PQ magazine, August 2022

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Incorporating NQ magazine

August 2022



THE VOICE OF ALL PQs HUGE FINE FOR AUDIT FIRM p8 SEC fines EY $100 million over exam cheating


Contact us Editor: Graham Hambly Email: graham@ pqmagazine.com Twitter: @pqmagazine www.pqmagazine.com


Play the Game! 49+1 = a pass YOUR ULTIMATE STUDY TIPS – ALL 13 OF THEM p26


How to avoid the common I HAVE pitfalls when sitting the ACCA’s FAILED MY Advance Taxation exam AAT EXAM!



PQ GIVEAWAYS Get your own copy of Woke Inc – inside the social justice scam


What skills do you need for a successful career in the public sector?

Award-winning AAT courses and apprenticeships Flexible learning to suit your lifestyle mindful-education.co.uk/students


Pick HTFT for AAT Start your AAT studies whenever you want with our Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 on-demand courses. HTFT on-demand: pre-recorded syllabus videos that lead into recorded application focused Masterclasses (with expert tutors), all designed to support your mastering of knowledge – accompanied with computer based tests and mock exams For more information visit www.htftpartnership.co.uk/courses/aat/

Think ACCA, think HTFT We have a full suite of ACCA Applied Skills and Strategic Professional courses for December 2022 exams starting in early September – so if your result on the 18th July doesn’t go to plan, maybe HTFT might work for you? ▪

Membership of our vibrant Online Learning Community and a dedicated tutor

HTFT Partnership student notes and ACCA authorised study text, exam kit and pocket notes

Full syllabus, Topic by Topic recordings supported by recorded Tuition Masterclass sessions – recorded, downloadable and playable on all devices

Scheduled ‘live online’ Revision Masterclass sessions – recorded, downloadable and playable on all devices

HTFT computer based mock exams, marked, with answers and video debriefs

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Study CIMA, choose HTFT Studying CIMA? Our HTFT live, HTFT on-demand and HTFT play resources are all here to help you prepare for, and pass, your exam. HTFT live: join our expert tutors live online for interactive Masterclasses, designed to support your application of syllabus knowledge. HTFT on-demand: drive your learning, with full flexible resources that you control HTFT play: Boxsets of topic recording and Proficiency exam-style practice assessments For more information visit: www.htftpartnership.co.uk/courses/cima

We have live CIMA E2, P2, E3 and P3 courses starting in July and F1, F2 and F3 in September.

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August 2022

A note from the Editor For many people, failing a professional accountancy exam will be the first time they have ever failed at anything. However, how we deal with failure can be the key to our future success. These exams are tough and some pass rates are just terrible, so overcoming failure is going to be a key part of the accountancy journey for many of you. You need to be able to bounce back, and quickly. Karen Groves (page 18) and Neil da Costa (page 23) both believe you need to redefine failure – accept it and use it as part of the learning process. As Neil says: “Don’t feel you have any less value because you have failed an exam. Instead learn for it.” Because once you know what went wrong you can come up with an action plan to overcome any deficiencies. In this month’s issue we also look the disturbing case of KPMG PQ Pratik Paw, provide you with a VAT quiz, and explain how to make WFH work for you – it may mean you have to wear a bow-tie! Oh, and don’t forget to enter our great giveaways each month. In this issue you can win an Adult Activity Book or one of our recent PQ Book Club reviews. Check out page 36 for all the details. Graham Hambly, Editor and Publisher, PQ magazine News 04 KPMG pay Big 4 firm awards staff their biggest pay rises in 10 years 06 CIMA thriving Institute welcomes more than 18,000 new students in 2021 08 EY fined US regulator hands out record fine as Big 4 firm guilty of ethical breaches 09 PQ’s Top Pick A rags-to-riches story is our YouTube choice 10 ACCA student fines Make sure you’re all alone when sitting

your RI exam – two students got help and paid the price 12 Tech news Four-fifths of firms expect big things of quantum computing; and how tech can boost the economy by £232bn Features, etc 14 Have your say Why the latest reforms to audit just won’t work; thanks for the hacks; and a baffling move by AAT. Plus our social media round-up 17 ACCA ATX exam Richard Poole explains how to avoid the common mistakes PQs make

p28 p22 18 AAT exams Top tutor Karen Groves explains how to bounce back from exam failure

31 AAT professional courses Adding professional skills to you CV will enhance your prospects

19 Ethical dilemma Is there a fair tender policy in place?

32 Working from home How to make the best job of WFH

20 Concepual framework So what is it all about? Sarah Ardiles and Tom Clendon explain

33 CIMA spotlight Top advive on how to tackle Objective Tests

22 Big 4 in the spotlight How safe are PQs working for the accountancy giants? 23 Study advice If you want exam successs, then you need ‘bouncebackability’ 24 VAT quiz Think you know VAT? Then take our test and prove it! 25 ACCA report The ‘ABCD’ of skills needed to become a public sector finance leader 26 Ultimate study guide We’ve 13 top tips to help you get that all-important pass 28 ACCA PM & APM Geoff Cordwell and Jo Tuffill explore common syllabus areas in these two papers

35 Careers New report says the pay gap is here until 2151; Hays’ Karen Young explains what you should do if you are made redundant; and our book review 36 Fun The lighter side of life; and more great PQ giveaways The columnists Lisa Nelson Breathing techniques can help you get a pass 4 Robert Bruce It’s time to sort out the mess that is audit 6 Prem Sikka Changes to tax system are needed now 8 Anna Kate Phelan Will the fourday working week pay dividends? 10 Vikki Bean SMEs struggling to find staff despite pay hikes 12



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PQ Magazine August 2022


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LISA NELSON Remember to breathe – deliberately!

Of course, breathing is important but what makes this topic interesting is the impact certain types of breathing can have – for example, they can reduce stress. In fact, it’s one of the treatments for stress on the NHS website. Biologically, the reason we breathe is because our cells need oxygen to create energy, the problem being that when the cells create energy (which is good) they give out carbon dioxide (bad). Fortunately, evolution has already solved this one. Breathing in gives you oxygen, breathing out removes the carbon dioxide. Studying and taking exams is stressful. Surveys also indicate increased levels of stress as a result of the pandemic. But what if you had a proven technique to reduce the feeling of stress, available when you most want it? Well, that’s what ‘deliberate breathing’ can be – your antidote to stress. Most techniques used to improve breathing aim to slow it down and make it deeper. Faster, shorter breathing can in fact increase stress. Here is a technique to try: breathe in and out slowly through one nostril, holding the other one closed with your finger, then reverse and continue alternating. Another is to breathe in, pause briefly while mentally counting ‘1, 2, 3’ holding the air before exhaling. These techniques are proven to work, so the next time you’re feeling stressed you will know what to do. Lisa Nelson is Director of Learning at Kaplan

Biggest pay rises in a decade at PwC UK PwC is making its most significant increases to staff pay for 10 years, in a move that recognises rising living costs and the competitive recruitment market. More than £120m is being invested in the pay rises, which will see 70% of employees receiving at least a 7% increase (with 50% getting a rise of 9% or more). Salaries for many of the firm’s entry programmes will also increase – for example, starting salaries in audit will rise by 10%. Those studying the ICAEW Chartered

Accountant qualification as graduates will now be offered

£32k a year in London (regional differences apply). Consulting graduates will now be offered £33.5k per year in London, a rise of just over 8%. A further £138m is being allocated to bonuses this year – up £10m on last year. Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said: “We know from staff surveys that base pay is particularly important to our people, given the bearing it can have on mortgages and future salary. “We also looked at the salaries of our entry programmes to ensure they are as competitive as possible.” This news follows KPMG’s move to pay its 16,000 staff flat bonuses of £2,000 or £4,000, depending on their job position.

Professional skills marks are coming to the ACCA optional exams, and ACCA said that from the September diet 2022 the option exams will look different. It explained: “We will be asking our students to

apply their knowledge and demonstrate their professional skills across the entire exams.” The newlook marking scheme will introduce 20 professional skills marks, with the idea that this

better prepares students for the role of a finance professional by “asking them to demonstrate the critical professional skills required of a professional accountant”. The changes build on previous changes to the ACCA qualification – such as the introduction of the SBL exam and ethics module. ACCA has updated its resources too, with a series of videos, new mock exams on the practice platform, updated ‘read the mind of the marker’ articles, and a series of webinars.

ICAS joins Rise

Accountants (CAs) and finance professionals, we have a responsibility to pass on our knowledge to those who are in need of it the most. Working with children from schools in areas of low social mobility at this early stage in their lives is vital, and by partnering with the Rise initiative, we can help provide them with the tools and understanding they can use to

work towards a successful career and a bright future.” The full list of 16 new Rise partners is: AAB; Albert Goodman; Atmo Technology; BPP; Crowe; Dixon Wilson; Duncan & Toplis; First Intuition; Harris+Co; ICAS; Kaplan; Lubbock Fine; Moore Kingston Smith; RSM UK; Saffrey Champness; and Wheelhouse Advisors.

Time to get professional

ICAS is joining an accountancyled social mobility initiative to teach school children essential life skills. The institute is one of 16 new partners of social mobility initiative Rise, which launched last year to help young people from low socio-economic backgrounds. ICAS Chief Executive Bruce Cartwright CA said: “As Chartered

In brief Pap Free CIMA case study webinars VIVA Financial Tuition recently ran a series of free ‘roadmap to mastering the CIMA pre-seen’ webinars for OCS, MCS and SCS this August. You can register to watch all of the webinars on-demand; VIVA will give you a breakdown of the key areas of the pre-seen, along with a snapshot of the theory areas you should know before the exam. The webinars will also discuss the vital actions you must 4

take for the remaining time before the exam! OCS: https://tinyurl.com/343ymk2c MCS: https://tinyurl.com/yx4d62sc SCS: https://tinyurl.com/3ec59fzs Pap What are the dropout rates? Universities will need to become more candid about their dropout and graduate employment rates when they advertise courses, the UK government has confirmed.

The then minister for universities, Michelle Donelan, hoped the new guidance will give students clarity about what universities are offering them. This is particularly true, she felt, for students who were the first in their family to attend higher education. Donelan explained: “I know from the community I grew up in that choosing where and what to study can be difficult.” Pap New super tax in Pakistan Pakinstan PM Shehbaz

Sharif has unveiled a new ‘super tax’ on big companies and a ‘poverty alleviation tax’ on the country’s rich elite. The hope is the new tax take will help cut the deficit and help poorer families cope with the cost-of-living crisis. Industries such as steel, sugar, cement, fossil fuels, and car manufacturers will have to pay a 10% super tax. The extra tax of the those earning over 150m rupees (£600,000) is 1%, going up to 4% for those earning over 300m rupees. PQ Magazine August 2022

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ROBERT BRUCE It’s time to sort out the mess that is audit The world of audit is all over the place. As fast as the profession’s leaders and regulators try to pull things together politicians and practitioners undermine them and let the business unravel. Management gurus always talk of tone from the top. Politicians appear to have no interest in the idea of strengthening or enhancing the role of audit at all. Meanwhile its regulators try to shore it up. The latest publication from the Financial Reporting Council is called Professional Judgement Guidance. It displays great understanding and direction. It talks of the mindset behind professional scepticism. It talks of the understanding of biases, in particular groupthink and overconfidence. All these are truths that to the regulators are self-evident. The FRC guidance talks of ‘trigger steps’ that ought to set off light bulbs in the minds of auditors. And within days of the publication of the guidance news pops up in the aftermath of the collapse of the technology group Wirecard and ahead of its imminent court case. Apparently one of the defendants has admitted forging documents that the investigating auditor had requested. The FRC, quite rightly, says that its guidance is intended to be ‘persuasive rather than prescriptive’. But then adds that anyone who fails to take that route will have a lot of explaining to do. Robert Bruce is an award-winning writer on accountancy for The Times

CIMA is adapting and thriving CIMA welcomed 4,165 new members to the fold in 2021, and 18,239 new students, according to its latest financial statement. That took total membership to 116,302 and the total student population to 90,741. CIMA generated an operating deficit of £203,000 in 2021, as compared with a deficit of £3.4m in 2020. Increases in examination fees help here – they were up from £11,404,000 to £12,153,000. However, member and student subscriptions brought in £38,563,000, down on 2020 (£39,611,000). The average number of people employed by CIMA during the period was 405 (383 in 2020). CIMA’s wage bill rose over £1

million – from £16,655,000 to £17,740,000. If you add pension and social security contributions that’s a £1.5 million increase. The statement also reveals that the war in Ukraine will have an

estimated impact for the calendar year 2022 of approximately £450k. The big news in 2021 was CIMA’s launch of its direct to-consumer Global CGMA Finance Leadership Program. It globally onboarded 4,000 students to the FLP. The successful pilot of the CGMA FLP in Ireland reached three times the revenue target, and CIMA is now exploring tuition provider partnerships for a UK pilot and rollout. During the year CIMA also continued to offer students the flexibility of taking exams at either test centres or remotely. Students’ preferences shows a straight 50/50 split. Read the financial statement at https://tinyurl.com/yrju7typ

University students are lonely Sadly, one in four university students say they are lonely ‘most or all of the time’, according to Student Academic Experience Survey 2022. It was the first time that the annual survey asked students about how often they feel lonely. Results show that university has been a lonely place for students in the last year, even as restrictions have lifted. Some 23% of students felt lonely ‘most’ or ‘all of the time’, compared with only 5% of the general population (in 2020) who reported that they felt lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’. Feeling lonely all or most of the time was a particular problem for Black students (31%), LGB+ students (30%), students with a disability (36%) and trans students (47%). Check out the report at https://tinyurl.com/5556wknw

ICAEW was once again flying the rainbow flag at Chartered Accountants’ Hall for #PrideMonth, showing solidarity with and support for its #LGBT members, students and staff, and promoting a more inclusive world for all

In brief Pap AAT affiliate fined AAT affiliate Diana Koteva has been expelled from the AAT for three years and fined £1,500 for breaching the AAT’s code of professional ethics and is deemed to have posed a risk to the public. In July last year AAT received notification that Koteva was advertising in the public domain and promoting herself as a licenced AAT MAAT member while holding affiliate membership. When AAT carried out a search, they also discover Koteva stated 6

she was a ‘Chartered Certified Accountant’ with ACCA. Pap Voice changing? Can you hear your voice getting higher? Are you talking faster? Well, that is the stress kicking in, according to new research from the University of Augsburg and Sassland University. The researchers there have found that work stress changes your voice intensity and can increase your speech rate. It is being suggested that by tracking the changes in

your voice could help as an ‘early warning’ signal for stress-related health problems to come! Pap Professional judgement guidance here The FRC has published comprehensive professional judgement guidance for auditors, in the hope that it will improve how they exercise their judgement. The FRC’s Mark Babington said: “Professional judgement is a fundamental requirement for high quality audit. Unfortunately, the

FRC’s supervision and enforcement work regularly finds professional judgement has not been exercised effectively and consistently, undermining audit quality and trust in audited accounts.” The new guidance, which is the first of its kind by a regulator, sets out a clear framework for how auditors should exercise professional judgement to enhance audit quality. Check out the full report at https://tinyurl.com/y379598p PQ Magazine August 2022

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PREM SIKKA Changes to the tax system are needed now Low and middle-income families are the hardest hit by an escalating cost-of-living crisis. The less welloff are marginalised. The wealthiest 10% of households have 43% of all wealth; the bottom 50% has only 9%. Some 42% of the disposable income goes to the top 20% of the population and the lowest 20% have only 7%. Nearly 22 million UK adults survive on annual income of less than £12,570. Instead of redistribution, the tax system penalises the poorest and further depletes their disposable income. The poorest 10% of households pay 47.6% of their gross income in tax whilst the richest 10% pay 33.5% of their gross income in tax. In 21st century UK, work does not pay enough and people are forced to rely upon food banks and charity. Some 41% of universal credit claimants are in work. Around 68% of families living in poverty include at least one working adult. The cost-of-living crisis and climate crisis cannot be addressed without reducing income/wealth inequalities and improvements in the workers’ share of the gross domestic product. A start can be made by shifting taxes away from the less well-off to the rich. This would mean levying wealth taxes, taxing unearned income at the same rate as earned income, ending tax perks of the rich. The call for the above reforms is made by Patriotic Millionaires, a group representing some of the richest people in the UK. Prem Sikka is Emeritus Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex

Largest penalty ever imposed by SEC against an audit firm The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined Big 4 firm EY for cheating by its audit professionals on exams required to obtain and maintain Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licenses, and for withholding evidence of this misconduct from the SEC’s Enforcement Division during its investigation of the matter. EY admits to the facts underlying the SEC’s charges and has agreed to pay a $100 million penalty and undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues. Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said:

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers within the gatekeeper entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams of all things.” EY admits that, over multiple years, a significant number of its audit professionals cheated on the

CIMA new president first The first-ever Asian woman, Melanie Janine Kanaka, has been elected CIMA President and co-chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. She becomes CIMA’s 89th president, and for her year in office she has promised to put a strong emphasis on inspiring younger generations to join the dynamic profession, advancing the profession’s digital skills

and capabilities, and the importance of fostering diversity, equity and inclusion. Kanaka has been an active member of CIMA for over three decades and has held several volunteer positions both in Sri Lanka, her home country, and internationally. On her appointment she said: “It is a true privilege to have been

Where’s your licence? Too many AAT members still seem to be providing self-employment accountancy or related services to the public while not registered or licensed to do so. Many of the same people also don’t appear to understand they have to be registered with a supervisory authority for the purposes of Anti

Money Laundering, either. Sam Bhatti is a perfect example. He was recently severely reprimanded for the offence, with the reprimand to remain live on his record for two years. He was also fined £2,451, and Bhatti was required to obtain a licence within 30 days.

such circumstances, introducing the global minimum corporation tax at such an early stage would cause damage to the European economies.” He stressed that no other country has adopted the measure, so the EU does not have to rush in where others fear to tread.

for not complying with Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT. The ATT says that HMRC needs to modernise its approach to penalties to encourage compliance with tax rules rather than punish those who unintentionally get it wrong. Recently published HMRC guidance outlines the penalties businesses face for failing to meet the requirements, including: • Penalties of up to £400 per return for failure to file using MTD-compatible software.

ethics component of CPA exams and various continuing professional education courses required to maintain CPA licenses, including ones designed to ensure that accountants can properly evaluate whether clients’ financial statements comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. EY further admits that during the Enforcement Division’s investigation of potential cheating at the firm, EY made a submission conveying to the Division that EY did not have current issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam. chosen by my peers to serve our members and students around the world, and represent our profession on the global stage. “Now is the time for the profession to lean in and take the next step forward. We must make sure that we continue to deliver innovative solutions to create value, build trust, seize new opportunities and help deliver prosperity for individuals, organisations, economies and society as whole.”

Another is Sarah Hadley, MAAT, who was recently reprimanded, fined £2,119 and warned about her future conduct. She provided selfemployment accountancy services for over seven years without a licence. Over a third of cases and fines in 2022 are over this issue. You can check out the outcomes of the AAT disciplinary outcomes at https:// tinyurl.com/2p8jbn79

Taxwatch Pap Hungary blocks corporate tax move The Hungarian finance minister has vetoed the European Union’s adoption of a 15% minimum corporate tax rate. This is just another setback for the implementation of the global OECD deal, which has already been delayed. Hungary said it could not support the move because of the economic challenges coming from inflation and the war in Ukraine. Minister Mihaly Varga said: “Under 8

Pap HMRC MTD penalties outdated The Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) has urged the UK government to rethink the penalties

• Daily penalties of between £5 and £15 for failure to keep digital records, or failure to use ‘digital links’ to transfer or exchange data between different pieces of software. Pap Tax gap remains steady at 5.1% HMRC has revealed that the estimated tax gap for the 2020 to 2021 tax year is 5.1% – the second-lowest recorded percentage – and is unchanged from the previous year. PQ Magazine August 2022

news PQ

Dealing with failure Graduate salaries starting to soar!

Graduates in the UK will be entering one of the strongest job markets for many years, as vacancies for graduates surge and salaries are pushed up. New data from Adzuna shows grad pay is up 7% compared with a year ago, with the number of grad vacancies up nearly 60% compared with May last year. Just over 14,500 job adverts were posted in May for graduates, compared with under 10,000 in May 2021. The salaries on offer are a six-year high with average pay rising from £24,389 in 2021 to £26,076 in 2022. Adzuna’s Paul Lewis said: “Despite the negative headlines, plenty of sectors remain desperate for talent and looking to grads to fill those gaps. It’s a welcome piece of good news for the Class of 2022, who battled remote learning and pandemic pressures over the last two years.” CityAM recently reported that JP Morgan was offering fresh graduate’s salaries of £70,000 a year and rivals Barclays are offering £50,000.

PQ Magazine August 2022

Asif Mohammad is CEO of MCA international and a fellow of the ACCA. He is a serial entrepreneur and has started over 17 businesses – not all of them successful, but all came with a learning experience. He studied accountancy at Kaplan in the UK, and top

tutor Neil da Costa recently sat down and talked to him about his journey as part of Kaplan’s #failfast campaign. Mohammad stressed that the only time you really fail is when you give up. We quickly discover on day three of coming to the UK from Pakistan to study as a

17-year-old all his belonging were stolen, along with £2,000 of savings. All he had left was the £38 he had in his pocket and the clothes he was wearing. After sitting down quietly for 20 minutes he decided he was going to try to make it work, in what was an unknown country. It was a tough journey that included sleeping rough and sleeping on buses all the while still studying for his accountancy qualification. He admits the loneliness was tough, as he couldn’t tell his family back home. The YouTube interview is PQ magazine’s TOP PICK this month, and you can watch it at https://youtu.be/ pdXb3khqu1w .

THE BIG QUESTION Does everyone agree that remote invigilation is a good thing going forward? Quick Yes/No answer please. Gail Boag – ICAS: “Yes, here to stay at ICAS.” Adam Birt – ICAEW: “Yes, as long as there is choice.” Andy Brodrick – CIOT: “Yes, the problem for us is that offering a choice is too expensive, we have to run the exams as one or the other unfortunately.” (Source: LATDG group)


PQ news the

ANNA KATE PHELAN Will the four-day working week pay dividends? Seventy companies across the country are trialing a four-day work week with more than 3,300 workers taking part over a six-month period. It’s an exciting time for organisations as we rethink the world as we know it post-pandemic. During the experiment, employees will get 100% pay for 80% of the hours they would usually work, with the aim of being even more productive. Interesting to note this trial is not without agenda; it is spearheaded by a group campaigning for a shorter working week, but for no loss in wages. Academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities, among others, will manage the trial in conjunction with the think tank Autonomy. All sorts of businesses are taking part, from software development houses to fish and chip shops. According to Theta Global Advisors, 57% of working Brits do not want to return to an office environment in the usual 9-5, Monday- Friday schedule. Additionally, 40% of those polled felt these traditional arrangements have the potential to hinder their overall performance. Vacancies in the UK job market are currently at their highest point in history and with redundancies at their lowest point since the 1990s, there is now, more than ever, a critical need for companies to retain staff and attract talent. I’m sure many of us will be waiting with bated breath as to the results of this study, and (if positive, of course) forwarding straight to our bosses! Anna Kate Phelan is Senior Product Manager at Eintech

Are you alone? Two ACCA students have paid a heavy price for getting ‘help’ with their exams. Two recent disciplinary cases against ACCA students featured third parties in remote exam rooms and authorised material near the desks. ACCA student Salman Ahmad, of Dir Lower, Pakistan, has been fined £9,000 and removed from the register after he allowed someone to be present and communicate with him during an online remote exam. During the exam Ahmad could be

Official: accountants are the best kissers! To the surprise of many (but not us) accountants have been voted the best kissers, ahead of doctors and nurses. The worse kissers, according to a poll from dating site Plenty of Fish, are civil servants, bankers and lawyers. The Mail Online picked

up the story and interviewed Claire Hunter, who is married to accountant Chris. She told them: “I remember dancing with Chris and then going off for a snog. It was definitely the best kiss of my life, and I’ve not stopped kissing him since.” Here are the best:


Accountants – 23%


Doctors/nurses – 19%


Engineers – 14%


Teachers – 11%


Chefs/waiters – 10%


Civil servants – 2%


Bankers – 3%


Lawyers – %5


Estate agents – 6%


IT workers – 7%

RSM relocates to Colmore Row RSM Birmingham is relocating to 103 Colmore Row, in a move which will support the firm’s hybrid working approach and help its future growth plans. The Birmingham team has seen significant expansion over recent years, and now has over 300 employees. There are also ambitious growth plans in the pipeline with 50 new starters, consisting of graduates and school leavers, set to join in August. The new workspace

Deloitte denies failing to protect female employee Deloitte has denied it failed to protect a former female employee from being bullied after her relationship with a male partner ended. The Big 4 firm denied that it had ‘failed’ to stop Deloitte partner Chris Holliday from harassing former risk analyst Katrina Jones, after she filed a lawsuit against the firm’s London office. Deloitte has said that it should not be held liable for any incidents of bullying or harassment on the part of Holliday, as it said the “majority of the conduct complained of took place away from work and in the context of a personal relationship between autonomous adults”. 10

heard whispering to someone and there was evidence a note had been passed during the exam. The disciplinary committee said: “The

rustling of paper could be heard, and Ahmad acknowledged the note through his eye movement.” Video footage also revealed the presence of headphones, which were within arms’ reach. In a separate case Safi Ullah, of Haripur, Pakistan, was excluded from student membership and ordered to pay costs of £8,875. He too had someone in the room with him during the exam, and there was also a concern about the presence of unauthorised materials on the floor near Ullah’s exam desk. Despite being warned by the invigilator not to keep looking off screen he continued to do so.

encompasses collaborative areas, breakout spaces and private meeting rooms. RSM has signed a 10-year lease. Mark Taylor, regional managing

PwC hires 50 ESG-focused interns Some 50 new ESG interns have joined PwC for a six-week slot, across its deals, risk, consulting and tax businesses. In an expansion of PwC’s climate focused internship programme, interns will be working on client projects related to societal and environmental issues including climate reporting and the transition to net zero. In all, 500 students joined the firm on paid summer internships that the firm says offer “invaluable insight into PwC's business and culture, giving them the opportunity to experience work and life at PwC, and collaborate with both graduate trainees and experienced professionals on real client projects”.

partner at RSM UK, said: “As a premium building in the heart of the city centre, 103 Colmore Row aligns nicely with our brand and status in the market. The building’s strong ESG credentials was a key attraction, along with its ability to accommodate our hybrid working approach – making it a home fit for the future. It also gives us plenty of scope for growth, which is a big focus over the next few years, particularly through boosting our graduate intake.”

Re-imagining the world of work KPMG and the University of Cambridge have unveiled new partnership to re-imagine the world of work, starting with mental wellbeing. The partnership is a global first and sees the University of Cambridge bring together researchers from different disciplines to better understand the factors that affect mental wellbeing at work. It will show how different kinds of support can boost individual mental wellbeing, enhance productivity and promote a healthy workforce for the future. KPMG will open its doors to Cambridge researchers, who will assess the effectiveness of the mental wellbeing initiatives the firm currently offers to its 16,000 UK employees. PQ Magazine August 2022



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Quantum computing is coming

VIKKI BEAN Hiring woes at SMEs despite record pay hikes The UK’s small firms are facing more woes as they struggle to fill open vacancies, according to new insights from Xero’s Small Business Index. Despite stronger sales growth (up 14.3% year-on-year) and a record rise in wages among small firms (a 5% increase), they appear to be struggling to compete with big business when it comes to salaries, perks and job security. In May, small businesses in the construction and manufacturing industries saw the biggest drop in employee numbers, falling 10.8% and 10% year-on-year respectively. As the sectors make up 7.2% and 9% of total employment in small firms, an inability to fill vacancies in these sectors will have severe implications for the rest of the economy. Entering a busy summer season, the hospitality sector is offering record wages, 7.7% higher last month than in May 2021, yet attracting workers remains difficult, with jobs falling 3%. Alex von Schirmeister, managing director UK & EMEA at Xero, said: “Small firms are facing a major talent crisis. They are having to offer some of the highest wages in recent memory to compete for staff, which is just piling more pressure on them with other rising costs. That’s troubling in sectors such as manufacturing and construction that are inherently linked to other industries, like retail.” Check out the May index report at https://tinyurl.com/a5pz48e7. Vikki Bean is Director of Global Education and Delivery at Xero

Over four-fifths (81%) of senior UK execs expect quantum computing to play a significant role in their industry by 2030, according to EY’s Quantum Readiness Survey 2022. Quantum computing is in its infancy as a technology, but its transformative potential is already being recognised by the UK’s business leaders. While the majority believe its full impact will not be felt immediately, almost half (48%) think that quantum will begin to transform industries as soon as 2025. Furthermore, respondents were

almost unanimous in their belief that quantum computing will create a moderate or high level of disruption of their own organisation, industry sector and the broader UK economy in the next five years. Different sectors of the economy

have differing views on the timeline for quantum computing’s maturation. Executives in consumer products and retail are most optimistic, with 70% believing quantum will play a significant role by 2025. Meanwhile, 56% of telecoms, media and entertainment, and technology (TMT) executives foresee the same impact in this timeframe. However, most respondents in health and life sciences companies think maturation is more likely to occur between 2026 and 2035.

Tech can boost UK economy by £232 billion Use of technology by small and medium businesses (SMEs) contributes £216 billion to the UK economy. However, new research from Sage says if these SMEs unlock the full benefits of technology it could add an extra £232 billion, boosting the value of tech use to the UK economy by almost double to £448 billion annually. The new ‘Digital Britain: How Small Businesses are turning the tide on tech’ report found that 92% of firms see technology as critical to

their survival, but are worried about the lack of capital, knowing where to invest and not having the right policy framework to enable growth. Accessing and understanding commercial data is going to be a big opportunity to drive performance, but just a quarter of SMEs have adopted technology to collect and analyse this data. Sage is calling on big tech companies and the government to adopt a pro-tech, pro-enterprise approach and deliver improved financial incentives to encourage

greater investment in productivityenhancing technologies, more data sharing so SMEs can innovate and adequate futureproofing of digital infrastructure. For more go to https://tinyurl. com/mr43kbd5

reduce sexual harassment and other risks for both customers and staff. The concept of Safer Dance was developed by Birmingham City University graduate Sam Hennerley and Jack Young, a music marketing

consultant, after they identified a shared ambition to change attitudes to sexual harassment and misconduct in music spaces. ‘Safer Dance’ has recently been working with nightlife businesses to explore and consult on their approach to managing sexual harassment risk. This area of risk has attracted high media interest recently which has the potential to negatively impact the reputation of the nightlife sector.

Safe to dance? RSM UK has launched a new partnership with Subtle Speaks, a community interest company, to help nightclubs and music venues stamp out sexual harassment and other risks associated with the nighttime economy. The ‘Safer Dancing’ partnership combines RSM’s Insight4GRC risk management software with ESG and risk consultancy tools, to help

Tech briefs Pap MoD buys quantum computer The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has bought the UK government’s first quantum computer. Working with Orca Computing (a British company), the MoD will be exploring the applications for quantum technology on defence. In a year-long programme of activity, MoD will use Orca’s PT-1 model, the first computer of its kind to operate at room temperature and be based on-premises. What is being 12

called a ‘milestone moment’ quantum computing is seen as a disruptive technology that will affect every industry. Pap New strategic alliance for KPMG KPMG UK has unveiled a new alliance with Alteryx, the analytics automation company, as part of the firm’s continued technology strategy to invest in technology to automate the firm’s solutions and help clients accelerate data-driven business

transformations. KPMG and Alteryx will combine their expertise in developing data strategies and delivering broad digital transformation initiatives, helping companies inject automated analytics into everyday business processes making smarter and faster decisions. This is fuelled by the Alteryx unified end-to-end analytics automation platform rolling out across the UK firm over the coming months.

Pap Fools theory Bill Gates has revealed he is sceptical of cryptocurrencies and non fungible tokens (NFTs), believing them to be based on “greater fool theory”. Microsoft’s ex-CEO said he was not involved in either saying they are “100% based on a sort of greater fool theory, where someone is going to pay more for it than I do”. Gates was also concerned about the lack of transparency and how they were being used avoid taxes and government regulation. PQ Magazine August 2022

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Reforms won’t work

I just don’t see how the diluted audit reforms unveiled by the government will prevent another Carillion. Even the Financial Reporting Council think it is a missed opportunity. The reforms also can’t “restore trust in big business”, it’s just not that simple. One of the measures is to take away the bonuses of directors who lie about their finances, but again I just don’t see that ever happening. I did, however, notice you didn’t have any reaction to the news from any of the Big 4. So I went in search of it! PwC gave some bland comment about “it’s good to see progress on a package of legislative reforms to improve

standards”. PwC’s Hemione Hudson said the firm has long maintained that holistic reform will deliver the best outcome and ensure the UK remains a leading

place to do business. I’m not sure how holistic the final reforms are. The CEO at KPMG, Jon Holt, is a bit more bold – saying there are “some areas where we had hoped to see this package go further”. He felt that the decision not to include a UK version of Sarbanes-Oxley in primary legislation leaves corporate Britain with no clearly defined framework for internal controls, and risks a ‘pick’n’mix’ approach to reporting and measurement. He added: “It will result in investors and stakeholders receiving inconsistent information across different companies unless ARGA provides clear guidance going forward.” Name and email address supplied

Our star letter writer wins a fantastic ‘I love PQ’ mug! Speaking in tongues

I loved James Perry’s hacks in your social media round-up last month. In particular Hack #3, which said you should speak out loud while studying instead of simply reading. It is something I have always done and got a lot of stick from anyone I was living with at the time! James said: “You will be surprised how much more you can remember when you’ve said it out loud.” Well, I’m not but it isn’t a study tip I’ve ever read before and makes me feel so much better! Name and email address supplied The Editor says: We agree, and we will be highlighting some more in next month’s issue, so watch this space, as they say.

Sticking with the old

Why is the AAT still allowing people to register for the old AQ2016 assessments until the end of August? It means some PQs will be sitting a 2016 syllabus (which was old then) in September 2023 – seven years after it was introduced. Surely AAT should be encouraging students to sit the more relevant 2022 syllabus? It is great to almost see the end of the synpotic – but I see it still hiding there in level 2. I noticed too that AAT is

removing the annual subscription fee from 1 September. Instead, we’ll pay a one-off registration fee per qualification. You still, of course, have to pay for exams. I was wondering if this will have a dramatic effect on AAT finances. I

Last month we went on social media and asked whether the accountancy pass rates would rise in the UK because of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The extra holiday gave students two extra days on top of the weekend to get exam focused. “It was a one-off event that could see more students just getting enough to push them over the pass line,” explained one tutor. As Livia explained: “Only if ahem the students actually used the extra days available to them for studying.” Nadia said she “worked the two days”, and Jo-Anne admitted she “studied for the two-days and it was awful not being able to enjoy the time off. Hope it’s reflected in my results.” In another thread on the UK (only) ACCA Distance Learning Students group Emma asked: “Any tips for AA? It’s so dull, I can’t take anything in. My mind wanders.” A fellow PQ agreed “it is so dull and boring”. They decided to skim though the books and do all the exam questions they could get their hands on. Top tutor Erin Morton said you need to break up the reading with questions and get onto exam standard questions as early as you can – adding “it can be fun… I promise.” Ophelia suggested AmandaLovesToAudit YouTube: https://tinyurl.com/ytbu7kkf (below).

expect that will be answers in the annual report. Name and email address supplied The Editor says: We are meeting the new CEO Sarah Beale in the next month or so and will take these thoughts to her.

PQ Magazine PO Box 75983, London E11 9GS | Phone: 07765 386489 | Email: graham@pqmagazine.com Website: www.pqmagazine.com | Editor/publisher: Graham Hambly graham@pqmagazine.com | Associate editor: Adam Riches | Art editor: Tim Parker Contributors: Robert Bruce, Prem Sikka, Lisa Nelson, Anna Kate Phelan, Tony Kelly, Phil Gammon, Edward Netherton | Subscriptions: subscriptions@pqmagazine.com | Origination services by Classified Central Media If you have any problems with delivery, or if you want to change your delivery address, please email admin@pqmagazine.com

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‘Play the Game! 49+1 = a pass!’ Richard Poole has some key tips on how to avoid the common pitfalls in ACCA’s Advanced Taxation exam ATX Exam Structure The structure of the ATX exam is predictable. Section A consists of 60 marks (one question worth 35 marks and one question worth 25 marks). Section B consists of two 20-mark questions. Breakdown of questions Section A and B are broken down into multiple parts to help you break the question down into bite-size pieces. There are always up to four Professional marks available in Question 1. Professional marks Up to four professional marks are always given in Question 1 for: a. Problem solving. b. Clarity of explanations and calculations. c. Effectiveness of communication. d. Presentation and style. These are ‘easy’ marks when you are shown where they are. If you can achieve four out of 35 you are already 23% of the way to a pass (17.5 marks) in Question 1! Core areas that have been regularly examined in the past The whole syllabus is in scope and examinable. However, when analysing past ATX exam questions, the following areas were commonly tested: Section A • Corporate, Groups, Overseas and Consortia • Capital Taxes • Business Change Scenarios Section B • Unincorporated Businesses • Family Company Issues • Personal Finance, Business Finance, and Investments • Multi Tax personal (Including Overseas) Technical areas to be comfortable with In terms of how you get ready for the core areas above, in my experience here are some of the syllabus areas that are commonly not understood well enough by students. • Domicile – IHT, CGT. Understanding the status of an individual and the implications of this status. • Deemed domicile – recent change in definition. Make sure you know the most up to date definition. • Residence and Domicile – knowing the residence rules and how the residence and domicile status of an individual impacts the Remittance basis versus the Arising basis. • Corporation Tax Losses – knowing the new rules regarding carrying forward of losses and how these interact with the old rules. • Groups/Consortia – knowing the definitions and the implications of: 16

• Loss Groups • Gains Groups • Consortia • VAT Groups • Substantial Shareholding Exemption – know the definition - This has changed recently. • Reliefs – IHT/CGT – know the different conditions and what qualifies for the reliefs. You can score very quickly by knowing and discussing which relief(s) are available to improve an individual’s tax position. Ten tips to pass ACCA ATX Here are few things to remember to be successful in ATX: i. Time management – 1.8 minutes per mark (or 1.95 minutes per mark if you include the reading/planning time) must be applied to every question. NEVER overrun on time! Learn to stop when time is up on a part or question. Fresh marks are available in new questions, so you must keep moving. ii. Presentation – your script must be tidy and well presented. Use three to four-line

paragraphs and headings. Ask yourself, ‘Would I present this to someone at work?’ iii. Plan – do a brief (5-10 minute) answer plan for EVERY question. Sometimes it can feel like this is a waste of time, but it is not and will improve the structure and content of your answer. iv. Quality over quantity – you must write good points, not lots of points. Do not just repeat yourself. v. Read the requirements first – understand what is being asked, not what you want to be asked. Follow the instructions. vi. Calculations v Narrative – explain what you are doing. Calculations back this up. vii. State conditions and rules that you are following – sometimes it feels ‘too obvious’ to state the basics. What does ‘Base Cost’ mean to someone who does not work in tax every day? Explain your thought processes. viii. Remember that 49+1 = A Pass! – you must ‘Play the Game’ (See below). ix. Practise questions and read the examiner’s comments – this is key to understanding where student’s struggle. PQ Magazine August 2022


Read the technical articles – a technical article has been written for pretty much every area of ATX. These are helpful to help you understand the areas individually.

‘Play the Game’ I have lost count of how many times I have heard students say: “That was a hard exam”. Is there such a thing as a ‘hard exam’? The answer is NO if you have solid exam technique. Let us look at Question 2 in the June 19 Exam as an example. It was a 25-mark question so 12.5 marks were needed to pass. Question content Part 1 – 17 marks: Challenging group relief question. Part 2 – three marks: Implications of forming a VAT group Part 3 – five marks: Ethics – explain tax evasion. a. What would the student with poor exam technique do? • Attempt part 1 first. • Try to do the difficult numbers. • Over-run on time. • Start to panic. • Run out of time for Part 2 and Part 3 • Fail the question and as a result does badly in the rest of the exam. b. What does the student who knows how to ‘play the game’ do? • Attempt Part 2 and Part 3 first – get

the easy eight marks. • Then spends the rest of the time (relaxing!), finding 4.5 easy marks out of 17 marks available in Part 1. There were (by the way) some ‘easy’ marks in Part 1, like doing a basic capital allowances computation (for four marks). But students don’t see ‘easy’ marks within a question that has ‘hard’ aspects if they are under pressure because of poor exam technique. How do you pass ATX? Generally, successful students have done a course focusing on question practice and exam technique. This is because you must learn how to ‘play the game’! Even if you know all of the rules, it doesn’t mean that you can apply them to a scenario. Advising and adding value (by stating basics and setting the scene for a client), rather than getting stuck on the numbers, are key skills to passing ATX. Make sure you understand the Test Reach Software • Make each point in a separate paragraph in written sections – it makes it easier to mark a point. It should also prevent the same point being made more than once. • Use a well-structured layout with appropriate workings in numerical areas – it should be easy to see how a figure from a working fit into the main computation.

• Understand the spreadsheet functionality – CBE spreadsheets have the functionality to calculate numbers for you. However, make it clear to your marker what you have done. Just because you are working in a spreadsheet, does not negate the need to properly present your answers. • Copy and paste functionality – it is amazingly effective to take the requirements and use these as the headings in your word processor response. • Headings and blank lines/columns – make appropriate use of headings between workings. • Practise in the software – it is important that you are familiar with the spreadsheet functions and word processor functionality before the exam. Three separate exams within ATX Students often do not realise that they are sitting three separate exams. 1. You need to understand the technical aspects and the patterns of the past exams. 2. You need to understand the exam technique and how to ‘play the game’. 3. You need to understand the ACCA CBE Test Reach software. If you are weak with any of these areas, you will find ATX more challenging that it needs to be. • Richard Poole FCCA is an ATX specialist tutor at FME Learn Online

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PQ Magazine August 2022


PQ AAT exams

I have failed my AAT exam – what next? Karen Groves explains how to approach a re-sit exam to ensure success aking exams is never easy, life has a bad habit of getting in the way when we least need it to and throwing curveballs at us. That is on top of long working hours, children, and family commitments before we start. So, you have taken an exam and failed, and wonder what to do next. Some students I have seen over the years immediately re-book their exams as quickly as possible, whilst for others, it can throw them offtrack and make them question whether to continue. My advice is simple, do not be defeated, pick yourself up, dust off your study books and start revising again and have confidence that you can do this.



How do I know I hear you ask? Well after taking one of my ACCA exams 5 times (yes, I know, it was for me, the worst unit ever), having a two year ‘sulk’ after the first attempt as I hated it that much, I then had to pick myself up and start the unit again. Believe me, the two-year gap made it worse too. As my Dad recently said after I finally passed my ACCA exams and received my certificate “there’s lots of hard work in that piece of paper but even more sheer stubbornness and a refusal to give in”, I think that pretty much sums it up. I often say to students, you must ‘want’ to achieve and pass the exams. If your heart is not in it, then you will not do well. I also say to my students ‘try and fail, but don’t fail to try’ (quote by John

Quincy Adams). I have based my approach on AAT exams for this article and will consider what you should do next. As a student, you will have different study resources depending on your method of study and training provider, however you all have one thing in common, in that you all have access to the AAT Lifelong Learning portal. Over my many years of teaching, I have witnessed some students not even working through the AAT practice assessments prior to taking their exam. I view this as pretty much the same as taking a driving test with no lessons, how on earth do you know what to expect, the format and layout? You can practice as much as you like with other resources that will all be great, however until you work the AAT practice assessments, you do not know what to expect in the actual exam, layout wise. The other pitfall students make is just clicking on ‘submit’ once they have finished their practice assessments. For the current AQ2016 syllabus you will then receive either a ‘Competent’ or ‘Not Yet Competent’ result. Whilst it is nice to be told you are competent, what if you only achieved 70%? Well, unless you check your answers BEFORE you click submit, or screenshot your answers and check afterwards, you will never know. Personally, I would like to know where I have gone wrong so I can make notes and go back over revision, and I’m sure you would too. The AAT practice assessments will also ensure you are ready for the exam from a time management point of view. Each exam is timed and whilst working on other revision papers and questions is important, you are not timing yourself here. The practice assessments are important as it gives you a feel of what the exam will be like as it will time you the same as in the real exam. My other advice would be to read the Examiners Reports carefully. Where are other students making mistakes, what are the weak areas in a unit? Then, go back over these to ensure you are confident. Finally, don’t forget to use the other AAT resources including the green light tests and e-learning and good luck! • Karen Groves is an AAT tutor and Faculty Director – Accounting, at e-Careers

PQ Magazine August 2022

ethical dilemma PQ

Is a fair tender policy in place? We outline a case from the CCAB’s ethical dilemmas for professional accountants working in the not-for-profit sector

Outline of the case You are an accountant appointed as a [voluntary] governor to a school governing body. You also serve on the finance and buildings committee of the school, which is responsible for awarding building contracts. The membership of the committee includes a number of local business people. One is a builder – a longstanding governor who is well respected by the community and your colleagues on the board of governors (‘the governors’). At your first meeting, the committee considers a report from the head teacher about the condition of the school hall. The report sets out a scheme of remedial building works, with estimated costs – circa £50,000. After discussion of the scheme and recognising the need to move quickly if the work is to be carried out during the summer vacation, the builder on the committee offers to do the work at a competitive price of £45,000. The other members of the committee are minded to accept the offer. The finance and buildings committee reports to the governors. In this case, the governors are not considering the use of a formal tender process or making any reference to the existing governance arrangements in respect of tenders. This may also be in breach of public procurement requirements/ legislation. You are concerned that the committee (and consequently the governors) will be unable to demonstrate reasonable decision-making and stewardship of public money. Although it may be in the best interests of the school to accept the builder’s offer, you are concerned that established procedures are not being followed, and that the decision made is somewhat subjective. The governors and the committee may be vulnerable to criticism. Questions As a professional accountant in the not-for-profit sector: a. Which fundamental principles feature more prominently for safeguarding? b. What would be your key considerations in your approach to resolving the dilemma presented? c. What course of action would you take to resolve the dilemma? PQ Magazine August 2022

(a) Key fundamental principles Integrity: Can you demonstrate integrity by highlighting the lack of due process, while not impeding the progress of the building works? Objectivity: Is it possible for the governors to demonstrate objectivity in their decision to proceed without implementing a tender process? Can you remain objective in the face of pressure from the committee to accept the builder’s offer? Professional behaviour: The need for you to demonstrate professional behaviour in a voluntary appointment is just as important as it is in paid employment. You also need to ensure that you do not bring discredit to yourself, the school, or the profession. Threats to compliance There is a familiarity threat as the single tender bid is from a fellow governor who is a member of the finance and buildings committee on which you sit. There is a potential intimidation threat to your compliance with the fundamental principles, since you may feel under pressure not to ‘rock the boat’ and to support the building work when the school is closed. (b) Considerations Identify relevant facts: Consider the school’s policies and procedures regarding tenders. Do the governors have a code of conduct? Study the head teacher’s report to establish the urgency of the building work and determine the summer vacation period during which the work should be performed. Are there any donor or grant funding conditions to be considered with respect to the monies being used to fund the work and do government/public procurement rules apply? Identify affected parties: Key affected parties are you, the other members of the committee (including the builder) and the governors. Other possible affected parties are other local builders, who might wish to tender for such work, and the general public, as the work is to be financed by public funds. Who should be involved in the resolution: You should involve the chair of the finance and buildings committee and ultimately the chair of the board of governors. You might be able to gain

support from other members of the committee, and the builder on the committee should also be involved. (c) Possible course of action You should make your concerns known and explain to the other members of the committee why you feel acceptance of the offer from the builder on the committee could be inappropriate in the absence of a formal tender process. You should make it clear that you are acting in the best interests of both the school and the local community. If you have to raise your concerns forcefully, you should try to provide constructive advice, rather than be seen as impeding the building works. Try to demonstrate how the process of tendering for and performing the work may still be completed during the summer vacation. If this is not possible, explain that the benefits of delaying the work will include protecting the reputation of the school and the governors (collectively and individually), and ensuring compliance with relevant requirements. You need to ensure that the committee (and consequently the governors) reach a decision objectively, but also that a reasonable and informed third party would conclude that objectivity has been adequately safeguarded. If, in your opinion, the building work is significant, you should try to insist that the award of the contract be subject to a proper tendering process. If relevant, refer to the school’s policies and procedures or to any applicable external requirements outlining thresholds for running a tender process. You will encounter less resistance from the committee if you gain the support of other individual members, including, if possible, the builder and the committee chair. You should explain that the committee needs to demonstrate a proper decision-making process that would support any contract awarded. This would protect the governors from the potential reputational risk that the school is not seen to award contracts properly or noncomply with relevant legislation/regulations. If your views are not heeded by the committee, you should raise the matter at the next meeting of the governors. Consider first referring the matter to the chair of the board of governors. It is also advisable to discuss the matter with other governors in advance of the meeting. After taking these steps, if the prescribed tender process is not adopted, and it is inappropriate not to do so, you should consider disassociating yourself from the board of governors. The value of resigning as governor should be weighed against the value of remaining in order to influence events. You should document, in detail, the steps that you take in resolving your dilemma, in case your ethical judgement is challenged in the future. • The CCAB case studies illustrate how the codes of ethics of the CCAB bodies can be applied by professional accountants and the five sets can be found at https://www.ccab.org.uk/ ethical-dilemmas-case-studies-2022/ 19

PQ conceptual framework

So what’s the Conceptual Framework all about? Tom Clendon and Sarah Ardiles shed some light on the matter

Sarah sets the scene The other day a student asked me: “Why do you we need the Conceptual Framework, when we have IFRSs which perfectly prescribe how we must account for things?” Over the years, this question has been asked of me a lot, and I can see why – it’s a good question! Do you also hear this question often, Tom? Tom agrees Absolutely, Sarah! It’s a common query. The first thing I tell my students is that being tasked with the job of creating a high-quality set of IFRSs which is respected worldwide for its consistency and robustness is not easy. And that is why the IASB, the international standard-setting body, needs a kind of ‘road map’, the Conceptual Framework, to help them accomplish this unenviable task. The Framework sets out key definitions, such as assets and liabilities, it states when these elements are to be recognised (and derecognised) and provides a consensus which identifies the purpose of financial reporting and articulates how the financial statements can be made useful. Sarah interjects It’s not that the Framework replaces IFRS – on the contrary! The Framework is meant to sit alongside the accounting standards. The rules set out in IFRS should be backed up by definitions and principles in the Framework. And it’s worth noting that where there is a conflict between IFRS and the Framework, IFRS takes precedence. In an ideal world, this wouldn’t happen but on rare occasions the two don’t quite see ‘eye to eye’. But remember, over time IFRS is being refined and the Framework gets the occasional update too – so I think it’s true to say that the 20

two are actually becoming more aligned, which has to be a good thing. Tom goes further What I find particularly helpful about the Framework is its use of definitions of elements, such as assets and liabilities. I tell my students that if they come across a scenario in their exam which they have not seen before, identifying which accounting issue you are dealing with is paramount. Is it an asset, for example? And the way to answer this is to ask yourself, “does it meet the definition of an asset, per the Framework?” That is, is it a present economic resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events? (an economic resource is a right that has the potential to produce economic benefits). Sarah casts her mind back I couldn’t agree more, Tom. I remember one particular ACCA SBR question where a football club was buying a player’s registration (contracts) so the football player could play for that club. The question was all about intangible assets: as we know a football player’s contract is an intangible asset because it is without physical substance. The question went on to test students’ knowledge of recognition and measurement of these intangibles and required knowledge of IAS 38 Intangible Assets. But first and foremost, what was essential was that the student could identify that it was all about assets. And if anyone was in any doubt about that, they could have turned to the Framework’s definition of an asset for confirmation. The club signing the contract with the player created an asset because for the period of the contract (and to the extent of the contract), the club had control of the player and thereby had the potential to earn revenue from this player.

Tom ponders this further That’s right. I remember this question too, and it was one of the factors that inspired me to record the Football Finance 101 edition for the Accrual World YouTube series I am doing with Ben Wilson, where we discuss accounting and audit issues in the context of interesting situations: https://youtu.be/ jWeodXH4rg8 I must say that many students tell me that under the pressure of the exam environment, a key challenge is to identify what the accounting issue is in the first place. And I cannot overestimate how helpful a starting point the Framework can be. It can be the first stepping-stone! In much the same way, I like to remind my students how helpful the IASB’s definition of a liability is: it is a present obligation of the entity to transfer an economic resource as a result of past events. What I love about the way it is defined is how robust it is – to be liable (and therefore to show a liability on your statement of financial position) you have to be obligated to pay someone. In other words, payment is unavoidable – you cannot get out of it. This shows up in several IFRSs but the one that springs to mind is IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets - and specifically, accounting for restructuring provisions. Sarah chips in Oh, yes – that is a great example of the Framework’s definition of a liability in action! The very act of a company announcing that there is going to be a restructure creates a constructive obligation (and therefore a liability) because it results in the company having no realistic alternative but to go ahead and therefore incur the restructuring costs: the affected people have been told and so the company has gone ‘past the point of no return’. Management cannot realistically change its mind so the company must immediately recognise the expected cost of the restructure in profit or loss and a corresponding liability. Tom concludes And once again, the IFRS has taken its form from a definition (of a liability in this last instance) set out in the Framework. You can’t say fairer than that! And I hope that ACCA students reading this article can turn to the Framework as a useful starting point when working FR and SBR questions. • Sarah Ardiles is an online ACCA FR lecturer – www.sarahardiles.com • Tom Clendon is an online ACCA SBR lecturer and podcaster – www.tomclendon.co.uk PQ Magazine August 2022

PQ the Big 4

How safe are PQs at the Big 4 firms? We look at the recent case of KPMG PQ Pratik Paw to highlight the increased risk of working for the Big 4 he recent treatment of PQ Pratik Paw has help to shine a light how vulnerable junior staff are if they aren’t prepared to question their ‘older and wiser’ superiors. It may be time for the bolshie PQ! KPMG was recently fined £14m after a tribunal found one of its teams had forged documents to cover up shortcomings in the firm’s 2016 audit of outsourcer Carillion. The Financial Times claimed KPMG’s Carillion case “should worry juniors across the City”, with the accounting watchdog pushing for a


£50,000 fine for the then 25-yearold who created misleading meeting minutes. Paw was instructed by his boss at KPMG to type up handwritten notes and turn them into formal minutes, months after the meeting with Carillion had taken place. These were then ‘passed off’ to the Financial Reporting Council as being produced before the audit was signed-off. Not, in fact, only when the audit inspectors were called in. It is estimated the task took under a couple of hours, and although an industrial tribunal said he wasn’t dishonest, it was felt that he should

have known better and should have been more sceptical. The PQ is facing a four-year exclusion and a fine that is double what he was paid a year. As the FT said: “Clearly being young isn’t an excuse for wrongdoing. Neither is inexperience an answer for ethical failings. Nor does the argument that they were only following orders get those who err off the hook.” It is suggested accountancy juniors need to demand much more to compensate them for the risks they take. And that’s just not about money, it means training too.

The trainees PQ magazine spoke to were shocked at the punishment. One told us: “It is all OK for us to be all ethical with hindsight, but in the heat of the work and pressure you just do what your superiors ask you. Only later might you wonder what was that all about and by then it’s too late. You just move on to the next job!” Others were worried that if the news gets out many graduates will be put off becoming an auditor. “There is enough competition for talent already, auditing doesn’t need this negativity,” said an ACA trainee.

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PQ Magazine August 2022

exam advice PQ

How we can overcome failure Neil Da Costa explains how you can bounce back from exam disappointment

aplan recently launched an initiative that looks at the painful subject of failure, calling it #FailFast. Overcoming failure forms part of the journey towards becoming a qualified accountant, and the initiative provides a useful resource for students who experience it. Failure is unavoidable. In the recent ACCA exams, the average pass rate for the strategic professional exams was 42% – which means that 58% failed. In this article, I will be looking at why students fail their exams and what they can do about it.

experiences and feel they are poor at maths, or their writing skills are inadequate. Instead of practising and improving their skills, they selfactualise their deficiencies so that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to failure of their professional exams. Winning Strategy: Start believing in yourself and allow that self-belief and determination to carry you through. Tell yourself that you will pass your exams and visualise yourself in the exam staying calm and producing quality solutions.


Five reasons why we fail exams 1. Leaving all the work until the end Students are studying while working, so time is limited. Many students neglect their studies and try to squeeze all the work in at the end. Unfortunately, due to their work commitments they end up leaving out big parts of the syllabus and failing their exams. Winning Strategy: Give yourself enough time to cover the material and spread out the study over several months. Prioritize your time. 2. Assuming all the subjects are the same The professional accountancy qualification covers a broad range of subjects from company law, tax, audit and assurance to financial reporting and performance management. While some subjects might appeal to you, it is highly probable that due to the broad spectrum of subjects covered, some areas may be more challenging. I find many students enjoy the more computational logical subjects like financial reporting and tax, but struggle with the case study or ‘dry’ subjects like audit. This means they have to put in more effort than expected at times, and they often underestimate the effort required. Winning Strategy: Allocate extra time to give yourself a fighting chance with the subjects that you find challenging. I did not have a natural affinity for management accounting so had to put in a lot more effort. 3. Lack of exam question practice The professional accountancy exams are incredibly time pressured. Even well-prepared students find they have inadequate time to interpret the question and write up a comprehensive answer. It’s important to bear in mind that you only need to pass the exam and you don’t need to get everything perfectly correct. Students who don’t practice enough

PQ Magazine August 2022

exam questions find they cannot cope with the pressure. Winning Strategy: In the final month before the exam, spend 70% of all your preparation time attempting previous exam conditions simulating the actual exam conditions. 4. Misapprehension about the syllabus Many students don’t actually understand the syllabus and the key learning outcomes of the paper, as interpreted by the examining panel. They stumble through the paper and end up being surprised by the exam questions. It is important to use accredited materials such as the Kaplan study texts and exam kits and to select a course that suits your learning needs such as online or face-to-face classes. Winning Strategy: Carefully read through the examining panel articles before starting your tuition courses, as well as looking at the last three exam papers from ACCA student resources to form a framework to underpin your technical knowledge. The exam questions also show you the key areas that are examined. For example, in the financial reporting papers, one of the questions will usually be on groups. 5. Lack of self belief Many students carry labels from their childhood

Final thoughts: redefining failure According to Ex-Navy Seal David Goggins, in his incredible book ‘Can’t Hurt Me’, you need to develop a calloused mind. This strength of will only comes from confronting our weaknesses, instead of trying to run away from them. By accepting your failures honestly you stop viewing failure as a painful experience but instead as part of the learning journey. In times of extreme stress, such as an exam environment, people do not rise to the level of their expectations; instead they fall to the level of their training. Don’t feel you have any less value because you have failed an exam. Instead, learn from it. It is tempting to fantasize about the ideal exam questions coming up on the areas you are prepared for instead of being honest with yourself. Objectively analyse what went wrong once you get your results. Did you misinterpret the examiner’s requirements? Was your technical knowledge inadequate? Did you leave out some of the questions because you did not have enough time to attempt them? This is why at Kaplan, we believe in rigorous exam question practice. By conditioning our students to attempt exam questions under timed conditions, they are able to perform successfully in the exam. Once you know what went wrong, come up with an action plan to overcome your deficiencies. If you then follow your action plan, you will find that you will pass the exam at the next attempt. • Neil Da Costa is a Senior Tax Lecturer with Kaplan. He is the author of two tax books: Advanced Tax Condensed, and Tax Condensed. These innovative books feature memory-joggers enabling students to learn the vast tax syllabus using accelerated learning techniques. https://neildacosta.co.uk/advanced-taxcondensed/ https://neildacosta.co.uk/tax-condensed/


PQ VAT quiz

So what do you know about VAT? Teresa Clarke sets you 10 VAT questions. The answers are below – no cheating, mind! 1. A shop is selling an office desk for £150.00 plus VAT. What is the VAT amount to be added to the cost? 2. I buy one office desk at £150.00 plus VAT and a chair for £35 plus VAT. What is the total amount I need to pay? 3. Gita buys a new office cabinet for £85.20 including VAT at standard rate. What is the VAT amount? 4. Ulita receives a VAT invoice which shows standard rated purchases of £350 plus VAT and zero-rated purchases of £620. What is the total invoice? 5. Leanne has a VAT registered business. The VAT on her sales this quarter is £2,560 and her VAT on purchases this quarter is £1,060. What is the amount payable to, or refundable from, HMRC? 6. Gill has a VAT return to complete. The VAT on her sales is £3,660, VAT on purchases is £1,460, VAT on sales returns is £120 and VAT on purchase returns is £260. What is the amount payable to, or refundable from, HMRC?

7. Huda’s VAT Return is due. His total gross sales were £54,000 for the quarter, all at standard rate. His total gross purchases were £36,000 for the quarter, all at standard rate. How much VAT is due to, or from, HMRC? 8. Tyron has made sales of £12,000 plus VAT at standard rate this quarter. He has made purchases of £6,000 plus VAT at standard

rate. He has also purchased a new van for use in his business for £15,000 plus VAT. How much VAT is due, to or from, HMRC? 9. Shelly and Liliana work together in a partnership. Their VAT return this quarter shows £2,500 due to HMRC. However, they have VAT on a bad debt to reclaim. The bad debt was an invoice for £360 including VAT that has been written off in the accounting records. What will be the revised VAT amount due to HMRC? 10. Kim has purchased a box of books for resale at a cost of £64 plus VAT from Paul. Kim then sells those books to a member of the general public for a total of £188 plus VAT. What is the VAT amount that Kim should pay to HMRC for this purchase and subsequent sale of the books? If you would like more accounting maths questions, you might like my workbook, Maths for Accounting Students. It is available from Amazon – go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/ B091FZ46YC • Teresa Clarke FMAAT

Quiz answers 1. £30, 2. £222, 3. £14.20, 4. £1,040, 5. £1,500 payable, 6. £2,340 payable, 7. £3,000 payable, 8. £1,800 refundable, 9. £2,440, 10. £24.80




PQ Magazine August 2022

ACCA report PQ

You now need an ‘ABCD’ of skills to be a public sector finance leader ACCA’s and CA ANZ’s new report highlights the ‘ABCD’ of skills the finance leaders of the future will need, says Mark Johnson – Adaptability, Business sense, Communication and Determination ccountants and finance professionals in the public sector played a crucial role in their organisations’ responses to Covid-19. Now, two years on from the start of the pandemic, we can take stock and consider the impact of the crisis on the role of senior finance leaders in public sector organisations. Until now, it’s not really been fully understood just what the impact has been. With CA ANZ, we’ve secured unique insights from senior public sector finance leaders about their management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons they have learned, revealed in our report ‘Leading recovery: the evolving role of senior finance leadership in the public sector’. At several global roundtables, senior finance leaders working in the public sector shared experiences of being responsive, adaptable and flexible, while also embracing new skills. They had to lead with agility to enable their organisations to support governments’ aims of saving lives and protecting livelihoods. During this time, their work and that of their


ADVANCE YOUR CAREER IN ACCOUNTING www.e-careers.com (accounting) PQ Magazine August 2022

teams was epitomised by increased spending, streamlined decision-making processes and better integration of the finance function. Their experiences and views have helped us identify six key lessons for public sector finance leaders, in three broad themes of systems, leadership and ways of working, as our graphic illustrates. Discussions also looked to the future, with participants identifying where the public sector will face potential difficulties in the years ahead: recruiting and retaining finance professionals, preparing for reducing budgets for public services, and adapting to wider societal changes. Based on these discussions, we have identified an ‘ABCD’ of skills which public sector finance leaders of the future will need to develop to successfully deal with these challenges: adaptability, business sense, communication, and determination. By embracing these, senior finance leaders can ensure that they are at the heart of public sector organisations, enabling them to deliver effective public services in the years ahead.

From pandemic to polycrisis The World Trade Organisation’s leader, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has recently spoken of the ‘polycrisis’ the world’s now experiencing. The ongoing pandemic, the war in Ukraine, global supply chain disruption, fuel and food crises have all combined to create immense economic uncertainty. The level of turbulence is startling, but we believe these recommendations are ways to manage it. Without doubt, the profile and influence of senior finance leaders and the finance function has risen in the public sector since 2020. The role of senior finance leaders has evolved over the last two years and this evolution will continue. Finance leaders and staff need to build on the experiences of the public sector in the pandemic. This will be essential to tackling the myriad of future challenges that face the public sector such as attracting and retaining staff, adapting to tighter public finances and responding to wider societal issues such as climate change, and digitalisation and automation. Both aspiring and current senior finance leaders can adopt our ‘ABCD’ model, and respond with innovative and creative approaches such as developing fresh approaches to recruitment, training and retention of finance staff. Similarly, senior finance leaders will have to be bold in the decisions they make as they deal with funding reductions in the future. Finally, the public sector will need finance professionals with the right skills to guide their organisations through challenges. At the core of this skillset is a professional accountancy qualification and membership of a professional body – alongside adaptability, a keen business sense, strong communication skills and, perhaps most importantly, real determination to deliver the effective public services the world needs now and, in the years, to come. • Mark Johnson, senior subject manager, public sector, ACCA

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PQ ultimate study guide

13 is the lucky


HTFT’s top team provide us with their ultimate study tip guide, and there are 13 in all. Do you feel lucky?

Study Tip 1: Build your own ‘flash/revision’ cards Flash cards, or revision cards as they are sometimes called, are a really effective way of studying content that is static – definitions, formulae, etc.. Buy some A5 or A6 revision cards, and on one side write down a question (e.g. what is the formula for break-even point in units?) and on the other side write down the answer (e.g. fixed cost divided by [sales price per unit – variable cost per unit]). You are then able to test yourself or get others to test you. We have seen some students who colour coordinate their flash cards – using blue for Section A of the syllabus, yellow for Section B and so on. It is important that as you use your flash cards, you spend time to re-write ones that you are not committing to memory. There are a number of free online/mobile flash card tools that you can use, e.g. Quizlet. Study Tip 2: Topic summaries When you have finished studying a topic, you should create a one page topic summary – collating all of the important information from that topic on one piece of A4 paper. This can then sit at the front of your student notes. You need to then use these topic summaries, and work to re-create them from scratch. Recently, one student explained how they worked: 1. Study Topic 1 and build a topic summary. 2. Study Topic 2, build a topic summary and then re-create the Topic 1 summary (without looking at it). 3. Study Topic 3, build a topic summary and then re-create Topic 1 summary and Topic 2 summary 4. And so on ... I liked listening to this technique/tip, as it ensures that you are always building on what you know. Study Tip 3: 45:10 study rule You need to think of your brain as a plug socket and, as with a plug socket, if you overload it then sparks fly! Break your study down into 45-minute sessions, with 10-minute breaks. Build yourself a study plan that breaks your study down into these 45-minute sessions, and 26

focus for that period of time before ‘rewarding’ yourself with a 10-minute break. It is a good idea to do something ‘physical’ in this break, maybe a walk, empty the dishwasher, vacuum, etc.. Study Tip 4: 1:3 analysis rule In order to really analyse your question practice performance you need to apply the 1:3 rule. For every minute you spend attempting questions, you need to spend (at least) three minutes analysing your answers (see Study Tip 11 for self-marking) Therefore a 15-minute question will result in 45 minutes of analysis! During your analysis, make new notes, add comments (in a different colour) to your answers and update your flash/ revision cards (see Study Tip 1). Study Tip 5: Active recall We really like this study tip at HTFT. It involves a blank piece of paper and links back to Study Tip 2: Topic Summaries. Once you have created your Topic Summary, or any other piece of study/revision material (mindmaps, etc.), you need to sit down with a blank piece of paper and re-create it from scratch (this is not a copying exercise!). This Active Recall of what you know will help you identify the areas that you need to go back and work on. It is fair to say that what you can recall will be with you for some time, and your attention is probably best turned to the areas you couldn't recall. Make new notes on your Active Recall document (maybe using a new colour), and then try to re-create that, and so on... Study Tip 6: Your study environment When you sit your real exams, are you allowed to have your phone with you? Are you allowed to have music playing? Are you allowed to have textbooks open? The answer to (probably all of) these questions is no. Therefore it is really important that your study environment, and therefore your preparation for exams, is conducive to study and you (where possible) mimic the real exam experience. What we mean by this is: • Make sure you have correct lighting. • Remove all distractions during your study time. • Practice exam standard questions in exam conditions (time, no resources, location – we

have heard of students leaving their house, walking around the block and then ‘sitting’ their mocks in another room, under exam conditions in order to replicate/mimic the exam experience. Some, in fact, used local libraries to sit their mocks). Your study environment is very important, and could be part of the marginal gain you make when studying. Study Tip 7: Build mindmaps What are mindmaps? They are graphical representations of information that convey the relationship between individual ideas and concepts. Mindmaps are useful when revising for longer form questions. They tend to be created/ formed around a single concept/topic/learning PQ Magazine August 2022

ultimate study guide PQ for you to get there – not a very effective way to use your time! It is the same with studying: you need to understand what you are going to be examined on – learning outcomes, syllabus sections, etc.. All this information is readily available, all you have to do is search for it on the professional bodies’ websites. Study Tip 9: Daily planners Your time is valuable, and you want to make the most of your investment in your study – so why not plan out what you are going to do? Building a daily planner will help you set SMART [Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound] objectives/targets, keep you focused and (importantly) act as a log of what you have done – allowing you to reflect on your development, and pick out areas/ questions that you want to go back to. You daily planner doesn't have to be complex. A simple matrix of time, against what you want to do (read topic, create summary, watch recordings, attempt questions, etc.) will be perfect. Study Tip 10: Reward yourself (change your inner dialogue) Before we get into this, let's get one thing clear – there are a million things everyone would like to do more than study. That is why, when you have completed a study session or exam, you need to reward yourself. The reward can be small (chocolate bar), or it can be big (holiday after sitting an exam); either way it should be a reward, a way of you patting yourself on the back to say ‘good job!’. Rewarding yourself not only creates a positive association with studying and achieving – but it can also be a good motivational tool, something to aim at.

outcome – drawn as an image at the centre of a blank page. Add to this central image up to five key elements of the topic/learning outcome and from the elements you can add connecting branches – and this is where you write down formula, theory, key words, etc.. We do recommend that you build in colour into your mindmaps, and as with our Study Tip 5, use them as part of your Active Recall technique. Study Tip 8: Know your syllabus Seems like quite an obvious tip, doesn’t it? Make sure you understand your syllabus and understand what you are going to be examined on – not everyone does! Consider you are going on a journey, but you haven’t looked at your destination, you don’t know where it is, or how long it is going to take PQ Magazine August 2022

Study Tip 11: Self-mark The ability to self-mark your own work is worth its weight in gold, diamonds, and any other precious object you can think of. Being able to identify what is getting you marks, where you are writing for no return and what you are missing, is the most effective way of helping you develop strong exam technique. This is only applicable for long-form questions, but we all come across long-form questions throughout our studies – so here is what you need: • Your answer (yes, you need to have a go first, and ideally under exam conditions). • The model answer/solution. • The marking guidance/grid and, if there is one, the examiner’s report. And this is how it works: 1. Take the model solution and read it in FULL. You need to fully understand the model solution. 2. Then go and find the marking guidance/grid (and examiner’s report – if there is one) and read them in full (often in the examiner’s report, they will explain how the marks are awarded). 3. Once you have read both the model solution and the marking guidance, you need to MARK the model solution – yes, that’s right, MARK the model solution. Go through the model solution and identify (and mark

up) where it gets marks. This stage of the exercise will help you identify and see what is getting marks. 4. Then, finally, you can mark your own answer, using your marked up model solution – ‘identify what is getting you marks, where you are writing for no return and what you are missing’. The added benefit here is that all the time invested in reading the model solutions, marking guidance and examiners’ reports, is going to help you develop a strong understanding of what good looks like and what the examiner is looking for. Essentially this study tip will help you understand: 1. What you need to keep writing. 2. What you need to remove. 3. What you need to add into your answers. Focus on maintaining 1, removing 2 and adding 3 into your revision and question practice going forward. Study Tip 12: Teach someone else (the Feynman Technique) “You fully understand a subject when you can teach someone else!” Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize-winning physicist, and he created a four-step approach to explain complicated subjects to others in simple terms. There are four key steps to the Feynman Technique: 1. Choose a concept you want to learn about. Identify a topic and write down everything you know about the topic as if you were teaching it to a child. Do this on a single page of A4, and as you learn more add it to the page in a different colour. 2. Explain it to a 12 year old. Use your A4 page as reference, and teach it to someone, removing jargon or complexity. 3. Reflect, refine and simplify. Only when you can explain the subject in simple terms do you understand it. Review your notes to make sure you didn’t mistakenly borrow any jargon or gloss over anything complicated. 4. Organize and review. Having refined your notes, find someone new to teach – how effective was your explanation? Study Tip 13: Practice makes… When you first read the two words ‘practice makes’, I bet you automatically said perfect! Unfortunately, you aren’t 100% correct – practice makes permanent. You automatically said perfect, because you have heard and said it that many times it has become permanent. You need to take the same approach with your study – just doing a set of questions once will not build the muscle (brain) memory that we need. In order to make something permanent, you need to do it, review it, revise it and re-do it at least three times. This repetition, with an improvement each time as you identify a better way of doing it, will build permanency, and hopefully a little bit of perfection, too! • Big thanks to HTFT Partnership for this article 27

PQ ACCA PM & APM exams

PM Question Time with Geoff and Jo Welcome to this regular series about all things PM. In this first article Geoff Cordwell and Jo Tuffill explore a common syllabus area to both papers – Performance Measurement n this series, Geoff and Jo plan to offer advice, support and guidance on passing the ACCA PM and APM exams. They will be answering your questions, discussing tricky topics, comparing and contrasting how topics are examined and highlighting the exam skills you will need to pass these papers.


Jo starts with PM Your PM exam is likely to include a question that requires you to write a performance review of an organisation. This will require you to understand and explain trends in key performance indicators (KPIs) using the scenario in the question. There is a skill to ensuring you do this effectively in the time allocated. Let’s look at a scenario that uses the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI). Every LinkedIn user has a SSI, based on how effectively they portray your professional brand, build relationships, find the right people, and engage with insights.

be attractive to her target clients, with a featured section highlighting examples of her service. Jo now posts content three to four times a week through her personal profile. These are a mix of business, selling and personal content. Jo does have a company page but now tends to share her personal profile posts to this. She actively engages with colleagues’ posts as they do with hers, and she comments on the posts of potential clients and influencers worldwide. Jo accepts all relevant connection requests and reaches out to connect with potential clients and industry experts who interact on her posts. She has not joined any LinkedIn groups and rarely engages in profile searches to find new potential clients. She has received recommendations from clients which are posted on her profile. She is a regular contributor to PQ magazine and posts articles through her personal profile. In 2022, Jo has 3000+ connections and followers. Here are Jo’s SSI scores in 2020 and now in 2022 2020

The scenario Jo started on LinkedIn back in 2011. She joined to promote her new business that provided professional accounting tuition in the classroom to the local market. Her main focus was her business page. She made connections with her friends, old colleagues, her students and local accounting professionals. Her engagement on the platform was limited to likes and congratulations comments on connections posts and sharing posts from the company page. She wrote a few PQ articles which were shared on the company page and not on her profile. By 2020 she had 400+ connections with a profile that matched her CV. In 2020, Jo launched a new online business as an independent ACCA PM tutor to the global market. She went on a LinkedIn training course with a ‘Get Visible Coach’. Following advice, she branded her profile to 28

PQ Magazine August 2022

ACCA PM & APM exams PQ 2022

you will not gain any written marks. The marks for the ratio calculations are separately given.

SSI is scored from 0 to 100, in 4 categories each worth 25 points. The categories are: 1. Establish your professional brand: “Complete your profile with the customer in mind. Become a thought-leader by publishing meaningful posts.” 2. Find the right people: “Identify better prospects in less time using efficient search and research tools.” 3. Engage with insights: “Discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships.” 4. Build relationships: “Strengthen your network by finding and establishing trust with decision makers.” In the PM exam a typical requirement would be: Using the information provided, assess the performance of Jo in relation to her four components of the Social Selling Index (SSI) score? The PM answer and technique The trick here is to make sure you calculate ratios that will help you make meaningful points, so calculate a percentage change or a percentage of the target. Then use the ‘state and explain’ technique that requires application to the scenario. Ensure you write in full sentences. Always conclude your performance review. I have highlighted the points I have taken from the scenario in ‘italics’, this is the value add to your performance review and unless this is done

Performance Review Establish your professional brand This component score has increased by 64% (17.76/10.84) between 2020 and 2022 – this improvement has resulted from ‘branding her profile to be attractive to her target client’ whereas previously her ‘profile matched her CV’. Her profile now boasts ‘recommendations from clients’ and has ‘a featured section highlighting examples of her service’. ‘She is a regular contributor to PQ magazine and posts articles through her personal profile’, instead of through her company page. These are meaningful posts that help establish her professional brand. This component is now at 71% of the target 25 points and so she is performing well in this regard and it ranks number two for the SSI in 2022. Find the right people This component score has increased by 45% (9.61/6.6) between 2020 and 2022 – this is an improvement but falls below the 25 points at 38% of the target. The improvement has come from reaching ‘out to connect with potential clients and industry experts who interact on her posts’ rather than only connecting with known, ‘friends, old colleagues, her students and local accounting professionals’. But as she ‘rarely engages in profile searches to find new potential clients’ and has ‘not joined any LinkedIn groups’ her performance reflects the fact she is not ‘using efficient search and research tools’ to find new prospects. Engage with insights This component score is 14.5 times higher (14.43/1) than in 2020 – this is a significant improvement but it started from a very low base of 1 out of 25. Previously, ‘her engagement on the platform was limited to likes and congratulations comments on connections posts and sharing posts from the continued on page 30

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PQ ACCA PM & APM exams continued from page 30 company page’, Jo was not engaging with insights. Now Jo posts ‘content three to four times a week through her personal profile, these are a mix of business, selling and personal content’ and ‘she comments on the posts of potential clients and influencers worldwide’. This component is now at 58% of the target 25 points and so she is performing above average but there is still improvement to be made. Build relationships This component score is at the maximum of 25 points in 2022, at 100% of the target and is Jo’s highest performing SSI component. Previously in 2020 it was only 28% of the target. Jo has grown her connections and followers ‘from 400+ in 2020 to over 3000+ in 2022’. ‘Previously she only made connections with friends, old colleagues, students and accounting professionals’ in her local market limiting her potential network. The new online business means it was important to expand her network to the global market and this was achieved by ‘accepting all relevant connection requests and reaching out to connect with potential clients and industry experts who interact on her posts’ worldwide. She has strengthened her network and trust by ‘actively engaging with colleagues posts as they do with hers and she comments on the posts of potential clients and influencers worldwide’. Conclusion Jo has moved from an SSI of 26 to 68 in just two years, the majority of the improvement has come from building relationships through expanding her potential network from local classroom market to the global online market. Jo has improved her engagement on the platform, through posting regularly, commenting and reacting to posts of her target audience. You would receive a ½ mark for each ratio calculation and one mark for each well explained point related to the scenario and two marks for the conclusion. You can now see what is required to score well in performance measurement questions in the PM exam. Get practising using the ‘state and explain’ technique, and it will become second nature. Good Luck. Geoff now considers the APM angles of LinkedIn’s SSI System APM isn’t so much about assessing performance but more about assessing the system that is used to assess performance. The evaluation of a performance management system is a key topic in APM. My SSI score is 71 and apparently, that places me in the top 1%. However, before I rush to improve this score let’s evaluate the system! Is this scoring system a good one, and one which I should rely on? There are four categories all being marked out of 25. So, LinkedIn are saying they’re all equally important. Is that true? Some might argue that you can’t find the right people then everything else you say in posts is largely pointless? If you follow this logic, then ranking all four measures equally is poor. Some form of weighting system might be sensible, perhaps giving more emphasis to “finding the right people”? A reservation on the above weighting suggestion is that the more complicated you make the system the less people will understand it. If they don’t understand it, then users might ignore it and that isn’t good for LinkedIn at all! The current system is relatively easy to understand and that is a good thing. If you struggle to understand a performance system, then it is hard to understand what you need to do to improve. Let’s look at the individual measures. Each measure is explained behind the question mark shown on the site. Having explanations like this is good for understanding and encourages those users inclined to dig deeper to do so. However, the explanations

provided are very brief, with no indicator given to the specific actions required to improve the score. Jo had to research to find out how the SSI was measured in order to build her scores. In a good system the explanation and the action required should be visible. This isn’t the case at present. Building professional brand is a worthy aim as it increases trust between the LinkedIn users and their connections. People buy from strong brands all the time and they do so because there is lower risk than from buying from unknowns. This is why McDonald’s do so well. People know what they’re going to get whichever restaurant they go to. The brand guarantees that. The SSI score is improved by the existence of endorsements. Endorsements can be fake of course. I received an endorsement from a good friend of mine, and this is lovely. However, although this friend no doubt trusts and likes me (we’re mates) he knows absolutely nothing about my accounting and other abilities. Equally, it is probably possible to ‘buy’ endorsements thus weakening the SSI system a little. Finding the right people is vital and something I personally work hard at. My score is low, however, and this surprises me. I suspect that’s because the measure is partly dependent on use of LinkedIn’s own marketing tools, and this introduces a little bias in the way the SSI is built. That is a weakness in the SSI system, in that its objectivity is now under question. It should be possible to improve this score using personal endeavour and not solely by paying for the LinkedIn marketing tools. Improving your “finding the right people” score can also be improved by joining LinkedIn groups. This is a sensible measure. People join groups because they’re interested in the content of them and if that aligns to you and your business then that has to be a good thing. Engaging with insights is also important. Saying meaningful things well builds the impression of competence. Professional people need to be competent. There are various components built into the SSI scoring system in this area. If you comment on other people’s posts, you get SSI marks for example. Whilst this seems fine, what you say is more important than merely commenting. Artificial intelligence and a text analyser will, in the future, be able to assess the quality of your comments, but not quite yet. So, at the moment, the SSI might be giving credit for banal statements being made. Lastly, we see building relationships. Again, surely an important concept. If you reach out to a contact regularly, respond to a question you are building rapport and hence trust. So that’s another good measure in principle. The SSI also gives you credit for adding connections in this criterion, regardless of the quality of those connections. I could connect with my brother and that’s great, but he is of no use at all to my business. That’s a weakness of the system. On the other hand, you get bonus credit for connecting with ‘decision makers’. It isn’t clear from my research how the system defines a decision maker. Another slight weakness, a user must understand the metric to be able to use it. Overall, the SSI is a decent system. In my humble opinion, LinkedIn could do with making the inner workings of the SSI more visible, giving better guidance on how to improve the score and ensuring the score is free from excessive bias. LinkedIn has worked wonders for my business for sure and I would thoroughly endorse its use. Understanding the difference? A good APM answer is clearly quite different from a good PM answer. This article has used the Linkedin Social Selling Index score to illustrate ways in which the two exams differ. Understanding these differences is vital to success in each exam. • Geoff Cordwell is an Advanced Performance Management (APM) tutor and Jo Tuffill is a Performance Management(PM) tutor at FME Learn Online. Geoff is an ex ACCA examiner and Jo is one of the current expert tutors for the ACCA

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PQ Magazine August 2022

AAT courses PQ

Add professional skills now and enhance your career prospects P remier Training are aiming to enhance their AAT students’ career prospects and employability by providing free access to a range of Professional Skills courses. The distance learning specialists hope that the series of short, online courses will be handy additions to students’ CVs to supplement their AAT accounting or bookkeeping qualifications – and aid career progression. Topics covered in the Premier Professional Skills package of courses include: • A Guide to Workplace Professionalism • Business Writing Fundamentals • Communication Fundamentals • Giving Effective Feedback • Improve your Business Writing Skills • Improving your Project Management Skills

• Receiving and Seeking Feedback • Resolving Conflict with Co-workers Rose Crockett, Premier Training’s Operations Director (pictured), said: “We are continually looking at ways we can support our students’

employability and career prospects. Providing these add-ons to complement their AAT qualifications will, hopefully, help to set them apart in the job market. “We are confident that our suite of free Professional Skills courses can open up opportunities and

allow our students to progress even further in accountancy and finance.” Last month, Premier Training launched a Health and Wellness package of online courses to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. Covering topics including managing stress, dealing with workplace change and beating burnout, these courses remain free for all Premier students, who can also access Mental Health Foundation resources and videos through their online platforms. These resources include the charity’s Student Guide to Loneliness and the provider’s popular series of mental health advice videos produced in partnership with MHF. The latter helped Premier Training earn a prestigious PQ Magazine Award 2022 for ‘Best Use of Social Media’.

Get a step ahead with Xero Advisor Certification Having a sound knowledge of cloud accounting software is invaluable in a competitive job market. Get the Xero Advisor Certificate and stand out from the crowd. To get started, speak to one of the education providers or accounting bodies – ACCA, ICAEW, AAT, ICB, IAB, Kaplan, Avado, Premier Training, First Intuition, The Career Academy or Reed.

PQ Magazine August 2022


PQ CIPFA spotlight

Making WFH work for you Alison Bonathan explains how you can choose the right tool for the right job when presenting remotely orking from home became the default set-up during the pandemic for many people. As restrictions have eased and workers have been able to return to the office, people have seen their permanent working arrangements shift from being mainly office-based to more home-based, or hybrid arrangements. As remote working becomes less about emergency arrangements and more about a permanent way to work, we need to consider how to adapt career development to suit the ‘new normal’. The ability to deliver online presentations effectively is a very specific, and important, skill. CIPFA spoke to Paul Jennings, Chartered Accountant and Accounting Educator, for some tips on how to present when working remotely. Without Post-it Notes, body language and flipchart papers



as discussion aids, Jennings has seen presenters attempt to use online tools with varying degrees of success. However, a tool should not be used just because it’s new or for its novelty value. Tools should only be chosen based on their ability to support the discussion. When choosing an online tool, think about how easy it will be for participants to follow along – particularly if they have never used the tool before. If the audience will need to register to use it, ask them to do so ahead of the meeting or, if possible, choose a different tool that doesn’t require registration. Jennings also recommends avoiding style over substance. If you want to ask a brief question to your audience, choose the tool that makes this as simple as possible. If participants have to start finding their phones or typing a web address, it may cause delay and

disrupt the flow of the presentation. Using the correct tool will only get you part way. There are also steps that team members should take to put themselves forward while working from home. Jennings encourages homeworkers to position themselves as the online working expert – the person who

delivers the polished, engaging online presentation that’s ready to go, rather than the person who makes others wait while they find their files and works out how to share them correctly. Just because someone is working from home, this doesn’t mean they have to take a passive position. For example, if a hybrid team meeting is approaching that you can’t attend in person, offer to organise and remotely chair a hybrid discussion or activity. Making yourself memorable during hybrid events can also support your career development. Dress as if you are in the office and think about what’s in the background when you’re on camera. Jennings recalls a former colleague who became known as “the bowtie guy” – perhaps not everyone’s style, but he was certainly memorable, even though he was working remotely. Working remotely doesn’t have to mean being cut off. Choose the right tool for the right job, be proactive and make yourself memorable to aid future career development. • Alison Bonathan is Technical Manager at CIPFA

PQ Magazine August 2022

CIMA spotlight PQ

How to ace the Objective Test Mark Foley offers five top tips for effective question practice

tudents and tuition providers agree that question practice is one of the critical tools for Objective Test exam success. It can help you become familiar with Objective Tests, pinpoint your weak areas, move information into long-term memory and reduce exam anxiety. This article outlines five simple tips to ensure you make the most of question practice and avoid common pitfalls, such as leaving it to the final days before an exam!


1 Practice relevant questions after reviewing each syllabus topic You might be tempted to save question practice until after you have studied the entire syllabus. However, it is best to review one topic at a time and then answer practice questions that thoroughly test your topic knowledge. You can use CIMA Aptitude in practice mode to answer questions on specific topics at your own pace and get instant feedback on your responses (see the end of this article for details of CIMA Aptitude). By completing regular bursts of practice questions, you are consolidating your understanding of each syllabus topic. This strategy can also help you focus and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Mastering a topic with practice questions can help give you the confidence and momentum to continue your studies. 2 Complete a timed assessment (mock exam) after reviewing the entire syllabus Once you have studied the entire syllabus and performed several short question-practice sessions, you should complete a timed mock exam that covers the entire syllabus. Timed mock exams attempt to simulate the Objective Tests, so they can give you a sense of what to expect on the exam day. If you will be taking your exam online at home, aim to use the same space and equipment that you will use for the exam to make sure everything works. 3 Get to the root of each wrong answer After every question practice session, look over the ones you got wrong. Get to the root of why you answered incorrectly. Did you misread the question? Try reading and understanding the entire question before looking at the answer choices next time. Did you forget the relevant theory? Revise that syllabus topic and consider using a memory recall technique to make notes. Did you simply miscalculate or make a careless mistake? Make sure you are getting enough sleep as this may affect concentration levels. Getting a question wrong is an extremely useful way to learn, so do not feel disheartened – the key is to understand what went wrong in the learning process to ensure the mistake is not repeated. PQ Magazine August 2022

4 Adjust your strategy for each question type You will encounter a few question styles during Objective Tests, including multi-choice and problem-based questions. When answering multi-choice questions, be sure to: • Read the entire question before looking at the answer options. • Eliminate any answers you know are incorrect. • Read all options before selecting a final answer. • Try answering it in your head before glancing at the answer options. • Choose the best answer and not just one that seems plausible. • Pay attention to words such as ‘not’, ‘sometimes’, ‘always’ and ‘never’ and make sure there are no ‘exceptions’. Problem-based questions often require some calculations and careful thinking. When you come across one of these, be sure to: • Understand the problem and figure out what you are trying to find. • Concentrate – these questions are designed to make you ‘think’ so do not worry if the answer does not come immediately. Give your brain time to recall relevant knowledge. • Sense-check your answer to make sure it is logical. • Double-check any calculations to avoid mistakes. Use question practice to become familiar with the question types and develop strategies that work for you.

5 Do not rely on question practice alone Question practice is one of the most effective tools for exam success, but it should not be your only tool. Do not use question practice as a replacement for comprehensive learning. Some students have found that focusing too much on question practice has resulted in rote memorisation, rather than a full understanding of the syllabus. Aim to balance question practice with learning of the entire syllabus and study materials. Consider using a variety of question banks or try creating flashcards to ensure you are not overlooking any key areas. For more information on making the most of question practice, check out this video, CIMA Objective Test Success Through Question Practice. If you require access to practice questions, then consider the following options: • Sign up with a CIMA Registered Tuition Provider. • Visit CIMA Study and using the CIMA Aptitude Assessments. • Purchase our authorised study materials at Kaplan Publishing. Remember that whichever route you take, your study plan should involve regular question practice sessions that test and reinforce your knowledge. Good luck! • Mark Foley, is Director of Relationship Programmes – Management Accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA 33

careers PQ

Dear Karen Ask PQ’s very own agony aunt Karen Young when you need advice from a real expert. Email your dilemma to graham@pqmagazine.com, and he will pass on the best ones to Karen THE DILEMMA Unfortunately I’ve recently been made redundant. One of my main concerns is not knowing how to effectively explain my redundancy on my CV or during an interview – do you have any advice?

Pay gap here until 2151! The gender pay gap looks like it’s going to be with us for some time to come The overall average gender pay gap is continuing to narrow but very slowly, according to the latest PwC analysis. Among companies that disclose their pay gaps each year there has been a small decline of 0.3% from an average pay gap of 13.2% in 2020/21 to 12.9% in 2021/22. That means, on average, women in the UK earn 87p for every £1 men earn. However, PwC said that since reporting began five years ago the mean gender pay gap has

declined by just 0.5%. The median pay gaps indicates slightly more volatility with an increase from 9.2% 2017/18 to 9.8% in 2021/22. Katy Bennett, Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Director at PwC UK, said: “If the current rate of progress continues – so far

achieving a 0.5% reduction over five years – the UK’s gender pay gap won’t disappear until 2151. A century – five more generations of women – is too long to wait. Businesses are facing a number of challenges but there is a massive opportunity to stand out from the crowd for those that take action, think bigger and experiment with new ideas. “With one in five employees planning to quit their jobs in the next 12 months companies need to be doing everything they can to attract and keep talent. A large and persistent gender pay gap could get in the way of attracting and retaining talented people.”

In brief

KAREN’S RESPONSE Before offering my advice, it’s important to note that there really is no stigma related to redundancy – these decisions are made on commercial grounds and are not a reflection of your skills or value. I would recommend clearly articulating the start and end date of your previous employment on your CV – include both the month and year of the start and end dates of your last period of employment, this will show that you’re not hiding the reality of the situation. Briefly address your reason for leaving and any other background information about your last role. For example, “My role was made redundant due to the business being acquired and subsequent merger of two departments.” Redundancy should not affect you highlighting your achievements during the role – keep it positive. Additionally, look to include a list of proactive activities that you have been completing since you were made redundant. This brief list can include how you’ve filled the time in between if there has been any – for example describing how you’ve been upskilling or perfecting your online personal brand. • Karen Young is a director at Hays. She is passionate about helping people to find the right job, and companies to find the right person

PQ Magazine August 2022

Pap Internal control risks The purpose and effectiveness of internal control are being tested like never before by myriad external pressures, reveals a new report from ACCA, the Internal Audit Foundation, and Institute of Management Accountants. The findings show that the continued effects of the pandemic, the turbulent economic climate, regulation, and data and technology are all presenting organisations with unique challenges for their internal control activities. The lack of appropriately skilled staff was highlighted by 50% of respondents as a challenge, and 41% said technological advances

are compromising existing internal controls. • The report can be downloaded at https://tinyurl.com/4jkcdye9 Pap Taking away the burden The UK government is to review the wider reporting burdens on large and small businesses, as part of its revamp of corporate reporting. It believes that this will help the UK’s companies grow whilst bolstering investment, as it takes advantage of Brexit freedoms to regulate “in a more proportionate and agile way that works for British business”. In particular, the government will update the definition of micro-enterprises.

Pap Fraud keeps growing Nearly two in three UK companies (64%) say they have experienced fraud or economic crime in the last two years, according to figures from PwC’s latest Global Economic Crime Survey 2022. This is above the global average for this year (46%), as well as being higher than the last time the survey was conducted in 2020 (56%). Of the types of fraud reported, cybercrime was the most frequent with almost a third (32%) experiencing a cyber breach, although this is less than the number of those who fell victim to cybercrime in the 2020 survey (42%).

The PQ Book Club: books you should read The Power of Geography: ten maps that reveal the future of our world by Tim Marshall (Elliot & Thompson, £9.99) We decided to take a leaf out of Bill Gates’ book and review our top tip for your vacation reading (see page 32 for his list). Marshall’s latest tome follows up his number-one bestseller Prisoners of Geography, and it’s almost as good! Our author explores 10 regions that are set to shape global politics in the new age of great-power rivalry. Some of his choices will be a surprise – Greece, the Sahel and Ethiopia are all on the list. We even learnt something – Saudi Arabia is the largest

country without a river! Meanwhile, water defines Ethiopia’s geographical position and importance. However, while fresh water is its main strength it has no access to the sea. Marshall homes in on the UK. One thing he does that is really insightful is to simply turn the map of the UK on its side, offering a different strategic perspective of the UK from the surrounding European countries. The UK’s higher education system comes in for praise, and continues to boost our future soft power. For him, however, the real threat to the future success of the UK comes from Scottish independence. You will have to read the book

to find out more! Our favourite chapter was his look at Space and why he thinks the Earth’s atmosphere is set to become the world’s next battleground. He is calling for a revision of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty – yes, there really is one! There is a Moon Treaty, too. And obviously there is disagreement over where space actually starts. Is it 80km from sea level or 100km? PQ rating; 5/5 Such an accessible and readable book. We couldn’t put it down 35

PQ got the a story, funny or serious, you want to share? Email graham@pqmagazine.com

Holiday reading Bill Gates has released his vacation reading list, with topics that cover gender equality, political polarization, climate change and why life never goes the way young people think it will. On the list are three novelists, a journalist and a scientist. One of the books is also 600 pages long! Here’s his list: • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. • The Power by Naomi Alderman. • Why We’re Polarised by Ezra Klein. • The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. • How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil. Does this look like the stuff you want to read on the sun lounger? Gates promises that none of the recommendations are overly heavy!

Your money is in the carrier bag! Senior royal aides have said that Prince Charles will not be accepting any more bags of cash for his charities! The prince was apparently handed some £2.6m in cash over a four-year period from a Qatari sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani for his charitable foundation. On one occasion the heir to the throne was presented with £850,000 in luxury food store Fortnum & Mason carrier bags. Clarence House insist that all correct processes were followed, but some have rightly questioned Charles’s judgement and there are worries about cash for honours accusations. The story was broken in the Sunday Times, and Sir Ian Cheshire of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) told them: “Our auditors signed off on the donation after a specific enquiry during the audit.” All eyes are now on the Charity Commission, which is said to be reviewing the information.

WFH means Wednesday is new party night! Wednesday evenings are fast becoming the new party night in city centres, as working from home shrinks the working week. Bar and restaurant owners said Wednesday is now the new Thursday, and Thursday the new Friday, with most staff WFH on Friday now. Analysis by Freespace found fewer than 15% of desks were occupied on one Friday in early May. That compares with 40% of workers working at the office on Wednesday and Thursday, the highest level since the pandemic began. Before Covid hit occupancy rates were 60%. This suggests two-thirds of workers are back at their office desks midweek, but just a quarter are in on a Friday.


Marching with Pride Andrew Ross, finance manager at Sainsbury’s, was out parading at London Pride in early July! He said: “The T-shirt says it all – PROUDLY supporting the LGBT+ community. A privilege to march though London in this 50th anniversary year to celebrate how far we’ve come and protest for the work still to come.” Meanwhile in Scotland, Shetland saw its first-ever Pride march – and became the most northerly celebration.

Counting the cost of climate change The effects of climate change could knock 7.4% of the UK’s GDP by the end of the century unless countries make greater efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says a new study. By analysing nine climate impacts, including drought, flooding and damage to the ecosystem, researchers at the London School of Economics found that if countries don’t strengthen their policies the climate will warm by 3.9C by 2100. The authors suggest if the UK achieves net zero by 2050, and the rest of the world follows by 2075, then warming could be limited to 2.1C and the cost of climate change on the UK economy could be limited to 2.4% of GDP by 2100.


PQ Book Club lucky dip We have four great books to give away in our PQ Book Club ‘lucky dip’ this month. Up for grabs are ‘Woke Inc – inside the social justice scam’ by Vivek Ramaswamy; ‘Provoke – how leaders shape the future by overcoming fatal human flaws’ by Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach; ‘Business Trends in Practice – the 25+ trends that are redefining organisations’ by Benard Marr; and ‘Move your Mind – how to build a healthy mindset for life’ by Nick Bracks. To be in with a chance of winning one of these books simply email your name and address to giveways@pqmagazine.com. Head up your email ‘Book Club’.

Adult fun We have three more copies of ‘The Adult Activity Book’ to give away this month. Pick up your pencils and pens and immerse yourself in over 120 fantastic puzzles, ranging from mazes and dot-to-dot to spot-the-difference, sudoku and more. This great book also features colouring pages that will inspire and relax, and is perfect for anyone who loves a creative challenge. To be in with a chance of winning one of the three books up for grabs simply email your name and address to giveways@pqmagazine.com. Head up your email ‘Adult fun’

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 19 August 2022. The main draw will take place on Monday 22 August 2022.


PQ Magazine August 2022

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