May 2013

ACCA exam tips released. Will you have a great escape or a rubbish escape?

Published on: 26 May 2013

Those of you that are attempting the June 2013 ACCA exams will no doubt be feeling a mixture of emotions.

June-2013-ACCA-exam-tips-girlSome of you will be fully confident of passing although probably the majority of you are only hopeful of passing at this stage and are frantically trying to cram as much knowledge into your heads as possible by undertaking some last minute revision before the exams next month.

One of my students at a recent session was unfortunately ill during the run up to the exams and wasn’t feeling at all confident entering the exam hall. Pleasingly he managed to pass his exams and when he told me he the good news he referred to it as his “great escape”.

Hopefully you’ll be successful in your exams and won’t be relying on a “great escape” when you sit your papers but we’ve now released our ACCA exam tips for the June 2013 ACCA exams and the link to them is at the bottom of this blog post.

For those of you interested in seeing an example of a “rubbish escape” as opposed to a “great escape” the video below of two prisoners trying to escape from a New Zealand court makes nice viewing.

Good luck with your final revision and here are the June 2013 ACCA exam tips (after selecting this link, click on the paper you are interested in and the exam tips are on the right of that paper’s page).

There’s nothing fishy about this…

Published on: 22 May 2013

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that some suppliers at the beginning of a supply chain often do most of the work but tend to lose out when it comes to their share of the revenue.

fish-supply-chain-boatTake the supply chain for fish for example.

The fishermen go out in their boats in all weathers to fish, sometimes risking life and limb.

The price they receive for their catch is often a very small fraction of the final selling price when the fish is on the shelves of your local shop.

The reason for this is that various distributors, middlemen and not to forget the large supermarket chains are much more powerful than the small firms of fishermen and as a result they can negotiate a larger part of the “revenue pie”.

A recently launched online platform though has nicely cut out the middleman when it comes to the fresh fish supply chain.

Ilovebluesea.com in America has been set up to link smaller fishing boats with the end user and its brilliance lies in its simplicity. The benefit of the approach for all parties is nicely illustrated by the image below from the Ilovebluesea.com website.

fish supply chain525

The fishermen get a higher price and the end customers know that the fish he or she is about to eat is fresh from the sea.

If the end customer happens to be studying business or finance they will also no doubt appreciate that the fish on their plate is not only from a sustainable source but has travelled via a very short supply chain.

Bad news. You can’t buy a Ferrari because…

Published on: 20 May 2013

Do you drive a Ferrari?

Now whilst some of you may be lucky enough to say “yes” and some of you may be ambitious enough to say “not yet”, my guess is that most of you will answer “no” to that question.

ferrari-pricingIf you do however happen to be in the enviable position of being about to buy a Ferrari then I’ve got some disappointing news for you in that Ferrari has just announced that they will be limiting the sales of their luxury sports car.

Restricting sales of your product is a pretty unusual approach in business as most companies are keen to sell as many of their products as possible.

It’s quite a clever move by the Italian sports car manufacturer though as the reason they are scaling back on production is to limit the number of new Ferrari cars on the roads and to try to protect the Ferrari brand’s image of exclusivity.

The argument is that the more Ferraris there are on the road, the more common they will be so people won’t see them as prestigious exclusive items and won’t be willing to pay as much for them in the future. Limiting their production will enable Ferrari to keep their prices high.

The number of Ferrari cars sold in the first quarter of this year was up 4% with the company having a net profit of Euro 80m (an increase of 42% on the same period last year).

A very successful start to the year and in an attempt to continue the success the production will be limited to below 7,000 cars in 2013 compared to 7,318 in 2012.

So, sorry to break the news to all of you that were in the process of deciding what colour your new Ferrari was going to be but the good news is that they don’t appear to be restricting the number of Ferrari T-Shirts and baseball hats that are being sold.

Would you sue your son to get him out of the house?

Published on: 13 May 2013

For any business that leases or sub-leases a property it’s vital that a good legal agreement is in place.

Not only does the agreement clarify things for both the landlord and the tenant but it also provides opportunities for legal action should any problems occur.

man-upsetFor the tenant this could be when the landlord fails to maintain the property in appropriate condition and for the landlord this could be when the tenant fails to pay the lease rental.

Over in Italy though there was an interesting case involving the eviction of somebody from a property.

An elderly Italian couple have decided to take legal action to force their 41 year old son to leave home.

According to reports in Italian media, the unnamed Italian couple wash their son’s clothes and prepare his meals.

He’s got a job but despite requests from his parents he refuses to leave home.

Now, whilst I would have thought that maybe the first step for the parents would be to stop washing his clothes and preparing his food they have instead approached a lawyer who has written to the son informing him that if he does not leave home in 6 days he will face formal legal action to evict him from the property.

We’ve blogged elsewhere about an Italian man that took his mum on honeymoon but in this case the “41 year old soon to be evicted from home man” doesn’t have a girlfriend but no doubt will be looking for a suitable lady.

So, any ladies out there that would like to cook and wash for the soon to be evicted man please form an orderly queue. In fact you’ll probably need to meet him at his parent’s home so that you can carry his luggage for him.

CIMA Exam tips released but where can you find a millionaire?

Published on: 12 May 2013

Studying for a professional qualification is tough. Anyone who has been successful in obtaining a qualification will know that it involves hard work. There are benefits though and in some situations these benefits can be significant.

CIMA-exam-tipsIt’s not just the improved knowledge and clarity of understanding that you’ll get from your studying but if we’re blunt about things, one of the major benefits of obtaining a professional qualification is that it will improve your career options which in turn will improve your financial rewards.

I know that there is a saying that “money can’t buy you happiness” so I would urge you not to focus on the improved salary side of things as you progress through your career but instead enjoy the fact that you will be one of the few people that truly understands double entry bookkeeping.

If however you are particularly interested in money and wealth then you may like to know about some recent information from analysts Wealth Insight.

They’ve just released details of which city has the most multi-millionaires (a multi-millionaire is defined as an individual worth more than $30 million). Surprisingly, New York City is only fourth on the list with 2,929 multi-millionaires. In third place is Singapore (3,154) and Tokyo is in second place (3,525). Top of the list is London which has 4,224 multi-millionaires.

Now remember that these are multi-millionaires we are talking about. When it comes to those who are “struggling” to survive being mere millionaires (classified as having net assets of $1 million excluding their main home) Tokyo is in top position with 461,000 millionaires. New York City is second with 389,000 and London third with 281,000. On a country basis though the US has the most number of millionaires from any one country with an impressive 5,231,000 millionaires.

For those of you that are studying for a professional qualification then my feeling is that you are an ambitious lot so why restrict yourself to aiming to becoming a millionaire? In fact, why restrict yourself to becoming a multi-millionaire?

Instead, why not aim to put all those millionaires and multi-millionaires to shame and become a billionaire?

Now this is serious money and there aren’t that many billionaires in the world. If your aim is to become a billionaire, then you’re most likely to meet a fellow billionaire in New York where there are 70 billionaires. Second in the billionaire count is Moscow with 64 and third is London with 54.

For those of you that see the CIMA qualification as the first step to becoming a millionaire, multi-millionaire, billionaire or simply an expert in double entry and are sitting the exams that are fast approaching, here are our CIMA exam tips which we have just released (choose your paper and the exam tips are on the right of the page).

What has Ernst & Young found out about fraud?

Published on: 09 May 2013

Ernst & Young has just released their report on their 2013 Fraud Survey covering Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.

There were some interesting, and some would say disturbing findings.

bribery-rules20% of the employees who were surveyed were aware of financial manipulation in their own company in the last 12 months. If you move higher up the management chain the percentage becomes higher with more than 40% of board and senior manager level individuals who were surveyed saying that sales or costs had been manipulated at their company.

When it comes to the subject of bribery, 57% of all respondents feel that bribery and corruption are widespread in their country, which rises to 67% in rapid-growth markets.

One very interesting issue when it comes to bribery is that of a compliance perception gap between management and employees.

According to EY, “While the majority of respondents are aware that their company has an anti-bribery/anti-corruption (ABAC) policy, the survey shows many organizations have a significant perception gap between senior management and employees when it comes to the relevance and effectiveness of this policy. 60% of directors and senior managers believe that their company would support people who reported cases of suspected fraud, bribery or corruption, whereas only 34% of other employees agree.”

60% vs. 34% – quite a big perception gap!

The full EY report can be found here.

Would you be able to remember all these meals?

Published on: 03 May 2013

A lot of the readers of this blog are either studying finance or working in a finance job. A lot of you no doubt enjoy eating at a restaurant now and then and can remember some favourite places you’ve eaten in the past.

chinese-mealsI’m sure though that there aren’t many of you that have combined the classic spreadsheet skills of a finance person with the memories of the food you’ve eaten as well as Mr David Chan from the US has.

ABC News recently reported on Mr Chan, a 64 year old accountant based in the US who enjoys eating at restaurants or to put it more precisely, enjoys eating in Chinese restaurants.

“Enjoys eating in Chinese restaurants” is a bit of an understatement as over the last 33 years he has eaten at a pretty impressive number of Chinese restaurants.

In fact, he’s eaten at nearly 6,300 different Chinese restaurants! That certainly is a pretty impressive number of restaurants as visits to 6,300 different restaurants in 33 years works out at an average of nearly 4 new restaurants every week!

“But how does he know how many restaurants he’s eaten at” I hear you say?

Well this is where his accountancy training and his expertise in the use of spreadsheets comes in.

He’s actually got records of all the restaurants he’s eaten in since the 1980’s and keeps a spreadsheet with their details organised by name, street and year visited.

When his wife was asked what she thought of it she was quoted as saying she thought the whole idea was “silly”.

I must admit that I’m not sure that a lot of people will be rushing to look at that particular spreadsheet and it’s difficult to argue with his wife’s view.

The ExP Group