CIMA Presents: Finance Business Partnering: The Conversations that Count

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On Thurs 23rd Feb, CIMA President Andrew Miskin FCMA CGMA visited UWE to present CIMA research on the changing role of the management accountant in the information age.

He addressed  an audience of public and private sector delegates, academic staff and students, and lead an interactive discussion on finance business partnering. He was welcomed by Tracey John, Head of Research and Business Development in RBI and supported by an introduction from Professor Robert Luther. 150 delegates enjoyed an insight into the future of the management accountant in the information  age and a lively panel debate ensued. A number of students from AEF attended and their comments included:

It was a very powerful talk that gave me new insights to approach my current modules with, as well as a rare chance to have an informal talk with leading academics and accountants that more students should utilise.(Maxwell , BAAF3)

‘It was an enlightening experience and was full of lots of relevant insightful information. Andrew seems to have a very real and positive idea about how management accountants fit into the future. I found the whole thing very interesting.’ (Abigail BAAF3)

CIMA are actively involved in supporting our accounting students and are already planning further events of this kind with us.

‘Replete with folly and injustice’ – Hammond follows in Osborne’s footsteps

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Author Jo Michell, Senior Lecturer in Economics

The media response to the Budget is always reliably low on content and high on hyperbole. Even by these exacting standards, 2017 has been a vintage year. Coverage has focused almost exclusively on the decision to raise National Insurance contributions for self-employed workers – with some side glances to the tax treatment of dividend payments. The macroeconomic implications of the budget have passed almost without comment.

In the days leading up to the budget statement, much attention was focused on Hammond’s proposed £60bn ‘rainy day fund’ – alternatively marketed in some outlets as a ‘war chest’ or ‘gas in the tank’ – to cope with Brexit contingencies.

What form does this fund take? The average reader probably imagines that ‘putting money aside’ involves a transfer of funds into an account somewhere. Maybe the Chancellor will open up an ISA to keep his £60bn safe from the taxman until he needs it?

In fact, the Chancellor’s £60bn ‘fund’ is not yet even in his own hands – it refers to planned additional borrowing between now and 2020.

How, the reader may reasonably ask, is planned borrowing a ‘rainy day fund’? The answer is that – despite determination by politicians and the media to conflate the two – household finances and government finances do not work in the same way. The endless references to ‘living within our means’ and ‘maxing out the credit card’ are deeply misleading – usually intentionally so – when applied to public finances.

Rather than ‘cash in the bank’, the £60bn ‘fund’ is a result of the Chancellor shifting his own fiscal targets around. When he took over from George Osborne, Hammond inherited a ‘fiscal rule’ requiring the government to be in surplus by 0.5% of GDP by the 2020-21 parliament. In plainer language, this means that the government must aim to be repaying its creditors to the tune of half a per cent of GDP by 2020.

In the Autumn Statement, Hammond – taking a leaf from the Gordon Brown rulebook – shifted the goalposts. Instead of aiming at a 0.5% surplus, the new target is a 2.0% deficit. By 2020, the government will aim to be borrowing an amount equal to 2% of GDP per annum.

Incidentally, a 2% deficit by 2020 is pretty much exactly what Labour proposed at the last election. Although denounced as the height of fiscal irresponsibility by the Tories at the time, this has now been spun into a prudent ‘rainy day fund’.

At the time that the Chancellor shifted the goalposts, official figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility showed projected actual borrowing to be a bit less than the target of 2% – by a total of £27bn over the period up to 2020. Since the autumn, official predictions about the public finances have shifted slightly in Hammond’s favour:  as a result of the credit-fuelled post referendum consumer spending spree, tax revenues are now projected to be slightly higher over the next few years.

If the latest round of projections turns out to be correct (they almost certainly won’t) the Chancellor will further undershoot his borrowing target, by a total of around £60bn over the period.

To use the government’s favoured credit card analogy, it is as if you were to obtain a credit card with £1000 limit, and then plan to spend only £400 – leaving you with a ‘rainy day fund’ of another £600.

But this misleading analogy shouldn’t be used. For one thing, the Chancellor is free to set his own limit: the 2% number is arbitrary. He could conjure billions more into his ‘fund’ simply by raising his borrowing target to 3%.

All this of course assumes that he doesn’t make any changes to his tax and spending plans – he could, of course, use public borrowing to fund additional spending on investment and services.

But he won’t do this. He is determined to miss out on the once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by ultra-low interest rates. Rather than taking the advice of the economics profession and spending on desperately needed new infrastructure, the Chancellor presents further austerity as prudence. It is nothing of the sort.

This highlights a more important difference between household and government finances. Spending by an individual household on accommodation, food and clothing will not affect the size of its wage packet. This is not the case for government. Increased public spending leads to higher employment and therefore to higher tax income and lower benefit payments. This is why the ‘credit card’ analogies are so wrong and so pernicious. Government expenditure and income are not independent.

This is what lies behind Keynes’ claim that cuts may not even achieve their narrow aims of reducing government debt. Spending cuts during periods of weak demand lead to lower growth and higher debt ratios.  Recent research finds strong evidence for Keynes’ position: ‘Attempts to reduce debt via fiscal consolidations have very likely resulted in a higher debt to GDP ratio through their long-term negative impact on output.’

In their analysis of the budget, the Institute for Fiscal studies noted that the UK has now gone a decade without growth (on a per capita basis). Average earnings are not projected to reach 2007 levels again until 2022 – by then the UK will have gone fifteen years without a pay rise.

This unprecedented situation is man-made. It is the outcome of seven years of macroeconomic mismanagement. Hammond’s insistence that austerity is prudence brings to mind Keynes’ response to demands for budget cuts in 1930, just after the Wall Street crash: ‘I suppose that they are such very plain men that the advantages of not spending money seem obvious to them.’

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows that the burden of cuts in the coming years will fall entirely on those on low and middle incomes, while the better off are set to see their incomes rise.

The emergency Labour budget of 1931 was, Keynes wrote, ‘replete with folly and injustice’. The statement could equally have been made about any budget presented by George Osborne. Hammond appears determined to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.

 

The Distinguished Professorial Address: Professor Sylvia Walby -“Gender and the crisis”, March 30th

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The Bristol Business School invites you to Professor Sylvia Walby’s Distinguished Professorial Address at UWE Bristol on Thursday 30 March. Register your place here.

Sylvia Walby OBE is Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNESCO Chair of Gender Research, and Director of the Violence and Society UNESCO Centre at Lancaster University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and of the RSA.

She was the founding President of the European Sociological Association; and has been President of Research Committee 02 Economy and Society of the International Sociological Association. She has served on the sub-panel for Sociology for HEFECE REF2014, and as a non-executive director of the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

Her research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the European Commission, European Parliament, European Institute for Gender Equality, Council of Europe, ESRC, and the UN. Books on ‘society’ include: Crisis (Polity 2015); The Future of Feminism (Polity 2011); and Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities (Sage 2009). Books on ‘violence’ include: The Concept and Measurement of Violence against Women and Men (Policy Press 2017), and Stopping Rape: Towards a Comprehensive Policy (Policy Press 2015).

Her address will look at answering the question “Is the mid-twentieth century European nightmare, in which financial crisis led to economic recession, fascism and violence, being repeated today?” 

Abstract:

“What constitutes crisis is contested. The construction of government deficits as if they entailed fiscal crisis to be treated as a state of exception is contested. The cascading of crisis from one institutional domain to another is also contested, since renewed democratic forces potentially provide sites of resilience and resistance.

The significance of gender relations in this democratic resistance is often underestimated. How is the crisis restructuring the gender regime? The complex inequalities on which the financial crisis draws, and which the development of global finance exacerbates, intersect in diverse ways. The paper argues for a gendered conceptualisation of the crisis, not as ‘refamilialisation’ in which women are pushed out of production back into reproduction, but rather as a critical turning point in the trajectory of the public gender regime from a more social democratic form to a more neoliberal form.

The paper offers analyses of gendered practices of the stages of the crisis. It addresses whether the crisis – erupting in finance in 2007, and cascading through the economy, the fiscal, and the political – is now leading to an increase in violence. The theorisation of crisis is developed using complexity science, gender theory, and a reworking of the concept of social system.”

The event is free to attend. Register your place here.

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Students win big at UWE Talent Awards

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Every year, UWE Bristol celebrates their students and alumni with the Celebrating UWE Talent Awards.

This year, the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School won more awards than any other Faculty by winning in five categories and also having five runners up.

Firstly, Heather Murray, a student on BA Marketing degree, won the Undergraduate Intern of the Year award for an internship at St Werburghs Community Farm. The citation from her employer noted that during the internship she  became fluent and confident in writing licence and funding applications, together with communicating excellently with a wide range of people.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was won by Rob Wilson, Will Dooley and Bradley Green founders of Crowdreach, a business started whilst they were students on the Business (Team Entrepreneurship) programme. This start-up business delivers a  Crowd Funding service and has delivered on over 30 projects, with one project raising 1 million dollars.

Next up, the winner of the  Social Entrepreneur award was Neha Chaudhry, a graduate of the MSc Marketing degree, who developed a walking stick which assists sufferers from Parkinson’s disease. Neha used her social enterprise as material for a number of her assessments on the MSc Marketing programme.

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Matthew Lee, Managing Partner of Bishop Flemming LLP, with the winner and nominees of the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Placement Student of the Year Award

Philippa Borton, a final year student on BA Business and Management, won the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Placement Student of the Year for a placement at Boeing Defence UK. Her employers commented that she provided market analysis on a range of multi-billion pound campaigns, receiving formal recognition from executives in the UK and the US and making a valuable contribution to the business. She is currently working on a dissertation for which she collected the data whilst on placement and continues to work part-time for Boeing. Philippa has been offered a full time position with Boeing when she graduates.

Finally, Sagar Limbu,  an alumnus of the BA Business and Management and now a student on the MSc International Management, was a winner of the UWE Bristol Futures Award Student of the Year and a runner up in the International Experience Student of the Year category for an internship in China with Generation UK.

The Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School also had several runner ups in different categories across the night:

Arian Ali Ghanbari, from BA Business (Team Entrepreneurship) was a runner up in the Social Entrepreneur category for Solarnest. Arian used a UWE Enterprise grant to take part in the self-employed internship programme, building Solarnest’s brand, awareness and social media following.

Angharad Griffiths, an LLB Law student, was the runner up in the Undergraduate Intern category for an internship with Coull Ltd, who noted that she was ‘focused, efficient and always on time’ and that they are offering her a part-time role within the company.

The two runners up for the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Placement Student of the Year were Victoria Strange from BA Business Management with Law for a placement as Business Development Co-ordinator with Barton Wilmore and Naomi Lee from BA Business Management (Leadership, Change and Organisations) for a placement as Project Support Co-ordinator with Treves UK.

Congratulations to all the students and alumni who won and nominated at the awards!

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School helps celebrate alumnus Jeremiah Daliel’s first book, inspired by his real life experiences

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On Thursday 16th February, Bristol Business and the Bristol Law School invited alumnus Jeremiah Daliel back to UWE to help him launch his first book.

Jeremiah Daliel was in a car accident in 2011 which left him wheelchair bound. Whilst recovering in hospital he found he had ample time on his hands so began reading avidly and ended up enrolling for not one but two degrees: LLB Law at UWE Bristol and Criminology at the University of Portsmouth.

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On his first day at UWE Bristol, Jerry’s tutor asked the class what they saw themselves doing in the future.

Whilst his fellow classmates talked about future careers they would have, Jerry said he wanted to stand to receive his degree, 3 years later.

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Miraculously, Jeremiah managed to stand up completely unaided and remain standing for the first time in 5 years to receive his degree from UWE Bristol in July last year.

The incredibly emotional moment was shared on UWE Bristol’s Facebook page and was viewed over 130,000 times.

From being shared across UWE social media, the story got picked up by the press and Jerry soon became an internet sensation, with most major newspapers covering the story.

Since graduating in July, Jerry has continued his studies at UWE Bristol and is now undertaking his Advanced Legal Practice course. He hopes to go into full time practice upon completion.

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As well as studying for the LPC, Jerry has also written the book “Paradigm Uncovered: Up Close and Personal”.

The book was inspired by the life changing events which happened to Jerry but focuses on setting and achieving goals.

The book aims to help you change your mind-set in order to stay focused and achieve your goals.

Guests were welcomed to the book launch by Pro Vice Chancellor Jane Harrington, before Jerry shared his experiences and read excerpts from the book to the crowd.

Photos from the event can be found here. Credit: REW-Photography.

Students gain “real world” presentation feedback from Robert Half Employment Consultants

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This term students in the final year of the BA Accounting and Finance degree work on an audit of a fictitious company Sheridan AV in the Audit and Corporate Governance module.   Last Friday they took part in a practice presentation of their work on the planning phase of the audit to a panel comprising the two tutors (Susan Whittaker and Nicola Horner) who acted as the audit manager and the audit partner.  Also on the presentation panel was Leo Hewett who is an Associate Director of Robert Half employment consultants.

Susan and Nicola provided feedback to the students on their technical audit knowledge and Leo gave them instant feedback on their presentation skills.

The intention is that students will be able to consider this feedback  before they make their assessed presentation next month.   Leo’s feedback will also be helpful for students to consider when interviewing for graduate positions.

Alumnus Jeremiah Daliel Launches his book at UWE Bristol – Thurs 16 February

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Jeremiah Daliel became an internet sensation when he stood for the first time in five years at his UWE Bristol graduation ceremony in July to receive his Law degree.

Join the Bristol Law School and the Bristol Business School help him celebrate the launch of his book on Thursday 16 February at UWE Bristol.

Since his graduation, Jerry has finished and launched his book Paradigm Uncovered which inspires setting and achieving goals. Paradigm Uncovered converts the reader from going with the flow to taking charge of life’s controls

Jerry became wheelchair bound after a bad car crash in 2011. However, Jerry used his time in hospital to study for a degree in Criminology and Law.

He is currently studying the LLM LPC Advanced Legal Practice at UWE Bristol and plans to go into full time practice on competition.

At the launch, Jerry will share excerpts from the book as well as recounting some of his experiences including when he stood at his graduation ceremony.

There will also be time for networking over light refreshments.

Places are free to attend but you need register via Eventbrite.

 

The Faculty of Business and Law launch new Research Centres and Groups

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A ‘soft launch’ of the new research centres and groups was held on 25th January 2017 at the Executive Conference Centre.  The groundbreaking research undertaken at UWE Bristol aims to make its mark on business, industry and the wider community.

There are three new research centres and five research groups:

  • CALR- Centre for Applied Legal Research
  • BCEF – Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance
  • BLCC – Bristol Leadership and Change Centre

The groups are:

  • IOMS – Innovation, Operations Management and Supply
  • HRM – Human Resource Management
  • AMG – Applied Marketing Group
  • EE – Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • BBEC – Bristol Business Engagement Centre

Donna Whitehead Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean in her introductory remarks stated:

I’m really excited about the future of our research. What we are launching today represents our ambitious and creative values. We have created new research centres and groups that really reflect our strengths; where we have significant resource, capacity, capability and ambition’

 Presentations were given on each of the research centres and the research groups, outlining the aims of each centre or group.

All the presentations stressed the applied nature of their research and links with their stakeholders.

The soft launch was held prior to Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, Chairman of Cobra Beer’s Bristol Distinguish Address.

In his concluding remarks Lord Bilimoria congratulated the centres and groups and focused on the benefits of collaborative research that impacts on both policy change and decision -making. Lord Bilimoria outlined the benefits of collaborative research and the resultant opportunities.

Over 120 staff and external stakeholders attended the soft launch.

UWE Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme: Applications open for mentors and mentees until 13 January 2017

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The Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) aims to promote and facilitate professional development for women researchers working at UWE Bristol, helping them reach senior research roles.

Applications to the scheme are now open and will close on Friday 13 January 2017.

This mentoring scheme provides support to female staff to develop and strengthen their research portfolio, thereby making them more able to compete for senior research roles alongside their male counterparts. It also aims to address the imbalance of male and female staff in senior roles. In the longer term, it is anticipated that such a scheme will help to achieve the strategic aim of increasing the number of women in senior research roles across the University.

The scheme offers a specified number of mentoring opportunities which aim to provide mentees with encouragement, support and advice from a more experienced colleague, and to help them realise potential and fulfil their research career aspirations. The scheme will entail a nominated woman researcher being matched to a mentor, who can be a woman or man.

The scheme is available for all women in academic and research roles, employed by UWE Bristol who wish to develop their research careers. Professors, Associate Professors and other experienced researchers are invited to take on mentoring roles.

PhD students, staff seconded from other institutions, staff in receipt of the current Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Award and new members of staff who are being mentored as part of their probation period are not eligible to apply as mentees.

Applications are now open for both mentors and mentees. It is important that we gain as much information as possible on each applicant and their reasons for applying to the scheme in order to enable us to make the most suitable mentor/mentee pairing. The WRMS team will strive to match everybody that applies, so we welcome as much details as possible on the application form.

More information and the application form for mentors and mentees can be found here.

BME networking event for Business and Law students

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Photos from the BME networking event

The Bristol Business School and the Bristol Law School celebrated Black History Month 2016 with a fantastic professional networking evening for BME students on 17th November 2016.  Over 50 Law and Business BME professionals and entrepreneurs from across Bristol joined us in order to share their career insights and advise our students.

Organisations in attendance included Elite Solicitors Ltd, Gregg Latchams, Albion Chambers, Bristol Pound CIC, GE Oil & Gas as well as the Black Police Association. Many professionals in attendance were UWE Alumni who were delighted to return to Frenchay and meet the next generation.

Guests and students were treated to a delicious and authentic Caribbean feast provided by the award-winning team at Biblos, managed and owned by UWE Alumni and entrepreneur Will Clarke, also in attendance.

The evening included networking activities and talks from finance experts and motivational coaches as well as inspirational UWE Bristol Alumni. Rodney Wilson (UWE Law) Managing Director of Elite Solicitors shared his career journey with a captive audience. Elite Solicitors opened in the heart of Bristol in 1991, it has since become the leading BME-predominant criminal defence and immigration firm in the South West.

Solicitor-Advocate Melissa Toney (UWE LPC) spoke of breaking several glass ceilings as a successful young black woman, and of her appearances before the Royal Courts of Justice. She championed our female students to set their sights high and go for it!

Rahat Ahmed (UWE Economics) founder of KnowYourPower delivered an inspiring and uplifting account of how he overcame personal struggles to graduate with First Class honours and establish a successful career in finance. Rahat spoke of success, determination and the pursuit of happiness.

The event, the first of its kind at UWE Bristol, was a huge success and energised over 100 students in attendance.

Photos from the evening can be found here.

Our thanks to all alumni who attended the event, which was organised by Dr Zainab Khan (FBL).

A date for your 2017 diaries: 9th February 2017 6pm

Tunde Okewale MBE, the founder of the charity Urban Lawyers and recipient of numerous diversity awards, will be delivering Bristol Law School’s Annual Lecture, ‘No one Rises to Low Expectations.’  Registration for this event will be available online soon.