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: www.thenumbersfactory.co.uk.

Seymour Lightman

Treasury accountants accused of helping rich to avoid tax | tax avoidance News | The Week UK

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français...

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français : Entrée Est de HM Treasury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a further twist on poacher/gamekeeper/poacher story that has been widely reported in the UK’s media. Now we see that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is concerned about specialists from the major accounting firms seconded to the Treasury; those same specialists are then able to return to their firms and help wealthy individuals/corporations to “plan” tax minimization. It’s a short article and well worth a read. Check it out!

Treasury accountants accused of helping rich to avoid tax | tax avoidance News | The Week UK.

Once again this story questions the relationship of major consulting firms/ big four accounting firms and the public sector. The relationship is all too cosy for many, including the PAC; personally, I have enormous respect for the PAC.

David Cameron’s government has systematically blocked the deployment of independent professionals, like executive interim managers, which has forced the public sector to deploy big firm consultants (often less qualified and more expensive); this is really about cronyism in my view. Further, despite World opinion to the contrary, David Cameron’s government has stuck to excessive austerity which favors the wealthy and is toughest for wage and salary earners (plus of course the unemployed); significantly, there seems to be a different set of tax rules for the wealthy. With the Treasury’s policies being deeply unpopular, I expect the poacher/game-keeper/poacher stories to run and run.

Any thoughts?

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