Just as businesses are adapting to the shock of Brexit, the global pandemic presents another disruption to businesses. These two events have created huge uncertainty for most small businesses while some have benefited . The striving small businesses are revaluating their strengths with financial metrics to enhance their sustainability as the new markets are emerging. Financial metrics present small businesses with the opportunities to increase efficiency in their operations, liquidity, profitability and stability during uncertainty period. Some commentators argue that inadequate liquidity is the major reason small businesses collapse during the uncertainty period.
The quick ratio helps the business managers to evaluate their businesses financial liquidity. This informs the business managers of how current assets excluding inventories can be quickly converted to cash to meet their current liabilities. This ignores inventory because it is not easily converted to cash. Unlike the current ratio which considers inventory value, the quick ratio is generally viewed as the conservative evaluation of business liquidity as it’s based on the business most liquid assets. For instance, a business has current assets worth £40,000 of which inventory is £10,000, and £15,000 worth of current liabilities thus the business has a 2:1 quick ratio. This indicates that the business can afford to meet the short-term liabilities twice with the short-term assets.
Businesses with a 1:1 or lower quick ratio could be at risk of becoming a going concern. Thus, small businesses with limited access to funds might fire sale their non-current assets to meet the current liabilities.
Many businesses have already closed due to Brexit and the global pandemic and it has been estimated that a further approximately, 98,000 small businesses might not survive the current pandemic. Thus, small business managers that are currently struggling to survive should pay attention to their financial metrics especially the quick ratio.
Unlike the quick ratio, many commentators argue that the current ratio cannot accurately evaluate some businesses short-term liquidity power. For instance, a retail business that targets seasonal customers will stock up inventory for the season. Thus, toward this period the current ratio rises and fall after the seasonal sales. Hence, the quick ratio would be best to evaluation the liquidity ability of such businesses as it ignores the inventory value.
However, other commentators argue that excluding the inventory value from the current assets could be an inefficient way of evaluating liquidity ability for some businesses. For instance, small business such as corner shops that a large percentage of their current assets are fast-moving inventory. Thus, excluding the inventory from the current asset would relatively inflate the current liability. Hence, the quick ratio will present an inaccurate picture of the business to cover their current liability with their most liquid assets.
In conclusion, business managers need to consider both the quick ratio and current ratio, especially during the uncertainty period. This would provide a more accurate measurement of their business ability to pay their short-term liabilities without being forced to fire sale their non-current asset.
Business managers need to ensure that the quick ratio and current ratio is not too excessive compared to other competitors in their sector as this could indicate poor control of working capital. This might suggest that the business is not turning over its inventory quickly enough or is carrying slow-moving or obsolete inventory and has poor credit control practices resulting in their customers delaying payments beyond the agreed terms.
Olushola Fashola, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business SChool
(2019) asserted that the United Nations estimates that between 2% and 5%
(US$800bn–US$2trillion) of global GDP is laundered. The year 2019 saw global
anti-money laundering (AML) penalties going beyond £6billion (actual value was
£6.2billion which is equivalent to around $8billion), with the US imposing
double the quantum of fines imposed by UK authorities (Sweet, 2020). These facts
suggests financial crimes is on the rise, which is a worrying development for
societies, governments, organisations, and individuals. It is therefore
important that some sort of reflection (collectively or individually) be
undertaken by all concerned regarding how things have deteriorated to current
level in terms of emerging global narrative on financial crime. Consequently,
my own lived experience within a socio-economic and institutional context
offers a basis for looking at financial crime through the multiple lens of
three actors – “the vulnerable”, “the gullible” and “the
years back I was looking through job advertisements on various websites, hoping
to find a flexible job that will permit me to spend more time with my young
children. I did not search too long before I came across one placed by a
supposedly US based company. Though, the role was described as Administrative
Assistant, the job description was more of a home-based funds transfer officer.
Considering that I have practice experience in banking and finance, I quickly
applied and was very optimistic as to my chances of eventually getting the job.
Just as I had anticipated, I was offered the job. However, mode of operation
triggered some curiosity – the company will pay money into my account which I
shall subsequently transfer to various recipients!
unusual nature of the responsibilities attached to this job role sent alarm
bells ringing. I contacted the website where I found the job to let them know
of my suspicion that something was not quite right about this company and the
job. The website’s initial response was to dismiss my suspicion, suggesting
there was nothing unusual about either the company or the job. Whilst pondering
as to the genuineness or otherwise of this job offer, I listened to the BBC
money box programme focused on money mules. This made the connection between this
job offer and money mule operations vividly clear. I contacted the website
again, now aware of the prospect of being used as a money mule based on what I
have learnt from the BBC programme. This time, the response was an apology and
commitment to bar the company from using the website. Prioritisation of
corporate social responsibility can help reduce the chances of financial fraud
occurring (Liao et al., 2019).
I did not allow this company the opportunity to pay any money into my bank
account, I wonder how many people they had successfully persuaded into
accepting such payments through their banks. The banking industry is central to
economic growth and development, but also remains a vital part of the carefully
orchestrated dastardly design of financial crimes’ architecture. The growing
evidence against banks with respect to recurring culpability in facilitating
financial crimes is a worrying trend that compounds erosion of public trust in
them since the financial crisis of 2008/2009. Sanctions imposed on banks (see
below) for offences with a bearing on financial crimes bears testimony to
banking industry’s culpability.
2014: Standard Bank PLC fined £7.6m for failures in its anti-money laundering
controls (BBC, 2014)
2015: Barclays fined $2.4bn for forex rigging (Financial Times, 2015)
2015: HSBC pays out £28m “compensation” to Swiss authorities over
money-laundering claims (The Guardian, 2015)
2015: Barclays Bank (Barclays) was fined £72,069,400 for failing to minimise
the risk that it may be used to facilitate financial crime by the Financial
Conduct Authority (FCA) (FCA, 2015)
2019: HSBC to pay $192m penalty in US for helping clients hide $1billion dollar
worth of assets for tax evasion purpose (Financial Times, 2019).
service regulators may have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring banks do not
act as facilitators of financial crimes through these sanctions, but the
inherent culpability of the financial regulatory system in certain
jurisdictions means that these fines do not address why they have become a
magnet for financial crime. The public prosecutor in the HSBC/Swiss regulator
case as cited in The Guardian (2015) sums up the real source of financial
service industry culpability in financial crime thus:
we have a law that doesn’t punish financial intermediaries accepting doubtful
funds then we have a problem. This problem dates from long before the HSBC affair.”
adept at committing financial crimes often targets the vulnerable. They are
also very clever at deciphering individual vulnerabilities. Unemployment was a
vulnerability ready to be exploited in this case. However, various other
vulnerabilities can be the focus of the ploy of these criminals. For instance,
search for acceptance and love (BBC 2020), desire to help others and outright
greed, are a mix of vulnerabilities often exploited by advance fee (otherwise
called “419”) fraudsters.
or organisations should not think they are above gullibility when it comes to
financial crimes. The website involved in this case is a subsidiary to one of
the major global online platforms. Yet their vetting process allowed this job
advertisement to be placed; and initial response to contacting them laid bare
their gullibility – a failure in their social responsibility obligation to
industry and its regulatory framework remains an important defence line in
society’s response to combating financial crime (Ryder, 2017). A basic line of
defence where banks had in the past dropped their guards is with respect to
“Know Your Customer” (KYC). This important anti-money laundering requirement
needs full compliance for the global fight against financial crime to be
successful. Specifically, a risk-based approach to KYC practice can help
operators in the financial services industry balance regulatory compliance with
business exigencies. Such an approach can help focus attention on potentially
risky clients such as the politically exposed person (popularly referred to as
PEP). The need for some sort of global regulatory alignment to ensure that
there are no safe havens for illicit wealth (Nance, 2018) will require every
nation to review its laws and ensure that loopholes exploited by financial
criminals and their intermediaries are plugged.
triangle comprising of opportunity, incentive/pressure, and rationalization
(Cressey, 1953) had received wide scholarly attention, it is perhaps time we
switched attention to actors whose moral gap facilitates financial crime.
Vulnerability, gullibility, and culpability represents a collection of
attributes that helps financial crime to spread like wildfire and the criminals
that benefit from them to take the rest of society for granted. Hence, the need
for every individual and organization to undertake a self-assessment as to
whether they may be tacitly facilitating financial crime as a vulnerable,
gullible, or culpable actor in a dark web that leaves society morally and
The coronavirus started in China and
spread to Europe and America in the first quarter of 2020 with a “battle axe” on
businesses. The leadership of the most affected countries have become Santa Claus with their supports to the households and
businesses. Many industries have experienced the offensive side of the coronavirus
battle axe while other industries benefited from the defensive opportunities it
Industries such as Aviation, Road haulage, Ferries, Steel, Horticulture have all taken the pain of the offensive side of the battle axe. For instance, many of the affected developed countries economies are shut down and consumers are under stay at home policy. These have serious negative impacts on these industries revenue and sustainability investments. To complicate the pain emergency loans support from financial institutions have dried up thus, there are fewer chances of survival without taxpayers interventions. Some commentators are of the view that greener pastures are not guaranteed for the industries that will survive the pain as the new world of doing business will emerge.
The likes of the e-commerce marketplace (Amazon); pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca and Pfizer); video conferencing (Zoom, Teams and Skype) and entertainment streaming (Netflix) industries benefit from the defence of this deadly axe. The longer the stay at home policy takes more people and businesses start thinking of a different way to sustain their livelihood and businesses from home. Another innovative business opportunity created is the products that many governments make mandatory to be worn everywhere. Although some of these products are reusable, few concerns have been raised about the materials used in the production and the ability to recycle these materials.
This pandemic has brought difficult business operating environment.
Many business leaders are worried about how to sustain productivity to increase
growth by adapting to the new business environment that the pandemic created. Businesses should protect the workforce with physical and emotional support,
empathetic communication, training and retraining of employees in readiness for
recovery. They should review their supply chains and possibly arrange
alternative sources of raw materials or services. Also, businesses should
frequently review the impact of the worst-case situation on the business cash
flow and the governments’ tax relief provisions and other supports. Finally,
business leaders should consider their business digital transformations by increasing
IT infrastructure and digital upskilling.
The Small Business Leadership Programme is
provided by Staffordshire Business School and is fully funded (free).
Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to
boost business performance.
The course lasts ten weeks and the next two cohort start dates are West Midlands 12th January 3.00 – 4.30 pm North West 13th January 3.00 – 4.30 pm
Mayowa Akinbote, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School
Apple Inc. (Apple) is a well-known technology
company for designing, manufacturing and selling smartphones, tablets,
computers and other digitals accessories. Apple has been the world most valuable brand in 2020 with revenue of $267.7 billion (£203.3 billion) and profit of $57.2 billion (£43.4 billion) and the largest public organisation in the United
State of America (US) in 2018.
In 2016, the European Commission found Apple guilty of paying the below 1% effective tax rate to the Irish government in 2003 and that Apple was given preferential tax treatment. This tax advantage was declared illegal and the commission rule that of £12.7 billion in taxes and interest should be paid to Irish government coffers. This amount is equivalent to the Irish National Health budget. Recently, Apple becomes the most valued traded corporation in the world, valued at £1.7 trillion bigger than £1.5 trillion value of all the FTSE 100 the UK top companies. While Amazon and Google followed Apple as the most valued traded corporations in the US. Some commentators suggest that such sudden growth in value could be aided by tax avoidance deals thus such could create competitive advantages over their competitors.
Tax avoidance is legally bending of the tax rules to gain an undue tax advantage
that the rules never intended and creating tax loopholes. Transfer pricing is the biggest enabler of tax avoidance. Big
companies like Apple design, manufacture, test, hold patent rights and
marketing rights of their products in different countries. This gives
opportunities to allocate high costs discretionarily to the country that offers
low tax advantage like Ireland thus, profit is channel across borders. The
annual global tax avoidance is equivalent to the entire Belgium Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with British overseas territories
such as British Virgin Island, Bermuda, Cayman Island followed by Netherland,
Switzerland, Luxembourg and Ireland in Europe topping the list of tax avoidance
Similar to the other multinational companies such as Starbucks, Google, Amazon and Facebook, Apple legally channels 90% all its global profits to through Luxembourg and Ireland before profits were channelled to non-Irish residence subsidiaries to avoid paying taxes. This is not unknown, but the Irish government accept the deal in return for the inward investments and jobs creation. Besides Ireland pride herself as one of the countries with the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe at 12.5%.
In the UK airline companies like tax exile, Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet
benefited from tax avoidance for decades. Avoiding paying taxes into the
countries where they generate profits hence, reducing the funds available for
the development of the key facilities that could save host community’s
livelihood especially during this period of uncertainty such as coronavirus
pandemic. Regrettably, these companies are also ripping where they did not sow.
For instance, the air industry seeking £7.5 billion in bailout due to coronavirus lockdown. They also took the
advantage of the government taxpayer-backed general support during the
Michael Porter explains four generic strategies
which companies could adopt to gain high profits over their competitors such as
cost leadership, cost focus, differentiation leadership and differentiation
The first two strategies focused on cost
leadership strategies are price-based competition in a targeted market. Companies
such as EasyJet and Amazon adopt cost focus and cost leadership using both
economies of scale and scope to achieve the lowest cost of production to their
advantage thus generating high profits with their strategy. These companies
rather paid shareholder(s) than to invest in their workforce or pay taxes to
the host countries. For instance, at the start of the pandemic, EasyJet paid £60
million of dividend to Monaco tax resident founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The other two strategies focused on
differentiation strategies which require significant investment in marketing
and consistent promotion. Companies such as Virgin Atlantic and Apple adopts
differentiation leadership by targeting larger markets and positioning their
products quality superiority, global brand loyalty uniqueness to the market. Despite,
cost reduction through economies of scale, Virgin Atlantic and Apple continue
to charge premium prices on its products and services.
Although, none of the Porters’ generic strategies includes the possibilities of tax avoidance creating competitive advantages. However, some commentators believe that tax avoidance increases the shareholders’ wealth and the companies’ value thus, encouraging investors to increase investments with the hope of increasing their wealth. Furthermore, some observers consider that these extra investments enable such companies to oblige their host countries into offering tax avoidance deals in return for inward investments and jobs creation in their countries.
Karl McCormack, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School
Being a student is a great time in your life, but living off
a budget can create stress and anxiety. We start university often with limited
skill in budgeting and managing our finances. Students frequently mention
spending mistakes that eat up chunks of their bank balances.
The key is to develop good spending habits starts with
budgeting. Yes, it is time consuming and a real pain, but it enables us to
track money coming in and going out.
By learning to budget well, you will be able to:
Understand your spending and adjust bad spending
Spend less on useless items
Save more money
Keep out of debt
Have money for emergencies or important future
Learn and prevent future spending mistakes
Learning how to budget will save you a lot of hassle and you
will be learning skills for life.
Not having a budget!
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But failing to have a visual budget instead relying on memory for what you have to spend and what you have spent, often leads to thinking you have more money than you really do. It becomes difficult to gauge if something is over your budget and impossible to not overspend as you start to socialise more.
Using your debit card when you pay for something.
Everyone uses their card right? Using cash
is old fashioned? But there are many more pros than cons in using cash rather
than your card. Putting everything on a card creates the illusion of having
more money than you think, that you aren’t actually spending. The realisation
that you do not have unlimited funds, that you are a student living on a budget
(now with no money) will soon kick in.
Students often say they have no idea what
they were spending money on. Tapping a card and not even registering the amount you are
tapping for. This along with not looking at a bank statements or just being confused by the
names you see on it.
So stop using your card, use cash for daily
expenses. Yes you still need a card (online purchases, transport, larger
expenses) for necessities. But for fun expenses, things you don’t really need,
pay by cash. You will notice as the cash disappears and this will give you
greater knowledge of where you are spending your money.
Don’t buy textbooks before attending your first classes.
Every course has a list of recommended
texts and required reading. There are certain benefits to being organised and
preparing. But wait. Internet searching can often reveal the information you
But what if the book is compulsory? In some lectures the tutor may refer to a core book each week and the questions can only be found in them. You may need to get your hands on a specific book then. You could try:
The university library
Classmates and friends (may have copies they are happy to share)
Social media chats and groups (may get a battered old copy cheap)
Online, traditional and second-hand bookstores
Lazyness! Not packing your own lunch.
Ask any student they will say a lot of money
is spent on buying lunch on the days you are in uni. Often prices are not too
high, but they are higher than making your own. You may start with good
intentions, but as time passes the laziness creeps in and you stop packing your
own lunch. Purchasing a lunch can cost £7 or £8 then a drink etc… multiply this
by the number of days you are in uni and the weeks and suddenly you are talking
about a large sum of money.
By knowing what you spend your money on, learning from those
mistakes means you can take steps to ix it. Develop good spending habits, don’t
buy things that you do not need and learn from others.
What are your own spending mistakes? What are your tips?
Our Accounting and Finance courses at Staffordshire University will teach you how to guide every business decision from financial reporting, tax planning and business strategy.
June Dennis, Dean of Staffordshire Business School
We’ve been celebrating Global Enterprise Week at Staffordshire Business School this week and have welcomed some fantastic guest speakers. What’s been very evident is
that there is no one reason or way to start your own business – each guest
speaker has had a uniquely individual journey and experience. In some
instances, they have fallen into self-employment, in others, it was a well
thought through and planned decision to do so.
So what makes a successful entrepreneur?
There are so many lists out there that can offer you the top 3 or 7 or 20 traits you must have to be a successful entrepreneur. This is my list based on what our guest speakers shared this week!
Passion & determination – if you are to succeed, you need to be
passionate about your business proposition.
What’s the point of setting up a business in something you don’t like or
believe in? However, passion alone will
not be enough. It really does help if
you love what you do, but you need to be prepared for setbacks. I can promise you that things won’t go as
smoothly as you hoped. There will be times when you question whether you did
the right thing. That’s when you need to
be resilient and, as they say, ‘keep calm and carry on’.
Strong work ethic & self starter – when you work for yourself, it’s very easy to have a lie-in when you don’t feel like working without realising that time is your most precious commodity. Even when you don’t feel it, you have to push yourself to make that phonecall, finish the report or knock on the door. You need to be disciplined. One friend, when he didn’t have any work, used to go to the cinema or meet friends for a coffee. Another friend would purposely post leaflets around the neighbourhood to promote his business. Can you guess which one was most successful?
…but also a good finisher – basically, you won’t get paid until you
finish the job. And, you need to finish
the job in good time. So don’t
procrastinate. Sometimes, ‘good enough’
is better than not getting the job done in time. You won’t get repeat business
if you don’t deliver on time.
Creativity – you don’t necessarily have to have a new-to-the-world invention or be able to design amazing advertising campaigns, but you do need to be a good problem solver and find ways around problems that come your way. That’s being creative!
Keep an eye out for opportunities – Be a purposeful networker. You don’t have to be an extravert to develop a supportive network and you never know what’s around the corner! Nearly every contract I received resulted in further business, either from the same organisation or as a result of them passing my details on to a third party. For example, as a result of writing Mintel reports, I was contacted by the chief executive at the time asking if I could act as an expert witness in a court case. The timing wasn’t great and I had to juggle domestic commitments and workload but saying yes to this one phone call provided me with the opportunity to be one of a handful of special marketing experts – and it paid well!
Know your worth – friends may ask for freebies or big
discounts sometimes with the promise that you’ll get lots of publicity. If they value you, they will pay for your
services or goods. Occasionally, they
may be able to offer you something in kind, such as your first review or office
space. I got a free hair cut from my hairdresser
when we spent the time it took to cut my hair discussing how he could improve
his pricing policy. It was win-win and
neither of us took the other person’s services for granted. As an expert
witness, I realised no one queried how much I was charging, so I increased my fees
by £50-£75/day for each new quote. I
never got turned down….
Be prepared to learn – constantly! If you weren’t successful in getting a contract – find out why. If you made a mistake, learn from it. Get feedback whenever you can and look at ways to develop new skills.
Professor Fang Zhao, Staffordshire Business School
Digital revolution is in its full swing now. Digital technologies become pervasive and ubiquitous, disrupting and reshaping business models and processes. According to the estimation of McKinsey Global Institute (2017), by 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers, about 3 to 14 percent of the global workforce will have to change their job categories thanks to digital disruption. Digital technologies have also created and grown the gig (or sharing) economy and generated new entrepreneurial opportunities and new types of entrepreneurship called digital entrepreneurship. The forecast is that digital entrepreneurship may add $1.36 trillion to the future world top ten economies and could generate 10 million additional jobs by 2020 (Nanterne 2014).
is digital entrepreneurship?
Based on our team’s research, digital
entrepreneurship is a distinctive concept signifying a strategic mindset and transformation,
through which entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organisations pursue business
opportunities and create new and transformative services/products, processes,
digital ecosystems, markets, business models, and ventures involving digital technologies.
What are the opportunities for
businesses and organizations?
There are many opportunities that digital
technologies can give rise to, in terms of the growth of digital
entrepreneurship. In short, they present three key opportunities: connectivity,
scalability and speed. Social media, one aspect of digital technologies, plays
a key role in connectivity through network relations which may lead to co-creation
and co-ownership. Digital connections are the veins of new venture creation
linking creative people and focusing minds and actions on making something
people want. On the other hand, the scalability and fast speed allow start-ups
to scale up and down quickly and extend their reach across borders and time
What are the key challenges?
However, the low barrier to use digital
platforms increases competitions and minimizes the chances of distinguishing one’s
products/services from its rivals. There are also intellectual property issues,
cyber security, data protection, to name a few. Digital entrepreneurs need to
learn fast to upgrade their capability and skills. New learning becomes a
continuous part of venture and business capability development. Knowledge bytes
are a daily venture building feature as learning and working become integrated
and fused in the digital entrepreneur’s world. Last but not the least, technology
is just a tool, just a conduit, just a pathway, the goal is the business.
The ultimate objectives that you use technologies for your business count the most.
For further discussion on the topic area, please contact Professor Fang Zhao, Associate Dean – Research and Enterprise in Staffordshire Business School, Staffordshire University at email@example.com.
About Global Entreprenuership Week:
From the 18-24November, Global Entrepreneurship Week inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities…Continue reading
There are several possible interpretations of the fundamental role of a university, however the one that holds close to my values and beliefs is “the university” as an institution for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, creating graduates who have a genuine commitment to making the world a better place and of being significant players in civil society. The western university model has been a remarkable success and is one in which we should have immense pride. Operational freedom within an interactive setting which enables excellence across teaching, research, learning and enterprise opening unlimited opportunities for many. However, in an increasingly complex and uncertain world the role of the university is constantly being questioned. In particular there has been a recent drive for developing “value”, in the form of employable work ready graduates. This may be interpreted as a set of desirable skills and attributes to be embedded within the curriculum or perhaps and more importantly the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set. The ability to think outside the box, to adapt and respond to change in a fast paced environment and more importantly the ability to be able to communicate within and beyond their academic discipline is perceived key to graduates contributing to societal challenges.
In today’s global economy and in society as a whole we are faced with many complex challenges (clean water, ageing population, disaster management, global-warming, sustainable food production, transitioning populations), which require new ways of working. It is widely accepted that innovative and sustainable solutions for many complex global social issues reach far beyond the boundaries of a single academic discipline or methodological approach and as such the practical argument for embedding interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities into the learning experience within universities is strong. Interdisciplinary working is widely accepted to be the new mode of knowledge production, it focuses on building intellectual capacity and is supported by government policy makers and research funding agencies. Many of the most exciting developments cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and therefore have great potential to break through complex societal problems and foster innovation.
The concept of interdisciplinarity within Higher Education is not new: Thompson and Fogel (1921), acknowledged in their publication ‘Higher Education and Social Change’ that all social problems require interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. They expanded on this by stating: “if graduates … are to be societies’ leaders …they need a broad social and historical perspective that is difficult to achieve in one discipline”. Thompson and Forgel’s (1921) paper highlighted specifically the need for Higher Educational institutions to promote interdisciplinarity as a means of developing the essential skills of leadership required to impact on civil society.
So, what is a university for? It is to change mind-set, opening up opportunities to bring together individuals to generate knowledge to solve societal problems for the good of mankind. Thus, the connections we make, the disciplines we cross and the knowledge we form are only part of the picture, it is the transformative impact on people’s life’s that we make that hold the true meaning of the value of a university, which instil the leadership qualities desired to make the world a better place.
Thompson, K.W. & Fogel, B.R. (1921). Higher Education and Social Change: Promising Experiments in Developing Countries. Vol 1 Reports. US: Praeger.
Simon Hughes, Student, Staffordshire Business School
‘Conkers’ is a day out at an activity centre in Derbyshire, where a group of new Staffordshire University students spent a day during Welcome Week. The day is used to bring people out of their shell and get them involved with various activities that involve communicating and working as part of a team.
The day started out and there was not much interaction between each member of the group and when we arrived at conkers there was still very little interaction while waiting to be split into teams to take part in several activities throughout the day.
When the students were separated into teams, I could see how they were bonding and forming a rapport with their teammates. I strongly recommend this to any person looking to improve their team working skills plus it’s a great confidence booster. It will also help them to ‘find their voice’ to help with communication skills.
The first part of the day was mainly about the communication within their teams. They had to get a bucket of water through an obstacle course, without losing too much water and not letting it touch the ground.
All the teams seemed to have a lot of fun no matter what the weather.
The second activity of which the teams took part in, was aimed at helping them build their self-confidence and to believe in themselves with a high wire walk.
They also had a lower wire for those who had not got as much confidence.
The third activity the team took part in was called `bush craft` where they were split into smaller groups to build a shelter showing their ability to work together as part of a team.
They also had to build a fire under the instructor’s guidance, by gathering wood so that they could toast their marshmallows.
By the end of all the activities, it was apparent that all who took part gained something positive from their experiences. Team working skills and communication were improved and it also helped with their self-confidence.
By 2025 it’s estimated that we will lose over five million jobs to automation. Don’t worry though – jobs are getting more interesting with machines handling the more mundane tasks. Your time will be freed up from performing the repetitive tasks of the past so you can focus on more fun stuff like knowledge creation and innovation. Here are some of the jobs to look out for:
Data Analyst – Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, such as finance, consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government and education. Data analysts translate numbers into plain English. Every business collects data, whether it’s sales figures, market research, logistics, or transportation costs. A data analyst’s job is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions.
Forensic Accountant – As a forensic accountant, you’ll utilise your accountancy skills to investigate financial discrepancies and inaccuracies such as fraudulent activity, financial misrepresentation or misconduct and disputes. The role involves an integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. You will carry out meticulous investigations to uncover information, identify specific irregularities in financial documents and reports, quantify the exact losses and trace and recover illegitimate funds.
UX Analyst – User Experience (UX) roles involve delivering the best possible experience for the user of a website, with the aim of making the website as straightforward to use as possible. The term UX analyst arises as the role involves a lot of analysis of users’ behaviours and preferences in order to create the best experience for the user. As a UX analyst you will look at the content of websites, and also the design elements, such as colours and images. Within some companies you’ll focus on research skills and psychology, in others you’ll concentrate on design and in some you’ll fulfil a more technical IT role.
Content Creator – A content creator is someone who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media. They usually target a specific end-user/audience in specific contexts. Facebook hires thousands of content creators and editors every year to not only provide content but also to monitor what is happening on-line.
Talent Manager – A talent manager’s responsibilities include designing employee training programs, building succession plans and crafting an internal promotion process. To be successful in this role, you should have a solid understanding of full-cycle recruiting along with a strategic mind-set in order to develop a skilled workforce. Ultimately, you will build a talent pipeline that aligns with our hiring needs and business objectives.
Customer Experience Manager – Customer Experience Managers can be in any industry, here are responsibilities for a manager in the leisure and Theme Park Business. You’ll propose and implement strategies to constantly improve customer satisfaction and park development. Additionally, you may also oversee or take sole responsibility for the marketing of the park in order to generate business. You’ll be involved in all areas of the park, including rides, retail and food and beverages. Theme park managers may also be known as guest experience managers, rides and operations managers or attractions managers.
If you’re interested in a job of the future our Business and Accounting Degrees prepare you for these roles.