Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to Prevent Business Credit Fraud

Chances are, you probably have some fancy security system installed within your office, perhaps even equipped with highly advanced video surveillance technology or a German Sheppard that John Dillinger wouldn't even try to get past. You have created a fortress, covered it from head to toe with all state of the art equipment so that nothing can get through, but, at the same time, what are you doing to protect against online threats? How are you preventing your business from the infamous credit fraud? Business credit fraud is a significant problem for both small and large businesses alike and can happen at any moment from anywhere on the globe- no matter how many thermal sensors you have scattered around the office. The good news, though, is that it can be prevented. To help you, we have compiled these simple steps that will ultimately save you time and a great deal of money in the process.
How to Prevent Business Credit Fraud
Do Your Research
You wouldn't trust your child with a complete stranger now would you, so why would you give away your goods or services to someone you knew nothing about? Business credit itself is rooted in a sense of mutual trust-even the word credit is derived from the Latin credere meaning to trust or to believe-but it is a trust that your business ultimately takes on and a risk that your company alone assumes. To mitigate this risk, you must practice your due diligence to weed out potential perpetrators before they strike. To do this, you might need to do some more in-depth background checks, verify references and finally determine the overall credit worthiness of the person or company that you are hopefully going to do business with. While clearly this process takes some added time and resources, the fact this could eventually save you from business credit fraud in the long run will be well worth the investment.
Recognize the Signs
If it smells like a dog, has teeth like a dog and barks, chances are it's not a cat. In many cases the signs of potential business credit fraud are all staring you right in the face, you just have to know where to look. If you see a customer really quickly racking up huge bills without so much as a phone call or someone making extremely large purchases while at the same time seeming to be in a rush that in itself should be ground to sound the alarm. Another common red flag is if you see a really large transaction following a few "low" ones; they were probably testing the waters to see if you will actually take the bait. The key is to spot the irregularities early and follow up to be sure you aren't being played. After all, better safe than sorry.
Follow Up
It can be as simple as calling the customer directly to confirm the order first hand or making sure that the cardholder is the actual purchaser or the good or service. Checking in with the bank as well can be a great idea, not only to double-check the references of your potential customers, but also to reconcile your own bank statements so that any problems can be rectified early in the process. In cases where you don't have the customer physically in front of you, you must be particularly vigilant and proactive to make sure that everything checks out. Double check references, validate addresses, check IDs-these seemingly minute details can ultimately help reveal business credit fraud traps before they substantially effect your business. When in doubt, always call!
Secure Your Internal Information
If you don't have a privacy policy in place, make one so that you can fully ensure your customers' or employees' private information doesn't end up in the wrong hands. This is a simple way to better protect your customers from detrimental identity theft that can not only harm them, but also hurt your business in turn. Furthermore don't forget that business credit fraud doesn't just happen when you are the seller, but can also result from you buying materials from a "fake" or "phony" supplier. This common ploy is, as points out, often known as the "Toner Phoner" scam where counterfeit companies pretend to be your regular supplier to sell you bogus materials and supplies at over the top prices.
Business credit fraud is a huge problem for both large and small businesses, but it is one that can definitely be thwarted. By being proactive and utilizing professional services that specialize in this area, you will be able to save yourself not only a large amount of money in the process, but also a inexorable degree of stress that would result if this type of fraud did happen to occur. Let's stop worrying and do something about it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Small Business Strategy: Healthy Employees for Healthy Business

The health and wellness discussion is happening all over the business world due to the impact it is having on business. Healthcare has become the second highest expense in many businesses (after payroll). You can find wellness initiatives in businesses of all sizes. Large companies have been doing it for years and smaller companies are now seeing the importance as well. Large or small, the companies that have seen success have done some simple things to ensure that success.
It starts with awareness
When a business is aware of the control they have over healthcare costs, they can make an impact. Businesses of all sizes are experiencing challenges in this area as costs continue to rise. The first step that small businesses have to is to look at why they are rising. You can complain about the insurance companies, healthcare reform or any other part of the system, but there is one thing that is impacting healthcare more than anything else: health. The costs are rising because we are spending more than we are putting in. The premiums that businesses pay are being overshadowed by the claims coming from their employees. Where are these claims coming from? They are coming from employees with declining health. Each year the cost increases because the employees on their plan are costing more each year to deal with medical conditions, taking medications and needing more care in general.
The Good News for Small Business
The care small businesses are paying for is going toward treatment of preventable issues. In fact, as much as 75% of what we spend on healthcare today is spent on preventable issues. That means that we have control over it. Obesity and smoking are at the top of the list and leading to many other related issues. Small businesses can prevent many of the costs associated with their healthcare plans by preventing these issues.
The next step is education
Once a business is aware that they can make a change, they can start educating employees. The difference between healthy and unhealthy is often just a matter of knowing what to do and how to do it. The key to remember is that employees are not causing harm to themselves and their health on purpose. They want to be healthy and when their company educates them and helps support healthy living, it is much appreciated and goes a long way.
The Good News for Small Business
You will see benefits in health and many other areas that will impact business. Healthy employees have more energy. They are more productive and will be able to do more for you. They will also want to do more for you because your goals are aligned and they appreciate the support.
The Missing Link: Facilitation
Looking at the health of today's society, we see many issues. This may lead you to believe that people don't know what to do in order to live healthy. The fact is, people know. They know that an apple is better for them than a candy bar. People know that the drive-through is not as healthy as the supermarket. The problem is not knowledge. The problem is application. The key to living healthy is applying it to your routine.
The Good News for Small Business
Training is a vital part of any company. No matter what industry you are in, training is part of your process. If you don't train employees there are major consequences.
Wellness is simply training for your healthcare plan. Every system in your business has a budget and training. If you treat healthcare and employee health as a system in your business, you will see benefits just like in other areas. Employees will use the tools properly; maintenance will be part of the process which we all know is more cost-effective than dealing with repairs and replacement of costly equipment. That is what happens in health care. We go to the doctor when something breaks. If we maintain health, we avoid many of these issues and don't need the care.
The Challenge for Small Business
Most HR professionals and business owners are very busy. There is a lot to do in any business, especially a small business. When you try to add new things to the equation, things get difficult. To compound things, how many business owners and HR professionals are workplace wellness experts? Not many. Wellness is often left by the wayside due to lack of time and expertise.
The Solution for Small Business
The key to successful implementation of a wellness program is resources. That doesn't sound like a solution to many busy executives, but it isn't as challenging as you think. A wellness program can be built with just a few hours per month. If a single employee (at any level) is dedicated to generating ideas and they can enlist a small team to help implement those ideas, they can create change.
There are many ways to get started with this process. It doesn't take a massive budget or a tremendous amount of resources. For a small business, wellness is about the three areas above: awareness, education and facilitation. When these three areas are in focus, you can build a healthy culture that supports health and makes it the norm for all employees.
The importance of keeping employees healthy is magnified by rising costs, but there are many more benefits to healthy employees. Increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and Presenteeism (when employee is at work but not at full capacity) and improved morale, satisfaction and retention to name a few. Many small businesses are starting to dedicate resources to wellness. Time is being set aside, budgets are being created and tasks are being assigned to employees to help the programs grow.
Our society makes it very difficult to live healthy and our typical workplace is promoting similar habits. We sit all day, we have limited time to do anything and stress is at an all-time high. The workplace has an impact one way or the other. It is also a great place to implement healthy habits and build a healthy culture. You have the choice to promote health within your organization and save money or to ignore it and simply pay more for health care each year. Your business benefits greatly from promoting health because the same employees that are causing costs to rise with poor health can help you control costs with good health. In other words, healthy employees lead to a healthy business.
Business Health Expert Joe Byrd and his team use passion and expertise to bring business and health together. They integrate health education in lifestyle topics such as Stress Management, Weight Management, and Smoking Cessation into businesses in order to accomplish the following:
Improving Employee Health
Decreasing Health Care Spending
Increasing Your Employee Productivity
Improving Employee Satisfaction and Retention
Joe and his team apply this craft in the business world by making health part of business strategy. As he helps companies invest in their employees, together they create healthy and successful cultures.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The 50 Choices Dilemma of Leadership

What should I do next? Isn't that one of the most prevalent and confounding questions - and one that every leader, manager and professional faces many times a day?
That leads to what I call the 50 Choices Dilemma - a situation where all of the leaders I coach find themselves in more than they would like. Very briefly it looks like this: You have 50 things to do on your to-do list. Don't get me wrong, for many of us that would be a pretty good day. I am going to offer you 2 very common choices, and ask: Which one are you going to choose?
One more caveat - you only get to choose one of these options, and you never get to deal with the other. Here are your options:
· You can either choose to do the number 1, 2 and 3 priorities on your list, but you never touch the other 47; or...
· you can take care of priorities number 4 to 50, but you never get to touch number 1, 2 and 3.
Every competent leader and top professional knows what the answer should be. But when I ask this question, extending one hand to represent each choice, everybody hesitates, instinctively starts to lean a little toward the hand holding the 47, and thinks: "Forty-seven things off my to-do list? What a great day. How could I do that?"
We all know the best answer is to take care of the top three priorities. So why do we hesitate - or even think about choosing priorities 4 through 47? We all know common sense says: Take care of number 1, 2 and 3. The rest are secondary, are subsidiary, and we will be dealing with them ONLY AFTER the most critical ones are taken care of. But often we look at our rush of things to do, and we just attack our list.
The greatest failure comes from not even knowing what priorities 1, 2, and 3 even are. It is hard to choose the most effective option when that choice is not even clear. Always knowing what your top priorities are is essential for every leader, manager, and effective professional.
In fact, if you want to make your team and organization more effective, make sure everybody knows what priorities 1, 2, and 3 are. With that knowledge firmly communicated, everything will be far more successful and effective, and your performance and your results will go way up as well.
Knowing and choosing to act on priorities 1, 2 and 3 is decision making at the most effective, common-sense level. However, it is too rarely common practice. One of my primary messages to everyone who cares about outstanding performance and results is: When common sense becomes common practice, amazing results become commonplace.
Until next time,
Steve Lishansky
Steve Lishansky is a sought after Keynote Speaker, Hall of Fame Executive Coach and Leadership Team Facilitator.
He is an internationally recognized leader in:
* Creating high-value, high impact relationship and communication skills;
* Executive coaching and development;
* Facilitating exceptional organizational alignment and performance.
A trusted advisor to senior leaders, their teams and high-potential executives for more than 20 years, Steve brings a unique professional focus on optimizing leaders' and executive teams' effectiveness, performance and results. Among his legendary programs are: Strategic Alignment of Executive Teams™, Executive Coaching and Development, Becoming an Indispensable Partner™ (Building High-Value Relationships), and "Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Teams."

Friday, October 19, 2012

How outsourcing your payroll can benefit your business?

Have you considered outsourcing your payroll? Payroll in the US is one of the most common departments for business' to outsource as it reduces costs but the trend doesn't seem to be the same in all countries.
Payroll processing can be challenging and confusing to businesses especially small business owners. This is where an outsourced payroll provider can help. They will take the responsibility of payroll processing off your mind completely, ensuring that your pay is processed correctly, is compliant and most importantly your employees are paid on time. When engaging an outsourced provider they will keep track of all the different state and tax laws for you so you don not need to worry about paying your employees incorrectly.
Affordability, Simplicity, Efficiency, Maintaining Control and Accuracy are five main benefits to outsource your payroll.
1. Affordability
An outsourced payroll service in most cases can be an affordable option for every business. Engage a provider that will grow with your business so that you only pay for the services that you require. Now consider the 'hidden' costs of running your payroll internally-software updates, staffing, administration costs, printing costs, etc. This all add ups, that's why outsourcing payroll could save you money.
2. Simplicity
Outsourcing your payroll is simple as most outsourced providers have easy to use systems that are user friendly. Some providers have a learning centre or training guide that is available online for users to access at any time. So you REALLY do not need to be a payroll expert to use the systems.
3. Efficiency
You don't need to worry about staffing, training, employees on sick or annual leave and other internal issues when you use an efficient, outsourced payroll service.
4. Maintain Control
Entering your payroll information online allows you to maintain control of your payroll processing and helps eliminate double entries. The outsourced payroll provider will process the pays and validate the process, making sure that all is done correctly. You still have the power to review all reports and change anything before paying your employees.
5. Accuracy
Payroll mistakes can be potentially disastrous for the company (and your employees). An experienced and professional payroll management company is less likely to be the cause of such mistakes.
In a nutshell outsourcing your payroll is a beneficial relationship as it allows you to stay in compliant with tax laws, but also allows you to focus on your business instead of trying to become an expert in payroll.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Five Benefits To Outsourcing Your Payroll

If you own a small business and you handle your own payroll processing, it is time to consider the benefits of hiring a company specializing in payroll to process your employee's paychecks. Outsourcing payroll services is one of the best solutions for business owners who want to free up their time. If you are not familiar with all of the benefits of outsourcing, review 5 of the top benefits and make a wise choice for the sake of your business.
1. Free Up Your Time to Handle Core Tasks
Small business owners who handle their own payroll processing will spend hours each week calculating the hours and cutting checks. If you are tired of being responsible for this time-consuming task, hiring a company who will perform online payroll processing for you is the best choice. With the time you save, you can focus on core tasks like sales and customer retention.
2. Hiring the Right Provider Can Help you Reduce Costs
When you process your payroll or you pay an employee to do the job, you are paying a pretty penny just to process checks. In fact, studies show that a small business pays almost $3000 per year just on the labor costs that are associated with payroll processing. When you hire an outsourced payroll processor, you can save money on your operation costs without compromising the quality of service.
3. Offer Your Employees Direct Deposit
If you do your own online payment processing, managing direct deposit can be difficult. You need to keep your loyal employees happy and offer them direct deposit if you want keep your employees around long-term. When you outsource your payroll processing, you can offer direct deposit without worrying about errors. This will make your employees happy and will ultimately benefit your business.
4. Avoid Potential IRS Penalties
Did you know that almost 40 percent of small businesses will pay penalties to the IRS because of incorrect filings and short payments. If you want to prevent paying the IRS extra money in penalties, you should consider outsourcing payroll services with a tax guarantee. This guarantee means that you will not pay penalties and if you are penalized, the company will take the responsibility for the penalties.
5. Quality Assurance
You cannot stand behind your bookkeeper to make sure they are doing their job right every moment of the day. When you trust an online payroll processing company, you will have peace of mind in knowing that the company monitors their controllers. This means that you benefit from the quality assurance procedures without having to put them in force yourself.
These are just 5 of the many benefits associated with outsourcing payroll services. If you want to save money, save time, and save yourself potential penalties, you need to hire a reputable company you can trust. One Price Payroll offers the best online services in the industry at a fair price. Price the cost of their payroll services and take the burden off of your shoulders.