I consider myself quite clever and switched on when it comes to financial reporting. A few years ago I went through a very painful experience of watching my global employer literally meltdown in a multi-million dollar collapse. I felt that if I had been able to understand the signs from the information I had access to I could have avoided the day when I left the building with my cardboard box under my arm and signing on with the DSS. So I enrolled in the ACCA Financial Management course, a two-year part-time study that took in elements of Risk Management and Regulatory requirements (go on just ask me about the finer details of Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002, section 404) so next time I would be older and wiser.
I scraped through the exams and coursework, gaining 51% overall, with a pass mark required of 50% and thus gained one of the highest financial qualifications you could get without being an auditor or an account. Never again would I be embarrassed in picking up a financial statement or annual report and not knowing what unliquidated damages were, or the difference between amortization and depreciation. That was until I met Kieron O’Connor.
Kieron is possibly the most influential writer in the world of football on its finances. To the thousands (18,216 to be precise as of 10am today) he is better known as The Swiss Ramble. He is an award winning writer (as opposed to a blogger) who has been mentioned as one of the most authoritative sources of financial analysis by none other than Liverpool owner John W Henry, who described him via his Twitter feed as “Consistently remarkable, excellent analyses on the business of football”. He is frequently featured in the Independent and The Guardian Football Weekly and to top off a fine year last weekend he was voted the Best Blogger of the Year by the Football Supporters Federation at their annual awards.
What relevance does this all have. Well, Kieron is also a top chap and great company. Living in Zürich sort of precludes him from our normal regular meet ups but when the opportunity arises he is as keen as mustard for a game in a random part of the countryside. As luck would have it (and I genuinely mean that) a work trip to Zürich coincided with the Uhren Cup. What do you mean you have never heard of it? It is in its 50th year and includes two Swiss teams and two from elsewhere in Europe. Each team plays two games and the winner is the one with the best record. This year the teams invited were Young Boys Berne, FC Basel, Hertha Berlin and West Ham United. Unbelievable Jeff. My club playing just short hop on a train from Zürich. Continue reading