X3 Consulting complete the 26 mile Rob Roy Mighty Hike
On Saturday the 3rd September 4 members of the X3 Consulting team completed 26 mile long marathon along the Rob Roy Way, following in the footsteps of Rob Roy MacGregor, a famous figure in Scottish Folklore in aid of MacMillan cancer support. The team started the marathon at 7.30am and finished in just over 9 hours at 4.32pm. The team have collective managed to raise £1,878.00 for the charity. Nick Tucker, Kelly Tucker, Jaco Estherhuysen, Tanya Esterhuysen were also support by Jaco’s son William and his girlfriend Liberty on the hike.
In the months before the event the team trained hard in preparation for the day long marathon. The Rob Roy Way is a 79-mile route linking Drymen to Pitlochry in Perthshire. It follows in the footsteps of Rob Roy MacGregor, a famous figure in Scottish Folklore, and the mountainous Scottish Highlands provide a stunning backdrop for the Rob Roy Mighty Hike.
The Rob Roy Mighty Hike is predominantly a flat route with good underfoot conditions. While it is one of our more accessible hikes, it is still a demanding challenge, particularly if the weather is poor. The route covered approximately 26 miles from Callander to Killin, along the Rob Roy Way.
If you would like to donate to the cause there is still time. Please click the link to the just giving page here.
Migrating to Sage Intacct
Why your business should migrate to Sage Intacct: Why You Should Migrate from Your Legacy Sage Software
Some companies swear by software that has stuck with them through good times and bad and prefer not to reinvent the wheel in favour of maintaining the status quo. However, legacy software systems just can’t keep up with the increased demands of growing businesses. While Sage 50, Sage 100, Sage 200, Sage 300, and similar legacy Sage software may serve companies well, upgraded versions like Sage Intacct are versatile investments to help your business scale and succeed.
If your business has experienced one or more of the following pain points, it might be time to speak with a qualified Sage partner about migrating your Sage software:
Finance works best when there is seamless collaboration between other departments and functions. Some accounting systems often aren’t well-integrated with other enterprise-level tools and systems. These limitations can leave you trapped in manual processes, spreadsheets, cumbersome workarounds, and slower workflows as you manage conflicting formats and rekey the same data in multiple systems.
Is it time to upgrade to Sage Intacct? Check the following signs:
More and more of your reporting is being done in Excel
As your business grows and develops a need for more complex reporting, it may simply outpace what Sage 50 provides.
For example, you may not be able to ‘slice and dice’ your data in the ways you need, because the software lacks dimensions and calculated fields. As a proxy for dimensions, some customers blow up their chart of accounts with many additional lines. While this can help with reporting purposes, it can lead to data quality issues and difficulty correctly tagging GL entries.
Without the ability to create calculated fields, you may be unable to combine financial and non-financial data to easily see information—such as revenue generated per sales rep.
For these reasons, many of your reports are being built in Excel—and that takes time.
You’re missing reporting deadlines
If 40% to 60% of your reports are being built in Excel, you may be experiencing delays (and in some cases missed deadlines) when generating reports for executives and the board.
Today, more people in your organization need better reports, and they expect those reports faster than ever in real-time dashboards that show key metrics and enable you to drill down for details.
The close takes more than 10 days and you’re managing more than 2 entities
Developed as an on-premises solution, Sage 50 wasn’t built to handle the needs of organizations such
as SaaS and Financial Services companies that often have multiple business entities. As a result, standing up a new entity may feel like a new implementation. Customizations have to be reconfigured, the chart of accounts has to be rebuilt, and all the entities are siloed off from each other.
Because of that, inter-entity transactions have to be manually keyed in to ensure the books are balanced, and consolidations take hours to days to complete. These delays ultimately impact the speed you can close the books, making it feel like a never-ending cycle.
You need to access your accounting system remotely
With on-premises software, you have two choices—work from the office or set up a remote access server. Given the current business climate, with so much uncertainty over when everyone will be returning to the office, your team needs to work remotely.
Truly cloud-based software gives you and your team the ability to work anywhere, anytime.
Improve productivity across your business by over 65% with Sage Intacct
Reduce time to close by as much as 79%
Achieve on average a ROI of over 250%
Your business is scaling but Sage 50 struggles to keep up
While it likely helped you to build the business, you may find Sage 50 is unable to keep pace with your current growth.
As you add business units and expand into new markets and geographies—or even add entirely new lines of business—you may feel your existing accounting software is holding you back. For example, you may be handling new subsidiaries with more currencies, tax jurisdictions, regulatory frameworks, sales channels, and product costs.
Manual processes have become standard operating procedure
Without automation for processes like PO approvals, invoice generation, payment processing, and currency conversions, it’s easy to lose days of productivity to manual processes. When those systems aren’t able to communicate, integrations are replaced by manual workarounds.
Ready to Upgrade Your Legacy Sage Software?
Sage Intacct offers your organisation the solution it needs to gain new insights, simplify multi-entity management, work where and how you need to, and automate key financial process.
When the time is right for your organisation, you may want to consider moving on from Sage 50, Sage 100, Sage 200, Sage 300, and similar legacy Sage software to Sage Intacct. You’ll gain real-time visibility into financial data, better insight into operational KPIs and faster decision making—with self-service access, dynamic dashboards, intuitive reporting, slice/dice dimensional capabilities, and drill-down to source analysis.
CONTACT US or email our team to find out more email@example.com.
Watch this short video on our Youtube channel for more information:
IF YOU’D LIKE TO LEARN MORE, CLICK HERE OR TO ARRANGE 1-2-1 DISCUSSION WITH ONE OF OUR BUSINESS GROWTH CONSULTANTS CLICK HERE.
Or you can register for the online Sage coffee break demo by clicking this link.
Lockdown locks donated to charity
Vincent Ah-Koon has grown some incredible locks during the lockdown and has decided to donate his hair to The Little Princess Trust. The Little Princess Trust provides free real hair wigs to children and young people, up to 24 years, who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions.
Vincent and the team at X3 Consulting would like to raise £550 to help make a wig for the charity and give a person some confidence in their time of crisis. From receiving hair donations at their office, through to fitting and styling a bespoke wig, it costs the charity from £550 to provide a real-hair wig free-of-charge, to our wig recipients. There are many elements that add to the cost of the wigs, including: manufacture, storage, salon fees, and so on — which is why in addition to the hair we’d like to raise the funds to make this happen.
Established in 2006, The Little Princess Trust have supplied over 8000 wigs to children and young people and have invested circa £5 million into ground-breaking childhood cancer research. The focus of the research they fund is closely linked to their pledge to provide free real hair wigs and fund studies that not only look for ways to improve a young person’s chance of survival but to do so while reducing the side effects from treatment.
If you’d like to donate money to our fundraising efforts please visit our just giving page here and we’ll update you all shortly with the big cut!
Click here to donate on our Gofundme Page so we can supply both the hair and funds to make the wig:
Watch their story here:
Finance chiefs continue to play a critical role in shepherding their organisations through the global economic crisis, a recent survey shows how.
CFO Research (part of Argyle Advisory and Research Services) and FTI Consulting surveyed 325 chief financial officers and other senior finance executives back in August to understand better how the finance function drives enterprise value.
Five key themes emerged from the survey results:
- The CFOs’ work during the pandemic has earned them the right to be strategic leaders in their organisations. The pandemic shined a spotlight on finance chiefs’ ability to lead via an essential and often overlooked task: corporate scenario modeling and planning.
- In the face of a “new normal” economy, CFOs maintained productivity with remote teams. In response to COVID-19, a whopping 71% of finance team members worked in a remote or mostly remote workforce model, the survey showed.
- The digital workforce continues to grow. While most chief financial officers have started to adopt automation, the survey results suggested automation has not reached its full potential in most organisations.
- The corporate finance service delivery model is evolving. Forty-one percent of the survey respondents indicated their finance work was performed by a shared services organisation (SSO), but 48% said they used business process outsourcing (BPO) or hybrid models, such as BPO hybrids.
- Looking ahead, the CFO is well-positioned to lead the way as an enterprise value creator. The finance function’s ability to provide insights on predictability in an ambiguous market will guide company decisions on cost, working capital, liquidity, risk, and capital structure.
Strategic CFOs have demonstrated the ability to provide forecast models based on different scenarios, to adjust and adapt, to make informed decisions, and ultimately to lead their companies past the worst of COVID-19 and into the recovery period. Leading finance chiefs showed their companies how to adapt, transform, and sustain performance going forward.
Overwhelmingly, the surveyed finance executives portrayed their chief financial officers and finance teams as rising to the task across the domains of strategic leadership, planning and analysis, use of technology and automation, and identifying risks. More than nine out of every 10 of the survey respondents said their CFO and finance functions:
- Played prominent roles in guiding business strategy, making operational decisions, and driving enterprise value across the organization;
- Drove value by regularly identifying areas and leading efforts to reduce and optimize enterprise costs; and
- Used digital technologies like predictive analytics and intelligent automation to deliver timely, accurate, relevant information.
CFOs needed to adapt to remote workforces, cultural changes, and talent challenges. The survey data suggested that leading CFOs were prepared with automation-assisted support and reacted quickly by revising priorities, facilitating processes remotely, and preserving talent and culture in their teams.
The most immediate priority for the CFO and finance function in response to the coronavirus pandemic was to enable a remote workforce, according to the survey. Forty-three percent of the survey respondents said their finance teams adopted a remote workforce model, with an additional 28% working mostly remotely, and 14% working partially remotely but mainly in an office.
The issues that the newly forged remote finance workforces had to contend with were wide-ranging. More than 40% of the surveyed executives said the pandemic had a significant impact on cost management, financial planning and analysis, and budgeting and forecasting. And more than one-third of the survey respondents said that risk management, treasury and working capital management, technology adoption, and accounting and financial reporting were significantly impacted.
While CFOs have made advancements in robotic process automation (RPA) for the finance function, there are still opportunities to improve. Most CFOs have started to adopt automation. More than three-quarters (77%) of the survey respondents said that at least 1 in 20 members of their finance team were “virtual,” meaning they were using RPA and other automation capabilities.
But only 27% said that at least one in five members of their finance team were virtual, which suggests that automation has not reached its full potential in most organisations. Eliminating and automating manual processes was a high priority or critical priority for 52% of the surveyed executives.
Service Delivery Evolves
The survey results showed that BPO is still going strong despite the impact of automation on the scope of work outsourced. The finance function delivered most of its services through BPO for 25% of the survey respondents, compared with 22% mostly through global business services (GBS), 18% primarily through captured shared services, and 23% through hybrid models.
GBS adoption by organisations was being led by CFOs and finance. Finance was overwhelmingly the most included function for GBS service delivery, with 86% of the GBS organisations including it. IT was the second-most included function, at 35%, followed closely by human resources and procurement, at 33% and 32%, respectively. Most of the GBS organizations represented in the survey, 55%, reported to the CFO.
Cost containment is still a dominant concern for CFOs. Almost one-third of the surveyed executives said they planned to increase the use of either captive shared services, BPO, GBS, or a hybrid model to leverage their variable cost models in this uncertain business climate.
Enterprise Value Creator
About two-thirds of the surveyed executives defined the current role of their CFO as a finance and accounting leader. Most of the survey respondents also selected an additional role for their CFO, split nearly evenly between three types: an efficiency and effectiveness driver, a business partner and adviser, and an enterprise value creator and organisational leader.
The survey indicated that the enterprise value creator role was an expanding one for CFOs. Eighty-nine percent of the surveyed executives said that the CFO and finance function had the talent and skills to drive enterprise value for the organisation.
In the short term, CFOs showed their companies how to sustain their businesses through the initial stages of the pandemic. Over the long term, CFOs will look to transformation initiatives to sustain cost savings. Sixty-four percent of the surveyed executives said that improving planning, scenario modeling, and forecasting was a high or critical priority for the CFO and finance function over the next 12 to 18 months.
To achieve strategic goals and drive value, 84% of the survey respondents said they were evaluating, implementing, or already using planning, forecasting, and budgeting technologies, and 86% were doing the same for performance reporting and analytics technologies. And 79% said they were evaluating, implementing, or already using enterprise performance management (EPM) technologies.
With the latest announcement, businesses need to be able to adapt quickly to enable remote working and keep their businesses functioning smoothly, even if you’re not all in the same office. Most employees have had to adjust to a work-from-home environment again, and many of them are having to do so with their spouses and children in tow.
For finance, this remote work environment, combined with a troubled economy is even trickier. Finance departments are doing some of the most critical and challenging remote work in order to keep the business operations running smoothly. But their unique issues are often overlooked by how to make the business at large more productive and collaborative.
Although thought of as a backend function, Finance teams are on the front lines of the business now more than ever before. Along with customer service teams, they hear the financial distress of their customers firsthand. The effect that this alone can have on team morale can be significant.
As finance leaders continue to embrace their new normal, they not only need to lead a high-performing, remote finance function but also find ways to boost team morale.
Working remotely brings it own challenges so here are five areas worth focusing on.
Empower your employees to be confident decision-makers
Giving your employees more authority, trust, and flexibility in their remote working environments can pay dividends. Start by evaluating key finance processes for common bottlenecks and find ways to streamline.
Payment extensions are a good example of this since they often go through an upstream approval process. In a situation like this, consider whether you can empower employees to become decision-makers during the negotiation process up until a designated threshold.
Not only will this remove unnecessary bottlenecks and save time, but it can also contribute to higher productivity, greater confidence, and professional growth for your team.
Look for creative ways to scale your team
For smaller, two-to-three person finance teams, bandwidth can feel challenging in traditional environments. In a remote environment, it can feel overwhelming.
As Chief Financial Officer, helping your team become more scalable is critical. Here are some ways you can build a more scalable remote team.
- Automate your dunning and reporting as much as possible. On average, one collector can handle over 300 accounts with a manual dunning process. If the process is automated, they can handle over 1,000.
- Develop more meaningful training resources. Look for ways you can build out more resources and training processes for your team. Video recordings and finance playbooks are great assets to make readily available to your team.
- Consider utilising contractors for short-term goals. If budget allows, outsource smaller, more time-consuming projects. You’ll free up your team’s capacity to focus on higher-value, more rewarding work.
Be a beacon of light in a dark time
During challenging times, finance teams have to have challenging conversations. You’re going to have to guide your team through some really tough situations. Avoiding surprises is generally a good thing, so give your team frequent updates about your bad debt expectations, DSO changes, and collections forecasts.
Spend more of your 1:1 time debriefing your employees and preparing them for what’s ahead and how to handle different scenarios. Consider building out a playbook for how to engage with customers and successfully navigate through different situations.
Feeling connected and rapid learning is important, so be sure to hold regular, virtual group meetings for the team to share experiences, insights, and best practices with each other.
Above all, make team morale your top priority. Now more than ever, CFOs need to be the finance team’s champion. Keep an eye on your team’s big wins, and find ways to call out individuals for their great work while celebrating the team as a whole.
Use data to gauge performance and morale
Take a closer look at the metrics you use to track the team’s performance, individual team members, and their productivity. Do they still make sense in the current environment, or do you need to make appropriate adjustments?
For example, right now many customers are struggling to pay their bills. This not only affects the performance of your company but also the performance of your finance team. Look at your portfolio as a whole, and then look at 30-plus days past due as a percentage of the portfolio. What number can you live with as a past-due percentage? Some folks even target the overall portfolio’s percentage of invoices past 60 or 90 days.
Then, update your team’s performance targets based on these adjusted percentages to better track individual performance against the new portfolio-wide target.
It’s also important to remember that during tougher times, regular 1:1’s and weekly meetings should remain your primary focus. These ongoing touchpoints and communication methods will allow finance leaders to gather the most reasonable data around their team’s performance and morale.
Remember that empathy matters most
Lastly and above all, empathy matters. Not only is your own business likely struggling right now, but so is your customer’s customer and their customer. As a CFO, your top priority is keeping attuned to the feelings, challenges, and circumstances that your team and customers are going through, and then looking for ways to guide them through the uncertainty.
As humans, we’re biologically wired for connection, which can make the remote life even more challenging. Make it a priority to look for ways to celebrate small wins or personal achievements with your team. Encourage them to take mental escape days or establish a weekly meeting-free afternoon to help them catch their breath.
One of the positive outcomes of this pandemic has been the great lengths that individuals and organisations have gone to in order to connect with one another. As a CFO, keep looking for ways you can help your employees and customers in the spirit of generosity—and not worry solely about ROI.
At the start of 2020, 87% of public sector organisations surveyed by UKCloud expressed a desire to move traditional IT environments into the cloud. However, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of cloud adoption in the UK has grown significantly this year, as many companies not already in the cloud were compelled to migrate to it by enforced remote work.
It is therefore predicted that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market will be the largest market segment, and is forecasted to reach $116 billion in 2020, due to the scalability of subscription-based software. The overall demand, legislation and compliance requirements — and need to protect worker data as businesses rapidly shift to remote work — are all factors creating a groundswell of demand for simple SaaS offerings (or SaaS-based).
But IT managers don’t always share their colleagues’ enthusiasm, particularly at small and midsize businesses that have historically managed IT internally. As guardians of their organisations’ precious data assets, IT managers are instinctively cautious and may believe that giving control of servers and critical applications to a cloud provider is risky. Security, systems management, compliance and performance are also often cited as concerns.
These concerns are largely overblown, with many of them rooted in outdated perceptions. Commercial SaaS has greatly matured in the more than 20 years it has been available. The value proposition is compelling: cloud providers enjoy economy-of-scale cost savings that they pass on to their customers as subscription or usage-based prices. The same economics also enables them to provide security, availability and data protection that exceed the capabilities of all but the largest enterprises.
This article helps financial professionals address five of the most common issues about the cloud in general, and SaaS in particular, so that they can build a collaborative approach to cloud adoption with a local partner.
Will I have less control if I move to the Cloud?
Few businesses would say that managing computing infrastructure, installing and testing applications, applying updates and securing against cyberattacks is a core competency. For cloud service providers, however, expertise in these areas is essential to their business.
Cloud platform and SaaS providers unburden customers from the tedious and often risky details of managing infrastructure and applications. They provide reliable and scalable service and keep current with all the latest updates and patches. Contracts and service-level agreements (SLAs) guarantee specified levels of reliability, performance and availability. All other control rests with the customer, who owns the data and gets the benefits of speed, agility and flexibility without the cost and complexity of managing infrastructure and applications.
Is the Cloud secure?
This myth is rooted in one misperception and one out- of-date perception. The misperception is that the record number of breaches of data stored in the cloud in 2019 casts doubts on cloud security. The reality is that these breaches of public cloud data stores are almost always the result of user error rather than security failures.
Public cloud operates under a shared responsibility model in which infrastructure security is provided by the cloud vendor while customers are responsible for application and data security. Unfortunately, many customers don’t understand this distinction. Enterprise Management Associates found that 53% of the IT and security professionals it surveyed believe infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers are accountable for most or all public cloud security.
Does Saas offer any scalability or availability guarantees?
The reality is that no one can ever guarantee availability on-premises or in the cloud because of the number of factors that are beyond the hosting provider’s control. That said, for the reasons listed above cloud companies are much better equipped to provide reliable availability. They employ the best protections against such disruptions as regional outages and denial-of-service attacks and use state-of-the-art failover and backup practices that few of their customers could afford. Cloud SLAs also provide customers with remedies when service levels aren’t met.
Can Cloud applications be customised?
Customising packaged applications is a controversial practice. Modifications to the code can introduce dependencies that invalidate support agreements and limit customers’ ability to stay current with new software releases. The process is labor-intensive, requires extensive testing and even then can’t be guaranteed to be reliable.
Cloud software providers rely upon extensible platforms for customisation and application program interfaces (APIs) integration. An extensible application can be extended without modifying its original code base using platform-as-a-service tools, plug-ins and/or modules. For example, an insurance company might use extensions to add custom fields to its invoices without altering the underlying invoicing functionality of the host application.
Can Saas meet my compliance needs?
Maintaining compliance with laws and regulations is a complicated process that requires expensive expertise. Few companies would call it a core competency.
While some rules and jurisdictions preclude the use of SaaS by requiring data to be kept on-premises, most regulatory scenarios can be readily accommodated. In fact, companies are usually better off using software partners with vertical industry expertise than attempting to manage compliance themselves.
For example, many companies spent millions to become compliant with the ASC 606 revenue recognition accounting standard, which went into effect in 2018. Sage Intacct was preparing its accounting software three years before the rules went into effect, and was fully compliant more than a year before the deadline.
Innovation in the software industry has clearly moved to the SaaS model as the mass migration noted at the outset of this paper proceeds. Nearly every new software company that has launched over the past five years uses a SaaS delivery model and many vendors of legacy applications are now actively encouraging their customers to migrate. For customers seeking the agility the digital business demands, SaaS is no longer an option but a mandate.
We hope this article has dispelled some of the common misperceptions. Having this up-to-date information in hand should better prepare finance and IT professionals to approach the SaaS decision with confidence. Read more on this in the Dispelling 5 Common SaaS Myths paper.
With the future remaining uncertain indefinitely, now is the time for companies to utilise SaaS technology to solve their data protection challenges to best prepare, why not get in touch and take a coffee break demo of the software.
Find out how you can become a strategic partner to the C-Suite
Small businesses are what help drive the economy. With 5.9 million SME’s in the UK it’s no wonder they are an important part of leading the economy. SMEs account for three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector.
This case study details the challenges faced by Pathway Lending when preparing their month-end accounts. Pathway Lending historically prepare month-end reports and report quarterly to the board of directors. Unfortunately, their prior accounting software, Microsoft Dynamics SL (Solomon), did not allow them to access financial insights, or present reports the way they wanted. The software also did not include dashboards. Pathway Lending does a lot of project accounting, and it was “cumbersome” to capture and present the information needed to bill across 10 to 12 different educational grants.
Read the case study and find out more about the challenges and solutions offered by Sage Intacct.
Pathway Lending is a private, 501(c)3 economic development agency certified by the US Treasury to provide lending solutions and educational services to small businesses. This organisation is dedicated to developing and strengthening economic opportunity in underserved communities throughout Tennessee and Alabama in the US.https://www.pathwaylending.org
Describing her team’s difficulties with Microsoft Dynamics SL, Harris recalled, “It wasn’t robust at all. It was very antiquated. I had to manipulate the reports that came from it in an Excel spreadsheet in order to make them presentable to the board. You shouldn’t have to do that. You should be able to customise reports for internal employees and external stakeholders.”
Pathway Lending worked with a trusted Sage business partner, to find a solution that offered a better fit. Pathway Lending wanted a financial management solution with flexible, user-friendly reporting and a chart of accounts that could be divided into dimensions to reflect the organisation’s business segments. The CEO requested dashboards that would enable him to see real-time financial information as well as statistical metrics about the organisation’s mission, such as how many loans were originated, the total amount of loans, the number of clients served, and the number of hours of educational services delivered.
Pathway Lending evaluated Sage Intacct, Oracle NetSuite, and Acumatica before choosing Sage Intacct. Barbara Harris, CFO of Pathway Lending said, NetSuite did not offer the user friendliness she hoped for nor dimensions in the chart of accounts that she needed.
Results with Sage Intacct:
- Month end close cycle reduced 60%
- Provided better insights to executives through real-time dashboards instead of backward-looking reports
- Increased efficiency of billing across grants and shortened billing analysis from two days to two hours
- Lowered the total cost of the accounting department by freeing the CFO from performing accounting-related tasks
- Grew assets 100% with 0% increase in accounting staff
The major disruption caused by coronavirus has prompted many companies to think about business continuity. What happens when staff can’t get to work or if a key member of the leadership team becomes ill?
How will you cope if a major client or supplier announces they’re shutting down for the next few weeks? Having a strategy ready to handle these challenges is essential.
More generally, though, in these times of economic and political uncertainty, and sector disruptors, it’s a good idea to have a business continuity plan ready to go, for all kinds of circumstances.
This could cover a fire at your offices, a flood, a power cut, supply chain issues, or a major IT outage.
Very often, though, this essential part of a company’s business strategy is missing as leaders focus on more immediate and productive issues.
According to a survey published by Mercer, a global consultancy firm, more than half of companies (51%) around the world have no plans in place to combat a global emergency.
The good news, though, is that a business continuity plan, also known as an organisational resilience strategy, isn’t as difficult to devise and implement as many people might think.
The knowledge that the business has regularly updated contingencies in place can be good for staff morale as well as reassuring clients and investors.
How to create a business continuity plan
So, how do you write and implement a plan for this kind of situation? Start by assessing your risk.
A well written business continuity plan includes contributions from every part of the company, including the people on the shop floor.
Operational staff – those working at the coal face of the business – often have the most important inputs, based on their practical experience.
You’ll need to allocate roles for both the researching and writing of the report and the implement of the procedures.
Getting input from throughout the company will ensure your staff are not only familiar with your plan but they also buy into it.
As well as issues such as fire, flood, electrical failure, building closures, staff sickness and IT problems such as cyber-attacks, identify the risks that are relevant to your particular sector. Talking to other companies in the same industry and contacting your industry body will help with your research here.
Then think about the impact of a threat and balance it with the likeliness of it actually happening.
A plane crashing into your building during working hours, for instance, would be catastrophic but it’s very unlikely. At the other end of the scale, a much-used printer suddenly grinding to a halt could easily happen but it’s hardly a disaster.
Focus on the risks that are quite likely to happen and that would also have a serious impact.
Calculating the cost to per hour, per day and per week to your business of each department being out of action will help you to prioritise procedures to support them.
Focus on policies and resources
Your business continuity plan will have two elements. The first part consists of the arrangements, measures and policies that you’ll put into practice should your business be hit with a crisis.
The second constituent is the resources. This involves the personnel, the spread of information internally and externally, as well as the facilities, equipment, legal support and funding for effective business continuation.
As well as threats, consider your key business areas and prioritise them. Identify tolerable downtimes too. In other words, how many hours or days, for instance, could the business manage without IT support or a major warehouse that is suddenly no longer operational?
Split your services
It’s a good idea to divide your services into three categories.
Essential or vital services should be up and running again within 48 hours of the crisis hitting. Category two – important services – might have a target of two to five days.
Meanwhile, in the third category, non-essential services could be allowed eight to 10 days before they’re working again.
Look at your organisational structure and identify the interdependencies in the company – if one department is out of action, how will this impact on others?
Assemble your team, both for writing your plan and for its implementation. Business continuity is everyone’s responsibility but you’ll need specific people to adopt specific roles.
It’s also important to be clear on lines of authority and reporting. Will a member of your emergency team, for instance, have authority over the head of a department when the plan swings into action?
You need to clarify this point before you’re forced to implement your business continuity plan.
Usually a member of the senior management team will lead and coordinate both writing and preparation but also implementation. A programme coordinator can help by managing budgets and people.
It’s also a good idea to have someone responsible for managing information about the crisis and how the plan to mitigate the situation is being implemented.
They’ll probably work closely with your HR people for internal communications and your PR agency or marketing people to talk to customers, suppliers, shareholders, regulators and others.
Depending on the size of your company, it might be useful to assemble a small committee drawn from representatives from the various departments.
Clear goals and actions to take
The finished plan should clearly state the overall goals in any particular crisis situation, be that keeping financial losses to about 80%, fulfilling two thirds of customer orders on time, moving employees to a remote working setup, or getting the business fully operational again in two weeks.
Looking at your balance sheet, your profit and loss, and other financial indicators will help to guide you here.
However, when the IT system first fails or when staff are told to leave the office urgently and go home because of a virus, their immediate concerns will not be the long-term strategy but what they have to do in the next hour or so.
It’s important, therefore, to differentiate between the ultimate goals and strategy on the one hand immediate action to be taken on the other.
A simple, clear list of actions to take for each department should come first in any manuals and communication.
Testing and revising your plan
The temptation once a business continuity plan has been written is to put it into file and tick it off the to-do list. However, it needs to be circulated for comment from all parts of the business and then constantly updated.
As the company and the wider trading environment change, so the plan must change too.
It should also be regularly put into practice. Every six months or so it’s a good idea to run a simulation.
This can just take a matter of hours and it allows staff to become familiar with and the company’s plan as well as providing an opportunity for them to give feedback on it.
It’s often said that crisis and opportunity are two sides of the same coin.
The rapidly growing threat that coronavirus presents to all businesses provides an opportunity to create or update your plan in order to protect your business and your staff – whatever fate might throw at you.
Embracing Change at Speed
Sage X3 provides faster, more intuitive, and better tailored solutions than conventional ERP for organisations looking to retain their competitive advantage by increasing their agility and embracing change.
New Enhancements, Capabilities and Services to Grow Your Business
Whether managing complex processes, address compliance requirements, trading domestically or globally, Sage delivers a range of comprehensive set of capabilities allowing you to manage your business, processes and people. In addition, Version 12 offers some key capabilities such as:
- New cloud offerings and services providing unrivalled levels of choice for all businesses regardless of complexity of size
- Responsive user experience to allow users to work on a variety of different devices regardless of the type or size of the device
- Tax declaration framework to continue supporting our customers across 80+ countries around the world
Sage empowers your business with industry-specific business management solutions designed to meet the unique needs of your industry.
Easily identify dependencies between work orders and raw material availability to improve planning and capacity to promise.
Project Management (PJM) enhancements focused on financial control, budget management and snapshot management. This allows for improved cost management and better control of project profitability.
Manage logistics and track key information for a group of items with a single number driving efficiency across the supply chain.
Support continuous improvement programs by identifying issues, adjusting and then following up on previously identified problems allowing businesses to reduce costs and improve customer experience.
Cloud Service Offerings
Delivery of world class cloud capabilities offering customers unrivalled choice.
Service offerings include Single-tenant solution-as-a-service (SaaS), Single- tenant platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and multi-tenant SaaS running on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Customer First Experiences
New responsive design framework will allow users to work on a variety of different devices regardless of the type or size of the device. It provides a page layout that adapts automatically to the size of the screen.
Introduction of new GraphQL API framework and Data Integration API to enable the connected ecosystem with flexibility and ease.
Global Compliance & Finance
Enhancements in multiple geographies supporting updated and new compliance requirements.
Updates to key day-to-day operations including bank statement reconciliation, automated journal creation and enhanced traceability.
The new Non-Conformance capabilities allow organizations to implement continuous improvement programs by identifying issues, adjusting and then following up on previously identified issues.
Tax Declaration Framework
Enhancements in multiple geographies supporting updated and new compliance requirements across Australia, France, Germany, North America, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.
License Plate Management
Manage logistics and track key information for a group of items with a single number driving efficiency across the supply chain.
If you are ready to take the next step in upgrading your software and want to find out more about Sage X3, get in touch and we would be happy to discuss your requirements and offer an on-line demonstration off the product. Contact our team on 0845 0943885.