Why Companies Need Business Payroll Software

No sizable company can function without a number of employees. And where there are employees, there is payroll. After all, employees do not work for free. Payroll is boring, yes, and unglamorous too. But it is also one of the most basic and essential tasks for any organization. Business payroll software is just a way to simplify the onerous tasks related to payroll activities in any organization.

After all, any mess-ups in payroll are likely to get you grief from not just your staff, but might even get you in trouble with relevant government agencies. Business payroll software is a great way to organize those mundane tasks.

Payroll is probably the single most boring aspect of any business, and it isn’t surprising at all if you are reluctant to dedicate a lot of time and attention to the task. And it can be a major financial burden for a small, or growing, business to hire a set of employees just to deal with payroll and related issues.

Writing out one check at a time can work fine as long as you are a one desk outfit with one or two employees. Once you get bigger, a standardized and organized way of handling payroll is necessary. Business payroll software can be the perfect system for processing the company payments.

In smaller companies, where all the employees are in a single location, and where they all get a fairly straight forward salary, it is not such a heavy job to deal with payroll. On the other hand, if your workforce is spread out over many locations, and/or employ workers according to hourly rates or with overtime premiums or different pay structures for different shifts payroll becomes a much more complicated business.

Business payroll software was probably among the first business applications that anyone thought of to automate. After all, it involves a lot of boring but necessarily accurate calculations. In addition, an accurate and up to the minute database has to be maintained to keep track of records and results. Calculating gross pay, taxes, deductions, and incentives can become a major headache even for an accountant, let alone a business owner.

If you have a very small payroll, or want to cut costs, you can get by without any kind of business payroll software. However, if accuracy and speed are important, if your organization is growing, if you don’t have the time or the inclination for pesky payroll calculations, consider some kind of computerized payroll calculation method.

There are a huge number of payroll software options available, and a simple search with your favorite search engine will bring up any number of resources where you can download such software, either paid versions or free.

You Need Business Insurance If You Are Self Employed

If you are self employed you will need insurance for yourself and the work you do. There are a number of different policies you can have depending on the type of business you run.

Many self employed people are now Consultants who amongst other things give advice to other businesses. If the advice they give is proven to have been wrong they could be liable for any costs if someone makes a claim against them.

If you are a Consultant then you should have Professional Indemnity Insurance which will usually cover the cost of the claim made against you.

A core part of many business insurance policies in the UK is Public Liability Insurance. This covers your business if you in the course of your business activities accidentally cause injury or damage to another person or their property. This type of insurance is particularly important if you have people visiting your business or you are going out visiting other people or working on customers’ homes or businesses.

With your core insurance cover you should also have the ability to buy optional extras such as Tool Insurance and Business Equipment cover or Commercial Vehicle Insurance if you have a vehicle you use for your business.

Being self employed means you are responsible for your own insurance rather than relying on an employer. When you are employed you shouldn’t have to worry about your insurance as your employer should have it covered. As a self employed person you are responsible for yourself.

Need Business? Think Referrals

As tough economic times spread across the globe, I think Bob Dylan may still be right: “The times, they are a changing!” This unpredictable economy is a stern reminder to tighten up the way we do business.

Fortunately, the basics of business haven’t changed much at all. It’s a good time to revisit one of the fundamental processes that generate revenue and keep business flowing: referrals.

Extensive research (and a boatload of personal experience) has shown that asking for referrals is one of the easiest, most successful ways to develop new business. Why? Because people know people just like themselves. One ideal client is often connected to other people who would be just as interested in your services.

A strong referral system can make your business nearly effortless – but “system” is the key word here. It must become a standard, reoccurring process in your business.

When do you ask for referrals? Every so often? Whenever the idea hits you? When the desperation for more business strikes? Heck NO! This must become a regular, systematic aspect of doing business.

For example, I ask for referrals:

1. Whenever I begin working with a new client: “Sixty percent of my business comes though referrals. If we do great work together and you get the results you want, would you be willing to recommend my services to your friends and colleagues?”
2. At quarterly or annual reviews with clients.
3. Whenever a client or colleague pays me a compliment.
4. Whenever I complete a coaching or speaking engagement.

You’d be surprised how often this simple system brings me new, perfectly matched clients. Instead of pursing prospects, they come looking for me – I love that!

The idea is simple: just ask and you shall receive. But, so many professionals never, ever ask for referrals. And many more only do so under pressure. If it’s so simple and so effective, why don’t people ask for referrals more often?

To put it simply, many people find it uncomfortable. They feel vulnerable, or needy, or like they’re “trying to get something” out of people.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to investigate your thinking. Do you have some hidden beliefs about referrals? Take a look inside and write down what you find. After you’ve expressed those fears and concerns, put that page aside.

On a new page, take some time to work on your script – the words you use to ask for referrals. Keep adjusting the script until you find words that feel genuine and comfortable. After all, if the words feel awkward, you won’t use them.

One of the best ways to feel good about referrals is knowing that you deliver super service and exceptional value to your clients. When you know that in your heart of hearts, there’s just no bashfulness in asking, “Who’s next?”

No matter how great your service has been, or how highly a colleague thinks of you, most people still need to be prompted to give a referral – so ask.

As you develop a referral mindset, be on the lookout for people who could become long-term referral partners. For example, a coach and a corporate trainer could be great sources of business for each other.

This highlights one last rule of referrals: Be generous in giving them and you’ll find many coming back to you. Become a resource for others, a hub of connections. After all, business is made up of people, of our relationships. Nurture those connections. In a tough economic climate, these relationships become the lifeblood of a healthy business.

Need Business Capital? Merchant Credit Card Advance

Difficult economic conditions are affecting nearly every facet of America’s business community. High unemployment, deterioration of investment portfolios and overall lack of confidence in the economy are causing a “tightening of the belts” for most of the buying public. No one feels the pinch more than the small business owner; particularly those providing discretionary products and services. The life blood of any business is the availability of working capital. Operating lines of credit through local and national banks have been the traditional source of capital but the banks have tightened their belts as well. The small business owner is finding it next to impossible to secure credit lines from local and national banks without pledging significant personal assets.

Merchants that accept credit cards now have a source of working capital that transcends the underwriting restrictions and collateral requirements of bank lines of credit through credit card receipt advances. Categorically, this is not a loan. It is an advance up to $250,000 against future charged sales receipts. There are no upfront fees,no personal liability and no credit score or personal financial requirements. The advances are based entirely upon the historical card charged receipts of the business including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Cards. The basic requirement is that the business has been in existence for six months and has a minimum of $5,000.00 in charges per month. The maximum advance is typically 125% of monthly credit card receipts averaged over the previous four months. Practically every merchant who meets the basic requirements is approved and normally within 48 hour of submitting a one page application form. The entire process can be completed in less than one week. The funds may be used for any worthwhile purpose including:

Reduce or retire debt
Working capital in slower months
Purchase needed equipment or merchandise
Expand or remodel business
Open new location
Buy out partners
Pay taxes

Approval Prior to funding the merchant will be required to provide the following documentation.

Four complete credit card statements for each card accepted (All Pages)
One complete bank statements (All Pages)
Voided check with business name (to deposit funds)
Copy of driver license (to verify signature)
Signed funding contract

Repayment is accomplished through a deduction of a small percentage of the merchant’s daily charge receipts and there is no requirement to change card processors. There is no interest rate applied to the funds because the credit card advance is not a loan. Total repayment includes a previously agreed upon fee to the institution granting the advance and is collected as part of the daily receipt deductions through the card processor.

The Merchant Credit Card Advance Program is a terrific short term capital source and is available to business owners in all 50 states. It is a quick and easy practical solution to the working capital requirements of business owners with no upfront cost and is secured only by future charge receipts.

Do You Need Business Insurance?

Your business is a separate entity from your personal life. It has its own profit-making mechanisms and it has its own risks. You may want business insurance to protect you from the additional exposure.

The most common types of business insurance include:

General Liability Insurance
Product Liability Insurance
Professional Liability Insurance
Commercial Property Insurance
Home-Based Business Insurance

For a detailed explanation of each type of insurance, visit the Small Business Administration’s web site.

The argument in favor of business insurance

Some folks feel business insurance is mandatory. Here’s an example. When I worked for a condo association in downtown Chicago, the board of directors felt their errors and omissions insurance policy was highly important. At one board meeting, I asked the board to buy a new copy machine and fielded questions for more than 20 minutes before the board voted 5-4 to purchase the new machine. The next item on the agenda was an increase in the board’s errors and omissions policy from $1 million to $2 million. My boss presented this for 10 seconds and then they voted unanimously YES!

Here’s another example. Businesses that were impacted in the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the San Diego fires all incurred losses. Some of the businesses recovered. They had purchased business interruption insurance to help them get through an unknown disaster. Businesses that did not have current business interruption insurance had a tougher time recovering after these events. Some didn’t recover at all.

Here’s a final example. A friend opened a coffee shop in an old strip mall. He opened up shop, hired friendly people, and ran some very successful marketing events. Everyone loved him and the shop. One day, a water pipe burst and flooded the building. He closed up shop. I do not know if he had insurance to cover this, but I do know he never reopened.

The argument against business insurance

On the flip side, I know some folks who would rather “self-insure.” According to Michigan State University, “When you buy your own insurance on the open market, in effect, you are paying someone else (an insurance company) to take on the risk that they will pay out more in benefits than they collect from you in premiums. This is known as being ‘fully insured’ or ‘fully funded.’ Alternatively, if you decide to assume the risk yourself – i.e., to save your premium dollars and use them to pay your…bills on your own – you are considered ‘self-insured’ or ‘self-funded.’ MSU self-insures its medical plans. MSU has the resources to self-insure. I wish they had this when I was a student there.

I also know some retail establishments that self-insure. Granted, they don’t have the resources of Michigan State University-they self-insure for another reason. They feel fully funded insurance is cost-prohibitive. They would rather assume the risk themselves and put the money elsewhere than pay for additional insurance.

When I attended my first professional conference, one of the most popular presentations was a panel discussion on best practices. Five of the most respected names in my field were on a stage answering questions. Someone from the audience asked if anyone on the panel carried business insurance. Nobody raised a hand.

It’s a gamble. You should discuss your exposure and your willingness to pay for insurance with an insurance agent.

I am a business author and speaker. I look for companies that are broken and groups of owners who realize they need to run their businesses smarter. I help these businesses grow. I help them identify the habits that are working against them and replace them with habits you find at successful companies.

I’ve been a computer network consultant since 1997 and believe me…I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen companies so successful the owners could not spend their money fast enough. I’ve also seen companies with marketing so weak that they were barely alive.

Do You Need Business Coaching?

There is a saying that says no matter what you achieve, there is always someone out there who is better. A better house, a better job, a better partner, you name it. We live in a competitive world with everyone trying to outdo each other.

Sometimes, you need peoples help. Whether it is a personal trainer for fitness or a financial planner for your finances. Business is the same. You need someone who has been there before and can hold your hand so that your business reaches its full potential.

Most business owners are extremely busy. Managing staff, paying bills, answering the phone, talking to clients, going to meetings, the list is endless. There is always something to do. The problem with this is that you do not always get the chance to sit down and actually look at where your business is going.

Is it growing?

Is my marketing effective?

Can I implement more marketing strategies?

What is my market share?

What are my competitors doing?

Are my prices too cheap or expensive?

How do I expand?

Most of us get into a business not knowing everything and that is normal. However, a business coach will help you with all your problems and more importantly, keep you accountable. Having someone there each week watching over you makes a he difference. Otherwise, you end up procrastinating and make every excuse to put things off.

“I’m too busy; I will do some marketing next month. I’m too busy to call up clients to give me testimonials. I’m too busy to start my social media campaign”. We are all busy but having someone push you will make a massive difference to your business growth.

A business coach will see things that you won’t through their experience and the fact that they can stop, pause, assess your business without running around all day. The absolute key to your business success is to work on your business and not in it. This term is used allot these days. I don’t mean sitting at home doing nothing. Going to work is great and we all get a lot of satisfaction from it. What I mean is when you are at work, you can sit down, look at where your business can improve and implement those strategies accordingly.

Running around, answering the phones, cleaning, making deliveries is all part and parcel but if you cannot have a profitable and growing business, you will face many hurdles later on.

A Business Coach will help you so that this does not happen.

When Does a Company Need Business Overhead Expense Protection?

This is more applicable for a small to medium size business that relies heavily on one or a few producers. Maybe there is a salesman, executive, or managing doctor who brings in 90% of the company’s revenues. What would happen if that person could no longer work (and, as a result, bring in any revenue to the business)?

First, the company’s income and cash flow would fall dramatically. Yet, all of the fixed expenses, salaries, and costs would remain intact. Obviously, without the necessary cash flow to pay these fixed expenses the business might fail and/or lose quality employees (not to mention the needy excess cash to produce new sales and revenue streams.

As a business, that’s a huge problem.

One easy and simple solution is a Business Overhead Expense Insurance (BOE) policy.

What does a Business Overhead Expense Policy Cover?

This type of policy provides the company much-needed monthly cash benefit in the event that a key employee, doctor, salesman, or executive becomes disabled and is not longer able to produce revenue and do their occupation. The coverage amount depends upon the fixed expenses of the company, not anticipated profits or income.

The following are some fixed business overhead expenses that are covered by a BOE policy:

Rent or Mortgage Payments

Employee Salaries and Benefits

Utility Bills

Property Taxes

Accounting Fees, Legal Fees, and Professional Dues

Malpractice and Other Business Insurance Premiums

Maintenance and Janitorial Services

Depreciation

Interest on Business Debts

Office Supplies

Other Fixed Expenses that are Ordinary, Necessary, and Tax Deductible

The cost for a Business Overhead Expense Insurance plan is very minimal. For example, a $30,000 per month benefit BOE policy covering the managing doctor of an OB-GYN practice (let’s assume she gets standard rates, 38, doesn’t smoke and the policy will pay for 12 months and has a 30 day elimination period before it starts paying) is around $600/month.

Plus, the BOE coverage protects the practice if the insured doctor can’t perform the duties of her job (it’s called “own-occupation” in the insurance world). The OB-GYN doctor might damage her hands in an automobile accident but could still “meet” with her patients. However, due to the injury, she could no longer “deliver” babies and perform the necessary patient checks that she could previously. As a result, she’d be “disabled” and the BOE policy would kick in.

For a business, a Business Overhead Expense Insurance plan might be just what the doctor ordered to protect itself at minimal cost from disaster.

Spence White is an successful entrepreneur, marketer, and consultant.

Why You Need Business Credit Ratings

In today’s global network of borrowers and lenders, there are two types of companies: those who are getting credit from lenders and those who are giving credit to new accounts. Millions of businesses operate throughout the world and loan out billions of dollars in cash, goods or services on credit. In order for all this to work smoothly, company need to carefully evaluate the creditworthiness of their partners. It is very difficult to determine the credit of all trading partners in today’s global economy, but there is a helpful solution: business credit ratings.

Vital Information

Today’s marketplace moves extremely fast. It is important that businesses learn to make fast decisions in order to avoid being left behind. Competitors are always working and waiting a fraction of a second too long can have disastrous consequences.

In order to make fast and sound business decisions, it is important to get data that has been filtered and packaged into helpful information. The hardest part is in making decisions when a company is located in a different country and speaking a different language. It is important for a manager to have vital financial and management information in order to gain important information about prospective partners.

There is a way that a business or risk management officer can get vital professional and objective information quickly to determine the risk of prospective partners. This would be through business credit ratings and full credit reports to make critical and sound business decisions.

The Business Credit Rating

The business credit report has data that has only been crosschecked and filtered to maintain accuracy. After the data has been broken down into useful information it is provided into critical areas that provide vital financial information, upper management names, major shareholders, loan payoff history and other valuable information. This detail can only be obtained when getting a comprehensive credit review.

The business credit rating itself is a single number that comes from all the assembled elements. The credit rating can allow you to quickly know where a company ranks for absolute scale and compared to other businesses. The scale is different for each credit-reporting agency. For some companies it can be one a scale of one to 100 while other companies use alphabet grades such as A, B, C and D. Sometimes a five is a high number and other times it is the lowest. The point is to get a company with a high credit rating so that you can be sure you are getting a business with good credit and finances.

What About Your Rating?
Just as you want to check on the rating of a business you are going to be working with, your company also needs a good business credit rating in order to apply for a loan or credit. By maintaining a good credit rating, you can prove to your creditors that you are a good risk. There are three ways that you can work to improve your credit rating:

Maintaining a strong fiscal standing by paying all debts on time
Make sure favorable data is reported and that a credit reporting agency maintains the changes
Make sure your company’s credit reports are up-to-date and have accurate information

When you take the time to examine your credit report regularly both you and the credit-reporting agency can benefit. It is impossible to get rid of negative information on your report, but you can get rid of information that is proven incorrect. When you check for incorrect information, you can improve your rating, but also make sure that the industry remains ethical and accurate.

Do We Need Business Analysts?

Sales are down; profit projections are a concern: it’s time to cut costs. Obvious targets are non-customer facing departments: how big is our administration, HR, finance, marketing? How much are we paying IT and our suppliers? Every department will justify its own existence, how critical it is to the business, while pointing fingers at other departments and their spending – how much did that new office cost?

Any business which has a Business Analyst unit will be asked about its value and contribution to the business. The larger the team, the more difficult it is to justify. Equally if the team is too small, how can it add significant value? The answer lies in the perception of the team, its achievements to date, and the current initiatives and strategic developments that depend on it.

So long as the unit can demonstrate significant (not marginal) benefits to the company, not just in annual savings and cost reductions but in coordinating company-wide synergy in strategic thinking, planning and projects, the arguments are strong.

Business analysis units often have a very far reach within a company, as the knowledge of the business, its products and services and its strategic planning are essential parts of the business analysis function. A manager with a business analysis background is usually better placed to understand the impact of his department within the strategic objectives and the inherent value of that team as part of the overall business plan. Business analysts will also generally have a better fundamental understanding for business dynamics, an essential prerequisite for senior managers.

Can a company survive without a business analysis unit? Well, many do, and they continue to operate in exactly the same way as they always have done. The capacity to identify areas for change, systems and processes that need refinement or new strategies that need development to take advantage of market opportunities all become more difficult. Any changes are usually unstructured, localised and inwardly focused, often ignoring the wider impact on the business and its customers. The results over times are often increased costs, confusion with the business, overly complex and disparate systems and a dependency on a small number of key people. In a tough market, this is not a great situation to be in.

By educating staff and managers in the role and value to the business of Business Analysts (or in-house consultants) some demand or requirements may be created. Clear evidence of BAs adding value provides a solid grounding and cross-department awareness and provides greater potential for the business to perform. For individuals in these roles the potential to achieve top jobs is obvious.

Technical Support Specialists Need Business Skills to Excel

As the technology advancement continue to influence the global economy and the business world, the need for technical support specialists to take on more business oriented tasks in increasingly being felt. Unfortunately majority of IT workers are not abreast of the responsibilities or the business knowledge that is required to succeed in this role or to help their organizations meet their strategic goals.

According to market researches and surveys many companies in the finance sector saw their high level IT employees in the UK resigning to join other organizations in the year 2011. As a result these companies are rapidly promoting their existing technical support staff in order to retain talent. This transition requires the right balance of hard and soft skills for the high ranking IT officials to succeed.

Technical Support Specialist Skill Set

Ideally an IT manager’s early career skill balance should approximately be 90% technical and 10% business skills. These business skills should comprise communication, presentation and team leading capabilities. However over the course of time the balance must shift to 50/50. Business acumen is of great importance for technical support specialists looking for career-building opportunities. The IT leaders should possess adaptable business mindset to be able to relate concepts to larger organizational strategy. An adaptable business mindset can be established by combining personal, operational, interpersonal and strategic- the four interconnected perspectives for successful IT management.

Technical Support Specialist Progression in Career

To begin with technical support specialists need a baseline for all of the tasks they are expected to execute. Basic understanding of the work practices and procedures and strict adherence to these processes on an individual level is required for the IT staff to perform as per the company expectations. To put it differently, technical support people need a personal and operational perspective of their work to sustain their job.

As they progress within their organization, IT professionals are expected to lead more complex projects, handle them properly to see them to completion. At this stage they need to be able to polish their interpersonal skill to communicate with others to take on the responsibility of planning and managing across functions, rather than concentrating focused solely on the technical solution. The growing responsibilities of the IT managers should be complemented by their interpersonal skills that will allow them to take projects from vision to reality.

Communication is an important part of the job for technical support specialists at managerial level. They need to be capable of identifying and communicating the appropriate information to team members. The strategic perspective of the business mindset is all about making effective connection with the team members to improve the overall performance and the productivity of the organization.

Conclusion

Developing and nurturing a business mindset is crucial for efficient IT project management. Fusing technical knowhow with business insight for making accurate business decisions requires proper view from each perspective. Support specialists should see the big picture and take into account the implications of their actions prior to taking them and convey their knowledge to subordinates and peers.