Enterprise Resource Planning systems such as Microsoft Dynamics can be configured in many ways.
Prior to Order, you will probably have issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) and had a bid process. Typically a Dynamics system might start from £200k with probably half the cost or more being for consultancy.
Once you have selected your supplier, the first stage is Systems Design, I have worked on many of these, basically, you gather information on how the business works now, right down to fine detail such as how control accounts are used and what reports are currently used, then you consider what is possible with the new ERP system, what is the best way to perform tasks, how are results reported, some of the information will be flowcharted and a route map drawn up to get from where the business is now to the new ERP system. It is a highly detailed process, my reports were typically 200 pages long and the supplier and client sign off the report before configuration work starts.
Next the system experts get to work and make a mock up of the system and then workshops are done with senior management and directors to makesure the clients instructions have been correctly intrepreted, this process is then signed off.
The next stage is Training, normally immediately before the system goes live.
For anyone running a large networking or membership organisation coping with thousands of transactions of the same value is a challenge. In the case of 4Networking, Tuesday to Friday thousands of members are booking breakfasts online for £10 each (they all need a VAT receipt), so what information do they analyse, well they need to know, which member or visitor, which group/venue, which area leader, for visitors they need to know the number of visits (so that they can charge when the maximum is reached), when membership renewals are due. Thats a lot of information and to run an efficient network you need to quickly see the results and take action if attendees drop.
The solution that we used was to have a description made up of numbers separated with a # so that you could quickly extract results for any data group or multiple groups.
The other challenge faced is that Memberships cover a future period and to comply with revenue recognition rules the revenue must be phased over the period to which it relates.
I attended a excellent presentation today from Bournemouth University and Dorset Cereals on KTPs, under the scheme a Gradute is recruited jointly by the company and the University and placed at the company for up to 36 months. You also get University support of half a day a week.
The Graduate is engaged to work on strategic projects within the business and the business contributes a 33% to 50% towards the cost, the rest is grant funded.
It sounds like an excellent scheme as you not only get a graduate but also get help from the University too.
In the last few days I have started receiving lots of requests to become a colleague on Referral Key. Its Free, its measurable, you set a price you are prepared to pay to get successful referrals, so it sounds pretty good to me, but is it any better than any other form of social networking? I am always happy to refer business to people I know without looking for financial reward because I believe in the ‘Givers gain’ philosophy.
Retaining talent or to give special rights to specific investors or creating an incentive for associated businesses to use your company are all good commercial reasons why you might create multiple share classes.
Normally you would have Class A Shares with voting rights (so that the ownership is kept unchanged) and the other Classes of Share (for example Class B etc) would receive a share of the profits via dividends. Setting these classes up is quite straight forward and guidance is available from Companies House.
But watch out for the Settlement Legislation(rules which seek to prevent individuals diverting income to pay less tax), take a look at this link
The recent press has been full of details of HMRC investigations into small businesses and individuals to try to get more tax in and penalties, the taxman is trying to recover £3.8bn in PAYE. Current figures (quoted in the Sunday Telegraph today) show that 25000 people have had their debt written off by citing the Extra Statutory Concession A19.
The Low Income Tax Reform Group has some excellent guidance on A19 and template letters, check out this link for details
When I first joined linked in, I didn’t join any groups and just added key contacts, but over the last few months I have changed my approach and discovered the true value of linked in. I am now in 50 groups, some which a flit in and out of, when I join I always contribute with comments, discussion items and polls. When I see other group members I would like to meet I generally invite them to link in to me.
Recently I have discovered that putting your e mail address in your header information helps and people who would like to contact you can then make contact.
I know that Linked In say you shouldn’t connect to people you don’t know, but that seems crazy to me, when I go networking I don’t say I am not talking to you because I don’t know you. I believe making contact with people you don’t know gives you a chance to make new contacts, if you later don’t want to be associated with them you can delete them.
If you don’t know where you want to go, how do you know which direction to head off in? sounds simple doesn’t it, but I know for a fact that most businesses don’t have a plan and start in business because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Let’s not go mad, but start by setting out 5 things you want to achieve this year relating to income, markets, clients, systems etc. Then try to think about some overall objectives for the next 2 years, before you know it you will have a strategy for the next 3 years.
Then you can set some milestones and regularly check if you are on track.
If only it was that simple, I have seen lots of profitable business killed by cashflow. One of the major causes of this is slow paying clients or none paying clients, the problem is often made worse by having to pay staff and suppliers quickly or needing to invest in capital equipment.
It is true, that in time, profit will become cash, but be careful not to over trade and take on more work than your cashflow can sustain.