The 5 key qualities of a successful FD

boxAccountancy Age Insight have promoted a whitepaper from Exchequer: The 5 key qualities of a successful FD.  What they say about FDs applies equally, in my view, to accountants in public practice: To remain successful and dynamic, FDs need to be resilient to change and have the ability ‘to think outside of the box’ to ensure their organisation is best placed to drive their business forward. ‘Number crunching’ has become just a single thread of the growing number of qualities that FDs need to possess.

The Exchequer guide considers what key qualities the modern FD needs to not only perform well but to meet the demands of the changing market. You can access the paper from here. Registration is required.

Moving to Cyberspace

Another whitepaper from Accountancy Age Insight comes from Sage: Moving to Cyberspace.

Tired of mountains of paperwork stacked upon every conceivable space in your office? Many of the more traditional accountants still work in this way, but transferring your business online can help you maintain a clutter-free workspace and improve efficiency. Moving operations online can be a daunting prospect, but the rewards can be great. If planned properly, you can be working from a new hosted or cloud system within days. You can almost think of it as an online filing cabinet for your business that only you and others you trust are able to access.

Sage’s whitepaper studies why accountants should consider moving to Cyberspace and the main reasons for switching. You can access the paper from here. Registration is required.

HMRC approaches record ten million self-assessment barrier

The ten million barrier for self-assessment tax returns is set to be beaten this year as HM Revenue & Customs confirmed it had already received 7.8 million submissions to date, with a further 2.6 expected by the 31 January deadline. Last year, a record 9.61 million filed their returns on time by what is one of the busiest days of the year for accountants and tax practitioners. Read the full article here.

China hits back at SEC over audit ban on US listings of Chinese companies

I picked this up this morning. Remember the blog I did last week on US auditors of Chinese companies? Now, according to the South China Morning Post, China has warned the United States of “consequences” after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) barred the four largest accounting firms from conducting audits of US-listed Chinese companies. The decision to ban the Chinese affiliates of the accounting firms for six months “ignored” China’s efforts and progress made on cross-border regulatory co-operation, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said.

“We hope the SEC will take into consideration the big picture of China-US regulatory co-operation, make the right judgment to resolve the situation properly,” the CSRC, the nation’s securities body, said on its microblog yesterday. “The SEC should bear all responsibility to possible consequences arising from the decision.”

Should we be worried that the Chinese have used the word “consequences”.  What do they mean I wonder?

KPMG day

There were so many stories yesterday about KPMG that you could almost say that the last Monday in January is to be called KPMG day. Their PR machine must have been very busy. Here are some of the stories I found:

  • SEC fines KPMG £5m for independence violations: KPMG has agreed to pay $8.2m (£5m) to settle charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the firm violated the rules around auditor independence in its work for three US clients listed on the New York stock exchange. The SEC said its investigation found that KPMG broke auditor independence rules at various times from 2007 to 2011 by providing prohibited non-audit services to affiliates of companies whose books they were auditing. In one case this involved restructuring, corporate finance, and expert services, and at a second client the firm provided accounting and payroll services. Read about it here.
  • KPMG retains Standard Chartered audit:  Standard Chartered Bank has announced that it is to retain KPMG as its external auditors following an open tender which was widely expected to usher in a change after the firm’s forty-plus years’ tenure.  In a statement, the bank said it had disclosed its intention in its 2012 annual report to undertake a tendering process during 2013 for the group’s statutory audit work, ‘in line with the UK Financial Reporting Council’s recommendations’. Read about it here.
  • KPMG predicts wave of M&A: There are signs of increasing pressure on corporates to carry out transactional activity, according to a study from KPMG.  According to the firm, predicted forward price-per-earnings ratios – a key measure of confidence or appetite – were 16% higher in December 2013 than they were a year earlier, and up 17% since June. And on top of that is increasing pressure for businesses to embark on transactional activity, as markedly reflected in the performance of their share prices. Read the full story here.
  • Big business fails to get to grips with big data: An overwhelming majority of senior executives across the world’s largest organisations accept that their long-term business success will be based on mastery of the growing amount of data at their disposal.  Yet despite recognising its value, less than 1 in 10 believe they are in a position to make use of the information held on customer preferences, behaviour and demands. Most of the CFOs and CIOs questioned for a new report, released on 27 January by KPMG, admitted that they do not know how to analyse the data they have already collected (85 percent).  Worryingly, more than half (54 percent) also identified their greatest barrier to success at an even more basic level – an inability to identify the data worth collecting. Read the full story here.
  • Female delegates at Davos are dominating social media: For the second year, running female delegates at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting at Davos are outperforming their male counterparts on social media, according to KPMG International.  WEFLIVE, a social media site run by KPMG that aggregates Twitter activity from all WEF delegates, showed that while women delegates account for only 15 per cent of the total delegate population, they are responsible for 25 per cent of all WEF delegate social media activity, second only to ‘Media’ at 29 per cent. Read the full story here.
Martin Pollins
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