22. Accounting and Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety & Depression, it’s a trip to hell but at least the warm.

This is my toughest post to date; currently I’m going through the mental wars and it has affected all aspects of my life: finances, relationships, careers, friendships, social interactions and education.

As a man in his mid to late 30’s from a West African background, this was tough to both accept and seek help for; however I did and I’m now applying my mini rule; if I go through something share it with others so they know what to expect and also know that they are not alone.

I don’t always follow this rule but for this I feel it is important to share.

In 2014 after a series of events including issues at work I started developing anxiety & depression, depression has always been there or there about in my life but anxiety that was new to me.

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13. Technology: Setup question?

Alienware

Which setup should I go for?

I decided which setup to go with but it was tricky; my choices were a thin and light Laptop with a EGPU, Desktop computer, thicker laptop and should I get an external monitor with that?

In the end I went with a desktop PC and a wide screen monitor how did I come to this decision?

Prior to this my sole computer was a Surface pro 4 and before that I only used a Surface Pro 1 and had no complaints, why the switch to big and bulky? POWEEEERRRRRR!!!!

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21. Accounting and ACA

Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA held by ICAEW)

Background:
This used to be preferred accounting qualification of the big 4 (EY, KPMG, PWC or Deloite), financial services and practice firms not too long ago, this was quietly seen as the best accounting qualification to have and even now I believe most of the FTSE 100 CEO’s which come from accounting are ACA qualified.

I only say used to be preferred because the Big 4 are starting to loosen up on which qualification they require students to study; however, make no mistake about it, this does have a prestige to it and is still seen as a badge of honour. There are some roles (usually high paying) that will still demand an ACA candidate with big 4 experience.

Update** 28/02/2018**
I just learned that ACA was actually initially only for accountants working in practice and was then later opened up to accountants in industry.

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20. Accounting and Interviews

Two men sitting at desk in interrogation room

Interviews, some feels like chats others feel like an interrogation, what to do?

I am not going to give you the same tips you have heard a million times, if you don’t know the usual advice that’s on you, go to the main recruitment websites and read their tips.

Talk me through your CV?
There is no excuse for not knowing your own working history, it gives the impression you are lying, you should know your own working history end of.

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19. Accounting and CV’s

Things I wish I knew about CV’s
When I 1st started doing my CV I did not have the foggiest what I was doing and learned through trial and error, I remember my biggest struggle was trying to fill out a page for my CV, but now? I struggle to keep it to two pages.

A few things have changed along the way especially with the improvement of technology and a few new things became crucial for your CV along the way.

As bonkers as this may sound to many of you, back in the day you used to print out maybe 20-30 copies of your CV and go around and hand them out (I am dead serious), this usually was done 1st thing on a weekend for retail jobs and you would hope to get the call back, sometimes you got a call sometimes you didn’t, thankfully this practice is over but it does expose you to more competition and these are the things I found that helped me along the way.

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18. Accounting and Therapy

With mental health being brought to the forefront of people minds I envision a change in the UK workplaces where therapists will be available to employees under the HR employee wellbeing banner or discounts to sessions.

I recall the first time I came into contact with therapy it was via Frasier, hands down one of my favourite TV shows of all time but it didn’t stop there, I remember an episode on the Fresh Price of Bel Air where a relative told Will he was getting therapy, 24 where the president’s son was getting Therapy and My wife and Kids where therapy was used to help resolve marital issues between the two with my personal favourite being around Michael wanting to play video games.

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17. Accounting and ACCA updates

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Some updates!

Think you know something only to learn something new about it?
Whilst it feels like I am married to the ACCA at this point and I thought I knew all there was to know about ACCA; couple week they had some surprises for me and I learned a few new things.

There are a couple changes which kick off from September 2018.

The renames

  • The professional Level will be renamed = Strategic Professional
  • P2 (Corporate Reporting) will be renamed = Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)
  • P1 (Governance Risk & Ethics) & P3 (Business Analysis) will merge and renamed = Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
  • Other renames are to follow.
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16. Accountants and Analysts

What the heck is an analyst?

Accountants are not analyst and analyst are not accountants but the latter have the potential to do the others role and there will be some more merging of the two at some point in corporate, it will be fight on!

The above statement relates more to the management accounts aspect of accounting and not producing the final accounts, tax or auditing.

Analyst do not just interpret data and make great reports; analyst like their accounting counter parts have many different roles, it’s the equivalent of when you tell people you’re an accountant and they assume you know tax.

An analyst is involved in the design or modification of business systems or IT systems. The analyst interacts with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and needs. The analyst gathers, documents, and analyses business needs and requirements.

They interpret information, provide good reports and usually have additional skills sets under their belts for example software skills such: Advanced Excel, VBA, SQL, MS Access, Microstrategy, Data warehouse, Business Objects and Google Analytics etc

Analyst can slot into different departments such as IT, HR, Marketing, product design etc; analyst also whop us accountants when looking at things like bigdata, data analytics and whilst accounting bodies and organisations work to get accountants to be more ‘service’ focused we do tail analysts in this area.

Qualification rise there is not really a professional go to body for analyst (CFA is different), they tend to have degrees in maths or statistics.

If you are an accountant and want to try the analyst lifestyle I would recommend trying to get into a Financial performance and analysis (FP&A) role.

If this is a avenue you want to develop a career in CIMA is your friend here.

@Brainthrough

Image from:
Links:
https://www.villanovau.com/resources/business-analysis/business-analyst-career/
https://elabor8.com.au/what-does-a-business-analyst-actually-do/

15. Accounting and careers information.

Links
Image from: http://www.datwav.com/joe-budden-breaks-disputes-complex-40-minute-dialogue/

As a profession we need to do this better! RANT 

 

As someone in their thirties who’s been doing accounting for over 12 years one thing that still makes my blood boil as an account is our professions terrible and I do mean terrible ability to communicate the different types of accounting roles that are out there.

It is unacceptable that even to this day I often come across people who ‘fell into’ their role and look at me wide eyed when I tell them the many different positions available; the profession is also truly poor at giving candidates guidelines about which positions to start in and how long they should stay in a position if they are career orientated & the reasons why.

We also need to be more transparent about the work life balance of the profession depending on role; i.e. restricted annual leave and late nights at month end/year end. The risk of being locked into one sector or role despite the numerous papers we go through and more importantly despite accounting being a highly transferrable skill; I have seen good accountants stuck in roles not because they are crap but because they stayed in a position/sector too long; which ended up hurting their careers

Which is terrible for a profession with such great potential; our bodies also need to do more to highlight the importance of our transferrable skills to the outside world; we also need better dedicated careers sections on website which talks about the roles available with recommended salaries, duration you should do the role for and the next logical progression routes.

@Brainthrough

 

14. Accounting: Outsource or automate?

Links
Image from: http://www.thewriter.com/what-we-think/blog/what-can-a-robot-teach-recruiters-about-writing-and-how-can-you-stop-them-s/#.WuCPmUxFx1w

Which should you do?
Automate first always, if it works well then you may not need to outsource; however, if you find you still need to outsource even after automating it could save you money as you may find you are able to outsource a smaller portion of the work. 

When doing these kind of process improvement reviews, the thought process should be to get people out of the way of software i.e. if the software can do it, let it do it, providing the costing make sense.

It is also crucial to remember two things if you outsource your accounts in a bad state outsourcing won’t fix it and you will probably be hit with extra fees for them to resolve underpinning issues; also no matter which route you take staff moral will probably take a hit; it is important to be mindful of this especially if you do decide to outsource and you are relying on current staff to do the handover. 

At some point in the future there will be an interesting development over where some portions of data interpretation will sit, for example management accounting and income/expenditure analysis currently sits in accounting; but in future will it sit with IT once it is automated? (software contracts tend to sit with them), will management accounting become even more merged with the data analyst (accountants and analysts are not the same)

We still are awaiting the impact of bigdata, machine learning, AI and eventually robots, at some point in the future during these transaction phases accountants will find themselves particularly around non-statutory accounting competing with analyst who have a sound understanding chomping through and interpreting data, particularly with some analyst having additional skillsets like SQL and Dataware housing at their disposal.

Us accountants are brilliant too at what we do but it is important to remember aside from statutory side technology will bring us closer to other industries.

By the way, this is a really good video that breaks down machine learning.

@Brainthrough