Month End Accounting the way it should Be Today

Month end accounting has always been a business critical exercise. Without the balance sheet, income statement, and other financial reports this exercise ultimately produces, management could not make informed decisions to keep the company in the right direction and at the ideal operational speed.

Now, in order to maintain optimal business velocity, month end activities have to be carried out as swiftly and as accurately as possible. Delays will only inhibit managers from reacting and effecting necessary adjustments in time. Inaccurate information, on the other hand, obviously lead to bad decisions.

But that’s not all. Never has the month end close been as demanding as it is today. Regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Solvency II, Dodd-Frank Act, and others, which call for more stringent controls and more robust risk management practices, are now forcing companies to find better ways to face the end of the month.

Sticking to old month-end practices while striving to achieve regulation compliance can either cost a company more (if they add manpower) or simply bog it down (if they don’t). Among the worst of these practices is the use of spreadsheets.

These User Developed Applications (UDAs) are very susceptible to errors. (See spreadsheet risks)

What’s more, consolidating data from spreadsheets as well as carrying out reconciliations on them is very time consuming. These activities usually require data from outside sources – i.e. a workstation in a different department, building, or (in the case of really large corporations) geographical locations.

Furthermore, if one of these sources fail, the financial reports won’t be complete. This is not a far-fetched scenario, considering that spreadsheet storage and backup is typically carried out by the average end user. This leaves the spreadsheet data vulnerable to hard disk crashes, virus attacks, and unexpected disasters.

Thus, in order to produce accurate financial reports on time all the time, you need a financial/IT solution that offers optimal provisions for risk management, collaboration, backup, and business continuity. Learn about server-based solutions and discover a better way to carry out month end accounting.

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5 Numbers showing why the Time to Invest in eCommerce in the UK is Now

A decade or two ago, you might have already had the urge to invest in eCommerce. But astute as you are, you must have decided to wait for the right time and perhaps the right place to do it. That time has come. And the right place to do it? Try the United Kingdom.

Here’s why:

1. ?100 billion worth to the UK economy

A report conducted by US-based BCG (Boston Consulting Group) showed that Internet-based business in the UK reached ?100 billion in 2009. That translated to 7.2% of the country’s GDP that year, making it bigger than industries like construction, education, and health & social work, and even slightly bigger than agriculture, hotels & restaurants, and mining, combined. Click here to see the comparison shown as a graph.

?100 billion?is certainly huge, but?the market potential of the Internet in UK is even made more evident if you also look at the numbers based on amount spent per capita…

2. # 1 in per capita spending

According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), “the UK’s per capita spend of ?1333 (?1108) per annum” is number one in the world. This shows that people from the United Kingdom are more willing to buy goods from the Internet than other people on the planet. And this alone should tell you why UK is the best place for e-commerce.

But while you’re still pondering whether now is really the best time to invest, bear in mind that competitors who have gone to the Internet before you are already thinking of expanding …

3. 1.5 million workers in Internet retailing by 2015

Last year (2011), the number of people employed in UK e-businesses was about 730,000. While conducting its second annual e-Jobs index in 2011, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) found out that it was largely due to a rise in employment in 63% of e-businesses. The study also showed that 60% of e-businesses were also planning to beef up their employees within a year’s time.

While other sectors are shrinking their ?workforce, businesses on the Internet are growing theirs. Were they just speculating? Perhaps not…

4. 50% of parsels during 2016 pre-Christmas peak will come from e-commerce

Last year (2011), parcels coming from e-commerce accounted for 37% of all items sent through UK couriers during the November-December stretch. That volume from e-commerce was 15% higher than the previous year. This remarkable climb, which was reported by Global Freight Solutions (GFS), shows the growing confidence of customers when it comes to buying products online.

If this rate continues, items from e-commerce will easily comprise 50% of parcels by 2016. Chances this rate will continue? Let’s go to number 5 and you be the judge.

5. 66% of all adults made online purchases in 2011

A statistical bulletin published by the ?Office for National Statistics revealed that 32 million people made online purchases in 2011. That actually comprises 66% of all adults in the UK. Significant as that may seem, what is really striking is that that figure used to be 62% in 2010. So again, this proves that the number of people who buy products and services online is steadily growing.

If you really think about it, these statistics should not be surprising. The smartphone is now practically the default mobile device of anyone who owns a mobile phone. And then of course there are laptops and tablets.

With these devices on hand, coupled with the ever growing number of WiFi hotspots and telecommunications bandwidth, gaining access to the Web has never been easier.?It can be done practically anytime, anywhere.

This makes it so easy for people to search for products, compare competing brands, and eventually make a purchase from home, the office, on the terminal, or on the train.

Related post:

Integrated e-commerce ? The right way to do extend your business online

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ESOS What is the Truth?

When the UK administration introduced its ESOS Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme reactions from business people followed a familiar theme.

  • Do nothing it will go away
  • The next Westminster will drop this
  • Another stealth tax. I don’t have time for this
  • Give the problem to admin and tell them to fix it

ecovaro decided to share three facts with you. These are

(1) ESOS is not a government money spinner

(2) all major political parties support it, and

(3) it is a cost-effective way to put money back in your pocket while feeling better about what business pumps into the environment.

Four More ESOS Facts

1. You Cannot Give the Problem to Admin ? Energy is technical. The lead belongs with your operations staff because they understand how your systems work. Some things are best outsourced though. ecovaro is here to help.

2. ESOS is Not Going to Go Away ? A company inside the regulation net must submit its first report by 6 December 2015. Non-compliance risks the following penalties:

  • ?5,000 for not maintaining adequate records
  • ?50,000 for not completing the assessment
  • ?50,000 for making a false or misleading statement

3. The Employee Count is the Annual Average – The employment criteria (unlike balance sheet and turnover) is the monthly average of full and part-time employees taken across the full financial year. The fact you have <250 employees in December 2015 when the first report is due does not necessarily let you off the hook.

4. The 6 December 2014 Report is No Big Deal ? When you think about it the administration is hardly likely to spend years wading through 9,000 detailed company energy plans. It has no authority to comment in any case. All that is required is for a senior director to confirm reading the document, and a lead assessor to agree it complies with the law.

Does this mean that ESOS is a damp squib? We do not think so, although some firms may take the low road. ecovaro believes the financial benefits will carry the process forward, and that the imperative to make the world a better place will do the rest.

What is Business Intelligence?

How well do you know your customers? That is, can you actually pinpoint which among them are you most profitable with and which are making you spend more? Are you content with the accuracy of your forecasts and market predictions? Do you feel you’re spending more on legal costs and regulatory compliance than you should?

Your IT department may be handling these concerns pretty well but perhaps you’d like to know how you can further improve things.

What we’ve got is an IT solution wrapped in a fancy name called ‘Business Intelligence’ or BI. If you think that’s too strong a term, we invite you to read more below, then you be the judge.

Dashboards – Determine the health of your business at a glance

Most drivers rarely make use of their car’s dashboard. After all, you can still reach your destination by just using the steering wheel, pedals, gear stick and so on. But that’s not exactly the most efficient way to drive, right?

If you want to save on fuel, you’ll want to glance on the RPM and speedometer from time to time. You might also want to utilise the trip meter to determine which route is the shortest to a given destination. Other dashboard components like the fuel gauge, tire pressure gauge, engine temperature indicator, and volt meter can likewise provide information about your car’s health.

The same concept applies to business management. If you want to run your business intelligently, you can make use of BI dashboards. These are tools in a typical business intelligence package that will allow you to determine the health of your business via a set of smartly configured gauges and other intuitive graphical representations.

So that, literally, at a mere glance, you’ll already know whether various units in your company are working efficiently. A dashboard will also give you instant feedback of the strategies you’ve recently implemented; to let you know if things are working as planned.

If you want more information than a dashboard can provide, our BI packages also include highly customised reports.

Reports that help you decide faster

Dashboards are great for getting valuable information at a glance but they won’t tell you everything. For more details, you’ll need to view highly customised reports. Our reports are tailor made for each user. We see to it that, by default, each person gets the information he needs the most.

If you belong to the sales department, you normally won’t need a presentation of the data that is appropriate for people in accounting. That way, you don’t spend time filtering. Instead, you and your people can move on to making well-informed decisions.

Our BI systems make use of your vast collection of data to provide reports that will organise your regulatory requirements and call your attention to approaching deadlines. The same system will provide the right information for your people on the field. If your team members are equipped with smart phones and Pocket PCs, they can retrieve whatever it is they need to know to close deals, make sales, and serve clients faster than the competition.

Generating logical information from disparate sources of data scattered over an enterprise-wide organisation is no easy task. But we’ll make it look simple. That’s because we’ve got the expertise to bring it all together into a robust data warehouse and to extract them in the form of reports and dashboards through OLAP.

OLAP and Data Warehousing – Powering the generation of actionable information

Want to know how to generate reports with the highest degree of accuracy and reliability? In theory, what you need is a single repository or a data warehouse. That is, order receipts, sales invoices, as well as customer & supplier data is integrated with regulatory details, personnel data, and others. These are all specially organised for future reporting and analysis.

However, data, no matter how all-embracing, is useless until it is processed into actionable information. Through OLAP or Online Analytical Processing, you can seamlessly collect all relevant data from your vast repository to answer queries like “What is our company’s profitability for the 2nd quarter in all identified key cities for our top-of-the-line products?”.

The strength of OLAP lies in its inherent ability to perform data analysis and very complex calculations, thus enabling it to return complex queries much faster than other database technologies. It is therefore suitable for very large data sources, i.e., data warehouses.

Dashboards and reports will only give your organisation the edge if the information retrieved is reliable, fast, and accurate – exactly the kind OLAP is so good at.

Mobile BI – Step back and see the big picture anytime, anywhere

Spreadsheets are great for displaying detailed information. However, in today’s highly competitive market, retrieving information that matters the most in the shortest possible time is vital in maintaining a sizeable lead over the competition. To step back and see the big picture, you’ll need insightful tools like dashboards and automatically generated reports.

Reports can be beamed to mobile devices such as smart phones and Pocket PCs. They can also be viewed on eBook readers as well. You can also do the same tasks with spreadsheets. But imagine how you’d need to scroll over a large spreadsheet on any of these mobile devices just to know which customer in your current location has performed well over the last month.

If you really want to make quick, well-informed decisions, BI dashboards for mobile devices is the way to go. You can make use of various business objects such as drill-able charts, performance metrics, and metric trend graphs to make crucial decisions even when on you’re in the field.

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