Did you know that anyone with access to your Mac computer can bypass your password unless you do something quite easy to stop them?

If fact, anyone can bypass and reset your password on any operating system you might be using.

It’s impossible to completely protect any computer from an attacker if they get physical access. But, unless you set up your Mac properly, it just takes a reboot and a few seconds to bypass your password — or wipe your hard drive. For all the talk about security vulnerabilities, the ability for anyone to quickly change a Mac’s password is rarely thought about. Read what you should do about it here

Passwords can be reset or bypassed on every operating system.

On Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, it’s easy to gain access to a computer’s unencrypted files after resetting the password — the password doesn’t actually prevent access to your files.

On other devices where you can’t gain access to the files, you can still reset the device and gain access to it without knowing a password. These tricks all require physical access to the device. Read what you should do about it here

Ok, the above will probably prevent loss of data and valuable information on your computers. But, don’t miss out on the latest marketing and technical update if you want to keep your clients. They deserve your attention.

Marketing and Business Promotion

Marketing ideas from Marketing Profs

More marketing ideas and tips have been published by Marketing Profs. Here they are:

Watch out… IFAs can make big wins from apathetic accountants

In New Model Adviser on 13 February: Employer apathy and accountant complacency mean there are still huge opportunities for IFAs who can provide a fairly priced proposition to project manage auto-enrolment, writes Neil Shillito of SG Wealth Management.

IFAs are being advised that considering the sheer number of employers that will need help and the lack of good quality support available to them, there are real opportunities to get more work.

A combination of unprepared accountants, apathetic employers and national advice firms charging too much has created an opportunity for advisers who can provide a fairly priced proposition to project manage auto-enrolment duties.
Read more, here

YotaPhone 2 – From Russia with love

In Business Spectator (Australia) by Krishan Sharma: The YotaPhone 2 has to be one of the most interesting smartphones in the market.
The original YotaPhone was the first Russian-made smartphone and an engineering marvel with a LCD display on the front and a second E Ink screen on the back, similar to those found on eBook readers like Amazon’s Kindle. The new and improved YotaPhone 2 ramps up the specs, overhauls the software and introduces higher-resolution displays for both the front and back of the device.
Read more, here

12 Tricks for Typing Faster on Your iPhone or iPad’s Keyboard

Your iPhone’s keyboard offers some hidden tricks that can help you type faster. iPads offer some hidden tricks, too — did you know you can split your iPad’s keyboard and move it around the screen?
Some of these tricks are well hidden. You may never discover them until someone tells you — or you read about them in an article like this one.

Double Tap the Space Bar to Type a Full Stop
When tapping out a sentence, you tap the large space bar in between each word. When you reach the end of a sentence, you don’t have to reach for that small period (full stop) button. Just double-tap the space bar to insert a period and a space so you can start typing your next sentence.

There is much, much more…
[By the way, Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He’s as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.]
Read the full article here

29 Must-Know Terms For Every Social Media Analyst

From Unmetric: Social networks have improved their internal analytics offerings to the point where they are unrecognisable even from a year or two ago. Can you imagine working with the old Facebook Insights now that they provide a wealth of data about the health and status of your page?

Inside this FREE report:

  • Definitions of 29 essential social media terms and metrics
  • Instructions for locating these metrics
  • Bite-sized insights from industry experts

This report is for:

  • Social Media Analysts
  • Community Managers
  • Social Media Consultants
  • Account Planners / Strategists

Download this eBook to master the terminology and get your client, boss and colleagues all talking the same language. It’s the first step to getting your social media marketing on track.
Download from here

Increase inbound leads and establish your company as a thought leader

From Marketo who say that the best way to increase inbound leads and establish your company as a thought leader is by giving your audience what they want… great content!

Download the FREE Content Marketing Tactical Plan and learn step-by-step how to create an unbeatable content machine that helps you hit your goals. With an effective content marketing strategy, you’ll be able to:

  • Increase inbound leads to your website at a low cost
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry
  • Build relationships and excite influencers
  • Move leads effectively through your sales funnel
  • Enhance outbound marketing campaigns ROI

This FREE guide will help you create a successful and sustainable program to both keep your existing audience and attract new prospects.
Download from here

Simply Measured Twitter Benchmark Report Q4 2014

From Get Simply Measured: The world’s top brands are more active, are creating more effective content, and are reaching larger audiences on Twitter than ever before. This Q4 2014 benchmark report analyzed the results and tactics of the world’s top 100 brands on Twitter to provide insights into successful brand strategies and benchmarks to compare with your own brand performance.

Download this benchmark report to learn:

  • How active the world’s top brands are on Twitter
  • How engagement has outpaced activity and follower growth
  • Which tactics have fueled increased brand engagement
  • Benchmarks for comparing your brand performance

…and much more.
Download from here

Free e-book: Verizon, Kraft, and Heinz share marketing best practice

From Incite Marketing & Communications who have just released an e-Book with contributions from Chief Marketing Officers at AOL Platforms, Heinz, and McGraw-Hill (among others) on becoming more customer-centric, agile, and responsive in 2015.

The 15-page briefing covers how to:

  • Use data to create simple, smart, and connected customer experiences
  • Encourage interdepartmental collaboration and internal brand evangelism
  • Tell stories with your content to connect with consumers
  • Talk to your customer where and when they’re listening

Get your complimentary copy here

Using social media for better customer service

In Business Matters: If you know what you’re doing, social media is an easy and cost-effective way to improve your customer service, especially for small businesses.

As your company grows, you need to make sure that you are also developing a loyal customer base. The great thing about social media is that a satisfied customer has the ability to recommend your products and services to their family and friends.

If you are unsure how to approach social media, take a look at your competitors to get an idea of how other businesses do it. Then aim to do it better. This article provides the top five tips on how you can improve your social media customer service.
Read the article here

Q&A: Should you dump the billable hour?

From the Journal of Accountancy in the USA: A growing number of industry pricing experts are urging CPA firms to jettison the venerable billable hour and replace it with a fixed-pricing model, or even the more optimal model of “value pricing.”

Few public accounting topics spark as much controversy as this one. Many firms have adopted value pricing in recent years, but others have been reluctant to do so. To give additional insight into this important topic, we sat down for a series of Q&A sessions with author and consultant Ron Baker, an unabashed value-pricing champion.

These conversations give readers an in-depth look at the reasons a firm should consider switching to value pricing, and the nuts and bolts of how a switch might work. The following Q&A session, the first in the series, focuses on the reason behind making such a move.
Read this interesting article here

FREE Guide: Build A Better Social Media Strategy

From Unmetric: Discover the new intelligent social media workflow being used by the biggest brands to optimize their social content and create more user engagement than ever before. Listening and publishing tools are only half the story, learn how brands and agencies have evolved to fill in the gaps and make listening, publishing and analysis work together.

Inside this report:

  • The new intelligent social media workflow to create better content
  • The new social media platform landscape – and how to leverage it
  • How you can use Listening, Publishing & Analysis platforms together to uncover greater intelligence

The report is for:

  • Marketing VPs & CMOs
  • Brand Managers
  • Agency VPs
  • Senior Marketers

Download this FREE eBook to master the new intelligent social workflow and start leveraging the benefits today. Social media has evolved, your social team needs to use the right strategy and tools to evolve with it.
Download from here

Content collaboration for the mobile workforce

From Huddle who say that The mobile invasion is here. Business is conducted on the move – walking to work, getting on a plane, sitting at the beach. And today’s modern worker isn’t just mobile. People work in a collaborative environment creating, managing, sharing and editing documents and files.

Email, Consumer file sharing apps, SharePoint: All of these are being used to compensate for this new world — but none of them is effective for collaboration. Or secure.

What you need is the next generation of content collaboration.
More information is here

Selecting Top Mobile Developers

From Marketing Profs: As a modern marketer, you know that having your own mobile application is becoming more essential to reach and engage with your prospects and customers. But with so many challenges to creating the right user experience, picking the wrong application developer can be a disaster.

Like any project, you need the right people for the job. So, before choosing a vendor for your application, download Selecting Top Mobile Development Companies for insight to help you get started. This whitepaper will assist you in choosing a vendor by providing an understanding of the many facets of development and how they all work together to create a mobile application. Following these recommendations can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful app.

Download this whitepaper to learn:

  • Key questions to ask mobile developers
  • Vendor selection recommendations
  • Important development considerations

Download from here

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s advice to anyone running a business

Times of India ran an interesting piece for those who want to build a successful, sustainable business: don’t ask yourself what could change in the next ten years that could affect your company. Instead, ask yourself what won’t change, and then put all your energy and effort into those things.

That’s the advice of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, highlighted in an interesting post about Uber’s big ambitions by venture capitalist Bill Gurley.

Bezos suggests that you should build a business strategy around the things you know are stable in time – like that customers will always prefer lower prices – and then invest heavily in ensuring you are providing those things and improving your delivery of them all the time.
Read more, here

The World’s First Robot-Staffed Hotel to Open in Japan

An interesting item found at Live Science, posted 5 February by Tanya Lewis: What if you could check into a hotel, have your luggage carried to your room and order a coffee — all with help from a team of robots?

A new hotel at a theme park in Nagasaki, Japan, hopes to make that dream a reality. The Henn-na Hotel (whose name means “strange hotel”) will be partially staffed by androids that work as reception attendants, robot waiters, cleaning staff and a cloakroom attendant, The Telegraph reported.

Developed by Japan’s Osaka University and manufactured by the Japanese robotics company Kokoro, many of the “Actroid” robots resemble a young Japanese woman. The bots will be able to speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English, make hand gestures, and pull off the somewhat creepy feat of mimicking eye movements, according to The Telegraph. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]
Read more, here

The Fundamentals of Successful Social Planning

From Simply Measured: Though many social marketers try to plan their strategy, they often do so without complete information about how their current programs are performing.

This FREE Simply Measured white paper outlines the three fundamentals of planning with social analytics, and how this process can be used to develop a complete and effective social marketing strategy.

Download this white paper to learn:

  • The theory and practice of social planning
  • How to think about planning in context with social analytics
  • Which analyses will improve your social planning
  • What to focus on during your analysis

…and much more.
Get the FREE white paper here

Men and women really do have different brains

In CITY A.M., Posted 4 February by Sarah Spickernell: The idea that male and female brains might be different is a controversial topic, but new research suggests it is an unavoidable fact of life.

Scientists at the University of Exeter and King’s College London compared male and female brain development in the womb, and found that a process called DNA methylation causes different genes to be expressed. This, they say, must lead to differences in the way men and women think, behave and respond to disease.

While it is not yet understood how these genetic changes manifest as personality differences, it paves the way for further research to take place.
Read more, here

You might also like to read my blog dated 12 February 2015: “Are you cognitively challenged?” which touches on the above and many other issues about brains and heads.

Modern Marketers Essentials Guide to Data Management

From the amazing people at Marketing Profs: As a marketer, you understand the importance of data. But without the right data to fuel your marketing activities, your communications will never get off the ground.

Download this free guide to discover how to use data to deliver targeted, personal experiences to consumers at the exact moments in the purchase process that they’re ready to buy.

The guide is FREE and is provided by Oracle Marketing Cloud. You’ll learn how to:

  • Tame the big data beast
  • Centralize data to define your best customer
  • Unify and harness the power of all your data sources

Details here

Technical Stuff:

Latest Briefings from AccountancyAgeInsight

The latest Briefings from AccountancyAgeInsight has been made available:

Summaries:

  • Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS): This article provides an overview of the recent changes in legislation regarding supplies of broadcasting, telecoms and e-services to private or non-business customers located within the EU. View summary
  • T&E Technology: Top 10 tips for buyers: Whether you’re looking to automate your travel and expense processes for the first time, update your existing system or integrate your spend management platforms, it’s a significant business change. These top 10 tips will help you get started with choosing the right solution and supplier. View summary
    Company: Spendvision
  • Preparing your practice for FRS 102 – key questions: Early preparation for the FRS 102 regime involves the financial reporting technical requirements, plus the time and cost impact on a firm’s resources and the risk involved in preparing clients for their conversion. This article highlights key questions to consider in preparation for the new FRSs. View summary
    Company: Sage Group Plc
  • Year-end tax planning 2014/15: Depending on personal circumstances, an individual may be able to take certain actions before the end of the tax year on 5 April that will reduce their income tax and/or capital gains tax liability. This article covers a few of those possible actions relevant to the tax year ending on 5 April 2015. View summary
    Company: Tolley
  • Inheritance Tax Incentive for Charitable Legacies: Individuals who give at least 10% of their net estates to charity qualify for a reduction in the rate of inheritance tax imposed on their estates. The rate can be reduced from 40% to 36%. Download this article to find out more. View summary
    Company: BDO Stoy Hayward
  • Sweeter tax planning ideas: With the tax year ending on 5 April, use the remaining few weeks to ensure that your tax position is as ‘sweet’ as possible. This guide provides advice to business owners and private clients on how to maximise tax planning ideas. View summary
    Company: Baker Tilly
  • Private Clients Quarterly Tax Digest – January edition: This Quarterly Tax Digest comprises topical news items and insights relevant to Private Clients. Topics covered: HMRC rental income; IHT – is your AIM correct; minimising losses on failed investments; tax efficient Enterprise Investment Schemes; new reporting requirements for trustees. View summary
    Company: Buzzacott
  • FRS 102 bitesize: Goodwill: This Financial Reporting Brief looks more closely at goodwill, whether arising on consolidation or as purchased goodwill in a standalone entity. Goodwill is covered in FRS 102 Section 19 Business Combinations and Goodwill. View summary
    Company: Saffery Champness
  • Global transfer pricing guide 2015: This guide has been developed to provide an easy reference for finance and tax specialists within multi-national companies or those considering cross border ventures. It presents the relevant rules and legislation in each country including pricing methods, documentation requirements and penalties. View summary
    Company: UHY Hacker Young Group
  • VAT Update: January 2015: The January issue of VAT Update, looks at two topics, prompt payment discounts and sporting services supplied by clubs to non-members. View summary
    Company: Saffery Champness
  • Streamlining and Securing Client Communication: Accountants are in a trusted position; handling sensitive personal information for their clients on a daily basis and legally are obliged to protect their clients’ data. This paper studies how accountants can use a document portal to ensure secure client communication and data protection compliance. View summary
    Company: Lindenhouse
  • Preparing your practice for FRS 102: FRS 102 is being referred to as the most significant change in financial reporting for a generation. This whitepaper considers some of the main issues that practitioners need to consider in preparing for this significant change in financial reporting. View summary
    Company: Sage Group Plc
  • Key Changes to UK GAAP: This article outlines some of the more notable differences between UK GAAP and FRS 102. FRS 102 requires more financial instruments to be recognised on the balance sheet and the treatment of fair value fluctuations for investment property are also accounted for differently under FRS 102. View summary
    Company: Sage Group Plc
  • Taxes made easy 2014/15: Download this whitepaper for practical tax tips to guide you through the tax system and help you plan to minimise your liability. Areas covered: running a business; disposals and capital gains tax; tax and your investments; property matters; preserving the inheritance; working for others. View summary
    Company: Haines Watts

How To Lead Your Organisation Strategically

Found at Advisors For Business: Strategic Leadership is the focus of The Director as Strategic Leader programme at Cranfield School of Management. During this inspirational programme you will explore the different perspectives and approaches strategic leaders use to make sense of the complexity and dynamics of corporate governance, the needs of their organisations and their personal resources.

Delivered by highly regarded experts in their field, this programme will provide knowledge and experiences on how to manage the conflicting demands of different stakeholder groups. Key themes and topics include ensuring internationalisation, board composition and dealing with corruption and legislation.
More information is here

New company and LLP name rules are now in force

A reminder that new rules affecting company names came into force on 31 January 2015.

The regulations concerned are:

  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014
  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2014

Main changes

  • Fewer words are now disregarded for the purposes of deciding whether one name is the ‘same as’ another on the register to allow more choice and make name swaps within groups of companies easier.
  • Updates to the list of permitted characters, signs, symbols and punctuation to include accents and other diacritical marks.
  • Amendments to the list of expressions to be disregarded for the purposes of ‘same as’ (including their Welsh equivalents).
  • The list of words and expressions now disregarded includes where they are used with brackets, meaning a name which was previously not the ‘same as’ because of the inclusion of brackets is now treated as ‘same as’.
  • Widening of the ‘same as’ consent provision now makes it easier for companies in the same group to grant permission to register a proposed name.
  • Amendments to trading disclosure requirements now means that any company located in an office or other location occupied by 6 or more companies may make its registered name available for inspection on a register.
  • There a fewer ‘sensitive’ words and expressions.

FREE Pensions’ factsheet

From Hargreaves Lansdown: In less than 8 week’s time, new pension freedoms take effect. Up to 18 million people will be affected.

This free factsheet from Hargreaves Lansdown tells you what you need to know, whether you’re retiring soon, building a retirement fund or even considering starting a pension, or more importantly if you are advising clients doing these things.
Download your FREE factsheet here.

Auto Enrolment:

Two items from CCH on Auto Enrolment:

  • 5 Steps to Bureau Success

With 45,000 employers set to stage in 2015, many will look to their bookkeeper, accountant or payroll advisor for help and advice. Somehow, only 67% of accountants say they know a lot about Auto Enrolment.

Discover how the right payroll solution will empower you to improve profit margins and increase the turnaround of clients. In just 5 simple steps you can make sure that your Auto Enrolment service offering will be a profitable one.
Download Free Guide here

  • Auto Enrolment Webinars

To learn more about how you can make a profit from Auto Enrolment, why not attend a free webinar? BrightPay is hosting a series of free Auto Enrolment Webinars specifically designed for bookkeepers, accountants and payroll advisors to make it easier to help clients with their new obligations. The webinar series will run this February & March and will include a number of guest speakers from the accounting and payroll industry.
Register here

Amateur Sports Clubs: Moving the [Tax] Goalposts

In CCH-Info: Paul Davies provides an overview of the principal rule changes affecting Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and highlights some of the issues club officials and their advisors will soon need to address.

HMRC are moving the goalposts for Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and many will need to take action as a consequence. At best, record-keeping obligations are likely to increase. At worst, clubs may need to change the entity through which certain fund raising activity is conducted if existing tax benefits are to be preserved. So whether clubs are already registered, or just contemplating a registration, officials and their advisors would do well to start planning their next move now.

The proposals follow a detailed consultation throughout the summer of 2013 and the publication of draft secondary legislation on 9 October 2014 for a further review period. Reponses to the consultation were published by HMRC on 18 December 2014. As enabling powers have already been enacted, the regulations are likely to be laid no later than 1 April 2015 if all goes to plan. This article provides an overview of the principal rule changes and highlights some of the issues club officials and their advisors will soon need to address.
Read full article, here

HMRC plan to scrap £100 fines for late tax returns

In the Daily Telegraph: Posted 7 February, by Tim Ross, senior political correspondent: The Government’s £100 fine for late tax returns could be scrapped for hundreds of thousands of people who return the forms “a day or two” late. Hundreds of thousands of people will no longer be hit with £100 fines for failing to complete their income tax returns on time, under radical government plans.

HM Revenue & Customs has admitted that its penalties regime may be too rigid, and is drawing up proposals to end fines for taxpayers who miss the deadline “by a day or two”.

New rules outlined for public consultation could see people who owe the government tax charged higher interest rates on their debts to encourage them to pay sooner, instead of being hit with automatic fines.

A system of penalty points – similar to motoring offences – could also be introduced so that financial sanctions apply only to people who persistently fail to pay their tax bills.

  • The plan, which will be open for public comments until May, comes after figures showed 890,000 people missed the January 31 deadline for completing their income tax self-assessments last week. They now face an escalating scale of penalties, starting with an automatic £100 fine.

Read more, here

How to register a Charity

This information, published by the Charity Commission on 2 February 2015, explains how to register your charity once it has been set up, what you need before you start your application and what happens after you apply.

When to apply to register your charity
Usually, you must register with the Charity Commission if your charity is based in England or Wales and has over £5,000 income per year.
If your charity is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) it must register whatever its income.

Only apply to register your charity once it’s set up. This means you have:

Read more, 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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