Enhancing Performance Management

Enhancing Performance Management

Performance management technology is the new go-to for companies that are looking to enhance their efficiency across the board. Areas of focus include concepts such as financial reporting, operational monitoring, compliance, and forecasting. Outdated reporting functions are often delayed and can greatly impact the ability of a company to strategically plan.

What is Performance Management?

While it’s true that different companies will have a different definition of what “performance management” actually means for them, a common thread is that it is intended to enhance performance be evaluating insights from financial and operational results.

 Additionally, it includes evaluating centralized information faster and more effectively. Essentially, performance management is gathering all of the most critical information and then processing it faster so that more can be accomplished with the results.

Common Characteristics of Effective Performance Management

There may be some small discrepancies from one company to the next, but the core characters of effective performance management include things such as financial reporting, disclosure management, financial consolidation, and close management.

Effective technology is helping companies create strategies that they couldn’t otherwise and manage issues on a larger scale so that problems are solved quickly and with less ramification on other parts of the company.

Benefits of Performance Management

Ultimately, effective performance management allows leaders to play a more meaningful role in their company. Risk management, strategic planning, and problem-solving are all made even more possible by utilizing some of this technology. It also allows more team members from finance and business units to collaborate and reach common goals.

Challenges

Technology is certainly an exciting advantage, but it doesn’t come without challenges. For instance, it’s important to still perform assessments on the information that is being evaluated to ensure that accurate data is being evaluated. Essentially, technology is an advantage, but there is still a real need for human oversight.  

blockchain

Blockchain and Financial Reporting

Blockchain is becoming more and more ingrained in the financial reporting sector, and this could mean new strategies for accounting and audit professionals. It is said that this type of technology will have a significant influence on the future of auditing and financial executives should be ready.

Block Chain in Auditing

As blockchain-based cryptocurrencies gain traction, CFOs are familiarizing themselves with the latest technology primarily in the payments and banking sector.

However, it’s only a matter of time until the technology bleeds into other areas of the financial industry and likely overhauls the traditional systems for auditing and accounting. Ultimately, it will influence how records are maintained, and value is transferred.

How Can Blockchain Help?

One of the most exciting things about it is the potential for transformative analytic capabilities. This could mean easier access to structured data which would, in turn, generate advanced analytics and hasten machine learning.

Ultimately, this could impact assurance audition by making the tools that professionals already use smarter and faster. It could mean more efficiency across the board.

Blockchain into the Future

It’s hard to determine right now how blockchain will be adopted into the future, but the outlook is exciting. Right now, we are seeing a slow increase in how the sector is using blockchain, but there is a lot of potential in how it could be used for things such as deeds, titles, or even digital assets.

However, some of the progression will be determined by the masses. Keep in mind, once the information is out there, everybody can see it. Some of the progression of blockchain in accounting and auditing will be determined by how comfortable people are with sharing certain information.

Companies are currently working to identify the information that will be shared so that this technology can be appropriately scaled over time. 

Click here, for information about DLC’s services.

Gig Economy

Where the Gig Economy Meets the Bench Model

What is the Gig Economy?

The definition of the Gig Economy is rather simple. It is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

The Gig Economy is nothing new. It has been around in one shape or form for decades. The terms you have probably heard throughout your career and industry are; contractor, consultant and temp. In some disciplines, like the IT sector, the Gig Economy has been the norm for years. But in other professions, particularly accounting, the term “contractor” has carried a negative connotation to it. But with the advancement of technology, and the maturing of the millennial generation in the workplace, the “Gig” work arrangement is trending up and the demand for unique work schedules is more popular than ever.

The Pros of the Gig Economy

The pros for an individual who chooses the Gig work arrangement can truly be endless.  It allows workers more freedom and control over their own career path by picking and choosing projects that they are most interested in.  It allows the worker to grow their interpersonal skills by becoming adaptable to multiple personalities, corporate cultures, and management styles. It gives the worker a perspective that many workers, who have only worked in one organization, simply cannot have.  By working in various organizations and industries, you are able to see how different groups do similar work and bring a unique perspective to add value.

There is also great personal fulfillment in completing a successful project. Some workers lack self confidence in themselves. But once you have completed several projects and begin to receive positive feedback your confidence will grow.

The Cons of the Gig Economy

There are some serious cons to the Gig Economy that every worker has to contemplate before they decide if the work arrangements make sense for them.

The biggest con to the Gig Economy is the idle time spent in between assignments. This is commonly referred to as “bench time.” In an ideal world, the second you end one project, you would have another sitting there waiting for you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee this will be the case.  In certain situations, the down time in between assignments can be long and there is definite financial risk to the worker if they fail to budget their finances appropriately.

Another con is the lack of camaraderie and seniority that one would get in a traditional corporate career path. To be frank, companies value tenure and, simply put, a person who is only going to be at an organization for 6 months to a year usually will not get the same perks or privileges as a full-time employee.

The Bench Model and the Gig Economy

As the Gig Economy matures, so do companies like the DLC Group. The DLC Group has been in the Gig Economy before it was called the Gig Economy. The DLC Group deploys a bench consulting model. As an employee you are a full-time salaried consultant with benefits and a 401K plan. In the simplest form, you are paid regardless of your utilization.

The benefits to the employee are rather obvious. The worker is able to benefit from all the pros of the Gig Economy without being exposed to the financial risk associated with the down time in between projects. It allows the worker to focus on what they do best and allows DLC’s expert business development professionals to find the worker’s next project. It also allows the workers to build seniority and career advancements within the DLC Group.

The bench model also takes the risk away from Companies using temporary workers. The biggest risk factor that companies who want to use temporary workers has, is exposure if something goes wrong. In a perfect world, nothing would ever go wrong. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. Issues will arise and companies may not have the bandwidth, capacity or expertise to deal with these issues. When using a firm like the DLC Group, companies can reduce their exposure to these unpredictable situations. DLC can step in and replace a consultant or work though alternative solutions. Companies have another organization filled with a team of experts to deal with these unpredictable situations, reducing the exposure to the company.

Whether you like it or not, the Gig Economy is here and is only growing. Companies like the DLC Group are embracing this change and finding unique ways to add value to its clients and to their consultants.

Author – Shawn Gillespie, Big 4 CPA
DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant

Click Here to learn what it takes to become a 
DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant.S

networking questions

Questions to Ask While Networking

Networking is one of the most useful tools at your disposal as you maneuver throughout your career. Whether you are in an established position or you are trying to enter your field of choice, effective networking can influence your overall success. The saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” certainly rings true when it comes to trying to climb the career ladder.

Asking the right questions is an important part of the networking process. Make sure to jot these down so you can ask them the next time you attend a networking event.

What Projects Are You Working on Right Now?

Not only is this a great ice breaker question, but it allows people to discuss some of the finer details about what they do. This question is especially helpful if you are interested in a certain position within your field of choice. A real glimpse into the life of someone who holds that position can give you a lot of information that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Where Do You See Your Field Going?

Positions change over time. Technology, human interaction, and many other factors will influence how a certain field will evolve. This type of question will give you an insider’s look in the potential changes which could influence your decision to move forward in the field.

What Is the Culture Like at Your Company?

Company culture matters. If you have your sights set on a certain company, then don’t be afraid to ask what it’s really like to work there. The vision of the company will greatly influence whether or not you will be fulfilled with the type of work that you perform.

What Are Your Career Goals?

This type of question can help you identify what people in the field are doing as far as career planning goes. While their long-term plan may not mirror yours, it could give you some information about what type of training or promotions are available for a certain field of work.

What Do You Like About What You Do?

Never underestimate the value of happiness in your position. Ask what people love about what they do, and you should get a lot of valuable information about the position itself, the company that they work for, as well as what their plans may be. This could be beneficial in understanding more about the individual, the position that they have, or the entire field that they work in.

Click here for advice on making networking event introductions

accounting and finance

Benchmarking Accounting and Finance Functions

The financial sector is experiencing an influx of change and transition as technology becomes incorporated into more and more of its practices. Of course, the intention is to streamline processes and automate some of the more mundane tasks associated with everyday work in the field. It’s an exciting time marked by a heightened need for new practices and the appropriate talent to operate it. The 2018 edition of Benchmarking Accounting and Finance Functions focuses on such trends and what it means for the sector as a whole.

How Does Technology Influence Accounting and Finance?

The financial sector is geared toward producing results. Now, more than ever before, there is a requirement to drive efficiency, reduce costs, and simultaneously create value. At the core of the changes are the finance leaders who are not only required to understand the technological changes but the regulations that seem to be created right alongside them.

Is it More of the Same?

It may not seem like such things are novel concepts in the accounting and finance world. The truth is, they aren’t. However, the speed and intensity in which changes are being made are certainly something that working professionals have likely not experienced in their careers. Professionals, new and seasoned, can benefit from understanding the landscape of the industry and what those changes could mean for their future and the future of the sector.

Intended Audience

Who would benefit from taking a look at the report? Seasoned professionals may have the business concepts down, but one of the hardest things for them will be learning the constantly changing technology that is impacting their work more than ever before. Novice professionals will also need to understand the bigger picture of how the technology works with the traditional approach to finance.

Overview

Staying abreast of the latest news in accounting and finance will help professionals have a stronger grasp of the climate of the industry. It could help people prepare for training and even understand the bigger picture of how changes could impact every day as well as the future of the work.

For more financial industry news, check out: New Changes to PCAOB and What They Mean.

Understanding 842

Understanding ASC 842

ASC 842 produces a substantial overhaul of the previous accounting treatment for leases, ASC 840, with the most significant change being that most leases will now be capitalized on the balance sheet. The goal of ASC 842 is to provide lenders and institutional investors with increased visibility into the leasing obligations of lessees.

Types of Classifications

Under the previous US GAAP regulation, leases were classified as either Operating Leases or Capital Leases. While Capital Leases were recorded on the company’s balance sheet, the Operating Leases were not. The new/current ASC 842 standard changes the types of classifications and the balance sheet treatment. With the new standards, both classifications of leases, Finance and Operating, will be on the balance sheet.

ASC 842 Transition Period

The transition period for most public companies began with the accounting period starting on or after January 1st, 2019. However, most private companies and some other entities have until 2020 to make the change.

Updated Disclosure Requirements

The new regulation requires extensive disclosures to increase transparency related to revenues and expenses regarding lease contracts. Lease entities are now required to identify whether a contract contains a lease when it is initiated. A contract is defined as a lease if it gives the lessee the right to “control” the use of property in exchange for consideration.

Control exists if the lessee has:

  • The “right to obtain all of the economic benefits from use of an asset.”
  • The “right to direct the use of that asset.”

This definition differs from the previous guideline, GAAP, that required the lessee to meet only the 1st requirement. Under the new standard, it’s up to the entity to determine whether it obtains the “right to direct the use” of the asset.

A comprehensive approach to compiling data is crucial to helping auditors understand how organizations have reached their lease determinations. Companies will need to consider details not typically thought of as leases, including outsourced warehousing, data management, or supply arrangements. These may be subject to the new guidance and therefore require capitalization.

Questions

There are still some fuzzy ASC 842 details that need to be ironed out. For example, an approach where the lessee models out its incremental borrowing rate for a standard property mortgage has been suggested.

Additionally, for companies with large numbers of leases, for example a national retailer with leased stores in several locations. An approach where leases/with similar characteristics get grouped into cohorts, and its value is calculated on a portfolio basis has been suggested.

However these fixes are addressed, ASC 842 promises to make 2019 a learning experience in leasing activity.

For more information about our financial and consulting services please, click here.

communication skills

Communication Skills for Career Success

Many of the best performers in the workplace aren’t necessarily the individuals that spend the most time at their desk. In fact, a surprising number of wildly productive employees spends quality time away from their office chairs.

Their ability to communicate effectively helps these individuals apply themselves in ways that increase their productivity above those around them. Communication is one of the most important and sought-after talents for business professionals. If you are trying to increase your marketability, here are some communication skills to focus on:

Listening

Communication is a two-way street. We need to be able to effectively send our own messages in addition to receiving messages from the people around us. Effective listening is a multi-step process, highlighting your ability to hear, comprehend, and clarify the information that you are receiving. Effective listening skills can help you quickly identify what the big issues are and allow you to quickly circle in on a solution.

Identify Nonverbals

Individuals that can quickly and accurately identify and interpret nonverbal communication often find themselves a step ahead of their peers. Being able to accurately read the temperature of a room, enables you to answer questions or concerns before they have even been voiced.

If your audience is suddenly attentive and focused, you may have hit on some keywords that they are really interested in. This can allow you to go into more depth on the important topics. Conversely, if your audience is checking out or looking at their watches, you know that this isn’t the time to delve deeply into an issue.

Show Empathy

Communication doesn’t always deal with easy topics. If discussions are heated or tense, your ability to safely navigate through a conversation can not only save a client but can end up being a net benefit to your relationship. Showing empathy can let others see that you truly understand their issues and that you respect the position that they are in.

Master Communication Forms

Today’s workplace is full of different generations of tech-savvy individuals. Younger coworkers or clients may be disinclined to work face to face, but may prefer text messages, while other people will be offended if you send an e-mail about an important topic. Learning your audience and their preferred method of communication can be key.

For more communication tips, check out:
How to Make Introductions at Business Networking Events

tips for financial professionals

5 Tips for Finance Professionals

Success for finance professionals doesn’t come easy.  It requires a unique blend of both technical and soft skills rarely found in one individual.  While technical skills are easy to identify and can then be obtained, the required soft skills are often nebulous and hard to grasp even once explained.  Below are 5 tips that have guided me throughout my successful career in finance.

Think Like an Investor

This is what separates successful finance professionals from the rest.  When you think like an investor, you care.  You care why products are not performing to forecast and you care when a new product launch gets delayed. You find out what caused the delay and if there’s anything that can be done about it.  After all, you want to get the greatest return on your investment that you can!

Let Me Tell You a Story…

One of the earliest and most common ways information was passed between individuals was through the use of stories.  As a finance professional, you are a vendor of information and must utilize the power of stories to summarize and explain results in a memorable way.  Second tier finance professionals just recite facts and figures which, in their raw form, can be disinteresting and difficult to extract meaning from.  When management starts looking to you early and often to tell the story, you know you’re on the path to success.

“Trust but Verify”

A finance professional without credibility will quickly find themselves unemployed.  As previously stated, finance professionals are vendors of information and sometimes our source of information is incorrect or incomplete.  “Trust but verify” is the attitude often quoted by finance professionals to reflect the fine line we walk between trusting the people and processes which provide us information and validating the accuracy of the information as we vet the data.

Use Caution when Changing the Narrative

Sometimes the narrative changes because you reported on bad or incomplete information.  Other times, the narrative changes because additional factors are discovered.  Whatever the reason for the change in narrative, it’s going to happen during your finance career and it needs to be handled very strategically.  Make sure to “close the loop” on the narrative change, meaning you should have answers to as many of the below question as possible before discussing it with management:

  • Materiality – How large is the change?
  • Cause – Why is the narrative changing?
  • Timing – Why now/why wasn’t this discovered sooner?
  • Solution – What will prevent this from happening again?
  • Scope – How do we know this isn’t happening anywhere else?

Being able to minimize fallout and concerns from narrative changes helps to preserve your credibility, displays your business acumen, and allows management to focus on value-add activities instead of “babysitting.”

Pay Attention to the “Flavor of the Week”

Some items warrant our attention regardless of how material they are…these are often the “flavor of the week.”  It can be anything that catches upper management’s eye and will receive extra scrutiny for the foreseeable future until usurped by the next flavor of the week.  Being able to read between the lines of corporate initiatives, acquisitions, and questions from management, will help you identify the new flavor.  Being able to tell the latest story shows that you are in tune with leadership and, if you can improve the metric, management and other finance professionals will note that you have the influence to drive positive change in your organization.

Author – Nathan Vannoy, Big 4 CPA, MBA
DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant

Click Here to learn what it takes to become a
DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant.

resume keywords

Adding Keywords to Your Resume

Creating your resume is never a never-ending process. In addition to updating work experience and skills, keywords should be another area of concern. Strategic keyword placement, when done correctly can help ensure that your resume makes it through the automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) that most employers are now using. As well as, stand out to the hiring manager if your resume makes it through the ATS to their desk. But, there are a few general rules to follow.

Watch the Placement

While keywords can be beneficial in making sure that your resume is taken seriously, poor placement can also get it thrown in the trash. Individuals who cram keywords together, use unnecessary fluff, or put them at the bottom of the page aren’t going to be getting as many calls as those that strategically use them. Experts recommend that you scatter the right keywords throughout the resume.

However, as screeners scan your resume, they usually start at the top and work their way down. This means that if they don’t see something they like in the top third of the page, the rest of your resume may never be looked at.

Selecting Keywords

Each time you apply for a position is an opportunity to connect, so you should consider modifying your resume for every position that you apply for. This doesn’t mean that you have to create a document from scratch, but you should tailor your resume to the job. Scan through the job posting and write down all of the different words that stick out to you, and then tailor your resume using those keywords.

Keywords to Avoid

While selecting keywords, it can be equally important to make sure not to include some phrases that can be seen as negative by experienced resume reviewers. Phrases like “results-driven” or “goal-oriented” aren’t great descriptors for potential employees. Instead, focus on specific, and measurable instances that convey those points.

Additionally, don’t just use a thesaurus to change words. Personalizing your resume to the position can help your resume stand out from the rest and get you the job you want!

For more job interview advice, check out Post Interview Thank You Note Tips

hiring the right candidates

Finding the Right Job Candidates

Hiring Managers, you know that it can be difficult to find the right job candidates in this competitive job market. However, you know that hiring the right candidate enhances work culture and increases productivity so, you don’t want to settle.

Thankfully, you can use a few simple tricks and tools to help make sure that the right job candidates are applying.

Enticing and Detailed Job Description

Don’t just write a list of duties. Highlight a positive company culture that will catch their attention, followed by a detailed job description. Again not just a list. Include real-time experiences that they will be a part of.

Discuss Internally

As you look to fill a new position, it is important to understand what qualities have been successful within the company. Talk to different managers and employees to find out what they feel the best employees bring to the table. A good understanding of the specific traits that make for productive employees in this environment can help you target your audience more closely.

Employee Referrals for Job Candidates

Employee referrals can be a powerful tool for finding new employees.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), about 1 of every 2 employers offers a referral bonus program. It’s in an employee’s best interest to recommend people who are skilled and responsible candidates.

Use Tools

Look into an applicant tracking system (ATS) that can help you streamline the process. When programmed correctly, they will filter resume keywords so that only the job candidates who match your skill requirements make it though. Saving hours of reviewing unqualified applicant resumes.

Partner-up with an Accounting & Finance Staffing Firm. 

A top rated accounting and finance staffing agency understands the ins-and-outs of the accounting and finance candidate market and has a database of job candidates that they have vetted for you.

For more hiring tips, check out: Red Flag Personalities that Hiring Managers Should Avoid