Nowadays when almost every task can be outsourced, many companies have availed of the services of virtual assistants who can perform the jobs more efficiently at more cost-effective ways. Among the tasks most outsourced are those that involve accounting.
Accounting is one of the vital sections in any organization that is both time and resource intensive. It includes invoicing, application of customer payments, managing payables and receivables, preparing and mailing checks, communicating with vendors, balancing of accounts, bank reconciliation, timekeeping, processing of payroll, preparation and distribution of financial reports for management reviews.
In a small or medium size operation, these tasks are usually handled by just one accounting clerk, thus forcing him/her to multitask. This often results to inefficiency and poor performance. This is a case where outsourcing these tasks is most ideal in order for the company to save time, effort, and money and get better results.
One advantage of hiring virtual assistants rather than getting the services of a brick-and-mortar accounting firm is that it enables the company to build a pool of bookkeeping talents in a much cost-effective arrangement.
How would you feel if someone hands you a key to success? If you are an entrepreneur, this article is meant for you.
Primarily, there two kinds on entrepreneurs based on their reason for becoming one, namely:
- The reactionary entrepreneur who puts up his own business because he is tired of working for someone else. He wants to free himself of the doldrums of working 8-to-5, five days a week with little to show for it comes payday. He dreams of earning much more. There is nothing wrong with these reasons except that he is too money-oriented and are fear-driven. Failure to earn as much and as soon can easily make him lose steam fast and most likely to give up prematurely.
- The inspired entrepreneur who puts up his own business for the joy and excitement of it. He is aware of the risks his entrepreneurial venture entails but he is willing to take calculated risks. He finds venturing out of his comfort zone and negotiating uncharted territory challenging rather than frightening. Is he a special man full of bravado? Not really. He may be just an ordinary man but with a positive mindset.
Now, analyse which kind of entrepreneur are you. If you are the inspired type, then you are most likely to succeed. If you think you are the reactionary type, then this article is for you so read on.
Obviously, your goal is to transform yourself from being a reactionary entrepreneur to an inspired one and ensure success in your venture. Here are the steps or secrets to achieve this:
Being productive is very commendable especially in the world of trade and business. But anything in excess is dangerous including the uncontrolled obsession to work unceasingly. This anomaly is often referred to as workaholic.
It is not sure if there are rehabilitation centres for this kind of addiction since it does not involve the use of any substance of abuse. However, its effect can be just as devastating as any drug-induced addiction because it, too, can ruin its victim’s future.
A person suffering from this problem is called a workaholic. He has the uncontrollable urge to be busy all the time. He does unnecessary tasks only for the sake of completion. Since a workaholic focuses on being busy instead of being productive, he becomes an inefficient worker.
A workaholic finds it difficult working as a team player, has trouble delegating, and does not trust others. Also, he usually suffers from sleep deprivation resulting to impaired brain and cognitive functions.
Just like drug-induced addictions, workaholism tends to develop destructive behaviour, and in extreme cases, may even be fatal. In Japan, they consider it a social problem that leads to early death, often in the job.
To prevent falling victim to this work-related addiction, here are some precautions you should seriously consider:
There are several ways to learn the ropes in achieving success. You can engage the services of a professional mentor for one-on-one sessions, enrol in actual empowerment seminars for group meetings, subscribe to online coaching, or read “how-to-succeed” articles in the internet. Any of these methods can be effective, depending on your budget, your time, or your determination to succeed.
However, with the popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) methods for accomplishing almost any activities these days (from cooking, carpentry, sewing, accounting, or even some college courses, etc), you can teach yourself how to succeed. By far, this is the cheapest and time-flexible way to learn any skill, including the art of succeedin
One big trick to attain your goal faster is to automate the process by building up success habits. When habits get deeply ingrained in your system, you do them with the least effort and results are realized automatically. How then do you form these habits? By constantly thinking and answering these questions in your mind:
- Define what you want to achieve. Just wanting to be successful in life in general sense does not mean anything unless you have a definite goal to concentrate your efforts to. Otherwise, your lack of focus will hinder your success. Define how and when you want to succeed. Studies have shown that people who set goals are the most successful in the long term. In most cases, by merely setting a goal to attain something definite, details on how to work out your plan just fall into places as you go along. This saves time and effort in the attainment of your goal to succeed.
- Visualize success. Visualization is a powerful means of getting what you want. Even the Law of Attraction strongly recommends this. Robert Collier, one of America’s successful writers and publishers on happiness and abundance once said: “Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build”. Have a detailed picture of whatever success you want to achieve, including the key elements that comprise it. This will guide and prevents you from being derailed in your journey.
- Plan your actions. Even the grandest scheme will remain a useless dream on the drawing board unless there are definite plans of action drawn up to accomplish it. Once you have clearly visualized in your mind how your success looks and feels, it is time to actually work on its realization while the strong motivation is still “hot” in your system.
- Take the first step. Act, and act now! Procrastination, delays, and too much deliberation can kill easily the enthusiasm your visualization has stirred in your mind. To jumpstart your first step, talk to those who already succeeded in the similar goal you set. This will prevent too long deliberations that result to procrastination. As the late Martin Luther, Jr. said:”You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” and now!
- Tick off hurdles. Once you have taken the first step of drawing up your plan of action and start working on it, expect real or imagined problems and hurdles to pop out along the way. This is the troubleshooting phase for the successful attainment of your goal. Anticipating these problems will help you stay on track and teach your brain to expect and solve them. Perhaps, these words of Booker T. Washington’s can help you stay focused and motivated: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome”.
- Guarantee the success of your actions. You can do this by appreciating the efforts you make in overcoming the problems you face that boost up your confidence to do more. Most importantly, too, is to learn from the setbacks you experience so you avoid committing them in the future. They allow you to gain valuable insight that will make them more successful next time.
Coaching yourself to success requires that you learn to be responsible to your every action. Deliberate and learn from every situation. Get rid of your hung ups on emotions because they will hinder your learning process. Following these steps is a good way to teach yourself to succeed and will help you grow faster, both personally and professionally.
The introduction of outsourcing has offered tremendous benefits in the world of business. Surveys have shown that almost 90% of companies attribute their improved productivity and profitability to their strategic shift of operational functions to outsourcing their supply of manpower. Their move enables them to focus on their core business at lower costs. A good example of this is in expanding their business. With outsourcing, they capitalize on the availability of the lower labor costs for their manufacturing and telemarketing functions.
To benefit most from outsourcing, it should be viewed as a strategic collaboration between the company (management) and its outsourcing partner. Remember that this partnership works best when it is managed in the manner it is designed to be. The particular areas that the company and its outsource partner are responsible to should be clearly defined.
The company takes full responsibility of the core competence of the business while its outsource partner should concentrate only on those areas that are non-critical or merely supportive functions to the business. These may include accounting, data processing, and human resources, among others. Despite the importance of these functions in the overall set-up of a business, they are not considered as its core competence or principal purpose.
The core competence of any business is often referred to as its function that deals directly or gets closest to the customers. This is best illustrated in the case of newspaper publication. The core competence or principal purpose of the publisher is to reach and inform its readers and the part of its business that does that is its editorial. To safeguard this core competence, the publisher should see to it that the editorial section is under its direct control and supervision. It should not be outsourced to a third part. However, auxiliary or support functions like printing, sorting, binding, or delivery are better done by outsource firms for more efficiency and lesser cost in manpower.
Perhaps, cost effectiveness may be the biggest advantage in outsourcing, but the company should not sacrifice its control of core business to any third party. The level of dependence of a company to its outsource partner is based on several factors such the type of business and the importance and scope of support functions involved in its operation. However, the company should see to it that the initial benefits are maintained throughout the partnership. This can be done with frequent quantitative assessment meetings on outsourced services for the evaluation of both the price and non-price benefits and costs.
In drawing the strategic collaboration between the company and its outsource partner, these factors should be considered to ensure its success. The benefits to a company of outsourcing are dependent on its proper management as one strategy in running the business.
Without doubt, outsourcing offers many benefits to those who avail of it. However, as in any business, you should know and be able to translate all these benefits into solid figures. Knowing that you are gaining something out of it is not enough. If you do not track your actual progress, you will not be able to pinpoint the right time when you have to level up, maintain the status quo, or even ease back a bit in your business.
To help you do this, ask these questions to quantify the benefits you gain from outsourcing:
- Do you have enough manpower? Review the total tasks to be accomplished to operate your business efficiently. See if all these tasks are done as per schedule. Analyze the results if they meet the standard you set. Are these tasks done by your regular employees or by the outsourced ones? Applying the Perito principle of 80/20, see which group of workers contributes more effectively to your operation. With this static on hand, you can decide better if you either have to hire more or decrease the number of your worker and from which group.
- Do you save on manpower expenses? Review your payroll and see how much you spend for each of your in-house worker on a daily basis. Include the perks and mandatory compensation they are receiving. Compare this to the budget you set aside for outsourced hands. Then, compare and calculate how much work is done by each group, the in-house versus the outsourced ones. Again, use the 80/20 method of analysis. Note that spending less on any group does not necessarily mean saving. Consider, too, the importance of the tasks in your operation. Some of your regular workers may be paid more to do sensitive or very complex jobs that cannot be delegated to outsourced workers. However, consider also how much you pay your regular workers who do perfunctory or routine tasks that can done by outsourced hands at lesser cost. Include the quality of work in your analysis.
Running their own business and calling the shots are dreams come true to new entrepreneurs. Many are lured into freelancing because of the promise of time freedom it provides, or so they think. What they fail to realize is the price they have to pay to enjoy this privilege. Time, which is their very reason to start on their own, may become their biggest reason that will stop them from doing so.
If you are planning to start your own business, here are some issues you have to consider, especially regarding the “unlimited time” you dream of.
First of all, disregard the notion that freelancers have all the time in the world to do as they please with it. Time can only you succeed in business and prevent you from being frustrated by it if you treat it logically and with respect. Here’s how:
- Be responsible with your time. Set a definite schedule when to do things, not only “when the spirit moves you”, which can be anytime you wish. Having a timetable in place allows you allocate your time in order to maximize every minute you set for a particular task. Respect time by working on a task because you have to, not because you want to.
- Avoid working vacations. In reality, there are no such things. Either you are working, regardless of where you are—or you are not, period. You cannot concentrate effectively on more than one thing simultaneously or you end up sacrificing one over the other. Benefit fully from the time you allot for a particular activity, that is, have fun with it when you are on a vacation or enjoying break time, or use it fully to accomplish a task. To avoid mixing up your fun from your work times is not easy, especially when you enjoy your work so much. One effective way to accomplish this is to have a separate workplace where you can lock in yourself to work undisturbed. Leave in when you are ready to enjoy your time. There are those who can mix their time but for the sake of better efficiency, it is wiser not to.
- Consider time when setting your priorities. Define your activities for each particular goal in your life. For instance, if one of your goals is to improve relationship with your family, plan what activities you want to spend with them, how often, and for how long each day or each week. The same is true if you put importance to your social life. Allocate specific time and days to attend to your friends and other social commitments. Make sure you do not mix your hours for your family, your socializing, and your business. You should not allow any particular activity disrupt another. This way, you maintain a healthy balance between your personal and your professional life. Otherwise, you end up messing them all up. This may not be easy to do. It will all depend on your priorities and how you manage your time to meet them.
The time freedom you are looking for in running your own business, though not easy, is achievable. As long as you do not lose sight of your limits and responsibilities and are fully accountable to them, time can be your great ally in succeeding. You must realize that as an owner of your business, you play the dual role of boss and employee but proper time management will help you play these roles in perfect harmony.
Many equate more productivity with longer working time. Perhaps, this may be true in some instances but did you know you can actually reverse this equation? Here are some tricks to help you achieve this:
- Focus on your goal, not on the time. By aiming on your goal gives you an overview of the entire job. Once this is clear to you, it will be easier for you to allocate the time you will actually need to complete the task. You can schedule your time and choose the appropriate system to use, either to lessen your per day working hours or decrease the days to do it.
- Decide how much hours you want spend working. If you feel working the usual 8-hour day is too much for you (and it is), decide how long you are happy to work. “Happy” is the key word because you can slash the time to half but you may feel pressured to do so much in too little time. This robs you the pleasure of being productive at the expense of shorter working time. You may opt for 6 or 4 hours working per day or decide to cut on the working days per week instead. Anyway, whatever seems ideal to you, go for it!
- Make gradual adjustments. Shifting from your usual working hours to a much shortened schedule should be done gradually. An abrupt shift can disrupt operation and may cause confusion and wastage of time. Do the adjustment by stages. If you decide to shorten your working time by 4 hours per day or 4 days per week, adjust your schedule an hour or a day less for a few days. Once you get the hang of it, deduct another hour/day until you achieve your ideal 4 hours per day or 4 days in a week work schedule.
- Assess your workload. By cutting your usual working hours, you may either work faster or work less. However, working faster may actually defeat your purpose to be productive in less time because working hurriedly can result to more mistakes. Correcting these may even take you more time, thus ending up where you began— working 8 hours or more. Therefore, working less is your better option. To achieve this, you have to be selective on the tasks you can work on efficiently within a limited time. Learn to prioritize your job based on their importance. Tasks that can be eliminated altogether without sacrificing your goal should be done away with.
- Classify and batch your tasks. You can do routine job that you do on a daily basis every other day instead of daily. These may include attending to non-urgent communications, updating your website, following up orders, etc. Concentrate on other tasks in-between those days such as meeting with clients, product developments, training personnel, etc. Classifying and batching your tasks are effective ways to minimize your working hours on a daily basis.
- Define your purpose. So you have achieved the 4-hour a day or 4-day per week work schedule, what then? Decreasing your working time without a definite purpose for doing so is useless and counter-productive if the time or days you saved are left idle. Fill these saved time by either expanding your business by seeking new or additional sources of revenue; or undergoing training to improve your skills; or spending more time with your family. You may also engage in your favourite sport or hobby you never had time to do before.
These tricks will help you work smart by producing more and better results in lesser amount of time. However, make sure you use the time you saved judiciously or all that you’ve done is an exercise in futility.
For additional information on how to this effectively, you may read Erlen Bakke’s bestseller “You Will Never Work Again”.
During these days of robotics and automation, working hard has become almost sin. Toiling and trying to do everything alone is not considered a virtue anymore but sort of a mental dysfunction. The logic behind this rather harsh conclusion is: why unnecessarily burden yourself when you can do things the easy ways? The new catch phrase now in the workplace is “work smart, not hard” which outsourcing supports and has made possible.
With the ever-growing acceptance and popularity of outsourcing, many tasks that used to burden many entrepreneurs in running their businesses can now be easily done for them by others with less cost, more efficiently, and with minimal or no stress at all.
These are the commonly outsourced jobs that are vital to most businesses, especially to small and medium-sized ones. However, before outsourcing, determine which areas you or your company can actually benefit from it.
These are popular in small or one-person offices. They include scheduling, setting/confirming appointments, making travel arrangements, and updating social media sites
The strength of any company or organization depends on the quality of its people. Managers may run the show but without enough and supportive manpower a business cannot be successful. Workers play an important role in any business venture. Without doubt, the growing popularity of outsourcing is due to the many benefits it offers to the business world, most especially in the field of human resources. Outsourcing is able to supply the vital need of companies for adequate and qualified manpower that supports a business. It can do this at lesser cost thus considerably contributing to the company’s profitability and growth. However, despite the benefits outsourcing gives, it does not necessarily make it a cure-all to all the maladies of business. It is wise to know the limitations of outsourcing. Otherwise, it may be blamed for “unsolved” issues the process is not designed to do.
Here are some things outsourcing cannot do: