Connect with us

Business

YOU’RE UP ON YOUR NUMBERS, BUT ARE YOU AHEAD OF THE GAME?

Published

on

In accountancy, as with any business, the skill level of your team is not always reflected in their productivity. You may have the brightest accountants and bookkeepers, but they’ll still be rushing at year end, pulling their hair out with frustration over your clients – why do some of your clients routinely ignore all of your requests for information? Or perhaps they make silly mistakes because of the time pressure which can be costly for your clients and catastrophic for your reputation.

So how can you help this? How can you harness the power of your team and become a well oiled accounting machine?

Does your team know what’s expected of them?

Your people systems and the way you manage your team is just as important as your ability to complete a set of accounts. We’ve worked with excellent accountants, helping them to improve their productivity and systemise their business. The problems are rarely around the skill set of their team, but around the culture of the business, the way the team are managed both by the Business Owner and the Managers within the firm, and the consistency with which they operate.

Do you have targets set within your business and are these enforced? As an example, do you have targets in place for the completion of X amount of tax returns each month, so that December and January aren’t the absolute worst months? How do you measure this?

How motivated are your team? Do you have regular performance reviews with them and listen to their thoughts and ideas for improvement?

Do your clients know what you expect when working with them? (Yes, it is ok to tell them!)

When you take on new clients, and meet with your current clients do you make it crystal clear when you need their information by? Do you explain to them in plain words how important to is and how much more organised and less stressful it will be to operate in advance? Do you have reminder emails, automations to run this?

Perhaps you could build into your teams’ targets – follow up on X amount of clients a week. You can create email templates that are ready to go which serve as reminders, and you can impose rewards for the clients who submit their information to you ahead of the deadline.

Imagine if you received all the information you needed 9, 10, 11 months ahead of the submission date, and that each of your team had a target of X amount of returns each month, with a view to finishing a month, or two months before  the crazy hits?

Do you have plans in place for achieving your deadlines and goals?

Say you wanted to increase your client base by 50% in 5 years. Ask yourself what would need to be in position in three years for this to be on track. Then in 12 months. And finally in 90 days. We call this 3-1-90 planning and it really works to drive and motivate towards achieving your goals.

So let’s get planning, here’s why:

1. Helps you to spot opportunities 
A consistent planning system, and planning calendar, forces you to step off the hamster wheel once in a while and get your head up. It gets you to review your progress to date – what’s worked well, what hasn’t, what lessons can be learned. It provides space and time to think – about what you want to happen, what might get in the way, how you can get round any obstacles. It opens you up to opportunities, that you might otherwise miss.

2. Brings individuals and teams together and breaks down silos 
All too often, specialist teams, or individuals within a business can get lost in their own little world, and not be able to see the value that others bring to the business, or the challenges others face to get things done. Regular planning creates the opportunity to bring people together from different areas of the business to review the way work is done from the customer’s perspective and make plans based on what is best for the whole business.

3. Creates a safe environment for new and creative ideas 
Meet ‘that’s not the way we do things round here’ – first cousin to, ‘we tried that before, and it didn’t work’ It’s this type of statement that will prevent the flow of ideas in your business, and even your best people will not put their creative heads above the parapet if they know they’ll be shot down in flames. Your planning system offers a structured way to talk openly about the challenges facing your business, and ask for new and creative solutions to overcome them.

4. Gives everyone the chance to contribute 
How motivating and exciting to be part of something that is growing and achieving success, thanks in part, to your contribution. Involve your team in your planning, and you involve them in your Vision for the future – you give them the opportunity to create it. How much more engaged do you think they will be? How much more ownership do you think they will take?

5. Exposes your blind spots 
We all have them. We can all be blind to our own strengths and weaknesses, to our innate prejudices, to other people’s talents and the value they add; and often we need others to shine a light on our blind spots. It’s the same in business – we all see things from our own view point, and benefit enormously from understanding how others see things. Planning gives us a framework for this.

6. Puts the customer first
Life planning puts you first. Business planning puts the customer first, and ensures that the focus is on what’s best for the customer, building trust and ensuring that everyone is focused on what really matters.

7. Keeps your products & services relevant 
It’s your customers who decide whether your products are relevant to them or not, and it’s your planning system that will ensure that you check in with them – that you look for more innovative and effective ways to meet their needs and satisfy their wants.

8. Builds a stronger management team 
Regular planning, focused on the business as a whole, brings the management team closer, and helps them to see the value – skills, experience and expertise – that they each bring. It’s also a great way of developing them, teaching them to focus on the end goal, and the strategies and tactics that will get you there.

9. Determines priorities 
Your planning system is a key element in your continuous improvement cycle: plan – implement – review – plan. You start the exercise looking at what’s possible, and by the end it’s all about results. You understand your long term goal and you’ve plotted your course to get there. Together you’ve agreed your priorities, you’ve decided on your 90 day goals, you have your action plan, you know your first step. It’s simple and it’s logical, and it’s all about getting the right things done.

10. Builds ownership and accountability 
Any effective plan assigns the who as well as the what, where, how and when. It gives everyone ownership for their own little piece of the business – their role, their goal, their action plan. Ownership and accountability are the key differentiators between a regular team, and a high performing team. Your plan will drive this.

Take time out to look in in your business and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover.

Marianne Page, For more information, please visit https://www.mariannepage.co.uk/

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

STREAMLINE YOUR BUSINESS FINANCES AND SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE PROFITABILITY

Published

on

Every successful and professional business owner knows and truly understands that there is nothing more important and worthy of investing significant time in than the state of their company finances.

Continue reading to discover how to streamline your business’s finances and subsequently significantly increase profitability and cash flow.

 

Invest In Employee Training Courses and Business Mentors

The initial monetary outlay required to invest in employee training courses and even an in-house business mentor scheme will be quickly absorbed by the overall improvement in employee efficiency and productivity. Training courses will bond your teams, improve their morale and sense of belonging to your company. They should also make every individual worker feel significantly more valued and will open up opportunities for individual progression, promotion and advancement. Both quantity and quality of performance are proven to increase within a business that offers employee training courses and business mentorship.

 

Conduct A Thorough Business Energy Audit

As a business professional, you will be all too aware of the sheer amount of money spent every month on your energy bills. To counteract this and potentially significantly reduce the amount you are paying, you should conduct a thorough energy audit throughout the entirety of your business. Water rates for businesses are far more competitive than one may believe and employing the services of an established and experienced company who can compare and consolidate your energy bills would be exceedingly prudent.

 

Outsource Your IT Operations

Contrary to several business ‘experts’ beliefs, there is never the exact right time to outsource your information technology operations and whenever you make the move you will inevitably need to deal with several unexpected issues. However, the benefits of doing so far outweigh any minor inconveniences you may or may not experience.

There are several crucial questions and polite demands you must make to your supplier and, naturally, your soon-to-be business partner, and it is vital to set out clear goals and targets before you begin. It would be extremely pertinent to source an IT business associate who has as few intermediaries as possible to insure a smooth and problem-free collaboration as well as ensuring your new collaborator is up to date with the very latest in technology that is specific to your industry.

 

Use Payroll Software

There are a multitude of benefits to investing in a company payroll system which include, but are in no way limited to:

  1. Fewer, if any, mistakes regarding paperwork
  2. Ensuring your year-end is as stress-free and unproblematic as possible
  3. Fulfilling your moral and ethical responsibilities to your hardworking employees
  4. Simplifying the overall payroll process from start to finish
  5. Saving significant time and subsequent money
  6. Ensuring you are fulfilling your legal obligations to the government

As your business goes from strength to strength, naturally you will gain a significant increase in the number of employees on your payroll and if your payroll is currently done in-house, there is an increase in the risk of human error the higher the employee count.

 

Continue Reading

Business

HOW SMEs CAN EMBRACE CONTACTLESS, WITHOUT DITCHING CASH

Published

on

By

By Tsuyoshi Notani, Managing Director, JCB International (Europe) Ltd.

 

Already popular, the past year has accelerated the usage of contactless payments in lieu of cash transactions – even for very small purchases. As well as using cards with contactless abilities, the ease of using digital wallets such as Apple Pay has increased take-up across the UK, representing 32 % of online payments[1]. Digital payments have the advantage over notes and coins at point of sale because it facilitates a more hygienic experience and speedier transaction.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the contactless cost limit has been raised from £ 45 to £ 100 for a single ‘tap and go’ transaction, compounding moves by consumers to rely on contactless as the payment mechanism of choice. In fact, Link Scheme Holdings Ltd, which oversees the UK cash machine network reported that the number of visits to ATMs dropped by 43 % for the year to March 2021 on the previous year[2], although it does note that some ATMs may have been inaccessible due to pandemic restrictions.

The appetite for paying without cash is huge – and we know that a large proportion of cashless payments are also contactless. For SMEs this can present a challenge. Providing multiple ways to pay can be an administrative obstacle, and often SMEs prefer to operate with cash only, to avoid incurring additional fees and costs. However, there is good reason to offer digital payment methods alongside cash.

Business benefits to offering contactless payment solutions include reduced costs associated with cash handling, and the convenience for customers in offering multiple ways to pay for goods or services. It is also a very secure way to receive payment. A simple and fast way to transact, contactless is the ultimate convenience for customers. For retailers competing in today’s landscape, it is essential to ensure that customers have access to their preferred payment method.

However, this must not come at the total exclusion of cash until a solution has been found for the ‘unbanked’ – those without access to digital payments for one reason or another. For now, solutions are nascent, and SMEs looking to reach all potential customers would do well to offer cash payments but also enable cashless and contactless. For SMEs who increasingly find themselves faced with competition from mega entities, focusing on a convenient and frictionless customer experience is paramount.

At JCB, we take financial inclusion seriously, recognising our role as a key player in the global financial ecosystem to ensure nobody is left behind by the digitisation of payments. We, for example, partnered with FE Credit, to launch two credit cards in Vietnam that are packed with benefits to meet the needs of the unbanked. A few examples of these unique offerings are the Oi Plus Program – a flagship loyalty program that rewards cardmembers on their everyday spending, and EasyPay – one of Vietnam’s largest 0% retail installment programs, and Selfie PLUS – one-click mobile-to-card image upload solution[3].

Luckily, the ‘how’ in enabling contactless and cashless payments is very simple. When picking a card reader, ensure you choose one created by a company which enables multiple cards, as this will enable your business to accept a wide spectrum of payments – and means no sale is lost because of an issue around how to pay. From a JCB acceptance point of view – Lloyds Bank plc, Barclays plc, and Zettle all accept JCB Cards in the UK. Viva Wallet, which supports around 80,000 merchants in Greece, more than 3,000 merchants in Belgium, and more than 6,000 merchants in the United Kingdom and beyond also accepts JCB Card payments[4].

Losing out on customers who do not carry cash is a no-go for SMEs looking to build back business after a difficult year. Enabling card and contactless payments is a surefire way to appeal to customers looking for convenience, removing one big obstacle to purchase for the on-the-go shopper. That is why at JCB, we encourage SMEs to both enable contactless, and accept cash – for the biggest opportunity to enable purchases and to ensure nobody is left behind.

 

[1] WorldPay, The Global Payments Report February 2021 https://worldpay.globalpaymentsreport.com/en/

[2] BBC, ATM withdrawals drop by £37bn during year of Covid 17 March 2021 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56413993

[3] FE Credit to Issue JCB Card in Vietnam, 19 November 2020, https://www.global.jcb/en/press/2020/202011180001_alliance.html

[4] JCB and Viva Wallet’s Expanded Collaboration Across Europe, 25 August 2020, https://www.global.jcb/en/press/2020/202008240001_alliance.html

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Top 1041 mins ago

TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED WITH CRYPTOCURRENCY

Cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm in recent years. After years of operating under the radar, it has exploded...

Wealth Management56 mins ago

MOST ESSENTIAL TRADING SKILLS FOR GAINING SUCCESS

Traders who have certain trading skills can get success easily. But, if you think, you can make money easily, you...

Business1 day ago

STREAMLINE YOUR BUSINESS FINANCES AND SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE PROFITABILITY

Every successful and professional business owner knows and truly understands that there is nothing more important and worthy of investing...

News2 days ago

3 AREAS TO INVEST IN WAREHOUSE EFFICIENCY

The logistics industry is entering exciting times. Warehouses, long a relatively static area, now host multiple converging technologies poised to...

Technology2 days ago

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ENHANCING THE ORDER-TO-CASH PROCESS WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Mark Sheldon, Chief Technology Officer, Sidetrade   The global pandemic has meant companies everywhere have woken up to the fact...

News2 days ago

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST COST-CUTTING MISTAKE IT LEADERS MAKE?

Alastair Pooley, CIO at Snow Software:    The biggest mistake is making short term changes which, in the long run,...

Finance2 days ago

HOW AI IS HELPING FINANCIAL ADVISORS ENHANCE GO-TO-MARKET ACTIVITIES

By Andy Baillie, Vice President, Seismic   Financial services have been utilising artificial intelligence (AI) for a range of services...

Finance2 days ago

HOW RISING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS HAVE BECOME A CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN THE FINANCE FUNCTION

Ashish Kwatra, Vice President of Finance & Accounting Solutions at Teleperformance India, discusses what the new generation of customers expect...

Finance2 days ago

ELIMINATING FINANCIAL LEAKS ACROSS YOUR BUSINESS

By: Ray Welsh, Head of Product Marketing, FISCAL Technologies   All businesses are vulnerable to financial leaks, whether your business...

Business2 days ago

HOW SMEs CAN EMBRACE CONTACTLESS, WITHOUT DITCHING CASH

By Tsuyoshi Notani, Managing Director, JCB International (Europe) Ltd.   Already popular, the past year has accelerated the usage of...

Business2 days ago

HOW TO STREAMLINE YOUR HR DEPARTMENT IN 2021

Modernising your HR department through automation is a small step that can make life easier for team members and managers...

News2 days ago

STICPAY ANNOUNCES LOCAL BANK WIRE SERVICE IN HONG KONG

Offers the ability to transfer funds as if you are a local Leading global e-wallet payment provider, STICPAY, has today announced...

News2 days ago

OPEN PAYMENTS GROWTH: TOKEN’S CHANNEL-FOCUSED STRATEGY DRIVING MARKET EXPANSION

Market share statistics from CMA9 banks indicate that Token is driving adoption of open banking payments in the UK Leading...

Finance6 days ago

WHY PEOPLE ANALYTICS WILL PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN SOLVING THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY’S SKILLS CRISIS

Daniel Mason, Vice President EMEA, Visier   Successfully guiding teams of employees through the post-pandemic landscape will not be easy...

Business6 days ago

BECOMING THE CEO: THIS IS HOW CFOS CAN SECURE THE TOP JOB

Mark Freebairn, Partner and Head of the Board and CFO Practices at Odgers Berndtson, explains what CFOs need to do...

Finance6 days ago

AS SAAS GROWS, FINANCIAL SERVICES MUST RETHINK THEIR SECURITY APPROACH

Ben Bulpett, Identity Platform Director, EMEA, SailPoint   The financial services industry is facing an increasing number of issues related...

Finance6 days ago

THE TECH “RENAISSANCE” OF THE FINANCE INDUSTRY – AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR RISK AND OPERATIONAL RESILIENCE

Stewart Griffiths is Co-Founder and CEO of Albany Group   Not unlike most industries, the finance sector went into something...

Business6 days ago

REDUCE CUSTOMER DISPUTES WITH DATA TRANSPARENCY

By Gabe McGloin, Head of Business Development EMEA at Verifi   The digitisation of commerce has escalated the need for...

Finance6 days ago

ATTENTION CFOs: HARNESS THE POWER OF FINANCE WITH DATA DRIVEN INSIGHTS

By Tim Wakeford, VP Product Strategy, Financials at Workday   From ensuring business continuity to mitigating risk – when it...

Business1 week ago

HOW NEW APPROACHES TO USER VERIFICATION CAN HELP BANKS TACKLE THE ISSUE OF FRIENDLY ACCOUNT TAKEOVER

By Richard da Silva, VP EMEA at Revelock   Banks and other financial institutions are battling hard behind the scenes...

Trending