Published on: 10 May 2014
A joint operation by the British and Australian navies last month resulted in the largest ever haul of heroin at sea. The drugs weighing 1,032 kilogrammes had an estimated British street value of more than £140 million and were found on a boat 30 miles off the coast of East Africa near Kenya and Tanzania.
This is great news for the authorities but what link does this have with the exams?
Price elasticity of demand (PED) is a core area of pricing theory. PED measures the sensitivity of customer demand to a change in prices and is calculated as
PED = % change in demand
% change in price
There is usually an inverse relationship: when price goes up, demand goes down (and vice versa).
Addictive drugs such as the heroin seized by the British and Australian navies however are an inelastic product and in fact are approaching perfect inelasticity. A perfectly inelastic product is a situation where price goes up but the quantity demanded stays the same. In the case of addictive drugs, the drug addicts will still need their “fix” so the quantity demanded by them is largely unaffected by price increases.
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: 31 Mar 2013
Samoa is a small group of islands situated in the Pacific Ocean, approximately half way between Hawaii and New Zealand. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place and hopefully one day I’ll be lucky enough to visit it. Following a recent announcement though then maybe it would be worth my while losing a bit of weight before I go there.
Although it’s only a very small country with a population of less than 200,000, the national airline has just launched a unique ticket pricing policy which if any of the major airlines followed would please one group of people but upset another group.
So who would be pleased and who would be unhappy?
Put simply – overweight people would be unhappy.
So what is their pricing policy?
Well, the airline has announced that ticket prices for their flights would be based on the combined weight of the passenger and their luggage. In other more blunt words, the fatter you are the more your flight ticket will cost whilst the slimmer you are the cheaper your ticket will be.
Are Samoa Air leading the way and will other airlines follow?
Arguably this is a fairer way of charging for flights as after all one of the major costs of airlines is fuel and the heavier you are the more fuel will be needed to move you through the air. This is especially true for the small planes that Samoa Air use.
It does also seem unfair when a slim person who has 1 kg of luggage above his or her limit is charged an excess luggage fee when somebody who is 50 kg heavier than them but is within their luggage limit doesn’t suffer an excess luggage fee.
Good luck to the airline with this novel pricing policy and also to their management accountants who will no doubt be monitoring movements in the average waistlines of the population when they are putting together their annual revenue forecasts.
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: 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: 20 Jul 2012
ACCA and CIMA are both great professional qualifications which are respected and admired around the world. I came across a surprising fact recently though which I bet the majority of ACCA and CIMA members and students never knew.
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd is one of the world’s leading car manufacturers and a couple of months ago over in Japan they launched a new car.
Quoting some of Nissan’s promotional material about the car, some of the key features include:
– Styling expressing a premium class image
– Hybrid system with optimally balanced driving and environmental performance
– Spacious and comfortable rear seats
As the picture shows it’s a handsome looking car and I’d personally be more than happy to drive it around.
What about Helen Brand (the Chief Executive of ACCA) or Charles Tilley (the Chief Executive of CIMA) though?
Do you think they would be happy to be seen driving the car?
Well, my guess is that one of them will be happier than the other as the name of the new Nissan car is none other than the Nissan Cima.
Yes, that’s right – one of the leading car manufacturers in the world has just launched the Cima car.
Nissan has not produced a car aimed at accountants in Japan but instead the Cima car name is derived from the Spanish for “summit”.
It raises an interesting question though – does this mean that there’s no need to study for your exams to become a CIMA member as all you’ll need to do is to buy a Cima car and then you can add Cima (driver) to your CV?
Oh, and one final thing but I don’t think there’s any truth to the rumours that ACCA are currently in discussions with Toyota to produce a new car called the Toyota Acca.
Published on: 28 May 2012
It doesn’t matter how good your answer is, if the markers can’t read your handwriting you won’t get the marks. It’s as simple as that.
As well as having the requisite technical knowledge students must have the necessary exam technique to ensure a pass. One of the more common complaints from markers is that sometimes the handwriting on exam scripts is so bad that they simply cannot read the answers. If they cannot read the answers then they cannot give you any marks.
Whilst it’s probably a bit late now to radically change your handwriting style, there are some simple steps you can take to make your script more readable. An easy one is to leave a gap between each paragraph. This breaks up the text on the page so that it doesn’t look too cluttered and will be easier for the marker to read.
Another point is to practice writing answers under exam conditions. Some of the papers are “written style” papers rather than a numerical one so you must get used to writing under exam conditions. The last time you probably wrote for 3 hours was at the last exam session! Everybody tends to use computers more and more these days and it’s relatively unusual to be writing significant amounts by hand. Practice writing answers under exam conditions and then give your answer to a friend or family member and see if they can understand it!
This was brought home to me the other day when I was talking to my niece. When I mentioned that as a child I used to write notes to fellow students and pass them around the class, she looked at me as though I was a dinosaur. Nowadays they don’t handwrite them but instead send phone text messages to their fellow students. Writing by hand will soon become a thing of the past…
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: 21 Mar 2012
Winning the lottery is a life changing experience.
The recent Euromillions lottery had a first prize of £38 million.
In a lot of companies, groups of individuals get together to form a syndicate and they combine their money and enter into a lottery.
The idea is that by combining your money you have more entries and you’re more likely to win. To be honest though anyone with a basic understanding of maths will realise that the chances of winning are still infinitesimally small.
When colleagues from an organisation set up such a syndicate to enter the lottery it’s advisable to have a written record of what was agreed (for example what happens if someone is away and can’t pay their share of the lottery money).
A group of 13 bus drivers working for the Stagecoach company in the UK formed a lottery syndicate and agreed to put in £2 per week to enter the lottery.
Six months ago one of the syndicate, a lady by the name of Miss Loveday (or Miss Unlucky as she will soon no doubt become known) decided to withdraw from the syndicate as she reportedly couldn’t afford to pay the £2 to enter each week.
Fast forward to last week and the winning lottery numbers matched those chosen by the syndicate.
Their winnings? A rather pleasant £38 million which works out at over £3 million each.
Having withdrawn from the office syndicate 6 months ago Miss Loveday doesn’t get anything from the lottery win.
Now, we’ve all had bad days at the office but finding out that you’re not an instant multi millionaire because you stopped paying your weekly £2 entry fee 6 months ago probably ranks up there as being “a really bad day at the office”.
One of the winning drivers wasn’t overly sympathetic about her plight though as he was reported as saying “You’ve got to be in it to win it”.
The one piece of good news for the unlucky Miss Loveday is that she doesn’t have to listen to any of the winners celebrating their win as all of them resigned immediately from their £17,000 a year jobs and didn’t bother going into work the day after winning…