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Business Lounge

Choosing an accountant

For Your Small Business

“I

n a particular joke, a business owner asks a series of professionals to solve a mathematical problem, that problem being “2+2”. After getting a variety of answers most leaning towards the correct answer of 4, the accountant replied to the business owner after pulling his blinds, “What would you like it to be?” Ignoring the slant of the joke, one can find a very valuable lesson for today’s small business owner. An accountant should not just be a bookkeeper anymore, today’s accountant should be able to analyze and interpret the data that they find into applicable business intelligence. Frankly, a small business accountant should be a much a part of growing your business as any of the executives. So how do you go about choosing the right accountant? Here are a few things to look for in your prospective accountant: Taxes: Your accountant should be able to plan all tax transactions and be able to find ways of allowing maximum tax efficiency for your business. Don’t just find an accountant who will be able to fill out your tax forms for you. Personal Finance: Any accountant worth his salt should understand how closely business and personal finances can become and know how to aptly manage the two to provide maximum returns on each. If your business finances are up to scratch while you’re wobbling on the home front you might find yourself in a potentially compromising situation. Growing your business: Accountants should also function as business consultants who assess business health and feasibilities of future expansion models. Anybody with adequate knowledge of your business numbers should be able to provide advice on a wide range of topics including risk management, pricing, lease versus buy decisions etc.

should be the best person to ask for a referral for any step necessary in your business. So use these guidelines and interview your prospective accountants in the same manner as you would if you were hiring some fresh blood to make your company run more smoothly. Ask the necessary questions and make sure your find the best pick for your company.

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Tech Savvy Accounting technology has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade or so and accountants need to be able to use the wealth of options made available through these programs to turn numbers into ideas for your business. There are a host of accounting software available out there, don’t be afraid to quiz your prospective accountant. Networking Who better to know the right fit for your business with a banker or a business partner than a person familiar with the interior workings of all the parties involved? Your accountant yourmoney ezine


insight

Usain Bolt The Winning Side of a Loss

S

o he’s human after all. On the 6th of August, 2010, American track star, Tyson Gay, beat double sprint World Record Holder, Usain Bolt in a 100m dash in Stockholm. This race elicited a number of emotional responses depending on who the viewer was. Jamaicans must have been dismayed, Americans would surely have been heartened, long shot gamblers went straight to the bank and track meet promoters are still pinching themselves to make sure that they haven’t been caught in a dream within a dream a la “Inception”. Jamaicans would like nothing better for Usain Bolt or any of his compatriots to continue dominating but a sport such as Track and Field thrives on being able to create matchups and rivalries and let’s face it, Usain’s apparent superhuman status didn’t leave much room for a rival… that is until now. So even if a dip in form and the announcement of an injury are to blame for Bolt’s loss, there is blood in the water, the sharks are circling and it is a surety that increased revenue will surely be generated with the prospect of a rivalry. Think back to the spectacle that was the “Thrilla in Manila”, the third and final boxing bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Ali was arguably the greatest of the time but he was not invincible. Ali’s personality and wit was a perfect match for the powerhouse workaholic that Frazier was and with Ali coming up with taunts such as “Its gonna be a thrilla, and a chilla, when I get the Gorilla in manila”, the opportunity to make money off such a rivalry increased exponentially. Boxing has the ability to create rivalries such as this because of the lack of a team element and it is in this instance that track and field may be able to benefit financially from Bolt’s loss.

body was too shattered by the Independence Day loss, after all its not a championship year but Bolt has once again electrified the track world, only this time by losing. advertisment

Bolt’s loss might be particularly beneficial since he was beaten by an American rather than a compatriot such as former world record holder, Asafa Powell. The merchandising, branding and licensing rights that can be generated by manipulating the patriotic notions of millions of Americans with a lot of spending power is a dream come true for the sport. Forget the good of the sport for a second, Bolt and Gay stand to cash in also as appearance fees will be hiked with the prospect of an upset in the cards. No-

yourmoney ezine


special

Agriculture, Entrepreneurship

and the Economy

I

f there was a single industry that models all the facets of what every successful business aims to be, then agriculture is that one. Agriculture is usually the base of every economy and the virtues that it inspires are the backbone of one other sector that is integral to the development of any emerging market. Hard work, initiative and self sufficiency are some of the core values of farmers and since most farmers are entrepreneurs themselves, the link between the two sectors and the importance of both to the economy is vital. In January 2010, the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) met for the first time and the head of the committee, Kanayo Nwanze, pointed out the importance of agriculture to developing countries. “Agriculture, irrespective of the size of the farm, generates business, and every entrepreneur, whether it is a smallholder farmer or a large commercial farmer, needs or wants to make money” Mr. Nwanze, the agency’s President, underscored. “We have the responsibility to transform smallholder agriculture into smallholder businesses.” His call seems to have not gone unheeded as Corporate Jamaica has responded in kind with the announcement that bank loans to the sector had doubled for the period leading up to May of this year. This kind of support to the sector is justified by encouraging growth as reported by the Planning Institute of Jamaica that reported that Agriculture outperformed all other industries by 2.5% in the first quarter of this year. In the same manner that entrepreneurship draws from agriculture, the farmers can learn a thing or two from the entrepreneurs. The close link between small businesses and the private sector has always been an integral one for their success and private sector involvement in agriculture will also be very instrumental for the progression of our farmers. This point was also emphasized by Nwanze at the conference in Davos. “I intend to show business leaders how linking smallholder farmers to the private sector, is key to building the economy of developing countries. The private sector is increasingly crucial to drive economic growth in the developing world,” emphasized Nwanze, “we will continue to be the voice of smallholder farmers because they are fundamental to transforming the agricultural system and bringing about economic growth”.

The need for efficient industries in developing countries especially Jamaica is becoming quite telling and the country looks to the farmers to provide the impetus for solid economic growth. While the outlook is positive it is also noteworthy to remember that agriculture is one of the few industries that can be victims of its own productivity but with help from the private sector and the government in finding export channels, we should be on our way. Things are looking up for our farmers, our most important entrepreneurs.

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Your Money eZine  

August 11, 2010