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Office Manager : Superhero of modern times

Office Manager is a key role. It can be considered a vital part of any company, which enables to connect the whole organization. They are responsible for the proper functioning of the office. They have to ensure the well-being of their employees and help to build a high and durable corporate culture.

At the line of Human Resources, Administration and Bookkeeping, the Office Manager has a lot of challenging missions. They have to collaborate efficiently with their colleagues and manage the relations with different service providers of the company (customers and suppliers).

It is not uncommon to see him juggling between customer invoices, order forms and employees expense accounts. The Superhero of modern times, the Office Manager is characterized by his adaptability and his foolproof resistance.

But in every story including a Superhero, there must be a villain who threatens the survival of human race. The Office Manager also has to face his worst enemy, against which he fights everyday : time. The multi-tasking and daily urgencies to which they have to answer kills fairly quickly their productivity. They are constrained to operate as and when and has less and less time to forecast and anticipate the needs of their colleagues.

As every Superhero, the Office Manager is not unbreakable. They have to have the right tools to complete their mission.

In front of the challenges they meet and the growing complexity of their activity, Excel spreadsheets and Word documents are not enough. He has to own performant and innovative solutions.

 

#1 : Slack

The Office Manager constitutes the nerve center of the company. He has to be able to obtain information he needs fairly quickly. He also has to be easily reachable by his colleagues.

For internal communication, Slack is the best tool. It will be the end of the email assemblies.

Slack is a collaborative communication platform which enables you to communicate, send documents, archive and create online team work to collaborate efficiently.

Slack also enables a more elaborate use with a lot of possible integration through various tools such as Dropbox, Trello, Twitter or even Google.

The icing on the cake, Slack also offers a lot of integration possibilities for those who want to maximize the customization.

 

#2 : Trello

Trello is a tool of collaborative tasks which supports you daily in the analysis of your work, your time and the management of your organisation.

The tool works with a card system for each task to complete. With the possibility to write comments, download attached document, create check-list, and add deadlines to be respected, etc.

The interest of Trello is that you can invite as many people as you want to work with you, freely. With a simple drag and drop, you attribute the different tasks to concerned people and they are immediately notified.

 

#3 : JulieDesk

JulieDesk will become your best friend. It is a service of a virtual assistant which enables you to manage all of your meetings and works, entirely by emails. The objective is to facilitate the management of your agenda from information included in emails.

“When you copy her in on an email, she will take the lead on the conversation. Indeed, she will find a slot which fits well for you and your interlocutor. Once the slot to speak with your interlocutor is found, she confirms the meeting in your dairy and sends the corresponding invitations. She can also note an event in your calendar or even cancel or shift a meeting instead of you if you ask her.”

The best tool to gain time and avoid the incessant back and forth with your different subjects.

 

#4 : Dunforce

The follow-up of your invoices and customer reminders are demanding tasks which ask for precision and organization and… time ! The tasks are repetitive, time-wasting and bring less value-added. And when the number of your generated invoices can be counted by the hundreds, it is very easy to be overwhelmed.

Dunforce has a mission to support the Office Manager in this activity. It automates the dunning process in a very intelligent way. A personalized roadmap for the follow-up of different kinds of invoices, multichannel reminders and overview to see the state of the money you are owed in no time at all. The objective is to simplify, to make it more efficient and enable you to have more time in this crucial activity.

At the end of the story, it is always the Superhero who wins. But at one condition : the one to have the right tools.

To learn more about our solution, click here!


(FAKE) DILEMMA FOR BAD BOSSES: CHANGE OR DISAPPEAR! (PART 3)

The transparency of information is a key principle

 

Digital principles which are a meritocracy, transparency and open-minded must progressively take part in the organization. A lot of digital startups relay these values and even transform them into a mechanism of intern gestion. For example, VALVE is a 300 employee American company which develops softwares. In this firm, there is no chief, when a new employee comes in, they are given a manual to explain the singularity, the particularity of the company and they are told “here, you won’t have a job with high responsibilities, you will have to find a project, the team with whom you will spend this journey…Many don’t make it to the end of that very journey, but those who do are real entrepreneurs in the company, real intrapreneurs”. Buffer is also an American company, where salaries and public reports are published on their blog. Automatic, Worldpress company has 250 workers spread in 37 countries in the world. Nevertheless, they organize video conferences each Friday to allow their employees to meet, discuss and confront their ideas which generates innovation.

 

 

The importance of autonomy

 

In 2017, when two partners were on the verge of a financial ruin, as mentioned in the first part of the article, we made the decision not to lower our head in front of a customer, it was the beginning of an internal process of deep digital transformation. It was a digital company when seen from the outside but not innovative when seen from the inside. Thus, we decided it was necessary to apply these new principles, the autonomy of the employees had become our priority. Sometimes, I talk with the directors, the CEO of the company, about autonomy, liberty, and it is always the same thing, “yes, yes” they all agree but in the end they hold your hand and guide you to what you have to do, and people take advantage of it. This behaviour couldn’t work in this company, the knowledge also being distributed in the different areas of the company. The direction had to delegate, it had to grant its confidence to people it hired.

 

 

The meritocracy, at the heart of preoccupations

 

Obviously, “a high power involves high responsibilities” as Spiderman’s father told him. In this company, meritocracy is radical.

Every worker evaluate each other, pressure comes from colleagues, not from the top to the bottom. The employees are encouraged to create links which will enable them to be supported by their colleagues to make them feel the importance of their role, whatever their job may be. When somebody is not up to the task, they are invited to leave. Currently they have 100 employees. In 6 years, they hired around 300 people. In the 200 who are not here, only 25 left on their own free will. But the ultimate aim is to transform these digital principles into concrete mechanisms. We have implemented home office, which give employees the freedom to work at their own pace. Everything is based on trust. They don’t have predefined schedules, and they don’t have a limited number of vacation days. This freedom allows employees to be more involved and share their ideas.

 

The sharing of ideas is vital

 

Conversation and the sharing of ideas are essential in modern business. Everyone has their voice and their ideas which should be heard. We schedule a meeting, each Friday at 9am, a breakfast where an external guest comes in to share his experience and ideas. Now, it is considered inappropriate to schedule other meetings from 9:30 to 10:30 on Fridays, neither for customers, nor with salesperson. A lot of people love these meetings. They often say, “Wow, what a great idea” when in reality it is a very simple idea. The newcomers are often impressed by these conversations which are so open and honest and where everybody can give their opinion and say to the boss what is on their mind. There are no restrictions, no fear.

 

 

Keep this kind of leadership when the company is growing

 

Growing and expanding is a very difficult thing to accomplish. It will be difficult to maintain this type of community, to maintain this type of leadership when they grow. However, there is no other option; with the digitalization imposed on companies, tcompanies that do not put humans at the center of their focus, it will not give them autonomy, confidence, and they will not obtain the necessary motivation to follow this frenetic rhythm of innovation. We are saying that one of the first causes of resignation is the bad bosses. Obviously, bad bosses are a huge cause of misfortune at work. So having a boss who has time to focus on the climate of the company, due to their time saved from using certain digitized tools can lead to a more successful company overall.

 

Last element which seems important to precise. We are talking a lot about company liquidation due to poor payment practices of customers or even temporary causes. But wouldn’t the  truth be that one in two companies which shut their doors is the direct result of a bad boss management ?

 

If you didn’t read the first part, click here !

 

If you didn’t read the second part, click here !

 

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Dunforce, fintech winner of the BBVA Open Talent competition

By following the steps of the French football team, Dunforce is the winner of the Fintech for Business award and qualified for the final of the BBVA competition !

Description of the competition

This year, the Spanish banking group launches the tenth edition of its competition BBVA Open Talent ! Second banking group in Spain and Latin America, represented in 37 countries, the company organises each year the biggest fintech competition in the world.

Since its launch in 2008, the competition already gathered more than 6000 startup coming from more than 80 countries.

Searching the most innovative solutions to transform the world of finance, the group divided the main competition in three categories :

  • Fintech for Future : award the project which has the potential to transform the financial industry in the next ten years.
  • Fintech for People :award the project which will have the most impact in financial life of people.
  • Fintech for Business : award the project which has the most potential to help companies becoming more efficient, effective and safe.

It is in this last category that Dunforce comes into play !

In addition, besides the main competition, there are also awards by country and honorary mentions.

 

Fintech Competition proceeding

At first, the selection phase. It is in this first selection phase that Dunforce succeeded in being different from its competitors. Indeed, on specific criterias, each project was filtered during the registration period to check whether the expectations for participating to the competitions were met. Finally, the viability of the project was also a selection criteria.

After that, the qualifiers, the competition became hard, competitors became more and more impressive. Each project was, once more, analyzed by an evaluation committee who selected three projects for each category. Finally, Dunforce again succeeded in standing out from its competitors to reach the final of the competition !

First victory for Dunforce which ended up first of its category !

Finally, El Evento Final. The pressure is at its paroxysm and it’s necessary not to miss the kick. For this final which will take place in Madrid in next October, Dunforce will face the two winners of the two other categories. The project has to be exposed in front of an expert committee selected by BBVA. The project bringing back the most of the votes will win the competition with, on top, a 50 000-euro-prize.

 

See you in October to know the end of this big competition !

 

For futher information about Dunforce, click on this link.

Factoring or risk insurance, are they useful?

The world of corporate finance has many strategies, concepts, and methods of making money and running smoothly. Some are more effective than others, and some aren’t effective at all. Yet they are still used. Some of these practices include factoring and risk insurance. In some rare cases these practices can be useful. But more often than not they are a temporary fix for a problem. They only create more expenses for your company.

Let’s be more specific by explaining what these two practices really are.

We’ll begin with factoring. This is when a company sells its accounts receivables to a financing company to receive a percentage of their value in cash. You receive immediate capital, but overall less money than you would have if you haven’t gone down this road. It’s as if you had a car you could sell for 10,000$, but because you needed the money right away, you sold it for only 7,000$. Long story short, you are trading away your valuables for less than they are worth and essentially cheating yourself out of money.

Beyond that, factoring has many other disadvantages. Customers that were paying for those accounts receivables will be notified when factoring takes place. It warns them about your cash flow troubles and may create some amount of stigma, assuming that your company is going downhill financially. And of course, besides not making as much money from the accounts receivables as you could have in the first place, factoring them is still more expensive than most loans. The financing company you sell the accounts receivables to often charge prime rate interest on cash advances. It creates a total of large amounts of annual interest that could be crippling for your business.

As for risk insurance, it is simply insurance offered to high risk individuals that are more likely to need that insurance than others. For obvious reasons, this is something with very high potential to be painfully expensive.

On one hand you are receiving more money by offering insurance to a wider range of customers. But on the other hand, you are drastically increasing your chances of having to pay significant amounts of money for some sort of accident. Take auto insurance as an example. Imagine that you offer insurance to an individual that has crashed their car 4 times in the past five years. That individual is paying you an insurance premium. But what is the likelihood that you will be paying for yet another crash anytime soon?

In that sense, risk insurance is fairly simple, and it’s fairly simple to see why it is a bad idea.

Of course, some would say that making such assumptions is foolish. Just because that driver has crashed so many times in the past does not necessarily mean he will again. And this is true. Probability is nothing more than a hypothesis really, and one that can’t even be proven until the incident actually happens. That said, the majority of corporate finance operates on predictions. The stock market itself operates almost completely on predictions and guesses. Avoiding high risk situations is just a way for companies to stay safe, and avoid putting themselves in a complicated situation without suitable payoff.

And as we all know, the idea behind insurance is to provide it to individuals who will need it the least. Insurance companies receive a lot of money from their clients, but as soon as that insurance actually becomes needed, they are suddenly losing big bucks. This system of operation may not be necessarily fair, but it is certainly the most financially sustainable. It’s just like lending. You lend money to individuals you are fairly certain will pay it back. It’s just good business practice.

Of course, it’s important to understand that every financial strategy has some merit. If not, no one would have used them in the first place. As mentioned previously, business factoring can be useful in the sense that it provides immediate capital in an emergency. But in the long run, it is the only advantage it offers. And in every other way, it is a hindrance. It’s important to acknowledge that just because a course of action has benefits does not mean it has an overall benefit for your company.

That said, it is up to each individual company to determine whether or not certain courses of action are right for them. Even if those decisions aren’t the best for everyone.

Best Practice #2: Always Improve

If there’s one thing that’s true about the efficiency of business no matter what aspect of it you are discussing, it’s the fact that more efficiency in the workplace makes the entire system operate more smoothly, and usually at less cost too. The same can be said of the collection process, which is why you should be constantly seeking to improve both the system and the efficacy of your employees in achieving their objectives.

There are several ways to go about this, but knowing which improvements need to be made requires thorough analysis of the collection process. Maybe the team needs to be more efficient, or maybe the policy itself needs to be altered. Perhaps it would be best to let the entire process be handled by a collection agency? It all depends on what shortcomings you discover during the analysis of your company’s collection process.

Because the collection process is exhaustive in both time and resources, it’s important to estimate which option will actually be less costly for your company in the long run: hiring the services of a specialized collection agency or formulating your own internal collections division. Neither option is necessarily superior to the other, as they both have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, outsourcing the collection process to a collection agency means you don’t have to train your own employees to perform the same task, which consumes time and resources. On the other hand, collection agencies don’t care for the customer relationship, instead doing what they have to do to guarantee that the debt is collected. This can make it very hard to retain clients in these situations.

On the other hand, making your own internal collections unit also has pros and cons. Employees for your own company will be far more invested in ensuring a client stays with the company even after a collection, but on the other hand the internal unit will likely be more expensive, if only because of the cost of the specialized training they’ll need as well as the cost of supervision and management of a new branch within the company.

If you settle on an internal collections unit, there are many ways to improve their performance, chief among them choosing the optimal employees to fill particular roles in the process. You should also consider employee incentives, something that will motivate the unit as a whole to work towards more desirable results in the collection process. Everyone likes to be rewarded for a job well done, so imposing a reward for that work is fairly good practice.

In the end, different options work best for different companies. Some may find that enlisting the services of a specialized agency is the most practical choice, while other companies may find that organizing an internal collections unit serves their purpose best. Determining which one will serve your company most efficiently is simply a matter of careful analysis of your preexisting collections process or lack thereof, which makes the final decision obvious.