July 1, 2022

Measuring the Margins

Corporate profits, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, grew by $20.4 billion in the final quarter of 2021, a 0.7 percent increase. For the first quarter of 2022, corporate profits fell by 2.3 percent or $66.4 billion. On an annualized basis, corporate profits fell 5.2 percent in 2022, but grew 25 percent in 2021. With the economy facing inflation, the uncertainty of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and the world working its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty abounds. For companies, measuring margins is one way to evaluate performance and strategize ways to survive and thrive in a dynamic economy. Here are a few common margins that businesses can determine to measure their financial performance. Operating Margin Defined Also […]
June 1, 2022

How to Calculate the Cash Conversion Cycle

The Cash Conversion Cycle, also known as the Net Operating Cycle, answers the question, “How many days does it take a company to pay for and generate cash from the sales of its inventory?” However, before an analysis like this can take place, it’s important to consider the company’s primary line of business. If the company sells software, it’s more challenging to measure performance if it generates revenue primarily on intellectual property – by developing computer code and licensing its use to clients. For online marketplaces, especially those that make the majority of their profits from third-party sellers that manage product sourcing, listing their inventory and shipping products on their own won’t measure the online marketplace’s own inventory. Since these […]
May 1, 2022

Combating Employee Hesitancy to Return to the Office

According to the January 2022 Future Forum Pulse survey, there’s been a shift in what workers want post-pandemic. The report found that in Q4 of 2021, 78 percent of workers from six industrialized companies wanted location flexibility. The survey also found that 95 percent desired schedule flexibility. This is in light of the same survey finding that 72 percent of employees desire greater flexibility from their current places of employment. Those same workers reported that if they can’t find more flexible arrangements, they would seek out another employer that provides greater flexibility – compared to 57 percent expressing the same desire in Q3 of 2021. According to a December 2017 Gallup report titled, “Thinking Flexibly About Flexible Work Arrangements,” along […]
April 1, 2022

Considerations When Selling a Business

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration and Project Equality, 60 percent of business owners plan to cash out of the business in the next 10 years. For the baby boomer generation, it’s especially important as they contemplate retirement, with this generation reportedly owning 2.3 million businesses. When it comes to getting a business ready for sale, there are many components to review and get organized before looking for prospective buyers. The first thing owners looking to sell their business are being asked is why they’re selling. This may occur for many reasons – voluntary or not. Some people are looking to retire, while others might be looking to exit their business because things soured with partners. These are just […]
March 1, 2022

How Businesses Can Stay Current with the Digital Economy

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the level of usage and data swirling around the internet is expanding at an accelerating pace. The amount of data on the internet globally during 2020 amounted to 3 trillion gigabytes; and 2022’s traffic is expected to increase to 4.5 trillion gigabytes. As a result, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the challenges American companies will have when it comes to business competitiveness. According to a survey from Statista titled “Challenges encountered as a result of digital transformations in global organizations as of 2020,” there are common challenges that businesses are facing, such as: 51 percent of respondents said that “skill gaps have opened up on traditional teams as top talent […]
February 1, 2022

What’s the Future for Measuring Employee Performance?

Yearly performance evaluations just might be heading out the door, according to a recent WorkHuman Analytics & Research Institute Survey. Findings reveal that these appraisals are less than effective and used less often. Based on select findings, 55 percent of employees responded that yearly evaluations don’t help them become better in their role. Almost as many, 53 percent, indicated that annual reviews recognize an employee’s complete workload. The survey also found that only 54 percent of businesses used annual reviews in 2019, compared to 82 percent of workers saying their employer used annual reviews in 2016. According to Gallup, only 14 percent of workers responded positively that performance reviews motivated them to get better at their skill set. It also […]
January 1, 2022

How Businesses Can Combat Inflation’s Toll

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Producer Price Index (PPI) or the increase in prices, goods and services that producers experienced for their input costs, saw a substantial rise, according to its latest report issued on Dec. 14. For November 2021, the PPI grew by 0.8 percent. For the past year ending in November 2021, it rose by 9.6 percent on an annualized basis. According to the BLS, this is the hottest PPI reading since this metric originated in November 2010. With costs not appearing to abate anytime soon, how can businesses combat rising costs? Figure out Financial Priorities Harvard Business Review (HBR) details steps that companies can take to evaluate and make adjustments to mitigate […]
December 1, 2021

How Businesses Can Recognize and Combat Employee Burnout

According to the job site Indeed, COVID-19 has taken a toll on workers even more in 2021, compared to 2020. The survey conducted by Indeed found that 52 percent of those surveyed felt “burned out” in 2021. Sixty-seven percent of those asked said that feeling burned out has become more pronounced as COVID-19 has progressed. It’s more noticeable among remote workers (38 percent), compared to 28 percent of employees working in person. Gallup reported in October 2020 that between 2016 and 2019, worker burnout was already on the radar. Once COVID-19 hit workers in 2020, those working remotely 100 percent of the time are reporting even higher levels than those who work outside the home. Pre-COVID-19, when employees worked remotely […]
November 1, 2021

How to Develop Company Travel Policies Post-COVID

According to a recent U.S. Travel Association forecast, only about one-third of companies are requiring their employees to travel. With business travel still at a low, how can companies develop a travel policy that reduces the risk of COVID-19? Occupational Safety and Health Administration When it comes to business travelers, whether employees are traveling domestically or internationally, OSHA recommends employers consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidance. Travel Guidance The CDC advises against traveling internationally if someone is not vaccinated, is exposed to, sick with, tests positive and/or is waiting results from COVID-19 exposure. Even for travelers who are fully vaccinated, the CDC reminds us that becoming infected and/or spreading the virus is still possible. Travelers […]
October 1, 2021

How Businesses Can Help Employees Improve their Skills

Based upon a recent McKinsey Global Survey, nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) of management and above level respondents affirmed they are currently, or within the upcoming five years, dealing with the skill gap among their employees. With the vast majority of businesses experiencing or forecasting a skills-gap, how can they close or reduce this challenge? Due to the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” as the World Economic Forum (WEF) explains, the best scenario it sees is 54 percent of workers requiring “reskilling and upskilling by 2022.” However, the WEF points out that 3 in 10 workers susceptible to occupation disruption due to advancements in applied science obtained additional training in 2018. It’s important to clarify the differences between re-skilling and […]
September 1, 2021

How and Why to Develop a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy

With the internet available for essentially all employees and remote work becoming a part of more businesses’ operations, developing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is almost necessary to help employees be more productive and safe while working. Research shows there are many reasons why businesses should develop the right type of BYOD policy. According to Intel and Dell, 61 percent of Gen Y and 50 percent of workers 30 and older think the electronic devices they use at home are more capable in completing tasks in their everyday life compared to their work devices. Frost & Sullivan found that connected handheld technology helps employees, making them about one-third more productive and reducing their average workday by 58 minutes. A BYOD policy […]
August 1, 2021

How Businesses Can Harness Demand Forecasting

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumer spending has seen some interesting trends over the first half of 2021. May was flat, April was at 0.9 percent, March was 5.0 percent, and February was at 1.0 percent. With varied consumer spending statistics as the nation comes out of the pandemic, it’s important for businesses to get demand forecasting as accurate as possible. According to The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, demand forecasting is “a method for predicting future demand for a product.” It’s a calculated method to plan for inventory and helps prepare the supply chain for the future. Demand forecasting helps businesses forecast their future sales, which is based primarily on historical data. However, relying exclusively on historical data […]
July 1, 2021

How to Develop a Hybrid Work Policy Post-Pandemic

According to a Prudential survey, 87 percent of respondents said they would prefer to work remotely at least one day per week. This is compared to 13 percent of respondents preferring to work at the office all the time. The same survey found that one-third of respondents wouldn’t want to work for a business that had a 100 percent on-site work policy. According to a report from Microsoft titled, “The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?” 54 percent of employees report “feeling overworked” while 39 percent say they “feel exhausted.” The study attributes these employee feelings to an overload of “digital collaboration” through “remote meetings, emails, chats, and groups working on documents together.” With workers reporting […]
June 1, 2021

Vaccine Hesitancy: Why We Have It and How It Affects Employers and Employees

According to a Tufts University survey, six in ten of those surveyed are now vaccinated against COVID-19. However, almost 40 percent of the unvaccinated respondents said they won’t get the vaccine. Only 28.5 percent of the remaining unvaccinated respondents said they will get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the future, with the remaining unvaccinated respondents unable to decide whether they will take the vaccination. With vaccine hesitancy a concern, how can employers encourage more people to get the vaccine? It is important to understand why some view vaccines skeptically in order to overcome vaccine hesitancy among employees. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center attributes vaccine hesitancy to these factors: The first factor is safety. Since the vaccine was developed faster […]
May 1, 2021

How Businesses Can Hedge Against Increasing Inflation

Inflation is on the rise. According to a recent Economic News Release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Producer Price Index for final demand grew by 1 percent in March. February saw “final demand prices” grow by 0.5 percent; and January’s final demand prices increased by 1.3. According to BLS, the Producer Price Index (PPI) consists of many indicators and evaluates the mean difference over a period of time for the “selling prices received by domestic producers of goods and services.” In other words, PPI is a way to gauge how much manufacturers and similar businesses face in increased costs due to inflation. This inflation gauge takes a broad survey of approximately 10,000 unique manufactured items and […]
April 1, 2021

How Companies Can Become More Nimble During the Product Lifecycle

The majority of U.S. industrial product company CFOs have shared concerns that COVID-19 would impact their businesses negatively. For companies that develop and manufacture products, understanding the product lifecycle and how to work around crises like the COVID-19 pandemic can be effective to help improve the longevity and success of companies. Market Development Stage According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the first stage of the product lifecycle is market development. This normally happens when a company introduces a new product for sale. There is usually little demand at this point; instead, demand has to be cultivated among consumers. Factors that impact the rate of introduction include the product’s novelty; how practical it is for consumers’ existing problems; and how […]
March 1, 2021

Some Businesses Rely on Line of Credit to Escape Damages Caused by Pandemic

As businesses attempt to work their way through to a post-pandemic world, there are various means to bridge the financial gap. As recommended by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), some companies can use a line of credit to reach international customers or opportunities outside the United States to make up for the damage COVID-19 caused with fewer domestic sales. How can businesses use a line of credit to increase their chance of survival and pivot to profitability as we move through 2021? According to Debt.org, a business line of credit functions like any other line of credit that uses revolving debt. Businesses use a portion of their line of credit to meet financial obligations and repay based on the […]
February 1, 2021

How Firms Can Restore Balance Sheets to Better Health

According to the World Bank Group, for businesses in emerging markets and developing economies, the bottom fourth percentile of the non-financial corporate (NFC) sector saw their balance sheets deteriorate. Looking at these businesses’ Interest Coverage Ratio, the average figure dropped to 0.06 from 0.35 between the fourth quarter of 2019 and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic’s ongoing effects. The ICR is a measure of a firm’s ability to repay their debt in accordance to existing obligations, whereby a higher ratio indicates a better ability to do so. This is calculated by dividing earnings before interest and taxes by Interest expense. With businesses seeing losses of as much as three-quarters of revenue in a three-month timeframe, as McKinsey & […]
January 1, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Considerations for Employers

Looking at a 2009 letter from the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers may be able to require their employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine, with a few exceptions (such as the likelihood of a life-threatening reaction to it). With the COVID-19 vaccine being rolled out, how can employers balance workplace safety, maintain productivity and stay within the law? According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the early vaccination stages will likely focus on those who are at particular risk of severe and life-threatening complications from COVID-19. This is expected to include elderly individuals, especially those who live in nursing homes. It’s also expected to include frontline healthcare workers who may be […]
January 1, 2020

How to Calculate and Analyze Return on Equity

When it comes to evaluating a business, especially one that is publicly traded, determining its return on equity (ROE) is one way to see how it’s performing. What is Return on Equity? Return on equity is a ratio that gives investors insight into how effectively the company’s management team is taking care of the shareholders’ financial investments in the company. The greater the ROE percentage, the better the business’ management staff is at making income and creating growth from shareholders’ investments.   How ROE is Determined In order to calculate ROE, a company’s net income is divided by shareholder equity. To arrive at net income, businesses account for the cost of doing business, which includes the cost of goods sold, sales, […]
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