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PQ magazine /

November 2017






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News 06CIMA hacked Institute moves to make website more secure 08The pay gap PwC admits that BAME staff are lagging behind 10ACCA exams Too much to read in time allotted, say PQs 11Tesco scandal ‘Accountants quit firm over ethical issues’ Features, etc 04Mind your Ps&Qs Studying at your own pace; two more kiss CIMA goodbye; and presentations made simple – thanks to PQ! 12Ethics ACCA and CIPFA put increased emphasis on ethics 14Profile Shagufa Jamaldeen has a story to tell – she took a master’s degree in six months 15ACCA exams Changes are afoot at the Professional level 16PQ Awards It’s time to get your nominations to us – do it now! 19Tax qualification Your guide to the revised CTA exam; and meet our cover star, The Tick 20CIMA spotlight Prepare for the exams and lose the stress 22Inheritance tax Dealing with questions on IHT; and sign up today for our great conference 24Cost of capital Understanding the risk adjusted cost of capital 25Interview Qlik CFO Tim MacCarrick on the firm’s approach to visual analytics

Keeping your data safe

November 2017 27Let’s get technical IFRS 15 –

the new rules explained 29Careers #1 Top tips on how to hit the ground running when you start a new job 30Careers #2 Where are the recruitment agencies now? 32Careers #3 Life at a ‘holistic’ accountants; the PQ book review; and our social media round-up 34Fun stuff – and our giveaways The columnists Robert Bruce Beware acronyms – they just might fool you 6 Prem Sikka The reasons why the FRC is headed for extinction 8 Zoe Robinson Procrastination really is the thief of time 10 Subscribe to PQ magazine It’s FREE – see page 31 or go to ABC July 2015 – June 2016


Publisher’s statement: We send a digital issue of the magazine to an additional 9,850 requested readers Free to subscribers who fulfil our terms of control Annual subscription: £35 (£50 overseas)

We have two data breach stories in this issue. First, there was the story of the cyber security expert who decided to take a look at CIMA Connect and found a big hole (see page 6). Deloitte has also confirmed that a hacker got into its email system recently (page 8). Hardly a day goes by without another story hitting the headlines. This month we had Yahoo reveal that all of its three billion accounts were affected by the 2013 hacking. That triples its earlier estimate of the largest breach in history. The boss of Equifax, Richard Smith, also stood down in the wake of a hacking attack that compromised the personal information of 143 million Americans and as many as 400,000 Brits. And don’t forget Apple suffered one of the biggest leaks in its history, too, as details of new iPhones and other devices were put out before the official launch. Then there was the ‘ransomware’ attack on dozens of NHS trusts. It would seem that, as we have always believed, your data isn’t safe anywhere. Experts at the National Cyber Security Centre said they have clocked 1,131 incidents since it started work last October. They have called 590 of these ‘significant’, with 30 so serious they merited a crossgovernment response. Key national institutions are under siege, as are both large and small businesses. But there is another problem. Organisations like Facebook collect information from users so that they call sell them on to advertisers. The Spanish data protection agency, the AEPD, found Facebook had recently collected details on gender, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browsing history from its millions of users without informing them how such information would be used. Facebook was fined £1.1m, but said it planned to appeal the decision. Facebook also uses cookies to collect data from people who do not have an account on the social network. Perhaps we just have to accept that our data isn’t our own and start from that premise! Graham Hambly, PQ magazine editor –

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PQ have your say

email Take your time With reference to your article about the number of students still not qualified after five years’ study, I don’t agree with your use of the adjectives ‘struggling’, ‘trying’ and ‘predicament’ (‘Five years’ time’, PQ, September 2017). How do you know most of those students aren’t right on their own, personal schedules? I took 11 papers over eight bi-annual sittings for ACCA; I studied each properly and didn’t fail any. I think it’s less stressful to spend [almost] five years studying and better to be able to say “100% first-time passes” on the

CV than to charge through more papers than you can manage per sitting, failing many along the way. It’s a marathon not a sprint and

ACCA is very flexible for precisely this reason. And I think Paul Merison is right to say too many ACCA students just don’t prepare thoroughly (‘Why are ACCA pass rates so low?’, PQ, October 2017). I disagree with his implication that tuition with marked feedback is essential though; I self-studied without any tutor contact at all and saved an absolute fortune! Dave Hallwood, by email The editor says: We’d like to think eveyone was on track with their own schedules, Dave – but we doubt that this is the case. If you’ve been studying for more than five years get in touch – we’d love to hear your story.

Our star letter writer wins a fantastic PQ memory stick! Farewell CIMA too…

After receiving the latest PQ magazine and reading your star letter I have mixed emotions. Strangely enough, I read the article after returning home from failing CIMA’s P2 Advanced Management Accounting paper for the third time and I was somewhat relieved to read that someone was in the same boat as me. As with the writer of the letter I have decided to stop studying CIMA. It has not been an easy decision and I have yet to inform my employer about this. I have studied CIMA for some time, managing only to pass one exam (E2) first time after a lot of hours spent studying both before and after work. I really put the hours in, but I am unable to get to grips with the OT papers. My decision comes after a massive struggle with F2 – I was hoping that my failing days were behind me, but the same pattern is continuing. CIMA is increasing its prices more than once a year now and reaching the £100-a-paper mark. I find this unacceptable, as the OT tests are time-pressured and badly worded, and don’t test the actual knowledge learned. CIMA is not helping by not giving appropriate feedback about where I

am going wrong in my exams; we pay a lot for the exams and really should own the paper at the end to review and learn from. I can also relate to the letter writer’s concern about the stress affecting his personal life. I have also experienced the same, losing friends and even members of my family by putting my career first – this doesn’t seem right. Many thanks to the writer of the letter. I would be grateful if you could pass on this thanks for helping me reach my decision and for not making me feel bad about my choice. Your magazine has helped me in my career and I will continue to subscribe. Name and address supplied

… make that three

I’ve just read the letter ‘Farewell CIMA’, published in last month’s PQ. I feel much the same way. I am also one module short (E3) after four attempts over two exam format changes. There’s no feedback, so I don’t know where I am going wrong. I have tried home study, classroom study and attended a weekend intense course with a company in Bristol. I passed all my other exams first

time, but I fear it’s now becoming psychological. I feel the pain. If there is any support or advice out there I would be grateful! Name and address supplied

A great article

Peter Simons’ article ‘How to give great financial presentations’ (PQ, October 2017) really struck a chord. It reminded me of the start of my career (in IT, many years ago). Especially his point number two – let go of the need for perfection. I used to be terrified of giving presentations. I would be off school with stress every year on speech day, and lock myself in the ladies’ loo if called upon to stand up and present at work. The prospect of giving presentations even to classmates or colleagues made me physically ill. Until one day my then employer sent me on an SSADM (Structured

systems analysis and design method) course. There was no getting away from having to present your design at the end of the fortnight if you wanted to get your certificate. It was all to be filmed and played back to us in class. I walked into the room for my presentation and I was terrified. I'll never forget how it felt. I stood there with my presentation, my mouth dry, my face burning red, shaking, my heart pounding – and I could not remember a single thing I was going to say! After standing there for what I was sure was 10 minutes I opened my mouth and crawled through the presentation of my slides, shaking all the time, knowing I must be appearing an idiot. Imagine my surprise when they played back the video. There I was, looking like a normal human being, my ‘10 minutes of terror’ appeared on film as though I was just calmly considering my audience and gathering my thoughts for, in reality what was only a few seconds, and then presenting confidently. I wasn’t even red in the face! It was a turning point for me. Once I realised that the fear was only on the inside, I started getting up and presenting when asked to, even though it was still terrifying to start with. Gradually, over time, the fear subsided and now I welcome the opportunity to present whenever I can; in recent years I’ve had the pleasure of travelling to different countries to present to regional management and chair large global business workshops in some amazing conference venues – something I would never have been able to do if I’d stayed in the ladies’ loo and refused to come out... It is all about preparation and practice (a bit like accounting exams) and the advice to video yourself is the best ever. If I can do it, anyone can. A great article. Hilary Sard, by email

PQ Magazine Unit 3a, Kingfisher Heights, 2 Bramwell Way, Royal Docks, London E16 2GQ | Phone: 020 7216 6444 | Email: Website: | Editor/publisher: Graham Hambly | Advertising manager: Polly Thrasivoulou Associate editor: Adam Riches | Art editor: Tim Parker | Subscriptions: | Contributors: Robert Bruce, Prem Sikka, Zoe Robinson, 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

Published by PQ Publishing © PQ Publishing 2017

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PQ news

ROBERT BRUCE Beware the acronym!

The world is full of alphabet soup. Acronyms come to mean very little, or are confused with things to which they have no connection. But we need to be wary. NALGA had to change its perfectly logical acronym of the National Association of Local Government Auditors when it discovered what Nalga meant in Spanish. So the storm over the latest qualification offered by the ICAEW, which unlike so many, is a unique acronym, should have been forseen. Providing people with a qualification recognising they had the core business skills needed to run a company, the ICAEW unveiled its new Business and Finance Professional qualification. This immediately drew the ire of members who think that the basic qualification of chartered accountant should not be diluted, but should remain a single brand without umpteen other baubles dangling off its branches. But the real noise came from people who were more familiar to a different meaning. Business and Finance Professional becomes known, obviously, as the BFP. But to younger people BFP is short for ‘big fat positive’, which is what a pregnancy test can come up with. The ICAEW site erupted with comments like “Did no one Google this” and “It might help if you had some women on your committee”. We should just give up on acronyms and ban them. The medical profession found that they should stick to one: MMMMM, standing for a ‘major malady of modern medical miscommunication’. Robert Bruce is an award-winning writer on accountancy for The Times

CIMA closes hole in CIMA Direct

CIMA students are being told to change their passwords after an unauthorised individual was able to access and view limited information about users on CIMA Connect. Luckily for the institute, that unauthorised individual was a cyber security expert testing their system. He told CIMA he could download CIMA Connect contact IDs and email addresses. CIMA reacted quickly to tighten security and revealed that passwords, examination or financial data were at no time accessed. To its credit, CIMA has also gone public on the breach. CIMA did

this, says CEO Andrew Harding, “in the spirit of openness and trust, and to keep students informed”. Harding also had some advice on setting up a new password. He says you should use letters (upper and lower case), symbols and numbers. The combination should also be completely unrelated – ‘blue42UnicorN!’, for example – and avoid common phrases or song lyrics. The longer the password the better too – create a password with 10 characters or more. Finally, you must keep it unique, and try to use a different password for each of your online accounts.

Study ACCA at your own PACE

ACCA–approved publisher, Becker Professional Education, has launched a great new product for self-studiers. Becker told PQ that it recognised the need for self-studiers for wellordered support, and so has released to market a structured online self-study programme. It said: “ACCA PACE brings choice, structure and flexibility to self-study students at an affordable price.”PACE embeds interactivity around key revision questions, including auto-marked OT questions, flashcards, and a build your own OT quiz. In addition students can reach out to ask paper experts specific questions. PACE is available for all the skills papers (F5 to F9). For more go to • Win a PACE course, courtesy of PQ and Becker – see page 34.

Get with it: research from Xero has found that one in five accountants are still using paper ledgers, despite nearly two-thirds believing that the profession is at a technology tipping point. To inspire accountants to move to the cloud Xero has commissioned an artist to recreate the 1500 portrait of Luca Pacioli, the father of accounting and bookkeeping, updating his paper ledger for digital tools!

Last UK paper sitting for skills level sitters ACCA PQs in the UK have just one sitting left to sit their skill level exams on paper. December 2017 is the last sitting where both paper and CBE exams will be offered side by side. From March 2018, all those taking F5 to F9 will have to sit their exam online. The ACCA’s Alan Hatfield told PQ magazine that CBE students are

writing less in their exams, but the quality is better. He hopes this is because they are thinking more carefully about what they write. Students can of course easily delete anything they have written, too! He was also really pleased with CBE students’ engagement with the resources, and there are lots of them. It has been estimated that

85% of students are now using the resources on exam preparation and technique. The offer of four sittings a year is now two years old. Looking at the stats Hatfield revealed that the June and December sittings are still the big ones, although the September sitting is catching them up.

It’s going to be a huge challenge, said the ICAEW, but one that it is committed to supporting.

bonus of £105,000. PQ was told (by a reliable source) that the CEO is the only person at ICAS to earn a bonus. We certainly hope that rumour is not true.

universities. LSBU is also in the UK top 20 when considering the number of graduates in professional jobs or further study six months after graduation.

LSBU tops employment list London South Bank University has been named University of the Year for Graduate Employment by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. Median LSBU graduate salaries stand at £24,000, a figure bettered by just 10 UK

Careers campaign launched CABA has launched its annual careers campaign. It is designed to help support ACA students, members and their families by boosting their career wellbeing. Free information, advice and webinars will be hosted on the CABA careers website.

In brief Sustainability goals The ICAEW has moved quickly to ensure the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development are covered in its syllabus. They have put them explicitly into SBM, and have dedicated a number of pages in the 2018 SBM study manual to it. The UN goals aim to transform our world by 2030. This comes with the bold aim of ending poverty, combatting climate change and fighting injustice and inequality. These are massive problems with no easy solutions. 6

ICAS top man on the move ICAS CEO Anton Colella (pictured) is leaving the top job after more than 10 years in the post. He joined ICAS in 2006 from the Scottish Qualification Authority. He will re-appear as the CEO of Moore Stephens International. In 2016, he was paid £416,000 by ICAS, including a

PQ Magazine November 2017


Achieve your goals

The ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB) is the practical business qualification for anyone interested in or working in business. Unlike other courses, you don’t have to follow an academic year; you can start at any time and go at your own pace. You can study for the certificate while working or doing other courses, and you can do it in a classroom, online or simply by yourself at home. Over six modules, you can learn about business and finance, management information, law, assurance, and the principles of tax and accounting. You can do all or as many of the


modules as you want, and you get a certificate of completion for each one. And, with some additional requirements, you could gain our new Business and Finance Professional (BFP) designation. Whether you are already working in finance, looking to develop a career in business, or starting your own business, ICAEW CFAB gives you the practical skills and professional confidence to help you achieve your goals. To find out where ICAEW CFAB can take you, visit our website.

PQ news

PREM SIKKA Financial Reporting Council is heading for extinction The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) shows little urgency in investigating alleged accounting/auditing failures and its decisions lack transparency. The latest example relates to HBOS, which was rescued in 2008 at the onset of the banking crash. Following pressure from the House of Commons Treasury Committee, the FRC finally announced that it will investigate HBOS’s 2007 audit. Then in September 2017 it abandoned it with a statement that “there is not a realistic prospect that a Tribunal would make an Adverse Finding against KPMG in respect of the matters within the scope of the investigation”. Of course, the FRC itself decided the scope of the investigation. So can its judgement be trusted? There is no public information about the evidence that enabled the FRC to walk away. No doubt it relied on legal opinion, but that is not publicly available. What representations did it receive? FRC’s silence does not instil confidence in its due processes. In 2011, the FRC said it was investigating the reports by PwC on compliance with the regulatory rules for protection of client monies by Barclays Capital securities. This was dumped in 2013. In December 2014 it announced another investigation into the role of PwC’s compliance reports for Barclays Bank. No report has appeared. In February 2013, the FRC said it was investigating of the financial reports of Autonomy for 2009-2011. Still no report. The FRC does not tick boxes on urgency, transparency or public accountability. Prem Sikka is Emeritus Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex

PwC has revealed that its UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (BAME) earn 12.8% less than other employees. The Big 4 firm recently became the first organisation to publicly report its BAME pay and bonus gaps. The bonus gap was even larger currently standing at 35.4%. Analysis shows, says PwC, that the pay gap is driven by the fact that there are more nonBAME staff in senior, higher-paid roles and more BAME staff in junior administration roles.

PwC emphasised that it was publishing the data because it wanted to help speed up progress on this issue and help it to tackle “ethnicity challenges”. PwC’s senior partner, Kevin Ellis, said: “While our analysis shows that we pay our BAME and non-BAME employees equally for

doing equivalent jobs, it does reveal that we have an imbalance at the senior levels of our business.” He felt that the more transparent the firm is with its diversity and social mobility data the more it holds itself to account to achieve real change. PwC also publishes its gender pay gap, which for 2017 was 13.7%, down from 15.2% in 2016.

When to take P1 and P3?

ACCA PQs have just three sittings left before the introduction of new innovative four hour Strategic Business Leader case study. The new case study, which replaces P1 and P3, will be introduced in September 2018. This leaves the December 2017, and the March and June 2018 exams for students to pass the two papers. Any student with only one pass, in either P1 or P3, will have to sit

the new case come September. An ACCA’s spokesman said if a student has passed all the skills papers come January 2018 the advice would be not to sit P1 and P3 in March. “It would be too risky to take P1 and P3 for the first time at that sitting,” he said. The worry is you could be ill or have transport/family problems, which mean you could miss a paper and put too much pressure on yourself at the next sitting.

What is CIMA worth? The latest CIMA salary survey is out, and the institute claims pay levels for management accountants are performing well against the backdrop of low global inflation. Pay for CIMA trainees jumped a whopping 7% year-on-year, with the current national average being £32,000. The average salary for CIMA-qualified accountants did not rise as quickly, but still jumped a healthy 4% in the year to £62,000. CIMA UK director Paul Turner said

KPMG sacks South African bosses KPMG has cleared out its South African leadership team after an internal investigation into work it did for the Gupta family. CEO Trevor Hoole, chair Ahmed Jaffer, COO Steven Louw and five other senior partners have all left. KPMG said: “No evidence of corruption or illegal action by staff was found”, although work done for the Guptas (they have close links to President Jacob Zuma) “fell short of our standards”. Red faces at Deloitte Deloitte has confirmed that a hacker got into its email system and accessed the confidential 8

PwC publishes BAME pay gap

he remained “optimistic that the transformation of business and finance functions will bring enormous opportunity for management accountants to show their value”. The survey revealed that students in Northern Ireland received the lowest average salary – £27,000. London PQs earned an extra £10,000 on average in 2017, bringing home £37,000. The average salary of members in London was £76,000.

details of “a few” clients. The attack, which could have gone unnoticed for months, has been played down by the firm, which earns quite a lot of money from telling other people how to protect themselves against cyber attack. In fact, Deloitte’s cybersecurity business grew faster than any other area last year. Deloitte said that “no disruption has occurred to client businesses, to Deloitte’s ability to continue to serve clients or to consumers”. Record revenues for PwC PwC reported record revenue of £3.6bn for the year ended 30 June 2017, up 5% on last year. The firm’s heavy investment in technology, people and growth areas means profits for

However, that does not mean students need to stand still. You can take the P papers in any order, so you could opt for P2 and one of the optional papers. So it shouldn’t delay them getting qualified. If you have one of the two papers already, the advice is to concentrate on just the other paper you need to pass at the next session. “Focus on that and don’t spread yourself too thinly,” was the advice from the ACCA.

CIMA SALARIES IN 2017 East Anglia London North East North West Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands East Midlands Northern Ireland Yorkshire/Humber

QUALIFIED £61,000 £76,000 £51,000 £51,000 £58,000 £66,000 £55,000 £56,000 £57,000 £55,000 £49,000 £52,000

PQ £32,000 £37,000 £28,000 £28,000 £32,000 £34,000 £30,000 £30,000 £28,000 £30,000 £27,000 £28,000

2017 were £822m, down 1% on 2016. That meant the average distributable profit per partner before tax was £652,000, down a whopping 8% from £706,000 last year. The actual number of equity partners has increased from 926 to 953. The report shows that more than 1,500 graduates and school leavers, including 151 higher apprentices, started their careers with PwC. EY expands talent programme EY is introducing GigNow, an online platform that sources and matches qualified contractors with projects at EY. The Big 4 firm hopes this move will get people on-board quicker and help them make a more valuable contribution right away. PQ Magazine November 2017

Pass your Decem er ACCA Exam with BPP At BPP we have a comprehensive offering of courses available for all four ACCA exam sittings. We still have a range of courses to help you pass your ACCA exam in Decem er. With taught, revision and exam practice courses starting throughout Octo er and Novem er you can increase your chances of passing with BPP. Want to know more about what we have on offer? • Late start taught courses in London, Online Classroom Live and Online Classroom - starting mid Octo er • Revision Courses in all centres and Online Classroom Live - starting early Novem er • Question days available in most BPP centres from late Novem er • Live Final Mock available late Novem er (debrief early Decem er) Get in touch for more information about any of our ACCA courses.

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PQ news

ZOE ROBINSON Don’t put it off, just do it now!

Someone once said: “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” And although this will resonate with many, procrastination can move from being a mild frustration to causing high levels of stress and underperformance. It is, of course, something we all do and yet some people seem to be masters of the art. In fact, Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, found that as many as 20% of people may be chronic procrastinators. And although often thought to be the result of poor time management or lack of planning, research suggests it’s more likely an inability to manage emotions that is to blame. In one experiment, a group of students identified as procrastinators when given increasingly more difficult tasks decided to put them off for more pleasant activities. But having done so, they later reported high levels of guilt, suggesting that procrastinators prefer short-term pleasure, even though it may lead to longer-term pain. But fear not, help is at hand. Here are a few simple strategies to help. Break the task into smaller parts; not only does this make the process more manageable, but it offers small bites of gratification when each activity is complete. Find something positive in the task. Deriving pleasure from the activity will help you get your emotional fix. And if all else fails, lock yourself in a room to avoid distraction – my personal favourite! Zoe Robinson is Learning and Programmes Director at Kaplan Financial

Are the questions simply too long? ACCA students seem to be increasingly concerned about the growing length of the exam papers. Many students told PQ magazine that the papers are becoming more and more a test of speed. “You have to be able to read fast, calculate quickly – you just can’t be too slow or you will be punished,” explained one worried sitter. The students want shorter exam questions. As an F5 sitter said: “You are supposed to take two minutes per MCQ question but it takes five minutes to read and understand some, so how does that

work?” Students admit to struggling to read the whole question, and under pressure many admit to skim reading. For the ‘P’ papers, sitters suggest the section B scenarios are now nearly as long as the section A ones. One P3 sitter said: “Q1 was just far too long to read and analyse properly. It was more a test of speed reading rather then understanding the syllabus.” Yet another asked: “They give us so little time to show true understanding and analytical skills.”

Special couple: CIMA studiers Lee and Annis Pears certainly know their stuff. Lee achieved joint eighth in the world at the F1 exams (old syllabus). Not to be outdone, Annis scored 100% (that’s 150 out of 150) at the new F1 paper. Then in May 2017 she picked up joint third place in the world for the operational case study. Both studied with HTFT

‘Let students use web in exams’

Harvard professor Eric Mazur says undergraduates should be allowed to use laptops and phones in their exams. He said that allowing technology into the exam hall would better test students’ creative and analytical skills rather than their ability to recall information. Mazur said the rise of the internet meant we lived in a world where “we don’t need to memorise anything”. To reflect this he lets his

students use phones and laptops in his exams. They are allowed to “look up whatever you want”. He goes online to check the answers to his exam questions aren’t available via a simple search. He stressed: “This has forced me to make my assessments much more meaningful and more representative, testing the 21st century skills that we want our students to develop.”

the sites! Turn to page 16 for all the details.

into their financials by 2018, as concern over global warming rises.

Calculating carbon footprints Microsoft, General Motors and Disney are among hundreds of firms who are now telling investors just how much they are spending on carbon admissions. A study by the Centre for Climate & Energy Solutions found that more than 700 companies around the world plan to introduce carbon pricing

Accounting for extinction There is still time to sign up for our one-day London conference, The Future of accountancy: Success in a changing world – put 23 November in your diary. Take a look at the great break-out sessions that are taking place during the day. We have top money laundering and Making Tax Digital experts on show. There’s also a careers stream. See page 22 for more.

AAT generic tax fears AAT tutors have raised concerns about rumours that the association is planning to introduce generic tax exams. It would mean students would no longer need to learn current UK tax rules or study the Finance Act. Tutors are far from happy about the idea of a ‘made up tax regime’. One said: “Students need to show employers they understand the tax regime in the real world, not a made up one.” He went on to say that the AAT is a “coalface qualification and it needs to stay that way”. Another award-winning tutor told PQ that any move in this direction was bound to affect exemptions to the higher accountancy qualifications. He emphasised: “The ICAEW won’t be giving exemptions if you haven’t actually learnt the proper tax legislation, surely!”

LSBF offers free courses for AATs The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) Online is offering a new initiative to support accountancy professionals. As part of the launch of LSBF AAT Online it is offering free online tuition for the AAT Level 2 Foundation Certificate. This will be delivered entirely online by InterActive. LSBF is an AAT Approved Learning Partner. LSBF’s Rob Sowerby explained: “We are keen to support those who are looking for new professional opportunities. Cost-free access to the AAT qualification can help those students to start a career in accountancy.”

In brief Nomination time Don’t forget to put aside some time to send us your nominations for the PQ Awards! There are 18 lovely ‘PQs’ up for grabs and one could be yours. How about nominating one of your tutors, or maybe a training manager or mentor who has kept you on the straight and narrow. Our current Team of the Year at Butlin’s took their PQ on a tour of 10

Policies versus estimates The International Accounting Standards Board has published public consultation amendments to IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors. The purpose of the changes is to help companies distinguish accounting policies from accounting estimates. This distinction is important because changes in accounting estimates often affect a company’s profit or loss, but changes in accounting policies generally do not. PQ Magazine November 2017

news PQ Two Tesco employees are known to have resigned as concerns over the retailer’s accounting practices rose. It was during the third day of the trial of executives Christopher Bush, John Scouler and Carl Rogberg over charges of fraud and false accounting that the 2014 resignations came to light. The prosector, Saha Wass QC, said the two members of staff “felt so compromised” by what they were being asked to do they resigned “rather than engage in


what they considered to be practices that were unlawful”. The court was told accountant Aysen Nadiri quit after Tesco management refused to accept that targets could not be met and that in her view they had a disregard for proper accounting principles. Finance project manager, Richard Parsons, also resigned and in his exit interview complained “it

What’s new at

PASS RATES: ACCA exam results will be with us on Monday 16 October and we will put them on the website as soon as we get them. A few days later we should have the latest CIMA pass rates – these will be tweeted and put on the website as soon as we are allowed to publish them. NEWS: We also put the news on the website as soon as we get it! You could read about the ACCA Film Festival and CIMA’s online breach online first. The story of KPMG being cleared over its HBOS audit also appeared exclusively online.

PQ Magazine November 2017

has broken me” and was angry at having to compromise his ethics. Senior accountant Amit Soni was also mentioned by the prosecutor. He collected information in secret about what was going on. His secret report about the hole in the accounts was eventually sent to the CEO Dave Lewis. The trial was ongoing as PQ went to press.

What were the tough ACCA exams?

Open Tuition’s ACCA September exam poll results are in and the ‘disaster/hardest’ papers were P6, P2, F5 and P4 in that order, according to sitters. The easier papers this time around were F4, F7, P1 and P5. It will now be interesting to see if the poll reflects the pass rates! Interestingly, the ACCA recently published a list of prizewinners for June 2017. So what do you need to pick up a prize? Rayman Cheug was the P7 June prizewinner with a mark of 79%, while Matthew Hooper scored 89% in P5. All the other

prizewinners achieved marks in the 90s! Poor Li Juan Khoo will be wondering where the other mark went – she scored 99% at F7. • The ACCA will be publishing the results on 16 October.

Your ACCA September exam feedback… in brief • F5: A fair test, some even said it was ‘easy’. • F6: Section A ‘a bit brutal’, and who didn’t love the VAT question in section B? • F7: Where was the cash flow question? MCQs felt a bit ‘limited’. • F8: Tricky MCQs – worry for

many was there were too many ‘D’ answers. • F9: Challenging as always – many ‘absolutely hated’ MCQs. • P1: One PQ said this paper was ‘brilliant’. Now that is a rare comment! • P2: Described as a ‘nightmare’, ‘tough’ and ‘hard’ by many sitters. • P3: Sitters were saved by Q2 and Q4 – easy marks using Mendelow & Ansoff Matrix. • P4: Wow, investment appraisal at Q1! Nice change. Questions are too long though. See our website for more comments from ACCA sitters


PQ ethics

The only way is ethics F

ew decisions we face will be as simple as yes or no. There is always a context and always factors to weigh up. Underpinning our choices are ethical considerations; put simply, am I doing the right thing, as an individual and as a member of society. This is no less real in professional life as it is in our personal life. Today, many local government finance teams must manage not only the challenges that go with having to provide services with reduced funding, but also the opportunities of moving towards greater self-sufficiency and local leadership. Against this backdrop, some councils are embarking on increasingly entrepreneurial initiatives in order to manage financial constraints. While this can offer a valuable revenue solution, such ventures do increase the level of risk and therefore adds pressure on those teams and individuals who must make the decision. A faster, more commercial environment can result in more freedom and delegation of authorisation and situations can arise where if decisions are not taken, then opportunities can

CIPFA’s Statements of Professional Practice will help public sector accountants get it right

be lost. Who would want that on their watch, especially when fixed-term or invest-to-save job contracts are at stake? Under these conditions, finance officers can be under increasing pressure to act now and validate later for one time only deals and have to exercise and draw on their professional experience and judgement to determine whether to take decisions or to delay them and potentially lose out to undertake the necessary due diligence. But what happens if they make the wrong judgement and take the wrong decision, in good faith and in what they thought was for the benefit of taxpayer? Are they supported? And who is accountable. CIPFA’s ethics working group are working on

updating and revising the Statements of Professional Practice (SOPP) in line with the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics, which it fully adopts. The group’s remit is to raise awareness and expectations of what members can and should do when faced with ethical dilemmas. No matter how much of a good deal something looks or how busy we are with other things, we have a duty to ensure the appropriate due diligence and governance processes are in place. We are bound by the SOPP and to have it fall by the wayside has dire consequences. Sure the risk of being scapegoated or having your post deleted is extremely worrying but not to uphold ethical standards for fear of these is worse and carries with it a niggling conscience. Ethics is an important consideration at every level of public finance and plays an integral part of CIPFA’s Professional Accountancy Qualification. Students must understand not only how certain decisions are made, but also why they are made, in the hope of producing CIPFA members around the world who are robust and duty bound to deliver on the principles set out in the SOPP, such as integrity, objectivity and professional competence. PQ • Thanks to CIPFA for this article

A leading qualification for a changing world Our new Ethics and Professional Skills Module focuses on developing the complete range of ethical and professional skills employers told us they need. Taught via real-world business situations, you will cover ethics and professionalism, personal effectiveness, scepticism, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills. Although you are not required to complete if you have already taken the current Professional Ethics Module, it will give you the ideal grounding to start your Strategic Professional Exams so you may choose to sit this module as well.

To register for this module visit:


PQ Magazine November 2017

ethics PQ

PQ’s Graham Hambly went along to ACCA HQ to take a look at the new Ethics & Professional Skills module


s you are all aware, the ACCA is introducing a new Ethics & Professional Skills module (if you read PQ magazine on a regular basis you would be!). D-Day is 31 October, so earlier this month editor Graham Hambly went to ACCA HQ to take a look at what students will be asked to perform. Head of ACCA Qualification Sharon Machado was on hand to talk us through the six interactive units. She stressed that the new module’s key aim is to make ACCA students even more employable. And after spending over an hour with her we have to agree – it looks really good. It is a comprehensive offering, which the ACCA claims will help “develop the full spectrum of advanced ethical and professional skills, exposing you to realistic business situations”. The Ethics & Professional Skills module springs from the in-depth research the ACCA has undertaking, which culminated in the report Professional accountants – the future: Drivers of change and future skills. Machado hopes the new module will open the eyes of the learner and help

ACCA puts ethics at the forefront them think about what they need to do to pass professional exams and, perhaps more importantly, how to build a career in accountancy, showing them the sort of skills employers expect. There has been a lot of talk about how long the module might take to complete, and a figure of 20 hours is often bandied about. This is a just a reasonable guide for able students, confirmed Machado. What all ACCA PQs should note is that they can start the module as soon as they are eligible for F4. There are six interactive units that need to be completed, although everyone has to start with Unit 1. Ethics and professionalism. Once you have completed all six units you will then have to complete a final synoptic assessment, and you will be deemed ‘competent’ or ‘not competent’. If you are ‘not competent’ you have to resit until you are (there’s no extra cost). And you get a certificate when you do. A lot of work has gone into this module and to be honest it is much more

sophisticated than we thought it would be, in a good way. One of the units is Commercial Awareness, which looks at spreadsheet manipulation and data analytics. There’s also some PESTEL analysis in there, too. Our editor also took the leadership test in the Leadership and Team Work module. He managed to avoid ‘middle of the road’ and make it into the ‘team leader’ box! In the Communication and Interpersonal Skills module students will get help in delivering presentations and see the importance of getting feedback. PQ magazine thinks the ACCA has done a great job in providing a module that combines ethics and professional skills. In fact, we were so engrossed in the module that we overran our time, and the ACCA Executive Director Alan Hatfield and Associate Director of Skills and Assessment Catherine Edwards had to break up the meeting as editor Graham Hambly was supposed to be talking to them! PQ

Ethics film fest ACCA Singapore and the Singapore Film Society recently joined forces to launch the innovative ACCA Ethics Film Festival 2017. The festival kicked off with documentary film Unravelled, about lawyer Marc Dreier, who was arrested for a $750m hedge fund fraud in 2009 and set to prison for 20 years. And it ends on with The Wizard of Lies. This 2017 TV movie stars Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff, the perpetrator of one of the largest financial frauds in US history. The film festival is the start of ACCA’s ‘ethics month’, which it hopes

PQ Magazine November 2017

will help to highlight the launch of the ACCA’s ground-breaking module on ethics, and the release of its report Ethics & Trust in the Digital Age, on the challenges of technology on accounting standards and ethics. ACCA’s Head of Singapore, Reuter Chua, said: “The use of films is an excellent way to kick start meaningful discussions on a serious topic such as ethics.” PQ magazine understands that there will also be panel discussions following the films, so they will count to your CPD. Now that is a great way of putting in the hours!

Robert De Niro plays Bernie Madoff in the film The Wizard of Lies


PQ get a master’s

How to get a master’s degree in six months Shagufa’s story shows what can be achieved with dedication and hard work


hanks to an innovative collaboration between the University of London and ACCA, Shagufa Jamaldeen (FCCA) has completed a Master’s in Professional Accountancy with distinction in just six months. Jamaldeen, who works for the Dubai Center for Special Needs, has been an ACCA member for over 20 years. She chose the distance-learning master’s degree as the ideal opportunity to boost her professional qualifications in a quick and cost-effective manner. The Master’s in Professional Accountancy works by crediting the three ACCA modules you study for your ACCA qualification (P1 to P3) towards the requirements for the master’s degree. In turn, the ACCA accepts two of the modules in place of P4 and P5 for those who haven’t yet completed them. This allows professionally qualified accountants at an advanced stage of

relevant to workplace issues, while it also allowed her to add further perspectives and skills to her repertoire. “It focused on current topics to ensure that accountants get a global perspective and addressed global issues that finance professionals are facing in the workplace,” she said. “As a result of pursuing this degree I am able to look at these workplace issues from a global ‘macro’ point of view.”

their ACCA qualification to gain a prestigious master’s degree by taking as few as two modules. That is precisely what Jamaldeen did, completing with distinction in under six months.

Challenging and rewarding “As a mid-level professional, I found it challenging and rewarding,” she said. “Even for two modules, it still required commitment and self-discipline. I studied for an average of four hours per day, ensuring I was consistent.” Studying independently also provided some unique advantages, she discovered, as modern technology helps to harvest a strong sense of community. “The degree gave me the opportunity to network with a large group of ACCA members from all over the world, which was a unique and memorable experience,” she said. New ways to view workplace issues So why might a qualified accountant consider adding an academic qualification to their CV? Jamaldeen found the ‘well-developed’ programme

Shagufa Jamaldeen

The programme to pursue What advice does Jamaldeen have for anyone who might be considering the programme? Essentially, you should weigh up the commitment and go for it, she said. “If you are looking to pursue a master’s programme with a global perspective that is relevant to accounting and finance professionals and is awarded by a wellrecognised university then this is the programme to pursue.” And what of those already registered and studying? Keep going, and keep your connections hot, was her advice. “It’s a rewarding and fulfilling programme that you have chosen to pursue, so continue to commit the time and network with fellow students as completion is near.” The Master’s in Professional Accountancy has two intakes per year. The next deadline is in December – see PQ

Good Luck for your December exam sitting Need additional support for your exams? Prepare to pass with the ACCA Exam Club and receive downloadable resources, information about tuition providers and practical advice from ACCA members and students.

Register now at:


PQ Magazine November 2017

ACCA exams PQ

Professional level changes are afoot F

rom the September 2018 examination ACCA’s Professional level is changing, most significantly at the Essentials level. Governance Risk & Ethics (P1) and Business Analysis (P3) will be removed from the qualification and replaced with Strategic Business Leader (SBL) and Corporate Reporting (P2) will be replaced with Strategic Business Reporting (SBR). For more information on this go to As the standard exam entry date for the December exams draws near (30 October), with just two exam sittings remaining before these changes come into force, students must plan what papers they should sit when and in what order to ensure they don’t get caught out by the transition arrangements ACCA have in place. Firstly, let’s remind ourselves of those transition arrangements. If you have passed both P1 and P3 you will be exempt from the new SBL exam when it is introduced in September 2018. If you have just passed one of the two subjects then, in effect, you lose that pass as there is no equivalent exemption and no further opportunity to sit those papers after the June 2018 sitting. If you have passed P2 you will be exempt from SBR. No major surprises So, should you sit P1 and P3 before the changes or wait for the new SBL exam in September 2018? P1 and P3 are established examinations, there are lots of past papers and resources on the ACCA website so it is unlikely that you are going to get any major surprises in their final few sittings. However, you have to sit two three-hour-and15-minute exams rather than one four-hour examination. SBL, on the other hand is relatively unknown, although ACCA have provided lots of resources to prepare both you and your tuition provider, it is only one exam, but it is four hours long with lots of information to assimilate on the day. It is also a different style of examination to those you may be used to and will test professional skills. Similar arguments can be made when deciding between P2 and SBR; however, the changes to the exam format are less significant, as SBR will be a three-hour-15-minute exam. There is a change in focus in the syllabus and style of questioning to allow ACCA to test your professional judgement, interpretation of financial statements and ability to communicate to various stakeholders. A key deciding factor will be how far through the ACCA qualification you currently are, so let’s consider a few typical scenarios. PQ Magazine November 2017

Rebecca Evans outlines the options available to ACCA PQs affected by new syllabus changes

• You have passed P1, P2 and P3: You can breathe a sigh of relief as you have no major decisions to make. Sit your Options in December 2017 and March 2018 or March and June 2018 and the changes will have no impact on you. • You’ve passed P1 and P3 but not passed P2: My recommendation would be to attempt P2 in March or June 2018. Sitting in March has an added benefit of not only of the potential for a resit if needed, but also it would allow you to sit P7 in June under the same accounting standards. If you’re more risk averse, or have struggled with Financial Reporting in the past, you may prefer to sit an Option paper in June instead. Although there is much crossover between P2 and SBR, students who have attempted P2 but are required to resit under SBR will find they have more work than usual (when resitting) as they will need to familiarise themselves with some new areas of content and the new exam style. • You’ve sat and passed P1 or P3 but not attempted or passed the other paper: You should sit the outstanding paper at the next available sitting to avoid losing your exemption. Remember, you must have passed both P1 and P3 to be exempt from SBL. So what if, by the end of 2017, you haven’t attempted P1, P2 or P3? This is a more difficult decision and will to some degree depend on your level of exam confidence.The most important thing is that you sit two exams in the first half of 2018 to keep your studies on track and don’t delay qualifying by six months. Option 1: You could choose to sit P1 and P3, either together in March to give you a resit if

things don’t go to plan, or one to March and the other to June – although as I’ve said above, this is a risky strategy should things not go to plan. Option 2: You decide to sit P2 in March 2018, to gain your exemption from SBR and then an Option paper in June. You would then aim to sit SBL in the December sitting following your final Option in September. Option 3: You study only for Option papers in March and June and leave both SBL and SBR until the second half of the year. If you are choosing to wait to sit SBL it is essential that you sit ACCA’s new Ethics and Professional Skills module, available from 31 October 2017 prior to your SBL course. In fact, ACCA recommend you attempt it prior to sitting any exams at the Strategic Professional level. This module will introduce you to the professional skills that are required at SBL – basically increasing your chances of passing. If you have completed the existing Professional Ethics module ACCA will give you access to the new module so you can brush up your knowledge and develop your professional skills prior to attempting SBL. For more details visit the ACCA website http://future.accaglobal. com/changes-to-the-qualification/what-do-thechanges-mean-for-me/ethics-and-professionalskills-module Just a final reminder that any part qualified student who has not completed the existing Professional Ethics Module by the end of October will have to complete the new Ethics and Professional Skills module. PQ • Rebecca Evans is Kaplan’s Head of ACCA and CIMA 15

PQ Awards 2018



Do you know someone who deserves one of our coveted PQ awards? Then nominate them now!


e want your nominations for the PQ awards 2018. There are a whopping 18 bright and shiny ‘PQs’ up for grabs this year – which one has your name on it? These awards could be all about you, or this could be your chance to nominate someone who you think never gets the plaudits they deserve. Last year our Accountancy Team of the Year were Butlin’s, whose key responsibility is ‘safe-guarding a national treasure’. When they won the team took their PQ on a tour of their camps to much applause (see the photos here!). Our Apprentice of the Year was Catherine Devine, who works for BDO in Northern Ireland. The judges really liked what senior partner Laura Jackson said about her: “Catherine brings energy and enthusiasm to her work, is willing to learn and in fact seeks out new challenges…I couldn’t be more impressed.” Our awards really are coveted and we don’t just give them to the Big 4 firms just because they are there. So come on, there must be someone you

know who needs a great night out and proper recognition for all their hard work – remember, it could even be your training manager or mentor. What a great way to thank them for the work they put in. We have made the nominating process really easy. Just go to and download the application form. You need to click on the ‘awards’ bar on the home page to find it. Then you need to write 250 words on why you or your nominee should win a prize, and please remember to add any supporting evidence when you send us your entry. You can of course just email your nomination direct, making clear what award category you are entering. It is also important we have all your details – we may want to invite you to the awards. When you have everything ready send it to, or you can post it to: The Editor, PQ magazine, Unit 3a, Kingsfisher Heights, 2 Bramwell Way, Royal Docks, London E16 2GQ. The deadline for all your nominations is Friday 1 December 2017 – so get to it! PQ


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PQ Magazine November 2017


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tax qualification PQ

Your guide to the revised CTA exam


he Chartered Institute of Taxation recently unveiled major changes to its CTA qualification. So what were the ‘big ones’? Well, current rules allow students to carry forward passes in written exams for five sittings. This will, from 2017, be extended by two sittings to a ‘seven sitting rule’. So an exam passed at the November 2017 exam session will now be valid up to and including the May 2021 session. This increase from five to seven will be applied to all existing students who have a valid CTA written exam pass on 1 November 2017 and thereafter. It will not apply to any student where the five


he Tick television series is an epic tale of destiny, blood lust and good versus evil. Well, that’s what the trailer says! In its latest incarnation, unassuming accountant Arthur Everest, played by Griffin Newman, becomes the lead character. He believes that the city is run by an evil supervillain. But, in a world where superheroes and villains have been real for decades, he has no superpowers! How can he show the world what is really happening? Luckily, there is one person who believes him, a superhero called The Tick. The problem is this bizarre blue superhero might just be a figment of Arthur’s imagination! The Tick spends a lot of time bolstering Arthur’s fragile ego. And who has a better nonsensical battlecry than “Spooooon!”? PQ Magazine November 2017

sittings have already expired. Then from the May 2018 CTA exam session the two Advisory exams, Taxation of Major Corporates (TOMC) and Advanced Corporation Tax (ACT) will be merging. The new exam will be called Taxation of Major Corporates, with the first sitting available in May 2018. The big news (as we said in last month’s issue) is the move to make the CTA qualification open to all from 2019. The current requirement is for students to have a prior qualification, which enables them to claim a ‘Confirmation of Eligibility’ to sit the CTA exams. This will be removed. This means that access to the

The CTA qualification is getting a major overhaul – and it is looking good

qualification will be open to anyone. The CIOT stressed here that the exams are set at a high standard and in order to give themselves the best chance of success students who do not have previous qualification in accounting or law will be strongly advised to register for the Tax Pathway route to qualification. See Two modules in the Awareness exam will also be withdrawn in 2019 – Accounting and Environmental Taxes, Excise Duties & Stamp Duties. A new Principles of Accounting will be examined via a CBE from March 2019. Students who are exam qualified in a professional accountancy qualification will be able to apply for an exemption from the Principles of Accounting CBE. However, the exemption must be applied for before the student registers for their final written exam. Students who are exam qualified with ATT, ACCA (must have passed P6), ICAEW, ICAS and ICAI (must have passed NI tax papers) will be able to apply for an exemption for the Awareness exam. Again, the exemption must be applied for before the student registers for their final written exam. The Application and Interaction Exam is also being renamed and will be called Application & Professional Skills. Students will be sent pre-seen information two weeks prior to the exam giving the background details relevant to the client in the question. Trainees will not be permitted to bring a copy of the information into the exam with them, but will be issued with a copy (separate to the exam question) at the start of the exam. The restructured exam will be competency based and a minimum grade will be required in a range of competencies. For more information on the changes visit PQ

cover story PQ

Making accountancy Tick

The Tick was created by Ben Edlund and first appeared in comic form in 1986. He is a spoof of the American comic book superheroes of DC and Marvel. He first hit the mainstream when his adventures were turned into an animated TV series in 1994. There has even been a video game based on the character. The Tick is no fly-by-night hero – he made #57 on the list of Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. Meanwhile, our accountant Arthur dresses up as a moth, and to add to our confusion wears feather ears, too! But while Arthur is no superhero at least he can conjure one up. You can catch The Tick on Amazon Prime. PQ

Audit tick marks

Audit tick marks are abbreviated notions use on audit work papers to denote auditing actions taken. These tick marks are useful from the audit manager’s perspective, so they can see which activities have been completed.. 19

PQ CIMA spotlight

Dump that stress! Keep calm and carry on being mindful… Jackie Durham explains how to prepare for and cope with exam stress (part one of three)


n last month’s PQ I talked about the power of positive thinking and how we can harness this to support and direct our CIMA studies. I also mentioned that I am a qualified yoga teacher and that this shapes some of the ways I look at the world but, more importantly, offers me techniques for dealing with some of life’s trickier or tenser occasions. In a series of three articles I am going to look at some coping mechanisms that will help you calm exam nerves but also help focus your mind so that you study and learn more effectively. I’ll be drawing on my experiences of mindfulness, relaxation and breathing techniques. First of all, why do we need these techniques at all? I believe the vast majority of us would probably benefit from taking a moment every now and again to just breathe, empty our full minds and mentally refresh. The stress of juggling work, study and family/leisure plus exam-day nerves can be at best wearing and at worst debilitating. It may well affect our performance both at work and in our exams. We’ve probably all experienced the panic that sets in when one feels there’s not enough time in the day, things aren’t ‘going in’, the questions don’t make sense or don’t look like the ones in the text books. All of which prevents us from studying and learning effectively and that’s even before any exam day nerves set in! However, with a bit of practice and a different mindset we can take hold of that panic, we can focus our minds, learn to concentrate, control exam day nerves and therefore live up to our potential. This is where mindfulness comes in. While this is a huge topic, at its most basic it simply means living ‘in the

moment’. That is, being present and aware, accepting that there’s no point dwelling on negative experiences in the past (because they are behind us) or worrying about the future (because that’s yet to come). Instead, we need to focus on the here and now and use this to control our ‘chattering mind’. Now as a long term strategy for life, this isn’t the best approach – indeed we do need to reflect on the past to learn lessons for the future – but as a technique for focusing the mind on things that matter it really works. Some of the biggest things which hold us back with regards to exams are various versions of negative thinking: • Irrational thinking and self-criticism (“I’m useless at exams. I will never pass – even though the evidence may well suggest you are more than capable”). • Irrational beliefs (“If I don't pass, my family/friends/partner/employer will lose respect for me”). • Irrational demands (“It’s no good unless I pass the first time every time”). • Irrational predictions (“I know I am going to fail so there’s no point trying”). Mindfulness can free you from some of

23 November 2017 A conference looking to the future of the accountancy profession and impact emerging current issues will have.


these irrational, circuitous worries and help you overcome negative thinking. So, how does that work? By learning how to bring ourselves back to the present moment, we can create a space to breathe and become calm. We can give ourselves a mental break from worry and stress. We can harness mindfulness to improve our focus, concentration and ability to retain information. This is achieved by learning to pay attention to the present moment using simple breathing, relaxation and meditation practices. I’ll be covering practical techniques for these in future articles, but for now let’s pay attention to how to be ‘mindful’ in just about any situation. I find one way to ‘tune in’ is when doing a mundane task where my brain would normally wander into negative territory. So, walking the dogs – a pleasant activity but one where I don’t need to engage my brain and so frequently find myself ‘worrying’. This ‘mind chatter’ is never positive, it’s draining. So, to stop this, I focus on the ‘sensations’ created by what I’m doing, where I am, what I can see and hear and how that makes me feel – the feel of the sun, wind or rain on my skin, the squelch of mud or the firmness of crisp snow under my feet, the sights and sounds of wildlife, the smells of flowers or “the country”! And most of all how that makes me feel. The answer is usually ‘good’ because, even on a bad weather day, it’s a job ticked off the list and I’ve had some fresh air and exercise. Use mundane tasks to practise mindfulness and give yourself a pat on the back for what you have achieved. It’s far too easy to become weighed down by an ever growing ‘to-do’ list rather than recognising what we have actually ‘ticked off’. Next time you are washing up, walking to work, watching your children play, try it. Next month we are going to really power up the anti-stress campaign by linking some basic ‘breath awareness’ with mindfulness. PQ • Jackie Durham, CIMA

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Accountancy college of the year

PQ Magazine November 2017

PQ inheritance tax

IHT: valuing lifetime gifts Dave Bull explains how inheritance tax works, and offers an example of how to make an IHT calculation


nheritance Tax (IHT) is essentially a tax on giving stuff away. That’s because if you gave it all away, there’d be nothing left in your death estate to be taxed.

The ‘diminution in value’ principle When someone makes a transfer of value, usually by giving something to either a trust or to another individual, their net worth (or estate) falls. This fall is subjected to IHT by s.3(1) IHTA 1984. Many of the rules for IHT make more sense once you’ve taken on board that this is a tax on the amount by which your estate falls in value – it is not a tax on the value of the asset you gave away. Often these two values are the same anyway. Here’s an example: Bob owns a portfolio of properties. He gives a property worth £140,000 to his daughter Jennie. Bob’s personal net worth has fallen by £140,000, so that's his ‘transfer of value’ for IHT purposes. Because he and Jennie are connected persons, that means £140,000 is also Bob’s deemed disposal proceeds for CGT purposes. There are some assets, where if you give part of the asset away the value of the bit you’ve kept falls, too. In exams this is usually either shares in an unquoted investment company or part of a set of antique furniture. If you own a majority shareholding in a company, with your votes you can pass ordinary resolutions, giving you power and making your shares more valuable than a minority holding. If you have 75% or more of the shares, you can pass special resolutions with your votes as well and this power makes the shares even more valuable. Bob owns shares in Bobco Investments Ltd. He owns 80%, which gives him a very high level of power so the 80% shareholding is worth £500,000. He gives half his shares to Jennie. Half the shares is only a 40% shareholding. In Jennie’s hands the 40% shareholding is worth £140,000 because she does not have a majority holding. For CGT purposes, we have to use the market value of the asset as the disposal proceeds. Bob's deemed proceeds will be £140,000. His transfer of value for IHT will be much higher: £ Bob’s shares before the transfer 80% 500,000 Bob’s shares after the transfer (80-40)=40% 140,000 Bob’s transfer of value 360,000

Notice how for CGT we only care about the value of the asset, while for IHT we only care about the value of Bob’s estate. The effect of ‘related property’ Bob might try to get around this by making the transfer by using the spouse exemption. All transfers between UK-domiciled spouses are exempt from IHT, so if Bob gives half his shares to his wife first, when he gives shares to Jennie he’s only making a transfer from a 40% shareholding: £ Bob’s shares before the transfer 80% 500,000 Bob’s gives 40% to his spouse (80-40)=40% exempt Bob’s shares after the spouse gift 40% Bob gives 40% to Jennie and is left with nothing Bob’s transfer of value

140,000 0 140,000

This would make it easy for someone like Bob to reduce the IHT on such gifts. So there's the ‘related property’ rule in s.161 IHTA 1984, which says that because Bob’s wife owns shares in the same company we treat the couple as owning 80% together, rather than 40% each. This means Bob is going down from half of an 80% holding to nil of a 40% holding, which is very different from going from a 40% holding to nil: £ Bob’s shareholding before: £500,000 x 40 250,000 80 Bob’s shareholding after: £140,000 x (40-40=0) (80-40=40) 0 Bob’s fall in value 250,000 Remembering that IHT is a tax on the fall in value of Bob's estate – not the value of the shares (that's CGT's job!) – will help you keep a clear head on questions about IHT in your exams. PQ • Dave Bull is a freelance tutor teaching for Tolley Exam Training, part of Lexisnexis and other training organisations. The view expressed are his own. He can be contacted at

PQ LSBU conference

The future at your fingertips


here’s still time to sign up to the PQ magazine/London South Bank University one-day conference on 23 November – simply go to We have a fantastic day planned for anyone who can come along to our oneday FREE conference. Yes, it’s totally free – we are too good to you! On top of a keynote address from the ACCA’s Alan Hatfield we are planning a panel discussion on ‘accounting for extinction’. Don’t worry, we believe you do have a future! We also have a whole series of breakout seminars that should have something for everyone. This will afford fantastic networking opportunities – we are expecting 250 delegates! #Thefutureofaccountancy #LSBUPQ 22

TITLE: The Future of accountancy: Success in a changing world VENUE: Keyworth Centre, London South Bank University, London SE1 6NG DATE: Thursday 23 November TIME: 9am registration for 9.30am start – networking 4.45-6.30pm

BREAK-OUT GROUPS GOING DIGITAL 1) Welcome to the cloud – this is your future, embrace it! 5) Big data – who owns it and how new General Data Privacy rules will work.

9) Making Tax Digital. LET’S GET TECHNICAL 2) Crowd funding/Intellectual property. 6) Money laundering. 10) IFRS 15 & 16 – your standards update. EMPLOYER ADVICE 3) The apprenticeship landscape – so where are we now? 7) Coaching & mentoring – mental health, wellbeing & resilience. 11) The changing skill set – what will you need. OWN YOUR CAREER 4) Creating a personal brand and your digital profile. 8) Forget being headhunted – you need to know what employers want. We will also look at the shifting skills landscape. 12) Setting up your own business. BIG PANEL DISCUSSION: Accounting for extinction! If you want to come along then go to PQ Magazine November 2017

Accountancy college of the year

23 November 2017 | 9am-7pm Keyworth Centre, LSBU A conference looking to the future of the accountancy profession and impact emerging current issues will have. We welcome accountants, accounting students, individuals working in the accountancy profession, or connected with the sector An opportunity for CPD and networking across the sector and with our diverse student body.

For informal discussions about the event, please email Danusia Wysocki To register, please visit:

Lineup of speakers: Alan Hatfield, Executive Director, Strategy & Development, ACCA Mark Protherough, Executive Director, Learning & Professional Development, ICAEW Tony Margaritelli, chair of ICPA and member of the HMRC Agent Strategy Group Lea Watson, Employer Relationships and Apprenticeships Product Manager, AAT

Garry Carter, President and CEO, ICBGlobal Claire Bennison, Head of Sales and Marketing Western Europe, ACCA Pat Keogh, Managing Director, Pro-Recruitment Group Tom Eagle, Head of Finance Practice, Pro-Recruitment Group

Peter Noyce, Partner and Head of Legal Services, Menzies LLP Andy Miles, CEO of Think Marble Limited Maggie McGhee, Director of Professional Insights, ACCA David Oliver, founder of MyFirmsApp Mike Day, Education Director at Xero


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PQ cost of capital

Risk adjusted cost of capital is just like decorating a new home


isk adjusted cost of capital is a topic that students attempting CIMA F3 or ACCA F9 and P4 need to be able to cope with. In all three papers, this syllabus area is tested in a variety of ways and at different depths. However, experience has shown me that many students try to rote-learn the method without trying to understand the concepts behind the process. I want to help you understand the basic ideas behind the calculations, but as is my norm I like to consider complicated problems and apply a simple thought process and use easy to understand illustrations. Let me begin. Along with my wife Rita, I own a property. When we moved in my wife insisted (yes, insisted) the house needed to be decorated in a colour scheme of her choice. So, take the house, prior to being decorated, to be the same as a company asset beta. Then the board of directors (BoD) – my wife – has chosen the level of gearing (decoration) that is suitable. The decoration is like gearing up the house. Hence the house after it is decorated is equivalent of a company equity beta.

Sunil Bhandari has a colourful way to helping you understand risk adjusted cost of capital

Now I have been saving money to buy an apartment in Manchester. As you may have read in an earlier edition of PQ, I have a particular reason to want to be in Manchester on a regular basis. An apartment is not the same as a house and it is in a different city to where my

house is located. You could say this is equivalent to having different business risks. In addition, the apartment has been decorated to the tastes of the previous owners. In effect, it incorporates their gearing. This is then a proxy equity beta. As you would expect, my good wife sends me to Manchester to remove all the decoration of the apartment (degear the proxy equity beta) and get the apartment back to its bricks and mortar condition – project asset beta. I am then authorised to redecorate the place in the same colour scheme as our home. I have regeared the project asset beta into a project equity beta. The apartment is totally different in shape and size when compared with my house, but is decorated in the same colour scheme as my house. Hence the company equity beta does NOT EQUAL the project equity beta, but the level of gearing in both are the same. In the exam room we go onto to use the CAPM equation to find the Risk Adjusted Ke. This is the stopping point for an ACCA F9 question. However, in CIMA F3 and ACCA P4 we go two steps further to find the Risk Adjusted WACC. I hope now when you come across this topic in your studies you will find it less daunting. For me, please let me return to my decorating! PQ • Sunil Bhandari is freelance tutor and writer and Manchester United supporter


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PQ Magazine November 2017

interview PQ

Making business Qlik PQ magazine’s Graham Hambly went to talk to the CFO Tim MacCarrick about Qlik, a leader in the visual analytics market


t was 10 minutes into the interview with Qlik’s CFO, Tim MacCarrick, before we started really talking about ‘the numbers’. For MacCarrick people come first, be they customers or employees. The numbers, while important, are a by-product of doing business. But MacCarrick might just be good at the numbers, and as CFO expects them just to be there! He also believes it is vital that every finance department looks at the business through the eyes of the customer, and what their value proposition is. Qlik is one of those ‘sexy’ businesses that is working at the cutting edge. As its website says, it “delivers intuitive platform solutions for self-service data visualisation, guided analytics applications, embedded analytics and reporting to approximately 45,000 customers worldwide”. We are talking big

data and business intelligence here. Among those customers are Deloitte, many financial institutions and the NHS. MacCarrick believes Qlik allows business to get closer to what they do and understand it better. It also provides unique insights and it does this by focusing on business users rather than the IT. He started his working life at Xerox and rose to become its CEO for Europe in his 23 years there. Not bad for the guy who started as a summer intern. However, it was while he was at industrial company Crane and Co that he took on his first CFO role. Part of that job was to run investor relations and he became involved in reporting results, attending analysis conferences and taking phone calls from banking institutions. We talked

Tim MacCarrick

about transparency, confidentiality and disclosure here and the needs of shareholders. “You have to find a balance,” he explained. He said that he had to fight the shorttermism of some markets and you have to take people on your journey to provide a strategic vision. “That means telling your story over and over again until the message gets out there,” he explained. When discussing AI and robots, MacCarrick likes to talk about Augmented Intelligence rather than Artificial Intelligence. He is in no doubt that there are plenty of areas in the intelligence gathering process that can be automated. But these figures need to be put into context and interpreted by the leaders of companies – and this includes the accountants. We will still need the humans, he argues. Which is good news. MacCarrick was able to highlight how data analysis is helping Qlik to work better and make better decisions. Before each board meeting he releases all his numbers onto the cloud. Members can go on and click through the numbers and change them to answer any of their questions. By having the data ready to be manipulated it means he can exit the boardroom on the day of the meeting without any outstanding questions (well, that’s the aim). This in turn enables better decision in real time. Find out more at PQ


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international standards PQ


Top tutor Cat Hill explains how the rules for the new IFRS 15 affect the way that revenue must be recorded


ccounting for a sale is one of the first things a student learns in the ACCA F3 Financial Accounting paper, and it is relevant for ACCA F7 studiers, too. Most people studying accountancy have heard some of the history of double entry bookkeeping, the theory of which is thought to date back to the 12th century, or even before. But, of course, a new IFRS means a new set of rules, and although double entry will still apply, the new IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, gives detailed guidance via five steps for revenue recognition, thereby clarifying the rules for a lot of businesses. The five steps are: 1. Identify the contracts with the customer. 2. Identify the separate performance obligations. 3. Determine the transaction price. 4. Allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations. 5. Recognise revenue when (or as) a performance obligation is satisfied. Fundamentally, this covers the questions: What? When? and Where?

What? The first four of the steps all cover the same question. What contract are we talking about? What is the price? What are the performance obligations? What is allocated to the obligations? Let’s imagine I run a shop selling computers. Most of these questions are easily answered: 1. A customer comes in to the shop and we agree that she will buy a computer for $1,000– that is the contract with the customer. 2. I give her the computer – that’s the performance obligation in the contract. 3. We have determined the transaction price as $1,000. 4. The $1,000 (transaction price) is in return for the computer (performance obligation). Easy enough? But what if it’s more complicated? 1. A customer comes in to the shop and we agree that she will buy a computer and 2 years of support for $1,200 – that is the contract with the customer. 2. There are TWO performance obligations – the computer which she gets now, and the support she will receive for the next 2 years. 3. The transaction price is $1,200. 4. But that price needs to be split between the computer and the support, to allocate the transaction price across the performance obligations. So I need more information. Let’s assume, if the customer had bought the computer and the support separately from each other, I would have sold the computer for $1,000 and the support for $500. But as a package, I only charged her $1,200. I need to allocate $1,200 to the performance obligations in the same proportion as I would have done if the computer and support were bought separately. Exam tip: in the exam, they would have to give you some clue on how to do this apportionment. As two separate items, the computer and support would look like this: Obligation Computer Support Total

Individual selling price $1,000 $500 $1,500

% of total price $1,000/$1,500 66.7 $500/$1,500 33.3 100

When? Now we know that the revenue for the computer is $800 and the revenue for the support is $400, the next question is: when do we recognise those two items of revenue? This the fifth step in IFRS 15 – recognise the revenue when the performance obligation is satisfied. For the computer: If the customer takes the computer away with her today, that has satisfied the first of my performance obligations, so I can recognise $800 of revenue at that point. If I will be delivering it to her in a couple of weeks, I can’t recognise the revenue until I have delivered the computer, because I haven’t satisfied my obligation until that point – the customer doesn’t have control of the asset. For the support: This $400 revenue must be recognised over the next two years, as I am satisfying the performance obligation over that time by providing the support. Exam tip: check the dates of the contract carefully. If the sale was made on 1 December 20X7, and my year end is 31 December 20X7, I would only be entitled to recognise 1 month of the 24 months of revenue in 20X7: $400 x 1/24 = $17 I could recognise 12 months of revenue in 20X8: $400 x 12/24 = $200 And the remaining 11 months of revenue would fall in 20X9: $400 x 11/24 = $183 Where? The final question is: where should the double entry sit in the financial statements? As this was a sale in a shop, let’s assume it was a cash sale, we would increase the bank figure. When the sale is made, the revenue for the computer must be recognised, as must the one month of support in 20X7. The missing figure must be held as a credit on the Statement of Financial Position and released over the next two years; which means everything to be released in 20X8 is a current liability, and the revenue to release in 20X9 is non-current. $ $ Dr Bank 1,200 Cr Revenue – Computer 800 Cr Revenue – Support 17 Cr Deferred income – CL 200 Cr Deferred income – NCL 183 In 20X8, a year of support revenue would be released to the profit or loss and the Deferred Income for 20X9 would become a Current Liability: $ $ Dr Deferred income – CL 200 Cr Revenue – Support 200 Dr Deferred income – NCL 183 Cr Deferred income – CL 183 And, finally, in 20X9, the last of the revenue would be released to the profit or loss: $ $ Dr Deferred income – CL 183 Cr Revenue – Support 183

This means, in the package contract, the revenue of $1,200 is allocated across the computer and support, in the same proportion as above:

Now the computer and all the support has been recognised as revenue, albeit at different times.


Conclusion To some businesses, the new IFRS 15 will have little impact on their revenue recognition, to others it will have a significant impact, but it will undoubtedly be important for the F3 and F7 exams. PQ • Cat Hill is the F7 tutor at AVADO

Computer Support Total

Package price x appropriate % $1,200 x 66.7% $1,200 x 33.3%

PQ Magazine November 2017

Revenue allocated to obligation $800 $400 $1,200


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your career PQ

Know your business Josie Gowler offers some top tips on how you can hit the ground running when you start a new job


etting ready for job interviews, we’ve all done the same things: reading the accounts, mugging up on the industry, reviewing the website, scouring the internet for news and views on what it’s hoped will soon become a new employer. But I’m a great advocate of continuing this process after landing that new position, and I’ve always been surprised that keen candidates who study the business intently don’t consistently apply the same rigour once they’ve landed the role. Since joining the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology as Head of Finance and Research Contracts in early 2017, I’ve made sure that I’ve really got under the skin of this fascinating organisation, and this has enhanced the day job and enabled me to add significant value to the role already. It’s an approach that’s done me well in every role I’ve had since qualifying as a chartered accountant back in 1998. Hopefully, following these steps will help you to get off to as fine a start with any new sector or employer as I have. • Keep up with the homework: Landing the job is just the beginning. While working out my notice period at my previous employer, I made sure I kept revisiting the MRC website in the evenings, reading more about the industry and flicking through trade publications such as New Scientist. I also downloaded the sector’s Financial Reporting Manual (FReM) and started to absorb the subtle differences in reporting requirements in this new area. Naturally, I’ve kept up this continuous learning after joining. • Informal meetings: Before my start date, I followed up with a couple of informal meetings with my new boss and

PQ Magazine November 2017

colleagues – outside of the interview setting it was helpful to have a more casual discussion to understand issues, challenges and expectations and begin to think about how I’d go about tackling them. • Arrange the first fortnight: Sorting this out before actually joining enabled me to figure out the colleagues I really needed to meet in my first couple of weeks and get time in their diaries – always useful to set this up early if possible in today’s busy workplace, especially with senior management. • Get the ‘grand tour’: I found it useful to get an overview of the organisation via a proper look-round, especially important for an organisation such as the MRC which is spread over several sites. This will also help you to get to know the capital and real estate, vital for planning.

This article first appeared in NQ magazine (August 2017)

Once in role, I’ve kept up my interactions with departments. Both at the MRC and at PA Consulting earlier in my career, I found there was nothing like a laboratory visit for really appreciating key projects and new developments. • Get to know other departments: Get behind the numbers, meet with the department heads and find out what they really need and want. What are their main concerns? Their big projects? By really going out into the divisions I’ve been able to see the numbers in context and add more value as a result. • Talk to people: Not just department heads but end-users – in my case scientists and students. They’ve brought me a helpful coalface perspective. • It’s not just continuous professional development (CPD): Going on the right courses doesn’t simply mean the accountancy and management CPD – I’ve made sure I’ve gone to relevant lectures and seminars too. The MRC runs excellent ‘science for non-scientists’ briefings and I have attended every one. • Consider the wider world: In my case this means getting a grasp of external factors and funders, such as universities and charities, and wider initiatives such as the forthcoming creation of UK Research & Innovation, which will be bringing together the seven research councils into one combined body. • Understand the IT side: This could be a whole article in itself, but finding out before I joined which accounting and software packages the MRC uses enabled me to brush up on any slightly jaded skills and get off to a much swifter, easier start. Hopefully sharing my experiences will help anyone thinking of making the move to a new sector or new role to take the leap with extra confidence. PQ • Josie Gowler is Head of Finance and Research Contracts at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and formerly Chief Finance Officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire


PQ your career

Where are the recruitment agencies now? Has the internet created a better way of recruiting in the accountancy profession? One old timer thinks not…


he last time I was actively looking for a new role in a new company the year was 1999. For an ambitious, recently qualified CIMA accountant the trending issue was Y2K (concern that every IT system on the planet going to crash as we hit midnight on millennium eve). Mobile phones were starting to hit the shops in a big way and Tiger Woods was on top of the world. To get a job then you had to hit the streets, not the keyboard. Michael Page, FSS and Robert Half were some of the players in the accountancy recruitment market. They all had ‘stores’ in every town and city. The only way you knew about jobs was to look in the back of trade journals and magazines, or get out and walk the streets, selling yourself to these companies. They also provided a great source of pay comparison, which was always important! So you can imagine my shock when I turned to the back of those same journals and there was nothing there; when I looked for some of the old company names – gone. Like in many other industries the internet had structurally changed the service and business model – but for the better? Back in the day, the recruitment

specialist would need to really understand their client, and really understand the delegate. It was like a non-romantic dating service, which it is still today (of sorts). However, the key difference then was the depth of understanding and interest the recruiter needed. They knew whether you would fit the culture and the needs of the role because they had met you and spoken to you. Now it seems I need to update my LinkedIn profile (there needs to be a course on that), carefully wording it so that it shows I am looking for a new job, and also including several achievements that other people did but I reckon I can take credit for (everyone does that, don’t they?). All I have to do then is wait for recruiters to get in touch, although I never know whether they have a job for me or not. It all seems so impersonal. But it is the way things are done now, so I guess I will have to get in line with it. What the internet brings to industries like this is a much wider market; it’s much easier to search through roles and delegates, but surely that makes the filter process that much harder? If you have 1,000 CVs rather than 100, how on earth do you know you are putting the best person forward?

Maybe it is more like online dating than I had originally considered; there’s a lot more options but lot more trial and error than ever before in finding the right match (not that I have tried that yet!). Good luck to the younger generation. If I could offer one piece of advice that is timeless it is this: take time to speak to people and listen to people. In the end it is still people that buy people – and that is the same in both the job and dating market. PQ • A 47-year-old seasoned finance professional

PQ ICAEW spotlight

Boost your career options


he ICAEW is now offering PQs the opportunity to gain recognition for their knowledge and technical skills by means of a designation called the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP). Aimed at professionals who are either on their way towards chartered accountancy or those who simply want to demonstrate their commitment to ongoing professional development and have a successful career in business, management or finance, there are many benefits that come with the designation. As a BFP holder you will have ongoing support and advice from ICAEW, access to an international network of like-minded business professionals as well as online and interactive resources from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) available to you. These resources are designed to help professionals with the 30

ICAEW unveils new designation for ambitious PQs who want to show commitment and drive

application of the very best management practices, which will in turn add real value to the organisation the BFP holder works in or even to their own business. On top of that, as a BFP holder you will have the option to choose a technical specialism for which you will receive updates and relevant material to support your development in the sector of your choice. Additionally, once you are a holder of the designation, you will be able to use the designatory letters ‘BFP’ after your name, which will make you more employable, as it will

clearly demonstrate your recognition from a professional membership organisation. To gain the designation aspiring BFP holders will need to have completed three elements: the ICAEW CFAB qualification; 12 months’ work experience in a business or finance role gained within the last three years; and the ICAEW Ethics Learning Programme. If you meet one or two of these requirements you will only need to complete the missing ones to be eligible to apply for the BFP designation. Those interested in gaining the BFP designation don’t need any prior academic requirements. You can start your journey by registering for ICAEW CFAB or, if you have already completed some study at university or with another professional body, you may be able to gain credit for prior learning (CPL) for some of the ICAEW CFAB modules. If you have already completed the qualification you can start with the ICAEW Ethics Learning programme and achieve the BFP designation more quickly. To find out more about the designation and how you can become a BFP holder visit PQ • Thanks to the ICAEW for this article PQ Magazine November 2017

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PQ careers

social media ROUND-UP Twitter recently revealed that it is trialling longer character limits for a select group of users. The social network is doubling the 140 letters currently allowed, which apparently is a “major cause of frustration” for users unable to express themselves fully. The old limit was originally imposed in 2006 because of the old text message limits. One of our top retweets @pqmagazine this month was: “3 former Tesco executives massaged figures, bullied staff and then lied to auditors in an effort to improve profits, court told.” Peter Nunn wondered that, if they are convicted: “How many of the 5 ethical principles does that contravene?”

Life at Emma J Perry & Co ACA Emma Jayne Perry, 33, is a London-based ‘Holistic Accountant’, setting up her own business in 2014. She has a psychology degree from Birmingham uni. Emma was the cover star of January’s Vital magazine and her recently published book is reviewed below What time does your alarm clock go off on a working day? 6.15am. What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Choose my priority task for the day (what I call my ‘Top WIP’) and make a plan of what I will do, in what order and by what time. What’s on your desk? Books on personal development and spirituality; crystals; tarot and oracle decks (I am a psychic medium); a laptop; and a small speaker. Sometimes my cats (called Bear and Treyton) also sit on my desk. What’s the best thing about where you work? That I can create and evolve my work in any way I like – there are infinite possibilities and no rules. In January 2018 I will go to travel the world indefinitely and will run my businesses remotely.

Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch? Hummus Lina in Camden. What (or who) can you see when you sit at your desk? My books and the wall, on which hangs a piece of glitter art that I made. Which websites are your favourites and why? Facebook! I find it the easiest way to connect with and share ideas with my friends, family and clients, as they are all over the world. Which websites do you use for work? HMRC, QuickBooks, Tax Filer, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. How many hours a week do you spend in meetings? Two to three hours depending on the week. I used to spend a lot more time in meetings when I ran a couple of networking groups.

What time do you leave the office? I work from home and I try to get most of my work (my Top WIP) done before lunchtime. Then I go to my second office (Starbucks!) to work on other projects. I tend to leave there around closing time (6-7pm). How do you relax? I meditate, workout, jogging or relaxing in nature. I love nature. Or reading a self development book. What’s your favourite tipple? Desperado beer. What is your favourite TV show? Vampire Diaries. Summer or winter? Summer. Pub or club? Pub. Who is your hero? Wonder Woman. If you had a time machine, where would you go? To the 1950s.

under 35. Additionally, careers experts say that by your mid-30s many workers have either been promoted to positions of responsibility or, worse, been overlooked and leapfrogged by younger colleagues.

record intake brings the total number for young people recruited into the firm’s apprenticeship schemes to 387. KPMG’s lead in this area, Kathryn Roberts, said the firm is expanding its schemes to include new locations such as Southampton, Newcastle-UponTyne and Cambridge. She explained that two-thirds of KPMG’s new apprentice roles (118) will be based in regional offices.

In brief Eye Jay was also impressed with our knowledge of Deep Purple albums when we tweeted: “Deep Purple’s accountant, Dipak Shakar Rao, has been struck off after he ‘borrowed’ £2.27m of the rockers’ cash. Definitely the ‘Wrong Man’.” We also recently broke the 4,000follower barrier, so thanks if you are among that number. Our favourite Facebook post this month was: “If you happen to know me in my next life… remind me not to take ACCA exams”. Layla Griffin said: “I can’t stop laughing. What a great comment.” We also asked you if ACCA exam papers were getting too long. One PQ told us: “They have always been too long!” Another said: “All unnecessary if you ask me, should be about quality not quantity.” A more cynical PQ exclaimed: “ACCA is making money through this four attempt per year failure rate, and fees just increase year-on-year.” Finally, we need to issue a warning. PQ readers need to be very careful about selling old or pirated material on Facebook groups. Not only could the material be out-of-date, but more seriously in many cases you are stealing someone’s copyright and compromising their business. If it was brought to your body’s attention you could be reprimanded. That’s not a great way to start your professional career. 32

Start hating at 35 How is the career going? Do you love the company you work for and socialise with colleagues? Well, that could all soon be over. A study has found that career misery starts at 35. Just 8% of people between 18-34 surveyed by Robert Half were unhappy with their jobs. This doubled to 16% for those aged 35-54. At the same time, one-third of over 35s found their jobs stressful compared with a quarter of those

More KPMG apprentices KMPG’s 2017 recruitment drive has seen a 40% increase in the number of apprenticeship hires. Numbers are up from 129 in 2016 to 181 this year. The

The PQ Book Club: books you should read The Little Book of Holistic Accounting by Emma J Perry (dot dot dot publishing, £9.99) This book promises to ‘Balance the books of your body, mind, heart and soul’ – quite a claim! Emma Perry’s book certainly has ‘new age’ stamped all over it and this reviewer can honestly say he has never seen a book written for accountants that looks like this one! At its heart this is a book about work/life balance, and how you can rediscover your spiritual side in a world of hard numbers and tough choices. Perry asks the reader to create four ‘bank accounts’ – one each for your body, mind,

heart and soul. Through analysis you will move through six stages that will help you “find, define, create, share, strategise and live your life with purpose”. This book is full of tips about how you can eradicate the negative from your life, the major stumbling block to you achieving your goals. These include five minutes meditation each day; having a technology ‘time-out’; eating healthily and exercising regularly; communing with nature; and not being judgemental. The author holds the reader’s hand through the six stages mentioned above, helping them to achieve the ultimate goal. The Little Book of Holistic

Accounting frequently references The Wizard of Oz, using Dorothy’s journey as an analogy for the journey she signposts for the reader. So you need to be able to recognise the wicked witches on your personal journey, blocking your yellow brick road on the way to your Emerald City – the ultimate destination. PQ rating 4/5 Triggered by a personal tragedy, chartered accountant Perry has created a unique book for accountants that’s always thought-provoking, insightful and interesting. PQ Magazine November 2017







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JOKE CORNER A patient is told by their doctor that they only have six months to live. The patient asks the doctor: “What should I do?” The doctor replies: “Marry an accountant.” “Will it make me live longer?” asks the patient. “No,” says the doctor, “but it will seem longer.” The four immutable laws of accounting: • Trail balances don’t • Bank reconciliations never do • Working capital doesn’t • Return on Investment never will What do accountants suffer from that other people don’t? Depreciation! What do you call an accountant without a spreadsheet? Lost Do you have any favourite accountancy gags? Send them to More great jokes next month.

WORST QUOTES ABOUT ACCOUNTANTS THIS MONTH “Chris Froome wins Vuelta: A friendly accountant off the bike, a cold-eye winner on it.” BBC chief sports writer Tom Fordyce “DJs like Harris were not stars but accountants.” Liam Gallagher calling out DJ Calvin Harris in a red carpet rant at the GQ Men of the Year Awards


Northgate’s finance director, Paddy Gallagher, has been sacked after being convicted of assault. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange the company said its CFO has been “summarily dismissed due to his conviction for the summary offence of common assault”. It added: “While the conviction relates to Mr Gallagher’s personal life, solely as a result of this conviction, the board considers Mr Gallagher’s position is untenable.”The victim is understood to be Anna Gallagher, his wife.



So what did Grant Thornton’s Sacha Romanvitch do on her hols? She was fighting Dubai may start moving down the list of must-see tarantulas, apparently. She destinations for accountants. It was recently reported that senior Grant Thornton partner, David recently posted: “Wishing I’d Ingram, has been detained in the UEA for more seen the note than two months without charge, after his passport was seized in Dubai. It appears the exact from the cleaner saying ‘there is a reasons for his detention are unclear. A firm’s tarantula in your bathroom representation said: “David Ingram has been good luck’, before I found said detained in the UAE as a result of a complaint made there. David has not been charged, nor has spider in the loo roll.” We don’t think she was having a staycation. he been imprisoned.” It’s a mystery.


Deep Purple certainly chose the ‘Wrong Man’ with accountant Dipak Shaker Rao. He has been banned as a company director after he siphoned off at least £2m from two companies controlling their catalogue of hits. The Insolvency Service has disqualified Rao for 11 years. He has admitted ‘borrowing’ at least £2.27m, but the Deep Purple companies (which went into liquidation in 2016) have only recovered around £477,000. The band members are suing Rao for £4m.



Last month we asked you to name the football teams supported by CIMA senior staff member? Well, CEO Andrew Harding is a QPR fan; Dr Noel Tagoe is a Manchester United supporter (as he mentions in nearly all of his talks!); Peter Stewart (he’s Scottish) cheers on Hearts; and, finally, there’s David Rowsby, a Leeds United fan for his sins.


Men are considerably better than women at Scrabble, and now scientists know why. It is not because they have an innate talent, it is just that most women are far less willing to waste their time honing skills on what they perceive as a largely pointless skills. The past 10 world champions have all been men, despite the fact that in Scrabble competitions there are generally more female than male entrants. University of Miami research found that women were spending more time actually playing Scrabble for fun. Men used their time differently, analysing past games and practising anagrams.


Star Wars rule Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be blasting its way across cinema screens from 14 December 2017. To celebrate we are offering three readers the chance to win a Star Wars BB-8 Display set of the eight new droid, aliens and creature stamps from the Post Office. To enter this great giveaway send your name and address to Remember we need your address to post the giveaway! Head up your email ‘Star Wars’.

PACE yourself ACCA-approved publisher Becker has launched a new online self-study program – ACCA PACE. And they have agreed to give one lucky PQ the chance to win this great product. PACE is available for all Skills papers – that’s F5 to F9. The package includes automarked OTs, flashcards, a build-your-own OT quiz, and much more. To be in with a chance of winning a Becker ACCA PACE package just send an email to, heading it ‘Becker PACE’. Remember to tell us which paper you want to win.

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 10 November. The main draw will take place on Monday 13 November 2017.


PQ Magazine November 2017

Your jobs board I need to find now!

PQ jobs

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 & Accounts Senior

Finance Analyst – FTSE 100

London £44,000 - £48,000 Looking for a step up into the Top 20? My client is offering above market rate salaries along with one of the best benefits packages on the market! All of the clients are London based so travelling is kept to a minimum. Clear progression to Supervisor available for the right person. Get in touch to find out more!

London £40,000 - £45,000 Do you want to move away from number crunching? If so, this high-profile analytical role offers the opportunity to work closely with non-finance and senior stakeholders within the organisation. You will have the opportunity to manage a small team and progress as the business continues to grow over the coming years.

Audit Senior

Commercial Accountant – Retail

Manchester £35,000 - £38,000 This impressive Manchester-based firm is seeking ACA/ACCA Qualified Audit Seniors who are looking to gain exposure to both advisory and consultancy. Drive away in your company car at this Top 100 firm who are not only offering premium salaries but international travel opportunities too!

London £35,000 - £40,000 Does the fast-paced and dynamic nature of retail appeal to you? Our client is recruiting a commercially astute and ambitious individual to work with their sales teams to drive profitability. You will have exposure to the Directors from day one and work within an environment where you can really add value.

Accounts Senior – Top 50

Contact us

London £35,000 - £40,000 Are you looking to work with a leading brand and an incredibly exciting client base? This top 50 firm is on the lookout for Accounts Seniors to join their ever-growing divisions! So if you want to work with famous actors, singers, high net worth individuals and more – apply now.

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:

Pro-Recruitment Group 20 - 23 Greville Street, London, EC1N 8SS.

PQ magazine, November 2017  

PQ magazine is a free monthly magazine for student accountants, focusing mainly on the ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW and AAT qualifications. It's...