Working from home has become a fact of life for a lot of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Synonymous with working from home are the video conferencing facilities such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.
The growth in use of these technologies has been phenomenal. Back in December 2019 for example there were on average 10 million daily meeting participants on zoom. Fast forward to 2021 and the daily averages are around 300 million.
The technologies have been incredibly useful for keeping teams together and maintaining working practices but with back-to-back zoom meetings sometimes going on for hours some people are suffering from “zoom fatigue”.
There’s also the issue of what happens if you are desperate for a cup of coffee or a call of nature during a particularly long and boring meeting?
It’s pretty obvious on the screen if you try and sneak out for a couple of minutes and taking your laptop with you to the kitchen or toilet is best avoided.
Enter the recently released freezingcam.com which as the name suggests enables you to simply click a button on screen and your webcam will freeze and give the impression that you are having internet connection issues.
After quickly popping out of the room to do whatever you wanted to do, you can get back to your desk, click the unfreeze button and lo and behold you are back at the meeting and everyone thinks you were having internet issues rather than looking for those chocolate digestive biscuits in the kitchen…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/zoom_call.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-03-23 14:41:492021-03-23 14:50:34Enjoy the freeze…
Here’s a nice ethical question for you – have you lied recently?
My guess is that you have. Now before you get all righteous about it, I think that you probably did it without even thinking.
Wow, this is pretty worrying isn’t it? A lot of you are studying for professional exams and if I’m here saying that you have lied without thinking about it then what does that mean for your profession going forward?
Terms and conditions (or T&Cs) are essential for companies which are operating on the Internet or providing apps. For example, they clarify the relationship between the user and the supplier and make it clear what it provided. In reality, the chances are that they also limit the liability of the provider!
A recent report by thinkmoney identified the number of words in the T&Cs of some of the leading apps.
They found that the combined terms and conditions of 13 top apps including TikTok, WhatsApp and Zoom would take 17 hours and five minutes to read!
The longest was Microsoft Teams which was 18,282 words long.
To put this into perspective, there are more words in the Microsoft T&Cs than there are in Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth (if you’re interested, a mere 18,110 words).
For those of you that are fans of Shakespeare you may prefer Hamlet to Macbeth.
Instead of reading Hamlet you could read the T&Cs of TikTok (11,698 words), WhatsApp (9,920 words) and Facebook (8,588).
A combined number of words for these 3 of 30,206 words which is more than the 30,066 word count of Hamlet.
Back to my original point when I said that you are (probably) a liar.
So, have you ever clicked that you have read and agree to the T&Cs…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/length-of-terms.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-11-13 20:05:472020-11-13 20:05:47You are (probably) a liar…
Over 1 billion consumers are forecast to use cashless payment methods in 2020. Contactless cards and smartphone payments can make payments very easy for an individual and for the retailer it avoids security issues dealing with cash.
A number of shops are moving to “cashless” shops where all the payments have to be made by contactless cards or smartphone apps such as Apple Pay.
Not everyone is happy though as to make a cashless payment you need one important thing.
Namely, a bank account.
Globally, 1.7 billion adults do not have a bank account and whilst you may be thinking that these people without bank accounts are in the emerging markets around the world, that’s not always the case.
New York City, is one of the most famous cities in the world.
According to a recent report by the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), 354,100 households (11.2 percent) have no bank account (unbanked) and another 689,000 households (21.8 percent) have a bank account but use alternative financial products for some banking needs (underbanked).
In other words, 33% of the New York City households are either unbanked or underbanked.
That’s a pretty big proportion and as a result, the New York City Council has voted to require shops and restaurants to accept cash for payments of USD 20 or less.
The law is expected to be in place by the end of 2020.
New York won’t be the first city in the States to ban cashless stores as last year Philadelphia and San Francisco banned them.
Whilst several retail organisations have appeared to be championing cashless shops it’s looking like it won’t be possible in a number of locations around the world.
These organisations may be initially frustrated at being prevented from being cashless but in reality, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As well as the ethical debate about refusing to accept people who can only pay in cash, if they did go cashless they would be missing out on a significant part of the population who want to spend their cash, albeit “cash” and not “cashless cash”.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/cashless-shopping.png506900Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-02-07 17:44:432020-02-07 17:44:44Cashless or cash?
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.pngSteve2019-11-28 22:38:372019-11-28 22:38:38Exams for sale….
Until recently, Steve Easterbrook was the boss of McDonalds. He had been with them for a long time having started working for them back in 1993 as a manager in London.
Mr Easterbrook no doubt had a lot of affection for the
company he ran but it turned out that he also had a lot of affection for a
colleague as he had started dating a lady who also worked for McDonalds.
Although the relationship with his colleague was consensual,
it didn’t go down too well with McDonalds.
According to the company, Mr Easterbrook had “violated company
policy” and shown “poor judgement” (by “poor judgement” I assume that refers to
him having the relationship rather than the choice of who he had the
Now, whilst some people may say that it was a consensual relationship
between two adults so let them get on with it, the key thing here is that it
was against company policy and the two people involved had agreed to the
company policy when they joined the firm so it’s a straight forward case of a
breach of that policy.
More and more companies are having either outright bans on
any relationships or are requiring individuals to disclose any relationships (I’m
not a legal expert here but it does raise some interesting questions as to what
is the definition of a relationship and how quickly after reaching that definition
you need to notify your employer – is it minutes, hours, days…).
Mr Easterbrook won’t be short of funds to carry on wining
and dining his new love as the termination package is pretty significant. He
earned nearly $16m last year and will receive 26 weeks of pay on his departure.
Bloomberg estimate that his total leaving package which includes
previously granted shares will be in excess of $37m.
That should buy a few romantic meals at Burger King for the
two love birds.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/McDonalds-boss-1.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-11-07 22:47:402019-11-29 13:34:10You can’t McFlurry Love
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…
I’m all for equal rights in the workplace. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female. It doesn’t matter what the colour of your skin is or your religious preferences. The only thing that does matter is whether or not you can do your job.
Not everyone shares the same view though and in Russia, aluminium manufacturing company Tatprof is offering a bonus to its female employees if they wear a skirt and makeup.
Oh, and to get the bonus they have to send a selfie of them showing their legs and make up to their (mostly male) bosses.
The bonus is 100 Russian Rubles (approx. £1.25) and it’s been reported that 60 people have so far sent in selfies to get the bonus.
Some may say that there are 2 sides to the argument.
The first, and probably most obvious, is that this is a step backwards in the workplace. A person should be judged by their ability to do their job rather than what their legs and make up look like. It’s 2019 for goodness sake and not the 1950s.
A counter argument though was put forward by Anasasia Kirillova, who works for the company’s department of corporate culture and internal communications who said that “Many women automatically put on trousers, so we hope that [the campaign] will increase our ladies’ awareness, allowing them to feel their femininity and charm when they make the choice of wearing a skirt or dress”.
It seems the message is coming from the top of the company.
According to Ms Kirillova, Tatprof’s male CEO Sergei Rachkov “really wants to maintain the female essence in every female employee of the company, so that young women do not have male haircuts, do not change into trousers, so that they engage themselves in handicraft, project all their warmth into raising children”.
Now, I’m personally not convinced by this counter argument but what about opening up the bonus option to everyone in the company?
What about offering the bonus to men as well as women who send a selfie of themselves wearing a skirt?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/selfie-in-office.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-06-20 08:37:352019-06-13 11:43:21Would you send a selfie of your legs for a bonus?
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.pngSteve2019-06-05 21:28:312019-06-05 21:28:32Best to take it back…
It’s a sign of the times that hackers are constantly on the
lookout for weaknesses in people’s computer security systems.
Individuals can go a long way to making things more
difficult for the hackers by ensuring they have up to date anti-virus software in
place and that their passwords are good passwords.
But what is a good password?
Before answering that, let’s look at some bad passwords.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has just released
a report on some of the most hacked passwords. They analysed hacked accounts
where details were being sold by hackers.
Last year an astonishing 23 million people around the world
with the password “123456” were hacked.
You should really hang your head in shame if your password
is 123456 as it’s very easy to hack into.
OK, what about the name of your favourite football team as
your password. Would that provide you with more protection?
Alas not as football team names are very common passwords.
Roughly 280,000 accounts were breached last year with the
“Chelsea” and “Man-Utd” passwords were breached 216,000 and
59,000 times respectively.
Using the names of your favourite music artist also isn’t a
The most popular passwords using the names of music artists
are “blink182” and “50cent” (these are probably popular as they satisfy the
need to have letters and numbers in a password).
If you’re a fan of superheroes then avoid Superman, which
was the most common superhero inspired password.
So, onto good passwords.
According to Ian Levy, the Technical Director of NCSC,
“Using hard to guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend
combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable
to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
There you go.
As easy as 123 or should that be, as easy as “123456”…
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.