Monthly Archive for January, 2021

What is tone of voice and why does your business needs one?

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Developing and maintaining a consistent tone of voice is important. What you say 

and how you say it will determine how people view your brand. So what is tone of voice and why is it important? 

What is tone of voice?

All successful brands have their own distinctive voice, whether it is serious, friendly, or quirky. Your tone of voice should be evident on everything from your letterhead to your social media posts. 

What you say and how you say it needs to be decided on at a company level. Though there are times when you might have to change your tone slightly, especially if your usual brand is quirky or whimsical. The industry you are in will also have some bearing on your tone. For example, if your company is in IT consulting, you want to reassure customers that you are knowledgeable and professional, while still also having a personality. Responding to a serious story or similar requires a more measured response. 

Why do you need one? 

Engage your audience – a well-defined brand tone encourages people to engage with a brand

Build trust – having your company values front and center can attract customers who share these. 

Increase the bottom line – having a consistent tone, alongside a well thought out marketing strategy, can increase sales and revenue. 

Anchors your brand image – tone of voice, alongside other tangibles such as logo, brand colors, and slogans improve brand recognition in your target audience.

How to create your tone of voice

Settling on your brand’s tone is a delicate balancing act between your company and its values and your target audience. You’ll want to look at the tone of voice of your competitors too, but this should be as part of wider research, not to mimic. 

Research your target audience thoroughly. What brands do they like, which platforms do they prefer, how do they talk to each other. A study by Econsultancy revealed that over 50% of consumers felt that communications from brands weren’t relevant to them. You can’t afford to leave that kind of business on the table. 

So, if you haven’t narrowed down your buyer personas, you need to do this as a matter of priority. All of your communication, product development, and marketing will be influenced by this. If you don’t know if you’re targeting boomers or millennials, you’ll end up reaching no one. 

Once you’ve pinned down your target market, you can start aligning your brand values. Openness and transparency are the keys to consumer buy-in. Over 90% of consumers said that they would be more likely to maintain loyalty to a brand that is transparent in their communications and wider business dealings. 

So you know what you want to say and who you want to say it to. Now distill this down into your mission statement. Tell your audience who you are and what you stand for. This should be communicated both internally and externally.

When deciding on your tone of voice, decisions will need to be made on whether you want to sound serious, formal, friendly, casual, or quirky. 

Each way of speaking has its own pros and cons and these can change from sector to sector. 

The Perils Of Received Wisdom In Business

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It’s not uncommon in the business world to use quotes by great thinkers to inspire yourself and others. There is a certain comfort in speaking the words spoken years ago by philosophers, presidents and prophets and using them to make your point. In the right circumstances an inspirational quote can be extremely beneficial, too. If you want to move minds and bodies to outperform their competition, then a familiar, evocative statement can be effective.

What needs to be remembered is that there is a time and a place for quotes and received wisdom, and a danger can arise when they become more than a line. If you live by received wisdom, it is possible to make mistakes that can be catastrophic for your business – because the simple truth is that there is no quote, no maxim that is universally applicable. Some statements, when applied to business, can actually be directly injurious – and a look at the following statements bears that out…

“The harder you work, the luckier you get”

That’s just not true. Luck is, by definition, a fortunate happenstance behind your control and you can’t magic it into being by spending more time doing what you usually do. In fact, working harder can at times be detrimental to your chances of success, as burnout can leave you unable to produce anything of merit. Those who spend more time at work may have more opportunities to capitalize on luck – but spotting those opportunities and properly maximizing them doesn’t depend on working your fingers to the bone.

“It’s the bigger picture that matters”

Any business needs to have a rounded approach to succeed, and over-focusing on details is, without a doubt, detrimental to the whole. Nonetheless, it’s almost never going to be the case that you can solve acute problems with a broad-brush approach. Some areas will always need more attention. If you don’t put money and effort into getting the best IT support, for example, that will affect the whole business before too long. Streamlining processes is good – but you need to be able to have a selective focus at times.

“We can cross that bridge when we come to it”

Although the above statement about focusing on what’s in front of you is true, it also needs to be understood that it refers to acute issues that need immediate address. Kicking foreseeable problems into the long grass because they’re not “now” problems is a terrible way to work. If you are aware of the existence of a “bridge” up ahead, you’d better at least have the outline of a plan to deal with it. Otherwise you’re just working through an existing bottleneck to put yourself in front of another, which may have become more complex since you last brushed it off. Your present-day solutions can incorporate a strategy for future problems – and they should, if they’re to be in any way effective.

Received wisdom can be fascinating and when properly applied, it can certainly help your business – but it needs to be analyzed just like any other advice, because it does contain some flaws.

IT and Legal Accounting, Revolutionising or Taxing?

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Accounting is the language of business, and every accountant knows this. And that language has gone through many changes throughout the ages. From being studied on an abacus to being revolutionised on software, changing the game completely. But with progress comes drawbacks. Whilst embracing technology can make life easier in the accounting world, with a particular focus on Legal Accounting, is everything simple, or are there some problems behind the facade? What is Accounting and Legal IT?

Law firms have unique accounting requirements. Firms need to handle clients’ money entirely separate from their office account; they also need to record disbursements against clients, record time and costs for work done and produce correct invoices and bills, all whilst ensuring they are abiding by the rules and regulations stipulated by government bodies. 

However, a Legal Accountant also needs to understand the basic language of accounting, the general accounting principles, and practices and be trained in financial areas unique to the legal profession. The projects themselves might be exclusive to working in legal accounts, for example, trust accounting, where the money is held safe for someone until certain conditions.

With all of this in mind, Legal Accountants may be thankful for what seems to be a threat actually offering a significant opportunity; embracing technology can be groundbreaking. 

What are the pros of technology?

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Towards the end of the twentieth century, the accounting profession began to get a makeover. Computers and accounting software were groundbreaking. With programs such as Microsoft Excel, an accountant now has an electronic spreadsheet. Technology eliminated the need for Adding Machines, Calculators, Ledgers, and pencils. With the computer’s use, an accountant can now perform statistical accounting or forecasting analysts with greater efficiency. Information is available at the click of a mouse. 

So, it is no secret that the future of legal technology like this; could transform legal accounting practice. In fact, the adoption of software solutions has already begun to help both individuals and taxpayers file their income and taxes. 

Law firms already have to wade through complex requirements to maintain trust and accounting compliance and keep up with proper record keeping. However, with the advance in technology, there is software that can do this for them. There is software available that can safeguard to prevent overdrafts, which can tie entries to specific matters. To look at individual client ledgers, even pooled trust accounts and can also prevent the mingling of a firm and client funds. And it gets better; with technology, you can have your bank account feeds tied into your accounting program. This makes reconciliation easy and fast and eliminates the need for manual calculations. 

Keeping tabs on matter costs and assigning them to the proper categories is also apart of good bookkeeping and could help a legal accountant determine what changes might need to be made. With IT, it can automatically assign particular charges and entries to either soft or hard costs. Knowing these ahead of time creates consistency in how these are recording, and simplifies the process while removing the need for someone to look at each entry and assign it. 

And last but not least, Legal Accounting software can also make revenue distribution easier. Taking in law firm revenue would be easier if it was just applied to a client account. Instead, it needs to be applied meticulously and in the following order: 

  1. Taxes, 
  2. Cost recovery including reimbursement client costs
  3. Late fees and finance charges
  4. Fee income
  5. Discounts

Doing this manually can be tedious and open up to inaccurate allocations. However, technology and software can take any revenue and apply them to appropriate amounts automatically.

So far, IT and technology can be painted picture-perfect in helping Legal Accountancy, so many of the accounting process components can be simplified with technology as the right tool, giving accuracy, extra time, and information required for informed decision making and compliance. However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. What about the darker side of technology, and does the convenience of it override the bad?

What are the Cons of Technology?

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Cyber-attacks against law firms are increasingly targeted due to the vast amounts of money, information, and client data they retain. This is a troubling realisation, considering that a firm is inherently built upon a client’s strict confidence and trust. Even taking this into account, many firms do not even know when they have been compromised or when a cyber-attack takes place. By the time they realise, significant damage may have already been done. 

There are over 4,000 cyber attacks every day that is 170 attacks every hour. The concentration of cyber attacks against law firms was highest among larger organisations, with 90% of the top 25 law firms experience a threat. 

The question is, what happens if or when this happens? What can you do to safeguard your company from cyber-attacks? According to Tech Seek, one of the steps is to make sure all staff are educated on becoming more aware of phishing emails. Many phishing emails are poorly designed with bad grammar, but others look legitimate enough for someone to click if they may not be paying close attention. It is all about knowing the difference and being educated on the difference. 

Furthermore, if there was ever a cyberattack, peace of mind can be restored with a date back up solution, both cloud-based and onto an external hard drive. Ensuring every device that holds protected data has adequate protection is important because it only takes one vulnerable device with access to shared files to do damage.

This may seem overzealous; however, if something like a malicious outside attack occurs, there will need to be serious measures to make sure it never happens again. 

So, coming full circle, is technology a hindrance to legal accounting, or can it help? An important mindset to remember is that it is not what technology can do to you; it’s what it can do for you. At the end of the day, legal accounting’s future relies on progression and embracing technology to allow more informed decision making and more compliance. Whilst accounting will never be easy, embracing technology can help if treated properly and efficiently educated. 

Courses That Will Help Your Career Take Off

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Do you feel like you’ve stalled in your career or you’re ill-equipped to take on a new role straight out of university or college? This is fairly normal. Most people get hired based on certain skills and experiences then learn what they need to know on the job. But it doesn’t have to be like this. With focused courses you can obtain the skills you need faster and take your career forward with confidence. 

Successful Negotiation

Regardless of whether you are negotiating a sale, a salary increase, or a venue for the Christmas night out, you will require negotiating skills in your careers. These skills can be picked up along the way, or learned to give you a head start. 

If you want to progress in your career or hit the ground running straight from your studies it makes sense to equip yourself with fundamental negotiating skills. These skills will help you answer interview questions and win your first clients.

Networking 

Networking might be considered a soft skill in some quarters but it’s becoming increasingly more fundamental to a range of careers in the digital age. Outreach and communities both on and off-line play a huge role in B2B and B2C businesses. 

Once again trial and error will allow you to pick up the gist of networking over time but why leave such an important skill to chance. A course in networking from Pacific Training Group, will give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to make an impression right away. 

Cybersecurity

These days most serious businesses have a digital enterprise and that means network security issues. Cybercafé is never far away, always updating and innovating its infiltration methods to cause havoc and steal sensitive data. Equipping yourself with cyber security know-how will only add value to your resume. 

Companies are more likely to hire someone with cybersecurity training because they have the extra knowledge to spot a threat or train their in-house staff. Obtaining these skills will also help keep your personal computers safe.

Communication 

Needless to say communication is important in every career you go into. It doesn’t matter if it’s communication with bosses, customers, colleagues, in person, or online, you need the communication skills to clearly put your message across politely and efficiently. 

If you think you aren’t a good communicator then a course can help. The reality is that communication skills are a set of skills that can be learned. You will find out a lot about how you communicate as you develop these skills and improve your performance in work.

Writing for the Web 

In the digital age it’s increasingly important to understand how communication works on the Internet. More people than ever before are communication through email, message, and through blog posts that are SEO’d for better performance. Against here skills can be learned through courses and improve your resume. 

In a course on writing for the web, you will learn about what writing styles work for an online audience, you will also learn the best practices for SEO and how to design effective websites and Web pages. Don’t miss out on these crucial skills for the 21st century. 

There’s A Pandemic: Here’s How To Protect Your People

A big part of this pandemic ending is with everyone working together. The global pandemic has changed the way that we do business, with many different companies asking their people to work from home for the first time. You want your customers to feel safe, sure, but as a business owner it’s even more important to ensure that your employees are safe. These are your people and keeping them from being infected with COVID-19 has to be a priority for you.

A public health crisis that goes unmanaged is even more dangerous than you think, and if you can ensure that your staff are communicated with properly, that you have a plan in place to get people back to work, you are going to continue to build a very loyal team. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to COVID-19 just yet, and there could be additional outbreaks and mutations in the future, so communication is key to ensuring that your employees are ready and feel supported by you. With this in mind, here is a list of suggestions to ensure that you protect your staff.

Woman in Blue Denim Jacket Using Macbook Pro

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  • Sanitise. Workstation sanitation should be in place at every desk in your office. If you make sure that health is a focus the moment they come into work, it’s easy to pick up and maintain good habits. Employees that can’t work from home should be kept safe and that means sanitiser, wipes, no-touch trash cans, tissues and soap at every surface. Encourage your staff to keep their own workspaces clean on top of the office cleaning company that you choose to work your building at this time. Keep the whole building as sanitised as possible to maintain a high standard of cleanliness.
  • Sickness Policies. You have to be sympathetic to your staff when they are coming back into work. It may have once been the policy to have sick days as unpaid, but realistically that cannot be the case during a pandemic. Create rules to balance the staff working from home when feeling unwell but not “laid up in bed”, and those who can work, should. If they can’t this is where you need to have some balance so that staff don’t feel pressured to bring in sick notes. Paid sick days have to be the norm for now, if you can manage it!
  • Talk About Security. Your staff may be worried that they won’t get paid, but part of the plan should be to let your staff know that if they get COVID-19, their jobs are safe. Your staff are valuable to you, and it’s important that you let them know that you know that. Staff should be able to communicate effectively with you, not fearing for their futures when they do.
  • Openness & Flexibility. Lastly, you should ensure that you offer your staff flexibility. If people don’t feel comfortable going back into the office, don’t make them do it, either. Make sure that people are supported enough to work from home and have the right technology to continue it. It’s time to be flexible with your staff.

Smart Budgeting Tips for Your Business

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Whether you own a business or hoping to start one, budgeting is a crucial aspect you can’t ignore. It is no secret that beginning a business demands a decent amount of money. However, expenses don’t end once you are fully operational. According to statistics, a combined 60% of small businesses in the US are either breaking even or continually losing funds, with the lack of a proper financial plan being noted as a critical factor. Are you confused about where to begin or how to improve your current financial plan? These five tips should help with creating a smart budget.

  1. Know your business

When starting a business, you need to understand the risks associated with the niche and industry you are venturing into. For instance, if you will operate in an essentially seasonal industry, you will need to break your yearly budget into monthly or quarterly accounts before structuring your financial plan. Keep any forthcoming changes in regulations and tax laws in mind as well. Since your business is likely to differ from others in your industry, you should consider comparing your company to industry standards utilizing CPA’s tools and resources. Every business comes with certain risks that could financially impact your enterprise, making it essential to identify varying areas to make a better decision on your spending.

  1. Involve your team

Being the business owner doesn’t mean you have to shoulder all the business responsibilities. Involving team members in your business is crucial, so that they appreciate the policies, insights, and ideas significant to achieving established goals. It is practical to keep employees informed on any future adjustments that may affect them or the business to comprehend what to expect. Like US president-elect Joe Biden said, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

  1. Be realistic

Your budget is only useful when it is focused on specific and achievable numbers. Your team is likely to jeer and excuse your financial plan when set numbers are unrealistic. As a result, you should build your budget based on previous outcomes and future projections. To develop a feasible budget, analyze previous monetary results from, let’s say, five years ago. Take care of those inevitable or fixed costs first, then look at the variable expenses and their root factors responsible for their fluctuation. Can these costs be managed going forward? Which costs can be avoided altogether? Understanding your past outcomes is essential in adjusting to anticipated changes to serve as a basis for setting your spending numbers.

  1. Use the right tools

Investing in the right tools is an essential part of your budgeting process and is vital to maintaining productivity while cutting back on unnecessary costs in repairs and wastage. For a service delivery business that spends a considerable amount on stationery and storage, it is advisable to switch to the paperless system, which is fast, secure, and cost-effective. A survey estimated that 3% of business revenue is spent on printing, papers, and storage. Meanwhile, papers contribute to 50% of business waste. Switching to the paperless system requires finding the right suppliers for quality, yet affordable computers and software. If you are in the manufacturing or engineering sector, visit https://www.meetyoucarbide.com/carbide-blanks/ for wear parts, woodworking, or metalworking tools for your business.

Many business owners and managers believe that the effort required to create an adequate budget is too demanding. Interestingly, that is never the case since budgets instead ensure you manage your resources to meet business goals consistently. These tips should offer you more insight, an appealing bottom-line, and good stress level management.