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Reasons Why Business Functions Should Work Together for Overall Success

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 9, 2018

There are many essential functions of a business, and if they are fragmented, it soon becomes apparent in productivity and success levels. Departments should not be seen as a standalone entity within a company, and this is where several organizations make the most significant mistakes. Not one person or team is responsible for the success and failures of a business, but it is often highlighted this way when communicating internally and externally. Not only does this spark demotivation within the company, but also there are also several functions that are classed as non-profit making that does not get the same recognition as the profit-making sectors. It can cause internal conflict and over time will affect the overall success of the organization.

So why is it important to combat segregation in companies and get people working together and taking responsibility as a whole for business operations? Take a look at the reasons why you should encourage collaborative working environments to get better results.

Productivity increases

When people begin to see the benefits of working together, productivity naturally increases throughout the company. Although different sections are responsible for various projects, the end goal is the same for everyone. Once you get management and workers to see this end result as the same objective, you can help to bring everyone together to achieve it. Collaborative working brings people together and gets everyone asking questions and seeing how they work more efficiently so other departments can work with them to bring ideas to fruition.

Taking responsibility 

If people take responsibility for the whole process, they can then start to feel a part of the entire project from start to finish. In some companies, it is apparent that most employees either don’t want to take this type of responsibility on or they are have not been given a choice. When workers are encouraged to take more action, they can help to resolve issues, not only in their individual department but also in other working processes. For example, if the finance department experiences delays in processing expenses as they are not getting the information on time, they could, in turn, have to delay filing a tax return online which would have implications further down the line. In this case, workers and departments would have to take responsibility for meeting deadlines and helping to get information across more effectively to avoid issues. The finance department could also help in highlighting these issues rather than allowing them to happen without consequence. 

Improves communication

In many companies, there is still a strong influence of individualism and separation between departments. In some cases, this attitude can result in people not taking responsibility for the results of a project after it has passed through their section. With this type of thinking, communication starts to break down as people become cut off and defensive over their work. Encouraging a collaborative environment can help to reduce this narrow-minded behavior in a workforce. Ensuring everyone is communicating and information transition is fluid between departments helps to bring everyone in on projects and opens up a channel of conversation and working practices can be discussed openly to bring improvements in productivity and motivation.

There are many reasons why everyone needs to come together for better working conditions and increased productivity, so ensuring your business promotes this will see you reap the rewards for the future. 

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How Processes and Finance Intersect in Business

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Every business is a collection of processes working together in harmony to help create a better outcome. Without useful processes that employees can follow, the operational efficiency of a business falls apart and eventually creates anarchy inside the organization, where no one knows what is going on.

The same can largely be said about finance. Without sensible policies, smart approaches and well-intended processes, the finances of the business begin to come apart at the seams.

Purchasing Procedures

The larger the company, the more involved their purchasing procedures tend to be. While they may have started out dealing with a single supplier for everything, it later became obvious when a procurement specialist came onboard that this wasn’t the most efficient approach to follow for best results. That can be said whether seen from a product range, pricing, procurement availability or single point of failure standpoint.

When a strong process is created that governs how major purchases are reviewed, researched, put out to competitive bidding, deals structured and purchase completed, it helps avoid costly mistakes that ultimately hurt the profitability and bottom-line of the company. To avoid expensive financial mistakes, it is a good idea to have someone in the company who is well qualified in the subject of finance.

Studying for an online master of science in finance provides a solid financial background to rely upon in many business situations. The program at Northeastern University provides broad financial knowledge covering corporate finance, financial management, statistical analysis, and investing. The Northeastern University Online course is also easier to access because it is built around studying from home (or the office) in free pockets of time.

Efficient Accounts Receivable

With cashflow being critical to businesses, having good processes and procedures for staff to follow with accounts receivable frees up senior qualified finance staff to focus on financial planning. While cash flow forecasts are useful to follow, when the finance team doesn’t follow correct procedures to build relationships with customers, so they can chase down debts and pull in payments promptly, the accounts receivables can quickly get out of control.

While receivables sit on the balance sheet as an expected asset, at some point they must be written off when confidence fades leading to serious doubts that the balances are collectible. Following solid financial processes reduces the likelihood of bad debts because more ledger accounts are cleared ahead potential business insolvencies. The last point is especially true during a recession where a steady hand must be kept on the receivables to avoid steeper losses.

Financial Projections

Even with reliable financial projections via managerial accounts on special projects or a cashflow forecast for the central business activity, following dependable processes is key. Without a consistent set of procedures to develop all the information sources to create a cashflow forecast, accountants are left scrambling for accuracy.

New investments using free cash based on a semi-accurate cashflow forecast avoids excess cash sitting idle losing money to inflation. Therefore, an improved forecast and, by extension, effective processes, end up indirectly making money for the company because it better informs investment decisions and avoids excessive lock-up periods on short-term investments.

The process isn’t everything on the financial side of a business, but it certainly helps avoid problems. Without processes that managers can rely upon and other staff can follow, a business won’t run efficiently and momentum is lost in the pursuit of growth and greater market share.

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Harnessing the Business Potential of Latin America

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 2, 2018

When considering the emerging economies of the contemporary world, many businesspeople dont look beyond the rise of China and India as eastern powerhouses - centers of exporting opportunities as well as technological advances that if harnessed correctly can produce lucrative profits. Latin America, though, with Brazil and Argentina especially representing countries with huge economic potential, are by and large markets that are easier to tap for western investors, especially given the cultural similarities and relative lack of red tape compared with Chinas business environment. Here are some pointers for those looking to set up a business in Latin America.

Learn Spanish and/or Portuguese

Spoken across the whole landmass of southern and central America, these two languages form the backbone of the collective Latin American culture and will get any prospective businessperson far in terms of communicative success. Far easier than getting to grips with Hindi or Mandarin, Spanish (spoken in Argentina) and Portuguese (spoken in Brazil) can be learned in easy night classes in your home country before you touch down in Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires.

While English remains the international language of business, youll be surprised to learn that you may not get too far speaking solely English in Latin America. This is, in part, why the business potential of these countries has yet to be tapped. Moreover, as a businessperson, youll be aware that communication and mutual understanding and respect are crucial in building a trusting, cooperative relationship with people, so having a little of the local lingo under your belt will be highly valuable come the important handshakes.

Beware Of Local Culture

When investing your time, money and business efforts in another country, its best to have a basic understanding of the unique cultural challenges that might arise over your working relationship. For instance, there may be levels of political and economic corruption in Brazil and Argentina. Be wary of the areas of business in which you may have to accept losing a little money to factors such as corruption - it should be offset by the profits you make by harnessing these emerging titans of the Latin American economy.

On top of the business environment, there are also cultural aspects of being aware of. All of these idiosyncrasies can be learned through interaction with locals and deep research into each country you plan on working with. Itll avoid your becoming unstuck through in-experience, but youll also have some cultural touchstones from which to build business understanding and relationships for years to come.

Take Advantage of Regional Finance

They may not have the international clout as other major and emerging economies, but Latin America has its own distinct economy that runs quite self-sufficiently through the development of financial technologies and institutions large and small. Take Bonsai Finance, where small to large business and personal loans can be easily orchestrated online for those in need of capital to set up a business. Another example of an established brand is MercadoLibre, the eBay of Latin America thats just as successful and popular as its better-known counterpart.

Whether you take advantage of these services, or you use some from your home country instead, setting up a business in Latin America will involves cashflows and interaction with their homegrown financial institutions - and will almost certainly require setting up a Latin American bank account - so having an overview of the economic and business services available to you in Brazil or Argentina will stand you in good stead when it comes to managing your money when on the continent.

Know the Currencies Well

This is a crucial area of business set-up that new businesses getting a foothold in Latin America should consider wisely, perhaps consulting with financial and money market analysts in order to assess the vulnerability of new business to currency fluctuations. Famously, the Argentinian Peso took a dramatic turn towards hyperinflation in the mid-1980s and had since seen fluctuations as successive regimes have attempted to fix the exchange rate to the dollar to increase imports and exports.

The Brazilian Real, meanwhile, enjoys a relatively stable existence when compared to its Argentinian cousin. Nonetheless, it pays to get to grips with the historical shifts in the currencys value and the policy of governments. The fluctuations can be as profitable as they can be damaging; knowing the history of these changes can give you some power of decision-making you can use to avoid mishaps and enhance your profits when the currency is performing well.

Trail Blaze with Ambition

Latin America has had a steady arrival onto the global business. So little modern and agile western businesses have taken a foothold in the emerging, colossal economies of Argentina and Brazil - such investments are seen as risky or difficult, but the truth is they can be some of the most lucrative in the world.

As well as offering some the happiest and most spiritually resilient people on earth, Latin American countries also offer rich culture, fine wines and a fun, friendly and unforgettable atmosphere for international business. Furthermore, if you establish the right links, youll have friends in high places wholl be able to protect you from the worst of the fluctuations that occur on the continent, allowing you to continue being ambitious and headstrong with your business development in Brazil and Argentina, or beyond into Venezuela, cultured Chile, or the farming nations of the north.

Latin America has often been touted as a risky but potentially lucrative center of business hopes that too few business people have shown an interest in. With some of these pointers under your belt, why not head over to Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro - two of the most unashamedly glamorous cities on earth - to start establishing contacts and harnessing the business potential of this wonderful and diverse continent.

Regardless of where your next business venture takes you, approaching any situation with preparedness, wherewithal and research can ensure you can develop and expand your business in the most beneficial way. 

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Why Keeping Your Finances Organized Is Important

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 29, 2018

Money affects everyone. There are various tips people can follow to be smarter about money, as opposed to spending everything on some spontaneous shopping spree. While it’s important to indulge yourself by spending money on things that make you happy, but it's key to remember that everything has a spending limit. Learn to live within your means earlier rather than later. As life progresses, more responsibility will get in the way of many things. Keeping your finances organized is highly essential for efficiency purposes. There is nothing worse than scrambling to figure out your cash flow when it becomes crucial for some life event. Regardless of whether you are keeping a tab on your money for personal or business reasons, it must be strategically organized.

Start by getting organized

 

With the arrival of spring, it’s important to spring clean your finances. Keeping finances organized means more than paying off your credit card bill by the specified due date. It could include going paperless so that there is no clutter at home from all the paperwork. A lack of clutter benefits people in the long run as it will make filing taxes and checking financial records much more straightforward. Keeping everything online will prevent frantically looking for that one piece of paper.

 

Moreover, using technological apps or financial software’s such as a pay stub generator will allow people to check for any monetary inconsistencies (suitable for the bookkeeping process as well). While many people may get their money deposited directly into their bank account, it’s essential to have a pay stub that goes along with it. With the online generator, it’s easily obtained with the click of a button after some initial information is entered into the system. A pay stub is a way of keeping a record of your pay, beneficial for streamlining finances.

 

Business financial organization

Financial management is the lifeblood of a business. No employee or employer wants to work for a company whose finances run amock. The use and allocation of business funds lead to the operational efficiency of an organization. It also increases the value of the business and makes it more valuable in the eyes of the employees. As the business profits, its workers profit too in the form of wages.  Thus, a business keeping its finances organized is vital for the financial well-being of its employees.

Peace of mind

Keeping your finances in order can induce peace of mind, and thus benefit your mental health. Keeping finances organized is smart for the long term. Decide on your financial goal and organize your finances around it. Is your goal putting money aside for traveling or purchasing a house? The answer is different for everybody. Moreover, it’s beneficial to figure out different money making tactics. Think about the long-term objectives and what you hope to achieve when thinking about your financial plans.

Having goals and perhaps allocating funds aside will help people sleep at night. Should financial distress ever happen, you will be prepared because you have your finances neatly organized. Speak to a financial advisor and figure out your options when it comes to organizing your finances. Know that organized funds are beneficial for a peaceful mind and an optimal life.

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4 Ways to Streamline Your Business Processes

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Given all the talk about lean management and focusing on your core competency, we forget that it is possible to streamline your business operations by taking a few basic steps instead of hiring an expensive consultant. In this article, we’re going to give you 4 ways to streamline your business processes. We’ll give specific examples for each method of streamlining business operations and discuss how you can find ways to make your business run more smoothly.

Model Your Business Processes

You need to model your business processes from start to finish to truly understand how they work. This should include both a flowchart on how the process goes and a physical map on how things are handled. Once they’ve been mapped, you can often clearly see the convoluted workflows like something being reviewed, approved and transferred three times when it could be done just once.

Or you may see production assemblies carried across the shop floor or transferred all the way to the warehouse and back between operations, whereas moving a single work cell could dramatically reduce the distance and time associated with material movement.

As you review your processes, look for steps and actions that are not value added. A truly lean organization has no waste, and that means having no steps in the workflow that are not value added. A value chain analysis will tell you which steps add the most value to the process, whereas low-value steps might be combined with other steps or eliminated altogether.

Fix Your Bottlenecks

Ask your employees where bottlenecks occur. Bottlenecks are the business equivalent to a traffic jam. You may be able to relieve bottlenecks by devoting more resources to that particular operation, or you could solve it by simplifying the processing step.

For example, if you have a bottleneck with a drawing checker or purchasing approval step, adding a second person to the role could solve the issue. Streamlining the process could consist of letting the engineering manager approve minor drawing changes. Another case would be letting someone’s immediate manager approve small purchases up to some amount without requiring a higher manager’s approval; this could reduce the volume of work that passes through the bottleneck. In other cases, the root cause is poorly trained employees not knowing how to do the job as efficiently as possible or they don’t give the right tasks the highest priority.

Another possibility is asking why something takes as long as it does. Could you change suppliers so that your subassemblies arrive preassembled? Or change supplies and equipment to eliminate time consuming tasks. You could order boxes that snuggly fit around the item instead of using standard boxes that require extra time to pack or buy boxes that already have warning labels and product information printed on them.

Have Standard Approved Forms

Why reinvent the wheel when you could have a single mass-produced model available when required? In business, this means having standard approved forms for common actions. You should have a standard set of forms, printed or digital, for purchase orders, purchase requests, requests for quote and bills of lading. You can download a free printable purchase order template online as a starting point.

And one shouldn’t underestimate the value of checklists. Checklists formalize business procedures in an easy-to-follow format. A standard checklist when onboarding a new employee ensures that they have a working workstation ready when they arrive, and that HR has collected everything they need if someone is being separated from the company. Checklists also ensure that quality control checks everything that needs to be tested and reviewed before an item is sent on your shipment.

Automate Where Possible

You could look for ways to automate label printing instead of requiring someone to create a new one each time and then manually print it. You could put barcodes on automatically generated labels and forms so that someone tracking an order as it is processed only requires scanning it instead of manual checks.

You can combine automation with workflow management to streamline handoffs. For example, your employees could scan incoming paperwork like signed purchase requests, while your material requirements planning system automatically sends the information to a buyer to buy it. The same system could generate a standard purchase order based off templates you’ve already set up, minimizing how much the buyer has to re-type, though they have the ability to make changes. Or you could use software to let people record maintenance requests, breakdowns and shortages; the software will route the request to a manager who then assigns the work to a qualified person as soon as they become available.

The benefits of streamlining your business include faster processing of transaction and faster completion of critical work from start to finish. There’s a good chance you could increase production without increased costs simply by eliminating non-value-added tasks or relieving bottlenecks. It may mean fewer opportunities for defects and mistakes.

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