IT Counts - Blog

    • 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
    • 385 views
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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
    • 223 views
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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
    • 285 views
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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
    • 696 views
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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
    • 841 views
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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
    • 561 views
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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
    • 983 views
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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
    • 1106 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
    • 1173 views
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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
    • 1190 views
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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...
    • 10 Apr 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #17 – Install anti-malware software and maintain it

    These days ransomware, state sponsored hacking and data breaches may grab the headlines and the attention. It is all too easy to forget one of the key cyber security steps. Principle 5 of the 10 Steps Guide to Cyber Security (PDF) is “Prot...
    • 7 Apr 2017
    • 1956 views
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    You can do (practically) anything in the software - be careful what you promise though!

    In the good old days, when the word processor made its appearance, it was possible to cater for most whims and wishes of even the most pedantic of partners (or clients!). How many of you have had (or still have) the client that prints his accounts (rather than accepting electronic versions) then gets his ruler out and starts measuring. A list of instructions then come back for changes to the presentation. The heading...
    • 7 Apr 2017
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    MTD Software Advisory Group – inaugural meeting and findings

    A group of leading software developers and accounting practitioners met together at ICAEW this week to talk through current and expected progress of MTD. This is the first time that such a group has got together to review and debate this topic and there were some very interesting discussions and conclusions. The group plans to meet monthly for the next six months and I will report progress here. Participants The participants...
    • 4 Apr 2017
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    Excel Tip of the Week #179 - GETPIVOTDATA

    The Excel Tip of the Week shows you how to pull data from a PivotTable with GETPIVOTDATA - or how to get rid of it.
    • 3 Apr 2017
    • 2224 views
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    Cyber Security Tip of The Week #16 – Time to spring clean your apps?

    The use of cloud based applications allows for a vast amount of data to be quickly and seamlessly moved between applications. For example document sharing and editing are often combined with email. Apps on smartphones often ask if they can access you...
    • 31 Mar 2017
    • 4203 views
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    Please stop being so polite!!

    Is it just me or are emails the bane of our lives? Dozens arrive daily seemingly at all times of the day or night. Fortunately, the email filters remove dozens more or else there would be even more to plough through. At one stage, I used to look at the quarantine folder just to make sure nothing had been sent there in error. This gradually morphed to a quick glance, and now I have to confess I don’t look there...
    • 30 Mar 2017
    • 3393 views
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    Accountants optimistic about the future – driven by MTD

    I have just returned from a very informative conference which gathered together a mixture of IT partners and general accounting partners interested in technology. All worked in medium sized accountancy practices and the majority were ICAEW members. Despite the almost obligatory opening session on the impact of AI and automation on the profession, I was extremely impressed by the optimism of the audience throughout –...
    • 28 Mar 2017
    • 1978 views
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    Member question answered - Data Retention Policy

    Recently a member asked the following question: “We have been using an electronic document storage software solution for a number of years now, and wonder whether you have any guidance on what hard copy documents must still be kept, if any, and...
    • 24 Mar 2017
    • 2540 views
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    Giving it all away at meetings…..

    We had a telephone call this week – a business had found us through the internet and wanted some help with their accounting records. On pressing for more details, it transpired they were some months behind, outside investors were pushing for figures and it was, in their words, “a bit of a mess”. They had a bookkeeper that came in one day a week – but he could not spare any more time. I asked...