One of the five fundamental ethical principles is Integrity.
Being straightforward and honest is a vital characteristic of being a professional accountant.
Most people who are studying for their professional exams have one thing on their mind. Namely, to pass their exams but four students who were studying for their ACCA exams had other things on their minds and at the same time, were not the brightest individuals out there.
What they planned to do was to register for some Computer Based Exams (CBEs) and then whilst sitting the exams they would use their mobile phones to take photos of the computer screen showing the questions. They would then sell these photos with the questions on them via the internet.
The four individuals involved, Chen Yiyun, Hiujiao Ru, Zehui Gong and Ziying Wang decided to sell the questions on Taobao Marketplace, a Chinese shopping website.
They no doubt thought that this was an extremely clever way of making some money. What could possibly go wrong by taking photos of the questions and then selling them online?
One of the other fundamental ethical principles is that of Professional Competence.
Now, if these individuals had even a minuscule amount of Professional Competence, they would have reviewed the photos before selling them.
Alas for them they didn’t review them.
If they had reviewed them, they would have seen at the top of the computer screen in the photos their ACCA student registration number and the exam centre.
ACCA were made aware of the questions being for sale and made a test purchase on the Taobao Marketplace. Given the student registration numbers were on the screen, they didn’t need a team of top detectives to identify the individuals involved.
Unsurprisingly, the four individuals are now ex-students of ACCA having been found guilty of misconduct and they were ordered to pay costs ranging from £3,500 to £7,000.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ACCA-exam-cheating.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-04-18 07:38:372022-04-26 15:05:44Exams for sale….
Do you wish you had a better memory? Perhaps you do but you can’t remember whether or not you do.
If this is the case then help may be at hand.
University researchers have suggested a simple technique which could improve your memory.
Dr Mark Moss from Northumbria University led a research study which found that students studying in a room with the smell of the herb rosemary (in the form of essential oils) achieved 5% to 7% better memory results than students undertaking similar studying in a room without the smell of rosemary.
Dr Moss reported that the sense of smell in humans is highly sensitive and sends messages to the brain which can set off reactions and responses.
In the case of rosemary, the smell could well result in a better memory.
This view isn’t new though as ancient Greek students used to wear garlands of rosemary in their exams and Ophelia, the young noblewoman in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
So, in conclusion, the next time you are studying hard for an exam it may be an idea to buy some rosemary essential oils to help your memory.
That is of course, if you can remember to buy some in the first place…
(Details of some of the work done by Northumbria University can be found here).
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/rosemary_memory.jpg32095705Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-03-20 22:27:222022-04-01 15:55:22Remind me – what was I going to buy?
Does your weight affect the amount of money you earn?
That’s an interesting question and researchers from the universities of Strathclyde in Glasgow and Potsdam in Germany have come up with a potential answer.
They analysed data from nearly 15,000 working men and found that men within that the recommended Body Mass Index (BMI) health range earnt more than those who were outside of the range.
Individuals who were underweight on the body mass index were found to earn 8% less than those who were in the top end of the healthy bracket. They found that the effect was more prominent in manual jobs where no doubt the extra strength of the guys in the healthy weight bracket helped increase their earnings.
What was perhaps surprising though was that there was also a difference in earnings in white-collar office jobs. They found that in the more middle-class occupations the rewards peaked at a BMI of around 21.
It wasn’t just men who were impacted though. The study also looked at the weight and earnings of 15,000 German women and found that the slimmest earnt the most and the obese the least.
Jonny Gifford, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development was quoted in the press as saying “it is depressing that, in this day and age, looks are in any way a factor in how much people are paid”.
I have to agree with him as organisations should employ people on the basis of their abilities as opposed to how heavy they weigh.
Anyway, best dash as I’ve got a doughnut to finish…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Office-donuts.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-02-02 07:08:122022-02-07 16:15:10Pass the doughnuts…
If you do, how long do you spend sat there before you get up to move around?
If you sit at your desk and work on your computer without moving around then I’ve for some unfortunate news for you because a sedentary lifestyle where you sit at your desk without moving around is bad for you.
Researchers at the University of Utah examined the health, exercise and nutrition records of over 3,000 Americans over a 3 year period and on average they spent 34 minutes sitting or lying down per hour whilst working.
Ignoring the question as to what were they doing lying down it will come as no surprise that the more time they spent on sedentary activities the more likely they were to die during the study.
Swapping sitting with standing up appeared to make no difference to the risk of death but what did make a difference was replacing 2 minutes sitting with 2 minutes of walking around
2 minutes of walking around per hour instead of sitting down reduced the risk of death by 33%.
So, the trick is to make sure you walk around for a couple of minutes an hour whilst at the office.
Of course, if those 2 minutes are spent walking to the vending machine to stock up on crisps and chocolate to eat at your desk there may not be that much of a benefit…
The Journal of Consumer Research published the results of five experiments into how the level of background noise can impact on performance when someone is working on creative tasks.
The results are interesting and in simple terms found that a moderate level of ambient noise is better for enhancing performance on creative tasks than both low levels and high levels of ambient noise.
Or put another way, people are more likely to be able to work creatively if there is a medium level of ambient noise compared to where there is silence or loud noise in the background.
So, what lessons can we learn from this if we’re studying?
Whilst the optimum situation and level of background noise is very much a personal preference the science behind it could indicate that we should head somewhere with a mid level background noise.
Now, where could we find such a place?
Well, the local pub around the corner has a great mid level background noise as far as I’m concerned but there are some liquid distractions that will harm studying.
What about a coffee shop or cafe? Again, there would be some great mid levels of background noise but you’ve got to get there and what happens if you don’t find a seat. All of this will dig into your valuable study time.
Well, up step the fantastic website coffitivity.com which enables you to play background coffeeshop noise on your computer whilst you’re studying.
You can’t order a Cafe Latte or Cappuccino but in my opinion it’s a great tool for those who like to study with a non intrusive background noise.
It’s also excellent for people who don’t have any friends to go to the coffee shop with.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Coffee-in-office.png460820Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-10-29 12:13:522021-10-15 15:21:45Does this help you concentrate?
Most of you have probably had an interview. In fact, some of you may have had a number of interviews but a boss of one of the top companies in Australia has recently disclosed a pretty unusual way of deciding who not to offer a job to.
Trent Innes, who heads up Xero in Australia said that he will greet the person when he or she arrives for the interview and then take them to the kitchen to offer them a drink before heading to the meeting room with the drink. Even if they aren’t tea or coffee drinkers they will generally walk away with a glass of water.
He explained in the Venture Podcast with Lambros Photios that after taking the drink back for the interview “one of the things I’m always looking for at the end of the interview is, does the person doing the interview want to take that empty cup back to the kitchen?”
He explained that what “I was trying to find was what was the lowest level task I could find that regardless of what you did inside the organisation was still super important that would actually really drive a culture of ownership.”
He went on to say, “You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience but it really does come down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of ‘wash your own coffee cup’.”
That’s quite a smart move by Mr Innes as he said that attitude was the most important trait he looked for when hiring people.
He said that “Especially in a fast growth company or a start-up environment or scale up environment – you need people with a really strong growth mindset and that comes back to their attitude.”
So, how many interviewees do you think offered to take their cups back?
Perhaps surprisingly, the number of people who offered to take their cup back to the kitchen was pretty high. According to Mr Innes only 5 to 10 per cent of the interviewees didn’t offer to return their empty coffee cup back to the kitchen.
So there you go. If you’re attending an interview and you go to the kitchen with the boss to get a drink, it’s probably a good idea to offer to take the cup back.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/coffee-interview-1.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-06-04 09:28:312021-05-24 09:52:23Best to take it back…
Professional footballers must have a great life. Playing football and earning significant amounts of money. Oh, and using some very clever tax advisers…
There are serious amounts of money being paid to some of the top footballers. Payments of in excess of £200,000 per week are fairly common (over £10 million per year).
This income doesn’t simply go into the tax return as salary. No, there are far more sneaky/clever [delete as you feel appropriate] ways of minimising the tax liability (or should I say maximising the after-tax income).
One of the methods used to minimise the tax is to make two types of payments to the player.
One would be for playing football whilst the other would be for “image rights”.
“What are image rights?” I hear you say.
Well, the basic idea is that the player would agree to let the football club use his image in any sponsorship or TV deals that the club has.
Without going into too much technical detail, the key difference from a tax point of view is that the payments made to the player for playing football would be classified as employment income and would be taxed at 45%.
Payments for image rights on the other hand would in effect be rental payments for an intangible asset. Players would assign their image rights to a company (where they could be the 100% shareholder) and the company would only pay corporation tax of 19% on the income.
With the globalisation of the Premier League, there are now numerous players who are not tax domiciled in the UK and if their image rights were channelled through a non-UK company they could potentially escape tax altogether.
Given the size of the payments involved there’s a lot of tax at stake and no doubt the tax authorities will be looking closely at these schemes.
In the meantime, most of the readers of this blog are not professional footballers but instead undertake far more interesting finance and accounting activities in an office. Why not suggest to your boss at your next pay review that you’d like image rights instead of a pay rise so that you can receive more tax advantageous rental income from an intangible asset via your personal company…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/football-agents-1.png476846Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-03-11 09:19:072021-03-11 13:31:01I’m not kicking a ball, I’m being looked at.
Should you employ good-looking people or not so good-looking people?
Whilst the obvious answer would appear to be that it doesn’t matter what a person looks like as long as they can do their job properly, researchers in Japan have found out that the attractiveness of an employee can have an impact on the sales of a business.
Interestingly though, it’s probably not the correlation most people would think applies.
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studied retail sales in shops and found that the more attractive the shop assistants of the opposite sex were, the lower the sales were. The researchers found that male shoppers were less likely to go into the shop if the more attractive woman in the research study was serving.
Even if they entered the shop with the attractive shop assistant in it, only 40% of them bought something. This compared to 56% who purchased something when a less attractive assistant was serving.
Lisa Wan of the University said “attractive service providers can lead consumers to become self-conscious or embarrassed. This is especially true when the provider is of the opposite sex. Even when the attractive salesperson is the same sex, consumers may feel a sense of inadequacy through self-comparison.
In either case, the shopper may avoid interacting with physically attractive providers, rendering the salespeople ineffective”.
It’s worth mentioning though that the scientists undertaking the research were monitoring a shop selling figures from Japanese comics and the male shoppers were obsessed with computers.
“Male shoppers obsessed with computers” – surely they would only notice the female shop assistant if she was holding a computer?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ExP-blog-geek.jpg9381668Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-11-19 16:47:142020-11-24 21:41:52Should you employ good looking people?
How many CEOs of top global companies were replaced last year?
Well, the answer may surprise you and what also may surprise you is the reason they lost their job.
PwC have been keeping track of the movements of the CEOs of the largest 2,500 global publicly listed companies since 2000 and the most recent data for 2018 has been released and it shows some interesting things.
In 2018 the number of departures of CEOs reached a record level with nearly 18% being replaced (up from 12% in 2010).
It was the reason for their departure though which raised some eyebrows.
CEOs can leave their jobs for a variety of reason and PwC categorised the reasons as planned (e.g. they were due to retire), forced (e.g. they did something a bit “naughty”) or M&A (e.g. they were no longer needed due to a merger or acquisition).
The latest split showed the 18% of departures as:
Planned – 12.0%
Forced – 3.6%
M&A – 2.0%
Digging a bit deeper though into the forced departures shows some worrying reasons.
Historically the main reason CEOs were forced out was due to poor results but for the first time the largest group of CEOs forced out was due to integrity reasons.
In 2018, 39% of those forced out were due to integrity reasons. Ten years ago in 2008 the corresponding figure was only 10%.
These integrity issues could include scandals such as improper conduct, fraud, bribery, insider trading, environmental disasters, misleading CVs, and sexual indiscretions, according to PwC.
So, in summary more CEOs are being fired and the main reason is integrity issues.
It’s always best to keep up to date with your tax affairs. Although most people don’t enjoy paying their taxes, it’s the law and if you don’t pay there can be serious consequences.
Over in Germany reports have emerged that make it fairly clear that you don’t mess with the German authorities when it comes to taxes.
An unnamed lady was behind in paying her taxes.
The authorities sent a debt collector around to collect whatever assets the family had to settle the tax liability.
According to the lady in question, two valuable items were identified.
One was the wheelchair of her paraplegic husband. Now, before even getting into the rights and wrongs of taking a disabled person’s wheelchair to settle debts, luckily for the family it was not an issue as it turned out that it was owned by a local association and was not the property of the family so the debt collectors couldn’t take it.
The authorities though have denied they tried to take the wheelchair and a spokesman said “Mobility aids for the disabled are absolutely exempt from being seized as collateral.”
One item though which was not exempt from being seized was the family pet.
Alas for Edda, the family dog, she was taken by the debt collector.
Edda is a pug and they are a pretty fashionable dog breed at the moment and the debt collector took the dog as settlement for the debt.
Edda was then listed on eBay and was sold to Michaela Jordan, a local police officer for €750 (approx. £650).
There’s a twist in the “tail” though in that the new owner has now sued the local authorities who sold Edda as apparently, she was advertised as being a healthy dog but has required veterinary treatment costing approximately €1,800.
We wish Edda well.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Tax-collection.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-06-27 19:59:172019-06-27 20:01:00Dog seized to pay tax bill…
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