base’, ‘blue-sky thinking’ and ‘we’re on a journey’. Yep we hate all three!” Tony Magaritelli quickly replied: “It’s ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘mission statement’ that do it for me.” For Scotty Newton it is ‘reach out to’ and for Paul Sizer it is ‘put on the back burner’. Paul Bisby then added his pet hate ‘working from home’, and finally Jagz said: “‘Do some work’ is what annoys me the most.” Well done Jagz, you made us laugh out loud! Meanwhile, a Facebook story we posted looked at the ‘four cheap wins that can help ACCA students’. These are reading the examiner’s reports, specimen exams, taking a look at the five-minute exam team videos and using approved content. Richard Clarke wasn’t happy, though. He felt the ACCA needed to learn a little bit more about the cause and effect rather than “claiming nonsense such as do this and you are x% more likely to pass”. Georgian Morrison agreed that though they are good you can’t gain a 22% better chance of passing just by watching a five-minute video – surely! Finally, we thought we better update you on the CIMA UK Student Group Facebook story. You can our see the letter’s page for the full story, but just so you know it IS a group supported by CIMA’s UK marketing team and aims to help students engage with each other to share practical tips and resources. We were told by CIMA it wasn’t – sorry about that, but what can we do? 36
Life at Ealing council Tim Jabulani Mpofu, 25, has worked as a finance graduate for two years. He has a degree in accounting & finance from Lancaster University and is studying CIPFA through the London Treasurer’s graduate scheme. He was recently named our PQ of the Year What time does your alarm go off on a work day? 6am. After a couple of snoozes and a personal pep talk I sometimes manage to convince myself to go to the gym and start off my day. What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk? I log into the computer and while it’s loading I head over to the breakout area to make a brew. What’s the best thing about where you work? The people are great and really supportive. I have learnt so much from them since I first joined. Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch? Nothing beats leftovers from mum’s kitchen, but I would say Firezza in Ealing is the next best thing. What (or who) can you see when you sit at your desk?
Ealing Town Hall (pictured). On a clear day I can see the Gherkin, the Shard and the London skyline. Which websites are your favourites and why? Twitter! Why is Twitter still free? Which websites do you use for work? Google search is my go-to for any Excelrelated problems. I have learnt to do a lot of things with spreadsheets I never knew possible. How many hours a week do you spend in meetings? Depends on what’s on that week. How do you relax? I like to come back from a busy day at work and play a bit of FIFA. Usually post exam sitting I like to
arrange a weekend break abroad. What is your favourite TV show? White Collar. Summer or winter? Summer – everything looks better with a bit of sunshine. Who is your hero? My dad. If you had a time machine, where would you go? I’ve always wondered what life was like during the Renaissance period If you hadn’t chosen accountancy, where might you be right now? I would like to think that I’d be playing football in the Premier League scoring screamers any given weekend. However, I think I’m a bit better at numbers than I am at kicking a football.
How high can you go? Ever been in an interview and heard your voice getting higher and higher? That may be an unconscious ‘submission’ gesture kicking in. Scientist say the pitch of our voices changes depending on the perceived social status of the person we are talking to. This becomes apparent in interview situations. When being interviewed by someone we see as more prestigious or dominant our voice goes higher. If you feel you are the dominant one then your voice deepens.
Stuck in the middle So, are eldest children the most successful and intelligent? Not according to new research from Disney, which found that middle children are 30% more likely to be CEOs. Eldest children seem to want the spotlight all to themselves and so tend to go for more attentiongrabbing careers, such as rock stars and reality TV stars. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Lord Sugar have one thing in common – they are middle children!
In brief Accounting jobs up 21% A new UK Jobs Index has found that the number of advertised job vacancies for accounting and finance professionals in the UK rose by 21% in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the same time last year. SMEs and start-up firms across tech and related fields have played a key role in driving demand. And with Brexit around the corner, senior financial professionals are in high demand to provide strategic input to ensure financial sustainability.
The PQ Book Club: books you should read Influence: How to raise your profile, manage your reputation and get noticed by Warren Cass (Capstone, £10.99) The best business ‘self help’ books are ones that manage to make profound points while being accessible and easy to digest. This book is certainly among them. Author Warren Cass has obviously taken this to heart – his book is full of pithy observations and advice. He starts out by explaining what influence is and how you can wield it to further your career. Importantly, each chapter is concluded with a short exercise for the reader that Cass calls ‘A moment of
reflection’. For example, at the end of the opening chapter he asks readers to write down the answers to questions including ‘who has significantly influenced you over the years?’ and ‘what made them influential?’ This has the effect of making the reader explore the concept from a personal angle, a neat ploy. Other chapters include ‘P is for People’, which explains the importance of you having a network, and why it’s important that you understand who you should be associating with – and why. One segment is headline ‘Become a student of people – start with you’; this underlines the importance of
self-awareness, finding out what sort of person you really are. Other subjects deal with the importance of being a good communicator, and why repution is so important. We like the way the auther litters the text with quotes both old and new, from Confucius to Mark Zuckerberg. Cass both informs the reader and steers them towards selfimprovement in a book that is well worth dipping into. PQ rating 5/5 A great book for the beach this summer for those of you serious about your career PQ Magazine September 2017
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TIME TO SHOW OFF
PQ recently came across a Chinese student on Facebook who tried to give herself a ‘leg up’ by writing some answers on – her leg! She then posted the photo on social media – as you do. The notes on her leg involve accounting terms, simple debit and credit book-keeping, according to one observer. When we tweeted this story it didn’t go down too well with some of our followers. Rebecca Pope said: “You don’t need to cheat if you’re put the hours in.” Jonathan Baker wondered: “Why didn’t I think of this?” You may need to shave them first, Jonathan!
The PQ team recently headed off to Marlborough House to see editor Graham Hambly become an FAIA (Hon), along with the likes of the wonderful Professor Richard Murphy (see page 12). Did Sarah Churchill and architect Christopher Wren have an insight into the future in 1711? Our editor is convinced that one of the painted frescos includes someone brandishing an iPad! Murphy was in total agreement.
KEEPING POKER FACED?
First he finished his degree in accountancy, but what did Scott Blumstein do next? Well, he won the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, obviously! Blumstein is no stranger to the game, having won $300,000 on the circuit before picking up a cool $8.1m for the World Series. Blumstein eliminated fellow American Daniel Ott on the 246th hand of the final table.
BEST TAX DODGE TV personality Kirstie Allsopp recently got into hot water for her suggestion that keeping your washing machine in the kitchen was a big ‘no-no’. She also has a view on what is the greatest tax dodge, too – marriage!
KEEP IT TUCKED IN Ever had a problem with keeping your shirt perfectly tucked in? Well, on a recent trip abroad (it’s called a holiday, we believe) PQ’s editor was shocked to come across ‘NVEzy’ in the inflight magazine. These male suspenders are, so the ad says, a perfect way to keep your shirt from falling out of your trousers. We just aren’t sure what happens when you sit down and stand up. There is going to be a lot of fiddling down there and too many men already spend far too long adjusting themselves for our liking.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR?
Bridge, the card game, is a sport, according to the European Court of Justice’s most senior legal advisor. As a result its players should not be charged VAT on competition entry fees. This challenges HMRC rules and the case must now go to the full European Court of Justice. There is no real definition of sport, beyond it not including games of chance. EU law simply requires proof of benefits to physical or mental well being for a sport to claim VAT exemption (both snooker and darts are deemed sports). While HMRC doesn’t recognise bridge as a sport, the Charity Commission does. The Charities Act (updated 2011) says sport includes “activities which promote health or wellbeing through physical or mental skill or exertion”. HMRC does have one ally, Sport England. It won’t recognise bridge either!
’ WEV E
AHEAD OF THEIR TIME
GAME OF THRONES
ICAS’s Student Blog knows how to hook you in. A recent blog explained how CAs who tune into Game of Thrones can learn a thing or two about business. The seventh series is now well and truly here, but what are those lessons? We are told you need to stick to your career goals because perseverance is a continuing theme in the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys Targaryen is used as the prime example here. She may be young and inexperienced, but she has proved to be a survivor. Three dragons might help, too! Support is another key to success says the blog, pointing out the fact that King Joffrey didn’t have any! Finally, you have to always be ready for change…
GOT THE L OT
IFRS in your pocket
Sudoku is back!
They proved so popular we have persuaded the IFRS Foundation to give us five more copies of its ‘Pocket Guide to IFRS Standards: the global financial reporting language’. Not only do you get summaries of IFRS 1 to 17, you also have IAS 1 to 44. What more would anyone want? Nothing, I hear you cry! To enter this great giveaway send you name and address to email@example.com. Please head up the email ‘IFRS Pocket Rocket’.
Summer is well and truly here, so what you need is our four-book pack of The Times’ Sudoku puzzles. They would set you back £28 in a bookshop, but with PQ they only cost the time it takes to send one email! Sudukos are a great way to exercise the grey matter, and can really help reduce the stress of everyday life. If you want to be in with a chance of winning this giveaway head your email ‘Summer Sudoku’ and email your details to the usual address.
Terms and conditions: One entry per giveaway please. You must send your name and address to be entered for the draw. All giveaway entries must be received by Friday 15 September. The main draw will take place on Monday 18 September 2017.
TO ENTER THESE GIVEAWAYS EMAIL GRAHAM@PQACCOUNTANT.COM 38
PQ Magazine September 2017
Ready Forr Your Next Step? tep? Whether you are studying towards CIMA, ACCA or ACA, we have a wide variety of exciting roles available for you during and after your studies. As part-qualiﬁed salaries continue to rise and beneﬁts increase to an unrivalled level, there has never been a better time to consider your next career move!
Audit & Advisory Senior
Top 10 Firm London, £45,000 - £50,000 Incredible opportunity to join a Top 10 firm with immediate exposure to not only leading audits but also providing advisory services to a variety of clients. Excellent exposure working with the partners and liaising directly with clients on a daily basis, this is truly a commercial opportunity within the audit world!
Market Leading Retail Business London, £35,000 – £40,000 Are you looking to join an instantly recognisable multi-site retailer in a genuine business partnering role? You will liaise with the operations of the business looking at store analysis, regional profitability and overheads. Excellent influencing and communication skills are essential.
Top 20 Firm London, £35,000 - £40,000 + Study This top central London firm is offering a part-qualified professional the option to work with a vast mixture of SMEs and listed clients. Full study support will be provided. Additionally, you will have the option to select how many exams you take and when.
Blue Chip Technology Business London, £32,000 - £38,000 Do you enjoy working with non-finance and influencing senior stakeholders? This Blue Chip business continues to grow at an incredible pace. It is now recruiting for a part-qualified analyst to assist with the budgeting and forecasting on a global basis.
Independent Firm London, £32,000 - £38,000 Looking for more responsibility? This rapidly growing city firm is looking for a part-qualified audit and accounts professional to lead audits and manage small clients. This is the perfect opportunity for you to grow your experience to an unparalleled level!
If you’re looking for your next step in your career, don’t hesitate to contact me for advice and further discussion. Tom Eagle Manager - Accounting & Finance DD: 0207 269 6349 E: tom.eagle@pro-ﬁnance.co.uk
Pro-Recruitment Group 20 - 23 Greville Street, London, EC1N 8SS.
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Published on Aug 11, 2017
PQ is a free monthly magazine for student accountants, focusing mainly on the ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW and AAT qualifications. It's packed f...