Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success
Systems Modelling Ltd. http://www.sysmod.com
Welcome - Eurois at YahooGroups
Dutch Cash Study Updated
Euro price creep foiled
Rounding down, uncharitably ...
Thomas Cook takes EC to court over euro symbol
European Commission pages
"Euro Change" series on RTE radio 1
One in five small businesses will not be ready for the euro
No room for complacency about large companies' euro preparations
The perils of euro software testing
The euro book
The Nimda worm
On the lighter side
20 Web links in this newsletter
About this newsletter, Feedback, and Archives
Subscribe and Unsubscribe information
It is natural to fear that the tragedy of September 11 and its incalculable consequences may render our normal preoccupations irrelevant. Nonetheless, life must go on and the countdown to the euro seems to accelerate as we get closer, only 87 days to go as I write. If you have any comments on the topics in this newsletter, I'd be happy to hear from you.
Because I am sending this out as plain text, I have given the web links in the text, after each article. You will also find them all in a convenient launchpad list on http://www.sysmod.com/index.htm
Patrick O'Beirne, Editor
Are you sure your software applications can support all the requirements for the business changeover to the euro? Get an independent assessment on their "compliance" or "euro-readiness" with our euro software certification service. 
Are you sure your software applications can support all the requirements for the business changeover to the euro? Get an independent assessment on their "compliance" or "euro-readiness" with our euro software certification service.
You will remember the stir caused by the Dutch Railways study we first reported in February 2001. For a summary, see http://www.sysmod.com/e-day.htm. Gerard Westerhof has been the project manager for the introduction of the euro/ the cash change-over of NS Travellers (NST), the production company of the Dutch Railways, since 1997. The study was wider than just NST, but included a "Preliminary study of the effects of cash payments per 1-1-2002 on the sales process of cash handling businesses in the Netherlands and in the EMU-zone". His report urged more frontloading and warned that in the absence of an apt and correct response, political bodies will be held responsible by the public for "the chaotic and economically extremely harmful way in which the cash change-over will undoubtedly take place."
He has now issued a new and updated report "Launching the cash changeover!" for the Raad Nederlandse Detailhandel, the Dutch Retailers Association. It is a study of the capacity of the ATMs in the city of Lelystad on New Year's Day, 1-1-2002 and of the probable effectiveness of their use by the public in the first week of January 2002.
In summary, cash take up is projected to amount to less than 10% of the public per day, so that the minimum target (derived from previous studies) of 50% will not be achieved by the Saturday of that week. His conclusion is for "significant economic damage" and his main recommendation is "Allow the public in the EMU zone to get their euro-notes by distributing the notes to them during the last week of 2001" The report details the variables, assumptions, and eight simulations with cash take-up graphs. A copy is available by sending an e-mail to info(at)raadndh(dot)nl
He notes "I have not read of any studies on queue formations at the banks' cash desks in the weeks around January 1st." Indeed, banks in Ireland are withdrawing such services and "encouraging" (translation: "forcing") customers to use ATMs. It's strange that only the Dutch simulation studies are being reported. Such a massive undertaking cannot be attempted with the view that "it'll be alright on the night". Certainly national administrations and the banks have the staff to undertake such Operations Research/Management Science (OR/MS) work. I have applied such techniques for almost thirty years, and at the moment am using simulation to analyse hundreds of thousands of records of till receipts from POS systems to evaluate cash requirements for retail stores. For that reason, I was interested in Gerard Westerhof's addendum "Summary of study of effects on a supermarket".
The Irish Independent severely criticised the food company Glanbia for its mishandling of a price increase simultaneous with the changeover to the euro. "Increasing the price of a pint of milk will confirm many people's worst fears about next January's changeover to the euro. This is most unfair on the euro." Their notice to retailers had indicated that they would be reducing the pint (568ml) size to 500ml, a 13% drop, "in preparation for the euro". Whether it was intentional obfuscation, or bad timing, it was a PR disaster, and Glanbia withdrew their notice.
Charities fear euro change may reduce donations (Irish Times)
Because the Irish Pound (IEP) is the only denomination heavier than the euro, a 1 euro coin is worth only 79p. Therefore charities that depend upon pound coin donations are facing a 21% loss in revenue. For pure cash donations, like church collection plates, they can always appeal for 2 euro coins, or "silent collections". But those who "sell" little tokens like ribbons will have an awkward pricing problem.
Thomas Cook takes EC to court over euro symbol
Business Plus magazine reported that travel business Thomas Cook is seeking £26m in damages because it claims the euro symbol is so like one of its registered trade marks that it is an infringement.
Just as reminder to those that sometimes ask what official information is available, the public web site is:
The euro - the EU in your hand: Euro essentials
Ronan Tynan & Anne Daly of Esperanza productions have made a six-part radio documentary series. From the local, national and international perspective, this series shows how a very wide range of people and institutions are getting ready, and how others are blissfully ignoring an event that like it or not, is going to have a profound impact on our lives. The September 15 programme entitled the "revenge of Y2K" cautioned against the "it will be alright on the night" approach. The series can be heard in streamed audio.
Enterprise Directorate-General is regularly monitoring the state of preparedness of European small and medium-sized enterprises through surveys conducted among business managers in the 12 euro countries. These euro zone-wide surveys give the opportunity to observe trends and compare the results by country, company size and business sector. The July/August 2001 survey found that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will have their systems converted for the euro only after the changeover: 15% will still be unable to deal with invoicing in euros, and 23% with other operations, the poll found. (EUBusiness) Full report: FLASH Eurobarometer "SMEs and the euro" July-August 2001 Results (PDF)
Euro-impact reported that many companies, even larger ones, are still failing to appreciate the need to prepare their market, their staff and their pensioners for the euro a new survey by the European Accountants' Federation (FEE) suggests. Even though the survey results are likely to be biased towards euro-aware companies because respondents either receive this newsletter or are registered on the FEE website, they are still behind in some key issues.
FEE euro project director, Noel Hepworth, comments that governments and businesses appear to be acting at cross-purposes. "There appears to be some reliance by companies on governments to prepare both the market generally and the general public for the change and yet governments are themselves relying on businesses to carry a large share of the burden of responsibility for preparation." He fears this is creating a potential vacuum "with the former relying on the latter when the latter is relying on the former".
I recently completed a survey of accounting software in Ireland for Forfás, the state agency tasked with the EMU Business Awareness Campaign. It looks as though only Quickbooks from Intuit is left as the laggard not yet providing a base conversion facility. The report should be published soon on http://www.emuaware.forfas.ie
I would like to pass on this useful checklist with thanks to Teresa Maguire of Take Five, Hugh Cosgrove of Exact software, Richard Kerr of Sage, Charles Alken of Quantum Accounting, and Alan O'Connor of Exchequer Software.
Have a sign off list of who checked and on what date.
Allocate outstanding transactions.
Run your VAT Return.
Run your Period End reports.
Check your data.
Back up your data.
Install and run the Euro Base Currency Converter.
Compare reports before and after conversion on sampled accounts, allow +/- 1 euro (or 10c or whatever) deviation.
Basis for sampling accounts:
a) The most important / troublesome customer accounts
b) Accounts with the highest volume of transactions
c) Accounts that had no balance outstanding beforehand but may now show a balance from rounding differences
d) At least ten chosen at random
Trial Balance - must balance. If not, user cannot correct that unless they have a "back door" into the database, which is a security risk.
Debtors aged report - must agree within decided tolerance
Debtors Account summary - see sample list above
Debtors outstanding invoices - must agree within decided tolerance
Creditors aged report
Creditors Account summary
Creditors outstanding invoices
Creditors outstanding Purchase Orders - As for customers above
Check that non-EMU customers & suppliers are not affected in the original currency, and base currency equivalent has been correctly restated in euro.
Profit & Loss report
Fixed Asset Register
Rounding account journal - if the software converter provides a means of sorting the results to show the largest conversion rounding differences, check those
Price list - for review by marketing people for profitability and impact on price points
Payroll - Employee Master File and Tax Tables
I'll be speaking at EuroStar in November, the European Software Testing Analysis & Review 9th International Conference Stockholm, Sweden, Nov 19 - 23. A software tester needs to be like a sculptor or diamond cutter looking for the flaw line where a small tap cracks the whole thing open. Good testers are 'nit-picking' and 'pedantic' people who are sceptical and love to break things. This presentation describes some real-life flaws found in accounting packages when tested for 'euro compliance'.
"Managing the Euro in Information Systems: Strategies for Success", Addison Wesley 1999, ISBN 0-201-60482-5. The accompanying CD has software, fonts, web links, and europapers. The book is aimed at IT managers and business executives. It covers history, regulations, business strategy, I.T. strategy, project planning, conversion methods, and case studies. 11 chapters, appendices, 368 pages.
The main issue in September was the release of the Nimda ("admin" backwards) worm. SirCam is still the most common email virus, but Nimda hits website maintainers and users who leave security holes open. Gartner caused a stir by recommending that companies do not use Microsoft IIS web server because it is such a target. For the same reason, I use Eudora rather than Outlook and so have escaped the virus that is trigged by merely previewing the email. In Internet Explorer 5, I always have ActiveX controls marked as "prompt" so I know if a site is trying to run one. I always answer "no" when prompted, which means I cannot see some sites which rely exclusively on Shockwave animations. In that case, I drop them a polite email suggesting that if they want safe surfers to view their site, they should follow good practice and provide a safe alternative entry point. It's not that hard for a developer to detect if a browser has these features disabled, and provide a text link.
The symptom is an email with an apparently nonsensical subject or body, which is created from text extracted from the sender's file system; and an attachment "README.EXE". Naturally, you don't execute attachments without first scanning them for viruses and you do, of course, update your antivirus software at least weekly? To learn more about Nimda, see anti-virus sites such as Datafellows and Sophos, and Microsoft's service pack 2 patch.
Fred Langa told me of the Microsoft Personal Security Advisor (MPSA), an easy to use web application that will help you secure your Windows NT(tm) 4.0 or Windows 2000(tm) personal computer system. It provides a detailed report of your computer's security settings and recommendations for improvement.
What is not on paper has not been said.
There are no good project managers - only lucky ones.
Online.ie fun page
Yahoo! Internet Life - Forward / Joke of the day Responses to telemarketers
Copyright 2001 Systems Modelling Limited, http://www.sysmod.com . Reproduction allowed provided the report is copied in its entirety and with this copyright notice.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We appreciate any feedback or suggestions for improvement. If you have received this newsletter from anybody else, we urge you to sign up for your personal copy by sending a blank email to EuroIS-subscribe(at)YahooGroups(dot)com - it's free!
To help readability, hyperlinks in the text are given in full URL format at the end. Let me know if this does not work for you.
For those who would like to do more than receive the monthly newsletter, the EuroIS list makes it easy for you to discuss issues raised, to share experiences with the rest of the group, and to contribute files to a common user community pool independent of the sysmod.com web site. I will be moderating posts to the EuroIS list, to screen out inappropriate material.
Patrick O'Beirne, Editor
"Praxis" means model or example, from the Greek verb "to do". The name is chosen to reflect our focus on practical solutions to IS problems, avoiding hype. If you like acronyms, think of it as "Patrick's reports and analysis across Information Systems".
[ Feedback ]
We value your feedback. Simply copy and paste the following section into a new email message and send it to newsletter(at)sysmod(dot)com
On a scale of 0=none, 1=low, 2=good, 3=excellent, how relevant did you find the information [ ]
What would you have liked more coverage of ?
What would you have liked less coverage of ?
The following questions are entirely optional but your answers would help us to provide information that is relevant to your needs.
What kind of work do you do?
What internet search engine do you most use?
What search keywords are most relevant to your current interests and concerns?
[ Archives ]
To read previous issues of this newsletter please visit our web site at http://www.sysmod.com/praxis.htm
[ DISCLAIMER ]
This newsletter is prepared in good faith and the information has been taken from observation and other sources believed to be reliable. Systems Modelling Ltd. (SML) does not represent expressly or by implication the accuracy, truthfulness or reliability of any information provided. It is a condition of use that users accept that SML has no liability for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions. The information is not intended to constitute legal or professional advice. You should consult a professional at Systems Modelling Ltd. directly for advice that is specifically tailored to your particular circumstances.
Copyright © SML 2001
To unsubscribe from this Newsletter send an email to EuroIS-unsubscribe(at)YahooGroups(dot)com
EuroIS is the distribution list server of the PraxIS newsletter. It also offers a moderated discussion list for readers and a free shared storage area for user-contributed files.
The archives of this group are on YahooGroups website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EuroIS