idu Software: July 2019

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Unravelling the consequences of the US ban on Huawei



The US government has been steadily ramping up its campaign against Chinese tech giant Huawei in the past few years – and its latest move is already beginning to have serious global consequences.

In May the US Commerce Department placed Huawei on an “entity list” of organisations essentially banned from doing business in the US or with US companies. The effects rippled out far and fast: Within days, Google halted sales of its Android mobile operating system to Huawei, meaning that one of the world’s most popular handset manufacturers can no longer ship phones using the world’s most popular operating system. Huawei will either have to “fork” Android, continuing to develop its open-source core along a divergent new path, or develop its own operating system. Either choice will have significant consequences for billions of ordinary cellphone users around the world.

It’s not only US firms who are affected, either. British microchip designer ARM has told its staff to suspend all dealings with the Chinese firm because its designs contain technology developed in the US, and Japan’s Panasonic likewise stopped shipping some components.  This is only the start. Technology companies around the world are deeply interconnected: research is conducted and standards are developed by global teams, designs developed in one country are manufactured in another using components sourced from yet others; and those components themselves have components which were produced in global collaborations. The connections go all the way down.

One of the more easily foreseen consequences of interfering so bluntly in this set of global networks is that Huawei and other Chinese companies, with the backing of the Chinese government, will speed up their already significant efforts to develop their own technologies to replace everything from chipsets to software. Most analysts suggest this will be difficult and take time – but it will happen.

The US, in other words, is incentivising China to become a lot less dependent on the US (and in the process perhaps making many other nations think twice as well). This is not great news for American tech companies, for whom China is a major export market; many will suffer in the short term, and in the long term they face the risk of being cut off from the world’s largest market.

In at least one area, China and Huawei are already far out in front. Huawei is the world’s largest manufacturer of network equipment. It also holds critical patents over the fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology which is beginning to be implemented around the world, and is expected to start seeing mass adoption by 2025.  5G, which promises mobile connectivity as fast and reliable as the fastest current wired connections, is a potential game changer, enabling everything from autonomous vehicles to remote surgery.

It’s Huawei’s dominance of network equipment, of course, that is behind the US ban in the first place. The ostensible reason is that Huawei’s ties with the Chinese government are too close and that allowing its equipment into critical network infrastructure is a national security risk. Those of us outside the US are perhaps justified in viewing this with some scepticism. The US government, defence establishment and the tech industry have deep links going back many decades; indeed, the Internet itself has its roots in DARPAnet, a project of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. If Huawei is a threat because of government links, should we not be asking equally difficult questions about Cisco, or other US-based firms whose equipment is embedded in US and other global telecommunications networks?

The US already arrogates to itself significant powers to monitor global network traffic and seize private data around the world. The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, passed hastily by Congress in March 2018 without any committee review or hearing, compels US companies –like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Dropbox, and many others --  to release data they hold to US authorities, even when this data originates and is stored overseas. This will require a lawful warrant, of course – but the warrant will be classified. And with the US having a notably elastic idea of what constitutes a threat to national security, it’s easy to imagine that most warrant requests will be granted with little scrutiny – especially if they don’t affect US citizens.

Whether the US battle against Huawei is a matter of national security, anticompetitive meddling to protect its own economic interests or a bit of both, the implications reach far beyond America and China. When elephants fight, goes an old African saying, it’s the grass that is damaged; and in this fight, it’s the rest of us who are grass.

As published on AccountingWeb - 1 July 2019

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

IDU partners with Sage Intacct



IDU Partners with Sage Intacct, bringing together powerful Financial Planning and Analytics capabilities with the innovation and customer satisfaction leader in cloud financial management solutions.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – July 10, 2019 – IDU, a leading provider of Financial Budgeting and Reporting solutions, today announced its official partnership with Sage Intacct. IDU has been listed as a certified Marketplace partner with Sage Intacct. This partnership means the idu-Concept solution has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by Sage Intacct's partnership team, and that Sage Intacct users can use idu-Concept to integrate seamlessly with their cloud accounting software.

Sage Intacct delivers incredible value to users by empowering finance teams with deep functionality that automates complex processes and provides deep financial and operational insights to help companies grow. Sage Intacct also offers an easy path to extend the solution by seamlessly connecting with other best-in-class solutions like idu-Concept for their financial budgeting, reporting, and forecasting requirements. Sage Intacct focuses on delivering a solution that puts client success first, and that commitment has allowed it to earn the highest customer satisfaction in the industry.

IDU makes budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting tools to simplify financial management. Our flagship product, idu-Concept, provides easy, effective budgeting and financial reporting for medium-sized to large businesses. idu-Concept integrates easily with Sage Intacct, reducing budget cycles from months to weeks.

The idu-Concept integration with Sage Intacct offers real-time, online access to information in a format that is easy to use and understand by both financial and non-financial managers. Instant access to key information allows the business to react faster to deviations from the plan. It also increases cost-center managers’ involvement, empowerment, and ownership of the numbers. 

We’ve built a thriving partner community and marketplace, with solutions that help companies extend the value of Sage Intacct,” said Eileen Wiens, VP of Business Development, Sage Intacct. “Our customers choose Sage Intacct to drive efficiencies across their financial processes, and by automating their budgeting, forecasting and reporting with this integrated solution, IDU helps them further this goal.”
IDU’s Sage Intacct integration is available to customers via the Sage Intacct Marketplace. To learn more visit the IDU profile page on the Sage Intacct Marketplace.


About IDU
IDU delivers top of class packaged budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting tools to simplify financial management. Our flagship product, idu-Concept, provides easy, effective budgeting and financial reporting for medium-sized to large businesses. idu-Concept integrates easily with ERP software, but unlike more cumbersome offerings, idu-Concept can be implemented quickly, requires little or no ongoing consulting fees and reduces budgeting cycles from months to weeks. For more information on IDU, please visit www.idusoft.com

About Sage Intacct
Sage Intacct is the innovation and customer satisfaction leader in cloud Financial Management. With the powerful combination of Sage and Intacct, the Sage Business Cloud offers the best capabilities of both companies. In use by organizations from startups to public companies, Sage Intacct is designed to improve company performance and make finance more productive. Hundreds of leading CPA firms and Value Added Resellers also offer Intacct to their clients.

Sage Intacct is based in San Jose, California and an entity of Sage, the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of entrepreneurs and business builders and a FTSE 100 business. For more information on Sage Intacct, please visit www.sageintacct.com or call 877-437-7765.


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Am I an asset?



The accountants attending our annual user conference earlier this year paused for thought about how to navigate the rapidly changing workplace as we move into the fourth industrial revolution. And, they asked some insightful questions about what it means to be a valuable employee today.

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, sparked a lively audience discussion during his keynote address. This was when one of the attendees asked: “Am I an asset to my company? Or am I just OpEx?”

Only an accountant could have summed up today’s workplace existential crisis in this way. And it neatly frames the conversation about how to ensure we stay relevant in our own roles, plus how we can help our people stay valuable in our companies.

My view is that on day one of our jobs, we are all assets to our company. But that we run the risk of depreciating every single day, unless we actively work to ensure our own growth, and the growth of the people around us, in order to stay relevant and valuable in an ever-changing world.

And don’t think that as accountants we are exempt from this tidal wave of change. Previously we may have had a predictable career path where hard work and experience progressed us along the ranks. Sure, we got better at what we did, we might specialise in a certain area, or we might encounter unusual jobs that gave us unique experience, but, fundamentally our core skills remained relevant.

Today, this is being entirely destabilised, with AI and automation promising to take over more of our roles. This is a double-edged sword: we’ll be saved a lot of the repetitive mundane work, but will have to find ways to replace the experience gained from some of the basic work machines can now do, as well as constantly reinvent ourselves, learn continuously and move fast to stay ahead of the machines, always adding value by doing what they can’t.

It is essential that these new skills and capabilities align with the goals of the company. For this to happen, companies need to ensure that everyone is very clear about the business’s vision, goals and plans. Just like my advice to canvass the grassroots of your organisation during the budget process, it’s the people on the ground who know what they need to learn to remain relevant, and happy, in their roles.

Get this right, and then, there will be 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.

Invest in learning
Companies will need to spend some of the gains achieved 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 to these changes. During a recession mindset, business leaders might be tempted to save by not investing in ongoing learning. But retraining your people makes good business sense as well. For AI to be effective, it needs to work well with people who can keep shifting to the next area of competency that AI has not yet reached.

As published in ASA Magazine - 21st May 2019