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 have children? Have they ever told you a lie? Even a small teeny weeny lie?
Well, if they have then although you may not be particularly pleased with them, it may actually mean that they have good memories and excellent thinking skills.
Psychologists at the University of Sheffield tested 135 children and found that those children that lied performed much better than the honest children in the group.
The children in the study were aged between 6 and 7 years old and during the study they were given a trivia game. The answers to the trivia game were on the back of the card which they had been given. Initially, each child was in a room accompanied by one of the researchers but the researcher then left the child alone with the card with the answer on the back.
Before leaving the room the researcher told the children not to look at the answer but what the children didn’t know was that when they were alone in the room there were hidden cameras which were monitoring whether they would look at the answers on the back.
25% of the group subsequently cheated and looked at the answers on the back of their cards but claimed that they hadn’t cheated when the researcher returned to the room.
At a later stage, all of the children had to perform a separate memory test and the research found that the children who had lied performed significantly better than those children who didn’t lie.
Dr Tracy Alloway, project lead from the University of North Florida was also involved in the research and said that “this research shows that thought processes, specifically verbal working memory, are important to complex social interactions like lying because the children needed to juggle multiple pieces of information while keeping the researcher’s perspective in mind”.
This has got me thinking as a lot of the readers of this blog are accountants or studying to be accountants.
“Thought processes”, “verbal working memory”, “juggling multiple pieces of information” and “keeping other people’s perspective in mind” are all skills which many accountants need.
Does this mean that you would make a good accountant if you were a good liar when you were a child?
Whatever your answer is, I’m not sure I would believe you…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Young-accountant.jpg7691361Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-04-05 09:00:252022-04-01 15:57:19Would a good liar make a good accountant?
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 today 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 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.pngSteve2022-02-16 06:41:492022-02-16 15:32:29Enjoy the freeze…
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…
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 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.pngSteve2022-01-19 20:05:472022-01-20 17:02:31You are (probably) a liar…
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?
Picture the scene. You’ve got an important business lunch coming up. You want to make a good impression on the person you are meeting with. What should you eat for lunch?
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology has some interesting findings which indicate that if you have an important business lunch, there are various benefits to ordering the same food as the person you are trying to impress.
Scientists from the University of Chicago studied nearly 500 people to identify whether eating the same food helped them agree in negotiations.
The researcher’s conclusion was that people who are served the same food are more likely to trust each other, smooth out problems and make deals.
As part of the study, participants in the research were told to imagine they were “investors” who had to decide whether to invest in funds operated by their “fund manager” eating partners. The researchers found that those people who were served similar food invested more money.
Another interesting finding in the study was the link between food consumption and the effectiveness of advertising. The authors said that “consumers are more trusting of information about non-food products – e.g. a software product – when the advertiser in the product testimonial eats similar food to them”.
Back to the business lunch though and although the research found that there are benefits to ordering the same food as the person you are trying to impress, I’m not sure that if you’re wearing a nice clean white shirt to the lunch meeting you should necessarily follow the other person in ordering that “tricky to eat tidily spaghetti with the sloppy tomato sauce”…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/business-lunch.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-09-28 07:00:432021-09-28 18:08:02How to impress over a business lunch…
Most people enjoy it when the weather gets warmer. Sunny weather often makes people happier but some research indicates that a heatwave may not be good news if you’re taking an exam.
Researchers from Harvard Chan School of Public Health found that students who were exposed to hotter temperatures did significantly less well in cognitive tests than those students who lived in a temperature-controlled environment.
The research involved a group of students who had already been allocated accommodation on campus. Half of the rooms had air conditioning and half didn’t.
The students were followed during a 5-day heatwave where temperatures exceeded 26C.
Before, during and after the heatwave, the students had to perform a number of cognitive tests which measured the speed they processed matters as well as their working memory. The results showed that the scores of these students in the hotter accommodation fell by 13% compared to their colleagues in the air-conditioned temperature stable environment.
The researchers said that it was not clear what was behind the drop in performance during an increase in temperature. It could have been because the brain was working harder on maintaining critical body functions such as thermoregulation or it could have been due to a poorer quality of sleep due to the heat.
Either way, let’s hope it’s not a heatwave the next time you sit an exam…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/stressing-over-exams.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-09-20 22:02:432021-09-28 18:02:44Don’t sweat your exams
Before cash came along, people used to barter. Somebody who had grown vegetables would exchange potatoes they’d grown with a baker who’d baked bread. A farmer would exchange a cow with someone who had grown rice. And so on…
This was all very well if you had lots of vegetables or lots of cows but exchanging 1,000 kg of potatoes for the latest Xbox or taking a cow with you to pay for cinema tickets was never going to work.
As a result, along came cash.
The Lydians (now part of Turkey) are widely believed to be the first Western culture to make coins and their first coins came in to existence way back around the time of 700 BC.
Since then things have developed.
Bills of Exchange were introduced in Italy in the 12th century (Bills of Exchange are paper documents which enable traders to buy and sell goods without having to carry cash).
The Bank of England introduced printed cheques in 1717.
The first credit card in the UK was issued in 1966.
Online banking was launched in the late 1990s.
Through all of this cash has remained and there are now 180 currencies recognised as legal tender by the United Nations member states.
Things are changing though and Apple, Samsung and Google all have contactless payment systems whereby money is loaded onto an app on your phone and payment can be made by scanning your phone at a contactless terminal.
The company Ringly have taken things a step further though and have a partnership with MasterCard which enables you to pay for items with the tap of a ring.
The rings that Ringly sell (including the ring shown in the photo above) cost between $195 and $260 and use technology to link the ring to your phone to access the Ringly app. The app will then enable payment to be made. This is pretty impressive given that all the technology has to be fitted onto the surface of the ring.
The end result is that you will be able to purchase items via a contactless terminal by simply tapping your ring without getting your wallet or purse out.
So, is this a genuinely useful idea or just a “gimmick”? After all, you’ll still need your phone with you to make a payment.
Either way, it’s a nice excuse if you were thinking of buying a new ring.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/technology-business-strategy.jpg562999Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-08-06 03:33:402021-08-06 04:22:53Cash is king but jewellery looks nicer…
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