Involving Finance in Six Sigma Initiatives at the Right Time

Additionally, they would be the best people to put in figures benefits accrued as a result of improvements. They can help coordinate activities across departments that may even be in varied geographical locations. The finance department can prove to be best business partner for successful deployment of such projects.

The Finance Team as a Business Partner

Six Sigma projects help reduce the operational cost based on strategic decisions made from specific data. The finance team is in a better situation to assess the financial implications of any changes in relation to the organization’s bottom line.

Finance is often seen as bookkeepers, auditors, etc. However, it is easier for them to utilize software to measure improvements and resulting financial benefits. This data can also be used for further improvements that come as a part of continual improvement initiatives of the company.

The involvement of the finance team has to be right at start of the project. They can assist the Six Sigma team in the selection of projects. They can locate those projects that may have the greatest impact on the financial objectives and ensure that problems that need immediate attention are taken up on priority basis.

They can also keep the project pipeline full.

Once projects are selected, finance team members and process owners can decide how benefits should be calculated upon implementation of the project.

Similarly, after project implementation, they can also put in place control mechanisms to ensure that results are achieved according to set standards. If there is a variation or deviation, it may show up when review is undertaken.

With the Six Sigma team, the finance department can determine the reasons for lack of performance. Even after process ownership is transferred to the process owners, the finance team can keep track of the KPIs that are improved and their impact on the bottom line.

Benefits of Involving Finance

o Integrity of results: A very important benefit achieved with the involvement of the finance team is integrity of results.

If the project team is calculating benefits, there is the possibility to give in to the temptation to record potential benefits instead of the real ones.

This may not point out the drawbacks, and will not help the Six Sigma team to ensure that necessary efforts are directed towards achieving improvements in KPIs.

o Standard calculation: They can insist and develop a standard system for calculation of results.

This makes the results comparable and also ensures that efforts are directed towards achieving targets.

o Recording incorrect benefits: If process owners fail to consider processes outside the project scope, the benefits calculation may be incorrect and will not show the true picture.

o Audited results and accountability: Like any other finance function, project benefits are also subject to audits.

o Budgeting: The improved process can then be embedded into the next budget so that the improved KPIs become as permanent as possible.

Finance department participation should be right from the start to the end of the project, which will help project implementations to be successful.

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Fire Truck Financing – How to Write a Request For Proposal

Most fire departments don’t know that their request for fire truck financing proposals actually set themselves up to receive less bidders, create more confusion for themselves, and get worse financing terms. This article will help guide your fire department to set up a successful RFP process.

First, the RFP is not the time to shop for knowledge.

Too often, fire departments send out RFP requests without knowing what they exactly want. So, they effectively use RFP process to shop for information about lenders’ offerings. In other words, your fire department sends our RFP that asks for some very basic terms such as interest rate for a 10 year loan. Your department decided on a 10 year loan because of a general feeling that should be the term. The lenders reply and offer only the interest rate. This is the first step where you start getting a bad deal.

Here’s why. There are 7 factors that control how much you pay when borrowing money. When you send out a RFP based on the basic information above, you are opening yourself to those lenders who understand that they can present a low rate but overcharge you on the other 6 factors. Often, this low rate is calculated on an alternative interest rate formula which, although legal, is inconsistent with the most popular method of calculating rate. You won’t even know that you are being overcharged until after you sign the contract.

Second, determine what you really want.

If you don’t have the department resource who truly understands fire truck financing, find a trustworthy and knowledgeable person who can help you understand exactly what financing terms you want. This person should not be someone who will be bidding later so you have an objective source of help. They should help you set a general payment budget, what terms or restrictions you are willing to undertake, and financing term. By using this information, you will then be able to use the RFP process for its correct use – getting the best deal – rather than fact finding current financing options.

Your bid will be concise and provide a fair opportunity for lenders to present their best options. When lenders see a general RFP, they know that there are sharks who play bidding games. So, they don’t bid and your department ends up with fewer bidders and higher overall borrowing costs.

Finally, specifically ask for the right financing terms.

When you ask for the right information in the RFP, all lenders know you have set up a level playing field that they have a chance to win. So, more lenders respond to your RFP. And they work harder because they feel they have a fair chance to win. You’ll get overall better proposals.

There are 7 specific items you want your bidders to include in their proposal. When you ask for these 7 items, you will get more proposals, and better proposals, and you will also get information that is presented uniformly. That means you will have a far easier job in comparing the proposals since they will be “apple to apple”. Otherwise, you will end up with a wide variety of proposals that seem to have no relation to each other. Your job in comparing them will be harder, you will miss key cost factors, and you’ll be more susceptible to the game players and less likely to know what the best proposal is.

The 7 factors are:

How much you want to borrow
How many years you want to pay back the loan.
The date of your first payment (specify a date)
How frequently you want to make payments (monthly, annually, etc.)
Details of any fees or costs at any time during the financing term (this means not just “origination fees” or costs which are charged at the beginning but any fee or cost whatsoever such as prepayment fees or lien release fees or balance verification fees, etc.)
Interest rate and how it is calculated and how long the rate is fixed
Payout details (the bank must verify that they will pay your vendors according to the contract). Otherwise you may incur extra fees from your vendor because they can’t pass along a chassis discount, for example. This is a hidden way you will pay more for your financing choice even though your lender is not charging the fee.
In summary.
The key to any successful RFP process is to know what you want. Just as you didn’t send out RFP’s for a “fire truck” without any specifications about chassis, engine, transmission, or pump, you shouldn’t send a RFP for financing proposals without specifying the exact terms you want. Explore the options before you bid and with someone you trust and is knowledgeable. Require specific information that your lender has to put in writing upfront so that you create a fair proposal environment, get more interested bidders, and get a easily comparable set of proposals to choose from.

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Aligning Sales, Services and Finance

Take any company – in any sector – and it is quite likely that important departments function independent of timely input from each other, though closely interrelated functionally. To streamline work processes and improve productivity, the Finance and Sales departments should be coordinated. If each has well-established processes in place and sticks to these, the required alignment and achievement of common goals will not happen. This drift is accelerated when these departments use standalone solutions for CRM and accounting. To get these disconnected systems into sync is a time-consuming task and the organization itself may be willing to let the drift continue rather than making a one-time effort towards alignment. In a professional services organization, the services team gets caught in the crossfire. Sales department sets over-optimistic targets and Finance strictly monitors and controls each dollar earned and spent.

Customers are also affected by the divide. The finance department may not know the status of a sale or outcome of a customer meeting and may chase debts/issue invoices inappropriately. The service department may not be aware of issues raised by customers to other departments. Customers reporting issues may not receive good service if the departments are uncoordinated. In such situations, the company is damaging its customer relationships, operating inefficiently, impacting cash flow and jeopardizing future bookings.

One Solution for All

The solution to this issue is ensuring that all the departments in the organization work together towards a common goal. The customer’s needs, issues and most importantly cash flow cannot take a backseat because of a lack of internal coordination.

All the affected departments must work together towards resolving this problem. They must ensure that all the major processes are aligned and that personnel are aware of the overall scheme of things. Organizations can get the much-needed sync by switching to a common cloud platform for the sales, services and finance departments. By working from connected CRM that shares the same data as the financial application and professional services automation tool, errors and discrepancies that inevitably occur when separate systems are used can be eliminated. Manual efforts are dramatically minimized, hence reducing the work of the sales team and the risk of making mistakes. A common platform is also ideal for monitoring whether a customer is credit worthy. The sales team can consult the credit background before selecting prospects or deciding what discounts or deals to agree with customers. They can view the status of the credits and also help with collections. In this way, all the three departments, sales, services and finance, complement each other.

Collaborative Tools

Organizations can also benefit from the collaborative tools available with cloud platforms like Force.com from Salesforce.com. Built in business collaboration tools like Chatter provide a stream of business alerts and conversation, which dramatically helps to improve intra-organizational communication. This real-time collaboration is very important for all the departments of the organization to have visibility about every aspect of the business relevant to them in real-time.

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Finance – More Than Number Crunchers

If you were to dissect the culture of a business, and you ask various people in an organization what the real roles of each department are, you’ll find the well-known dichotomy between “front office” and “back office” operations.

Front office staff are the people who deal with customers. They might be the customer service department, the sales department, and sometimes the marketing department (depending on how involved the marketing department is in the sales cycle). Back office staff are usually the admin assistants, HR, and the killjoy of all businesses – the Finance department.

In businesses I’ve observed, Finance departments often face silent derision or disrespect. Part of it is an us-versus-them mentality that comes out of the front office staff who feel their jobs are more difficult because they deal with customers (compared to Finance, who deal with numbers). And no one from the front office sends memos to the back office saying “please spend less time crunching the numbers” but it can feel like the back office is constantly memo-ing the front office with “watch this expenditure” or “spend less on client lunches”.

Unfortunately, this view is supported by management at all levels that give Finance the nasty job of accounts receivable, the inputting-heavy job of accounts payable, and the dull job of budget forecasting. Compared to the highly creative marketing department and the edge-of-the-seat, in-the-trenches feeling of the sales department, finance is like the broccoli side dish on a plate of steak and fries.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Finance departments shouldn’t be relegated to the back office in the hopes that their sharp pencils won’t poke a customer in the eye! Finance departments can and should play a far more important role in the organization. Here are some ideas:

POSSIBILITY 1: Finance should be more about business strategy than number prophecy. When the Finance department hounds the sales managers to get in their budgets and then turns them around for a final target budget for the year, their role is reduced to mere numerical interpreter. But what if Finance sat down with sales and talked to them about how their numbers connected to expected outcomes? And then, what if Finance sat down with the executives of the company and actually worked out a forecast that was tied to what the market was anticipating! Imagine a world where Finance’s numbers were more than just a spreadsheet that gets pulled out at every quarterly review.
POSSIBILITY 2: Finance should be more about opportunity. Many sales managers have some limited view into which customers are sending business. But the view isn’t always perfect. Or complete. Finance should get involved to show how a customer is really impacting the business’ bottom line. If Finance and Sales talked to each other, Sales might be shocked to discover that their biggest client is actually less valuable than expected because of the amount of work involved in keeping them as clients, or they might discover that a seemingly profitable client isn’t profitable at all because their receivables get very, very old. Imagine a world where the Finance department can relate true business impacting information to Sales to tell them which opportunities are truly the most profitable.
POSSIBILITY 3: Finance should be selling, too. When Finance gets the job of following up on accounts receivables, they can potentially do more harm than good. Finance people are highly skilled at numbers, and they might be good “people-oriented” staff, but they are rarely trained in the art of sales. However, when a Finance person, tasked with accounts receivables, gets adequate training in receivables AND customer service AND sales, their success rate at getting the receivables paid can increase, but so will their success rate at winning more business.
There are so many more opportunities, too. Businesses should be using their accounts payable list as a prospecting list. They should be temporarily swapping roles between Finance and Sales for brief “see-how-the-other-side-does-it” days to enable new appreciation and new connections. Finance should sit in on sales calls to see why Sales sometimes feels like they need to bend the rules to close the deal (and Sales should shadow the work of Finance so they know what work needs to happen at the back-end if they don’t assess risk adequately during the sale).
The bottom line for businesses should not be derived from a cloistered Finance department. Instead, a business can uncover new and exciting opportunities when it makes its Finance department an integral part of the entire business.

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How to Get Hired Quickly for Finance Jobs

It’s a zoo out there in the real world and you feel that you’ve done all you can to stand out from the rest of the pack but somehow, you’re still sitting at home and waiting by the phone for those call backs to come. So in addition to sending out about a hundred glowing resumes to all the top companies in the land, what else do you need to do to score your first job?

Your friends, family and the internet can offer you tons of sound and experienced advice but you’ll probably still find yourself in the waiting list due to the sheer volume of applicants cramming the reception areas of every company in the city. This is the time you need to sit back and consider your options and prospects and maybe realize that you are probably not getting enough help.

It is particularly true that not all job industries suffer the same fate because not everyone has the same career goals. However, as one of the most competitive industries, the world of finance and accounting is one that boasts of having the highest number of applicants, primarily because the rewards are worth it.

It is also no surprise that many first-time job seekers want to launch careers in the finance business because for one, it is a challenging business to run and there’s nothing they like better than being challenged. Another reason would be because salaries in this realm are among the highest and most competitive despite the downs it sometimes experiences.

Of course, the main reason why finance jobs are in demand is because of the fact that business are kept going by the men and women in the finance department – since nearly all business work on the basis of profit and loss, it is up to them to make sure that the business are kept in check so that all other departments may be allotted their proper budgets.

While finance jobs may be easy to find, launching and maintaining a thriving career in this niche can be difficult. You not only have to possess strong character traits and excellent work ethics, you will also need to not mind not having a life, most of the time. However, as far as financial stability is concerned, there is nothing to worry about on that score.

So how does one find the best finance jobs and get hired for them? First things first, get to know the industry well and to do this, get an internship. Most banks and other financial institutions prefer to hire someone from their internal staff, one who already knows the job and already knows what to expect. If you want to be transferred to the finance department, you will also need to take up the necessary training and internships to help you transition smoothly.

You on the other hand, should never stop upgrading your skills and updating your knowledge on the current business trends because if anything, you need to prove you can quickly be functional and be an asset to the department or company you are working for. If you are new to the financial industry, talk to people you know who have been in it for a while to get real insights. Broadening your network of contacts will sooner lead you to the opportunities you want to snag.

Most first-time job seekers these days know that it can be impossible to score the best jobs on your own, which is why they seek the help of the best finance job recruiters who know the industry like the back of their hand. These recruiters will be able to match you with the best employers based on your skill and experience so you never have to worry about feeling that you’re not in the right field.

They will teach you everything you need to know, from writing the perfect resume to how to get the best job offers, going as far as helping you finalize your decision and going over the terms of your employment contract. You will be represented with the utmost commitment, confidence and credibility so much so that employers will have no choice but to hire you.

And last but not the least, you will also need to show that you are compelled and committed to doing a great job and willing to go through all hardships necessary to build your career. More than anything employers look for employees they can rely on and ones that will do their jobs really well.

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Essay on How to Help Poor and Needy People

Leaving a life that is meaningful is something that everyone needs. However, it is not something going into a spiritual quest. All the spiritual quests are going away from life. Unfortunately, you cannot find the meaning of life by going away from life.

In fact, it can be found only in finding the meaning here in life, not going to some lonely place to meditate. You can find the real essence of life only when you help others because you are living with others and your relationship matters.

Why should you help others?

You are living in this world because there are other people. Can you imagine living on this huge earth alone? Undoubtedly, you will go crazy if you find yourself alone in this world.

Life takes place in relation to others. Whether it’s someone from India or someone from Russia, that does not really matter, it is the same human being. Your idea of separate human is just an idea; otherwise, you all are inter-related and inter-connected.

Hence, by helping the poor, you can make this world a better place to live. People would love to be around you and people will bless you. Blessing never comes from the gods, in fat. It can only come from living beings. Hence, you must help people if you want a blessed life.

How can you help poor people?

If you look at the world closely, then you will see that there is inequality. Governments and other organizations are trying to fix this gap but it will make sense only when you find a way to contribute to the world.

There are many people who even don’t not have food to eat. Now, that is something sad because it is a basic thing that every living being must-have. But humans have become the only creatures that are starving. No other animals and birds are starving.

You would also find kids without education. A world that is not educated would slowly drift away to a bad state. If you want the growth of the world, then you should and must educate poor kids who do not have money to have a good education.

There are people who are also struggling to have shelter and clothes; the world is an utterly depressing place to live now. You must find some way to give shelters to poor people. You might not be able to build a home but you can contribute to the community center to feed and give shelter to the people who live differently in the community.

How should you approach?

You can help people in many ways. For instance, you can take part in cultural exchange programs or you can simply join awareness campaigns to educate poor people
You can help someone having medical treatment and medicines thus giving someone life. There is nothing better than giving life to people
You can see help from NGOs and other organizations that are working towards the betterment of the poor community

In fact, there are a number of ways and means to help poor people. All you need to have is the compassionate heart and a loving mind.

It is time to understand the essence of life by finding the ways to help people because you can only find spiritual satisfaction by h going the people. Poor people might have been born poor but they have all the right to live a rich and beautiful life. You should be instrumental.

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