IT Counts - Blog

    • 24 Jun 2017
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    IT Training in a hostile environment

    One of my staff had “a day from hell” this week. She turned on her freestanding fan at the start of the day on the hottest day of the year…and the fan fragmented and sent shards of plastic everywhere. It was very fortunate she was not hurt. Time to pinch someone else’s fan and into a training session at 9:30 – with three of a client’s staff – so four in the room. This was the...
    • 23 Jun 2017
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    EuSpRIG 2017 Conference - gazing into the future of spreadsheets

    If you haven't come across EuSpRIG (European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group) before, in their own words: "EuSpRIG offers Directors, Managers and Professionals in all disciplines, the world’s only independent, authoritative & comp...
    • 19 Jun 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #22 – Communication when a cyber incident strikes

    When a major IT issue strikes how will you coordinate the incident with your staff and clients? I have mentioned the need to have a client communication plan in place before . However part of any well-constructed plan should be consideration as to how...
    • 17 Jun 2017
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    GDPR – have you started the process yet?

    I was asked some 6 months ago what steps I had taken to deal with the GDPR regulations. At the time, the answer was “nothing”. However, there is less than 12 months now until the new regulations kick in – still loads of time you might think…..? However, internal processes both need review and documenting – and this is unlikely to be a “5 minute job” that can be left until the...
    • 14 Jun 2017
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    AI and Accountancy - join the debate

    We will be publishing a new report at the end of June on AI and the future of accountancy. This is part of our broad programme of work on technology and the future of the profession, and is a starting point for a variety of more detailed work on the application of AI across the profession. To mark the launch of the report, we are delighted to be joined by Professor Moshe Vardi, an expert in AI from Rice University,...
    • 11 Jun 2017
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    Software changes – fast!

    Working in the cloud makes it so much easier to link products together (although cloud products can be linked to desktop products). You only have to look at the add-on marketplace for Xero or QuickBooks to see the vast numbers and types of software that can integrate with those products. There are also many software products that are in use but do not integrate …. or do they? A client was using a particular database...
    • 6 Jun 2017
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    Excel Tip of the Week #188 - Named cells redux

    What's in a name? The Excel Tip of the Week covers everything there is to know about naming cells and ranges.
    • 4 Jun 2017
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    Working on the move

    Drive…or train? Frequently the answer these days is the train. A trip to Birmingham makes over 2 ½ hours available to catch up on lots of writing – documents, reports, blog postings, internal instructions and help manuals etc. And the return trip adds another 2 ½ hours. Just passing over the motorway on a recent train trip seeing the traffic at a standstill is another very good reason to let...
    • 25 May 2017
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    Software - functionality and usability issues

    I quite often see in various software forums comments along the lines of “It would be great if the software could do x”. Some of these requests are quite valid and reasonable and I am quite happy to vote for the feature. However, some are totally “off the wall” and frankly, quite ludicrous and impracticable. I do sympathise with the software houses. Trying to monitor the requests, collate them...
    • 21 May 2017
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    Saving a few minutes here, a few minutes there …..

    All processes and systems, in both business and practice, should be subject to “challenge”. Can it be done differently and more effectively and efficiently? This is not always easy to do, as what you think actually happens has been modified over the years. There is also the “change” aspect – why change something if it works? And don’t forget the staff issue and the “it doesn’t...
    • 18 May 2017
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    MTD Software Advisory Group – second meeting and findings

    A group of leading software developers and accounting practitioners met together at ICAEW on 3 May. This was the second that this group had convened. Participants The participants included the major software houses (including Sage, Xero, IRIS, Intuit...
    • 17 May 2017
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    PivotTable webinar – the unanswered and unanswerable questions

    Nearly 600 people registered for the May 11th webinar on PivotTables. The recording of the webinar is now available here: Webinar: PivotTables - simple, effective and interactive Although there was time to answer a couple of questions on the use of f...
    • 15 May 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #21 – Cyber Essentials and the cloud

    Recently one of our QAD reviewers was at a mid-tier firm and asked them if they were thinking of applying for Cyber Essentials . The IT manager said “no” as he had been at a meeting with some other large firms where they were told that if ...
    • 15 May 2017
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    Cyber security advice - ransomware protection

    The cyber-attacks across the world on Friday demonstrate how reliant we all are on technology. However, by performing some basic steps you can help protect your IT systems and client data from cyber-crime. Here we provide a summary of the key s...
    • 13 May 2017
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    IT – so many things to remember and do

    IT impinges on practically everything we do these days. Product functionality changes with every update and there is something new to learn or a different way of doing things. Procedures and systems are put in place – but things slip through the net from time to time. A staff meeting is coming up so it is time for a few timely reminders; here are a few. Working papers -the majority of accounts working papers are...
    • 9 May 2017
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    Keeping your computers up to date has never been more important

    A new vulnerability has been reported today in Windows. Thankfully if your PC (Windows v8, 8.1 or 10) is connected to the internet it will have downloaded and installed an update already. The vulnerability was revealed on Friday. Few technical detail...
    • 6 May 2017
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    Desktop accounting – adjusting client records to the final accounts – oh dear!

    We took on a new client recently. An existing client had bought into the business and was not happy with the books and records, so we were asked to take it on. It was on desktop software, so we were provided with a backup of the data (by the client). This was converted to online software. We also had the usual handover information from the previous agent-last accounts, schedules of debtors, creditors, prepayments, accruals...
    • 5 May 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #20 – Microsoft Office Macros

    Over the past few years we have seen a further rise in ransomware attacks and other malware. One of the key ways in which malware can infect in PC is via the use of macros. These are small extensions to applications which can provide additional...
    • 2 May 2017
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    Excel Tip of the Week #183 - FREQUENCY

    The Tip of the Week covers a handy function for calculating a frequency chart.
    • 30 Apr 2017
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    Secure communication with the bank

    Using online banking, we are all aware of the frequent messages that banks post or put on their website that they will never ask for full passwords and encourage two factor authentication, along with other security measures. My own bank, on their website, states that there is no email facility to send information to them. However, sending information to another bank recently (which I will not name and shame) was somewhat...
    • 24 Apr 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #19 – Do you worry about the cyber security of your suppliers?

    The UK government’s Cyber security breaches survey 2017 was published recently. The report covers a range of topics and draws a number of conclusions. One of the questions that caught my eye was this one: Threats in places you ...
    • 23 Apr 2017
    • 1428 views
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    Thank goodness for backups

    Resorting to backups is something I have not needed to do for a very long time. However, this was needed four times in the last week alone! The first time was when we thought a file had been uploaded elsewhere so was deleted locally. However, it transpired that the upload had not worked. Lesson – check to make sure the upload had worked in the first place! The second was where some files had been deleted –...
    • 19 Apr 2017
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    Nearly half of UK businesses suffered a cyber attack or breach in the last 12 months

    The UK government’s Cyber security breaches survey 2017 was published today. We have always been very supportive of this annual survey and were again happy to endorse the fieldwork. The findings this year are pretty consistent with our experience when speaking to members and others in the field. It finds that just under half of businesses suffered cyber-attacks or breaches in the last 12 months. Attacks and breaches...
    • 18 Apr 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #18 – Who would want my data?

    Occasionally I hear people say; “I understand the threat from cybercrime but who would be interested in my company, I don’t have any valuable data.” The simple fact is that all data is valuable to someone. Just last week I read a st...
    • 17 Apr 2017
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    A week away…what delights on return to the office tomorrow….?

    Well…only 4 days off work really and an extra couple of days for bank holidays. Whilst my iPad and phone accompanied me away, I watched the email count gradually increase each day, and resisted the urge to log in and just “clear a few”, which I have always done in the past. As of today (Monday) it stands at 470, and that is after the junk filters have done their best to eliminate some of the more...