Thursday, 31 January 2013

International Standards on Auditing:

Having sat and passed the exams for the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants  over a period of time, while working in a firm of chartered accountants and using a combination of work experience, learning from texts,  learning answers off of past papers, practicing questions in "mock" examination style booklets to give myself an edge in terms of speed, mental preparation for the real thing, I came to realise that studying and passing exams were not the easiest thing in the world.  When it came to work, I was fairly disciplined, however as time passed I realised that learning from books was not necesarily the best approach for me as I was more interested in reading novels than
a text and still am.
In a profession, where to specialise in either audit or tax which are the fields where most of the income is earned, meant that you could quote  the section of the Act, to support your cause, understanding how things worked, the sources of information  was a much easier choice.
Also having taken a career break for some years, on returning to the profession, I realised that  while we learnt to audit using certain concepts, the terms had changed, so that while previously we tested for risk, now we looked at assertions. One of the things that had changed was access to information, such as the existence of wiki, where you can read the entire set of International Standards on Auditing free of charge or purchase them. See the following link.
At this time, there is no reason to learn the standards as my interaction with auditors is now from the other side of the fence, however I will run through the Standards and perhaps write a bit on one or two.  
 However for now, I will deal with the standards in Summary. The standards are divided into the seven categories as indicated below. While the standards are primarily used by the auditors during the course of the audit, with the sope of the audit guiding the use of same,there are times when the auditors'  use of the standards are reviewed by  their peers as part of the review of the quality of work done by an auditing company.
From a business perspective, having knowledge of the standards and being able to apply them as a person operating at different levels in  a business, will be beneficial in the long run for some of the following reasons: Understanding and use of the standards allow persons on a team to function using the same rules. Just as International Accounting Standards (IAS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS's) guide you on accounting treatments, disclosures in the financial statements, Standards on Auditing guide you on the processes/testing/documentation  which are assessed  by different parties. So for example, respective responsibilities can be used in any type of contract, it may be all about understanding what is being reveiwed and checking your documentation. 



Monday, 28 January 2013

Lent and Other Special Seasons

Catholics use the period of Lent and Advent as a time of preparation for Easter and Christmas respectively. Many priests choose the lifestyle of John the Baptist and preach abut repentance, the practice, the feeling and the need for it. For years I have been challenged by the repenting approach to Lent. It is not that I am not inclined to repent, however forty days of practicing the various ways to repent, does not make me a better person. I am more likely to become a better person if I learn a new skill along with the expectations of behaviour which will accompany this skill. For example teaching me about health and safety will encourage me to practice safety measures when I am using the acquired skills and when I am exposed to risks which accompany most activities.
Another way we acknowledge that we are reaching close to the celebration of Easter is in the "Good Friday Walk". Early in the morning of Good Friday, there is a walk with the recitation of the Rosary and the  reading on the Stations of the Cross representing the walk of Jesus with the cross.

There is some measurement used for the marking of the various stations and there are persons who walk with a wooden cross. Given that the area where I live ranges from hill and descent to the sea, and each year a different route is used, this can be a challenging walk both physically and mentally.
On a good note, close to the celebration of  both Christmas and Easter, my parish collects  groceries from the parishioners. These groceries are meant to be funded by our  self denials. However I do not believe that our parishioners deny themselves that much, as the groceries which are received  far outweigh any amount of self denial given the means of most of the parishioners. On the other hand, if I were to give at these times as a means of atoning for my sins, accepting that I can be forgiven, then Lent and Advent would not be a trial for me.

In searching for images to use in this blog, I  found the following sites which covered teaching about the stations of the cross to children.



Sunday, 27 January 2013

Blogging and my Career

My career has been based on confidentiality. There were no discussions in public about client's affairs or with other members of staff who were not directly involved with the client. Most things about clients were handled on a need to know basis.

There were several reasons for staying in that career for a period of time, such as  access to learning, both technical and through training and  the culture of the company. Yes there were drawbacks in that there were endless rules, timekeeping,  getting things done on time was a factor of life, however the pluses outweighed  the minuses.
After a career break which involved learning in a different way, mainly through practical experience of how things worked, some technical learning, luck in work opportunities and good relationships. I was hired by a company that looked good on their website in terms of the services which they offered. They turned out to be good in other ways, from the people experience to the opportunities for learning, in short their website did not sell the whole picture and I guess that is one of their better kept secrets. Of course part of the secret involves how you apply yourself  as
part of any experience involves you.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well there are many ideas/practices engaged in by that company which I will like to imitate should I have my own business.
One of the better ones is a staff breakfast where  each person brings something and it costs the business nothing except time. Part of the enjoyment in that interaction was appreciation for one another, their generousity and willingness to share, the bonding of persons as in most instances we did not have a meal together except at Christmas so this was an interim form of bonding.
So how does blogging and my career fit together? Well a person's career is based on strategic moves,  part advertising and networking, part knowledge and skill, part sharing of where they would like to be and what are the constants in their lives.  I believe that there are many things that I have learnt apart from the technical skills, either through development books which I have read or interactions with persons and blogging is giving me a chance to capture those important aspects of my career. Many persons are great at advertising their  knowledge and skill and where they would like to be, however the constants in their lives can change based on where they see themsleves.  I am hoping that the constants in my life define me.......

Challenging Things

Sometimes in responding to a question you are stretched almost beyond belief.... Coming from a profession where you are taught that the answer to a question almost always starts with "it depends"  and you need to state your assumptions, as you cannot rely on the possibility that  the audience will know what you mean, it can be equally frustrating for those who ask the question as for those who answer it.

For example in trying to select someone to perform a service where we do not have access to their processes or assumptions however we are providing information, responses to questions, documents and trust. I  fall back on explaining  the responsibilities of  the two parties so that we start with understanding the responsibilities which will be stated in a report and in the contract.
The responsibilities which are identified will be one of the points which will assist our party in understanding the scope of  the  agreement which  they are entering into with another as well as the outcome of the contract.  Using a public source of information, where the responsibilities of each party is laid out, I copy the information and include it in an extract. The responsibilities will be read and partially understood. I know that with time, there can be greater understanding or there may be less.  Knowing this, I can aim for some of the basic  areas and expectations, advise  as to   our position  so that we can start to understand  the state of the  information which  we are providing. I can guess at the possibilities of the other party's focus, the possibilities of where they will request additional information however sometimes I have to let go and accept the concept of materiality.
Sometimes it is easier to be formal  in the communication of infomation than it is to be convincing. I have a duty of care to check that the information which I provide is materially correct. We can disagree on the value of materiality. Sometimes we may even disagree on the qualitative aspects of materiality. Also I have to rely on your ability as a rational human being to understand the information that is being presented. I am not sure that you know or suspect that I am going to rely on that.
copyright: Jennifer Bailey

In the long term, I want to:

I started writing this to define the absolute basic of what I wanted to do professionally in the long term. In revisiting the draft, I realised that I like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and wanted to add it as a
broadcasted basic.
While CSR can seem to be demanding in that you give up a lot of your free me, should you volunteer for most of the activities which are currently available, one of the benefits which arise  is the  developing of the person and the organisation.  Of course there are exceptions to the rule, however in most cases over time through voluntering, persons develop planning, team and relationship building skills. However, back to the broadcasted 'basic of what I want to do/offer in the long term": I want to offer a service for persons who:
  • Want advice on taxes
  • Are willing to learn new skills with respect to accounting, taxes, possibly cash flow planning, accounting 
  • programmes! Why?
Persons who are willing to learn allow for adapting to changes which are more difficult otherwise! It is always good to share knowledge as each person can add their perspective on things, and coming back to something allows you to look at things differently...

Accounting /producing compilation reports can be your bread and butter, but taxes, payment of these is where you can make some money consistently.

Green Fund Levy and Business Levy saw to that.....

So while you cannot be everything to everyone, you can be  try to organise things so that there is a steady stream of income, there is a provision for retirement and you can be paid for doing something you love~

So what is my motivation? I will never learn to love cooking, so I  have to earn enough to  buy meals. :)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Donor's Choose.Org

7R's: FiRst GRadeRs ReseaRch a Topic, Then WRite CReatively!
Let's Get RollingPreviously I wrote about some of the worthy causes which "Gates Notes" promote and I had a quick glance at some of the sites. Today I went back to Donor's Choose  and started looking at the page. This site attempts to link persons who are willing to donate money with a project which a teacher is undertaking. On the opening page, projects are listed by category such as Art, Science, Project of the day, Half of. The Half off identifies companies which have donated to specific projects. Also if you are financially unable to contribute to all of the projects as they are very engaging to look at, then you can share a few projects a day and highlight the needs of others. The sharing of the information will be of value as the information may spark a great contribution from someone else. The projects can be viewed according to the following categories:
Most Urgent: Highest Poverty and Closest to the Finish Line: These range from "Literacy for my little scholars where US$85 is needed, out of a total cost of US$808;
Expand Horizons and Bring Spanish to Life!
Literacy For My Little Scholars  

Bean Bags make reading more fun, where US$91, is needed out of a total cost of US$244,
Fewest Days Left:

Lowest Cost::
Most Donors:

In viewing some of the projects, I noted that there was support being provided by volunteers at Donor's Choose where someone "Reviewed the project essay and sent follow-up questions if needed," and someone "Verified the cost of the requested technology and posted this project." I also like the comments on the projects as some of the persons who have donated knew the person who was making the request and stated that were donating because they were supporting the person or the project. I especially enjoy reading about the projects, as there is a volume of caring and problem solving taking place by teachers which can assist in solving challenges which other teachers or parents around the world may have. I suppose that maintaining these essays on a database to provide access to solutions for various challenges would be another project as this info is too valuable to lose sight of once a project is completed.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Gates Notes

All right, I thought I had captured it all with the Annual Letters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but I was wrong, here are "The Gates Notes"   which are self explanatory, that is, they are written/composed by Bill Gates of Microsoft fame. They are quite interesting also.  These "notes"  are the equivalent to websites on six topics, thus each topic is linked to a page with photos and articles  using either dates to highlight the age of the article or event or a photo of a book cover. There  are "notes" on:
I thought that the Personal would be just that, however it covers topics such as "Making the Most of your Holiday Giving"
Making the Most of you Holiday Giving which was quite good.  One of the causes, was of interest in that  the underlying  concept of choosing which project relating to a school need you would like to support could be used universally. So maybe the "how to make the project work" in any country while maintaining transparency could be copyright as there are always needs with respect to schools. In our country, schools were launched in various areas  to support the concept of  faith being maintained in the schools. These concepts still hold true as most of the established religious bodies have maintained the schools in the various areas. Also there are schools which were established by the Government. I see this project as being of use for all schools.
Then there is charity: water,  which deals with providing solutions to water challenges in various parts of the world.
 In "Catapult", there are 24 areas to choose from, to assist in making the world a gender equal place.

And just so that we will be all on the same page, here are the terms of use:
Copyright 2010 The Gates Notes, LLC. 

Annual Letter from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

I started out  liking Microsoft not very much years ago, after being told that as part of a merger, the software of the company would be Microsoft. I had recently bought a computer/laptop with Lotus or some other package which was a competitor of Microsoft Office or the version of the time. However as time passed and I saw Bill Gates devote a significant amount of funds, expertise and time to causes which could change the world, I started to mellow. In other words, he gave time, treasure and talent. And for those of us who do not look at these things, he provided information which was not readily available so that  we could grow.

Three Magical ThingsBill Gates
When I read the first Annual Letter, I fell in love. I printed it, posted it, saved it somewhere, just to not lose it.  The layout was good, the writing was excellent and most of all it offered hope in so many areas. It was like the man had selected persons like himself  from years ago and given them a chance to change the world, make a difference.

  • So here are short and sweet,  links to: or links to the pages of the newsletter, so that you can chose which page you would like to read savoring each. They are a worthwhile read. And even better his wife's name is inlcuded in that of the Foundation.

Administering polio drops to a child during a visit to a Bini health clinic (Sokoto, Nigeria, 2009)
  • Page 1: Introduction
  • Page 2: Childhood Deaths
  • Page 3: Agriculture
  • Page 4: U.S. Education
  • Page 5: Progress on Polio
  • Page 6: Progress on AIDS
  • Page 7: Progress on Malaria
  • Page 8: The Role of Foundations
  • Page 9: The Economic Crisis
  • Page 10: In Closing

Progress in Global Health

Bill Gates: Why I Write an Annual Letter This is for those who would like to select which year's letter they would like to read.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


One Saturday, my colleague and I decided to visit Bridgetown, using public transaportation to get to town. We had been working for the last week and decided to tour the town. Here are the photos:
This scene is a mix of old and new. I do not recall when the "lamp posts" were installed, however they add a nice touch to the scene of the Carenage, not sure of the spelling...
I remember years ago, wondering about the coincidence of 'words' as we have an area called Carenage in Trinidad and it is quite nice also.

This was a nice area in Bridgetown.

I love the use of the old canons. These are found in Forts in Trinidad and Tobago which are usually located on hills as most of our forts were built for looking out for incoming ships.

I liked the "lifesize' pieces which were quite light.
Below: Crane Beach

 A beach with much calmer  waters.

Grounds of a Hotel.

An early morning sight on the beach...

St Vincent

My visit to St Vincent was quite short as it only lasted a few days and the distance between our accommodation and the place of work was quite close.  I did manage to capture some photos of the town during lunch.
Up close and personal with the pavements - 
Sometimes when you cannot go back, you find that you will get it back in an unexpected way, its all about how you look at things, whether you want to see them or not .  I grew up with pavements which were constrcuted in a similar manner to the one in the photo.

I loved the stone work on Basil's Bar.
Road side view of Basil's Bar - an example of how Kingstown can be restored. Imagine that!

Ignoring the people I love the arch and the use of the stonework as well as  the use of glass!
Wonderful looking place!

Looking at this photo of Kingstown, you would not know where you are, because there are so many streets like this one, all over the Caribbean

Picture of Botanical Gardens in SVG

 A view of the sea with a boat coming in to the port.

 You will not change the world, but you can choose what you look at, whether you drag yourself to appreciation stage or whether you never let yourself see beauty
View of the Mountains from the front of Grenadine House/ not sure of the name of the hotel.

The mountains and the sea, so close and yet so far apart

Another view of the sea and the mountains, so close and yet so far apart.

A keychain ~ A serious commitment to craft and very good craft!

Yes, they live on the "hillsides"/mountains just as we do