Accounting / University launches app to ‘translate’ annual report information

A team of academics at Lancaster University has developed an app to help investors and regulators make sense of hard-to-understand financial reports, after finding that while annual reports have doubled in length in the last decade, there has been no improvement in their readability score

Insight / KPMG invests in software engineering degree apprenticeship

KPMG plans to expand its software engineering degree apprenticeship, quadrupling the number of applicants, as the firm embarks on a drive to train more engineers to support its technology team

Tax / Half of small businesses make VAT return errors

Half of small businesses say they have made mistakes when sending in their VAT return and only a quarter are confident they have the figures correct despite spending more than an hour checking

Insight / Facebook to pay $5bn over data privacy lapses

Facebook is to pay a record-breaking $5bn (£4bn) penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that the company deceived users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information

Insight / G7 finance ministers flag cryptocurrency risk

The meeting of G7 finance ministers has warned of the risk of cryptocurrencies destabilising the global economy and undermining fiat currencies

Insight / Global fraud costs balloon to £3.89 trillion

Fraud is costing businesses and individuals in the UK £130bn each year, while the cost to the global economy is put at £3.89 trillion, with losses rising by 56% in the past decade

Insight / O'Connor: using fintech to increase practice profitability

Advances in fintech could transform the accounting profession if firms leverage the technology to help growth their practices and offer extended services to their smaller clients, explains Sam O’Connor ACA, co-founder & CEO of smart banking app Coconut

Insight / UK regulator hits Marriott with £99m data breach fine

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) plans to fine hotel chain Marriott International £99m for general data protection regulation (GDPR) infringements, just days after a record-breaking £183m fine for British Airways over a privacy breach

Insight / FCA tightens controls on peer-to-peer lending rules

As the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) releases its latest rule book for loan-based, peer-to-peer platforms, Kam Dhillon, principal associate at Gowling WLG, explains the regulator’s latest attempts to improve investor protection

Insight / Artificial intelligence cannot replace professional judgment for auditors

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to replace human intervention for auditing processes and financial transactions will not remove the need for professional judgment, ICAEW warns

Insight / Big increase in cyber incidents at financial services firms

There has been a sharp spike in the number of cyber incidents reported by financial services firms, with 819 cases logged with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2018, up from 69 the previous year, according to analysis from RSM

Insight / Underwood: should accountants mix compliance with advisory services?

As younger accountancy practitioners start up new practices and turn to technology and automation to provide compliance services for SME clients, does it make sense to offer additional advisory services or is that a sure way to damage profitability? Keith Underwood, MD at Foulger Underwood looks at the figures  

Audit / Thomson Reuters acquires Confirmation audit service

Thomson Reuters is expanding its audit offering with the acquisition of Confirmation, a provider of secure audit confirmation services, primarily for banking and financial services

Insight / ACCA launches computer-based exam practice platform

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has launched a brand new accountancy exam practice platform for computer-based exams (CBE) targeted at training providers

Insight / Facebook to launch Libra cryptocurrency

Facebook has moved into the crypto currency market with plans to launch Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology, which will be available as a payment method on WhatsApp and Messenger