How to get more from your time in class

Student writing on notebook

Studying to be a CA calls for a different approach and can take a little bit of getting used to.

Whether you are a TC, TPS or TPE student, the time you spend in class is about more than just turning up and sitting through your lectures. We strongly recommend that you become an ‘active’ rather than a ‘passive’ learner to get the most from your time in class.

1. Do the pre-course work

Doing the pre-course work is a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think it’s important. Particularly for students at TPS and TPE level, the pre-course work is what we assume you already know, so that we can build on it in class. If you don’t tackle the pre-course work, there is real risk you could come to class and find things really challenging.

The CA course is like a house of cards – you need a firm foundation in place in order to reach the top. Remember too that all of the assumed knowledge from TC is examined at TPS and TPE, so it makes sense to ensure you know it!

We won’t leave you to your own devices with pre-course work, as there are clear timetables and study plans to help you work through the material at an appropriate pace.

2. Participate

Being an active learner will give you a real advantage, and this is particularly so during class time. This is about really listening and engaging with what is being taught. Don’t allow yourself to drift off – see if you can jot down the key points from a particular session to keep them fresh in your mind.

Remember, there’s no need to write lots and lots of notes in class, but we would recommend making a note of anything that you feel unsure about. Follow this up by asking questions. Talking to your tutors is another essential way you can participate and take full advantage of the time you have with them. You can also direct your questions through the student blog email or Twitter account, and we'll ensure you get an answer.

3. Act on feedback

Your tutor team are on hand to give you lots of useful, practical advice. However, it’s down to you to put that advice into action in order to improve your approach. If, for example, a tutor recommends that you look at a question or problem in a new way, then follow that advice to the letter.

4. Respect others

At ICAS, we encourage professionalism in all our students no matter what level of study they are at. Your professionalism comes across in how you speak, act and treat others. Remember that there are other people in class who may not be as familiar with the material as you and who may be learning it for the first time. Don’t distract them! Other ways you can be more professional in class are:

  • Being honest, reliable and responsible.
  • Treating people the way you like to be treated yourself.
  • Taking the time to prepare properly, and keeping up-to-date with information relevant to your course.

5. Don’t go it alone

If you are finding things tricky we really want you to tell us rather than suffering in silence. As well as speaking to your course tutor, you can also speak to your manager or nominated Training Principal at your firm. There is also lots of information available in the CA student handbook and on the Education pages. You can also message us on Twitter via @ICAS_students or email studentblog@icas.com at any time.

More often than not, the person you’ll talk to will have been through something similar themselves, and can be a great source of advice.

April 2018

Thursday 12 April: Are you ready to go cashless?

More than one in three adults in the UK could see themselves giving up cash in the near future. New research has also shown that the younger you are, the happier you are to go cashless.

In a study for Business Insider, Kantar TNS found that 39% of adults in the UK are open to the idea of giving up cash in favour of digital alternatives. Furthermore, 17% see it as an inevitable outcome during their lifetime.

The idea is, perhaps unsurprisingly, most popular with those under 45, particularly in the 16-24 age bracket.

The rise of contactless payments in the UK has contributed to record numbers of cashless transactions. UK Finance reported last year that close to 1.4 billion credit and debit card payments were made in June alone and included more purchases of lower value, suggesting consumers are becoming more willing to use cash alternatives on small daily purchases.

This viewpoint is more common in certain areas of the country. Around half of Londoners, for example, think it is at least 'likely' that they will completely adopt cashless payments in the future. In contrast, people in the Midlands are less willing to give up notes and coins altogether.

Trends in Canada, the world's most cashless country, suggest that to totally embrace the cashless way of life, the UK needs more than a shift in perspective. Infrastructure plays an important role, with consistent high-speed broadband being a necessary requirement.

Get in touch

Would you give up cash tomorrow? How often do you use contactless payments now? Tweet @ICAS_students or email studentblog@icas.com to give us your point of view.


Too busy to eat well? Is takeout taking over your life? Check out some simple and easy recipes in today's blog, alongside some tips and resources for your TPE and ITP exams. This will also be the last time that the blog is published twice weekly - from now on you'll receive the same amount of content every Monday!

Kitchen Sink Fritatta

Resources to help you prepare for your ITP exam

Some of you are currently studying towards your ITP (ICAS Tax Professional) Level 2 exams in April this year. We wanted to remind you about the number of resources that are available to you as you get stuck into your tax books!

Cooking for the busy student - part two

Four time-saving recipes for our industrious students! Including miso noodle soup, 'kitchen sink' frittata, monster turkey burgers, and spicy chicken & avocado wraps, to free up your time for study, work or leisure.

Eight quick tips to prepare for the TPE exam

Success is just around the corner for our students and we know that you will do your utmost to achieve your qualification at every turn. If you have finished block 2 of TPE then take some time to digest these tutor tips by Level Controller Cat Devaney on how to prepare for the exam.


Monday 9 April: Are postcodes still fit for purpose in the digital age?

Do deliveries always come to your front door? Or do similar street names and confusing house numbers cause drivers to miss the mark? One company is trying to narrow down addresses and replace the postcode with a unique global grid.

Founded in 2013, what3words has split the entire world up into 3x3m squares and assigned each area a random three-word code. The idea is to make it easier to pinpoint the exact location of places that don't have a formal address or are harder to find within large postal or zip code areas.

This new system is designed as a solution for the modern era, citing drone deliveries and booming populations in concentrated areas as reasons why the good old postcode isn't fit for purpose anymore.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and Co-Founder, told The Telegraph: “When our current addressing system was first built, it wasn’t designed for a future of drone deliveries and hailing autonomous taxis. Technology is rapidly taking over the world in which we live, and our addresses are no longer fit for purpose.

“This isn’t just a problem of the future, it’s a problem now. We’ve all felt the frustration of having a lukewarm pizza turn up at the door because it’s taken so long for the delivery driver to find us, or of being lost despite the sat nav telling us ‘you have arrived at your destination’.”

The random algorithm allocation of word codes can lead to some weird and wonderful results, which the company says makes address references more memorable. The London addresses of the Big Four, for example, read:

  • Deloitte: piles.flips.served
  • EY: reveal.trips.slams
  • KPMG: crass.wider.bunny
  • PwC: pumps.shots.hurls

You can find out your front door's unique three-word code by visiting what3words and exploring their map of the world.

what3words is already being used by the likes of Domino's Pizza, StarBoard Hotels and several African, Caribbean and Pacific Island nations.

Get in touch

Do you think your postcode is accurate enough? Will this solution help or just over-complicate the issue? Email studentblog@icas.com or tweet @ICAS_students to share your view.


In today's blog, we look at boosting your commercial awareness for TPE and go back to basics on director responsibilities with handy mnemonics. We also revisit why we favour the Casio Fx85 as our calculator of choice and recommended for use during your qualification.

TPE: Improving your commercial awareness in five steps

The term ‘commercial awareness’ refers to; your knowledge of business, the impact this will have on the industry you work in, and the clients you are doing work for.

Back to basics: the Responsibilities of Directors

The responsibilities of a company director are often tested as part of TC Business Law exam, and they are also worth remembering for the TPE case study.

Casio Fx85: why we use it

The calculator is one of the most important tools you will use during your time as a CA student, besides your brain. Our education team share their tips and tricks for getting the most out of the Fx85.


Thursday 5 April: Hey Alexa, how are my stocks?

Anyone with an Amazon Echo device in their home may have gotten used to asking Alexa about the weather, for travel updates, and to play their favourite music. But now you can also ask her for investment advice, thanks to J.P. Morgan.

Actual 'advice' might be a bit of a stretch, but Wall Street investors will now be able to request analyst reports, price targets and have other queries related to J.P. Morgan research - all answered by Amazon's voice assistant.

The new service works by allowing institutional clients of J.P. Morgan's Corporate & Investment Bank to log in and access information through a new Alexa 'skill'. Alexa will then be able to email requested information to investment clients.

Joyce Chang, Global Head of J.P. Morgan Research, commented: "This partnership seamlessly empowers our clients to access J.P. Morgan research whenever and however they choose, making it more accessible, providing a new digital platform for our research."

This is not the first joint project between the bank and Amazon. Existing collaborations include a healthcare venture, the leasing of cloud computing power, and a project to develop a special credit card for small businesses.

Get in touch

Would you trust a voice assistant to give you the right investment information? Share your thoughts on Twitter @ICAS_students or email studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, we delve into the intricacies of income tax in and out of Scotland, update our perspective of RegTech in the wake of a new KPMG deal, and deliver advice on keeping healthy and well-fed during study sessions.

What is RegTech and what does it do for compliance?

Regulation understanding and adherence is a key component of a CAs expertise and of the financial sector as a whole. Now it has joined the ever-expanding list of specialisms getting a technological makeover with the rise of 'RegTech'.

What you need to know about Scottish Income Tax, even if you don’t live in Scotland

From April 2018, the introduction of five bands of Scottish Income Tax (SIT) may mean significant changes in the way Scottish Taxpayers income tax liabilities are calculated.

Cooking for the busy student

Our students are completing training contracts, which are essentially full-time jobs, as well as studying hard to pass exams and build knowledge - and you need the right fuel to do so!


Monday 2 April: A short history of bank holidays

While not everyone celebrates Easter, hopefully at least some of you are benefitting from the Easter Monday bank holiday today. But why are certain days of the year flagged as a day off for bankers?

The UK Bank Holidays Act of 1871 gifted four days off to England, Wales and Ireland, plus five holidays in Scotland:

  • England & Wales: Easter Monday, Whit Monday, 1st Monday of August, Boxing Day.
  • Ireland: Easter Monday, Whit Monday, 1st Monday of August, St. Stephen's Day.
  • Scotland: New Year's Day, Good Friday, 1st Monday of May, 1st Monday of August, Christmas Day (Christmas and Good Friday were already included as religious holidays in England, Wales and Ireland).

Prior to the Act, the Bank of England is thought to have celebrated over 30 saints' days and religious festivals as breaks from work. The introduction of official bank holidays, however, was the first time secular public holidays had been declared for the masses and quickly became hugely popular.

For a short time, the days were commonly known as ‘St. Lubbock’s Days’ after Sir John Lubbock, who had championed the 1871 Act.

Over the years, more bank holidays have been added to the calendar and, though Easter Monday still isn't officially recognised in Scotland, readers north of the border can be happy knowing that they are the only ones in the UK to have 2 January off every year.

Upcoming UK Bank Holidays in 2018

England & Wales

Northern Ireland

Scotland

Easter Monday: 2 AprilEaster Monday: 2 AprilEarly May holiday: 7 May
Early May holiday: 7 MayEarly May holiday: 7 MaySpring holiday: 28 May
Spring holiday: 28 MaySpring holiday: 28 MaySummer holiday: 6 August
Summer holiday: 27 AugustBattle of the Boyne: 12 JulySt Andrew's Day: 30 November
Christmas Day: 25 DecemberSummer holiday: 27 AugustChristmas Day: 25 December
Boxing Day: 26 DecemberChristmas Day: 25 DecemberBoxing Day: 26 December
 Boxing Day: 26 December 

Source: GOV.uk

Get in touch

Do you get a break from work on bank holidays? How do you use the extra time? Tell us your plans on @ICAS_students or email studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, we look at the future of financial reporting and consider how new standards and technology might improve reporting overall. We also consider the differences between being busy and being productive, and go back to basics on corporate insolvency.

How is financial reporting set to improve?

The quality and content of financial reporting can be a point of some contention in the corporate sphere. What information is most pertinent to the reader? Are short-term results less valuable than future forecasting? How do the figures tie into the business plan?

Back to basics: Corporate Insolvency

Insolvency is taught at TPS Advanced Finance, and is also relevant to TPE case studies, where a company is, or may become insolvent. Read our back to basics on corporate insolvency for a great summary on types of voluntary liquidation and more.

Infographic: Busy vs productive 

Do you ever reach the end of a busy workday and wonder what you actually achieved with all that work? For many professionals, it's easy to get caught up in being 'busy' to do anything 'productive'. Our infographic looks at the difference between the two.

March 2018

Thursday 29 March: Can we prevent a high street exodus?

Toys R Us, Warren Evans and Maplin have all been high street casualties since the start of 2018. Lloyd's Pharmacy, Claire's, Marks & Spencer, and even the Post Office have closed more stores since the start of the year. Now, Mothercare and Carpetright might be on the chopping block too.

The numbers show that the UK high street is struggling. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that retailers experienced their lowest annual growth in four years over the course of 2017. Deloitte also announced that retail sector insolvencies increased by 28% last year - the first time this number has gone up since 2012.

In the face of such dire circumstances, how can stores save themselves from becoming casualties?

Some companies under threat may decide to explore a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in order to avoid going under. This is a legally-binding formal agreement between a company and its creditors to compromise by restructuring, selling assets and/or agreeing to a long-term debt repayment plan in order to manage the damage to the company. Carpetright have announced that they are exploring this possibility, though a CVA needs a majority approval from the creditors involved to go forward.

As Afin students will know, a recovery solution such as a CVA is a popular choice, as it allows what may still be a viable business to continue trading and often returns more to the creditors than a liquidation would. Look back at a previous article on how BHS planned to use a CVA to turn the business around in 2016.

However, not every company is eligible for this solution, particularly if action is being taken too late to salvage a viable cash flow forecast. Other options include a 'time to pay' arrangement with HMRC to buy time for improving finances or entering into company administration, which offers some protection from debt repayments and brings in a third party insolvency practitioner to help explore options.


Get in touch

What do you think is the best option for a failing business? Is the high street doomed to fail? Share your thoughts with @ICAS_students and studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, we look at the good old spreadsheet and examine whether its time has come. Ahead of World Backup Day 2018, when the world is reminded to copy their files and check computer restore points, we look at best practice for your digital files. We also revisit the purposes and pitfalls of CVAs.

Do spreadsheets add up for the future?

Spreadsheets are a traditional staple of the accountant's skillset, but with new technology offering more efficient alternatives, is it time to ask how good they really are?

World Backup Day 31 March: Best practice tips for controlling your digital files

Have you ever felt like you’re drowning in digital files of endless ‘untitled’ documents or IMG5677… from three years ago? Here are our suggestions for keeping what you need, where you need it, and when you need it. This is especially important ahead of 'World Backup Day' on 31 March 2018, when the world is reminded to take some time out to check their system restore points and copy their important desktop files to an external hard-drive.

Best Hope for Survival - using CVAs at BHS

Purchased for merely £1 in 2015 from Philip Green, the new owners of BHS tried to turn the business around. The case of the administration of Woolworths is discussed in some detail in the Afin course. BHS, however, went down a different route by pursuing a CVA (“Company Voluntary Arrangement”).


Monday 26 March: Does wealth bring happiness?

How would you feel if your net worth doubled overnight? Elated? Worried? Stressed?

According to Warren Buffet (net worth $91.1bn), increasing wealth will not bring happiness and that the journey of making money can be much more fun than the final goal of achieving it.

The drive to earn ever-more and potential jealousies around those who are earning more can stifle enjoyment of what you have, which is mirrored by University of British Columbia research.

Psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn told CNBC's Make It, that "time is the new essential currency for many people... people do not have unlimited money, so buying one thing means not being able to pay for something else," she added.

"Shifting the focus to not just say 'let me make more income' but let me just spend my money in ways that are actually making me happy is a really promising strategy."

So remember, if you ever feel the pressure to out-earn your peers, consider what time you have and how you spend it - the key to happiness might be dinner with friends, not a pay rise!

Get in touch

What do you consider to be the key to happiness? Share your thoughts with @ICAS_students and studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog we start the countdown to the TPE exam later this year with six tips for better business writing (and how to improve your exam performance) and get back to basics on business management, which flows from TC to TPE. Finally, what kind of company culture surrounds you? Find out now!

Six tips on better business writing for TPE

A successful CA must have excellent communication skills; one of our TPE examiners looks at how better business writing can improve your performance in the TPE exam.

Infographic: Types of company culture

Company culture is an important factor in job satisfaction, employee engagement, leadership stability, and the success of collaboration in the workplace. Check out our infographic below to see where you fit in!

Back to basics: Business Management strategy

Business Management (BM) flows throughout the whole of the CA qualification, so it’s only right that we take it back to basics for in-depth analysis. This print-out and keep guide details Porters, SWOT and PEST, as explained by Lauren O’Brien, TPS Level Controller.


Thursday 22 March: Yay or Nay to copper coins?

Just like paper notes, round pounds, shillings and ha'pennies, copper 1p and 2p coins could soon be discontinued by the UK Treasury, pending a review of cash and digital payments.

The open consultation on 'Cash and digital payments in the new economy' was announced on 13 March to gather evidence on how UK consumers spend. Demand for both small-value copper coins and £50 notes has reportedly declined in recent years as contactless payments and online purchases have become more popular.

With 1p and 2p coins in particular, there is a big issue with people using them to save in jars or piggy banks, rather than letting the currency cycle through the economy by using them in stores. This means that the Royal Mint has to produce replacements that vastly outnumber those being spent.

The Treasury statement notes: "In previous years the government and the Royal Mint have needed to produce and issue over 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation.

"However, due to an increase in the rate of decline in the use of cash for lower value transactions, there is a reduction in demand for coin from cash processors; they are now holding increasingly large stocks of coin that have returned to them but for which there is declining future demand.

"From an economic perspective, having large numbers of denominations that are not in demand, saved by the public, or in long-term storage at cash processors rather than used in circulation does not contribute to an efficient or cost-effective cash cycle."

While the move seems to make sound financial sense, the nostalgic value attributed to older currencies may cause some public backlash. There are also some concerns about how it would affect charity donations and collection tins.

You can have your say on the subject by contributing to the consultation.

Get in touch

Do you use 1p and 2p coins? Would you miss them if they were gone? Let us know by emailing studentblog@icas.com or tweet @ICAS_students.


In today's blog we take a dive into what makes a good business plan, with reference to what you will learn in TC Finance, tips for how to network at business events, and if you are interested in tuning into the Admission Ceremony and the celebrations that lie ahead for when you qualify, you can watch the proceedings as they unfolded on Saturday 17 March!

What makes a good business plan?

Business plans can be lengthy and difficult to understand, especially for those unaccustomed to the format. We identify what makes a good business plan with reference to TC Finance.

How to win at networking events

Love them or hate them, the networking event is unavoidable in the modern working world. We can all survive them, but what about using them to your advantage? Check out our useful advice.

Admission Ceremony Live 2018

Watch your family, friends and colleagues as they mark their entry into one of the world’s most powerful business networks. The 2018 Admission Ceremony was broadcast live and is now available to stream on-demand, including certificate presentations.


Monday 19 March: Are financial stereotypes holding you back?

How does the media influence your thoughts on money? New research suggests that stereotyping may skew your attitude to finances by gender.

Starling Bank, a sector disruptor, carried out a linguistic analysis and imagery review of 300 financial articles from the UK and beyond. Media content aimed at women over the past year was shown to emphasise cutting back on expenses and referred to financial matters as intimidating and complicated.

These articles also tended to be accompanied by images of women struggling to cope with personal finances or over-simplified money concepts like a child's piggy bank.

Conversely, content aimed towards men typically featured connotations of strength, power, and intelligence. Male readers were encouraged to be competitive and assumed to be well-versed in professional finance with themes of calculated risk and portfolio investment.

Starling Bank Founder and Chief Executive Anne Boden told The Guardian: "It’s everyday sexism. If women are constantly talked about as either scrimping and saving or managing the pennies to make things go further, that’s what you get reinforced to think money’s all about.

"And of course if you’re a man you’re having different sorts of conversations; you’re prepared to demand more, and not see money as something you have to beg for, but something you have a right to."

Get in touch

Do you think your attitude towards your own money has been swayed by media influence? Where does the responsibility lie for this kind of bias? Share your opinion with @ICAS_students on Twitter or email studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, we look at how to put together an effective study plan and go into detail on final accounts in Financial Reporting. Also, for those who officially joined the ICAS membership on Saturday, we remind you of some of the perks that come with being a CA!

Four tips for study plans

One of the most common questions students ask the ICAS tutor team is: "Can you help me create a study plan?" Here are four tips to help you create an effective plan of action.

How to prepare final accounts in Financial Reporting

Student conundrum: I’m making the step up to Financial Reporting, how should I prepare final accounts?

What can ICAS do for you?

We round up some of the benefits that come from being an ICAS member after you qualify.


Thursday 15 March: The continued growth of Amazon

First, it was the high street, then supermarkets, then shipping and deliveries, and finally, Alexa took over our homes. Does Amazon have banks in its crosshairs next?

Internet giant Amazon has reportedly been in talks with big banks in the US, including JP Morgan Chase & Co., to discuss developing a financial product for young customers that would act like a 'checking' or current account with the company.

Traditionally, a checking account is an easily-accessible debit account that may be used to make card payments and set up regular transactions like rent and bills. Many banks now allow these types of accounts to be managed by the customer through online and mobile banking options, making it a product open to digital competition and disruption.

Amazon is now considering a similar offering for people who do not currently use a bank account, particularly young potential customers, to make online shopping easier.

This isn't the company's first foray into the financial sector. Amazon Pay is their own payment product that streamlines online transactions for independent retailers and is thought to be soon moving into high street stores as a contactless payment system. They also already offer a rewards credit card through a partnership with Visa. Are we now starting to see the beginnings of fictional companies such as 'Buy n Large', as featured in Wall-E?


Get in touch

Would you open a current account with Amazon? What would it mean for banks and the future of commerce? Share your thoughts @ICAS_students on Twitter or email studentblog@icas.com.


Reacquaint yourself with the key terms and acronyms of TPE in today's blog. We also take a look at long-form questions in Financial Accounting and the best way to answer them, and look at the lease processes that will decease!

How to master Financial Accounting long-form questions

Sitting Financial Accounting (FA) long-form, and wondering how to tackle the question? Stephanie Pentland and Matt Hall share the five key steps that you should use for success for the paper-based and computer-based exams.

IFRS 16: Off-book leases decease

Over US$2 trillion in off-balance sheet assets and liabilities will come under new reporting standards thanks to IFRS 16, which introduces a major change to global accounting. It’s a change that demands the attention of all in our profession, as Chris Sheedy discovered.

Revised TPE terminology

Find out how TPE terminology has been revised to ensure the qualification remains relevant for accounting profession needs.


Monday 12 March: How does extreme weather affect financial prospects?

The 'Beast from the East' swept across the UK at the start of the month, causing many businesses to close their doors and halt operations. How does extreme weather affect financial prospects?

Businesses that rely on supply chain deliveries, on-site activity from customers or simple workforce manpower would all have been negatively affected by the heavy snow as roads became untraversable and the public remained indoors. Many closed altogether, others asked staff to work from home, and several companies hit the headlines for insisting employees make their way to work in the harsh conditions.

This highlights an interesting risk management dilemma - to what extent should businesses plan ahead for similar situations and what should the default policy be for staff? At what point do ethical concerns for employee safety overtake the need to keep operations running?

The scale of impact is highly dependent on the type of business. Environmental issues can have particularly severe consequences for those in the agriculture, food and drink, and construction sectors. In fact, some analysts believe that the snow effect on high-street retailers and restaurants, among others, may have cut projected GDP growth for the UK in 2018 Q1 by half.

On the other hand, energy and utilities should see a rise in profits after the beastly cold snap. The National Grid reported last week that the country's gas supplies were running low due to increased demand. Not to mention, sales of bread and milk at supermarkets and local retailers went through the roof, and it may be an apt time to revisit contingency plans for the future.

Most companies will at least have insurance coverage for any damages caused by severe weather conditions. However, the major weather events of recent years have driven up premiums and impacted the insurance industry as it continuously pays out for these natural disasters.

Investors and wealth managers should also monitor the weather for the knock-on effect it will have on shares. An oil company, for example, may be trading at a much lower value while offshore rigs are locked down for safety.

Get in touch

How was your work affected by the snow? What impact might severe weather have on your organisation? Let us know on @ICAS_students or email studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, we look at the volumes of IFRS for Financial Reporting, go back to basics on risks in audit, and explore why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to accounting for goodwill.

Your guide to IFRS open books

It’s important to know the difference between the International Finance Reporting Standards two volumes – in this article, Subject Controller Ally Millar helps you understand how to use these books for Financial Reporting.

Accounting for goodwill: the only constant is change

Accounting for goodwill is a great example of why there is not just one 'correct' profit figure or one 'correct' balance sheet total - there is no solitary accounting treatment either!

Back to Basics: Audit Risk

Have you got to grips with the Principles of Audit and Reporting (PAR)? Anna Cameron takes us back to basics on audit risks to make sure you’re on PAR for success!


Thursday 8 March: Celebrating International Women's Day

Today we celebrate International Women's Day (8 March) and look at the major UK investors that are making an effort to boost gender equality in the financial sector.

At a London Stock Exchange (LSE) event last month, 27 of the largest investors in the UK announced their dedication to the 30% Club UK Investor Group 'Statement of Intent': to increase the percentage of women on UK listed companies’ boards and in management roles to 30% by 2020.

The participating investors have a combined worth of £10.5tn and include:

  • Aviva Investors
  • BlackRock
  • Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)
  • JP Morgan Asset Management
  • Old Mutual Global Investors
  • Royal London Asset Management (CIS) Limited
  • Standard Life Aberdeen

The 30% Club was founded in 2010 by then Newton Investment Management CEO Helena Morrissey and has a growing global reach with nine international chapters in addition to the UK group.

UK Women's Minister Victoria Atkins commented at the event: "We are still at around 25% of women occupying board seats in the FTSE 350. We have only two years to go.

"[It is] important asset managers nudge companies in the right direction."

Reminder: ICAS Admissions Ceremony 2018

We are less than two weeks away from the 2018 ICAS Admission Ceremony, held on 17 March in Edinburgh. Now is the time doublecheck everything on our handy preparation checklist.

Get in touch

Are you doing anything to recognise International Women's Day 2018? Tell us about it on @ICAS_students or contact studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, we look at how your time in front of a screen translates into pay. We also look back to when CA women weren't allowed to manage their personal finances and the current issues facing women in work, as well as how this is discussed in Business Ethics 2.

More screen time means higher pay?

Recent research based on the US job economy suggests that employees are being paid more depending on how 'digital' their role is. Is your job valued by the time you spend in front of a screen?

When female CAs couldn't get a mortgage

Imagine being unable to apply for a loan or hire purchase agreement without finding a husband or gaining the signature of a male relative, first. On International Women's Day, we look back to dubious practices of the last 50 years.

Iceland leads the way for gender parity in business

Did you spot the recent news article on Iceland making it illegal to pay men more than women? Find out why it's a great example of Ethics, as discussed during your TPE and Business Ethics courses.

It’s not just the pay gap holding women back

Justine Riccomini, ICAS Head of Taxation, examines the impact that pensions, workplace policies, and new legislative measures have had on women at the senior levels of business and finance.


Monday 5 March: Financial skills dominate the C-Suite

Financial skills dominate the C-suite as research shows nearly a fifth of FTSE 100 CEOs are accountants and more than half are finance professionals.

An analysis from the Global Accounting Network has documented a trend away from the traditional sales and marketing backgrounds of many CEOs to a focus on the finance function.

The results show that 18% of the included CEOs have an accountancy qualification in their career history. Overall, 51% have a background in professional finance.

Adrian O'Connor, Global Accounting Network Founding Partner, said in a statement: "We’ve previously noted that the role of the CFO has expanded in its remit and increased in significance in recent years, and the fact that more finance professionals seem to be stepping into top leadership roles is a natural progression of this.

"With UK firms coming out of the back of a recession, it stands to reason that boards and shareholders are increasingly realising the value of strong financial expertise at the highest levels.

"CFOs have had a much greater say in the strategic direction of firms of late, with their input being widely recognised as absolutely integral to the company’s success. With this in mind, the fact that accountants are disproportionately represented at the top of FTSE 100 firms is unsurprising."

Many CAs reach the CEO level and several of the 2017 35 CAs under 35 were founders, Directors and CEOs of their own companies, using their CA skills to build career success.

Get in touch

What do you think makes CAs suited to be chief executives? How will the skills you are learning now help you towards the C-suite? Share your thoughts with @ICAS_students on Twitter or email us at studentblog@icas.com.


In today's blog, TPE tutor Catherine Devaney talks you through how to use your course feedback and we explore an unusual business case from New Zealand. TPS students can also utilise our one-stop glossary of common terms and abbreviations.

Making the most of your TPE feedback

TPE Level Controller, Catherine Devaney, helps you achieve value in the feedback process. During the TPE course, you will receive a face-to-face feedback session in relation to your mock 1 and mock 2 performances. The sessions are delivered by your mock marker and are entirely personal to you.

The beetle causing a stink for industry

Why will 'stink beetles' from East Asia potentially cost thousands of jobs in the car industry in New Zealand? And what can be done to help? No, this isn’t a riddle, it's in reference to a recent BBC news article and we can analyse this somewhat bizarre business situation from the perspectives of TC BM, TPS Afin and TPE.

Common terms in TPS

To help with your TPS studies and revision, we've put together a glossary of important terms to use as an aid. A more in-depth guide to common abbreviations and phrases can be found in your course materials.


Thursday 1 March: Do you still have any paper £10 notes left?

The countdown is on until paper £10 notes are removed from circulation, to be fully replaced with the newer plastic notes.

From 1 March, those easily-rippable notes will cease to crease in your pockets, and their replacements will feature tactile elements of raised dots to aid the visually-impaired.

But never fear if you miss the deadline, you can take them to a post office or your bank / building society to swap them over (note: you need to be a customer of the bank and you may need to present some form of ID, like a passport or driving licence).

As with the £5 notes, the newer versions are designed to make currency 'inclusive' as stated by the Bank of England governor Mark Carney: "The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen's work. Austen's novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.

"The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner. The note will also include a new tactile feature on the £10 to help the visually impaired, ensuring the nation's money is as inclusive as possible."

The next change in money will occur in 2021 when a new £20 featuring JMW Turner will be launched.

**Update**:

Due to adverse weather conditions, Edinburgh classes are cancelled today (1 March), and Edinburgh and Glasgow classes are cancelled tomorrow (2 March) - this includes Glasgow TPE retake classes and all those currently attending TPS block release classes in these cities.

We have not taken this decision lightly, but have found that many of the students and our own staff were unable to make it safely to the ICAS offices today, resulting in Edinburgh classes being cancelled today, Thursday 1 March. As the weather conditions are expected to continue to cause disruption tomorrow, we have made the early decision to cancel classes on Friday.

Although classes will not run tomorrow, we will be asking students to complete the mock exam scheduled to take place, at home and to send their scanned scripts to us for marking. All students planned to attend classes in Edinburgh and Glasgow will be informed by ICAS by email of this decision and provided with the mock exams.

We will work on an approach for addressing the lost class time resulting from the class cancellations and get back in touch once the approach is settled.


Get in touch

Have you already picked your chosen specialism or field after qualification? Share your choices with us and why on @ICAS_students or email studentblog@icas.com and we'll feature you on the blog!


In today's blog, we delve into financial reporting and data, with a back to basics on non-controlling interests and six tips on how to present figures to a client or your workplace. And for those of you considering audit as a career after qualification, we hear from Kevin Reed for The CA magazine on what the future of the profession will look like.

Back to Basics: Non-controlling interests

Students often ask: What are non-controlling interests and is there a way to remember if I am crediting or debiting it in a consolidation question? Ally Millar, FR subject controller explains.

Six tips for presenting financial data

Whether you are just starting out in your training contract, or have a bit more experience, presenting financial data to others will be part of your role. Here's how to present data in a clear and concise manner for clients and employers.

What is the future of auditing?

Are you considering a career in audit when you qualify? While technology can do much to enhance audit quality, auditors still need business acumen and soft skills. Find out why Bob Dohrer, Global Leader of Quality and Risk for RSM believes 'bringing in creative minds' will be important for the future.

Topics

  • CA Student blog

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