IDU | Budgeting Forecasting and Reporting Solutions: November 2019

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

IDU User Conference 2020 - Registration open!

Superhero IDU log on his chest

On the 27th and 28th February 2020 Financial Managers, Financial Accountants, IT Managers, and Financial Administrators from a wide range of companies, industries, and countries will gather in Cape Town for two full days of conferencing at the 11th Annual IDU User Conference 2020. The conference will again be held at the Marriott Hotel, Crystal Towers, Century City.

The theme for the conference is Empowerment, as this is one of our core values at IDU. We believe in empowering our staff and yours, as well as the community around us.  idu-Concept empowers your business by creating time for finance to be more strategic. The conference creative centers around unleashing your inner superhero and unlocking those hidden superpowers.

CEO Kevin Phillips will share the IDU Development Roadmap for 2020 and attendees will be able to provide input to influence the final result.

Guests will be introduced to exciting new features and modules of idu-Concept; learn all the tricks and tips to maximise their use of the system and be able to attend in-depth master class sessions, where delegates can attain full IDU administrator accreditation certificates for topics such as Employee Remuneration Budgeting and Reporting and Analytics.

We have some exciting expert guest speakers like Chantell Ilbury, one of Africa’s leading strategists and scenario planners, and Craig Pederson a leading exponent of the digital forensics field. With more speakers to be announced in the near future.

Registration is open and there are limited spaces available, so go online to and click on the conference link to reserve your spot today. What’s more, delegates who register and pay before the 20th December will receive a 5% early bird discount.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Free the accountants!

Accountant with abacus

The “bean counter” trope is long past due for retirement, but what’s the alternative? Kevin Phillips argues it’s time for accountants to embrace their inner sage. 


We’ve all heard all the cracks about accountants: we’re boring, we’re annoyingly obsessed with tiny details, we’re bean counters. With our tedious controls and processes we get in the way of more interesting people doing more interesting things.  We’re necessary, like flossing and medical checks are necessary, but few people look forward to meetings with their accountants. 

There are occasional attempts to break the stereotype and make accountancy look thrilling. But they tend to veer into overcompensation: CIMA once sponsored a website called, which featured photographs of accountants doing extreme sports while wearing their office suits. But on the whole, the world needs reckless accountants a lot less than it needs boring accountants. Reckless accounting, after all, is what gave us Enron and a raft of other corporate scandals. The way out of the bean counter’s cage is not to become daredevils (which is highly unlikely to work in any case, since it doesn’t exactly come naturally to many of us) but to step into our role as advisors and mentors.

There is real demand for this role: I’ve lost count of the number of business owners, senior managers and other decision makers who’ve told me they long for more than just monthly financial statements from their accountants and finance departments. They need to know not just what the numbers are, but what they mean. Accountants are the ones best placed to offer this interpretation and advice. Our expertise means we can read things in ways lay people just can’t – if you’ve ever marvelled at how a doctor can read an ultrasound scan or an architect can read a plan, then you know how people feel watching us read balance sheets. What seems to us, after years of practice, like a banal everyday activity can look something like wizardry to the uninitiated. 

One of the things that’s been preventing accountants and financial managers from embracing their role as guide and mentor is the sheer volume of more mundane work to be done. The numbers do, after all, need to be crunched. Software, automated processes and AI are rapidly taking over this routine work, though, and we should be glad of it. The less time we spend on the nuts-and-bolts work, the more time we have to think: to consider, analyse and interpret what all those numbers actually mean. 

What might that look like? It might mean spending time coaching that one cost centre manager who just hasn’t got a clue; it might mean identifying problems and weak areas in the business and finding ways to make them better; it might mean scanning for trends that nobody else has spotted yet; it might mean deeper conversations with the leadership team.

Whatever this more ambitious role looks like, it will make much better use of our financial expertise, which is an expensive but often scandalously under-utilised resource.