Background: As I learned recently; ACCA was designed to target accountants in industry as opposed to in a practice environment, this qualification is more geared towards financial accounting, Audit and Tax.
This qualification has a good global reach, I would say that their reach globally is currently slightly better than ACA, CIMA and CIPFA.
Whilst it’s no secret that back in the day this was seen as a poor version of the ACA, the ACCA has done well to get their qualification respected and now you can walk into pretty much any company with your ACCA qualification.
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.
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.
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.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
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 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)
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.
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.
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.
I want to make one thing clear, there has been a romantic picture recently painted of working for startups or small companies, I am here to piss on that parade and tell you it is not romantic and the word ‘No’ is something you must be ready to shoot out
I want you to know this, the word No, is crucial to you as it is your accounting qualifications on the line.Some small company owners are nothing more than glorified dictators who try to intimidate/bully you into bending to their will, you will often notice immediately something is wrong and it is often met with “that’s the way we do things here’, which is not an acceptable reason at all
·Some will ask you to recognise revenue early. ·Some will ask you to pay people by cash and not record it. ·Some will ask you to hide bad debts. ·Some will ask you not to record a sale. ·Some will ask you to help them setup grey ‘self employed’ schemes. ·Some will ask you to hide home to work travel (which is a taxable benefit that must be disclosed). · Some will ask you not to show owners drawing as they should be. · Some will ask you to fiddle stock figures. · Some will give you cash payments and not put it through the payroll (make sure it goes through the payroll). · Some will ask you to be compliant in manipulation of tier 4 visa restrictions, i.e. invoice a day rate so you can hide that they are working more than 20 hours a week. · A company I was at would not only use expired skin care products on customers, they would also give them to customers as gifts and want them included in their inventory count.
Our accounting bodies harper on about professional ethics but shady stuff happens in the industry and your accounting body can’t help out much; if a company lets you go because you refuse to do some of the stuff mentioned above (or worse), your accounting body won’t be helping much aside from providing general advice, main point, they won’t help you pay your bills which is why many just do what they feel they need to do and hope nothing comes to light or they have long gone before it has.
Accountancy bodies are bending over backwards to push out this image of the ‘new’ account the no more ‘Mr black and white’ the less rule regurgitating accounting whilst blattering on about ethics and governance to us accountants, which often will have us back to the old image but here’s the thing; not all images are wrong and sometimes just sometimes having that image to uphold, actually sets a tone before you walk in the door which lets people know I am going to do this by the book; there’s a reason the book is written and that is to protect you from me but also to protect me from you! When working for a startup/small company it is crucial you keep this in the forefront of your decisions.