Entigrity Remote Staffing | Leaders in remote staffing
Entigrity Solutions LLC, provides staffing solutions to CPA, EA, and accounting firms. The enviable clientele of Entigrity comprises of Start-Ups, Small/Mid-Size firms and Top 100 accounting firms. With 20 years of parentage and experience of serving diverse clients across the US, Entigrity has pioneered a unique model called, “Remote staff”.
Any technology driven organization is primarily dependent on computing devices with a host of peripherals and software options, which complement the basic functions of a business. Digital medium has reduced our dependencies on a lot of unnecessary clutter, usually seen in an organization. Right from having ‘tiny post it’ notes to small hand written memos, which were used for office communication about a decade ago, to having important documents or files now available in digital form, received in email instantly! There’s a gradual but inevitable shift to a paperless with each passing day. Increasing business firms are now going the paperless way. Environmental concerns aside, having a paperless office has its own benefits over old school methodologies. Moreover, relying on less paper means, reduced consumables expenses for your organization. Furthermore, reduced space requirements for using and storing paper documents translate into lesser floor space requirements for any firm.
However, paperless doesn’t mean any organization ‘Will not need’ any paper-based documents or ‘can operate without’ any paper in their office premises. That’s the primary myth associated with the term — “paperless office”. Any office needs paper for daily functioning of important tasks and chores. What needs to be understood here is, no matter the nature of your organization, there are some basic functions or business processes, which cannot do without any paperwork. For example, accounting, inventory, legal, logistics, etc. All these need the very basis of paperwork because of the scope of the work they address and manage. In all these business functions, the need for proofs and records necessitates the use of paper-based documents at every step, and every day. For such purposes and functions, no business can ever avoid using any papers at all!
However, there are many other opportunities where you can cut down on or eliminate using any papers at all. For starters, once you have all paperwork signed and filed away, you can using document scanners to convert the physical paper form of all such important documents into digital copies of their original physical versions. This goes a long way, as digital copies aren’t as affected by physical environmental changes as physical versions of documents are easily affected over time. Moreover, physical suffer damage due to mishandling and incorrect storage, often due to repeated retrieval procedures. It makes more sense to have documents such as bills, receipts, contracts and business cards digitally scanned and converted into editable documents using the latest OCR technology.
It makes easier to store and retrieve digital copies in a logical format much convenient whilst increasing the security of any and all such confidential documents. Furthermore, you can restrict the access to each document in that repository to select employees in your organization. Moreover, there can always be a track of when anyone accessed it. This ensures that there isn’t any unauthorized access to even a single document without permission from the management hierarchy. Furthermore, in lines with digitization of all physical documents, you can and rather should pursue requesting paperless documents such as statements, reports, etc. from financial institutions to begin with. This makes provisions beforehand without having to convert physical copies into digital ones. It serves multiple purposes such as reducing the time taken in transmission of documents, safety & security of handling and storage, and restricted access permissions for only those entitled access to such documents.
Alternatively, you can go for cloud storage solutions for document management. Although digitization has far more advantages over maintaining physical copies of your documents, it has a few concerns that need to be addressed. Since you are storing your documents on a local computer or file server, there could be hardware failure, or security lapses if the protocols weren’t set stringent enough. Moreover, it is tedious and time-consuming process to send/receive any digital documents, frequently. These are rare but not entirely avoidable issues, which can be solved with structured planning and implementation of policies.
However, to mitigate such issues, Cloud Storage technologies have evolved a lot in the past few years, becoming cost-efficient along with being conveniently accessible from anywhere, including mobile devices! It can be said that cloud technology is the future, given its increased reliability, security, accessibility, and economical costs for setting up and using it daily. There are scores of options available nowadays, free and paid with various plans suitable as per your requirements.
Consecutively, cloud technologies have crossed the bridge, going beyond offering storage services. For many business firms, taking notes, memos, To-Do or Tasks lists, etc. are daily occurrences on the work floor. In order to have a paperless, these activities would also need their digital counterparts just like storage options. From having Windows built-in Notepad and Sticky Notes, to dedicated Notes-taking applications such as EverNote, Wunderlist, Google Keep, etc. are some of the few popular options leading the pack today.
Considering the above issues and solutions, it makes more than necessary to begin digitization of physical documents, and implementing digital replacements of traditional avenues of daily business operations, which required use of paper. Furthermore, migrating to cloud technology would increase the efficiency as well as grant greater security to your digital documents from day one.
Tax season is just around the corner and now is the time to start thinking about how to manage staff and adequately prepare for the extra work, longer hours and tighter deadlines that accompany this time of year. Even companies that have accountants on staff often need to bolster their team with additional, highly qualified talent. And those individuals are in high demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that accountant and auditor employment will grow 22 percent between 2010 and 2019, which will add 279,400 more positions to the 1.29 million already existing jobs. In fact, U.S. News and World Reports had named accounting among the top career choices for 2018 because of that demand. But along with that demand comes fierce competition for talent, so it’s important that staffing decisions are made well in advance of tax season to ensure that your company receives the best and the brightest talent. Although bringing in additional staff for tax season should be considered, the first step is to pay attention to current staff.
Make sure to set clear expectations among finance and accounting employees, plan their workloads and be upfront about any additional hours that will be needed to complete all required tax and regular work assignments. Consider experienced employees a valuable resource that can help educate newer staff. In fact, you may want to consider training high performing employees to lead tax training courses or act as mentors for new hires.
When thinking about your staffing strategy for next season, don’t be afraid to ask existing employees what did and didn’t work before. Addressing questions and concerns from prior year’s experience can help improve efficiency and alleviate stress among staff. Ask yourself and colleagues what systems and processes worked; will this tax season be more complicated; will additional hours and resources be needed? Answering these questions upfront will go a long way towards ensuring success this coming tax season and beyond.
Improving productivity and workflow during tax season is only half the battle. It’s equally important to ensure that talent is kept motivated during this busy season. Weekend work is a given during tax season, so consider letting staff adjust their hours as they see fit to achieve a better lifework balance. Tracking workload for each employee is always critical and even more so during this stressful time of year; however, it’s also important to know how productive each tax and finance employee is. Remember that productivity is a measure of the results achieved, and not the time spent on the return. So consider the whole workflow before determining what productivity means. An employee who works slower, but is more thorough might still be more productive because his or her returns don’t need as many corrections
Once you’ve adequately assessed existing staff, you can determine whether you need to bring in additional staff to help ease the workload. Temporary staff can help with some of the standard elements of corporate taxes, leaving your more experienced team to handle more complicated aspects of your business. Also, because temporary employees are hired on a contract basis, companies can hire exactly the skills they need for exactly the time period that they need them.
Additionally, hiring temporary staff allows an employer to assess, on the job, if the person has the right skills and cultural match for the organization, so should a fulltime position present itself down the line, they already have a candidate they know is the right fit. Here are some things to consider before hiring a temporary employee for tax season:
Think ahead. Very often companies make the mistake of hiring a temporary worker and then not being ready to put him or her to work immediately. Before you’ve even begun to look for temporary help, create a list of activities that he or she can do in the short term. Also remember to allow some time for any training or orientation that is needed.
Look for a reputable staffing partner. If you choose to use a temporary staffing firm, make sure to do your homework because all are not created equal. Look for a staffing firm that has extensive experience in filling accounting and other finance positions for the precise work you need.
Create a support system. Don’t make the mistake of leaving temporary employees on their own after the initial orientation. Make sure you have seasoned professionals ready to answer questions and provide additional support as needed.
Be realistic. You should absolutely expect the best from any temporary employee you hire, but it’s not fair to compare him or her to an employee that has been with your firm for many years. Set goals that are challenging, yet achievable. Tax season is a challenging and often stressful time for corporations, but it doesn’t have to be. The most important thing to remember is that talent is what can make or break a company during tax season, so that should be the first priority. Whether reassessing and preparing existing employees or bringing on temporary workers, it’s important to remember that human capital is the most important part of tax season. Those companies that do so will have a successful tax season—next year and beyond. John Marshall is the president of Accounting Principals.
Entigrity is one such organization that has been working with over 500 Accounting professionals and firms nationwide and addressing their issues arising due to staffing. So, just in case there is a requirement for an experienced staff we are always there to help.
The Three Wise Men and Magi traveled miles to witness the birth of the Divine Child and shower the lucky parents with blessings and gifts who bore the birth of God’s own Son on Earth. In today’s hectic world, there can be no more miracles than having people reach out to each other, care for each other and feel the existence and meaning of life as we may call it.
At Entigrity, it is always our endeavor in making the world a bit lovable place. It all starts with usually having our workplace feel like home, for, don’t we all devote our precious 8 to 10 hours of every day into our work place? Considering, the presence of the universal life force surrounding us, making our lives a bit more energetic, filled with happiness from friends and family all year round, we felt why not spread the joy and cheer of Christmas this year, out of our office premises.
That’s when we came up with the idea to share our love and empathy with the bit less fortunate, who roam the hard tarmac-filled streets, and freezing winters of our city with no or minimal belongings to lessen their hardships. On the 25th of December, we organized a clothes and blanket distribution program, with a lot of volunteers from team Entigrity team joining hands in making the winter somewhat bearable for quite a many.
On the last day of the year, we visited the beloved children (of God), homeless and starved to make their lunch times a bit more special. Our volunteers for food distribution efforts were just so involved with the sweet children that they simply lost track of time!
It is for Love that makes the world go round. Said someone who really listened to the beats of his heart. And, that’s what we try to do at Entigrity. Listen to Warm Hearts, Beating with Love and Peace for One and All!
Towards the end of the year the enthusiasm is running high in all kindred spirits around the world. Just towards the days of Christmas, it was time again to make our workplace a little more interesting and merrier with streaks of red and white, in the hopes Santa would not just fill everyone’s Christmas stockings with a gift or two but a whole lot more happiness in their lives.
We planned to involve everyone by marking a few days with themes and celebrations, as the days grew closer to Christmas Eve. To begin with, the 24th of December was marked Christmas Theme day, where everyone had to come dressed in attires in any combinations of Red, White, and Green. It was fun to see people in various incarnations of the Christmassy theme. Our Wonder Girls of Entigrity looked like Santa’s elves in mixed combinations of Red and Green! The Bwoyz brought in a lot of hue and saturation with their funky and funny styles in the cheery colors too.
On the day of Christmas, we had the first half of the day planned in enriching the lives in a unique manner this year. You can read all about it here.
On the day after, December 26th marked Character day, saw our Bwoyz and Gals all decked up in their favorite characters from Bollywood and Hollywood movies including King Kong, Captain America, Indiana Jones among a whole lot of other super-characters over the years. Few even turned up dressed as handsome soldiers from the army, some bit stern but beautiful Policewomen, and some as Doctors looking to tend to sighing hearts! Heh Heh!
On 28th, along with choosing a random character or caricature of your personal choice, the teams went amok decorating their cubicles and rooms with various themes. One group went Gung-Ho with replicating Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book with someone actually came dressed up as Mowgli, almost all set to being shooting the next sequel to this year’s release!
In other themes, everyone turned up dressed in our favorite Entigrity T-shirts, with quite a few “Group Selfies” on the last day of the year in Entigrity’s premises with their colleagues, marking the end of our favorite celebration days of Christmas! The week ended with a rocking time, enacting their favorite movie characters and playing out funny roles and dialogues during dinner, not to forget their favorite Santa moments captured in time forever!
Entigrity Premier League 2018 - Glimpses - YouTube
As the month of December set in, the temperatures began to drop and the air got cooler with each day passing by for the usually hot and arid Ahmedabad city. That’s when we decided to give our team an opportunity to embrace the nature, dash out in the open and bond better by virtue of sportsmanship! Without the overbearing sun peeking out for the majority of the year, it was time to set in motion, Entigrity’s own premier cricket tournament series Entigrity Premier League 2018!
Six teams featured members from Entigrity belonging across different processes, functions, and departments, against each other. Initially, we began with Six Captains choosing players randomly from the pool of sporting players. Mixing up people lead to a surprising mix of team players, some with hidden talents, while some with unique skills, which made the tournament a whole lot more interesting! Importantly, this time each of our Six Teams included a teammate from the Wonder Women in Entigrity, our attempt for promoting women’s participation in sports. Furthermore, we had certain rules relaxed for them – for boosting their sports spirit.
Moving on, our six teams were named after the most commonly used software applications on the floor. Beginning with Bill.com Bulls, Drake Dragons, Lacerte Lions, QB Kings, Ultra Tax Panthers, and Xero Swordians. Governing the match innings were an experienced set of umpires, who with fair rules, regulations, and strict decisions held up the integrity of EPL. Located on the outskirts of the city, a cricket ground witnessed a huge turnout of audience with friends, spouses, and even family for enjoying the innings, and cheering all the players from all six teams! Towards the finals, we saw each team having a tough competitor to knock out, with some teams having surprise elements such as state-level or national level players pitted against each other!
The finale saw Bill.com Bulls, who elected to bat first, fending off a tough bowling streak by the UltraTax Panthers across 16 overs in each inning. After grilling 6 hours of game-play, which began at 10 am and ended at 4 pm just when the sun became a bit dimmer and the breeze turned a lot colder, Bill.com Bulls won the match. By a huge margin of runs, they bowled out the entire batting line up of UltraTax Panthers before they could reach their target score of 207 in 16 overs! There was a huge uproar and cries of joy from the massive crowd, which had gathered just to cheer and enjoy the tense final match between the two toughest teams of Entigrity. The entire audience and players from the rest of the 4 teams, too, had joined in the joyous celebrations with cheers and hurrah’s for the Winners of the Entigrity Premier League 2018!
Before it was sundown, and freezing cold set in, the awards ceremony began with congratulating and applauding the performance of the winning team — Bill.com Bulls. Furthermore, along with the EPL Winner’s Trophy, the Man of the Match and Woman of the Match awards were presented with humongous applause by one and all! The Runners Up team found lots of cheers from all the fans of cricket for their “fight to the finish” attitude and strenuous endeavor. Shalin, in his speech, ensured that such glorious moments shall come every year, involving everybody on the floor in exciting games, and fun events such as our Larger than Life, EPL! Very importantly, we are going to participate in other corporate cricket leagues in the city soon.
Along with the true winners of the tournament, certain side quests such as social media campaigns and competition challenges, too, had a different winning team — Xero Swordians. A few glimpses of all our fun moments, video collages, and energetic performances are still up on popular social media platforms and online video channels, capturing Entigrity’s most loved team activity event of 2018, Forever!
Today, any business organization faces tough competition, along with increasing costs of capital investment, demanding higher pay scales, complicated legalities, among a plethora of challenges, which affect revenue, profit, and year-end target achievements. Nevertheless, recruiting experienced personnel brings along with it expensive approaches such as Placing Ads, Screening Interviews, Testing and Training of Employees, etc. Moreover, having in-house employees brings with it many hassles like Payroll Taxes, Medical Benefits, Retirement Plans, Vacation/Sick Days, etc. Every step of the way involves some form of expense before and after acquiring employees. Even in the long-run, the total cost of acquiring an employee is still be high. Consider hiring involves hiring costs, operational overheads, infrastructure expenses, and HR hassles considerably. Let us look at the various costs of having an Employee.
Basic Acquisition Cost for an Employee through Agency or Hiring
For acquiring any employee, all processes beginning with searching for one, shortlisting from all the received applications, holding test and interviews incur costs in terms of time, efforts and most importantly money. Consider all types of costs such as placing advertisements in newspapers, tabloids, or even digital platforms, or having a recruitment agency bear the burden of inviting job applications from interested and suitable candidates. Posting on Job Boards, Screening Resumes, Shortlisting Candidates, Conducting Background Checks, etc. along with any On-boarding or Recruiting Time estimated, and the notice period to be served in the previous organization of the newly Recruited Employee called as Waiting Time (usually in several weeks or months) are cost inductive activities since the beginning. Furthermore, temporary hiring agency solution would have recurring costs and liabilities and certain disadvantages as compared to having permanently appointed personnel within your organization. An estimated cost of approximately $4500 is incurred when hiring one candidate for a job role within your organization.
Payroll Taxes & Health Insurance
For every employee taken aboard, numerous financial liabilities need to be addressed and kept on track. For every employee’s salary paid every month, the controller needs to track and levy all taxes and deductions to meet the stringent guidelines set by the IRS and Tax laws as specified every year. Especially, since the introduction of the TCJA Act 2018, there have been several amendments to specific sections such Payroll Tax and Health Insurance. With effect from 2018, the FICA tax rate for employers is set at 7.65% of which, 6.2% is levied on OASDI (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program) and 1.45% TAX on Hospital Insurance (HI, commonly known as the Medicare Tax). Thus an employee will pay:
2% Social Security tax on the first $128,700 of wages (maximum tax is $7,960.80 [6.2% of $128,400])
45% Medicare tax on the first $200,000 of wages ($250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return), plus
35% Medicare tax (regular 1.45% Medicare tax + 0.9% additional Medicare tax) on all wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return) as per Code Sec. 3101(b)(2)
Conclusively, for every employee that you have recruited for your organization, you will have shell out and extra $7,960.80 for an employee with a salary of $128,400 (or more as applicable).
Paid Time Off
Having salaried personnel implies there are possibilities of unforeseen leaves or sanctioned holidays when the need arises. People need leaves — planned or unplanned every year, and hence, every organization has a leaves policy entitling every employee to having sanctioned paid leaves every year. Such leaves incur every organization some costs in the absence of those employees in a certain period. Apart from the amount of salary payable for days absent, in proportion to their entitled salary per month, other costs are not of cash in nature but more of operational hindrances such as the workflow being affected or held up until the employee returns from their leave period. Or, if the employee is a key person in management or in some process of decision making, then the time lost might probably affect the revenue or maybe cash outflow, since crucial decisions were not taken on time. All such impending costs add up to the expenses of your organization, increasing the cash outflow, and thereby, affect the yearly revenue.
Retirement Savings Benefit
Retirement Savings Benefit is a provision that every employee and employer has to plan and implement when negotiating the salary components and the dues deducted therein. Under this 401(k) Retirement plan, the contribution limit is $18,500 in 2018 for all employees under the age of 50, and those age 50 and above can make catch-up contributions of up to an additional $6,000, for a maximum possible contribution of $24,500 in 2018. It is to be noted that management and professional positions generally have the biggest employer contributions, with the highest 401(k) matches tend to be paid out by large companies with over 100 employees (according to Bureau of Labor statistics data). The most common 401(k) match is 3 percent of salary, with few others employees asking for up to 10 percent of pay or more for retirement. The most common employer match is 50 cents per dollar saved up to 6 percent of salary agreed upon. Nonetheless, many employers might provide dollar per dollar 401(k) matches to a maximum possible match of 3 percent of salary. Thereby, you can consider that an average of 3-5 percent of net salaries paid is an additional expense in your business.
Attrition / New Hire / Onboarding – training
Employees are human beings, making it impossible to hold your best performing employee from staying with your organization permanently. Greener pastures can crop up anytime during their entire career span, and it may happen that people may shift to other cities or countries, making them look for other sources of income. As with such situations, you are back to square one, with seeking and selecting a new candidate for the said job position. Every Attrition is followed by new hiring, followed by onboarding and training schedules which are nothing but increased costs incurred till the time the recruited candidate beings operations and turns beneficial to your organization. This again amounts to an average of about $4000 per employee recruited any time during a financial year.
All significant expenses discussed about, leaves us with Overheads incurred per employee within your organization. Infrastructure facilities such as floor space, furniture, hygiene facilities, lighting, cooling, and ventilation mechanisms, in-office cafeteria inventory and operational expenses, etc. are all forms of overheads incurred per employee in your organization. An estimated $250-$1200 is expended per employee per month considering the bare minimum of facilities provided within organization.
With all the given facts & figures, the average cost runs between $15,000 -$35,000 per year besides the actual salary paid to every employee. However, many larger firms have saved enormous by establishing their offshore offices and doing away with most of the compliance mentioned here. For smaller firms remote staffing brings a similar solution. You can read about it in more details in our eBook: Save:$26,000 to $60,000 Per Employee.
Towards the last day of the year, it’s the turn of the calendar, the turn of a few numbers, and the Dawn of another New Year. At Entigrity, we believe in making the most of all the moments of our lives. To make the most of the last day of 2018, we had an energetic evening with gaga games, perky performances, and dazzling dances well into late night! To start off with, as the crowd poured in at the stipulated time, every lightened up with few mock tails, until all of Entigrity had gathered at the venue.
Shawn began with welcoming everyone with his charismatic speech, a few light moments from our daily lives at work, and some pep talk for one and all. Following which, a grand celebration of our last month long event — Entigrity Premier League — was due with prize distribution, photo sessions and honorable mentions for all who put in extra efforts to make this year’s cricket tournament a grand success!
After all was said and done, the Girls of Entigrity presented an Electrifying performance, which set the dance floor afire! Grooving to snazzy Bollywood numbers, the Girls charged up the audience, who were cheering “Encore, Encore”.
As if a challenge, the boys gang named Untrained Professionals group of 5, stepped onto the floor after the girls had shaken and twirled with their last moves. Thumping bass tracks from yesteryears and party smashers of today, Entigrity’s own “Untrained Professionals Gang” performed to the medley with Rocking moves and Stylish Expressions!
As if on cue, at the end of their performance, everybody just swooped in, and swept up the “Untrained Professionals” from the floor, cheering out aloud for their performances, and began grooving to the DJ’s trippy numbers, on the highly charged Dance floor! Hours seemed to just fly by, as the evening just didn’t seem to end. Everyone danced to their heart’s content, marking the last day of the year with happy memories, and happier smiles to go home with.
Filled with fun & frolic, as each event in Entigrity is, where everyone parties hard, and works even harder, making every moment worth cherishing; be it work or play! Happy New Year from all of us at Entigrity!
The accounting firms of today have grown into multidimensional entities. Growth, marketing, building bigger client base, offering more services are now equally as important as managing their current practice. Since the modern economy has converged to become a central marketplace irrespective of geographical boundaries. Partially, it’s possible because of easier market entry created by advances in technology and communications infrastructure, restructuring of product sourcing arrangements, the emergent availability and shifting costs of global labor pools, along with continuous restructuring of capital markets and the rise of new economic powers. With such prevailing conditions, an accounting firm requires to have a dependable business model for ensuring it survival, growth and longevity. Let us look at the 6 crucial markers that may guide your practice towards success.
Building Client Base:
Any business thrives and grows only because of its loyal customer base. You can choose to have more number of services for your clients or, you can select to have lesser services and equally focus on important activities such as customer engagement programs and value-added benefits for loyal, long-term clients. Today, clients will flock to any firm that focuses more on their needs along with hearing them out and providing value-added benefits apart from their services.
Choosing Business Type – Niche v/s Diversity:
Choosing the type of business depends on your clients, and requires a qualitative approach towards identifying their requirements. There are Pros and Cons to both approaches. However, the only important idea is to understand and plan who you want to cater the most; large volume of clients with higher volume of sales at marginal profits, or few clients with proportional sales with higher margin at profits. Pick Your Choice!
Workforce management – Contracting v/s Hiring
No manufacturing unit or business can run without any labor for the functions and needs of that business. Seemingly, today’s firms have various options at staffing, such as contracting or hiring work force for their organization. Outsourcing/contracting is convenient. You select vendors and appoint them for certain remuneration to complete and deliver non repetitive work. It’s quicker with lesser liabilities. Hiring, on the other hand, is a longer process with aiming to retain selected candidates for longer duration, and viewing them move up the hierarchy (based on their skills and performance) within your organization. Today, there are 2 different options within Hiring — local staff, and remote staff. Hiring local staff is the age-old traditional means of recruiting personnel for respective positions. Hiring remote staff is the latest trends where you get numerous facilities, flexibility, and benefits over traditional method of hiring local staff. Today, remote staffing has become a popular choice for several types of industries, which translate into additional benefits such as saving on costs, time and efforts, along with round the clock available work force, lower infrastructure costs, etc.
Cutting cost v/s Rational Investment
Running a business requires shrewd skills when it comes to managing finances. Apart from the fixed costs incurred at the beginning and daily running of the business, variable aspects such as capital or cash flows, liquidity, running capital requirements etc. take more precedence during planning and decision-making. One can have a cost cutting approach when it comes to operating business financials, such as investing lesser, or acquiring assets, labor, equipment, etc. or cutting down on existing such functions of the company such as laying off labor, cutting down on inventory and assets, etc. All of which is only limited by only whatever finances you can spare or arrange for. Alternatively, one can choose to make wise decisions on planning and investing wisely such as when there are good offers on purchasing assets, or planning ahead of peak season for acquiring raw materials or labor, etc. It all depends on the business acumen of the management of the company. Nonetheless, one should observe and predict future possible scenarios, think twice, plan ahead, and decide wisely in matters of business finances.
Marketing – Digital v/s Conventional
Today, no other means of communication reaches out to potential customers as digital marketing does. People around the globe are connected to each other through digital devices. As of today, digital networks is the only medium through which, any sort of information propagates almost without any delays. Moreover, there aren’t any obstacles in reaching out to people scattered across geographically over enormously long distances. These are vast benefits of digital marketing over traditional forms of marketing. Today, Digital Marketing campaigns are designed at utilizing minimal capital and efforts, and delivering higher ROI in shortest possible time frame. Most conventional marketing plans costs significantly higher, while not being able to reach out to maximum potential customers at all. This is why digital marketing today leads all forms of marketing, making them supplemental options to digital marketing. However, the approach shouldn’t be to quit the conventional marketing completely, as this method may bear fruits, but some budget out the hefty sums can be diverted towards digital means as well. This will balance the expenses very much and give a higher ROI.
Self Expansion v/s New Acquisition
Getting ahead in entrepreneurship, you might go ahead with increasing the practice in newer regions. Alternatively, you can also develop other value added services according to new market. Thus, you can go about growing your business by expanding your own firm’s capabilities to fill in this market gap, and benefit from the lack in any products thereof. On the other hand, you can even go about having a merger or acquisition with another business organization who exists in the industry and has significant standing and loyal customer base for continuing operations of those particular services. In the former case, it will take you time, efforts and capital to reach to the position for catering to different opportunities as and when they make their presence in the market. With acquiring or merging with an existing firm, you have the added benefit of an already established organizational unit, and simply take the reins of management and lead the running business operations.
To have a successful business organization, all it takes is precision business acumen, informed and wise planning, forecasting, calculated decision-making and all possible forms of risk management.
If you are an accounts or finance professional and are in possession of sensitive client data, then it is quite evident that you are at the top target of data thieves. More often than not, accountants keep coming under the scanners of hackers and evidently become a victim of cyber security attacks. Once ranked as the best cyber security consultant in the world, even Deloitte admitted in March 2017 to be one such victim, apparently indicating that you always have got to have a plan B in place if things go wrong. If a company like that can be attacked, anyone can. More importantly, each breach leaves a lingering, if not lasting, imprint on an enterprise’s brand.
However, the best thing to do in this situation is to recover as fast as it could be. With proper response planning and vigilant approach the recovery could be faster and a lot of damage can be saved.
Evaluate the severity and scope of the incident.
If a laptop computer or other portable device is lost or stolen, identify the data that may have been exposed, and determine whether these materials are protected by password or encryption. Consider engaging forensic information technology experts to determine the scope of the problem. In addition, if the possibility of identity theft or other criminal activity is present, inform appropriate law enforcement agencies of the situation.
Having an incident response plan:
As soon as a data breach is discovered, the response plan must get in action. Generally the best approach is to take all the working devices offline and deploying the IT team (or consultant) in action. The most important information to find out as quickly as possible is the exact nature of the breach, the extent of the damage, and who’s responsible for the breach. When creating your response plan, you may want to create responses for a few different levels of data breaches, with detailed response steps laid out for each type of breach.
This plan should outline what you need to do and whom you need to contact after a data breach. It should be a step-by-step guide to what you need to do to comply with state and federal laws and inform affected customers about the incident.
Informing the potentially affected clients:
A very important and critical decision to inform the client about such mishaps. Although it is understood that your firm’s credibility could be at risk but it has to be done anyways. That’s because data breaches aren’t just about lost data. They’re about lost trust. And small accounting firms rely on that trust to maintain their client base.
When you’ve built up a client base over years of hard work and have to inform them that their Social Security numbers and financial records are now in the hands of criminals looking to commit fraud
Deploy Software Defines Perimeter services
Enterprises need to constantly assess the latest advancements in network security as well. Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) services, for example, block communications between enterprise applications and end user devices from potential attacks through the Internet. SDP reduces security risks over the Internet by making critical applications and resources invisible to everyone until the end users and devices are authenticated and authorized. Such advancements are designed to reduce potential data breach incidents as more companies adopt new technology.
Moreover, during the recovery process, one should learn from the past incidents and make sure to follow more stringent protocols to not let such havoc repeat itself again. Some of the steps that can be taken are:
Require two-factor authentication for access to email from the Internet.
Require Virtual Private Network (VPN) access for telecommuter and travelers accessing company networks. Encourage travelers to note travel device usage times, locations, and other details including connections and accounts used.
Limit administrative access for employees to their devices; if admin access is required for job function, enact a policy restricting use or installation of non-approved third-party apps.
If possible, provide employees with travel devices that can be rebuilt upon return; limit access from these devices and keep known baselines to expedite digital forensic review.
We also suggest having a few practices and policies in place to avoid such mishaps coming your way, such as keeping operating systems, antiviruses, firewalls updated; having strong password policy, usage of secure devices with tracking facility; backup data must also be encrypted, etc. A lot of troubles can be escaped through if you have trained employees and limited admin rights. The more you are informed, the better you are secured.
In today’s fast-evolving accounting industry, accounting and finance professionals must possess razor-sharp analytical abilities, impeccable interpersonal skills, and a thorough understanding of industry-standard accounting software applications. Simply having these skillsets doesn’t empower you for surging ahead of competing peers from your accounting industry. Recognizing skills, leading to success in accounting, not only increase your job satisfaction but also simplify it in building towards your long-term career goals. So, how do you know if your career graph is steering towards the top of the pile, or is detoured to get the short end of the stick? We’ve penned down a few tips for helping you develop the necessary finance skills that will put you in a leading position for a promising career in finance.
1. Financial Management Skills:
Organizations are looking for employees proficient at lateral thinking, with ability to analyze scenarios, and draw suitable conclusions at the spur of the moment! Suitable candidates who are looking for a successful career in finance must demonstrate their analytical abilities with real-world problems, and results-driven efforts. It is undeniable that financial reporting skills are a requisite with areas such as super-forecasting. Along with, acute sense of budgeting, all aspects of business valuation, among a host of other financial management skills are a fundamental must-know for aspirants from the financial accounting industry. With all such foundation skillsets, one cannot begin their journey on the stormy seas of accounting and financial industry.
2. Analytical ability
Today, it is a daunting task to find candidates with financial analysis skills. Organizations are looking employees who can implement lateral thinking, the ability to analyze situations, and predict suitable conclusions. It becomes imperative for any financial accounting professional to have a keen learning and foresight into assessment, evaluation, planning of various aspects of business finance functions which lend the business its power to keep running; day in, day out. Without any analytical evaluation, no crucial plans and decisions can be taken by the organizations’ management board. Moreover, simply having knowledge of how stuff works isn’t enough. You need to also observe patterns and occurrences, analyze the results, and forecast any problems. This should be stringently followed with any fallback plans, means and methods, and probable course of actions to resolve such impending situations.
3. Organizational Skills:
Accounting professionals are important people. They manage a lot of financial data, which means that they generally are held responsible for, and need to stay sharp with all financial concepts and procedures thoroughly. This is only possible if you have an organized and structured approach to all your daily work routine and the way you manage your clients’ financial data. To be a good accountant you must have a system to keep track of any portfolios you handle, the transactions you oversee, and any important dates and deadlines you have scheduled for — for ensuring that you fulfill all of your duties to the best of your abilities. Use software tools like calendars, alphabetized folders, day planners, color-coded post-it notes, and highlighters, along with software, which helps you stay highly organized.
4. Information Technology Skills
The advancement in technology has encouraged the procedure of digitization. The rise of cloud storage has additionally conveyed rapid changes as to how reports are managed, and cloud-based capacity and portal application to store critical documents have turned out to be prominent. In addition, most leading accounting software has evolved significantly with advanced capabilities and become easy to use, reliable, versatile, and also allows enhanced integration with online services. In the future, an accountant or financial professional will need to emphasize his role as ‘trusted advisor’ for all such software applications as all confidential client data is processed, stored, and managed in digital format. Any software eventually delivers is efficiency, with a specific end goal to create the fundamental capacity, and resources to deliver that new role. Thus, financial professionals with the right IT skills to leverage new financial systems are the new requisite criteria in growing accounting organizations. Accounting professionals who can demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in predictive analytics, accounts payable automation, SAP accounting software or Oracle will find themselves in-demand.
5. General Business Skills:
Over and above the basic skillsets, which define a candidate fit for accounting business, several general skills do take precedence when an employer decides to finalize the person for the role in his organization. Having good time-management skills go hand-in-hand in with strong organizational capabilities. An accountant must also know how to budget your time, assign priorities, and execute numerous tasks in parallel. Meeting deadlines and continually re-prioritizing your task list according to the urgency of the situations goes a long way in taking you far. Well-developed interpersonal skills useful for networking, written communication, working as a team, client interaction, etc. are some of the personal skills that give an edge over your competition. Being honest and unflinching integrity are the most valued characteristics in the professional world. Nonetheless, someone who takes the initiative, mentors and teaches subordinates, and takes confidence, patience, and the ability to delegate chores and tasks with the confidence to see them completed, go to make a good leader for the organization.
The makings of a successful professional involve understanding your industry well, knowing the workings of your business organization thoroughly, and your personal strengths and weaknesses inside-out to maximize their application for achieving desired results. That said, a successful professional is one who understands what to act, when to act, and how to act.