5 Tips to straighten out your finances

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If your finances are a mess and your life goals are not being met, you may feel that you aren’t making the most of your life. Here are some ways to straighten your finances and reach those life goals you’ve always dreamed of achieving.

What do you owe – Understanding what you owe the bank is an excellent way to work towards paying off your debts. You can then look at how much money you will need to put away each month to pay up what you owe.

Learn accounting – Learning basic accounting will help you to budget and keep track of your expenses. You can then look at your budget each week and understand where you are spending your money the most and where you can save.

Transfer your income to your savings account – To grow your savings look at saving 5% of your income into a savings account every month.

Open an investment account – Investing your money wisely with the help of a reputed, experienced investor can be a smart move. Working with an investor will also teach you how to invest on your own and grow your investment.

Get an eBay account – Selling unwanted items that you own is an excellent way to get rid of junk and earn in the process. Start off by creating an eBay account and use your account to sell items on a weekly basis.

Initially following the tips above may seem complicated because your lifestyle will need to change. However, you will soon realize that within three months of following the steps above, you will increase your savings, reduce your debt and be able to reach your life goals.

3 Finance tips all business owners should follow

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Finance is an integral part of the business, and therefore it is vital that your finance is handled by a professional who knows what they are doing. Here are some tips to help business owners ensure that they are on the right financial track.

Don’t procrastinate – Putting off the books is not a good idea as this will make the accounting of a small business unmanageable. Look at documenting your financial process before you start your business and fine tune it as your business grows and changes. Consider recording your financial operations so that even if you are not able to be at the office, your employees will understand the process.

Understand your annual cash flow – Cash flows usually follows a seasonal trend and understanding this pattern is key to ensuring your business has enough money throughout the year. You also will need to understand your sales cycles to ensure that you have a buffer for days that your sales are low but you have to maintain your inventory.

Focus on your core strengths – Although doing all your finance requirements in-house is an excellent way to save money, it may leave you with less time to plan. Look at focusing on your key strengths and then look at outsourcing other areas to professionals who will be able to give you the information you need to make critical business decisions.

 

4 Strategies for managing a fast-growing company

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A start-up is designed to grow fast, and although rapid growth is what every entrepreneur dreams of, most start-ups are not prepared for rapid growth. Here are some tips on how to manage a fast-growing company.

Medium-term goals – Although most business plans focus on short and long-term goals, it is also a good idea to look at medium-term goals. Medium-term objectives help to bridge the gap between short and long-term goals and provide a much-needed stepping stone. Medium-term goals will help a company look at what they need regarding people and resources to reach their long-term goals.

Keep customers happy – It is important that you never stop listening to your customers. Look at gathering as much customer feedback and use this information to improve your business.

Find a great mentor – A mentor who has experience in a similar business or industry can be a lot of help to assist you to guide your company in the right direction. Avoid letting your ego or your pride get in the way of receiving good advice and understand that every start-up needs a good mentor.

Have the right team – Having the right team working for you is your best bet to growing and sustaining your business. To steer the company in the right direction, look for team members that are ready to wear different hats and those that have worked in a startup before.

How Filing Construction Claims Could Financially Assist Your Project

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Summary: There is a large variety of construction claims, which can make it difficult to understand which type of claim you should be filing. Although you will not ultimately be the one to file the actual claim, it is still nevertheless important to understand your situation.

With so many different kinds of construction claims out there, it can be confusing to clearly understand what sort of claim you should file for your particular case. Some of the most common construction claims will be outlined below for your education.

Delay Claims

Construction delay claims are those related to schedule delays. These claims are quite common with larger projects, as unplanned circumstances could impact the roadmap for a construction project. Construction delays can push the construction timeline back and can ultimately result in construction workers missing their projected deadlines.

Breach-of-Contract

Breach-of-contract claims are those that oftentimes result from a contract issue. If the person who hired a contractor feels like the work the contractor did was done too quickly, did not meet his or her specifications, or simply does not meet the level of quality that the employer had in mind, then he or she would want to file an owner claim. It is crucial that the employer’s requests outlined in the contract signed by the contractor were not met, in order for such a claim to be filed. The contract legally obligates the contractor to complete the job he or she agreed to, and failure to do so can get them in legal trouble.

Mechanic’s Lien

A mechanic’s lien claim can be filed if the property owner fails to pay his or her contracted workers. If these contracted workers provide labor, equipment, or materials to aid in the construction of a property and they ultimately do not get proper financial compensation in return, then they are not receiving what they are legally entitled to.

It is crucial to have a solid understanding of your rights as a worker, so you can be aware of when they are being violated.

Blog submitted by Lyle Charles: Lyle Charles is a construction industry expert and his team offers construction claim analysis services. Visit him online to learn more.

How to Improve Your Car Rental Company’s Financial Standing

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Summary: Taking a look at your business model and revamping it may be the solution to any financial woes you may be harboring.

How much time has passed since you’ve taken a good look at every aspect of your car rental business? You might be thinking back to when you first started drafting your business plan. Well, how is it doing now? Are your goals clear? Are you working towards these goals, and actually improving along the way? Is it where you want it to be?

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll stay involved in every angle of your rental business. You have to be obsessed with crunching numbers and stay focused on the end goal. How well you perform these things will correlate to how well your business runs in the future.

Revisit Your Business Model

Take the time to look at the vehicles you’re offering, the customers you’re doing business with, and the market. Consider all of the possibilities and find ways to challenge your business model so you can exceed what you originally planned. After all, every business wants to thrive and grow into a successful company. Perhaps you could extend a service that provides a car lease to Abu Dhabi, Asia or other areas in the world that are high in tourism. Or, you could offer a variety of different packages that allow customers to take advantage of reasonable prices. The opportunities are endless.

Know Your Customer Base and Adapt

While you might be obsessed with making the most money that you can, you have to let your customer base dictate how you make the next business move. For instance, say you have a customer claiming that they found a lower rate at Monte Carlo Rent a Car, LLC and wants to know if you can price match it. There are two options you have here. You can either tell the customer off and lose business, or you can work with him and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that still brings in some money to your business. Little choices like this tend to stray from the ordinary business model and rely on instinct.

How to get more from your finance team?

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Finance needs to play a big role in any business enterprise as a strong finance team will help to build a strong, healthy business. Here are some key tips that will help management get the most from their finance team.

Training and development – The role of the finance team have moved from traditional governance like accounting, auditing, and budgeting to include areas like advanced analytics, demand planning, pricing, etc. Therefore, finance teams will need the right training and development with the right software and hardware to provide the information that is needed to make key decisions. Start by analyzing the knowledge gap that exists within your department and then look at suitable training plans to bridge this gap.

Finance transformation – Finance transformation are strategic initiatives that improve the service provided by the finance department. Tasks can include shortening a budget cycle, reducing overheads to implementing new accounting software. The general goal is to align finance to the overall strategy of the company. Start with the core responsibilities of finance like governance, scale, and services before looking into other areas.

Avoid broad goals – It is best to avoid broad goals like being a world-class finance team and instead look at reducing costs and increasing services offered. However, make sure that the cost reductions are realistic and that the company follows standard industry benchmarks. Allow sufficient time for a finance team to add new services and to get accustomed to the process. Sufficient time will help to smoothen out any issues and help to build a standard process that can be followed by everyone.

How to Reduce Chargebacks

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Businesses pay for every transaction they process, and usually a penalty for chargebacks. Chargebacks are not good, they amount to a dispute between the credit card company, and whoever is trying to collect from the customer. Too many of these, and your account could be revoked or put in the “high risk” category. In this guide, you’ll learn how to reduce your odds of facing one.

Let Customers Know Your Policies

Major retailers print out their return statements on the back of a receipt because they know that customers will need that information sooner or later. Not every store has that option, so put a page up on your website in addition to having something at the register. Reminder your employees to tell customers your return policy. Don’t be afraid of returns, they are a marginal part of doing business, and customers will usually buy something else from you to replace the return.

Refunds

Some store owners think refunds are bad, so they offer store credit only. On some items, it’s unavoidable, but refunds are good for the customer and your business because they avoid chargebacks. If you decline a refund, and the customer disputes the charge, then you’ve lost a customer and taken a ding on your merchant account.

Check ID

Trust but verify. Ask your customers to present ID for any transaction involving their card, make sure you check the ID and that you check the CVV or CVV2 code to complete the transaction. Some of these measures can be taken periodically, others should be done every transaction.

Fulfillment

When you’re shipping to customers, make sure your fulfillment is as soon as possible. It’s important to send packages to customers before they decide to chargeback. If you can, include a tracking number and email the customer updates on his or her order.

Blog submitted by Charge.com: Charge.com provides an efficient way to handle your business transactions. With decades of experience, let Charge.com be your merchant account provider for your business today.

Communicating with accounting and finance professionals

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An effective manager will have to communicate with his/her accounting and finance professionals team to ensure daily business activities and projects are completed as per the plan. Here are six tips that will help a manager effectively communicate with his/her finance department.

Ask them to speak up – Ask your finance team to be more vocal and request for their feedback, questions, and concerns.

Check in often – Often remind your accounting team that you value their input and need their expertise to ensure that the business runs smoothly.

Don’t catch people off guard – Avoid waiting till an annual appraisal to give your team feedback, as this will give no time for a staff member or team to improve. Look at informally offering regular performance reviews.

Give it to them straight – Accounting professionals will value a communication style that is honest, reliable and direct.

Be specific – Accounting professionals will focus on data, so if you want them to work on something ensure that you are precise, accurate and technical. Avoid being general and request for numbers that will help you understand the situation better.

Ward off rumors – Office gossip can confuse employees and create misinformation and half truths. When you’re speaking to the finance team, request for information in numbers as this will provide a more accurate picture of a problem.

Training – Adding training programs to help employees communicate better is a good way to help departments and managers communicate more effectively.

7 Tool and tips for small businesses to save money on energy

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Small businesses are often tight on budgets and therefore should include energy saving methods to reduce their utility bills. Here are seven tools and tips for small businesses to save money on energy.

Increase the efficiency of your boiler – Upgrading and cleaning your boiler will improve its efficiency. Look at removing soot, scale and fixing leaks to reduce costs at your facility.

Insulate piping and ductwork – Pipping and ductwork done properly will reduce heat losses, saving energy and costs.

Replace inefficient lighting – Look at energy efficient lighting that will reduce your energy consumption and produce less heat.

Upgrade your AC – New air conditioners will use less than 50% less electricity than those used in the 1970s. Therefore, upgrading your AC can reduce your electricity costs by at least 30%.

Reduce fan speeds – Reducing your fan speed by one notch will reduce your energy consumption by as much as 30%.

Disconnect non-essential loads – If you have appliances like coffee makers, water coolers, vending machines and registers that are not in use, it is best to switch them on when needed or sell them to reduce your energy load.

Maintain your electrical distribution system – Look at a well-maintained electrical system that will distribute, protect electrical usage and reduce electrical energy usage. You will need a qualified electrician to assess your business to rectify any issues.

 

Things you need to know when building a startup finance team

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A start-up’s finance team is the key to ensuring a start-up stays a float. Building a finance team from scratch can be difficult. Here are some tips that can help you get started.

When should I add finance staff? – Your finance team should be hired as soon as possible, instead of expecting key players to take on this role. Avoid failing in this area as it can have serious

What positions should I fill first? – If the organization is a forward thinking one, it is best to look at a financial analyst first. However, if someone on your team is handling this area, look at investing in someone to manage payables and receivables. You could also start by hiring a CFO and then look at an accountant to handle day-to-day tasks. Afterward look at filling middle management positions like an accounting manager or a controller.

Previous startup experience needed? – Your candidates don’t necessarily have to have previous start-up experience, but they should be able to fill a role that will involve a lot of multi-tasking.

Contract or permanent staff? – The choice of selecting contract or permanent staff will depend on the market and the specific skills you are after. A combination of both is advisable to ensure you get the right resources you require. Start off by hiring for your immediate needs and then look at what areas need improvement.