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…
We blogged last year about the former boss of McDonald’s being fired due to a relationship with a colleague but it turns out, there may be more to the story.
Steve Easterbrook used to head up McDonald’s but was fired when he “violated company policy” by having a relationship with a colleague.
The relationship was consensual but it was against company policy which prohibits “any kind of intimate relationship between employees in a direct or indirect reporting relationship”.
McDonald’s agreed to terminate Mr Easterbrook’s contract “without cause”, which in effect meant that he was let go, but not for significant workplace misconduct (ie he didn’t do anything seriously wrong). His payoff at the time was reportedly worth $40 million.
However, things have moved on and it looks like Mr Easterbrook shared a happy meal with more than one colleague.
McDonald’s have said that they have uncovered “undisputed evidence” of three other sexual relationships with staff. Investigators also identified that he had approved a grant of company shares worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of the employees he was in a relationship with and this grant took place “shortly after their first sexual encounter”.
When the first relationship was uncovered last year, investigators reviewed Mr Easterbrook’s phone and nothing untoward was found. Further investigation since he left however identified that he had sent nude photos from his company email account and whilst they had been deleted from the phone, they had not been removed from the company’s servers.
As a result of all this additional information, McDonald’s are now suing Mr Easterbrook to recover his $40 million payoff. They are claiming that if he had not withheld this information, they would not have approved his payoff.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Mcdonalds-structure.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-08-14 19:27:522020-08-14 19:27:52Big Mac with 4 sides
Sometimes a little bit of creative thinking can go a long way. This bit of creativity though went a very long way indeed.
Creativity can add value to all types of businesses and this particular project involved technology and one of the largest sea birds.
There are 22 species of the albatross bird. With a wingspan of up to 3.5 metres, the wandering albatross species has the largest wingspan of any living flying bird. Importantly for this project though, they are also capable of flying long distances out to sea.
Illegal fishing by trawlers can seriously impact on fish levels. Organisations tasked with protecting fish levels can find it almost impossible to prevent this illegal fishing. In simple terms, the ocean is very large and the boats are pretty small so keeping track of them and what they are fishing for is very difficult.
In an innovative project led by the French National Centre for Scientific Research, 169 Albatrosses have been equipped with sensors. If the birds are in the vicinity of a boat, these sensors are able to tell whether the boat’s Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are switched off.
Having the AIS systems switched off on a boat is common when the boat is fishing illegally.
The beauty of this project is that the albatrosses can cover huge areas and when the sensors identify boats with their AIS switched off, the enforcement boats can head to that location to investigate further.
The initiative is currently being trialled off the coast of New Zealand and over the last 6 months the birds have located 353 boats, 37% of which were not emitting the AIS signal.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/albatross_fishing.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-06-25 14:02:292020-06-25 14:02:29Flying high with creativity.
Anyone that has studied hard for their exams will almost certainly at one time or another utilised the services of a strong coffee.
Whilst desperately trying to cram that last bit of knowledge into your brain before the exams there is often a temptation to grab a strong coffee late in the night to keep your mind awake.
For years students around the world have been utilising the caffeine in coffee to help get that extra mark or two.
Coffee is said to originate from East Africa where legend has it that a 9th century Ethiopian goat herder by the name of Starbucks Kaldi noticed that after his goats had ate some coffee beans they started bouncing around like teenagers at the local disco.
This started the journey of coffee and associated caffeine hits so loved by students around the world.
Over in China, one coffee chain has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Luckin Coffee was only set up 3 years ago but had lofty ambitions.
They described themselves as “a pioneer of a technology-driven new retail model to provide coffee and other products of high quality, high affordability, and high convenience to customers” and had vowed to overtake Starbucks as China’s biggest coffee chain.
They grew quickly.
Very quickly in fact as within 3 years they had 4,500 outlets around China.
They were also one of the small number of Chinese organisations to quote their shares on the US Nasdaq market.
Things weren’t all they were made out to be though as in April their shares were suspended on the Nasdaq market after the company revealed that they had uncovered $310 million in fake transactions.
It appears that some people in the organisation were so keen for the growth of the company to continue that they created fake sales so as to give the impression that their revenue was growing quicker than it was in reality.
The company announced the discovery and warned the market that investors could no longer rely on previous financial statements that showed rapid growth.
The ongoing financial investigation by the company has resulted in the chief executive and the chief operating officer being fired yesterday and six other employers have been suspended whilst investigations continue.
Ethics are pretty important if you’re a partner in an accounting firm. Unfortunately for these guys though they weren’t the most ethical of people as they were involved in cheating in exams.
The cheating was uncovered by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in the US. They were initially investigating claims that KPMG had altered previously completed audit work after receiving stolen information about what inspections would be conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
During that investigation however they also found that numerous KPMG audit professionals cheated on internal training exams by sharing answers.
Cheating at exams by sharing answers? Surely that would be a junior member?
The key people involved were (now former) KPMG audit partners.
The investigation stated that former partners Timothy Daly, Michael Bellach, and John Donovan were involved in the cheating.
They had obtained images of questions and answers to the tests from subordinates and then shared them with members of their team.
The tests which were taking place were in connection with ensuring that KPMG audit staff understood certain accounting and auditing principles.
KPMG themselves became aware of potential cheating on the exams and began an investigation. They sent a document preservation notice to all KPMG staff (this basically means not to delete or destroy any potential evidence).
The ex-partners however ignored this preservation notice. They deleted various text messages and denied any wrongdoing to KPMG investigators.
KPMG were obviously not happy with the situation when the truth emerged and the partners soon became ex-partners of KPMG.
The three individuals were also suspended from appearing or practicing as an accountant before the SEC (although they can apply for reinstatement in the future).
KPMG had a pretty bad time of it last year in terms of the stolen PCAOB information and the exam cheating and had to pay a penalty of $50 million.
Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, said: “Audit professionals play a critical role in the integrity of the financial reporting process and the protection of investors. These actions reflect our commitment to hold these gatekeepers responsible for breaches of their professional obligations.”
A KPMG spokesperson said “We are a stronger firm as a result of the actions we are taking to strengthen our culture, governance and compliance program.”
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/kpmg-partners.png6271119Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-05-15 13:27:172020-06-02 13:18:00KPMG partners cheated in exams.
Switzerland has a reputation for being the home of some of the most prestigious watch manufacturers.
Omega, Tag Heuer and Breitling are just three if the many famous brands of Swiss watches that produce extremely high-quality timepieces.
But things are changing though and there’s a modern-day challenger to their dominance.
That modern-day challenger is Apple.
Last year Apple sold more watched than the entire Swiss watch industry.
A recent report by Strategy Analytics estimated that Apple sold 30.7 million smartwatches last year (an increase of 36% on the 2018 figure).
Estimates for the entire Swiss watch industry showed sales of 21.1 million units last year (a 13% fall on the 2018 figures).
This is a difficult time for the Swiss watch industry as they face a number of challenges.
The younger generation especially are keen on the tech side of watches and these are very much in fashion.
Although some Swiss watch brands such as Swatch and Tissot are launching their own smart watches, their competencies and skills are very much based around the mechanical engineering of watches compared to software engineering which is needed for smart watches.
Another major challenge is their distribution channels and where they are sold.
Swiss watches are typically sold in jewellery shops whereas smart watches such as the Apple watch are sold in phone shops and Apple stores.
Certainly a challenging time for the Swiss watch industry.
Will these Swiss watch brands survive?
Only time will tell…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/apple-vs-swiss-watches.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-04-26 10:29:362020-04-26 10:31:21Time up for Swiss watches?
The salary of Boris Johnson, the current UK prime minister is just over £150,000. I’m sure that most Prime Minsters don’t do the job for the money but there can be some pretty significant financial benefits when they move on from being the prime minister.
As the PM, Mr Johnson can’t do any other work whilst in his job but other MPs can. Theresa May was Boris Johnson’s predecessor but now is back to being a standard MP.
According to the government’s register of interests though she’s doing quite nicely on the financial side of things.
PwC for example paid Mrs May in January to do a speech. The total time involved including preparation and travel was 12 hours.
So, how much do you think PwC paid Mrs May for this?
Go on, have a guess.
She received approximately £96,000 for the speech.
Now, that’s not bad for 12 hours work.
As well as receiving £96,000 from PwC she also received money from other organisations for speeches delivered during the first quarter of 2020. These were:
Approximately £115,000 from Dubai Women Establishment for a speech in February (19 hours, including preparation and travel).
Approximately £115,000 from the Structured Finance Association for a speech in February (25 hours, including preparation and travel).
Approximately £115,000 from Brown University, Rhode Island, USA. (14 hours, including preparation and travel).
Approximately £115,000 from Trinity University, Texas, USA. (14 hours, including preparation and travel).
Over £500,000 for 5 speeches in 3 months.
Not bad work if you can get it.
According to a statement by Mrs May in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, these payments “are made to the Office of Theresa May Limited and used to pay employees, maintain my ongoing involvement in public life and support my charitable work.”
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/theresa-may.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-04-18 14:20:172020-04-18 14:21:22How much for a speech?
KPMG in the UK has been fined by the Financial Reporting Council for what only can be described as pretty poor auditing.
The situation behind the fine involves professional scepticism, or to be more precise, a lack of professional scepticism.
Professional standards define professional scepticism as “an attitude that includes a questioning mind, being alert to conditions that may indicate possible misstatement due to fraud or error, and a critical assessment of audit evidence.”
Or to put into simple words, to question and challenge what the client is saying and not to simply accept what they are saying at face value.
KPMG were fined £700,000 (which was reduced to £455,000 for early settlement) and reprimanded former senior partner for Manchester, Nicola Quayle for a “failure to apply sufficient professional scepticism”. Nicola was also fined £45,000 (reduced to £29,250 for early settlement).
The reason for the fine was because the FRC held that KPMG had failed to obtain and document sufficient audit evidence in relation to supplier-funded rebates.
These were “complex supplier arrangements” and KPMG should have been on alert to pay particular attention to “these types of complex supplier arrangements.”
Claudia Mortimore, deputy executive counsel to the FRC, said: “This is a measured and proportionate package of sanctions, which balances on the one hand the limited nature of the breaches, which did not call into question the truth or fairness of the financial statements, with the fact that auditors should have been on alert to pay particular attention to these types of complex supplier arrangements. Professional scepticism remains at the core of an auditor’s duty and the FRC will take appropriate action where it has been lacking, as in this case.”
This event took place back in the 2015/16 financial year and KPMG in the UK released a statement saying:
“We regret that specific aspects of our audit of this company for the 2015/2016 financial year did not meet the required standards.
As the FRC makes clear, there is no question as to the truth and fairness of the financial statements. Audit quality is of paramount importance to our firm and we have updated our audit processes and procedures to address the areas of concern.”
Deloitte has stated that Manchester United are better than Liverpool.
Now before anyone starts getting concerned that Deloitte are moving away from finance and becoming football pundits, I should stress that I’m referring to the Deloitte Football Money League.
Deloitte has been compiling the Football Money League since 1996/97 and the League lists the top 20 clubs in the world for revenue in a football season. They have recently released the figures relating to the 2018/19 season and a few records were broken.
The combined revenue for the 20 richest clubs in the world grew by 11% and reached a new high of €9.3bn (£8.2bn).
It’s a Spanish top two for the second consecutive year. This time though the positions are reversed with Barcelona taking top spot and Real Madrid dropping to second place.
In terms of the fortunes of the eight English Premier League clubs in the table, Manchester United remains in third with revenue of €712m.
United’s closest Premier League rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool, generated revenues of €611m and €605m respectively.
The Deloitte Football Money League measures a club’s earnings from match day revenue, broadcast rights and commercial sources, and ranks them on that basis. The study doesn’t include player transfer fees though.
More details on the report can be found here and the top 10 in the league are:
1 Barcelona €841m
2 Real Madrid €757m
3 Manchester United €712m
4 Bayern Munich €660m
5 Paris Saint-Germain €636m
6 Manchester City €611m
7 Liverpool €605m
8 Tottenham Hotspur €521m
9 Chelsea €513m
10 Juventus €460m
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/football-report.jpg476847Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-03-20 00:24:002020-03-20 12:09:43Manchester Utd and Deloitte
Joe Lycett is a British comedian. In fact, I should say that Joe Lycett used to be a comedian because although the person still exists his name doesn’t.
This sounds all very confusing and also, what has it got to do with the leading fashion house, Hugo Boss?
Like most large companies around the world, Hugo Boss defends it’s name when it feels other businesses are using similar names which could cause confusion in the eyes of the consumer.
If for example you decided to set up a clothing brand called “Hugo Bass” I’m pretty sure Hugo Boss would take legal action against you.
Hugo Boss was involved in a high-profile case involving a brewery in Wales called Boss Brewing and in particular two of the beers that it made called Boss Boss and Boss Black.
Hugo Boss took legal action against Boss Brewery but it was held that there was no need for the Brewery to change it’s name.
That was all very well for the Brewery but it cost them a significant amount of money in legal fees to defend the issue in court and for a small business that was challenging.
Joe Lycett wasn’t happy about this and decided to legally change his name as a protest.
His new name is… yes, you guessed it… Hugo Boss.
He tweeted a picture of the official confirmation of his name change and wrote
“So @HUGOBOSS (who turnover approx $2.7 billion a year) have sent cease & desist letters to a number of small businesses & charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar, including a small brewery in Swansea costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding.
It’s clear that @HUGOBOSS HATES people using their name.
Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss.
All future statements from me are not from Joe Lycett but from Hugo Boss. Enjoy.”
In what could have been a bit of bad PR for Hugo Boss (the company), they responded well to the new Hugo Boss (formerly Joe Lycett).
They released a statement saying: “We welcome the comedian formerly known as Joe Lycett as a member of the HUGO BOSS family.
As he will know, as a ‘well-known’ trademark (as opposed to a ‘regular’ trademark) HUGO BOSS enjoys increased protection not only against trademarks for similar goods, but also for dissimilar goods across all product categories for our brands and trademarks BOSS and BOSS Black and their associated visual appearance.
Following the application by Boss Brewing to register a trademark similar to our ‘well-known’ trademark, we approached them to prevent potential misunderstanding regarding the brands BOSS and BOSS Black, which were being used to market beer and items of clothing.
Both parties worked constructively to find a solution, which allows Boss Brewing the continued use of its name and all of its products, other than two beers (BOSS BLACK and BOSS BOSS) where a slight change of the name was agreed upon.
As an open-minded company we would like to clarify that we do not oppose the free use of language in any way and we accept the generic term ‘boss’ and its various and frequent uses in different languages.”
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Bossbrewery.png6411141Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-03-08 13:39:002020-03-11 14:13:11Would the real Hugo Boss please stand up?
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