Contributing to our position as Australia’s premium Financial Risk Management resource, our management globally explores and surveys relevant and valuable articles published by respected professionals, academics and organisation. The articles offered here are suggested reading for any Business Owner and Financial Risk Management professional.
Neil Slonim's article is based on the Australian banking environment. Many of the themes he writes about in this article however, are applicable to some degree in all countries.
The most important aspect of borrowing is to realise that banks are not your friends. In truth, no finance provider is your friend. These businesses are designed to make a profit for themselves. If they can help you achieve your goals, well and good.
Borrowing money for a home or to grow your business is not necessarily a bad thing if it helps you progress in life. The fact is; the only way forward for some people is to borrow. Borrowing for what you want immediately which is not essential or for an asset which decreases in value and are not prepared to save for, is often deemed to be bad borrowing.
Irrespective of why you borrow, a debt must be repaid. There is no such thing as free money. If you don't pay the debt, you may lose a lot more than just a few dollars. It is wise therefore, to ensure you are aware of all the negative consequences when going in to debt, not just the "feel good" aspects.
Neil has provided Six Tips To Safeguard Your Borrowing Arrangements. Remember, these are only tips, not guarantees. Borrowing always has been, and always will be a risky process if you are unable to complete the loan repayments in terms of the finance agreement. However, there is still value in reading these guidelines which can help if your circumstances should change after the loan is obtained.
Insurance policies were risks have been properly disclosed prior to establishing the policy are an asset to your business. It is when you try and take shortcuts or do not fully expose all potential issues is when issues start to occur. The realities are; insurance companies do look for possible excuses not to pay out on claims as many in the past were found to be fraudulent. Today therefore, insurance companies are trying to ensure all claims are legitimate before making a payment.
In their article, Peter Halprin and Vivian Michael, expose some of the pitfalls which may occur when you do not complete insurance applications properly. The authors also provide helpful hints when taking out insurance policies.
If you are about to take out or renew an insurance policy, reading this article may be of value to avoid having any of your claims disallowed.
Internal crime is one of the worst types of crimes because it involves the breaking of trust and a betrayal of the people who have provide the employee who commits these crimes, with a job.
Lawyers Weekly and InfoTrack surveyed 216 Australian legal professionals to better understand the perceived impact of internal crime as well as the processes law firms have put in place to protect their business.
Notwithstanding the report involved the legal fraternity, this article is a useful resource for all business owners and their management teams in helping to combat internal crime. If your business has employees, the chances that one of these employees may commit a crime against the business. This potential for such a situation cannot be dismissed lightly, no matter how difficult that thought maybe.
If you have not thought about the issues associated with internal crime or not reviewed your own organisation's procedures lately, this article is worth a read.
There will always be people who believe paying the cheapest price is best. Marketing and salespeople know, many people cannot resist a "bargain" or the idea of getting something at a cheaper price. That is why their sales pitch is often focused on the "bargain price or once in a lifetime opportunity" concept.
However, believing the cheapest price always leads to good value, is a flawed concept over the long term.
In business, the cheapest price rarely provides the best value for money. Your spending decisions should always be based on the actual value received, not the perceived value. Why is this concept so important? A focus on the actual value of your spending is essential because (i) the business is the basis of your immediate and future financial success, (ii) your professional reputation, and (iii) the integrity of your business in the marketplace, are all at risk.
If you believe cheapest price is the best policy for operating a business, have a read of Dave Fulk's article. When spending money on your business, seeking the best value for the dollars spent is critical as most businesses do not have unlimited funds. Furthermore, spend badly, and your costs increase to rectify the problems caused by focusing on a cheap price rather than the value actually received.
Dedicated and professional account employees are your business's cashflow guardians. The value these dedicated employees and equipped with the right tools and who are committed to the success of your business, cannot be over emphasised. After all, money lost to fraudulent behaviour can rarely be recovered,
Fraudsters and their use of technology are one of the greatest threats against your business today. One of the best tools for any business in combating fraudsters and their use of technology is with dedicated employees. Dedicated employees backed by strong operational disciplines and procedures are best forms of defence from fraudsters.
In this article, we see just how effectively fraudsters have been in targeting businesses in Germany. Make no mistake, this type of fraud is happening to businesses in every country.
If you have not stress-tested the viability and strength of your business's cash protection systems lately, this article may be of value in helping you understand why you need to test your business defences.
Time is wasted by completing work which does not add value to the business. We could talk about this issue forever and unfortunately, all too often nothing would get done. There are some business people who can always find an excuse to avoid confronting these problems in their business.
There are many different ways, plans and professionals which you access to tackle the problem.
Oisín Grogan has put together his thoughts and a work flowchart to help business people identify and understand what work adds value and which does not. By accessing the article, you can print out a copy of the work flowchart to help you work through the issues affecting the efficiency and profits in your business.
If you are unsure on how to identify the work in your business that do not add value, this article may be of value to you.
David Gustin has highlighted an article which appeared in the Age newspaper from Australia. We can take two important messages from David's article.
The first is, although David is based in the US, he has thought the value of this article from Australia is important for all businesses, no matter which country they operate.
Secondly, he has reinforced the issue which smaller businesses have when supplying large corporate enterprises. All too often, the smaller business is attracted by the prospect of supplying a corporate client. Once the relationship commences, the smaller business soon finds it can be at a disadvantage when it comes to enforcing their payment terms and conditions if the larger corporate "suddenly" changes those terms and conditions.
These messages are of importance to all business people and professionals irrespective of what country they operate. I suggest therefore, this article is worth reading if you intend to supply large corporate enterprises.
Dealing with bribery is a complexing question for those businesses involved in exporting. What once may have been a normal business practice, although frowned upon, is no longer acceptable.
Arghemar's article is a timely warning that issues surrounding bribery are serious and have long term negative implications if your business is caught out. You may think there is little to worry about if your business stopped the practice of offering bribes and no longer are involved in that behaviour. Unfortunately as many are finding out now, the stigma remains and there is little leniency for those who were involved in offering of bribes in the past.
No longer can you afford to afford to ignore the issues surrounding bribery. If you are unsure if your business could be caught up in a bribery investigation, Arghemar's article may be of value in understanding the issues involved.
If you are in business, as Paul McCarthy puts it all too well. "... you are likely to hear NO many more times than you will hear YES." It is essential to handle rejection positively if you are to survive in business. The fact is, not everybody will like you all the time, want your products or be ready to listen to your ideas.
In addition, when we enter in to business, our focus is usually on all the good and positive aspects of business, such as sales, profits, growing a business and being in control of our working lives. Rarely are we introduced to the "dark-side" of business, one of which is; learning to deal with rejection in a positive manner.
Dealing with rejection successfully is a learned art. Paul McCarthy's article provides five (5) strategies which are worthy of consideration if you are not currently handling rejection in a positive manner. Alternatively, you may be going through a negative phase in your business life as we all do from time to time. Again, a review of Paul's article may assist you get through this negative phase and help you to regain your positive attitude and response in the face of rejections.
Compliance programs are becoming increasingly important these days when issues such as bribery, cartels, the seeking of favours by gift giving and ethical behaviour are at the forefront of good business behaviour. All businesses are affected, and the size of the business being immaterial. It is the behaviour of business woners, managers and employees which is the critical factor.
Creating a program suitable for your business and employees may not be as simple as you imagine. After all, creating a compliance program is one thing. Ensuring your employees understand how the program works in practice, and then adhere to the program, is another issue.
Alexandre Serpa has prepared this article in an effort to explain some of the issues when setting up a compliance program and in overcoming employee concerns.
You may wish to create an effective compliance program, or want to ensure the program you have operates effectively. In either case, this article may be of value in helping you understand the issues involved.
Colin Porter of CreditorWatch has provided an article with a timely warning about a new initiative from the Australian Taxation Office and its potential ramifications.
In effect, the ATO will be contributing information to credit reporting bureaus about Australian Businesses with unsettled tax debts exceeding $10,000 that are overdue 90 days.
If you are unfamiliar with this Legislation and the potential benefits and negative consequences, you may find value in starting your understanding of the potential impact on your business from reading this article.
Although this article is from a UK professional, the indicators of why a business may become insolvent are common for any country.
Kris Macauley presents seven common indicators to indicate that a business may about to become insolvent. Of course, there are other insolvency indicators. Nevertheless, a review of the insolvency factors mentioned may help you understand there are visible factors which could indicate a business is heading towards insolvency.
Make no mistake, these factors apply to both your customers and suppliers. Too often we only consider customer insolvency. However, supplier insolvency can cause just as many problems for your business.
If your business is overly dependent on any one or two suppliers therefore, it makes sense to monitor the delivery performance of these suppliers. Should problems start to occur, this may be an indication the suppliers are in financial trouble. In turn, this situation could have negative implications for your business.
All business owners and professionals need to be aware of the indicators of the financial well-being of their stakeholders. Therefore, this article may be a one resource you can use to start to learn about insolvency indicators, or review what you already know.
Richard Chambers discusses a number of factors which should be carefully considered by all directors and senior managers when establishing a compliance program for their business.
Long gone are the days when directors and senior managers could fob off concerns when compliance programs were found wanting. Today, the penalties against directors and senior managers of a business with a failed compliance program are professionally embarrassing, personal and often severe.
As a director or senior manager, if you are unsure of your responsibilities on whether your business's compliance program protects you, reading this article may be of benefit. As always, the material in this article is only a starting point in the evaluation and production of your business's compliance program. If in doubt, it is always wise to use properly qualified professionals when building or evaluating your compliance program.
Understanding and managing your costs is essential if you are to make a profit in business. Despite the mantra that the "Customer is King", not all customers act like a good king. There are those customers which do a great detail deal of damage to you and your business.
As Steve Cartwright illustrates in this article, there are always costs to dealing with customers. The cost however, in dealing with unprofitable and difficult customers often grows exponentially above any potential benefit. Furthermore, as Mr Cartwright points out, the costs are just not financial. There are other costs involved including, emotional, respect and lost time which could be better spend on other projects.
If you are having problems with difficult customers, Steve Wright's article may be of value in addressing some of the issues you currently face and help you decide on how best to deal with your worst customers.
Lovetts Lawyers from the UK, have prepared a blog about the importance of knowing who you are trading with when extending credit.
Irrespective of the fact that Lovetts are based in the UK, the message of this blog applies across any legal jurisdiction or in any country. Extending credit is not without risk and if you can reduce the risks, then this is a worthwhile objective.
You may be suffering from slow-payers and cannot identify the trading entity, or who had authority to sign the purchase order or trading documentation in order to take legal action to recover your debts. Maybe you suffered bad debts in the past, or alternatively you are setting up a new business.
If this is the case, or just want to take the next step in tightening up your trading documentation, then this blog maybe a good place to start the process.
This article focuses on how Millennials may view compliance differently to what we might expect, especially in regards to the use of social media.
It is true they been raised in times different to the older generation and as a result, been exposed to other lifestyles and experiences. As such, they bring another perspective on how and why they use social media.
The issues of compliance in these circumstances, can be challenging. Your business may have to find interventions that can instruct the younger people on what is and what is not acceptable in a manner they can understand.
This article may be useful in helping you begin the journey on how to incorporate their experiences into your compliance training. At the end of the day, you do need your compliance education to be effective.
Fraud is an ongoing problem for all business people and their managers. Whether you like it or not, fraud is a normal part or the business world.
Andrew Tragardh provides a number of factors for your consideration when dealing with a fraud and some lead to a better result than others. There are different solutions available for each type of fraud. It would be wise to think about which is an appropriate strategy for any type of fraud encountered when looking for a positive solution in the recovery of your funds.
I suggest that all business people may find useful information strategy may be of value in the event that they become a victim of fraud. Perhaps you may also want to record the reference to this article for future reference.
Whether we are a business entrepreneur, owner, manager or employee, there are times when in our lives we are under so much stress that our ability to operate effectively is compromised.
In her article, Angelina Zimmerman presents information on six signs that indicate you may have issues which require further consideration. Whilst Ms Zimmerman's article is directed at entrepreneurs, these six signs also apply to other people in the business environment.
If you have been feeling somewhat confused about why you are not managing your affairs at the moment, this article may be a point of reference on your situation. Of course, professional help should always be sought before jumping to any specific conclusion or taking any drastic action.
It seems nearly every government export department and trade professional are advocating exporting as a way for your business to increase sales and revenue. This may be the case for your business.
One of the core problems you will face if you decide to go down the export path, is risk. Too often the advocates of exporting, highlight the benefits and minimise the risks.
In this brief article by Leslie Stroh, there is a list of 10 risk factors to consider when exporting. You may have to access other sources of information to adequately equip you with an understanding of each factor. However, as a starting point, this article may be worth a read if you are interested in increasing your sales and revenue via exporting.
Colm Healy and Karen Niven discuss a recent research project they conducted which tested the goal setting process for organisations. The ethos behind the goal setting within any business, is of extreme importance. In addition, the part culture plays within the organisation is another essential factor in the success or otherwise of the goal setting process.
The subject and of impact goal setting has on employee behaviour, is especially in today's business environment. All too often we see yet another well-known business or government organisation being caught out due to the unethical behaviour of its employees.
Goal setting is a valid and valuable part of the business process, it completed properly. If you get the process right, you can motivate your employees to achieve their targets which benefits all stakeholders. Get the process wrong, and there are big penalties which come in to that will impact on your business negatively.
If you are unsure of the importance in goal setting within your business, this article could be of value in helping you understand the process.
Andy Molinsky acknowledges a great idea is the place to start to make it a feasible business. The main problem which many entrepreneurs have is taking their idea and making it into a commercially viable business.
Entrepreneurs are mainly thinkers and doers and so acting as a business person often causes them difficulties. It is that side of the business, thinking and acting as a business person which brings many entrepreneurs undone.
Mr Molinsky identifies three start-up problems for entrepreneurs once they have the idea for a business.
First, when building a business, the entrepreneur needs to face up to the fact, they may not be good at all aspects of the business. The key is to understand what you are good at and seek help in your areas of weakness.
Secondly is to commit to your plan and accept there may be areas of the business where you need to operate outside of your comfort zone. Many business people have a fear of talking to investors for instance.
Thirdly, a business person needs to find their own way in business. No one business model fits every business.
As a brief introduction in to some of the issues of creating a new business, this article may be worth reading.
Michael Griffith's article is focused on the value happy customers add to your business, particularly in the area of referrals and in providing positive comments on your business.
When you read Michael's strategies on how to keep your customers happy, you start to realise that these strategies are also important for your business in other ways.
Happy customers don't just refer others to your business. They are also more likely to pay on time, forgive occasional mistakes, and continue to make enquiries which you can utilise to improve your business processes. Equally important, they do not go online to berate your business for inefficiencies which damage your business's reputation.
If you have lost your way or had not realised the value of happy customers to your business, this article may be a good start to reinvigorating how you deal with your customers.
Daniel Burrus has written about the increasing use of new payment methodologies in the coming years. He is probably right when he advises digital payment systems are going to be the norm for the future.
There are an immense number of issues which business people need to get their heads around, because as we know in life, nothing is simple. Whilst the use of digital transaction methodologies is attractive in theory, they do have associated risks. Accordingly, it is a wise business person who takes the time to understand the issues before blindly accepting digital payment policies are right for their business.
Daniel Burrus's article may be a good place to start if you are going down the digital payment path to try and ensure you understand all the benefits and pitfalls of modern digital payment methodologies.
BHS was a UK retailer with a history going back 88 years. Recently the retailer was put in to Insolvency Administration with massive debts.
This article is not just a story about the value of good credit management practices, many valuable other business factors are illustrated. The business issues raised are (i) the impact on your business when a major customer goes out of business, (ii) the flow-on effects to other businesses, (iii) the cost of trying to find additional sales to replace the losses just suffered and (iv) the importance of not seeking just one or two major customers.
I suggest the value of this article lies in the many business messages of loss which can be suffered when a major customer goes out of business.
Irrespective of whether it is in our personal lives or in business, keeping secrets is increasingly difficult. In this article, Patrick Bartley sheds light on how racing stewards in Victoria are using technology to identify potential illegal behaviour.
The use of technology is increasingly of help for the guardians who are in charge of looking after the wellbeing of our society as they track down the perpetrators of illegal and damaging behaviour.
In business, with increasing use of technology and in particular, Cloud based accounting and business systems, keeping business secrets will be increasingly difficult.
The value in reading this article is that is yet another example on how the power of technology can be used to identify unethical and criminal behaviour which may otherwise remain hidden.
What makes good people do bad things? We keep asking ourselves the same question when we see how good people are caught up in bad situations and with the wrong people. There are many different reasons why people do the wrong thing, and often, there are no simple answers.
One of the factors on why good people do the wrong thing can be found in understanding the psychological factors involved. Dr. Bradberry illustrates 14 of Dr. Kaptein’s most compelling findings on how the mind tricks good people into losing their moral compass and going astray.
In either situation, this article may be one source of assistance in helping you work out what influences good people to do bad things.
Chris Hayes writes about one of the forgotten tools of credit management; the personnel guarantee.
His comment on what many people say, “… personal guarantees aren't worth the paper they're written on” is based on a myth from “the good old days". This myth come about because many creditors failed to validate the worth of the security supporting the personal guarantee.
A personal loan is no different to taking any other form of security. If you aren't prepared to do the work to validate the security or to understand the nature of the security, then of course the security may be worthless. Notwithstanding all the work which is required to ensure that it is worthwhile accepting a personal guarantee, the guarantee is still a valuable credit tool.
If you now think is time to revisit the use of a personal guarantee as security, this article may be worth a read as a starting point for your investigations.
Kim Niemi writes about one of the major disruptors in business, the customer experience. What are customers really looking for? We know one factor is the cheapest price. However, are there other factors which influence their decision making which you can use to influence their decision making positively?
Kim writes about what she considers to be the five most important factors. By focusing on these issues, she believes you are likely to attract more customers. Furthermore, I respectively suggest, by considering these issues properly with an open mind, you will also have a much better business organisation.
The five same issues which Kim writes about not only attract customers, they are also applicable when it comes to running a profitable business.
If you are failing to attract or keep your customers, this article may be a good place to start in rethinking how you do business.
Greg Ferrett has written a blog with a timeless message about the issues which we all struggle with from time to time. This blog was originally written in November 2015, however it's message is as applicable now as it was then. After all, as it is now approaching the middle of May, we are at the start of that hectic time with the end of the 2015-2016 financial year in sight.
Managing yourself and your time are critical factors in surviving the frantic pace of business these days. When major deadlines approach, managing these factor is particularly important. The suggestions provided by Greg on managing the tasks ahead within the time available are a useful reference for all business professionals.
You may be a seasoned business professional or a new business professional who is battling time and task issues. If that is the case, this article may be worth a read provide the ideas to help you manage your work and time more effectively.
Dr. Bradberry's article is focused on how you may try to keep good employees working for your business.
Too often it is forgotten, people are the glue which keeps your business running. Employees are the link between your business's procedures and technology tools. Good customers help sell your business products and services to others. One aspect of selling, is having employees which make customers feel wanted and valued by attending to their needs in a fast and efficient manner.
A workplace where people feel safe and properly valued, also attracts other likeminded people which may become employees. Therefore, being aware of what drives good people away from your business, is also really important.
You may not have thought about what motivates your employees and customers lately, or are finding you have a high turnover of employees. This article may therefore be a good starting place to identify the issues which assist you keep good people involved in your business.
Graeme Skinner's blog is based on one of the oldest themes of business, “A sale is not a Sale until it’s paid for”
Your salespeople are often the first of your employees to see what is happening within your customer's business. Graeme provides indicators of the type of evidence which your salespeople might notice and could reveal the customer may be experiencing difficulties.
Any indications that a customer's business may have problems are valuable and are generally the warning signs that they may be struggling financially. It is imperative this information is provided to the credit department in order that can institute actions to reduce the level of any potential debt.
Your salespeople are part of your business's team which need to be trained to look for signs of your customers' well-being. It is of no value however, if the indicators of any problems are not reported to your credit team members.
If you need a starting point or a brief refresher on the importance of sales and credit working together, this article is a suitable source of this information.
In the modern age, the customer who wants everything is the norm. For instance, those business people who sell on credit, usually find the customer believes they have the right to change the terms of trade or not pay at all.
The situation is exactly the same from the modern autonomous customer who approaches your business. They want everything their way. If you don't offer almost every interactive contact method known to man or woman, then your business may miss out. Despite adhering to their demands, there is still no guarantee they will transact any business with you.
As in all things to do with business, nothing is simple. Furthermore, the customer is not always right. As a consequence, if you believe you must comply with the autonomous customer's demands, then doing it right is essential.
This brief article, with an option to download a PDF white paper, may be of value if you decide your business must cater for the autonomous customer's every need.
Marie Keyworth's introduces the unwary to two more fraudster strategies. People are becoming increasingly aware of phishing which is fraud by email. They may be less aware of newer fraudster strategies of vishing and smishing.
"Vishing" is where criminals persuade victims to hand over personal details or transfer money, over the telephone.
"Smishing" is SMS phishing where text messages are sent trying to encourage people to pay money out or click on suspicious links.
The author illustrates a number of strategies used by fraudsters in regards to these two frauds and how you might deal with a suspect contact.
If you are unsure how to act or what to look for when you receive a suspect contact, this article may be a good place to start your investigations. As advised on all occasions, if in doubt seek professional help.
Ty Kiisel from the US explains the importance of keeping a good business credit rating as well as a personal rating. In Australia, the same situation exists for people who also are in business. Even in this day and age, many people do not understand that when in business, your creditors and potential creditors will seek to have the authority to access your consumer and personal business file, as well as that of your business.
When operating a business that relies on the good will and credit of other organisations, maintaining all your credit related files in good order is of critical importance. With a bad record in one file, this record could easily preclude you from credit facilities on the best terms and interest rate for your consumer and business needs.
Ty's article includes a number of valid reasons on why a good business credit rating is so important. If you were unsure on how to maintain a credit rating in all your accounts, this article may be worth reading.
Dean Kaplan is an experienced business professional and debt collector from the US. In this article, Dean provides a number of red flag indicators which may indicate future cashflow problems for your customer.
These same indicators are observed and applicable within the business environment of any country. For instance, I suggest other experienced credit professionals, debt collectors and insolvency practitioners from all countries would have seen similar red flag indicators during their careers.
Dean points out there are other indicators which may be useful in specific situations which he has not detailed. Educating yourself to be on the alert for any unique red flag indicators which are applicable for your industry, is just as important.
A useful aspect of this article are the explanations which are included to illustrate the problems behind the red flag indicators.
In the turbulent business world of today, being aware of the indicators of customer cashflow problems is an essential component of business survival and to reduce unnecessary costs and bad debts.
If you are unaware or would like to refresh your knowledge of the red flag indicators of cashflow problems, this article may be of value to you.
The task of taking on a new employee is no longer as simple as it once was. Today and into the future, undertaking due diligence on all prospective employees, will be the new norm. One of the parties best placed to assist you in this process will be recruitment agencies or consultants. Again however, you must choose your recruitment agency or consultant with care.
Vic Careedy puts forward a number of issues to be considered when choosing an employment agency or consultant based on his experiences and perspectives.
"Having been a client, a candidate and, for several years now, a consultant in the recruitment industry, I've learned there are some starting issues you need to be clear on."
The four areas worthy of investigation and questions in Vic's opinion are:
1 Who will doing my work?
2 What background experience does my consultant bring?
3 What is the process?
4 What will I pay?
If you have never used a recruitment agency or consultant before, or a dissatisfied with your current service provider, reading Vic Careedy's article may be of assistance. As is always the case, care is required when employing anybody these days and having a professional service provider who understands the issues may well be your best assistant in this process.
We have all read those business stories of success which have suggested, success only became possible after surviving one or more setbacks. Yes, sometimes, the people involved had to take a step back or hold up the development of their idea for a while. Having to take a break or re-evaluate the development of your ideas, is a perfectly normal and acceptable part of the process of success.
Sometimes however, as Vesna suggests, we become overwhelmed by our situation and self-doubt contributes to our eventual giving up on our ideas and objectives.
As individuals, we all have different ways of dealing with stress or managing the issues which affect our determination to last the journey and achieve the success we desire. One of the references which may help you understand and overcome the doubts which test your perseverance, may be this article. After all, it is not that we will not face obstacles which may prevent us achieving our desired objectives, it is how you overcome these obstacles which is the important thing.
Imbedded in Professor Graycar's article is a brief insight in to Australia's history of corruption in Australia. As he mentions, many people do not see any purpose in wasting time talking about corruption "... because it has always been there and always will be."
However, as Professor Graycar points out, the facts demonstrate when corruption is tackled, positive outcomes are possible. The Professor also highlights some of the issues ahead in fighting corruption as a result of today's volatile world.
"While Australia is very highly regarded, it would be foolish indeed to become complacent. In the face of economic turbulence, demographic change, environmental threats, and knowledge and communications revolutions among other things, the public policy challenges will be formidable. Good governance and unimpeachable integrity will have to be the bedrock of our policy and delivery apparatus. We can deal with corruption, maladministration and misconduct at the coal face if we have good principles, good practices and good data."
This statement presents guidelines and principles to help business owners and managers identify and operate their businesses to avoid being caught up in corruption matters.
As a starting point in your own efforts to understand and avoid the pitfalls associated with corruption, this article may be worth reading.
Debbie Fletcher presents a number of key issues relating to the bots which are visiting your website. Not all of these bots will be visiting with the right intentions. Unfortunately we live in age when the internet is both our window to the world and a wonderful research facility. However the internet also allows unwelcome visitors to visit our site.
These unwelcome visitors are designed to seek advantages for their own business enterprises. The advantages which are sought include, finding out the weaknesses in your security systems, website designs, seeking to over-ride human operating disciplines and stealing your IP and other work.
Any business which is deemed to be profitable, or rich in ideas and IP, will be targeted. It is not about if, it is about when. It would seem therefore to be sensible to build a website which has been designed by professional website designers who understand and use appropriate security measures. Any alternative over the long-term is a recipe for disaster.
In today's world, if you have a website, it would be wise to understand these issues. If you are interested in knowing more about the visitors to your website, this article may be a good place to start.
Business is its own art form. Amongst the tools an artful business person will use to collect their accounts from recalcitrant debtors, is legal action. Taking legal action can be expensive if used badly, just like any other business tool. Using legal action as it should be used is often the difference between making a profit or a loss.
I am not suggesting all debtors should be sued for all outstanding debts. Knowing how and when to take legal action is the important issue. If you always run from a contest at the legal action stage, then you are unlikely to come to grips with use of legal action. Furthermore, and inevitably, you will continue to lose money unnecessarily.
In my experience, the business people who know how to use legal action properly are generally good business artists. I also believe they operate more profitable businesses over the long term, than the business person who is always afraid to take legal action.
If you are unsure of what I mean, reading this article is a good place to start when thinking about legal action. The writer has declared their vested interest in this subject and his desire that more business people consider taking legal action if appropriate. However that should not distract you from looking at some of the more positive reasons why, on the right occasions, legal action is effective.
Trade credit insurance is a form of protection against the losses which may result from dealing with slow-paying and financially challenged customers. Whether it is a viable proposition for your business, is another matter. Nevertheless, it is worth considering whether trade credit insurance should be part of your risk management policy.
Many business owners and managers unfortunately have a misguided view of how trade credit insurance operates. Consequently there can be issues between the expectations of policyholders and the actual workings of the insurance policy. Like all insurance policies, there are requirements and responsibilities which must be met by prospective policyholders before the insurance policy becomes valid.
If you are unsure about trade credit insurance, and would like a general introduction, this article may be a good place to start. As always, you should seek professional help when in doubt.
As Vincent Mayfield writes:
"No other term is more overused in the business world than Return on Investment (ROI), except perhaps “The Bottom Line.” Armies of well-meaning managers throw out superfluous business jargon like ROI to demonstrate they are good stewards of corporate finances. ROI was originally used to evaluate financial transactions by calculating the return of profit versus the capital investment. Over time, ROI has become the de facto measure used to evaluate one-time capital projects."
Whist Mr Mayfield is writing about the use of ROI within software operations, the issues raised in his article, apply across many other different business operations.
The use of ROI as a measurement term is used as much to confuse people as it is used properly and within the context originally conceived. Too often ROI is used to shut down conversations by those people with a hidden agenda, those who do not understand your concepts or because your concepts threaten their own position within the proposal.
When the term ROI is used, many business people do not fully understanding its concepts or do not believe the outcomes presented by the ROI exercise. Irrespective of your current understanding of ROI, I suggest this article is worth reading if you are interesting in learning more about the ROI concept.
There always seems to be another reason why your account never gets paid. One example, as Dean Kaplan advises, is when your customer decides to sell their business
All too often, when a small business is up for sale, the net result for many of their suppliers is increased costs and a bad debt. If you hear that one of your customers is selling their business, review the situation before doing any further business with that customer.
The four critical questions you need to consider in these situations are:
1 Why are they selling their business?
2 Will the customer have difficulty in selling their business?
3 What will happen to your debt after the business is sold?
4 Have you red-flagged the account and warned all staff to be vigilant in their dealings with this account?
If a customer has never contacted you about selling their business prior to the sale of that business or you have lost funds previously in similar circumstances, Dean Kaplan's article is worth a read. You may still not recover your debt. However you have at least an idea of how to deal with this situation, with the possibility of reducing any loss.
Shep Hyken presents a blog discussing the concept "that all customers are right!"
As a credit management professional, I know the problem caused by customers which are not right. I see such issues through the blatant changing of payment terms, constantly raising invalid credit claims and the reasons used to justify their slow payment behaviour.
Mr Hyken raises two more important aspects of dealing with the wrong type of customer. His view is that bad customers (i) suck the energy out of your employees and therefore this can lead to (ii) the destruction of your organisation's culture.
You probably know the feeling you have when dealing bad customers. There are some customers who seem to believe they have the right to use your goods and services and not pay for them on agreed terms. In addition these customers try to blame your employees for any issues which are clearly the fault of the customer and not of your business.
As Mr Hyken advises, bad customers destroy value and it is perfectly okay to "sack" them.
If ever you need support in dealing with bad customers and wonder if they are worth keeping, perhaps you should have a quick read of this article. It just may help you say "not every customer is right all the time!"
Thank you is so easy to say and the effect lingers long after it is expressed in gratitude. However many people forget to say thank you.
We live in a fast paced world, crowded with people, noise, and information. Therefore how do we stand out in such a world so that people want to do business with you? Saying thank you is one of the few actions we can take and costs so little.
Jeffrey Slater provides a nice story on the value of saying thank you through his story.
If you have forgotten how to say thank you, why not read Jeffrey's article and try it yourself?
Jason Smith is right you know. As business owners, we are often so busy working in our business, we forget to take the time to work with our Accountant on the business. As is usual, we rush to prepare the figures required for essential returns, drop them off with the Accountant and rush back to work. Rarely do we take the time to actually review the figures to ascertain whether we can make improvements to our business.
There are a number of parties you could consult on various aspects of the business to improve your business. For instance you might consult with your credit management adviser or debt collector, the marketing firm which you work with, etc. Your accountant is another person you should liaise with regularly to ascertain whether your business can be made more efficient and profitable.
If you have not taken the time to discuss your business affairs with your Accountant for some time, Jason's article has 10 topics you can use to prepare background information before starting that conversation.
Directors are not entitled to use the assets of the business as if these assets are their own assets and available for personal use. Directors must remember, they are always to act in the best interests of the company.
This situation was reinforced recently in a Western Australian case of Weaver v Harburn  WASCA 227.
Too often Directors get in to trouble by forgetting the assets of the company are not for their personal use. The causes for Directors overstepping the mark and using the company's assets incorrectly, usually occurs for one of three reasons.
1 The Directors have inflated egos and treat the company's assets as if they own the assets rather than act as the custodian of the assets.
2 The Director(s) are in financial difficulties and believe there is nothing wrong in "borrowing or using" the company's assets to pay their debts.
3 Director(s) often forget their primary duty of care is to the company not to their own well-being.
If you are in any doubt about your duties as a Director, please seek professional assistance. As easy as it is to step over the mark and act illegally, so it is equally easy to be found guilty of acting against the best interests of your company. The risk is just not worth it in the long-run.
Remember, ASIC is always there looking over your shoulder to ensure you are acting properly as a Director and doing the right thing by the company.
How many times do we receive a poorly framed sales call, which is nothing more than a prospecting contact which annoys the hell out of you? Unfortunately it happens far too often.
The problem in business today, is that sales people are often employed for their willingness to try anything to get a sale, rather than for their sales professionalism.
Regretfully we also see this practice currently occurring in other work professions. However I transgress.
Returning back to Greg's article, regrettably many non-professional salespeople and other salespeople who are desperate for work, no longer seem to understand the difference between the two types of contact. Therefore it may be interesting to ask a salesperson, "Are you prospecting or are you making a noise in the hope of making a sale?" I respectfully suggest, many salespeople would be unable to answer this question with confidence.
You may have salespeople within your firm who can fill one of these roles successfully at the moment, but not both. To add value to your existing salesforce therefore, assisting them to be successful in both roles would seem to be advantageous. If you are looking to review your work practices and to have your salespeople act more professionally, I suggest Greg's article is one source worth reading.
PS: As an example of the difference between a sales prospector and a salesperson, I have a friend who is a fantastic sales and business prospector. Sadly, I would not trust my friend to represent any company as a salesperson.
Colin Porter highlights a number of issues in relation to what you say in your emails.
It is always wise to remember what you put in writing maybe used against you if the email is seem by other parties other than the intended recipient. This possibility is always a possibility if you are involved in any legal action.
We are always surprised when we stories in the media on what was said in emails when they are leaked by disgruntled people or in discovered in the event of any legal action.
Colin also provides additional information in his second blog - Business emails: Legal matters (Part 2)
If you do not have a policy or have taken the time to review how you write emails of late, I suggest these articles are worth reading. However before preparing any policy and procedures, please ensure professional advice is sought to assist in your particular situation. This action will assist in preparing the right policy for your business.
Occasionally, despite your best intentions, there is bad press levelled against your brand and your business.
Sue discusses concepts to be considered when these events occur. These concepts include addressing the matter as quickly as possible, completing a review of the situation, being honest and having a plan for when such situations do arise. Even if you believe the situation is minor, always treat the matter with respect because the issue is always important to the person raising the issue.
Therefore three key concepts stand out in Sue's blog as follows.
1 Don't panic but confront the issue with an acknowledgement and carefully with a honest reply.
2 In order to reduce the effect of the bad news, prepare a plan of action.
3 If you feel overwhelmed, seek professional help.
In today's world, bad press at some stage is almost inevitable. With the advent of social media, bad news travels faster than an out of control bushfire. Therefore doing nothing is not an option these days. Follow through properly with any bad press and you will create a stronger brand.
It is not often you have the opportunity to read an article about the role of the CFO in the credit management process. Therefore it is interesting to read Bertrand Mazuir's review.
Finding the best way of operating a business is an on-going process of evolution. Therefore we should periodically review all aspects on the way we operate our business. These aspects under review should include the processes used, the people we employ and the titles we give them and their operational duties.
The CFO and Credit Mangers roles are no different. In preparing our review, the questions must always be: are these positions fulfilling the needs of the business at this time and do the respective people have the required skill sets for these roles? Bertand's review is one such opportunity to encourage you to evaluate these roles within your business.
Furthermore, irrespective of the size of your business, and even if you do not have the personnel to warrant such titles, you should be occasionally evaluating your own business processes and the people completing the roles of CFO/Accountant and Credit Management.
The eleven secrets which should be considered when building a successful website according to Ron Stark could also be considered in building your own business. People about to start a business, or those wishing to re-evaluate their business, are advised to complete a business plan.
Aspects of all business plans contain similar topics as those covered in Ron's list. The benefit in using this list of topics as part of your review is the language used. Ron uses topic headings which look less threatening to people not familiar with business and accounting terms and the issues of creating a business plan.
Many people enter the business world believing once they have created the business, nothing much changes. Unfortunately for these individuals, yesterday's business model, does not always survive over the long-term. Whilst the original business model might have been successful, that model may no longer be suitable for the current business environment.
Irrespective of whether you are a newcomer or an experienced business person, evaluating your business from time to time, is part of doing business. If a business plan is perceived to be too big a challenge, perhaps using this list of 11 secrets is another way of undertaking the task. Ron says of websites, "A successful website is one that delivers what you expect of it." Therefore it may be a useful exercise for you to ask yourself periodically "Does my business deliver what I want?"
If your business is not delivering according to your expectations, it would seem to be a wise decision to complete a review using the 11 secrets as a guide or a fresh business plan.
Franchising is becoming an option for entrepreneurs by which they can enter in the business environment in one of two ways. It maybe as a franchisor who had a viable business and thought it would make a profitable franchise. Subsequently the franchisor prepares a franchise by which other people can buy in to and operate as their own business.
Less experience businesspeople often enter in to a franchise and provided a business structure and supported by the franchisor.
However you chose to participate in a franchise arrangement, there are legal codes which you should be aware of in order to protect your investment.
Katherine Hawes presents five legal issues which you would be wise to consider and explore before commencing any franchise relationship. The five key issues covered in Katherine's article are:
The Disclosure Document
The Code of Conduct
Buyback clause at the end of the franchise
Providing ongoing support
Establishing too many competitors
As usual, this information is a guide only and you should seek further legal advice before proceeding with any franchise agreement.
One of the reasons you might not get paid as quickly as possible is because you failed to complete your invoice(s) properly. When your invoice is incomplete, it provides another good excuse for your customer to hold back payment.
Colin's article highlights the key criteria which need to be completed before sending out your invoices. In addition, as Colin also helpfully points out, create a process to ensure your invoice is completed properly. This process can then be employed to train your existing staff and any new staff appointed to the task.
Ensuring your invoice(s) are completed properly, removes one key reason the customer cannot use for not paying you on time.
One of the weapons available for use against a delinquent debtor is the use of a Statutory Demand. Used properly, it is an effective tool in obtaining payment from your non-paying customer.
However the use of the Statutory Demand must be applied correctly as it is not without certain pitfalls if not served properly.
If you would like to know more, this blog by ADC Legal offers an introduction on the Statutory Demands. Of course, legal advice must be sought to ascertain whether a Statutory Demand is applicable for your situation.
Technology offers wonderful applications and tools for use in our business. One of the more interesting concepts is the use of cloud based products.
Peta discusses the possible benefits and negatives of using cloud based accounting systems. However many of the issues raised by Peta apply across all cloud based products and services.
If you are still wondering about using cloud based products, Peta's blog is worth reading as a start.
If your business completes projects on a regular basis, you will probably already be aware of the importance of taking out an insurance policy on the major projects.
On the other hand, if you are a business owner or manager with little experience of the possible pitfalls of projects, you may not have thought of taking out an insurance policy for your next project. After all, not all projects are equal and many include significant risks for the unwary.
This blog raises a number of issues associated with projects which are worth considering. For instance, the importance of seeking professional assistance in understanding the terms of conditions of the contract associated with the project.
If you are inexperienced with the risks which may occur when planning your next project, this blog is worth a read as a starting place to begin the process of understanding project risk. You would also be wise to consider the benefits of obtaining insurance if there is any possibility of a material loss if the project does not go to plan.
Knowing your competition is one of the keys of operating a successful business.
Colin Porter in this article explains how you can learn about operating a better business from your competitors. In his view, you can learn a great deal about works and does not work in your marketplace.
Colin also provides his 5 tips for staying competitive.
I suggest this article is worth a read as a starting point for understanding why studying your competitors can help you operate and grow your own better business.
In business, there are times when we have to interact with organisations which may not always our favourite business partner. In truth, most business people would argue the ATO as a party which does not add value to their business. Obviously many business people would not disagree with the previous sentence.
Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the ATO is a serious player in our business affairs. As a result, Peta encourages us to take a proactive approach to our dealings with the ATO. Unless the circumstances are exceptional, the ATO is usually willing to work with you to resolve a problem rather than fight you (notwithstanding the ATO will probably always win).
There is also another business message you can take from this article. If you work with your suppliers and customers in a reasonable manner, many short-term problems can be resolved and so enable you to continue with the business relationship.
The point of entering a trading relationship with a customer is to make a profit. Unfortunately, too many business people are seduced by the concept of raising an invoice. Therefore when a new customer comes along they too often think of raising an invoice, not the nature of the future relationship and whether a profit will result.
However as Jacqui James points out, not all customers lead to a profitable trading relationship. Jacqui's list of what makes a good customer combined with her second list of what makes a bad customer, are therefore worth reviewing. You will be surprised how valid these lists are when you study the behaviour of your own customers.
I heard a quote many years ago which said "every mistake is a fruitful learning opportunity". Therefore I do like Jacqui's comment of "Even a bad client turns out to be a good client. They teach you what it is you don't need."
The fact is, despite our best efforts, we all still get caught with an occasional bad client. When this happens, it is a good reminder; not all customers will add value to our business. However, these bad clients also teach us something more about our business process, if we take a positive perspective.
If you are interested in doing good business with the right type of customer, I suggest Jacqui's article is worth a read.
When a dispute occurs in a business relationship, it is important to maintain a focus on the issues. Unfortunately however, these disputes can escalate into arguments. In these situations it is not unusual for emotions to rule the discussions rather than common-sense and then nobody really wins.
Dean Kaplan provides a number of strategies to avoid your disputes becoming the arguments. Whilst Dean is talking about his approach in the debt collection environment, his strategies apply across all areas of business.
It is probably worth remembering, amongst the most stressful work environments, where emotions can run wild, is in debt collection. Therefore I suggest, if Dean's strategies work in this environment, they are going to probably be effective in most business situations.
Inexperience business people or those with vested interests in the outcome, sometimes find it a struggle to keep focused on the issues during the initial stages of a dispute. Consequently these disputes sometimes become full-blown arguments. If you find yourself in these arguments and find it hard to create a win-win outcome, I suggest Dean's article is worth reading.
Bitcoin has been with us for some time now. There are people who are really enthusiastic about its use, whilst others are less than impressed. Lately, there have been a number of articles about Bitcoin, almost as though it is the current flavour of the month.
I will not make a comment on whether Bitcoin is an appropriate payment methodology or not. However I suggest, this article is one source of information for you to update yourself on the current status Bitcoin.
Once have read the article you can make your mind up whether to do further research and ascertain whether it is a suitable payment methodology for your business.
Vesna Grubacevic discusses the concept of people sabotaging their chances of success. She defines self- sabotage as occurring any time we want to achieve an objective and then our actions or lack of action prevents us from achieving the objective. It is not unusual for business people, at times during their business lives to subconsciously sabotage their chances of success. There are many reasons why this happens and we may not always understand how and why we take such actions.
The author presents seven reasons on why we might be sabotaging our chances of success. These reasons might be:
1. A lack of clarity
2. A lack of clear priorities
3. Limiting beliefs
4. Internal conflicts
5. Unresolved emotions
6. Being a worrier
7. Negative self talk
As they become more mature, some people may begin to realise they are sabotaging their own efforts to succeed. However they may not do anything positive to resolve the situation because of a lack of confidence and support on how to resolve their issues.
The solution is not a simple one and professional help is always recommended. If you are interested in finding out more about this subject, Vesna's article is a good start in identifying the issues involved.
In this article, Steve Freztin presents his top 10 business lessons after 10 years in business.
Every lesson presented by Steve, can be applied to any business profession or business organisation.
I would write more, but that may confuse the message. So I will simply say, it will only take a few minutes to read the article and I suggest it will be time well worth spent.
Many years ago, when I first became involved with lending and advancing credit, I was advised that a reasonable level of bad debt write offs, was sign that you had maximise selling and profit opportunities. This case was put to me during my years involved with both consumer and business to business lending.
An open slather policy on advancing credit, is usually a good way of going broke and is not advocated. However a balanced approach about why you are in business, what it takes to succeed and how you should extend credit are questions should lead you to understanding why a level of bad debts is not always a sign of a business in trouble.
Therefore Dean Kaplan's article raises a valuable business question; "Is your credit policy costing you money?"
On that basis, Dean's article is worth reading as start for re-evaluating your credit policy and or learning about advancing credit.
Learning is an on-going part of life. The strength of Judith's article is as a reminder that we continue to learn about ourselves from the most unlikely of sources.
In Judith's story, we see the mentor learning about themselves from the very person she was mentoring.
Irrespective of roles in life at any one time, I believe we can take a lot of positives from Judith's Lessons of Success illustrated below.
Lessons for Success
My mentors are teaching me to...
In fact, the article itself is worth a read if you are interested in learning more about the world around you.
Natalie Walker illustrates a number of issues which can cause problems for the business owner who uses a dodgy debt collector. Her observations are based on a recent case brought by the ACCC.
Today there are strategies and tactics which are no longer acceptable and might be used by debt collectors in an effort to collect the debt. The dodgy debt collector will often employ such unacceptable tactics which are now illegal. In turn, if such illegal tactics are discovered, the ACCC may well take action, which allows become public at some stage.
Often, and what is often not realised by many business people, is that they can also be included in any action initiated by the ACCC. In addition, if the alleged behaviour is serious enough, the police may also become involved.
If you wish to avoid the unpleasant repercussions and bad publicity of using a dodgy debt collector, Natalie's article is worth reading.
As the authors of this article so wisely articulate, managing a company’s working capital isn't the sexiest task in business. However as they also point out, it is extremely important in maximising the opportunities of improving cashflow without increasing sales or reducing expenses.
The most important part of this article is the authors' explanation of the cash which is tied up in a company's accounts receivable operations. In studying their work more closely, you will begin to realise the benefits of reviewing your accounts receivable operations.
We also find out why management and CFO's, particularly in the larger corporate companies of the world, do not concentrate on the receivables to the extent that they should.
I suggest this article is well worth reading if you are interested in improving your company's cashflow, profit and efficiencies, irrespective of the size of your business.
Jason Smith has provided three handy hints about managing your time wisely.
What makes Jason's remarks valuable is that they come from a business owner who struggles with time management as do many of us.
Jason's three main hints are to (i) plan your day, (ii) take control over your emails they don't control you, and finally (iii) keep track of your daily achievements.
Tracking your daily achievements is as important as any other task. Tracking provides evidence of your daily work which in turn, gives you a level of satisfaction at the end of a business day when you may doubt you have doen anything worthwhile. In addition, you have the information to assist in preparing a more efficient working day in the future.
A quick look at Jason's Blog may help re-evaluate and refresh your own work behaviours so you gain better value of your own time.
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