Archive Search

Advanced Search

×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 2549

Search results
Recent media attention, including ubiquitous coverage of the Target Corp. security breach over the holidays, has highlighted the increase in security intrusions affecting organizations across industries. As technology moves forward exponentially, security threats and leaks continue to emerge.“In the digital age, nearly every company holds personally identifiable information of its employees or customers in digital form,” says Christina D. Frangiosa, an attorney at Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC. “It’s imperative that this information is protected from unauthorized disclosure and that companies have a plan to address any breaches.”Smart Business spoke with Frangiosa about data protection, the role of state…
If I were to identify one book pivotal to my company’s success, it would be “Execution” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Simply put, it shows how to get the job done and deliver results … whether you are running a company or in your first management job — plus, it is chock full of real-life examples that reinforce each salient point. In my infinite wisdom, I thought I knew the true meaning of execution. You just set a goal and eliminate all obstacles. Right? Wrong! What I learned from the book was how little I knew about execution in…
When considering what to showcase for the new “Uniquely Philadelphia” feature in Smart Business Philadelphia, the Mütter Museum instantly came to mind. It’s known worldwide and certainly has many items that can be considered unique. But, as Communications Director J. Nathan Bazzel is quick to point out, the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is much more than a collection of oddities that attracts curiosity seekers. “People assume that there’s one type of person that comes to the museum. And nothing could be further from the truth,” Bazzel says.Sharing the human experience Not everyone has an interest…
As the economy moves away from recession, many privately held companies are finding themselves with available cash and are deciding how it can be best utilized. “They’re calling and asking, ‘Do I acquire a business, or start a new product line? Or do we further incentivize our top performers?’” says Tyler A. Ridgeway, director of Human Capital Resources at Kreischer Miller. Many companies are aggressively looking for top talent, and you need to act quickly to attract ‘A’ players and ensure your best performers don’t leave. Top executives are landing jobs more quickly than ever, Ridgeway says. Smart Business spoke…
Building out an effective telecommunication and technology infrastructure that meets current needs in the most cost-effective manner possible while providing a base for expansion isn’t an exact science. You need to account for future changes in the nature of work within your organization and with your partners, customers and suppliers, keeping in mind that working models are becoming more flexible and customer contact is increasing. You also must consider specific needs, such as security, disaster recovery, technology performance requirements, public/private boundary controls within systems and networks, and critical tools and datasets. If you underestimate your needs, you could end up…
Additional insured — it’s a standard practice in most industries to require vendors to protect you under their insurance policies. These insurance transfers occur most frequently when hiring companies to do construction, maintenance or security, or if you’re leasing space. “The concept is if I hire you to do work for me, I don’t want to be liable for you. I don’t want to be responsible for what you may do wrong, so I want you to cover me with your insurance” says Brian Chance, MBA, CPCU, AIC, vice president of Claims and Services at ECBM. Over the years, the…
Chris and Natasha Ashton risked a lot to get Petplan off the ground. “Two years of funding the business on credit cards and taking cash out on the credit cards to pay off student loans at Wharton,” says Natasha, the pet insurance company’s co-founder, co-CEO and CMO. “Two years of sleepless nights. But it proved to us that there is always a way and perseverance is the greatest strength of an entrepreneur. You can’t give up.” It was ultimately the confidence that she and her husband, Chris, had that they would find an insurance carrier willing to underwrite their business…
The movie “Moneyball” depicted how baseball executives were using statistics to predict outcomes, and allocating resources accordingly. Rodolpho Cardenuto, appointed president of SAP Americas in January 2013, foresees a similar approach in the business world as companies gain insights from big data. “The only difference is that they used past statistics. The real insight is how to predict outcomes,” Cardenuto says. “I think it’s going to be a bigger revolution in business than in any sport.” The challenge is transforming big data into actionable items. Making use of data involves taking it from infrastructure to information and then to insight.…
Monday, 10 March 2014 01:46

How to keep the 'family' in a family business

Written by
Some firms owned or dominated by family have achieved monumental success. Others have found the transition process to be more difficult. Relentless competition and struggle for customer loyalty, combined with the thorny issues of family dynamics, prove challenging.When preparing to transfer a family business, the first step is making certain each successor is fully committed. Talk to them well in advance and explain the benefits and pitfalls from the perspective of an owner.Prior to joining the family business, outside employment in a related field is beneficial. “Working for an accounting, finance or legal firm can help a member of the…
Cloud technologies have transformed the playing field for small and midsize businesses, largely because of their flexibility. Organizations have the ability to quickly and painlessly ramp up their services when they need something more. “Using their Internet connection, they can harness the power — and reap the rewards — of applications traditionally available only to large enterprises with big IT budgets,” says Kevin Conmy, regional vice president, Freedom Region at Comcast Business. “Cloud-based services, from servers to storage, provide access to high-performance infrastructure without high-priced investments. Streaming video can be used to bring conferences and training to any employee, anywhere.…
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:49

Transparency in purchasing benefits, the time has come

Written by
The employee benefit procurement process, sometimes called marketing, has changed little over the past 25 years. This continues to frustrate many organizations looking for transparency, and potential cost savings, when procuring life, disability stop loss, dental, vision or pharmacy benefit management coverage. Formal Requests for Proposals (RFP) may travel by email, but the underlying process is the same; insurance carriers simply send an image of the paper proposal that they would have dropped off years prior. The interpretation, presentation and, most importantly, negotiations haven’t changed, says Matthew R. Huttlin, vice president in the Employee Benefits Division at ECBM. Almost a…
Companies are valued based on a formula that takes into account cash flow and the multiple that a buyer would be willing to pay. Increasing the value of a business amounts to finding ways to affect those two factors. “Certain businesses, like a developer investing in land, are valued based on how much their assets are worth. But 90 percent of companies are valued based on their cash flow. So you need to increase cash flow if you want to increase the value of the business,” says Mario O. Vicari, a director at Kreischer Miller. Smart Business spoke with Vicari…
Thursday, 30 January 2014 06:38

Do HIPAA privacy laws apply to your business?

Written by
Many business operators know that the federal privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA) apply to health information maintained by “covered entities,” such as health care providers and health plans. Fewer know that new regulations, effective September 2013, expand the scope of direct responsibility for compliance. Now, HIPAA rules directly apply to “business associates” of covered entities. Business associates, like covered entities, are subject to penalties of $100 to more than $50,000 per HIPAA violation, says Jules S. Henshell, of counsel at Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC. If the violation resulted from willful neglect, the Department of…
Historically, private business owners overestimate what their comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy covers, and therefore don’t buy the additional insurance they need. According to the Chubb 2013 Private Company Risk Survey, 44 percent of private companies have experienced at least one claim in directors and officers (D&O), employment practices, fiduciary liability, employee fraud, workplace violence and cyber liability in the past three years. More than half of the executives interviewed mistakenly believed they had some form of coverage under their CGL policy. As business owners run into a wide range of costly lawsuits, government fees, data theft, criminal activity and…
The increased use of web-based cloud accounting applications has provided users many advantages related to efficiencies and cost savings but conversely it adds certain risk factors, says Roman Leshak, a director in Audit & Accounting at Kreischer Miller. Smart Business spoke with Leshak about ways to reduce risks associated with accounting in the cloud.How do accounting firms use the cloud? Accounting applications utilized through cloud computing include bill management and payment, customer relationship management, document management, enterprise resource planning systems, financial statements preparation, payroll, sales and use tax, tax return preparation and work flow resources. Advances in technology have helped…
Thursday, 02 January 2014 18:36

Weighing in on health care reform: Philadelphia

Written by
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called the Affordable Care Act represents some of the most far-reaching government overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid came into being. It will be phased in over time, but a number of changes have been delayed and won’t be in effect until 2015. The act focuses on increasing the rate of health insurance coverage for American and reducing health care costs. Here’s what some area businesses have on their minds about health care reform as the time nears for the full impact of the ACA: Steve…
It’s something every business owner fears — the phone rings or you get a letter or email from your bank. They don’t want you as a customer/borrower anymore. What do you do from that point? The most important thing is not to panic, says Charles W. Ormsby, Jr., managing member at Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC. The situation is often not as bad or bleak as the bank originally presents it. “They make it seem awful, but it can actually turn out pretty well when it’s all done,” Ormsby says. Smart Business spoke with Ormsby about how to handle…
Most business owners rely on their computer systems and technology to keep their companies humming. When technology stops working, the business stops working. Even a relatively “simple” problem or question could involve hours of troubleshooting, resulting in unplanned downtime and expenses. Proper management of technology can not only minimize pesky tech issues that drag down productivity and drive up costs, it can maximize productivity and help a business grow. But the time and financial resources necessary to manage IT in-house are making outsourcing increasingly attractive and beneficial. “Also known as a Managed Services Provider (MSP), an outside IT provider can…
E-risk. Data and network security. Cyber liability. There are as many names for insurance that covers privacy and Internet liability as there are insurance companies. In general, “cyber” is a catchall phase referring to use of computers, the Internet, networks and electronic data, says Jan O’Rourke, CPCU, RPLU, ARM, assistant vice president and director of client services – specialty division at ECBM. “I don’t know of any responsible business that would operate without standard insurance coverage — general liability, auto, workers’ compensation and property — to protect the business against financial loss, and possibly ruin,” O’Rourke says. “With the evolution…
By definition, the term “waste” is an act or instance of performing or spending carelessly, extravagantly or to no purpose. Despite the negative connotations surrounding waste, many businesses are seeing waste as an opportunity. Successful businesses are actively engaged in the identification and reduction of waste in processes, says Robert S. Olszewski, a director at Kreischer Miller. “Processes either add value or create waste to the production of a product or service,” says Olszewski. “Waste can account for up to 30 percent of the operating costs of an organization. Unfortunately, waste has become accepted by many as what normally happens.…
Seth Priebatsch is one name that David Bookspan won’t soon forget. Priebatsch is the founder and CEO of LevelUp, an alternative payment service business where consumers can go to merchants and charge their purchases through a QR code. “LevelUp is in a lot of different cities now and they are just killing it,” Bookspan says. “Seth is a force of nature. He was a 17-year-old freshman at Princeton when he came into DreamIt. He was full of energy, scary smart and just a rock star. He needed some additional business support and we connected him.” DreamIt Ventures is a seed-stage…
As a cornerstone of the communities they serve, today’s libraries have evolved beyond just providing books to their patrons: they now offer group meeting sites, public Internet access, research information, digital content and so much more. Yet despite the greater number of amenities that can be found within their doors, libraries are finding that their budgets are continuing to tighten. This leaves many libraries and library systems increasingly saddled with the task of offering new services — and the technology necessary to deliver them — while still adhering to limited funding sources. The Cumberland County Library System is the busiest…
It was a question Janice Leone just had to ask. She was on an airplane, and just happened to be seated next to a passenger who was an airline pilot. “I said to him, ‘Do you ever get scared up there?’” Leone says. “‘Do you ever get fearful when you’re flying the plane?’ He looked around and said, ‘Nope. I might get a little apprehensive about 50 mph crosswinds. But I’m not fearful.’” The conversation moved on to something else until 20 minutes later when the passenger asked Leone to tell him what she did for a living. “I said…
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “It is much easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.” If you’ve ever wondered whether your workforce would band together to win an uphill battle, try relocating your headquarters. Moving a business is an extraordinary task to take on, no matter the size. At Petplan, we’ve experienced fast and furious growth in just a few short years, and relocating our company to larger digs was not without its challenges. No one really likes change, but it is my belief — and it has been…
Robert J. Ciaruffoli isn’t afraid of hiring too many people to come work at ParenteBeard LLC. His fear is exactly the opposite — a situation where he wakes up one day, looks at his team and realizes he doesn’t have enough people to service the accounting firm’s clients in a high-quality manner. “It takes a long time to build up your reputation, but you can destroy it overnight by not providing your clients with great service,” says Ciaruffoli, chairman and CEO of the $170 million accounting and consultant firm. “Because we were in a growth mode, if anything, we overhired…
Believe it or not, many people within your organization possess creative genes. Unfortunately as leaders, we often don’t allow them to surface by overloading them with ongoing day-to-day tasks. Sound familiar? You should know they are a critical component to any business’s success. OK, they may be a tad moody or eccentric … but they are an integral part of the fabric of your organization. Although every organization claims to care about creativity and innovation, very few are willing to do what it takes to keep their creative people happy. So, what are the keys to engaging and retaining creative…
Employers today are more likely to have an employment practices liability (EPL) insurance claim than a property or general liability claim. EPL provides protection against claims made by employees, whether former, current or potential, regarding discrimination — age, sex, race, disability, etc., wrongful termination, sexual harassment and other employment-related allegations. When looking to have your exposures covered, underwriters carefully evaluate your company’s written procedures and practices. “You need to confirm that these procedures are distributed and enforced constantly throughout the organization,” says Daniel R. Slezak, vice president at ECBM. “There should be a way to promote awareness and a ‘hotline’…
Page 1 of 7