5. Technology: Smart glasses?

Where are the smart glasses?

Let’s get straight to it; Google glasses were a good idea but from the wrong company, Google’s creepy peeping tom vibe is off putting, you can just see faces being tagged, privacy being invaded, weirdo’s filming ‘attractive’ women, conversations being recorded and idiots recording themselves assaulting people (think happy slap 2.0).

Plus the whole “if you are searching something on the internet you don’t want people to know you probably should not be searching it” just makes Google a company I personally want to deal with as little as possible.

That Google shade to one side: HTC, Samsung, GoPro, TomTom, Garmin, Fibbit, Specialized, Cube, Giant and BMC I’m looking at you guys we need smart glasses guys.

In my mind I am seeing it like this, imagine going on holiday or being at a family birthday party, the biggest drag is holding the camera phone up, why? It takes one hand off you for starts but even worse than that because you’re filming you are not really in the moment, think going down a water slide, or riding a quad bike rather than have one hand filing you have the smart glasses on and you say the command “snap’ for pictures “clip” for video and it just does it; this allows you to be in the action and capture what your eyes see, it could be a great holiday/birthday companion.

As a cyclist, you already know why I would want this, GPS, record the run, average MPH, Average Cadence, video footage for safety (or to give to the police), group rides etc, I can almost see it now!

Specs: It has a loop so if they fall off your face they don’t go into the road/floor, water proof, sweat resistant, changeable lens types (i.e. cycling frames and casual frames, HD camera, 32gb storage, 12 hour battery life, and a soft red light to let people know it is recording.

Links:

Brainthrough!

4. Technology: Mac Mini?

What the Mac!!! Apple?

Now whilst technology blogs and magazines still continues to kiss this company where the sun don’t shine, I have a simple question; are you taking the mick with the Mac Mini?

This is ridiculous; no one with a sane mind can tell me there is a valid reason for Apple not updating the Mac Mini but yet they still shamelessly charge an insane amount for the tech that it is. No one going to say nothing? No one? Really?
 

Oh don’t get me wrong, we got a lovely email from Tim Cook in October telling us how ‘important’ the Mac Mini is, to which I smirk, that a billion-dollar tech company could not at least update the Mini’s internals, hey I guess the one guy doing all the work has been signed off on long term sick due to stress resulting from the Mac Pro’s he cocked up.

You’re probably thinking why am I whinging about this? Simple because the Mac Mini has potential to be a great computer, it’s sleek profile and timeless design makes it look the part, plus this is where people should be going who don’t want/need an all in one and don’t need the Super Saiyan power of a Mac Pro, it has potential to be a good mid level PC (if they stop being cheap and get Nvidia processors), heck even a half decent gaming rig once bootcamped into windows not to mention VR and video editing potential.

However we get none of the above, instead as per Macrumors buyers guide as at 18/Nov/17 we get a turd that’s not been updated since 20 FRIGGIN 14, yes that’s right 2014! And nothing, instead I see people trying to defend this non-sense, the same numb nuts who will say something like ‘ideally you want a PC to last 5 years as technology moves on at quite a rapid pace’.

Don’t worry I don’t expect Apple to change anytime soon nor do I expect the customer to say anything, I mean after all some are still buying this product…. Which says it all. 

Links:
https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac_Mini

Brainthrough!

10. Accounting and tax.

Tax?

Ahh the wonderful world of tax, people ask “what do you do?” You say “I’m an accountant”, this usually leads to someone asking you tax questions; when I was younger I used to feel embarrassed at not knowing the answers to their question but now I realise I need to just correct them and let them know there are different types of accountants or I just say “I work in finance” avoiding the word ‘accountant’ all together. 

Why have I given you that pointless introduction? For a simple reasons not all accountants are tax experts, some accountants will have a good understanding of the basics and can do a company return based on results but when you are talking about Tax avoidance (WHICH IS LEGAL BY THE WAY), you’re average accountant won’t know the more intricate schemes, this is down to someone who specialises in tax.

BTW: I have no qualms with Tax avoidance despite the cries of public my view is simple, fix the laws, I do not believe for a second if regular PAYE employees could find areas to cut their tax bill they wouldn’t, tax shaming is ridiculous and this body who gives people a stamp to say they are tax moral is nothing more than glorified virtue signalling and does not deal with the problem, we should not need a body for this crud, pressure should be applied at the right place i.e. with those in charge of laws to sort this out, I read article after article hampering on about moral this, accountants image being effected and I think what a bunch of parrot zombies. Rant over.

If you specialise in tax returns you are usually not the person who prepares the accounts, but you are the person who asks the right questions and gets the right answers! Any specialism in accounting takes work but Tax carries an extra burden as we all know what happens when you get this wrong.

If you wish to be a tax account remember you are going to need to study annually to maintain your knowledge, this is more than your usual CPD stuff to maintain your qualification, as you can’t afford to not know what is coming!

If tax is what you want to do but you have no knowledge of tax or accounting then start with the ATT qualification, if you’re already working in account have a AAT/ACCA etc then study the CTA, the CTA is the highest tax qualification in the UK at present.

Image from:
Links:
https://www.att.org.uk/
http://www.tax.org.uk/homepage

11. Accounting and careers.

Which area?

There are so many different areas of accounting you can go into; I remember when I completed my AAT all I said was I wanted to be an accountant not knowing there were so many different positions.
I’m going to give a very simple summary of job roles within accounting and say which accounting qualifications is better suited for the roles.

Accounts payable
In this role you process invoices, do statement reconciliations, deal with supplier queries that can arise and prepare payment runs.
Qualifications: AAT

Accounts receivable
You raise invoices, send statements, allocate payments and deal with customer queries as well as chase payments aiming is to keep customers within their payment terms.
Qualifications: AAT

Banking
You post banking transactions onto the system, post foreign exchange gains/losses, arrange payments, manage company credit cards, setup direct debits and do the banking reconciliations.
Qualifications:
AAT

Book keeper
A book keep is broader than the previous three, as usually you will be preparing accounts up to the trial balance, this includes nominal coding, doing AP, AR, Banking etc.
Qualifications: AAT is the best qualification for this position.

Practice account
Whilst there are different levels; the main aim is to prepare a set of final accounts for business owners.
This requires a knowledge of accounting and a good understanding of double entry book keeping.
You can find entry level positions for this but overall I feel this needs at least an intermediary knowledge of accounting as there is usually a tax calculation required.
Qualifications: AAT (initially) then ACCA or ACA

Reconciliations
In short you are ensuring all debits and credits are in the right place and there are no ‘funny’ posting i.e. capital expenditure is not posted to revenue.
This requires a knowledge of accounting and a good understanding of double entry book keeping.
Qualifications: AAT

Auditor
Without getting technical (ACCA F8 will do that to you) in summary you go to companies and check they have prepared their accounts as per the relevant accounting standard or local law.
Qualifications: ACA or ACCA

Internal auditor
Your target is to get your companies compliant with accounting standards/local law but an internal auditor can also review a company’s operational performance, process procedures and implement measures to reduce the risk of fraud/error.
Qualifications: Certified Internal Auditor, ACA or ACCA

Forensic accountant
You work with or in law enforcement, to determine if someone is trying to launder money gained from proceeds of crime or is being used to fund things like terrorism, people usually transfer into this from Auditing.
Qualifications: ACA or ACCA

Financial accountant
You produce the final accounts and to the required legal requirement.
You will need to be a qualified accountant in order to do this.
Qualifications: ACA or ACCA

Management accountant
Also known as the sexy side of accounting, you help people manage their budgets.
Qualifications: CIMA

Analyst
My favourite part of accounting; you interpret the numbers and data in general, you explain things like customer age, locations, average spend, areas of growth and comparison to competition etc.
Qualifications: A degree in maths, statistics etc will be welcomed with open arms but in terms of accounting qualifications CIMA is better suited qualification for this position (I acknowledge this even as a ACCA student).
An addition to this, software skills in any of these areas is a benefit: Advanced Excel, VBA, SQL, MS Access, Data warehouse, Business Objects, Google Analytics

Financial performance & analysis FP&A
Usually in larger companies this role is as it says you monitor the performance of the company and provide and analysis.
Qualifications: CIMA

Finance business partner / Operational finance manager
Somewhere between a management account and an analyst, business partners work closely with a particular department and provide ‘real time’ support and analysis, too help with decision making.
Qualifications: CIMA

Commercial finance
The lines between commercial finance manager, financial controller, finance manager, management accountant, financial performance and analysis and even to some extent finance director is becoming blurred but a commercial finance manager would usually be working in the commercial arm of the business i.e. residential properties vs commercial ones.
Qualifications: CIMA

Finance manager
A finance manager usually overseeas the AP, AR, Banking, Payroll and balance sheet reconciliations.
Qualifications: AAT, ACA, ACCA, CIMA

Systems accountant
This is an area of accounting not spoken about much but you look after the technological side of accounting, for example imagine software like Sage, Xero, business objects or HFM these are accounting packages or reporting software that needs to be installed, rolled out and maintained, yes a tech guy can do this but someone with an accounting qualification can bring added benefits for obvious reasons.
Qualifications: any accounting qualification will set you right AAT, ACCA, CIMA, ACA but should get good grounding in one of the following areas to really flourish VBA, SQL, MS Excel (advanced level), MS Access, Oracle, Xero, HFM, Data warehouse, Business Objects or Microstrategy.

Shared services/Business process outsourced
Your role is to manage the outsourced part of accounting, for example if accounts payable is outsourced, you will check Service Level Agreement (SLA, what services we’ve agreed they should be doing) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI, are they doing it as per agreement); you will also be a mediator when there are issues.
Qualifications: AAT, ACA, ACCA, CIMA

Group accountant
You consolidate the company accounts, the includes P&L, Balance sheets etc, this role is often found in larger organisations who consolidate the accounts with HFM.
Qualifications: ACA or ACCA

Capital accountant
All capital transactions go through you, you will often also look after the fixed asset register and will be responsible for nominal coding of assets.
Qualifications: ACA or ACCA

Financial Controller
As a FC you are responsible for the company’s financial reporting, such as its monthly, quarterly and annual accounts, you manage transactions of the company’s AP, AR, payroll, and control accounts and provide operational finance.
Qualifications: ACA, ACCA or CIMA

Financial Director
Finance directors are members of a senior executive team with responsibility for their company’s financial health. They combine operational and strategic roles, manage accounting and financial control functions, and establish a financial strategy for the profitable long-term growth of the business.
Qualifications: ACA, ACCA or CIMA

Chief financial officer (CFO)
1st off cha-ching!!! Ahhh you made it my friend, you are in the nice house, nice holidays bracket now!!! ahhh shizzle heck you can even get those mouth watering 5k peddle bikes! You the man!!! No more cheap puregym for you… oh no my friend you get to go to the gyms with the pools, steam rooms and Saunas. Why? Because screw you!!! That’s why!
I supposed I should do some form of a summary of the role, ah heck it does not matter what this role involves as you’ve made it, you say you’re a CFO especially in a blue chip organisation before you’re all grey or balding you da dam man!!!
If you are actually ambitious and not parrot ambitious (you just repeat ambitions you heard from others) CFO is where your hard working backside must aim for! I only rate business owners (regardless of profit) higher than I rate CFO because of how taxing owning your own business can be.

Ok, it’s time to say a bit about this rockstar position, a CFO looks after Controllership duties (makes sure the company complies with the law & internal controls process are up to par), Treasury duties, Economic strategy and forecasting, Accounting and Reporting, Management and Budgeting a good CEO will also need to share the right data with the right departments to allow better decision making, this can be for helping internal management decisions (is a department over/under staff), or decisions that impact external customers i.e. is our pricing right?
Qualifications: ACA, ACCA or CIMA

Treasury (Separate qualification)
Treasurers look after the cash, you make sure the business is using it’s cash sensibly, you will often be responsible for producing a cash flow forecast and looking at things such as should the company has a U$D account.
Qualifications: ACT (Association of Corporate Treasurers), ACA, ACCA, CIMA

Tax (separate qualification)
You look after the taxation of a business or individual and it’s as simple as that, naturally the role itself can get even more complicated, for example you have a business not registered in the EU but you deliver all their goods to a EU, how do you treat this?
Qualifications: ATT and/or CTA

@Brainthrough

Image from: http://photography.webdore.com/cityscapes-2/
Links:
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242001
http://www.sequelvcfo.com.au/sequel-vcfo-blog/what-does-a-cfo-actually-do

 

9. Accounting and other professional bodies.

What other professional bodies are there? Loads, let’s jump straight in.

Prince 2
This is a project management qualification, usually associated with the public sector but is also known in the private sector, if you want to be a project manager this is a good stepping stone but unless you are targeting a public sector career I would opt for PMP/PMI.

Association for Project Management – APM
This is a good qualification and works well for public sector organisations but if it were me I would skip it and go with Prince 2 or PMP/PMI.

Project Management Professional – PMP/PMI
This is a better globally known project management qualification and one I would recommend you do if you want to become a project manager.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – CIPD
If you want a career in HR you should aim to get this qualification.

Chartered institute of marketing – CIM
This is not a mandatory qualification for a career in marketing but it’s still worth doing if this is the route you want to go down.

Chartered Management Institute – CMI
This is a good complimentary qualification, it’s not one I would personally go for on its own as it is not a required qualification for management positions for example, I feel this qualification is best when it’s combined with an accounting, HR or project management qualification it’s a good addition.

Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply – CIPS
Procurement is not an industry really spoken about, I tend to find people fall into procurement or hear about it through word of mouth, in short you buy goods for the company you work for, trying to get the best deal whilst you’re at it.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – RICS
This is for those who want to get into the construction industry, when you buy a house one of these qualified people will come around and value it for you.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert – MCSE
I.T. qualification for Microsoft software.

Cisco Certified Network Associate – CCNA
Cisco’s professional qualification, this is entry level.

Cisco Certified Network Professional – CCNP
As above but medium level.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert – CCIE
This once upon a time was the must have qualification for demanding the salary of your dreams, it’s a tough qualification (what isn’t) but still worth the effort.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional – CISSP
A great qualification we are going digital and security is important.
Brainthrough!

Links:
https://www.prince2.com/uk
https://www.apm.org.uk/
https://www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp
https://www.cipd.co.uk/
https://www.cim.co.uk/
https://www.cips.org/en-gb/homepage/
https://www.rics.org/uk/
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcse-certification.aspx
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications.html

@Brainthrough

8. Accounting and changing careers?

Can you change careers? Yes

I have come across people who changed careers, they started life as qualified accountants but had enough or felt it was not for them and changed to something else.

Where did they go? HR, Project management, Recruitment agent, IT (Web design), Yoga teacher, started their own business and motivational speaking.

How did they make the change? HR, Project manager applied for the role in the company they were working for.

The rest usually did evening courses/professional qualifications on the subjects that interested them and made the move across.

Should you change career?

Depends on how much you hate what you’re doing, the reason I say that is, you are most likely picturing the glamourous side of a career change and not really taking into account that every job has crap parts, plus you will be at a disadvantage to those who have been doing it for years and financially you will most likely have to take a salary hit, unless your current set of skills are directly transferrable.

I watched an interview in which Kanye West said something along the lines of ‘they say you should change careers every five years’, who the they are I do not know, as I don’t know whether this is good or bad advice, what I do know is for some it will work and for others it won’t.

I have read in AAT magazines people who believe working in different fields actually makes you a better rounded accountant but a former colleague read an article that said staying your craft is the better move. As you will find with every single thing in life, there are some who agree and disagree.

Some food for thought is, what if I told you there are quite a few people who work in accounting roles but never initially studied accounting? I knew someone who studied art and another person who studied a chemistry. What’s the point of mentioning this? What you may start out studying may not be what you end up getting income from.

So again, should you change careers?

Only you can answer that question, but if you are doing it because you have had enough of what you’re doing make sure you spend the time to find out the dull parts of your desired career, most things seem great until you do them full time, you also want to make sure it is not the company you are working for that is making you hate your job, some places I have worked, if they were my only accounting experiences I would have probably tried to change careers myself.

Brainthrough!

Image from: http://thelongwayup.info/how-to-career-change
Image from: http://www.globalengineers.co.in/Career.html

3. Technology: Apple WWDC was it good?

Has Apple got its groove back? Heck yeah!

(In old Rock WWE voice) Finally the Tim has delivered… an exciting press conference.

WWDC June 2017 brought that old Apple magic feeling to it; we can move on from that garbage conference towards the end of last year, this WWDC was the best Keynote since Tim took over, applauds to him.

My criticisms were only with Phil’s bit as he was regurgitating what was on written on the screen and it seemed as though he forgot his lines when doing his segment for the wacky named homepod; that name sucks, it double sucks; it triply sucks, but I will look into buying one when finances allow (my gripe with the name is homepod suggests you can control a good portion of the home with this device and that’s it primary function; whereas this device’s primary function is speaker playback).

Aside from that, not many gripes they even gave us the gift of cutting down on Pokémon time.

Apple took some shots at the competition with: Tim wasted no time laughing at ‘the fragmented ones’ (Android), Sonos and amazon speaker couldn’t slip Apple’s punches neither, I was impressed with the passive aggressive hits.

Politics

Privacy, let’s face it under Tim Apple is more political, most fans would prefer they stuck to products but for the foreseeable future Liberal Tim will continue to be political. On that note Privacy was on the Apple political agenda, Apple made it clear as usual, privacy is what they will be associated with.

Competition

Google, Tom tom and Garmin definitely need to keep their eye on Apple maps, especially now it will come with has lane changing notification which is a feature I would usually associated with purpose made SatNav, I can see this eating into sales over time but Apple maps still has a way to go before it is as good as those rivals.

Intelligent tracking prevention, this one hits Google; as you know Google is the king of online stalking and people accept it as it’s free and they provide a good service, I’m one of those people who get creeped out by it and thus this is a welcomed addition, the impact this will have is against target ads as this will make it more difficult to do this.

Auto mute, this should of never been a thing in the flipping first place, honestly sick to death of hearing this and glad that Apple is stepping up and freeing us from this non-sense, I would say this effects the advertisers but everyone I know has the same reaction, find which page it is on, then try to find where the heck it is and mute that crap.

Apple notes vs Ms OneNote

I was wondering how long it would take Apple to see the threat of MS OneNote, which is a Microsoft software done right.

I use OneNote all the time and whenever I introduce it to people they are impressed, however far too many people are just unaware of the software which gives Apple the advantage, notes is already on people’s ‘I’ devices and most would be using it without even thinking about it. Microsoft has a disadvantage as an account is needed to get the best use out of it, Microsoft need to keep pushing Onenote until people are as familiar with it as they are MS Word.

10 inches or bigger!

The new Ipad pro is “10.5” inches, which puts Microsoft in a funny position, as they have said if a device is over 10 inches then they will have to buy/subscribe to MS office. With the Ipad being10.5 inches and will no doubt be the default buy for consumers will Microsoft have to cave?  If Microsoft does cave and continue to give office away to the new Ipad then this will put them in hot water with their own hardware partners who will request the same treatment and rightly so, if they don’t they risk losing users who will just use Apple productivity Apps which could bite them long term especially in university where they really want that demographic to be used to Microsoft as they will decide the future work place.

On that note let’s end this on an applause to wonder kid and wonder grandma, the youngest and oldest App makers in Apple’s history I believe.

Brainthrough

7. Accounting; your future is decided in a meeting you’re not a part of?

In this meeting; should we will discuss cost reduction?

This is not a cheap shot at the redundancy processes; this usually happens as a result of a few things: Economic climate, consumers wanting cheaper products, competition, shareholders, expired staff or increased costs.

I’ll explain expired/expensive staff; in some cases the redundancy process is used to clear out dead wood (team deemed not fit for purpose)/expensive employees.

The other side to this is where staff have become too expensive, you tend to find this when a member of staff has been in the company and same position for a number of years, as each year passes they will get annual pay rises/cost of living increases; usually they are also on an older contract with more generous terms, this could be higher bonus percentage or better employee perks than newer contract offer.

The process to get rid of these type of employees is change the JD enough (I think it is 40%) and rename their position, let them apply and say they were unsuccessful give them their redundancy pay and hire some new staff who will be doing the exact same job (yes this really happens).

The meeting you’re not a part of?

A high level meeting happens and a decision is made; rumours swirl around the office then the departmental meetings happen and you are told something along the lines of ‘restructure or transformation’ and the consultation period starts.

I’ve been in accounting for over ten years in both the public and private sectors and I can tell you, I’ve seen this happen over 7 times with some brutal outcomes when all the chaos is going on people usually fall into two simple groups: those who want the pay out and those who rant to remain.

An example I have of those who wanted the pay out:

The organisation I was working for at the time, decided to do a restructure (of finance) and offered people within the department an opportunity to apply for voluntary severance, this was to be looked at on a case by case basis, forms were emailed saying the inbox for the forms would be opened on xyz so please ensure you email you forms in on this date or before closing date on xyz.

The day arrived when the mailbox would become available; at 14:30 it went live, for the next few moments my department proceeded to sound like a mouse/keyboard orchestra, clatter, clatter, clatter, click, click, click! It was hilarious! EVERYONE WANTED OUT with the golden handshake, heck; even those who just about qualified for redundancy were like ‘YES PLEASE, get me out of here!!!’ could you imagine the shock on their faces when they checked the mailbox 10 minutes later; unfortunately due to the flash flood no one got the voluntary severance.

An example I have of those who want to remain:

A colleague of mine in HR was put on the chopping block, the worry, stress and anxiety this caused him was horrific, he was a mature employee and that combined with him being he was married with kids and a mortgage just put him in a state, to make matters worse this was the ONLY organisation he had ever worked for; he was devoted first to arrive last to leave type of guy and now he was being shown the door; in the end he accepted another role within the organisation for a significantly lower salary, the sheer thought of having to go on the market especially during that period terrified him and honestly even though I felt he was hard done by, I was relieved for him when he got the post.

That was the first time I saw an employee who worked for a company all their lives put on the chopping block, but it was not the last.

Their futures were decided in a meeting they were not a part of; which is a terrifying thought but seeing this process over and over taught me a few things.

As anyone can be replaced, to put yourself in a strong position whether you leave or stay you need to ensure three things: you’re progressing, your skills are always up to date (learning new skills) and you maintain relationships.

Although for some (definitely not all) the desire to progress is natural, your aim should be to be part of those meetings where futures are decided, naturally this is just not going to be a possibility for all as simple maths says there will always be more people than management posts (or even jobs for that fact).

Always keep your eye on the job market; even if you do not intend to leave; you need to know what skills other employees are looking for and how many of those you don’t have? Once that’s clear make a plan to get them; attached to this is following the trends; if you know outsourcing or automation is coming for particular positions, follow the progress of them, it will keep you ahead of the curve and allow you to adjust.

If a new software is coming out and they have managed to bag similar customers particularly if they are in the same industry as you; try and get a hands on with it; if it has features that can do what you’re doing more efficiently how brilliant will you be for getting this implemented at your current employer? Plus on the CV you can add this software which opens you up to a broader range of employees.

If you are this way inclined only; stay networking, go to networking events and conferences particularly in your field make connection and keep them; you’ll never know when they will lead, it also pays to build connections with people outside of your department as that person who works in HR might move onto another company and if they are recruiting for a position you do…. wallah!

It is crucial you are always updating your skills to what the market wants, once upon a time being able to open a spread sheet was enough but now? The minimum is often Pivot tables and Vlookups.

Whenever you get a job, keep this in the back of your mind:

A company owes you nothing more than they are legally obliged to, i.e. just because you worked your backside off for 10 years, put in late nights, come in on weekends and cancelled holidays; it means nothing when costs have got to be cut. If costs can be cut they often will be, it is NOT personal or a reflection on you, customers want cheaper products, a rival has achieved this by cutting costs in xyz area, to stay competitive they will need respond which could result in your role being axed.

Brainthrough!

Links:
http://www.masonbullock.co.uk/making-redundancies/

2. Technology: Are we really comparing Rolex’s to Apple Watches?

Is it Rolex vs Apple?

No, I found it odd when Apple even bothered mentioning Rolex in their press conference; if anything only the first gen ‘Edition’ watches (the precious metal ones) could be compared Rolex’s due to their price point; but that would not be good marketing nor would it make tech headlines.

Let’s start off by saying both Rolex and Apple hide their watch sales numbers and all sales numbers are guesses.

As Apple canned the 1st generation 18ct gold Edition watches; it suggests; the market is just not there yet for precious metal smart watches whereas Rolex has been flogging high quality watches in precious metals for a significant period.

With Apple hiding sales (as do Rolex) we can’t see how badly the precious metal edition watches held up again Rolex’s in the same price bracket; a problem Apple may have had with those models is it could not target watch collectors who often appreciate the complexity, mechanical workings, craftsmanship and prestige of high end watches, often resulting in older watches holding their values well overtime with naturally some models doing better than others.

Rolex ticks off the above requirement for many watch collectors especially the submariner models; for example at the time of writing; June 2017 a 1978 steel Rolex Submariner can still set you back 5k which is impressive! More impressive is the sheer fact that the watch is still ticking over so smoothly after 39 years!; a challenge Apple’s precious metal watches would have is 39 years from now, will it still function smoothly?; will all the original parts still be functioning? (i.e. battery, software), will V1 of WatchOS still be able to be paired with an iPhone 39 years from now? We all know how painfully slow software feels and how terrible the batteries become over time which would explain a lack of attraction from watch collectors.

So back to the loop is it Rolex vs Apple? No, besides Rolex have bigger problems; ironically as corruption decreases in some of their lucrative markets, the sales of their watches are declining as a direct result.

Links:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/26/swiss-watch-sales-fall-10-per-cent-china-corruption-crackdown

http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-rolex-became-the-king-of-watches-2016-4?r=US&IR=T

https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=swiss+watch+industry+decline&spf=1494754774633

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolbesler/2016/09/16/swiss-watch-industry-woes/#4b6485ba53a1

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/08/the-swiss-watch-industry-is-doomed/

http://bgr.com/2016/04/26/apple-watch-sales-vs-rolex/

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/03/13/-you-want-rolex-or-10k-apple-watch.html

http://www.watchfinder.co.uk/Rolex/Submariner/5513/12929/item/84699

1. Technology: What’s it like being a Microsoft fan?

Are Microsoft making it difficult to support them?

Most of you won’t have the foggiest why some of us support companies, after all they are just heartless corporations here to make money… blah blah blah.

Some of us support corporations as others support sports team; for example I’m an F1 fan and a Lewis Hamilton fan but I am not naïve to know that when Lewis wins a WDC, he wins it for himself, I don’t profit from his race/season wins, heck I don’t even get to share the podium champagne with him, but you know what; I am still fist bumping the air when he wins a race as that’s my driver.
A similar mentality is applied to those who just have an interest in tech companies, the main difference is, what tech companies do often directly affects you; as you use their products and based on this, hence a tendency to lean towards a specific company.

That gives you a bit of a background, now back to the question, are Microsoft making it hard to support them? No

In the past Microsoft suffered from the follow up jinx, one thing good then one thing bad, this damn rule would follow them for years, xbox meh, xbox 360 wohoo!!, xbox one meh, Windows xp wohoo! Windows Vista meh, Surface products wohoo, windows phone meh, MS OneNote wohoo, OneDrive 5gb limit meh.
This was always the toughest part of being a Microsoft fan, because you was pretty much waiting for them to do something wrong, it was as if Microsoft was two different companies at times.

Microsoft gradually shook that off but there was always one side that made routing for Microsoft a challenge; it is a company that attracts negativity like no other, there was a period of time when tech sites would post nothing but Micro-hate, anything Microsoft did was crap and everything rivals did was wonderful; thankfully sites like WindowsCentral (thank goodness) came along and pretty much forced the industry to be more neutral (IMO), then the OneNote and the Surface teams did the rest.

However, the dislike for Microsoft in the consumer mind is still there and this was not more present than the recent NHS hack, where somehow people managed to find a way to blame Microsoft….. UNBELIVABLE!!!

It is beyond ridiculous that an organisation caught with its pants down, is being excused by blaming Microsoft; Microsoft told everyone and their dog, XP was on its way out and the irony was, security improvement was one of the reasons why!!!

Microsoft did nothing wrong; they even had an option allowing companies to still pay to get support but the NHS did not go with that option; let me put this another way: Apple does not support all versions of IOS nor every Iphone and they have recently stopped providing support for the graphics chips issue that was plaguing Macbooks; why because you can’t support something forever. 

Some insight; I once worked for the public sector in finance and I can tell you, despite the garbage that’s being spewed, the blame for this lies squarely at NHS.
The NHS had an options: upgrade, pay a fee to Microsoft for security updates or continue as is. All finance departments (I’ve yet to work in one that does not do this) should do several things:

  • Prepare an annual Opex budget
  • Prepare an annual Capex budget
  • Prepare a cashflow forecast
  • Prepare quarterly re-forecast
  • Prepare a five year forecast

Without going all ACCA on you; in at least 4/5 of those processes Windows would have been discussed and the final decision made; challenge what happened here and you will find out who is at fault. I can also add from personal experience that IT budgets are usually first on the chopping block when budgets are tight.

I was even more surprised that the NSA’s part in all of this was also somehow exonerated and big M was hung out to dry; so what’s it like being a Microsoft fan? when you ignore the almost natural negative reflex action of Micro-haters; its been pretty dam good!

Links:

http://www.superbrands.uk.com/b2c-results/

https://www.thememo.com/2015/06/05/james-bond-microsoft-and-the-dark-web-are-this-weeks-winners-losers/

https://www.thememo.com/2015/10/23/google-alphabet-results-microsoft-results-amazon-results/

https://www.thememo.com/2016/01/04/should-and-could-you-ditch-apple-google-and-microsoft/

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201624 

https://arstechnica.co.uk/apple/2016/06/ios-10-ends-support-for-iphone-4s-ipad-2-a5-soc/