Written By Ian Moss: Welcome to Weekly Insight Number 2. It’s that rare time of year where, if one wanted, one could combine one’s love of cashmere scarves and helicopter travel with saving the planet. And complement one’s dislike of the world’s elite by appearing at… a gathering of the world’s elite. Yes, it’s the World Economic Forum’s annual shindig in the picture perfect Swiss ski resort of Davos, this year starring US President Donald Trump.

There were many breathtaking ironies on display up in the Alps. But my eye was drawn to an interesting and timely WEF report on the future world of jobs. Because it’s virtually impossible to look at any accountancy website or publication at the moment without being greeted by an article on robots, artificial intelligence, automation, job threats, or all of the above.

So it’s good to see that the issue is being addressed by those who  are “committed to improving the state of the world.” The WEF study is all about reskilling amid the “Fourth Industrial Revolution“. It takes an ingenious data-driven approach and attempts to map out future career pathways for workers who have ‘lost their jobs to robots’. So, if you’re an out-of-work cashier, it gives a “suitability score” if you were to retrain, say, as a locksmith or a geothermal technician. You will appreciate I am just giving you a flavour, here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how the accountancy sector is being transformed by technology, one of the “at-risk” career areas the study looks at is accounting, bookkeeping and auditing. The picture painted is not immediately rosy. But the term “stepping stone” role is used. Which in a nutshell  means a career transformation may not be entirely straightforward, or linear in today’s money.

Patience, it appears, will  remain a virtue in the future.

Financially speaking, Musk and others are on a different planet

Tomorrow’s job security appears not to be on the mind of space-rocket entrepreneur Elon Musk. KPIs, though, are. According to Bloomberg, he could rake in up to $55.8 billion over 10 years, if all goes to plan with his electric car company Tesla. That is if the group’s market value hits $650 billion, or just about everyone in the world buys one of its vehicles.

One eminent compensation consultant described the package as “breathtaking.”

As Bloomberg notes: “If the award fully vests, Musk would own a 28 percent stake in the company worth about $184 billion, vaulting him to the top of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos currently sits atop the index with a $111.5 billion net worth as of Monday’s close in New York. Musk’s stake in SpaceX constitutes about half of his current net worth of $21.5 billion.”

Are these folk already on a different planet?

Tension builds in Power List countdown

A tantalising drip-drip approach has been adopted by Accountancy Age in revealing its Financial Power List 2018. The team is ranking the 50 individuals “who we believe will have significant influence on the direction of the accountancy industry…”.

The full 50 will be released on January 31. So far it’s been a five-a-day diet. Good to see that Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier is in at 26 after her hard-hitting start to 2018 with a report on the HMRC’s digital transformation woes.

Who’ll be at No 1?

Tax returns deadline and other issues

Our Media Partners at accountingWEB have highlighted (you’ll never guess) software problems as the January 31 self-assessment deadline looms.

John Stokdyk writes: “HMRC’s programmers are aware of the issues brought to their attention [by BTC Software] but do not have time to fix them at this point in the tax year. Even if they did correct the exemptions, software developers would not be able to pick up and implement them in time.

“Instead, they are advising taxpayers and their agents to go ahead and file with the erroneous figures and pay the tax due – but alert HMRC of the situation. BTC suggested the best way to do this is in the additional information box on the main tax return form (SA100 box 19).

By the way, as of publication time, about three million had still to file their returns. Tempus fugit.

Tax pain in Spain (and elsewhere)

So, if you can’t beat ’em…  Tax difficulties are common, especially if you’re a singer or footballer, it would seem.

The Colombian popstar Shakira has allegedly not paid all her dues  in Spain. She lives in Barcelona with  Barca footballer Gerard Piqué, and the couple’s two sons. Recently her name cropped in the Paradise Papers, an offshore finance probe in the Bahamas, where she used to live. Her spokespeople say everything about her finances is fine and dandy.

Shakira’s situation follows Spanish taxation travails for Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s coach, Jose Mourinho.

But wait, it’s not just Spain. Brighton and Hove Albion footballer Glenn Murray was arrested this week on suspicion of tax evasion in the UK.

Who’s next?

Watch out for next Friday’s Weekly Insight. In the meantime, if you have any comments, or content ideas for us here at Accountex, please let us know in the box below or drop me a line at [email protected]


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