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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Benefits of finance and accounting outsourcing

Finance and accounting outsourcing
Consistent bookkeeping is vital for accurate financial records
By Phil Steel 

The health of a business is often determined by the health of its business processes, including the finance and accounting branches. A business owner is only able to make educated decisions for his business if he is aware of the current situation of his business.

Knowledge of the payroll, invoicing or monthly bills, the capital flow, risk management and other financial markers will help a business owner determine whether he is in a place to grow his business, to explore new avenues or new opportunities, or if he needs to batten down the hatches, restructure the business processes, tighten the capital use, and seek new financing or partnerships.

One of the greatest challenges a business owner will have in this process is finding the time to ensure that the finances, accounting, and bookkeeping are up-to-date, organized, and filed appropriately. To help ensure this happens, many small business owners will need to consider finance and accounting outsourcing –this is one of the fastest growing outsourcing areas.

Finance and accounting challenges are intense and time consuming in any industry. No one will argue that finance and accounting is the heart of any business, and all potential growth will be reliant on the strength of the processes developed around these areas. Following are a number of benefits of finance and accounting outsourcing.

Effective, consistent bookkeeping


Perhaps one of the most time consuming aspects of a business’ paperwork is the bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is defined as the recording of all day-to-day financial transactions of a business. This includes purchases, sales, receipts and payments. Bookkeeping can be as simple as inputting all activities into a basic ledger, creating excel sheets to capture information, or using defined software programs to capture the same information. This information is then used by accountants to file pertinent forms and such to government, to pay payroll and corporate taxes as well as to find out the financial health of your business.

Bookkeeping is an essential service—it is important for business owners to know their own limitations and accept that there are many benefits of outsourcing bookkeeping for fast growing companies (one of them being the consistent amount of time that can be put into the bookkeeping by outsourcing this service to another organization or company). A business owner does not have to tack this on to the end of the day or week’s activities and hope to find the time or energy. They can be assured that someone’s full attention and energy is focused on this task.

Financial expertise


Whether we want to admit it or not, we often need the help of those with more expertise than us – this is quite common when it comes to the specific areas of finance and accounting that make the option to outsource that much more viable.

Outsourcing to an organization or company with such expertise gives you immediate access to the knowledge, experience and management of that team without having to take the time or resources to build it. You gain a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team focused on strengthening your own business processes – you also have access to a highly skilled team with access to the latest technology.

Most businesses will immediately realize the impact of having access to the functional expertise noted above, but the benefits will also include having access to improved market information and trending, business cultural growth, better change management, and a more strategic view of the business status and potential growth.

The gift of time


If a business owner is content that the finance and accounting processes of his or her business are sound through effective outsourcing, he or she then can appreciate the newly acquired gift of time. By removing the ongoing day-to-day work associated with maintaining the bookkeeping, a business owner can focus on what he wishes to achieve most – the growth and stability of his company.

The time consuming daily processes of bookkeeping are removed; there is no guess work in whether the accounting is being done effectively since you have vetted the company you have hired and they have a good reputation. They are keeping you alert to the financial stresses or risk management. This is what a business owner wants to have – comfort in their processes so they can shift their attention to creating growth and exploring opportunities.

The bottom line is that the benefits of finance and accounting outsourcing can be felt immediately by many business owners, and these will have the potential of creating stronger business processes and a greater focus on growth.

About the author: This article was written by Phil Steel, an outsource consultant who offer services like bookkeeping, accounting, audit, payroll management, and much more, for fast growing companies to meet their financial needs.

Image license: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/calculator-accounting-number-404000/

Women buy more tech gadgets than men per study

Differences in gender psychology influence sales
Women have broken a previously held stereotype that men buy more technology according to a Mashable report quoting research from a firm called Parks and Associates. Specifically, in three of four equipment categories, women surveyed surpassed men in purchases.

Women expressed a greater interest than men in purchasing tablets, laptops, and smart-phones whereas men were only more likely to buy flat screen televisions. Since men have traditionally been thought to be more likely to purchase technology, the change in functionality of technology in terms of female behavior is thought to be a reason why.

The reason why changes in the purpose of technological equipment is a possible explanation for why more women purchased the technological products is rooted in human psychology, socialization and history.

In other words, psychological and social differences between the two groups are believed to account for the new affinity toward technology. To illustrate, according to the Mashable report, women are participating and purchasing more technology because of its ability to enhance lifestyle preferences such as how they communicate and interact. For example, women are more likely to participate in online gaming via social media sites such as Facebook.

So why might new technology appeal to women more than men? The answer to this can be found in  another study cited by a Wharton University report. Moreover, according to the study, women have ingrained ways of shopping that reflect a different set of values to men. The values accentuate both caregiving and interaction to the point that it would be reasonable to infer that women would buy more technology than men. For example, since women are thought to be better shoppers, they are more likely to buy things for men even they don't use the items themselves.

The question of why women are more inclined to shop for technology remains though. Moreover, lifestyle and female psychology only partially explain the phenomenon and this is because both the way women behave and think also have reasons. According to research cited by Discovery News, these reasons stem from historical social patterns. In particular, the patterns of foraging versus hunting in human history and pre-history may have ingrained itself in the psychology of women. Since foraging is more tactile and involves a different kind of communication and social behavior than hunting, women may have more developed and skilled shopping habits in addition to being more partial toward the activity.

Another reason why women buy more technology than men is more conventional and involves marketing. For example, a marketing campaign by Women's Health Magazine instills women with the value of seeking technological gadgets through a targeted advertisement. Of the gadgets recommended by this magazine, are a mini-lap top, instant camera, movie player and energy meter. These items also reflect the behavior patterns discussed in the Wharton report referring to behavioral psychology, shopping acumen and technological symmetry between product functionality and lifestyle.

Image license: London Student Feminists; CC BY-SA 3.0

Financial news: August 27, 2014

NYT: Mobile commerce is a fast growing retail sector businesses should leverage
BI: An online tutor makes $1,000/hr helping kids of Fortune 500 CEOs
ZH: Economists admit failure of monetary policy via Foreign Affairs publication
BBC: Yr-over-yr home price growth slowed 1.3% in June per Case-Shiller Index
MW: The stock market is in uncharted territory despite technical support
AP: Economists fear the FRB will wait too long to raise interest rates
Reuters: Best Buy's 2.7% drop in Q2 revenue reflects the trend toward ecommerce
CNBC: High corn yields are leaving hold-out farmers with poor sales prospects
CNN: Identity thieves steal from the elderly, foster children and migrant families
CB: Consumer confidence rose in July per index rise of 2.1 to 92.4
CD: July durable goods orders rose 22.6% or $55.3 billion to $300.1 billion
Bloomberg: Global warming could lower global consumption by 1.7% in 2030

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top 3 monetization options to consider when developing an app

Commercial app development tips
Free apps open the door to future sales
By Mariah Cameron

Mobile app development has attracted many people who venture into this business with the prospects of making money. This does not come as a surprise for an industry that is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

If you plan to make money from developing apps, then you should think about using the best monetization strategies. There are various ways of monetizing apps, all of which have their own pros and cons.  The ideal monetization method to use will ultimately depend on the nature of any given app. However, here are the top 3-monetization options you should consider before developing an app.

Direct app sales


Selling on app stores is the most obvious way of making money from mobile applications. But, you will be surprised that most apps are actually free to download. However, if your app offers a unique solution and there is a clear return on investment to the user, then it may be logical to charge for it upfront.

Usually, platforms such as Apple’s app store and the Google Play store take a percentage of what you make after selling an app. Of course, there are many other ways of selling an app without having to incur commission fees. But, keep in mind that competitive pricing, uniqueness, and value are critical factors that will determine whether people will buy your app or not.
Mobile commerce monetization
Combine multiple monetization techniques to boost earning potential

Freemium pricing


This is one of the most common monetization methods for mobile apps. The freemium model allows customers to download an app at no cost and later generates revenue from in-app purchases. Most people love free things, so this model of pricing encourages users to download apps. There are generally three ways of using in-app purchases and make money from an app that is free to download.
  • The free trial mode of pricing is one of the most common strategies. This allows users to experience an app for a limited time. Once the trail period expires, users can unlock the app’s full functionality through an in-app purchase. This method is highly trusted as it gains the buyer’s confidence.
  • Another way to monetize an app is selling virtual goods. This is common with games whereby players are prompted to make an in-app purchase to proceed to higher levels in an engaging game or upgrade to a better version.
  • You can also make money from your app through subscriptions. This strategy has proved to work well for content related apps and those that deliver a service.

Advertising


If your app has a really large user base, advertising is one of the monetization avenues you might want to explore. Mobile based apps work in the same fashion as traditional web advertisements. Developers simply sell advertising spaces to various brands that want to reach target demographics. Advertisers typically pay developers whenever ads displayed on their apps generate clicks or impressions.

In addition, you can make money if another company acquires your app. A great example of how this can work is the multibillion-dollar acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook. In other cases, monetization options are obvious such as when a business sells products directly to buyers. Keep in mind that monetization methods will depend on the type of app you want to develop. In order to make an informed choice on how to generate revenue from your app, ask your developers to suggest the best monetization options.

About the author: Mariah Cameron is an app development enthusiast who loves to capitalize on great business ideas. She has developed multiple apps for over 5 years and turned them into successful ventures. To learn about the team of developers that Mariah partners with, visit http://www.xdesign.com/.

Image license: Geralt/Pixabay; US-PD; 2. Dion Hinchcliffe; CC BY 2.0