IT Counts - Blog

    • 30 Mar 2017
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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
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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
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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...
    • 20 Mar 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of the Week #15 - Have a business resilience plan

    Almost daily we read about the latest cyber crime. As a result I suspect many organisations believe that they are defenceless and put cyber crime to one side. Believing it will never happen to them or that there is nothing that they can do to stop it...
    • 17 Mar 2017
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    With Making Tax Digital on its way are you going to provide a bookkeeping service?

    With Making Tax Digital happening, and just a slight delay for those businesses below the VAT thresholds, what are you going to do to help the “digitally challenged” clients? That is not being rude – it is a fact of life. There are many clients that do not possess a computer and use a mobile phone for the purpose it was designed for initially – talking to someone else. Whilst age is one factor...
    • 17 Mar 2017
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    STEM quota for BBC?

    I happened to watch the BBC Newswatch item last week. To quote the BBC's own description, the programme presents: "viewers' opinions on the coverage of events by BBC News, addressed by the editors and decision makers in charge". The...
    • 16 Mar 2017
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    Making Tax Digital – using spreadsheets

    Readers of IT Counts should be aware that HMRC has announced the continuing digitalisation of the tax system with the implementation of Making Tax Digital (MTD). This represents a significant task for UK businesses and their accountants, and the IT Faculty will be working with the Tax Faculty to help members understand the implications and responsibilities of the change. We have put together a resource hub that will be...
    • 14 Mar 2017
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    The cyber threat to UK business - NCA & NCSC report

    Today the National Crime Agency released a reported created with the National Cyber Security Center. The Cyber Threat to UK Business report outlines the cyber security threats from a range of sources. Much of the report is written in the langua...
    • 13 Mar 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of the Week #14 - Don’t Bury Your Head in the Cyber Sand

    Today we have a guest post from Eddie Whittingham. Eddie is a former police officer and qualified solicitor and the Managing Director of the Business Fraud Prevention Partnership . The BFPP help SMEs reduce their risk to fraud and cyber-cri...
    • 10 Mar 2017
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    Making Tax Digital - still waiting for answers

    Whilst Making Tax Digital has been postponed for 12 months for those businesses and those with lettings income less than the VAT threshold, it is still just over a year away for a large proportion of businesses and individuals. HMRC have announced a “year-long trial” from April 2017 – in effect a different name for a beta version. They originally wanted 400,000 people to take part in this trial, and...
    • 10 Mar 2017
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    Why 'Spreadsheet' Phil?

    Wednesday saw the first budget delivered by Philip Hammond – known as Spreadsheet Phil. Contrary to popular belief, the Chancellor of the Exchequer hasn't gained the soubriquet 'spreadsheet' as a result of a multi-million-pound spon...
    • 8 Mar 2017
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    Time for T-Levels

    In a budget that some viewed as boring (perhaps as befits Spreadsheet Phil, although based on the number of one-liners delivered in his speech, the Chancellor is anything but boring), and getting the economy match-fit for the upcoming Brexit (which was conspicuous by its absence), there was plenty in there for members with an interest in tech. The announcement early on in the speech of a delay in MTD for one year for...
    • 7 Mar 2017
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    Big data and the profession - what does the future hold?

    In my previous blogs, I’ve considered many aspects of big data and analytics – what’s new, what it means, how it’s being used, the challenges and skills implications as well as the ethical dimension. So, what about the future? I think it’s fair to make a few basic assumptions. Computing power will continue to grow and organisations will continue to have access to increasing amounts of data...
    • 7 Mar 2017
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    Excel Tip of the Week #175 - The Excel Data Model

    Guest author Jonathan Teller shares his thoughts on Excel's Data Model.
    • 6 Mar 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of the Week #13 - Talk about cyber security

    Frequently I promote three ideas to help protect organisations from cyber crime. People Processes Technology It is worth noting that I prefer to speak of these three concepts in that order. People really are the first line of defence when it comes ...
    • 2 Mar 2017
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    Stop chasing me for money!

    A business exists to make sales which hopefully are all paid for! If the business is retail, this is predominantly “cash” (which for this purpose includes credit cards, debit cards and cheques). The other option is to issue invoices to its customers, all of which can be paid in a variety of ways. There are many ways to obtain payment of those invoices – the options as listed above, direct to the bank...
    • 27 Feb 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip of the Week #12 – Have a leaver process

    Recently there was a report in the specialist news about an employee who had been fired by a company only for him to remotely reconnect later and cause considerable IT damage. To help mitigate this type of issue it is advisable to have a process to f...
    • 26 Feb 2017
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    When does a business realise it has outgrown current software?

    The implementation of a new accounting software, or even software for the first time is an opportunity to revisit procedures and processes. These might be minor tweaks or changes or it may be quite substantial due to features being available in the software, which weren't perhaps available before. However, once these processes are in place, they often become ‘the norm’ and no one ever challenges or thinks...
    • 23 Feb 2017
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    Big data and the profession - what about ethics and governance?

    There has been a lot of talk recently about the risks of an ‘echo-chamber’ of social media, and its impact on public opinion. Issues like these raise some deeper questions about our use of big data and analytics and how it can influence society. On the one hand, better data enables a far more accurate match between things – Facebook can just show you things you like and agree with, for example. But is...
    • 22 Feb 2017
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    The Future of the Professions - live

    For those that are familiar with the book ‘The Future of the professions’, there is an opportunity to hear Prof Richard Susskind talk about his work and findings at the upcoming ‘True and Fair’ lecture in Chartered Accountants’ Hall on 16 March. Prof Susskind started on an investigation of the impact of technology on the practice of Law in the late 1980s and has been debating the issues...
    • 20 Feb 2017
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    Cyber Security Tip Of The Week #11 – Enlist An Expert As Necessary

    The trouble with running a business is that you are always running more than one business at the same time. Not only are you doing the work that interests you and forms part of your chosen career but you are also doing all the things that suppo...
    • 20 Feb 2017
    • 1952 views
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    Client closedown - checklist needed?

    I questioned in a recent blog post whether a checklist is needed when closing down a client. Having now put together such a checklist the answer is an overwhelming yes as far as I am concerned. Having sat and thought about it when constructing it, several other items have been added since. With the use of "apps" there are lots of diverse areas where records may be maintained. I highlight below just a few of...
    • 16 Feb 2017
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    The Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2017

    A study of 3,000 companies in the UK, US and Germany found that more than half (53%) of businesses in the three countries are ill-prepared to deal with cyber attacks. The Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2017 assessed firms according to their readiness ...
    • 13 Feb 2017
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    Cyber security tip of the week #10 - Are Apple Macs more secure than Windows?

    Recently someone asked me if Apple Mac’s are more secure than Windows PC. The answer is: no. By and large macOS attracts less malware than Windows. However this is largely because of the far smaller install base of macOS compared to Windows. Es...
    • 12 Feb 2017
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    Which software should I use?

    Have I got software already or do I need to find something else? It is often bandied around that only a small percentage of the functionality of Word or Excel is actually used, and this is probably true. The same is true of practically any other program in common use. It is probably not used, either because people do not know the functionality even exists, or because some other system has been put in place to do something...