Category Archives: Accounting, Business & Finance

This is a place for the professional-related stuff I do from time to time. A lot more can be found on http://www.quoracy.com

EU’s “Most Dodgy” List, and how you can make a difference.


Ali Hassan al-Majid, hearing in Baghdad, Iraq ...

One man's terrorist is another man's hamburger stall customer...

The EU keeps a list of people you need to keep well away from. You’re not allowed to enter into business deals with these people. Not so much as a choc-ice should you sell or buy to them. If one of these people comes up to you and asks you what time it is, then you should give a refusal to answer, or at worst a misleading answer, and then immediately tell your local EU anti-dodginess enforcement officer about the contact.

If they come up to you and say “good morning”, they’ve already lied to you once. It can’t possibly be a good morning if you met one of them on it.

This list will go out of date almost as soon as it appears, so for the latest one head over to this place and get the latest list of total world scale hooligans to avoid.

Now that this is up on the EU’s site for public consumption, nobody in the EU has any excuse for failing to comply with sanctions. If you run a hamburger stall or a small taxi company, you could be liable if someone from this list buys a good or a service from you and you don’t tell them to get the hell outta here. So it’s up to you to ensure that the whole list is memorised the whole time, or at the very list look up people you are doing business with if you’re not sure about them or their organisation. Read the rest of this entry

Top 30 Languages to learn for 2050


Map showing countries and autonomous subdivisi...

The Turkic linguation - to a greater or lesser extent mutually intelligible languages. However often not the preferred business languages of their regions, hence only 12th place in this economic utility-based prediction.

Here are my 2050 predictions, originally shared on http://www.how-to-learn-any-language.com :

1. Chinese (all types)
2. English (all types)
3. Arabic (all dialects)
4. Russian
5. Spanish (all types)
6. Japanese
7. German
8. French
9/10.Portuguese and Korean(if there is Korean unification, Korean takes the higher slot)
11. Italian
12. Turkish and mutually intellible forms of Turkic Read the rest of this entry

I think, therefore I audit. I film, therefore I am. (CUV)


The point of this video is discussing what Descartes‘ famous maxim “I think therefore I am” means to me today, whilst driving past the house he grew up in in the village that bears his name in France.

This is actually video number 18 in the French holiday season, but I didn’t number it as I wanted to present it earlier, so later on the French series will jump from 17 to 19.

Portrait of René Descartes, dubbed the "F...

Oh, Renee!

The phrase “I think therefore I am” always seemed to me to be ridiculous. After all, when people become thoughtless they don’t just stop existing. They exist as they did before. Some even go through life in a thoughtless state. We have no idea to the extent that animals think – some such as bonoboes, whales and elephants may experience thoughts closer to our own than we may expect. Maybe there is thoughtfulness even further away in the cladoscope from mankind than we would even expect. It doesn’t make the more thinking animal more or less existant than the less thinking animal.

So I decided some time ago that another verb was needed rather than “to be” in order to make a more fitting end to this sentence, and I came upon it while teaching audit. I used to, and still do from time to time, train younger folk how to audit businesses, do reviews, due diligences and all manner of accountancy related services for business. I taught that mindless ticking and bashing of documents, without understanding the heart of an entity’s business, its purposes and its systems, would lead to a valueless and proabably flawed audit process, and that the only way to audit properly was to switch the brain on and keep it switched on for the duration of the audit. So I coined the term “I think, therefore I audit” and taught with this motto all around East Europe in the nineteen nineties and still do from time to time now.

The problem is of course, that because the audit profession is dominated by Big Four firms, who know that they cannot make profits on audits by putting people who can think for themselves on jobs, they have made the profession more and more of a box-filling matter so that junior staff, especially first years fresh from university with precious little practical training and little time to have learned how to think about the things they need to look out for, even though they mainly would probably want to, can go in and perform the bulk of an audit. This is not popular with middle tier clients who want some added value from the observations of their auditor which these younger ones are not yet ready to give, and on the contrary frustrate the client with naive questions as it becomes painfully apparent how they are learning on the job, and the middle tier try to field more senior people on work, and this actually costs our firms more, although we are taking generally less because the audits are smaller and the Big Four are erroneously assumed to have more prestige.

Yes. Even after Enron, and all the other Big Four messes. And the middle tier are forced to endure tighter regulation to assure that audits are being done “properly” but this “properly” means being done the way the Big Four instituted and keep on doing – namely mindless box filling. The Big Four lobby the professional bodies and state how things need to look in the way a standardised audit is carried out, and having any actual talent for sniffing out what could be wrong in a company, having any ability to think your own way through to what could be ailing in a company, these things have no premium whatsoever, on the contrary audit has become such a secretarial job over the last ten years that anyone with a spark of imagination is likely to run from the profession screaming. Read the rest of this entry

I’m still getting the hang of doing galleries…


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This doesn’t look like I thought it would, but what it is is actually four photos from the International Business Forum website – the Christmas party event at which I was asked to be the auctioneer for the evening’s charity auction, so you can see me here in the best bib and tucker. I just took the ones with me in but you can see more on the site http://www.ibforum.cz

What I found gratifying was that the shots of others taken while I was talking as auctioneer looked as if people were enjoying the humour. They had completely different faces to the ones during the serious bit before where the people running the Pink Crocodile charity talked about the difficult conditions of the kids they are helping. People looked a bit stressed by that, nobody likes suffering, much.

But people gave generously in the auction, we sold everything for good prices, and I hope my jokes didn’t upset too many people!

Some footage from my actual auctioning should be coming up in the not too distant future on video too!

Excel from the DCF Lesson


This article shows the spreadsheet I made to illustrate the DCF lesson on YouTube. The image that comes next before the table, has nothing to do with it but it came up on the “content enriching” function, and it looked interesting, so I thought I’d share it with you at the same time.

For those wishing to see the DCF lesson, here it is:

Obstacles to the free flow of information online.

Countries impeding the free flow of information on-line

Cost of Capital
0.15
Time 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Cash At Start 100,000
EBITDA (100,000) 20,000 200,000 300,000 350,000 350,000
CAPEX (50,000) (30,000)
FCF 100,000 (150,000) 20,000 200,000 270,000 350,000 350,000
Annuity Value 2,333,333
Discount Factor 1.0000 0.8696 0.7561 0.6575 0.5718 0.4972 0.4323
DCF 100,000 (130,435) 15,123 131,503 154,373 174,012 1,160,079
Value of the Business 1,604,656
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