Getting spreadsheets to add value as well as numbers

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterSpreadsheets can be used in almost any part of a business. While accountants feature highly among users, Excel’s ease of use at a basic level means that most people can create a spreadsheet.  Having said that Excel is very powerful and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A contact of mine Steve Randall recently […]

Ethics by Design – smaller business reflections

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitter   I recently attended a thought provoking conference, Ethics by Design, on the topic of fostering ethical culture in organisations. Ethics pays The morning session was led by Jonathan Haidt, a Professor at NYU Stern School of Business.  One takeaway for me was something that I had only partly rationalised – that is that […]

Ethics & policies. On the tongue, are they on the lung?

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterI was struck by a recent headline, “55% of small firms don’t have an ethics policy”.   The article referred to a survey of ‘SMEs’  and I must say I was surprised that there are as many as 45% that actually have an ethics policy! Does the lack of an ethics policy mean that a business lacks […]

Fraud should be seen as a business opportunity!!

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitter ‘It’s not going to happen to us’ From time to time a major fraud scandal hits the headlines, the latest one being Toshiba. Frauds in smaller businesses are less likely to receive public attention but they still happen. Common characteristics are a high degree of trust in staff and more informality than in a large […]

Why an “us” culture adds to the bottom line

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterAs my work often involves helping improve business processes I am all too aware that having staff “buy in” is an important factor in achieving change.  Conversely, the way that change is managed can impact (for good or bad) on staff morale. In my view a key factor in motivation and positive change is the […]

Choosing an accountant? Would you put Wayne Rooney in goal for England?

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterAs most people first hire an accountant in order to prepare accounts and deal with tax, I guess it is small wonder that I sometimes get the comment “you’re an accountant you must know about tax”.   However  –  I’m an accountant who doesn’t prepare accounts (at least routinely) or who gives tax advice. I recently came across an […]

The economy, profits – you need to get past the headline!

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterThere has recently been talk of a triple dip recession.  There is a recession when there has been two consecutive quarters of negative growth, a definition based on numbers.  In Q4 2012 UK GDP contracted by 0.3% and growth in the previous quarter was 1%.  In my work I particularly enjoy helping businesses use numbers […]

Is it time to take the “Corporate” out of “Governance”?

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitter Corporate Governance has been described as “the system by which companies are directed and controlled”.   Clearly this applies to all businesses.    However Corporate Governance as a subject tends to be the ambit of public companies, charities and other public interest organisations.  On line conversations in the Corporate Governance community seem to mostly relate to larger businesses. […]

Is more audit exemption a good idea?

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterLast week the Government announced a further expansion of the audit exemption rules.  In addition to extending the exemption for some so called “small” companies, it will be available to most subsidiary companies provided the parent company guarantees their liabilities. Arguably I should be welcoming the relaxation in rules, perhaps more businesses will want internal […]

Bonuses the good the bad and the downright ugly

LinkedinGoogle+FacebookTwitterIt is people’s abilities and behaviours that drive business success.  While training, leadership and motivation are critical to success, bonuses can also help improve performance. However, the impact of bonuses can be good, bad or downright ugly: One client who operated a number of depots was having problems in promptly collecting money from customers. The credit […]