1. Income tax was introduced by William Pitt to the United Kingdom in 1799 to help meet the huge costs of fighting a war against Napoleon Bonaparte’s France. A later Prime Minister – William Gladstone – described income tax as ‘an engine of gigantic power for great national purposes’ despite his attempts to abolish it. Rates […]

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  2. Tangible or intangible asset – does it matter? In the first blog in this series, I discussed the issue of distinguishing capital from revenue expenditure in a set of accounts when accounting for an entrepreneur’s idea. Now I am going into a bit more detail at what the entrepreneur has actually spent his money on […]

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  3. My name is Charlie Bingham and I started the full-time MBA at Heriot-Watt University in September 2017. Over the past 19 years since graduating in Business Studies and French, I have lived and worked in the UK, Brussels, Belgium and most recently Houston, Texas. Most of my roles have been at a General Management level […]

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  4. In an article in Governance and Compliance, Dianiele Vitale, commenting on the 2017 UK Annual General Meeting season, observes that executive pay and director elections remain the focus of shareholder attention, not just in the UK but in European markets also. It was not so many years ago that small shareholders seemed powerless in the […]

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  5. Have you ever said something, only for it to be taken completely wrongly? I’ve just had a two-day argument with my husband because he picked up on something I said, took it the wrong way and ended up having a huge row about it! It got me thinking about how important communication is, most especially […]

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  6. Some time ago I went into a specialist shop in Edinburgh to buy some stereo equipment. I knew next to nothing about the technology but had forearmed myself by studying a buyers’ guide and memorising the jungle of letters and numbers that was the brand name of the Best Buy model. The sales assistant beamed […]

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  7. The answer to this is perhaps not as easy as one might imagine… Entrepreneurship can be described as a process by which an individual (or a team): identifies a business opportunity acquires and deploys the necessary resources to exploit it manages the associated risks with the ultimate aim of making a profit. If, for example, […]

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  8. One of the most often and glibbest used phrases in marketing (and other circles!) is that the key to success is ‘understanding the customer’ (see the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour courses, for example). But what do we mean by that exactly? Let me elaborate. I was at a very interesting and enlightening marketing conference the […]

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  9. Facial recognition has hit the headlines over the past few weeks for a couple of reasons. The first – as I’m sure almost everyone will be aware of – is Apple’s adoption of the technology for the iPhone X. Instead of unlocking the phone with a passcode or fingerprint, iPhone X users will be able […]

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  10. The traditional view of economics is that it is a discipline that cares little for how the income and wealth of a nation is distributed. In Module 9.3 of our own text we come across the following: ‘How efficiently an economy’s resources are allocated and how evenly an economy’s income is distributed are not related. […]

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  11. The proposed use of ‘fracking’ to increase on-shore gas production has caused considerable controversy in the UK over the past decade or so. Fracking is a long-established technique for opening up natural gas reserves in ‘tight’ formations where the encasing shale contains limited cracks and fissures. Fracking opens up cracks and fissures so that the […]

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  12. Writing recently in the UK professional HR journal ‘People Management’ Georgi Gyton and Robert Jeffery tell their readers that ‘Chatbots can already perform basic HR roles, and what’s coming next is a game-changer’. Chatbots are text-based applications that carry out a ‘natural language’ conversation by accessing a database of predetermined phrases. Lloyds and RBS already […]

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  13. I have previously written about the Olympic Games as a mega project and the unique human-behaviour characteristics that enable its scheduled completion time and time again, mostly by compromising cost. Last year’s Rio Olympic Games, for example, completed with just over 50 per cent cost overrun. There have been much worse cases in the past, […]

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  14. It’s an old question: “can you teach entrepreneurship?” Many people believe that entrepreneurship just happens – people are either entrepreneurs or they are not. As a consequence, what’s the point in teaching it? Certainly, there’s plenty of evidence that entrepreneurship happens in the absence of formal education. Look at Richard Branson of Virgin or Steve […]

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  15. Entrepreneurship is a key driver of the global economy and the World Economic Forum (WEF) says fostering entrepreneurship pays dividends across all the sectors, allowing new ideas, models and energy to disrupt what goes before it. New research from WEF breaks entrepreneurial activity down into two distinct areas. The first is total early-stage entrepreneurial activity […]

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  16. We love sheep in Scotland. We already have more sheep than people as evidenced by the excellent publication “Sheep Facts: Find out more about the amazing world of sheep“. However, not satisfied with that, we were the first in the world to clone one and give her a pet name (Dolly). So it was not […]

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  17. A home functions both as a shelter and an investment. Capital gains are commonly perceived by households as the main source of value when buying as opposed to renting, but I would like to shed some light on other intrinsic value drivers. The appreciation in house prices can be considered as an external source of […]

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  18. When a government’s total outgoings (G) are more than their tax receipts (T), the result is a budget deficit where G > T. A government needs to borrow money to finance the debt, and interest payments can become so large that they cripple the economy. There are two main schools of thought for eliminating the […]

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  19. Cash accounting would make accounts simpler to understand. Companies could only account for revenue when they receive the cash and expenses only once they have paid for them. At a stroke, gone from a set of accounts would be subjective items such as depreciation, amortisation, difficult-to-comprehend revenue recognition, accruals, provisions and so on. With recent […]

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  20. If you do business in Europe or have business dealings with any European organisation, then by now GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) should be on your radar. Next year, specifically on 25 May, a new European directive comes into force which will change the face of data protection forever and therefore the way that data […]

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  21. ‘Leading change’ versus ‘leading stability’ may be two quite different leadership skill-sets. According to the findings of a 2015 survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, even if you are in a leadership position, there is only a 7 per cent chance that you will be able to lead your organisation through a major transformation. If you are a […]

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  22. Have you ever come across Dale Carnegie’s classic text ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People‘? Described by Warren Buffett as a ‘life-changing book’ Carnegie’s text is the precursor to Stephen R. Covey’s best-seller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘ and Robert Cialdini’s fascinating book on the darker side of the world of compliance […]

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  23. A friend of mine recently passed a group of teenagers sitting on a park bench, busily tapping away on their phones. Intrigued, she stopped and asked, ‘Who are you texting?’ They looked up at her, bemused, and eventually one replied: ‘Each other!’ Is this what the world has come to? Is the smartphone killing conversation? […]

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  24. The Financial Times had an astonishing story Friday 26th May. The World Bank’s Chief Economist Paul Romer had been stripped of his line authority and management duties following what the FT called ‘uproar’ and a ‘revolt’ by his 600 economists. The Guardian also covered the furore here. So what had caused such tumult? A street […]

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  25. Remember bitcoin? The online currency that burst into people’s consciousness a few years ago and then kind of drifted off to the margins, not really being of much significance to anyone outside money launderers and suchlike? Sweeping generalisations aside, bitcoin never really went away. The reason for its loud arrival in 2013 can be put […]

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  26. ‘We seek it here, we seek it there, we seek that feedback everywhere’ (with apologies to The Kinks!). Having just returned from overseas MBA teaching, and having bought some rather large household items since, I have been bombarded by companies wishing to ‘engage’ with me. Hotels, airlines, online services, you name it, all wanting to […]

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  27. There is remarkably little research on how age affects leaders. Therefore, a recent study provides a most interesting look at how and why leadership behaviours might change with age. In brief, the researchers questioned 106 German university professors and found that their ‘legacy beliefs’, which changed with age, were found to negatively impact their level […]

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  28. I enjoy eating avocados; they are high in good fats and supposedly great for my health. I noticed recently, however, that the price of avocados in my local supermarket has substantially increased. It appears that I am not the only one enjoying avocados; there has been a huge surge in demand for the fruit. While […]

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  29. Ploys are used by negotiators all over the world to manipulate the outcome of a deal in their favour. Ploys can come at any stage of the negotiation and we often don’t even notice them (especially if they are played by an expert!). They are dangerous and frankly not the best way to secure a […]

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  30. In accordance with the result of the 23 June 2016 referendum, the UK Prime Minister signed a letter invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union on 28 March 2017. The letter was delivered to the President of the European Council the next day. This action formally triggered the Brexit process and initiated […]

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