Published on: 06 Feb 2014
…wear a tie.
Japan is famous for the long hours that some of their office workers undertake but there is now an invention that will maybe ease things a little bit for hardworking office staff.
A new tie called “Nemuri Tie” is now on sale in Japan.
Nemuri Tie means pillow tie in Japanese and if the advertising is anything to go by it will enable hard pressed office workers to grab a quick sleep at their desk.
It’s a relatively simple design in that it’s a normal looking tie but it’s got an inflatable pillow in it which can be blown up to provide a handy place to rest your head when you fancy a nap.
It can be inflated when the user is wearing it so there’s no need to keep on taking your tie off and putting it back on every time you fancy a sleep.
The Sleep Tie is currently on sale for just under £20.
It’s not clear whether the tie is stain proof for anyone that dribbles in their sleep.
Published on: 08 Jun 2013
Have you ever dropped a cup of coffee at work? What about spilling a glass of water?
Maybe a more interesting question to ask a forklift truck driver that (currently) works for the Kerry Logistics in Australia is “have you ever dropped a container full of 462 cases of a customer’s wine that were worth £664,000 and all the bottles were smashed?”
Unfortunately for this unlucky forklift truck driver the answer is yes.
The container held 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove Shiraz bottles of wine produced by winemaker Sparky Marquis which sell for £122 each.
Mr Marquis told reporters that he was “gut wrenched” that the wine bottles had been smashed. The container held one third of his winery’s annual production and was destined for delivery to the United States.
There are two important business lessons to be learnt from this.
Firstly, always make sure that valuable items are insured. Sensibly the wine was insured so the winemaker won’t be out of pocket.
Secondly, there’s no harm in having a sense of humour.
Mr Marquis was quoted as saying that when the logistics company opened up the container “they said it was like a murder scene.” With a touch of classic Australian humour he added “but it smelled phenomenal”
Author Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote “Wine is bottled poetry”.
I can imagine the words that came out of the forklift driver’s mouth when the container was dropped were anything but poetry.
Published on: 24 Jan 2013
Fast food is big business but for Subway, the world’s largest restaurant chain with 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries, something isn’t quite big enough.
Subway is famous for their “Footlong” sandwiches whose name implies should be a foot long (12 inches / 30 cm).
Their “Footlong” has been the backbone of their advertising for a number of years and any company’s advertising should be accurate and shouldn’t be misleading.
Well up step Australian Subway customer Matt Corby who purchased a Footlong and measured it before eating it. He then took a photo and posted it on Subway’s Facebook page with the request “subway pls respond”.
The photo is shown above and as can clearly be seen the Footlong isn’t in fact a foot but is 1 inch short at 11 inches.
Was this evidence that Subway had been deliberately misleading their customers by calling it a Footlong when it should have been called an “11 inch long”?
Does the extra inch matter?
Well, things took off quickly on Facebook and there were soon more than 100,000 likes and over 5,000 comments to Matt’s post. The shock discovery that the Footlong was an inch short of bread soon spread around the world.
Subway quickly supplied the following statement to the Chicago Tribune newspaper:
“We have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every Subway Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide.”
Is this going to be a good enough solution to the problem of the missing inch of bread?
Unfortunately for Subway within hours a number of lawsuits were filed in America in connection with the missing inch.
One of the lawsuits filed by Mr Buren from Chicago for example is claiming that the Footlong sandwich product is false advertising and as a result he is suing the company for $5 million.
Now, I’m an accountant and not a lawyer but if he’s successful the $5 million will buy an awful lot of 1 inch pieces of bread…
Published on: 21 Jan 2013
I think truth and honesty in business are vital.
I can therefore say in all truthfulness and honesty that I think Ernst & Young is a great company.
They have some tremendous people working for them and the students I’ve met over the years have all been fantastic.
If I’m really honest and truthful though I have to say that in my opinion there is a bit of a question mark over some of the performances in the video below.
The video was apparently taken at an EY recruitment day event and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you think that EY did a good job on the song-writing side of things and whether the employees that joined in with the singing, hand clapping and swaying with such rhythmic precision should stick to doing consulting and client work.
Now to be fair it has to be said that the recruitment event where the EY song was filmed was held 12 years ago so things have no doubt changed since then with the recruitment techniques used. It’s not clear though whether there was a slump in people applying for positions with EY 11 years ago.
Now, all of you that have just had a great weekend and are reading this in the office on a Monday morning, join together and start singing “Oh Happy Days, Oh Happy Days…”
Published on: 26 Sep 2012
Here’s an interesting question. If you resign from your job, what should your resignation letter look like?
Should it be simple, brief and straight to the point or should it be sent to the whole office and include various accusations about your boss including a certain, how shall we say it but, adult liaison in a meeting room with a colleague?
Well if your name is Kieran Allen then the second option appears to be the correct answer.
Mr Allen used to work for MEC, one of the leading media agencies in London. Yesterday he resigned and his resignation letter contains some pretty juicy accusations.
Now whilst this isn’t the first resignation letter that contains some juicy accusations it is the first resignation letter with juicy accusations that has gone viral on the Internet and as a result has been seen by millions around the world.
To avoid a knock at the door from some lawyers, I’ll keep the manager’s name anonymous (although if anyone wants to see the full letter then a simple search on the Internet will reveal it!) but Mr Allen claimed that he left MEC after 2 1/2 years of “loyal service” because of the treatment he received from his manager.
Mr Allen claimed he was forced to take time off work due to stress after being overloaded with work by the manager and he claimed the manager made him feel like a complete outsider on his return.
We’ve all been overloaded with work at some stage or other so this is initial claim isn’t that exciting.
The more interesting accusations though were when he claimed in his letter that the manager “regularly made sexist and other bigoted remarks” and “took a female colleague out for a drink on the day he interviewed her, then took her back to the MEC offices that night and had sexual relations with her in the meeting room on the 3rd floor”.
Mr Allen then went on to say that all of these allegations were “common knowledge throughout the team”.
Some people will applaud Mr Allen for his resignation letter whilst others (no doubt including his manager) will say that he should have kept his issues to himself.
Either way there are some serious lessons to be learnt from all of this. For example, it’s probably advisable to make sure you knock on the door of the meeting room on the 3rd floor at MEC before opening it…
Published on: 10 Sep 2012
One of the key attributes of finance and business people should be ethical behaviour. Note that I say “should be” as not everyone seems to agree with this approach.
Former Deloitte UK employee Nahied Kabir seems to have a slightly different view of what is acceptable in terms of ethical behavior.
Here’s a quick multiple choice question for you to see how ethical you are compared to Mr. Kabir.
Question – You’re struggling a bit with your professional exams and your employer’s policy is that if you don’t pass your exam within 2 attempts you’ll lose your job. Do you:
a) Focus your efforts on passing your exams. Or,
b) Focus your efforts on forging two doctor’s certificate.
Now, in my opinion (and hopefully in your opinion as well!) the correct answer is
Alas for former Deloitte employee Mr. Kabir he chose option (b).
In summary, Mr. Kabir failed an exam twice and at a meeting to discuss terminating his employment contract with Deloitte he produced a forged doctor’s note.
Deloitte let him sit the exam again and he passed this time. He then had a further 3 exams to sit and you guessed it he failed all 3.
At the next meeting to discuss things with Deloitte he claimed that he failed due to the ill health of his mother. He then produced a second forged doctor’s note from another doctor claiming his mother was suffering from ill health.
Proving that as well as being a pretty rubbish accountant he was also pretty bad at forging letters, the forged letter from the second doctor was exactly the same as the forged letter from the first doctor with the exception of only 4 words!
It’s probably no surprise to you that Mr. Kabir is now no longer working with Deloitte and the accounting body he was sitting his exams with (ICAEW) have published their report on the disciplinary action they took against him.
Again, it’s probably no surprise that he was “declared unfit to become a member of ICAEW”.
There’s no news yet whether Mr. Kabir is planning a successful career as a bank note forger…
Published on: 16 Apr 2012
I guess we’ve all done it at some time or another.
We’ve woken up one morning and due to too much work (or too much drink…) you look in the mirror and think “oh dear” (or some similar but slightly stronger words).
Well step forward Mr Ed Moyse and Mr Ross Harper who when they looked in the mirror recently saw the Ernst & Young logo staring back at them.
Now this wasn’t a drunken night out at an EY party that went wrong. No, it was a deliberate move.
The two entrepreneurial university students were thinking of ways to reduce the student debt that they had built up when they came up with the idea of using their faces as mobile advertising screens.
They set up their website – buymyface.com – and are selling their “advertising board” faces for one year.
One of their first clients was EY who paid them to display the EY logo on their faces during a skiing trip to the Alps so that EY could advertise to potential new recruits.
The idea seems to have caught on and according to their website as of today they have raised £34,000 from selling their unusual advertising boards.
Their going rate for a day’s advertising on their faces has also increased since they started their business. They are now charging £600 for a day’s advertising.
EY seem to be so impressed with them that they have now become the main sponsor of the website.
Does this mean that at some stage in the future your accountants “uniform” of dark suit and white shirt will be accompanied by the corporate logo painted on your face?
Published on: 02 Apr 2012
The IT guys I’ve met in my career have all been very nice people. Admittedly they all seem to be slightly mad and do tend to talk in a strange language with lots of mentions of “coding this and coding that”.
To be fair though they all probably think I’m slightly mad when I talk to fellow finance people in my strange language about “SOCI this and SOFP that”.
If you talk to your IT colleagues though one thing that they tend to take very seriously is the level of security.
Now whilst there are lots of higher level security precautions present such as firewalls and anti-virus programmes there are also some more simple precautions that you should take.
Memory sticks (or USB or flash drives as they are sometime known) can all contain confidential documents and most memory sticks are not password protected.
It pays to double check what’s on the memory stick you’re carrying around with you in case it contains confidential documents and you lose it.
In a similar vein it’s always worth checking what other files are on your flash drive if you’re about to make a presentation.
Unfortunately for Father Martin McVeigh, a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland, he didn’t check what other files were on the flash drive he was going to use when he recently did a presentation to some parents of children at a local primary school.
According to media reports, whilst loading up his presentation for the parents, Father McVeigh inadvertently showed a slideshow of indecent pornographic images onto a screen.
The x-rated slideshow was on the memory stick that Father McVeigh had put into the computer to load up his intended presentation.
Father McVeigh was understandably a bit shocked at seeing the naked pictures on the screen (although to be fair probably not as shocked as the parents in the audience were) and according to the BBC website he was “visibly shaken” and “bolted out of the room”.
He later stated that he didn’t know how the images got onto the memory stick.
And the morale of the story?
Well, I guess that IT security is not just the higher level technical areas but also the more simple areas such as making sure you know what else is on your memory stick…
Published on: 02 Dec 2011
We blogged earlier this year about Michel Barnier, the EU internal market commissioner announcing plans to issue new laws which would dramatically impact the “Big 4” (namely Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC.)
Well, these changes have now got a bit closer as the draft law has just been released.
In an attempt to reduce conflict of interest and to introduce more competition into the industry the main proposal of the draft law includes the requirement for the Big 4 firms to separate their auditing and consulting divisions in the EU.
This is a pretty big issue as in simple terms if the law becomes final it could prevent the Big 4 “audit firms” from providing any non audit related services such as consulting, providing tax advice or running training courses.
This could see a major restructuring of the audit profession.
Other provisions in the draft law include banks being banned from insisting that a company uses a Big 4 firm if they are to be lent money by the bank (at the moment a number of banks make it a requirement for a company to be audited by a Big 4 firm before they will release significant loans.)
There is also a proposed requirement for audit firms to be rotated every 6 to 12 years.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Big 4 are reported to be against any changes to the current rules (after all as the saying goes, “how many turkeys would vote for Christmas?”).
I’m pretty sure though that the “mid tier group” of auditing firms that are below the Big 4 in terms of size such as BDO, Grant Thornton and Mazars would maybe take a different view to the Big 4 and be in favour of Mr Barnier’s views as this could open up a number of opportunities for them.
Before everyone that works at a Big 4 company starts rushing to rearrange the office furniture though it’s worth noting that the law at the moment is only draft and the EU states and the European Parliament have to provide the final sign off before the law becomes a reality.
Published on: 25 Nov 2011
According to a report released yesterday by Eurostat, if you’re in the UK and you’re speaking to a woman then there is a 24% chance that she is obese (or to use less technical terminology, she is very fat).
At the other end of the “fat scale” are ladies from Romania who have the privilege of being the “slimmest nation” in the EU with only 7% of Romanian ladies being classified as obese.
So nearly 1 in 4 ladies in the UK are obese. From an environmental analysis point of view this increase in the number of fat people over recent years is a classic movement in the “Social” part of PESTEL analysis.
As well as having serious implications for the health of those individuals that are overweight the movement towards “fat nations” can have serious implications for businesses over the medium to long term.
In the private sector, Airlines for example will need to invest in bigger seats and spend more on fuel costs to move all this heavier weight around the world.
The public sector will also be impacted with for example hospitals needing to have stronger and bigger beds.
One interesting thing I noticed within the Eurostat report though was the following statement:
The share of obese persons also varies according to the educational level. For women, the pattern is again clear: the proportion of women who are obese falls as the educational level rises in all Member States.
Wow – this is interesting as surely it means that the cleverer you are, the less likely you are to be fat?
So does this means that all your hard work spent improving your educational levels by studying for ACCA and CIMA not only helps your career but also reduces your chances of being obese??
This must be an additional incentive for studying and it also provides a great excuse for any gentlemen that are reading this.
After all, if your wife or girlfriend happens to catch you looking at a slim lady then all you have to say is that you were simply “admiring her intellectual ability”…