IDU | Budgeting Forecasting and Reporting Solutions: April 2019

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Am I an asset, or am I just OpEx?

“Am I an asset to my company? Or am I ….” The audience of accountants collectively inhaled, wondering if the attendee asking the question was going to go there. “Or am I just OpEx?” he asked, neatly sidestepping saying the word “liability” J.

Only an accountant could have summed up the existential crisis that we are all probably experiencing around our role in the workplace, in this way. The question came up during our recent annual user conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The general theme of the conference was how transformed budgeting and reporting processes can help companies adapt quickly to constant and rapid change. This specific question was raised during a lively presentation and Q&A session with Sameer Rawjee, the founder of Google’s Life Design Lab, and currently working with companies and schools to tackle continuous learning and purpose at work.

And it’s an interesting and useful question. Plus a very valid one. My view is that on day one of our jobs, we are all assets to our company, that is why we were employed in the first place. But, just like when you drive that brand new car off the lot and into the street, we start depreciating every day. However, and continuing the analogy, in the same way that you can give that car a lick of paint, replace the tyres with more fancy ones, or put in leather seats, to prevent its value falling, and maybe even increasing it; we can ensure our own worth, and the worth of the people around us, staying relevant in an ever-changing world and perhaps even increasing our value in the process.

This non-linear career path is a sign of the times. Previously, accountants especially were onto a pretty sure thing: a predictable career path where hard work and experience progressed you along the ranks. And your skills remained relevant from the very first day till the day you rode off into the retirement sunset. Sure, you got better at what you did, you might specialise in a certain area, or you might encounter unusual jobs that gave you unique experience, but, fundamentally the role stayed the same.

Today, the world is different and the saying “the only constant today is change” is very much relevant. Add to that, there is the very real chance that machines, or artificial intelligence (AI) could take over much of our roles, totally disrupting them by doing them better, faster and more accurately. Where does that leave the us as the employees?

I’ve said this before, but Darwin nailed it when he identified adaptability as the key to survival. Never before has this been more true, and the need to adapt is over a shorter time frame than ever before. And, if companies and their people adopt the right mindset, this offers immense opportunity for all.

Individuals will need to constantly reinvent themselves, learn continuously and move fast. And the place to start looking is at what sets your passions alight and can’t be done by artificial intelligence, and, if you can find some overlap here then you may well be onto a winner. Individuals who do not, are depreciating at an ever-increasing rate. And we know what happens to a fully depreciated, redundant asset: it gets replaced.

Companies, inevitably, will need to spend some of those savings and increased earnings brought about by digitalisation’s greater efficiencies and productivity on helping their people learn. In the same way that businesses have an imperative to digitalise in order to survive, they have a moral obligation to their people to help them adapt around these changes.

During a recession mindset, as we are experiencing now around the world, business leaders might be tempted to save by not investing in training and ongoing learning. In addition, much of what your people might need to learn are the so-called “soft skills” (a far better term is essential skills, in my opinion) which have typically been neglected partly because they are so hard to measure and grade in the formal learning system.

But retraining your people makes good business sense as well. For AI to be effective, it needs to work well with people. And as AI gains new capabilities, people need to keep shifting to the next area of competency that AI has not yet reached.

The ideal version of this scenario is where people keep moving into spaces that they love, doing things that they enjoy and create meaning for them. And that these new skills and capabilities align with progressing the goals of the company. For this to happen, responsibility needs to be shared. Individuals must identify their areas of ongoing learning, and companies need to ensure that everyone is very clear about the business’s vision, goals and plans, so that the two can align. Just like my advice to canvass the grassroots of your organisation during the budget process, especially during tough times, it’s the people on the ground who know what they need to learn to remain relevant, and happy, in their roles. They may not always get it right but it is the role of management to guide them and help them align their goals with what the company needs to survive and grow.  

And then, there is no doubt that you, and your people, are true assets, constantly appreciating, and continuously adding value in ever-changing times. And never becoming expenses, or worse, liabilities.

As published on AccountingWeb - April 2019 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Retailability recommends IDU without reservation

Retailability (Pty) Ltd is a retailer of fashion apparel intended to offer fashionable in house and branded labels at low price points targeted at lower to middle income consumers in Southern Africa.  The group comprises of three brands, namely Style, Legit and Beaver Canoe.

Together these brands operate over 430 stores across 6 countries in Southern Africa.

Retailability required a budgeting and reporting solution for their multi-currency and multiple ledger environment due to the lack of budgeting functionality and reporting limitations within SAGE 300. After an extensive evaluation process, they selected IDU.

The idu-Concept Reporting Module was implemented in October 2018 followed shortly by the Budgeting Module in December 2018.

“The spec’ing, design, build and implementation process was efficiently and professionally managed and was delivered on time and within budget.”  - Malcolm Smith, Chief Financial Officer.

The product is still new in our environment, but we are quickly learning and becoming familiar with it. Our reporting has been simplified and we are able to prepare our month end accounts in a much shorter time period, and with the peace of mind that the output is derived from a robust reporting system.

The Budgeting Module has been configured to our business requirements and has removed the challenges and frustrations we had previously encountered with Excel.

“I have found the IDU team to be highly professional and responsive to our needs and would recommend IDU without reservation.”

About Retailability (Pty) Ltd
Founded in 1984, Retailability (Pty) Ltd is a South African based group of retail brands including Legit, Beaver Canoe and Style. With over 430 stores across Southern Africa including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia – Retailability prides itself in bringing authentic and affordable fashion to our customers.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

IDU acknowledged as a Leader G2 Crowd 2019 Spring Report

IDU are delighted to be acknowledged as a Leader in the Budgeting and Forecasting category by the prestigious G2 Crowd 2019 Spring Report, published earlier this month.

The report which ranks and compares leading Budgeting, Reporting and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions based on market presence and customer satisfaction ratings was released on the 1st April 2019.

G2 Crowd releases Grid® and Index Reports on a quarterly basis, ranking products based on reviews gathered from their user community, as well as data from online sources and social networks.

idu-Concept has been named a Leader based on receiving a high customer satisfaction score and having a large market presence in the Budgeting and Forecasting category.  Most of our users gave us great feedback and expressed a belief that our company is headed in the right direction, they also indicated that they would be likely to recommend idu-Concept to others. 

 “We are incredibly grateful to our customers once again for taking the time to share their feedback on the G2 Crowd platform. We pride ourselves on delivering the best possible product and user experience to our customers, and these wonderful positive reviews are a testament to that.” Kevin Phillips, CEO, IDU.

We wanted to share some of the amazing feedback we received from our customers in their latest reviews:

“Using idu-Concept has streamlined our overall budgeting process, and allows non-finance staff to access their areas, interrogate costs and understand how they are tracking against budget without having to request reports from Finance or wait for excel workbooks to be updated”

“I cannot (and don't want to) imagine life of budgeting/forecasting/reporting without IDU.”

“IDU is not only a great and easy to use budgeting application, but helps drive day to day ownership of business unit or departmental budgets, cost management, revenue growth and variance reporting by the business unit or department leaders. “

To read the full list of reviews please visit the IDU page on G2 Crowd

Read more about IDU or to schedule a demo of our software visit our website at

About G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business solution review platform, leverages more than 440,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Every month, more than one million people visit G2 Crowd’s site to gain unique insights. Co-founded by the founder and former executives of SaaS leaders like BigMachines (acquired by Oracle) and SteelBrick (acquired by Salesforce) and backed by more than $45 million in capital, G2 Crowd aims to bring authenticity and transparency to the business marketplace. For more information, go to

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The money moral panic

Ponzi scheme! South Sea Bubble! Tulip mania! The dotcom bubble! These are some of the dramatic comparisons being made with the rise of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. But Kevin Phillips has a different view.

There are many reasons why companies like, famously, Kodak and Blockbuster, went bust thanks to being overtaken by their competitors’ innovation. Arrogance, ignorance, being slow to adapt, and analysis paralysis are just some. But I wonder how many also displayed an element of the Shirky Principle? This is named after the digital commentator and writer, Clay Shirky, who said: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

I’d argue that this principle is driving much of the moral panic around cryptocurrencies from governments, regulators and the financial services industry. To be sure, banks around the world are looking at how they can apply blockchain technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies, internally – but this is a very different beast to the free-range, decentralised blockchain applications driving cryptocurrencies outside of the banking fraternity.

For one thing, the concept of a cryptocurrency casts a spotlight on just how fragile the notion of money really is. The traditional fiat money system, used around the world today, really is a legal fiction. The word “fiat” is Latin for “let it be done” and that is exactly what happens: governments and central banking authorities assign value to an essentially valueless item. It all works because a network of ledgers controlled by banks around the world keeps track of transactions.

But, putting things that way, this sort of sounds quite a lot like cryptocurrencies as well. So why the panic? Well, instead of a central authority, i.e. a bank, holding all the power and validating and recording transactions, any group of people can do this anywhere in the world. And this means that transactions can take place faster, and more cost-effectively.

Good news for anyone transacting, which is a whole lot of us. But not really that great news for banks, who, up until now, enjoyed the opportunity to triple dip every time, for instance my business transfers money around the world. Currently, banks get paid once by me, and then win again on the exchange rate (you always get the worst available), and a third time by when the money vanishes from one account before re-appearing in another several days later… (Where is my interest on that money?)

Of course, consumers need to be protected from fraud, and criminal activity needs to be stopped, as with any monetary system. But as the cryptocurrency space gets regulated and brought into the mainstream, we’d do well to avoid getting sucked into a moral panic manufactured by those that have the most to lose.

Food for thought
We don’t think twice about what happens behind the scenes for transactions to take place: whether we are tapping a credit card, snapping a QR code, approving a bank transfer, or shopping online. We don’t bat an eyelid when we’re halfway around the world, put our card into an ATM, have the correct amount of foreign exchange emerge into our hands, and have our bank accounts debited with the right amount, plus a few charges, obviously. All instantly. Think about it… what is the difference with a cryptocurrency?

As published in ASA Magazine - March 2019