How to effectively manage your time

Time is undoubtedly the most crucial resource that business owners have. Many owners tend to feel they lack the time to get all their work done as a result of their packed schedule, hence there is a need to understand how time should be effectively managed.

By practicing good time management you can become more focused and productive. The time saving tips outlined below will help you to get more work done and avoid working long hours.

1. Plan ahead

Make sure you have identified the set of tasks that you intend to complete during the week. Failure to do so could lead to inefficiencies and wasted time. The tasks in your daily to do list need to be prioritized based on their importance and urgency. Try to develop a structure you can stick to, such as allocating the mornings to emails and the afternoons to meetings or interviews. Also be prepared to re organize your schedule if priorities suddenly change

2. Learn when to delegate

Don’t hesitate to delegate work that you don’t have time for. This gives you the much needed time to focus on your core business. First step is to identify those tasks that do not require your direct involvement. These activities can be delegated to employees working under you who have the required skills for the task.

Alternatively you could consider outsourcing such back office tasks. It allows you to enlist the help of experts in the field to complete the task thereby yielding better results. We at SandS are happy to help free your time spent on administration tasks. We provide support in functions ranging from accounting and book keeping, payroll, debtor management, reporting, invoice processing and filing of tax returns.

3. Avoid distractions

Distractions could steer you away from fulfilling the tasks in your to do list. As a business owner it is important that you avoid distractions such as phone calls, emails or interruption from your team. Once you lose your concentration after a distraction it may be difficult to regain it so keep your phone on silent mode when attending to important tasks. Close your office door during the time period you don’t want to be disturbed so your employees know that they need to check in with you at a different time.

4. Track your time

You can use a time tracking tool like Toggle to track your time spent. This helps you analyze the activities that waste your time so that you can take measures to cut down your time on such activities. By tracking your time you can also identify those activities that consume a lot of your time, and try to come up with ways of improving your productivity.

Written by Zara, ACMA,CGMA, BBA(Accountancy & Finance). Zara is a Finance and Commercial Executive at SandS Australia. She has 4+ years’ experience in Auditing, Finance and Accounting which helps her drive business growth.

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

Principles of Risk Management. How to avoid unexpected losses?

Risk management is the process of executing decisions that will minimise/eliminate the adverse impact of risk in an organisation. Risks are situations that detriment profitability, liquidity and continuation of an organisation. Different risk categories impact organisations differently. In a business, risk can be classified as strategic risk, financial risk, operational risk, compliance risk and reputation risk.

Most of the time, SME level organisations raise the question “We do not have resources to invest on Risk Management “. This is not a costly process if you know your business well and the principles of Risk Management. On the contrary failing to have a Risk Management process in your company will lead to irrecoverable damages and losses.

International bodies and authorities have laid down various principles of Risk Management. This article contains a summary on Risk Management Principles to support SME businesses. These areas have been practised and implemented by most of SandS existing clients.

1. Organisational context

Maintain a fair review of macro economical factors impacting your organisation. This means factors such as Political, Social, Legal, and Technological, Societal etc. This won’t cost you much if you have a better understanding on your organisation and how it is connected to the macro environment.

2. Communication

It’s important to maintain transparency. Keeping everyone impacted informed of your decisions will support the risk management process positively. While retaining the authenticity of information, it should be disseminated among all required levels in the organisations.

3. Early warning indicators

Implement KPIs and measurements to flag early warnings. For an example, decide the outstanding debtor value for your organisation ageing 30-60 days. Create a mechanism to flag seniors in responsible areas when the outstanding debtor balance reaches 25% less than the threshold limit.

4. Review and continuous improvement

Ensure to embed a mechanism to review whether your risk mitigation plan is effective. You can analyse how well you have mitigate loss making situations since the time you have implemented this plan. It is also important to add improvements to the plan

We helped one of our client companies from Healthcare industry to set up their risk mitigation plan. One of the factors we considered in this process was the changes in the demand for online purchasing. We helped our client obtaining an analysis with numerical data. We also implemented a mechanism to monitor this to assess the saving. It helped him increasing his revenue only through online platform by 15%.

Written by Nara, ACMA, CGMA (CIMA-UK), MBA (ICFAI University). Nara is a Commercial Accountant at SandS Australia. She has 15 years of experience in business, finance and accounting in senior managerial roles helping analyse, identify, and drive business growth

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

Hiring during the pandemic

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought the need for business owners to re-think their hiring strategies. While some businesses had to halt or slow down new recruitment due to the pandemic, other businesses in industries like healthcare, food retailing, information technology and transport have seen a steady demand for candidates. The future of recruitment in Australia is promising as is evident from the drop in unemployment rate has from 6.4% in 2020 to 5.5% in 2021. (Statistics obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics).

With more and more Australian businesses opening up their doors for new candidates, it is important that the business owners understand how they should effectively adapt their hiring procedures while adhering to Covid 19 safety practices.

1. Embrace technology

Face to face interviews are simply not an option for the foreseeable future. Companies should make use of video conferencing technology to carry out interviews. Additionally, one-way video interviews can be conducted, where candidates are given a set of questions to cover which makes it easy to shortlist candidates out of the many applications that the company may receive. While it comes with its drawbacks, companies can save both time and cost by conducting video interviews.

2. Analyze your talent pool to identify required skill sets

With the move to digital operations, new roles may need to be created that didn’t exist before. Moreover existing roles would require an additional set of skills such as flexibility, problem solving, digital skills etc. Therefore, it is important that these roles and skills are identified so that any new talent absorbed to the workforce can be evaluated based on those.

3. Develop virtual onboarding

Have a virtual onboarding plan in place for new employees. Provide all new hires an online training so that they feel welcome and can familiarize themselves with the organisations’s processes. Although remote working does not allow an employee to fully understand the company’s culture, this gap can be bridged through the on boarding sessions. The new recruits should be given an overview of the company, its’ values along with the employee handbook and code of conduct if available.

4. Provide constant support

Once the employee is successfully on boarded, make sure you keep providing them constant support to carry out their role effectively. Employees’ anxiety tends to be exacerbated when working remotely as they may have to figure out certain aspects of their role independently. So keep the communication lines open and regularly check in on the new recruits so that they feel supported.

Written by Zara, ACMA,CGMA, BBA(Accountancy & Finance). Zara is a Finance and Commercial Executive at SandS Australia. She has 4+ years’ experience in Auditing, Finance and Accounting which helps her drive business growth.

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.

Improving your chances of obtaining a SME Loan

For Small and Medium Enterprises accessing capital can prove to be a daunting task. Most of the companies rely on financial institutions for their investment credit and working capital requirements. However there is unwillingness among banks to provide funding for SMEs. This could be due to low profits they would make when lending to small businesses, the lack of collateral, weak cash flows and poor credit histories of SMEs.

SMEs should take a proactive approach and ensure they are fully prepared before approaching the bank for a loan. Obtaining the loan will be easier if you understand what the banks are looking for when approving credit facilities. Outlined below are strategies that we at SandS recommend to help improve your chances of securing a SME loan.

1. Establish trust

Ensure a good rapport is built with the potential creditor by being open and honest about the company. Trying to cover up business problems would prove to be futile as there is always the possibility that these issues would surface anytime. Also make sure you communicate with your potential creditor on a regular basis as this would establish a relationship of trust.

2. Have a well thought out plan

Be clear on the exact purpose of the SME loan. This will demonstrate that you have a clear sense of direction. By understanding the company’s growth trajectory, the bank would be able to understand whether or not the company would be able to settle its dues. Furthermore provide your bank with financial forecasts covering both best and worst case scenarios.

3. Keep a good credit report

Your financial figures are one of the many factors that would be considered by the bank when deciding whether or not to lend money. Have an understanding of the metrics used by the bank and ensure your business matches the standards of those metrics before commencing the loan application process. The three widely-used metrics to evaluate your loan proposal are debt-to-equity ratio, loan-to-value ratio, and debt service coverage.

4. Approach banks where you maintain deposits

You have a better chance of securing a loan if you already have an existing relationship with the creditor hence it is advisable to first approach the banks where you maintain deposits. The existing relationship would mean the trust is already established which would make it easier to navigate the credit approval process.

5. Negotiate for better terms

Be thorough on the terms of the loan agreement and negotiate the terms to ensure the best outcome for yourself. Sometimes dropping a loan covenant is non-negotiable but relaxing it may be negotiated. Present your justifications so that an agreement can be reached that best works for your business.

Written by Zara, ACMA,CGMA, BBA(Accountancy & Finance). Zara is a Finance and Commercial Executive at SandS Australia. She has 4+ years’ experience in Auditing, Finance and Accounting which helps her drive business growth.

Edited by Sam Mansoor. Chartered Management Accountant, CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Dip. Equity Trading. He has over 30 years’ experience helping businesses achieve immediate and long-term success.