By making a list of resolutions and sharing them with your leadership team and staff, you can all commit to working harder and smarter to improve the company's bottom line. Here are a few things to consider as you are developing the list.
* Watch for changing tax laws. The November election could impact tax laws. Old provisions could be extended past their 2004 expiration dates and new laws could be passed.
As you move through the year, don't get caught with an outdated tax budget based on the 2004 laws. Keeping your eye on changes in the tax laws could help your business financially.
* Maximize the benefits of Sarbanes-Oxley. In 2004, large public companies had to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This means public companies with a market capitalization of $75 million or more had to document their internal controls and have them reviewed by an auditor this year. Smaller public companies have until 2005 to meet these same requirements.
Whether your company has completed this task or you still have work to do, make the most of this initiative by using the work required to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley to help identify process improvements that can save you time and money. Consider having some of your Sarbanes-Oxley team help identify possible redundancies or inefficiencies within your business and determine ways to improve your processes.
Retain your best people. Today's most successful companies realize that employee retention and talent management are integral to sustaining their leadership and growth in the marketplace. Employee turnover costs range from an estimated 25 percent to almost 200 percent of annual compensation. It is even more difficult to determine the cost of intangibles such as customer service disruption, loss of morale, burnout, absenteeism and emotional costs among remaining employees, as well as loss of experience, continuity and institutional memory.
With the onset of the New Year, take the opportunity to evaluate how you are spending your merit raise budget to determine whether you are actively working to retain your best and most valuable workers. While monetary compensation typically is not the only driver of employee satisfaction, it is an important consideration. Employees are also concerned about having interesting and meaningful work, acceptable working conditions and good management.
However, employers should work to make sure they are spending their salary increase budget wisely and where it can make a difference.
* Review your cash management plan. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act became effective Oct. 28. Referred to as Check 21, this legislation allows banks to exchange electronic images rather than actual paper check items in the clearing process.
This can have a significant impact on a company's "float time" and cash management strategy. The relative effect of this new legislation depends on whether your receivables and payables are small or large, are widely distributed across the country or are coming and going close to home.
If you believe that your float time will lessen, it is critical that you retool your cash management processes in 2005. Improving clearing time for receivables is often possible through use of electronic payments or lockbox services. Managing payables through effective vendor negotiation, stringent use of discounts and consolidated distributions also can be effective tools.
On the flip side, if you believe that you might benefit from increased cash on hand, the New Year will be a good time to re-evaluate short-term liquid investments with an eye toward improving your profitability.
Finally, make sure your resolutions for your business are reasonable for your company and employees. Start with one or two goals that are meaningful to your business and manageable in size and scope. Once you've accomplished those goals, you can always set more ... and don't forget to celebrate your success with those who helped make it happen.
KRISTIE NICOLOSI, CPA, is an assistant vice president working with Large Corporate Accounts for Fifth Third Bank and can be reached at (614) 744-7588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's inductees into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame display the type of entrepreneurial spirit, relentless drive and community leadership with which Junior Achievement is proud to be associated. They each set a great example for all of us in their passion and dedication to the future of Central Ohio.
The Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame allows us to recognize the excellence we see in local leaders and strive to pass on that excellence through our volunteers in the classrooms. It is this tradition of excellence that drives us to continue to be the largest and fastest-growing organization dedicated to teaching young people about business, economics and personal finance.
Our volunteers teach children how to balance a checkbook, get a job and run a business. We explore the basics of personal finance, global economic issues and real-life small business risks. Each year, we reach more than 25,000 students in Central Ohio, from kindergarten to 12th grade.
We at Junior Achievement of Central Ohio are committed to our push into the urban and rural school districts. The needs of these children are diverse, but the potential impact of a solid economic education, combined with the knowledge that a volunteer from the community cares enough to spend time in the classroom, can yield immeasurable results for our community. And as we pursue the education of urban and rural students, we will continue to deliver quality programs to our current JA school districts.
I invite you not only to join us in congratulating our honorees but also to help us develop the business leaders of tomorrow. In the short run, our children will be better prepared for their schoolwork and standardized tests. In the long run, they will be better prepared to assist in creating a strong, diverse economy for Central Ohio.
I look forward to working with the leaders of today to develop the leaders of tomorrow. RJ Nicolosi is chairman of Junior Achievement of Central Ohio.
Junior Achievement of Central Ohio is proud to host the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame ceremony. The Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame has recognized more than 60 distinguished business leaders over the past two decades.
This year’s inductees David Blom, Bill Heifner, Nancy Kramer and David Schoedinger are fantastic additions to the dynamic group that already graces our hall. Each of these leaders sets a great example for all of us in his or her passion and leadership. From their passion and drive to their true entrepreneurial spirit, these leaders are a key part of the fabric of the Central Ohio business community.
Junior Achievement volunteers help kids develop dreams, give them the courage and passion to live out those dreams, and then they also help children develop the skills to actualize their dreams. Each year we help more than 35,000 students dream big in Central Ohio.
Junior Achievement is committed to entrepreneurialism, kids and Central Ohio. We are working with the kids, the leaders of the school systems, passionate volunteers and local business leaders like the ones we are honoring in the Business Hall of Fame. We are working with them to change Columbus. The history of our region is a tapestry of great people, great education and great entrepreneurs. It is time for all of us to stand up and take control of our future. It is time for the next generation of entrepreneurs to be developed, encouraged and taught.
Join me in standing up for our children. I am excited about what the entrepreneurs of the past and present have done for Central Ohio. I am thrilled at the prospects of what our Junior Achievement alumni will do for our community over the next decade.
RJ Nicolosi is the chairman of the board of Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and the CEO of Midwest Electric. Reach JA at http://centralohio.ja.org.
Junior Achievement is the largest and fastest growing organization dedicated to teaching young people about business, economics and personal finance. Our programs teach the children of Central Ohio how to balance a checkbook, get a job and run a city. We explore the basics of personal finance, global economic issues and real-life small business risks. Each year, we reach approximately 30,000 students in Central Ohio, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.
JA is supporting two key initiatives: Exchange City and Urban Initiative. Exchange City is a six-week program that culminates in fifth/sixth graders running a true-to-life city for a day. The Urban Initiative is aimed at 7th to 12th grade students at risk of dropping out of school. Its focus is on the economic benefits of continued education and financial literature, with a goal of developing productive, responsible citizens.
I invite you not only to join us in congratulating our honorees, but also to join us in helping to create the business leaders of tomorrow. In the short run, our children will be better prepared for greater success on standardized tests. In the long run, they will be better prepared to create a stronger, more diverse economy for Central Ohio.
I look forward to working with the leaders of today to create the leaders of tomorrow.
Chairman of the board
Junior Achievement of Central Ohio