The whys and hows of a single market for Europe | Alessio Terzi, Mario Mariniello and André Sapir at

The legislative triangle of the European Union

The legislative triangle of the European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent article published by international think-tank, Bruegel. It’s a recommended read. Check it out!

via The whys and hows of a single market for Europe | Alessio Terzi, Mario Mariniello and André Sapir at

Unfortunately, the model is theoretical. The reality is often very different with widespread protectionism, restricted practice and absence of effective competition. Let me cite some examples to illustrate my point:

1. Banking – absence of competition across Europe

2. Public sector, national & local government, police, fire and related services – outsourcing of front & back-office – across Europe

3. EU administration – outsourcing of front & back-office

4. Common Agriculture Policy

5. Energy

6. Utilities

7. Professional services

8. Transportation

9. Supermarkets

Without reform, effective competition and fiscal stimulus, massive unemployment will continue, leading ultimately to a continental crisis on three dimensions:

  • Political
  • Social
  • Economic



Accountants can be entrepreneurial too, honest – Seymour Lightman

English: Diagram showing overview of cloud com...

English: Diagram showing overview of cloud computing including Google, Salesforce, Amazon, Axios Systems, Microsoft, Yahoo & Zoho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

office of Jacob Fugger; with his main-accounta...

office of Jacob Fugger; with his main-accountancy M. Schwarz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In early 2014, I took the decision to couple my passion for fraud prevention with a long-held aspiration to start my own boutique practice. I began studying for the Certified Fraud Examiner qualification and achieved full accreditation in July 2014. Not long after that I founded Probe Forensics.

Since then a great deal has happened. Like anyone starting up a business, I’ve had my fair share of false dawns and 20-20 hindsight moments (I’ll be blogging all about them over the coming months right here on Linked-in for those who’re interested), but I’m pleased to report that I’ve done my best to either ignore or learn from them and me and the business are still here and in one piece and in fact in rude health.

Why such rude health?

Well, for one thing I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that I am the lead forensic accountant on a number of criminal fraud investigations and my work has been warmly praised by counsel (apologies for bragging, but anyone who has chanced their arm at acquiring a new technical skill halfway through a professional career will know how gratifying it is to convert their aspiration into a paycheque and how much sweeter still that paycheque feels when the person writing it does so with a smile).

For another, I’ve developed a (completely unexpected) passion for cloud accounting technology, so much so that it has kind of taken over my business, if not my life. Actually, it’s not the tech I’m passionate about per se (although Xero do make it easy to fall in love with their software), but the exciting possibilities this technology opens up for small businesses and those accountants who embrace change and are prepared to redefine how they add value for clients in this brave new internet-based world of ours.

Fast forwarding to now, I’ve rebranded/restructured my practice into The Numbers Factory. Got loads to say about it and what it means to be a cloud-based accounting practice and why this is an unqualified good thing for start-ups and SMEs (for big businesses too, but maybe not just yet), so watch out for my blog posts to come. Meanwhile, please check out:

Seymour Lightman