Here’s a round-up of today’s stories affecting accountants and lawyers. Good medication to start the week…

Marketing, Practice Growth and Technology

Firms are increasingly looking to poach staff from rivals

recruitmentHarriet Agnew has written in FT.com that accountancy firms are increasingly looking to poach staff from rivals to capitalise on a pickup in the UK economy and more corporate activity, according to a new report.  It’s not just one or two firms either. The number of accountancy firms thinking about poaching from competitors has almost trebled in the past year, growing from 8 per cent to 22 per cent, according to Bloomsbury Professional, a company that provides information on tax and accounting. Read the full article here.

Creating 3D Worksheets in Excel 2013

3dgraphJulie Sartain wrote in PCMag, in the US to say that one of Excel’s greatest tricks is the dimensional or 3D reference. This feature, which allows you to create formulas that refer to the same cell or range on multiple worksheets, simplifies the creation of complex documents like monthly inventories or sales reports. In Excel 2013, Microsoft has beefed it up with enhanced options and formulas.

Julie’s “how to” article illustrates illustrate the power and flexibility of 3D worksheets, by creating a Year-to-Date project that calculates the utility bills for a small business for each month, with the year-to-date totals on the first sheet. This workbook (which contains of all the worksheets in this project) calculates the columns, rows, and multiple spreadsheets three-dimensionally.

Read about it here.

Word Lens – Translate text with your phone camera

Lisa Pansini wrote in Legal Productivity about a great new app for your smartphone. It seems as if we’ve all used translation tools at some point in our lives. Being able to communicate and understand other languages is an invaluable skill to have nowadays, especially if your job demands a ton of traveling. For simple tasks like translating signs and printed materials, download Quest Visual’s app, Word Lens.

Word Lens uses the built-in camera of your smartphone to instantly scan and translate foreign text. It then displays the translation on your device’s screen. The best part is, there is no network required. The results appear immediately on your screen anywhere you need it.

Read about it here.

E-trial judges hail digital court future

judge judyKathleen Hall wrote in the Law Society Gazette to say that Judges from three continents have conducted a mock ‘virtual trial’ in an event that claimed to demonstrate the benefits of digital courts for international dispute resolution as well as domestic civil and criminal cases. The ‘e-trial’ was chaired by His Honour Judge Simon Brown from the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre and hosted by UK electronic court bundling company CaseLines.

Read the full article here.

Technical Stuff

Hong Kong to relay concern to China over auditing ban proposal

Aipeng Soo, Bloomberg (Hong Kong) wrote last week in accountingTODAY to say that Hong Kong government plans to meet Chinese officials to discuss concerns over a proposal to ban foreign accounting firms without a mainland partner from auditing Chinese companies planning to list overseas. The author says that Hong Kong will “reflect the concerns of the industry,” Ka-Keung Chan, the secretary for financial services, told reporters yesterday, according to his spokeswoman Shirley Wong. The city’s delegates will meet Chinese finance ministry officials early next month, the South China Morning Post reported today, citing Chan.

This is a big issue since China’s Ministry of Finance issued draft rules last month requiring foreign accounting companies to team up with one of the nation’s top 100 firms to perform audits of Chinese companies seeking to list overseas. The author says it comes in the wake of a series of short-selling incidents targeted at China-related businesses and amid a six-month U.S. ban on mainland firms auditing Chinese companies seeking an American listing. The regulations aim to clarify the role of Chinese accounting firms unfairly blamed by foreign institutions, especially short sellers, whenever China-based companies are accused of fraud, the finance ministry said in a document published on 21 April.

Read more here.

Even Small Negotiations Require Preparation and Creativity

negotionI came across this on the HBR Blog Network. Jeff Weiss writes that: whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re negotiating all the time. When you ask your boss for more resources, agree with a vendor on a price, deliver a performance evaluation, convince a business partner to join forces with your company, or even when you decide with your spouse where to go on your next vacation, you’re taking a potentially conflict-filled conversation and working toward a joint solution.

Jeff Weiss should know what he’s talking about. He is an adjunct professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a partner at Vantage Partners, a Boston-based consultancy specialising in corporate negotiations and relationship management, where he focuses on sales negotiations and strategic alliances.

You can read the full article here.

‘Direct access chambers’ opens for business and lands group action

Nick Hilborne has written in Legal Futures to report that a set of chambers specialising in direct access cases and working only on a fixed fee basis has opened in Cheltenham. Cotswold Barristers also claims to have landed the biggest direct access case so far, as a result of its relationship with property investor Mark Alexander.

Read the full article here.

Laws on legal professional privilege “need to catch up with digital age”

Dan Bindman has written in Legal Futures to report that National laws on protecting privileged legal communications are outdated and need to be brought into the digital age, according to the body representing Europe’s lawyers. In the report, Surveillance of lawyers’ data in the cloud, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) argued that whatever protection was granted in the paper world should be granted in the electronic world.

Read the full article here.

Martin Pollins

Martin Pollins

Managing Director at Bizezia
Martin Pollins is a Chartered Accountant with wide experience in corporate finance and business management. He holds a number of directorships and has served on the boards of several companies, including those listed on the London Stock Exchange, AIM and OFEX.

He was a Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 1988 to 1996.

Martin Pollins ran his own firm based in Sussex and was the first Accountancy firm in the UK to advertise on television and Martin went on to create and launch the CharterGroup Partnership (the UK's first Accountancy network) and then LawGroup UK (one of the largest networks of lawyers in the country).

Martin started work on the Bizezia concept in 1996, developing the broad range of information resources and products over the past 18 years.
Martin Pollins
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