Not-so-smart new disease
A recent Flux Trends presentation by Dion Chang suggests we need to strike a new balance between our supposedly smart new ways of working and the not-so-smart new disease it has brought with it: digital burnout.
Symptoms include low productivity, inability to cope with routine, constant tiredness and inability to control emotions. Chang says digital addiction is now being recognised as an actual disease. Psychiatrists in Singapore are pushing for its formal recognition as a mental illness and in China there are more than 300 digital addiction centres.
Unlike old-fashioned burnout, digital burnout cannot be solved with a holiday. It needs a new approach to digital devices and their usage.
According to Chang, we live in two parallel universes: a physical realm, where we spend less time than previously, and a virtual world where we spend more time.
New research indicates that the average person spends more time on their devices than they do sleeping: eight hours and 41 minutes a day. The average user checks their mobile device 150 times and launches at least ten apps a day.
We switch between online and offline mode with few boundaries between our real and digital worlds. As a result of this always-on/always-connected lifestyle, we no longer have time to reflect or day dream. Consequently, we no longer think original thoughts.
Allowing for downtime without the distraction of technology, even for just a few minutes a day, leads to increased self-awareness, social interaction and creative insights.
Try these three simple methods to bring more mindfulness into your life:
- Next time you’re in a meeting – whether business or social – don’t look at the time or your phone. Give your full attention to the person you are with.
- Stop using devices an hour before retiring to bed. Research shows that over-exposure to laptops and TVs before bed stimulates the brain.
- Try to take walks in nature regularly without your cellphone. Take in the scenery around you through your eyes instead of through your device.
In reality, we have to exist in a parallel universe. We cannot completely disconnect from our digital lives. We do however need to try strike some sort of balance.
Source: The Star Workplace, 21 January 2015
Whose economy will grow?
Projected change in real GDP in 2015
South Africa 2,3%
Source: World Economic Outlook, October 2014
[IMAGE: THE WORLD AS 100 PEOPLE]
There’s no disguising South Africa’s youth unemployment problem
Our unemployment rates compare unfavourably with those of Greece, sub-Saharan Africa, and the world as a whole. In January, the Economist reported that unemployment in South Africa and Greece was running at about 25%. But that’s the rate in Greece after six years of economic recession, whereas ours follows five years of economic growth. So joblessness in South Africa is a more serious problem than it is in Greece.
Our performance in relation to sub-Saharan Africa is also miserable. In its latest World Employment and Social Outlook report, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says youth unemployment in the region is 11%. Using the ILO’s categorisation of youth as people between the ages 15 and 24, the equivalent rate in South Africa is 52%. That’s more than four times the figure for sub-Saharan Africa.
Another recent report, published by the Youth Desk in the Presidency, gives a figure of 73,4 million for global youth unemployment based on ILO data. South Africa’s figure is 1,38 million. This means that South Africa alone accounts for 1,9% of global youth unemployment, whereas our population accounts for only 0,77% of the population of the planet. So we have more than double what might be termed our fair share of global youth unemployment.
Source: Business Day, 26 January 2015
New Eastern Region offices
On 28 November last year, the SAICA Eastern Region proudly launched their stunning new offices in Sherwood, Durban. Key players and stakeholders were invited to share in this celebration including the Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, KZN MEC for Finance, Ms Belinda Scott, SAICA’s CEO, Dr Terence Nombembe and Naeem Asvat, SAICA Executive Regional.
Bradley van Dyk, the Eastern Region President, reiterated that SAICA’s commitment to providing enhanced services to regional members is strengthening the motto of ‘develop, influence, and lead’.
They look forward to increasing member and stakeholder interaction and have already hosted training sessions at the new office. Members also now have the benefit of unlimited access to the meeting rooms which they can reserve for their business meetings.
Having spent seven years in the old office, which served them well, they now look forward to what’s on the horizon for the year ahead and the successes to come.
CA(SA) appointed to the IASB’s Transition Resource Group for Revenue Recognition
James Luke CA(SA) from EY has been appointed as a member of the IASB’s Transition Resource Group for Revenue Recognition (TRG). The TRG was established to assist the IASB and the FASB on potential implementation issues on IFRS 15 – Revenue from Contract with Customers.
IASB finalises amendments regarding the application of the investment entities exception
The IASB has issued narrow-scope amendments to IFRS 10 – Consolidated Financial Statements, IFRS 12 – Disclosure of Interests in Other Entities and IAS 28 – Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures to clarify, among other things, that the exemption from preparing consolidated financial statements for an intermediate parent entity is available to a parent entity that is a subsidiary of an investment entity, even if the investment entity measures all of its subsidiaries at fair value. The amendments are effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016. Earlier application is permitted.
Investment Entities: Applying the Consolidation Exception: Amendments to IFRS 10, IFRS 12 and IAS 28 can be downloaded from eIFRS.
IASB finalises amendments to IAS 1 under the Disclosure initiative project
The IASB has issued amendments to IAS 1 – Presentation of Financial Statements that are designed to further encourage companies to apply professional judgement in determining what information to disclose in their financial statements. The amendments to IAS 1 can be applied immediately and become mandatory for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016.
Disclosure Initiative: Amendments to IAS 1 – Presentation of Financial Statements can be downloaded from eIFRS.
IAASB issued final standards to improve Auditor’s Report
On 15 January 2015, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) released its new and revised Auditor Reporting standards, designed to significantly enhance auditor’s reports for investors and other users of financial statements. The most notable enhancement is the new requirement for auditors of listed entities’ financial statements to communicate Key Audit Matters – those matters that, in the auditor’s professional judgement, were of most significance in the audit of the financial statements of the current period.
In addition to KAM, the auditor report will now prominently place the audit opinion and basis for audit opinion sections at the top of the audit report. In addition the auditor’s report will include:
- An affirmative statement about the auditor’s independence and compliance with other ethical requirements
- Enhanced auditor reporting on going concern, which includes a description of management’s responsibility with respect to the going concern assumption and the auditor’s responsibility to evaluate management’s use of the going concern assumption. If the auditor concludes that a material uncertainty relating to going concern exists, this is reported in a separate section of the audit report
- Enhanced description of the responsibilities of the auditor
- The name of the engagement partner to be disclosed for audits of listed companies
In South Africa, the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Auditors already stipulates a signing convention that requires the disclosure of the engagement partner’s name for all entities and not just those of listed companies.
These standards will be effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after 15 December 2016. The standards can be downloaded from www.ifac.org.