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The Importance of Management Accountants

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It is always an exciting time when starting a business. There are many aspects to think about ranging from brand marketing, product development and business financing. These are some of the key areas an entrepreneur will focus on as this will contribute towards the growth of the business.

However, this can sometimes mean that back office processes such as the accounting function will be lagging slightly behind the growth of other business areas because these functions need time to understand transaction flows and business strategy so that the control framework overseeing the business can be developed. It is therefore essential to know when the time is right to invest support infrastructure teams.

But How and When Would you Know This?

It is important for business owners to understand the performance of their business and have information at their fingertips – regular management accounts.

Management accounts are a suite of retrospective looking reports that describe the performance and underlying health of a business for any given time, and it can be using both qualitative and quantitative data. There are huge benefits in have these prepared on a regular basis. Most businesses will opt to prepare management accounts on a monthly basis, but there is no hard and fast rule because they are prepared to enable the business owner to make long term and short term decisions for the business. These benefits include:

Understanding How Profit or Loss for a Trading Period Was Derived

Knowing whether the business is turning over a profit or a loss is vital to ensure the future sustainability of the business. If the business is turning over a profit at the end of a reporting period, that’s great news! The information can be used to identify the products that helped with generating those sales. It will also give the business an opportunity to experiment with the product mix to better the performance next month.  On the other hand, if the business is making a loss at the end of a reporting period then management accounts will be able to highlight the key areas of that are draining the business and can be addressed sooner rather than later.

Identify Trading Patterns and Trending

Prolonged production of management accounts will allow an entrepreneur to identify instances of seasonal trending. A simple example would be subscriptions to gym memberships tend to be higher at the beginning of the year and tail-off towards the summer. This allows informed decision making around pricing structures during these periods.

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Having a Holistic View of the Business

Small business accountants near me are designed to provide a complete snapshot of business performance for a given point in time. This will often include tax estimates on a rolling basis and an estimate of costs that have been incurred but not yet billed to the business. It is important to have this information to hand because it will reduce the chances of a surprise at the year-end with financial statements need to be prepared for compliance purposes.

Manage Cash Flow and Stock Levels

Maintaining a comfortable level of liquidity is important. If a business makes sales with 30-day credit provided to a customer, the management accounts will be able to highlight whether these debts are being converted into cash on a frequent basis. Moreover, customers who frequently pay their debts late can be identified and their circumstances can be managed more effectively.

Using Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators will allow the business to detect trends in their business and react accordingly. The same indicators can be used to benchmark the business’ performance against competitors.

Detection of Irregular Transactions and Fraud

Regular management accounts will allow an entrepreneur to have a familiar understanding of where profit or fewer levels are on a monthly basis, and at the same time create an expectation for what the expected level of profitability is giving their understanding of the revenue generated. Of course, nobody wants to encounter fraud in their business but management accounts will enable an owner to become inquisitive and therefore detect and prevent instances of fraud.

Negotiation of Leases and Credit Lines

If the office is expanding and the business in need of extra office space, it is likely that potential landlords will want to see management accounts / audited financial statements to gauge whether the business is a going to be a good tenant. Likewise, banks will want to understand the underlying health of the business before granting overdrafts or additional credit.

The quality of information available within a set of management local accountants near me should not be underestimated and every business should consider integrating a reporting regime into their business review cycle. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us!

How To Keep Your Laptop Safe When Travelling Through The Middle East

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Travelers flying from the Middle East to the United States and the United Kingdom now face an unexpected snag: A ban on large electronics like laptops and tablets in the cabin on many flights. Those passengers are now required to check tablets and laptops in with their baggage. Depending on who you talk to, the move is either a response to a recent terror threat involving a fake iPad or a protectionist measure designed to steer business travelers toward American and British legacy carriers.

The laptop ban impacts all flights, direct or connecting, that depart Egypt’s Cairo airport, Jordan’s Queen Alia, Kuwait’s Kuwait International, Qatar’s Hamad, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz and King Khalid airports, Turkey’s Ataturk, Mohammed V Airport in Morocco, and Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports in the United Arab Emirates. The ban does not extend, however, to Israel’s Ben-Gurion or Lebanon’s Beirut-Rafic Hariri airports.

For American and British travelers returning from these destinations, this poses a big problem: You either have to leave your laptop or tablet at home or travel risk services having your expensive electronics stolen from your checked luggage.

It’s a big headache for business travelers. Andrew Sheivachman, a writer for business travel site Skift, tells Fast Company that “This will definitely hurt business travelers more than leisure travelers. Business travelers almost always travel with a laptop and often work in the cabin during a flight. There is also a major data security issue for companies here; if your workers are going to have to check laptops containing sensitive information, it presents a large security risk. I would expect companies to have workers simply avoid these direct routes by using a connecting flight that won’t be affected by the ban. Most leisure travelers tend to leave their laptops at home.”

We spoke to the experts and learned about a few options. Keep in mind that not all solutions fit every traveler. Vacationers visiting the pyramids, business travelers meeting with clients in Istanbul, and human rights activists working with dissidents in the Gulf all have very different needs and risk profiles. And, as always, ask your airline for guidance on the laptop ban as this is a developing situation.

But even if the laptop ban is a real headache, there are still a few ways to have a productive business trip or use your iPad on vacation:

risk management

CHECK YOUR ELECTRONICS… BUT BE CAREFUL

Different airlines are reacting differently to the in-cabin electronics ban. Emirates and Turkish Airlines, for instance, are letting customers keep their electronics up until boarding when they are then collected by employees and placed in the cargo holds. At other airlines, passengers may have to place their electronics into their checked luggage–if you’re on a flight departing from one of the impacted airports, ask your airline for guidance.

Mark Deane, the CEO of ETS Risk Management, recommends business travelers “wipe your laptop of all data, storing it in whichever system your company uses like a secure cloud or server. This is also best practice when traveling to counter corporate espionage and for data protection.”

“Then place only the files that you need in an encrypted portable drive and/or a secure cloud service like AWS,” Deane added. “When your laptop goes in the hold, your data is not at risk. Your encrypted thumb drive stays with you.“

First-class and business-class passengers on Etihad are also getting complimentary use of iPads during their flight.

BUY A CHEAP COMPUTER OR TABLET FOR THE TRIP

If traveling internationally, it’s not the worst idea to leave your usual laptop at home and buy a cheap, temporary tablet or laptop for the trip. A new Amazon Fire tablet costs less than $50 these days, and a serviceable (though not great) netbook or Chromebook can be purchased online for less than $200.

There’s a second bonus–these devices can help protect business travelers from unwanted snooping at the hotel, coffee shop, or airport. Jordan Arnold, senior managing director at K2 Intelligence, tells Fast Company that “In the digital age, visiting certain countries means bringing home unwanted souvenirs that you never saw or even knew you acquired. Alternatively, you can travel with clean devices and leave any potential cyber baggage at the curb.”

MAIL YOUR COMPUTER BACK HOME

There’s an additional option: Bringing your regular iPad or laptop with you, and shipping it back home using either the local post office or an international service like UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

This helps avoid the airport check-in bottleneck, but has several negatives: It’s expensive, you need to pack carefully to avoid breaking your electronics, and in some countries (such as Egypt or Turkey), you’ll need a working knowledge of the local language to navigate the post office.

DITCH THE TECHNOLOGY

We bring our computers and tablets everywhere these days. Although this option isn’t tenable for many business travelers, you could always just leave your laptop at home and enjoy a computer-free trip.

Gabe Rizzi, president of Travel Leaders Corporate, recommends “Breaking out the pen and paper. Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to map things out and plan by writing it down. Or make an old-fashioned to-do list. Also, get to know your fellow travelers. If people are in the mood for conversation, you could meet a valuable business contact—maybe even your next client.”

But, let’s be realistic… you’ll probably be doing this with your phone in your pocket. As of press time, you can still use your smartphone on flights departing all these international airports. So plug in your Bluetooth keyboard, get your mobile productivity apps ready, and start crankin’.

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 Do not wait until later to state anything that you know. Lay down your expectations from your personal injury claim in Melbourne, in an intelligible manner. Mention unmistakably everything that you did as well as what you did not do. At the various stages of your claim being filed and processed, appraise your solicitor of the information and assistance that you need.

Put forth all the information that you have without your lawyer even asking for it. Don’t make your lawyer take on the unpleasant task of extracting information from you. Provide details of the people who were there, what each one of them would have seen what each one did and did not do.

To succeed with your claim, you need to be accurate. Your personal injury lawyer in Melbourne will base his actions on the facts that you provide. You need to be absolutely sure you are not leaving out anything. Make sure to include every piece of detail even if you think it’s insignificant.

Keep records. All expenditure pertaining to your claim will need to be supported by receipts. Whatever medical expenses your insurance does not cover, preserve copies of such receipts. Your Melbourne compensation lawyer will ask you to provide accurate records of the work hours you lost, the resultant loss of pay and any leave days that you used.

Notify your solicitor about all developments. With regard to changes in your physical condition as well as medical appointments, update your lawyer promptly. Hand over copies of all medical reports and advice that relate to your injury to your lawyer. Click Here

 

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