CPRS Panel for CPA Australia

I am a delinquent blogger.  Very, very delinquent.  That isn’t because I haven’t been doing interesting stuff, it is because I have, and although I tweet regularly, I don’t always get around to making another blog post.

So by way of ‘advance notice’, I am just saying’, I am presenting at a panel for CPA Australia next week on the effect of the CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) on business.  Even though it’s been delayed, the reporting imposte is still going to be there.

Here’s a link to the panel I’m speaking on:


I’ll post my notes and slides (it’s only 10 minutes) next week, but it promises to be an interesting event.  Some people still argue about the science – for me, that’s as maybe, given that there IS a reporting scheme coming in :).  Eventually.

Friendly business

The business of accounting is business. Nobody said that, but it’s true nonetheless. Accounting is a profession that is definitely not about counting beans and wearing cardigans these days. CPA Australia members are core parts of every aspect of Australian business life, and so it is unsurprising that they are often among the first to identify new business issues as they arise and they are the ones given to advises for business improvement. For example, an issue noted recently is the potential impact that online social networking has upon business, and if you work from home in your business, you will need to learn how to take home pay for this. These websites allow friends to chat, share photographs, videos, and to discuss their work, lives, loves, wins and losses. At last count, there were more than six million Australians with profiles on Facebook and MySpace.

It is hardly a business issue that Australians have friends. Mateship is an Australian tradition, whether on the Kokoda track or on Facebook. The issue is that, as our world becomes more connected, it is increasingly difficult to separate personal lives from the world of ‘work’. Private actions now take place in very public places, with search engines voyeuristically distributing these activities for the entire world to see. Consider the recent YouTube ‘star’ who made negative comments about his employer. Once, those excruciating videos would have tormented only his unfortunate immediate family. YouTube provides the conduit to a whole new audience. Questionable tastes in humour cross organisational hierarchies though. There may be regrets for the partner of a consulting firm whose photo was posted online by a member of his staff, complete with Hitler moustache, swastika, and a Nazi salute. Not perhaps the look his professional profile is looking for.

Business owners must cross the generational and digital divide to become digital citizens so as not to be caught unawares, like the new owner of a motor dealership who was unaware of a web comment telling prospective customers to ‘avoid [the dealership] like the plague’. Three years on, that advice is still there and is prominently displayed when new customers Google the dealership. Twitter, a relatively new social networking service, allows users to post ‘microblogs’ from their mobile phone. Comments damaging a business’s online reputation are regularly made there – at one store, while still in the store, a customer ‘tweeted’ to her 789 ‘followers’ about the bad service received.

It is not all negative. Delight the digital citizens and your business will benefit. Robert Scoble, a particularly notorious blogger, mentioned a new book he was reading in a single tweet. With over 34,000 followers, it seems people took note, and the book quickly scaled the heights of the Amazon best seller list.

A generation has matured with the internet at their fingertips. This is a different world than the old world of football, kangaroos, meat pies and Holden cars. Your customers use the internet to inform their opinions. A business can take some steps to present itself in the best light possible, but actively manipulating information is unwise. The punishment for chicanery and ‘bad behaviour’ online is unpleasant, caustic and swift. Transparency and honesty are necessary in the digital world. The actions of an over-zealous employee can quickly ensure that a business is condemned to the scrapheap of irrelevance – consider the very public example of the software developer 2Clix who brought legal action against Whirlpool to have negative comments taken down from its forums.

Increasingly, ‘personal’ and ‘work’ lives collide. People need to be a little more circumspect when posting material online. Activities are often publicly available and can be seen by anyone – an audience perhaps not originally considered. Recruiters increasingly Google a candidate’s name to see what can be discovered. Personal information can be used for identity theft, and likewise corporate information on personal profiles can be used for ‘social engineering’ scams to defraud the business.

Is this an accounting issue? Probably not. Is it a business issue? Definitely, and accountants fundamentally are about business. The CPA Congress in Melbourne this year includes a workshop to help people understand how they can use online social networking tools without causing great grief, and how a business can respond to the business challenge of online social networking in a positive way. This workshop will be particularly beneficial for businesses seeking guidance in navigating the digital landscape effectively. Experienced accountants, like those at the Professional Corporate Services In Australia, can offer valuable insights and strategies to optimize online presence and mitigate risks. For those few people that are natural digital denizens, the workshop will discuss tactics they already know. For others, there will be hints and tips that will save them time, money, and a poor online reputation.

The social networking phenomenon is here to stay and will continue to grow. Businesses must understand the impact of social networking upon the business, and monitor their ‘internet footprint’. Individuals must understand acceptable behaviour when living out their digital life. Simply ‘banning’ or ‘ignoring’ online social networking is rarely helpful. A sensible and informed approach is important, with an awareness of the potential risks and problems. For tailored guidance on managing financial challenges, consulting with an Insolvency Practitioner Bedfordshire can provide valuable insights and support.

Social networking: sometimes, it’s about business.

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GenY and the Workplace

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting to the Southbank Institute of Tafe’s COTAH (College of Tourism and Hospitality), helping out one Nicole Jensen who I met on twitter.  As I understand it the exercise is to ensure practical experience regarding event management – i.e. run an event, rather than take in what the subject matter was.  I am probably wrong though, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about fireworks and the shoe-wearing exploits of Jenny Gaskell.

Incidentally I wonder how long it will take Jenny to find this reference given that the subject of my discussion was GenY and the Workplace, and the impact of online social networking upon business :). 

Anyway – if you’ve come here for the slides be disappointed no longer.  The slides are reproduced below on SlideShare and for download as a PDF:  GenY and the Workplace.

GenY and the Workplace

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: online social)

As always, feedback welcome.

Social networking and recruitment of GenY?

I was asked over at the CPA Congress community:

Are you in the main, referring to Gen-Y/Z recruitment? Is it assumed that social networking sites are less relevant to the GenXers and boomers?

Also, i am of the view that it takes a multitude of factors to retain Gen-Y. Is it even possible to retain the bulk of Gen Y’s for a long stint?

If employers start allowing specific down-time for employees to surf the net etc, does this breed resentment in the workforce that do not utilise social networking websites? I.e. similar to employees that go for their hourly cigarette break.

My response?  The session on Thursday will be touching on recruitment and leveraging social networking sites.  The focus mostly tends to be on GenY, and leveraging with people you know (six degrees of Kevin Bacon if you know what you mean) to get ‘better’ staff. 

I think it is assumed that social networking sites are less relevant to GenXers and boomers.  There is a certain amount of truth to this in that they tend not to use it – but I think particularly LinkedIn does have impact amongst GenXers and some babyboomers.  I am really finding myself drawn to the Twitter community at the moment as it tends to be more active and has less ‘fluff’ and more potential for conversations.  But you can become addicted easily to it.

I understand incidentally that LinkedIn has become very active with people looking for new jobs in the current financial meltdown. 

I’m not an HR expert but those that I know would agree with you definitely that it takes a multitude of factors to retain GenY – just as it does for anyone.  I do ask myself whether you need to hoard every GenY you come across 🙂 – sometimes people moving on is constructive (i.e. functional turnover rather than dysfunctional turnover).  The way it seems to keep GenY is to offer them interesting roles, change and opportunities to learn.  As well as access to Facebook and plenty of money :).  The current economic crisis may change that. 

I might add that such humble approaches work for GenXers too :).  Regarding retaining ‘the bulk’ of GenY  – for some industries it is possible, but I’d ask whether it is actually a positive thing to do (i.e. keep the ‘bulk’ for a long stint).  I think we’ve always had this problem, but ‘churn and burn’ isn’t as effective, as there just aren’t as many GenY’s as there were GenXers when I graduated 17 years ago. 

Regarding specific down-time for employees to surf the net – I imagine it does breed resentment.  So, though, does asking people to work weekends and late nights at the expense of family life and friends – it’s quid pro quo I think on that one.  I wouldn’t advocate specific down-time – a Facebook-break – but I’m pretty old-fashioned. 

I would say that it is probably like getting a personal phone call at work – you don’t worry if it isn’t too much, but if a person spent hours on it to affect their effectiveness, you’d have to pull their horns in. 

Anyone else’s thoughts on this matter?  These are my grab-bag response to this issue – I may have missed something or get something wrong.  It’s been known to happen.

Thanks:  Micheal Axelsen


Evernote is good, but it’s not everything…

Well, my setup for my mobile life is slowly coming together.  Firstly, I have a Blackberry for when I am out and about – full integration into Exchange server hosted by WebCentral.  It’s an expensive approach by the time Telstra and Webcentral have their cut, but it works well and is my primary mobile device.  Then I have two laptops – a Dell Vostro 1500 (the luggable for power-computing) and an HP Mini-Note 2300 for mobile computing (it’s small, light, and light-powered but does what’s necessary – mostly).  I have an HP Media drive that I use to synch files between the luggable and the HP – I’m currently using SyncToy from evil Microsoft to synchronise the files, although I did try SyncBack as well.  SyncToy is generally easier to use but its reputation is not as solid as SyncBack’s – my trouble with SyncBack is its complete lack of feedback as to what it’s actually synced and what it hasn’t.  I use GMail for my personal email, and it runs on my mobile based upon the Google Apps hosted solution. 

I also use Office Document Imaging to convert all my filenotes to PDF, so that they become part of my backup routine.  Ironically, the only thing I don’t keep electronically like this is my accounting records, as one day I may actually hand them over to an accountant.  And much to my annoyance I continue to use Office 2007 after a run-in with Open Office – it completely lost a major spreadsheet on me by overwriting a filename and annoying me somewhat – also Open Office files (native) don’t seem to be indexed by Copernic, my desktop searching engine.  I use ThinkingRock to manage my tasks and projects and todo lists (I did revert to Outlook tasks, which was good for mobility, but bad for trying to manage projects and generally implement GTD).  The new version of ThinkingRock 2 is much more polished so I am coming back to the TR fold (I was silly for going away, even if I did get mobility out of Outlook tasks). 

Finally, I use Evernote for little snippets of information that I collect and need to refer to, or that I stumble across while I’m researching stuff for papers I’m presenting and so on.  What is fantastic about Evernote is it’s ability to bring a lot of material together in one place, treat it the same, tag it, and bring it back, and do it from multiple vectors (PC, Mac, Internet, mobile phone) and keep it all in synch, for a reasonable price.  If used well, it can be very good.  A major difference from version 2 is the lack of version control.  I also originally came across Evernote while searching for a personal wiki approach, and EverNote doesn’t really support that type of functionality, it keeps it simple stupid.  I now use WikidPad to do that sort of thing.

Overall, Evernote is a great repository for keeping research together, and keeping things in synch between multiple devices (as you can see above, a fair chunk of my setup is devoted to synching stuff between machines.So it’s a great tool for doing what says it does.  Unfortunately it means I no have Yet Another Place with information stored – files (which I index with Copernic), some websites and now Evernote.  I wonder if my stuff in Evernote will convert over in a few years time – hopefully it’s successful and continues to operate, otherwise I will have a lot of information contained in Evernote that can’t be migrated to anything else.

I suppose in some ways it’s not unlike Lotus Notes, ironically, in its original syncing format, although it’s not collaborative I guess.  It is personally focussed.  Still it’s worth my $A47 for a premium subscription, and I’ll think about where it goes from here.  It’s a good tool to add to my suite of stuff I use, but it’s probably not going to be my nirvana for file and information management any time soon. 

Maybe one day I’ll get there.