May 19, 2020

Five Keys to Leveraging Technology and Your Wallet

Skype
business tips
Telecommuting
Jennifer Vickery
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Five Keys to Leveraging Technology and Your Wallet

Written by Jody Knouse Poland and Jennifer Vickery

 
With gas prices around $4 per gallon, the cost of attending meetings, driving to the office, and even driving to the bank can really add up, especially when all of the employees on your payroll are doing the same. Profitability is a big factor for businesses striving to stay afloat and keep employees happy. With the additional costs incurred commuting, small and large businesses alike are turning more often to telecommuting and teleconferencing.
 
Here are five easy ways to help put the ‘tele’ into your business and a couple extra dollars back into your (and your employees’) pockets.
 
1. Conference calls instead of meetings.  “Meetings via phone can be as effective, or even more effective, than in person meetings,” says Jody Knouse Poland, professional business coach and co-founder of The Renaissance Group. “Just because the meetings are held over the phone doesn’t mean they should be treated any differently than an in-person meeting. Send an agenda ahead of time, come up with talking points, assign certain items to team members, take roll call when the meeting begins to ensure everyone is present, and follow-up via email with a meeting summary. Best of all, you don’t need a pricey conference call system as there are plenty of quality free conference call services available.”
 
2. Become a scheduling master. “Look at the location of your upcoming meetings and see how you can package them together so there is less travel,” says Jennifer Vickery, CEO of National Strategies Public Relations. “Or perhaps, make one day out of the week your travel/meeting day during which you line up all your meetings, so that the rest of the week you can stay put. This can really help with the gas bill and result in more productivity. Also, don’t forget to call ahead and confirm the meeting just to avoid an unnecessary trip.”
 
3. Sharing is caring. “Sharing your work via screen share or other collaboration tools, including Google Documents, Podio, Basecamp, as well as others, really promotes teamwork on projects and cuts out the travel,” explains Poland. “Best part is, many of these tools have free or low cost plans.”
 
4. Sales can be online.  Nowadays, prospects are open to receiving sales “calls” online. “Try utilizing a webinar, e-newsletter and other online tools to replace the cost of travel involved with sales,” says Vickery. “Make sure your materials are clear and consistent and that you’re tracking results. You will be surprised with how effective online sales can be.”
 
5. Skype is your friend. “There is a lot that can be done using Skype and other services just like it,” says Vickery. “Anything from interviewing, training, meeting, or even a virtual lunch break can be handled from just about anywhere, as long as the device you are on is equipped with a camera.”
 
Poland adds “and there may be times where you don’t need a camera. Sometimes, video calls can be distracting. Skype works well for audio calls and screen sharing. It’s ideal for small group trainings or computer one-to-one support. And, you don’t need to clean your office or throw on a suit jacket. If you wanted, without a video camera, no one will know if you’re working from home in your PJ’s.”
 
The main point is you can enjoy the benefits of working from home without losing the productivity and saving time and money too.
 
By simply incorporating even a few of these ideas into your business structure you will notice savings at the gas pump, and in your wallet. Additionally, your employees will likely be thankful, more efficient and spend more time being productive versus traveling non-stop to meetings. Doing these simple and small things can have truly a positive impact on all aspects of your business.
 
About the Authors: Jody Knouse Poland is the Co-founder and Chief Engagement Officer of The Renaissance Group, a management consulting and coaching firm to the growth and success of small businesses and organizations.  The Renaissance Group, creator of the Growth by Design™ business development program, is based in Tampa, FL.  For more information, go tohttp://www.renaissanceconsultants.com or call (813) 636-9181.
 
Jennifer Vickery is CEO/President of National Strategies Public Relations. She advises organizations and professional individuals on public relations efforts and campaigns. National Strategies Public Relations (NSPR) is a national public relations agency based out of Tampa, Florida. For more information visit nspublicrelations.com or call (727) 946-2082.

Share article

Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Tax
Compliance
financeleaders
Deloitte
Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

Share article