30/04/2012

By Richard Messik, Chartered Accountant And Co-founder Of Cloud Advocates

As many of you will know, I am a self-confessed and unashamed techno geek. If something can be done using the latest gadget, that's for me, irrespective of other - possibly quicker - ways of dealing with it.

It would be safe to assume therefore that the great god of technology would see me as a loyal follower and favour me with its blessings - after all I must be considered a true disciple. But from hubris comes a downfall and like many of the Old Testament prophets, the "god" throws out these little tests at the most crucial time just to prove my ongoing loyalty. Take today's events for example:

A major client of mine requires a BACS payment run prepared every week to process the payments for its suppliers. Part of our brief is to prepare the BACS file from E-conomic and upload it to their HSBC online banking for payment. A simple enough process, especially as E-conomic has a very efficient BACS compilation procedure built into the system. A slight added pressure was that it had to be done by 10am as the client's FD was unavailable after that time.

No problem you would think, and so did I but today's events conspired against me. Firstly, like so many of our wonderful banks, HSBC online banking only works with Internet Explorer. The fact that a substantial number of customers now use other browsers has totally passed them by. Normally this would not be a problem as, although I went over to the darkside some months ago and am now a committed MAC user, I have a Windows drive on my MAC specially for this purpose.

However this is where the fun started. In my wisdom I had decided the other day to upgrade my IE browser to IE9 - after all, if the latest version is out there let’s go for it! But no - HSBC in its wisdom has not upgraded its systems to work with IE9 yet so with the deadline quickly approaching I found myself in somewhat of a pickle.

Being the resourceful guy that I am, I reached for an old windows laptop that I have lying around and attempted to boot it it into existence. 15 minutes later with sweat poring off me, I still couldn't get this bl..dy machine to react to any sort of commands whilst it noisily chugged away reallocating its file space or whatever Windows laptops do when you need them in a hurry.

In desperation, (it was now 10.05!) I reverted to my MAC sitting their with a superior and, I must admit, somewhat smug look on its screen and thought that maybe - just maybe things would work in Safari. At this point my remote keyboard chose to run out of battery power - yes it did warn me the other day that it was running low but who takes any notice of these sort of things!

My only choice was to rather unceremoniously (and if I am honest, somewhat recklessly) kick my long suffering wife off her PC and attempt to complete the process from there - at which point I lost my internet connection and had to reboot my router (note to self, I must move that wretched thing nearer to my office).

I am glad to say that this saga had a happy ending and the file was eventually uploaded and my client (whose time keeping is obviously as bad as mine) was happy. I on the other hand have just risen from a valium induced sleep - and any one who quotes to me ... that what doesn't hurt us makes us stronger... had better watch out!

Richard Messik is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in Cloud Computing. He is a co founder of Cloud Advocates,an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices. To find out more, visit http://cloudadvocates.com


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