WANTED! LEAD HR CONSULTANT

Job Description/Role Overview:

The Lead HR Consultant will work closely with people leaders across all functions and spanning a defined set of geographies in providing and implementing HR support aligned to the corporate HR policies and processes at a country and cluster level in line with the agreed ways of working. The role will be responsible for providing advice, support and coaching to managers and employees across the full range of employment policies, including areas such as people performance management issues, employee development, career, performance capabilities. The role will provide advice and support to the HR Business Partners in relation to projects linked to organizational design, M&A activity, restructuring, development and change activities, as well as HR COE cyclical activities and programs (e.g. salary review, performance reviews, workforce planning). The role will also provide support to COEs and HR Business Partners to rollout critical programs and initiatives at local level. The role will also focus on both individual and collective relationships in the workplace. It supports and coaches people managers to establish trust-based relationships with employees and to manage employee relations issues. Working with the wider team, the role will support the drive for continuous improvement that delivers year on year cost savings and service capability, whilst improving service performance against benchmarks. Responsibilities:

Performance and Customer Focus – 35%

• Evaluate developments in local country employment legislation, HR policies and practices in other organizations and make proposals on how they might be applied within S&N to improve service delivery.

• Responsible for ensuring compliance with country and local HR laws and regulations and partner with legal to stay abreast of changes and ensure all compliance requirements are met

• Together with Business Partners, COEs and wider HR Consultancy team, review the application of employment policies and inform the development of employment policies as appropriate.

• Ensure all changes in employment legislation and policy are communicated to the relevant HR Services team and the business and all working practices / communications are aligned to the new policies and embedded in the HR technologies.

• Provide responsive and high quality, support, coaching and advice to all parts of the organization, including senior managers to ensure the appropriate management of all employee relations/performance issues including in particular grievances, poor performance, absence and disciplinary action.

• Ensure all employee relations/performance cases are managed in a timely / professional manner through to resolution, minimising the cost to the organization.

• Plan and provide responsive and high-quality site based or country-based service in the delivery of individual consultations as part of TUPE/M&A activities.

• Provide an independent and professional mediation service within the local or cluster team

• Provides support to COEs and HR Business Partners to rollout critical programs and initiatives at local level, such as local language translation reviews, and conducting general/information session (webinar) in local languages working closely with the COE’s, HR Services and other areas of HR.

• Working with HR Business Partners, contribute to the continued improvement of the health of the organization by monitoring and analysing performance indicators, such as sickness absence, levels of grievances and disciplinaries and work/life balance, and developing initiatives and solutions to enable positive trends.

• Participates in and provides data for audit reports, HSE or any governmental reporting requirement.

Coaching for Managers – 25%

• Coach and influence management on the application of S&N employment policies, ensuring legal and policy interpretations are constantly integrated into capability and team knowledge.

• Working across the wider team and with Business Partners, improve efficiency and effectiveness in the management of attendance, performance and employee relations/performance, by using management information effectively to drive proactive interventions to support the performance and skills development of line managers. In conjunction with Learning Services and Business Partners, ensure training plans and tools are developed to meet these needs.

• Provides stewardship of the organization’s culture and cultural pillars to facilitate success.

• Coaches leaders on the link between behaviours and culture. Weaves cultural standards into HR practices, processes and ways of working.

• Communicates the culture broadly and frames it in ways that engages employees.

• Puts into place systems and practices that aligns individual behaviour and organizational goals at all levels.

Driving Continuous Improvement – 20%

• Act as a champion for internal customer focus and listen to and communicate with internal customers and stakeholders effectively; ensuring that procedures and systems are in place to inform and receive feedback from partners, stakeholders and employees, and evaluating that feedback, taking appropriate action to secure continuous improvement.

• Contribute to the development and improvement of the HR Consultancy model and case management system to meet business needs and to enable prioritisation and risk assessment.

• Input to new policies, policy guides, process maps and ServiceNow to support the introduction of the new employment policies.

• Ensure classifications and tasks created in ServiceNow support the MI requirements of the business for employment policies.

• Identify and implement new initiatives that will enhance the quality of advice given by the HR Consultancy function.

• Proactively seek input from customers to ensure delivery meets business needs, and propose changes to level of services provided

Relationship Management – 20%

• Working closely with people leaders across all functions and spanning a defined set of geographies, ensure good understanding of S&N business needs and objectives to provide and implement HR support aligned to the corporate HR policies and processes at country, cluster and regional level in line with the agreed ways of working.

• Ensure the presentation of employee relations/performance proposals clearly articulates the business outcome and objectives for any employee relations/performance intervention.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree or related experience

Licenses/ Certifications: HRCI and/or SHRM certification preferred

Experience:

• Good working knowledge of employment laws and practices required linked to a particular region or country.

• Previous HR experience working at a generalist level. Ideally, experience at operating in a Shared Services HR model.

• Experience with Workday and other HR People Management systems. Strong MS Office software experience required. Skill in database management and record keeping. Strong analytical capability with respect to problem solving, conflict resolution and employee relations matters.

• Excellent communication, interpersonal skills required. Must be innovative and proactive in a fast-paced environment with a willingness to adapt. Demonstrates integrity in all business interactions.

• Relevant language capability and cultural awareness dependent on region or country.

• Demonstrated ability to coach managers and to deliver on project commitments Competences:

• Substantial Business acumen/Knows the business. Understands the business and can translate strategy into clear action plans. Uses insight of the business environment to improve business outcomes

• HR Expertise and Intelligence/Analytical skills:

A solid background in HR having good knowledge of HR practices and procedures. Ability to collect and synthesize large quantities of quantitative and qualitative data, recognizing trends and develop recommendations based on analysis. Applies experience in order to resolve complex problems and decides on courses of action.

• Initiative: Able to work independently and receives minimal guidance from leadership, able to reach agreements and consensus despite differing priorities. Ability to deliver on projects. Competent in leading and managing change and transformations; advises and coaches business leaders on change management best practice approach and provides the understanding, perspectives, tools and techniques to make change seamless and effortless.

• Team skills: Can be equally effective participating on team (as member) and on an individual basis. Works towards the organizational best interest rather than personal interests. Manages well across the matrix through individuals and processes both at a function level and across the business. Uses networks in strategic activities to achieve better business & in particular people outcomes. Fosters teamwork, comradery and accountability within the team in which they work. Seeks to strengthen teams with diversity and inclusion. Relates well to people at all levels. Builds effective relationships and gains trust and respect.

• Problem Solving: Can solve problems; takes a new perspective on existing solutions; exercises judgment based on analysis of multiple sources of information. Analyses situations and applies critical thinking to resolve situations and advises on courses of action. Evaluates the constraints and risks associated with each course of action identified and selects the viable option in order to address the problem.

• Reputation for Delivery: Consistently delivers against agreed project plans, is responsive and realistic about time/resources to deliver. Anticipates and prevents future problems, taking charge to bring about change and taking initiative within role. Has the ability to persuade key stakeholders to drive results. Develops and evaluates solutions to problems and implements solutions. Applies systematic thinking to identify new solutions. Able to win impact and influence regardless of organization boundaries and relationships. Is personally credible.

• Communication skills: Clearly articulates messages. Effectively listens, can express ideas in written format and verbal format clearly, succinctly and persuasively. Manages conflicts and can diffuse tensions across employees to resolve issues. Maintains confidences. Coach people managers to further develop their capability in their role and improve their own performance. Demonstrate coaching capabilities.

• Customer Focused: Thinks customer first and anticipates current and future needs. Acts with customers in mind and is dedicated to meeting the expectations and needs of internal customers. Uses first hand customer information and uses it for improvements in services.

Travel Requirements: 25-50%

7 WAYS TO EARN RESPECT AS A NEW LEADER

Did you receive a recent promotion? First leadership role? Maybe an advancement from your current company or organization?
When you’re the new leader on the block, earning respect from peers and employees who don’t even know you can certainly be a struggle. A higher leadership status won’t automatically give you the authority or trust with your people that you need to get things done. You’ll have to earn that authority and trust to become an effective and successful leader or boss.
New leaders are stepping up every day. If you’re one of them, here are 7 ways that will bring you a level of respect that is meaningful and well-deserved.

1. Have an open door. Let your colleagues and employees know you are always available for them. The last thing you want is for the people you are leading to think you are unapproachable and unavailable, so let them know their wants, needs, and feedback are valued and a priority for you. If you are out of the office a lot, be sure to provide your people easy ways to contact you by phone, email, text messages, or other forms of communication. 
2. Appreciate effort. It is surely demotivating for employees when their hard work doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the organizations that employ them, or the men and women who lead them. Let workers know that you have noticed their effort, and even make a point of rewarding it when appropriate.
3. Care about employee well-being. Respect is easily earned when you show how much you care about the well-being and success of your peers and employees, both collectively and individually. Listen to what your team is saying whenever they discuss work or personal matters.
4. Be personable. Not everyone has to be your best friend, but a respectable leader is often a personable one. A focus of yours as a new leader should be to strengthen your relationships with those around you. Be aware of your own behavior and the way you come across to others. Be helpful, welcoming, and pleasant. Keep your relationships positive and amicable and success will surely follow. 
5. Provide a real sense of autonomy. If you’re a boss who micromanages, the people who work for you will invariably become frustrated because you’re sending a loud-and-clear message that you don’t trust their ability to do the work. Trust the people you’re leading to make the right moves and do their work well and empower them when possible. 
6. Be consistent. Follow through with what you say you’re going to do. Be on time to meetings so your employees aren’t twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you do show. Stick to deadlines. Don’t tell others to do one thing and then you do another. People will respect you more if they know you don’t offer only empty promises!
7. Be patient. New leaders require a great amount of patience—both with their teams and with themselves. Learning effective management will not happen overnight; it takes time (and, sometimes, mistakes) for you to learn the ropes and for others to acclimate to a new leader. Don’t worry—stick with it and you’ll get there.

At MCDA we can help! We offer leadership training across multiple levels of an organization. Reach out today for a free consultation.

Loan Forgiveness with Paycheck Protection Program Loans

For those who secured Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, the conversation is now focused on two things:

  1. How to calculate and determine loan forgiveness scenarios
  2. Loan necessity

In general, some or all of the loan granted under the program may be forgiven if used on allowable expenses over the eight-week period after receiving the loan. This is subject to several rules around the components of the expenses as well as a comparison of the level of full-time equivalent (FTE) during the eight weeks post-funding to a base period.

However, there’s some ambiguity with the criteria and almost daily the SBA is issuing frequently asked questions and responses that impact the interpretation of the CARES Act provisions.

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act included $349 billion allotted to the PPP.

The initial $349 billion contribution to the program lasted less than two weeks with around 1.7 million businesses receiving loans that averaged just over $200,000 each. On April 21, 2020, Congress announced plans to provide an additional $310 billion, which has now been funded.

So how is loan forgiveness calculated and how will forgiveness be granted?

Forgiveness

It’s important to note that the SBA has been making interpretations and issuing responses to frequently asked questions at a rate of one per day. And the final interpretations are still to be determined. Keep in mind that forgiveness is subject to audit by the SBA.

The first step in addressing forgiveness is to determine the maximum allowable forgiveness amount (MAFA). The MAFA on a loan is composed of the sum of the allowable costs (listed below) incurred during the eight-week period after the loan is funded and can’t exceed the borrowed amount.

It’s also subject to limits; for example, payroll costs must be 75% or more of the MAFA.

Payroll Costs

For Individual employee whose compensation is over $100,000 annually, the amount above and beyond an annualized $100,000 is excluded from the calculation. Your MAFA will also be reduced if you decrease wages by more than 25% for any employee that made less than $100,000 from the most recent full quarter versus the eight-week period.

Payroll costs also include the following amounts paid to employees:

  • Commissions
  • Cash tip or equivalent
  • Vacation
  • Parental, family, medical, or sick leave
  • Allowance for dismissal or separation
  • Provisions of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums
  • Retirement benefits
  • State or local tax assessed on the compensation of the employees
Not Eligible for Payroll Costs
  • The compensation of an individual employee in excess of $100,000, as prorated for the covered period
  • Taxes imposed or withheld under chapters 21, 22, or 24 of the Internal Revenue Code during the covered period
  • Any compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside of the United States
  • Qualified sick leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Non-Payroll Costs

No more than 25% of the MAFA may be for non-payroll costs.

Non-payroll costs include:

  • Interest on the mortgage obligation incurred in the ordinary course of business (principal excluded) with origination prior to February 15, 2020
  • Rent on written lease agreements with terms beginning prior to February 15, 2020
  • Payments on utilities (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet) with service started prior to February 15, 2020

Once the MAFA is determined, the next step is to assess if it will be reduced based on employment levels.

Staff Reductions

If there’s a reduction in staff, loan forgiveness will be reduced by the percentage reduction in FTE over the eight-week period after the loan is received.

To calculate the amount, the average FTE over the eight-week period is divided by the lesser of the following periods below:

  • Average FTE per month between February 15, 2019, and June 30,2019
  • Average FTE per month between January 1, 2020, and February 29, 2020

This gives you a percentage that’s then applied to the MAFA to determine the forgiveness amount. There are additional special provisions for seasonal businesses that aren’t addressed here.

Note: The definition of full-time equivalent may vary by lender, so it’s important to consult with legal counsel and your lender as to the agreed-upon definition. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, known as the AICPA, recommended in a publication dated April 28, 2020, that FTEs should be in line with the definition under the Affordable Care Act of 30 hours per week.

Rehiring

There are additional provisions relating to the determination of FTEs. In particular, there’s a special exclusion under the CARES Act when it comes to rehiring.

A borrower that reduced or plans to reduce the number of full-time employees on its payroll between February 15, 2020, and 30 days after the PPP’s enactment can re-hire those employees prior to June 30, 2020, and could receive the benefit of the pre-reduction FTE count on its loan forgiveness calculation.

While this exclusion may have only a minor impact on MAFA, it could result in a significant increase to the percentage calculation above, which could result in a much higher forgiveness amount.

An interesting scenario has occurred as many furloughed employees are opting to not accept the rehire opportunity as current state and federal unemployment payments might be deemed more attractive. In response to this situation, the SBA addressed the question of what happens to the employer’s calculation if the employee refuses the offer.

The response in FAQ 40, which was published May 3, 2020, is as follows:

“As an exercise of the Administrator’s and the Secretary’s authority under Section 1106(d)(6) of the CARES Act to prescribe regulations granting de-minimis exemptions from the Act’s limits on loan forgiveness, SBA and Treasury intend to issue an interim final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act’s loan forgiveness reduction calculation. The interim final rule will specify that, to qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.”

Comparison of Periods and Amounts

The period of time covered for the PPP loan calculation is an average monthly payroll cost multiplied by 2.5 versus the forgiveness that’s calculated based on an eight-week period post-funding. The amounts used for the loan request don’t include components such as rent and utilities that are part of the forgiveness calculation. As a result, it isn’t safe to assume your PPP loan will be 100% forgiven.

Loan Necessity

The PPP world was turned upside down when the SBA issued FAQ 31 addressing if businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support the business’s ongoing operations qualify for a PPP loan.

Here’s the answer: “In addition to reviewing applicable affiliation rules to determine eligibility, all borrowers must assess their economic need for a PPP loan under the standard established by the CARES Act and the PPP regulations at the time of the loan application. Although the CARES Act suspends the ordinary requirement that borrowers must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere (as defined in section 3(h) of the Small Business Act), borrowers still must certify in good faith that their PPP loan request is necessary. Specifically, before submitting a PPP application, all borrowers should review carefully the required certification that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant. Borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business. For example, it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification.”

Of particular note is that borrowers must assess their economic need for a PPP loan according to the standards in the CARES Act and PPP regulations. They also must certify in good faith that their PPP loan is necessary.

Returning Funds

Subsequently, the question was raised about private companies and the response was to refer to FAQ 31.

This created confusion for many companies, and was exacerbated further by the need to determine if the money isn’t considered necessary. If so, then the funds should be returned by May 7, 2020, to be considered as acting in good faith.

On May 5, the SBA issued FAQ 43, which extended the safe harbor deadline to May 14. In short, there are important analysis, decisions, and actions to be taken that are time sensitive to arrive at a conclusion. Reaching out to your essential business advisors and legal counsel now is prudent.

How Forgiveness Is Granted

Once a determination is made to retain funds, borrowers must apply for forgiveness through their lender, and the application must include documentation verifying maintenance in employee base, pay rates, and payroll tax filings.

Documentation also will need to verify payments on allowable costs. Certification will be required from a business representative stating that the documentation provided is true and accurate.

The application for forgiveness is due within 90 days of the expiration of the eight-week post-funding period. Then the approval process is expected to be completed within 60 days of the application.

Note on Affiliation Rule

The SBA uses the affiliation rule to decide whether a business’s affiliations preclude it from being considered small.

Generally, affiliation exists when one business controls or has the power to control another, or when a third party or parties controls or has the power to control both businesses. The determination of whether an affiliation exists is a legal matter and should be addressed by an attorney.

Here are some general guidelines that may indicate entities are affiliated:

  • Control 50% or more of voting stock
  • Control less than 50% of voting stock, but considered large compared with others
  • Common management between two companies
  • Identical or dependent businesses, with common ownership

Most private equity and venture-capital backed portfolio companies may be considered affiliated.

When Affiliation Rule Is Waived

There are three instances when affiliation rules are waived:

  • The NAICS code begins with 72.
  • A franchise with a franchise identifier code assigned by SBA.
  • A business that receives SBIC financial assistance

Tax Considerations

Debt forgiveness isn’t taxable income for federal income tax purposes. However, there is more to the story.

For example, if someone has a $1.5 million loan and gets $1 million forgiven, it’s typically taxable as cancelation of debt income (CODI). But that isn’t the case here. If you use those proceeds to pay for expenses like payroll and rent, it isn’t deductible if paid by forgiven money. As a result of the non-deductibility of the expenses, the net effect is as if the CODI is taxable income.

There are discussions in Congress now that may adjust this—to allow for deduction of the expenses paid with PPP forgiveness funds; however, at the time of this article they aren’t deductible from a federal perspective.

States, meanwhile, are expected to tax the CODI and allow for the deduction of expenses paid with the PPP funds. 

PPP Alternative

If you receive a PPP loan, there could be a loss of benefits from other programs.

This might mean that you lose the ability to:

  • Use certain tax credits, such as the employee retention tax credit
  • Defer Social Security and Medicare tax payments at the time loan forgiveness is determined or approved by the lender. However, the amount of the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax that was deferred through the date that the PPP loan is approved to be forgiven continues to be deferred and will be due on the applicable dates.

Loan forgiveness could also be reduced by reducing your workforce or compensation.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

There are two criteria for the employee retention tax credit:

  • For businesses with 100 or less full-time employee, the credit is based on all wages paid to employees
  • For businesses with greater than 100 full-time employees, the credit only applies to wages paid to employees during the time they aren’t providing services due to COVID-19

Qualifying businesses must have experienced either of the following:

  • Partial or full suspension of operations due to governmental orders that limited commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19
  • A significant decline in gross receipts—this begins with the period in which gross receipts are less than 50% of the gross receipts of the same prior calendar-year quarter and ends with the quarter when gross receipts are 80% of the gross receipts for the same prior-calendar quarter
Terms
  • Credit is available up to 50% of $10,000 of wages per employee.
  • Credit offsets Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes due and the excess is refundable.

Combination with PPP Loan

Many employers were hoping to utilize the employee retention tax credit after they exhausted their PPP loan to help maximize their cash opportunities. However, the IRS provided further guidance limiting employers to only one of the immediate cash opportunities. 

Employers who received a PPP loan are ineligible for the credit regardless if their loan is forgiven or they pay the loan back in its entirety; there was a limited exception for employers who returned their PPP loan by May 14. Employers who applied for a PPP loan and were denied, meanwhile, can still utilize the credit to the extent they don’t try to apply for the PPP loan again at a future date.

We’re Here to Help

This is merely a high-level overview of the major provisions that doesn’t take into account all of the details that should be addressed.  For more insight on how to calculate PPP loan forgiveness or alternate options for cash flow or funding. Contact us today for further assistance.

Unemployment Insurance Vs. Returning To Work

Clients are growing increasingly worried that due to the Federal unemployment subsidy of $600 per week, employees may refuse to show for work or return to work once “work is available”. We have laid out some facts to help if you find your business in a similar situation.

While California is rushing to process unemployment claims, the EDD is not actively confirming eligibility at this time. As a result, employees may be claiming benefits when they do not meet the requirements. The key requirement is, if work is available for the employee they are not eligible for unemployment. To be eligible for unemployment the employee must experience a reduction in work hours or loss of employment. Simply “not wanting to work” is not a qualified reason for unemployment. The employer will be notified of the benefits employees received and through notice at a later time, the employer will need to provide information to confirm eligibility.

Beginning the week of April 6, the EDD began paying an additional $600 in addition to the weekly benefit amount, the funding comes from the federal CARES act. This program is currently in effect until July 31, 2020.

California’s UI program provides payments to workers who’ve lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, and who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

UI eligibility requires that the displaced worker be:

* Totally or partially unemployed.
* Unemployed through no fault of their own. l Physically able to work.
* Available for work.
* Ready and willing to accept work immediately.

If an employee has refused to return to work they may not be eligible to continue unemployment based on the eligibility requirements. The offer to reinstate an employee should be in writing or in an email to document the reinstatement and the employees’ response. Every 2 weeks when reporting claim eligibility a “TRUE” response is required to question #4. “Did you refuse any work?”

UI claimants are legally responsible to follow the requirements set by state law. Collecting Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits based on false, misreported, or unreported information to the EDD is considered fraud.

The EDD actively prosecutes fraud, fraud penalties can include:

l Repaying the UI benefits collected, plus penalties and fines.

* Loss of future income tax refunds.
* Losing eligibility to collect UI benefits in the future.
* Possible jail or prison sentences.
* Prosecution by government authorities.

If you have questions regarding this or any other HR matter call the experts at MCDA CCG, INC. we would be more than happy to help. We offer 100% free no obligation consultations.

Creating And Writing a Business Plan

A very crucial part of any business plan is spelling out your company history and telling your story to show potential teammates and investors how you landed on your business idea and why you are uniquely qualified to pursue it.

Sharing your business background goes far beyond simply telling a clever story of how you triumphed over adversity to launch your new business. What investors will care about is how your personal history, work experience, key skills, key strengths, and education will help you succeed in the business. As well, they want to see what you’ve already done to start executing and bringing your idea to life. Potential investors want to know you’ll be able to return their investment with dividends in the years to come.

What to Include 

Your company background could be very brief at the beginning stages of starting up, and that is 100% OK. Focus instead on your personal history and the journey that led you to start your business in the first place.

In a traditional business plan, your company background follows the executive summary.

Sharing the origin of the idea is valuable because it shows how you think and how you were able to take an idea, craft and mold it into something more detailed, and ultimately build a business out of it. Detailing your progress to date, including any relevant key milestones, is an important part of this, as are listing the problems you’ve faced so far and how you’ve overcome them. Do not be afraid to list the problems or hurdles that you’ve overcome, it is a real business problem. There is not a startup out there that is perfect, don’t shy away from disclosing the true picture to investment groups.

Describe the market opportunity you’re pursuing and why. A business plan to open a pizza parlor is not particularly creative or original, but if your idea is built around a specific market that is not being tapped, you need to emphasize this and discuss your short-term plans for growth and for reaching that market.

If you already have experience working with customers or you’ve used the basis for your business idea to generate results for yourself, highlight those figures in your business background section to showcase how what you’re doing does indeed work.

When Your Business Is Brand New 

For a brand new business, it is more important and relevant to investors to focus on your personal history that’ll help establish why you’re the right person to be running your business. Key topics to include are:

  • Your educational background
  • Other companies you’ve worked for and the roles you’ve held in those businesses
  • Previous businesses you’ve started and their outcomes/current status
  • Your technical skills
  • Your areas of expertise in your industry segment
  • Your areas of weakness or inexperience and how you plan to compensate for them
  • Any relevant professional clubs or associations you belong to

Even if you are still in the early stages of building your business, your professional background and the details of your business idea can give potential investors an image of what you are trying to accomplish. I cannot stress enough the value of being transparent to investors. Do not fluff up your educational background or technical skills. As your business develops things will be exposed and you will not be sitting in a favorable position with your investment group.

Be Creative 

Tell your story in a way that’s more engaging than just another page that leans on industry jargon, buzzwords, and trite platitudes.

To illustrate your company’s history, use images that show how you started, or charts and graphs to draw attention to key milestones, or incorporate customer testimonials or excerpts from news stories that featured you or your business. Take it a step further toward building connections with the people reading your company history by showing vulnerability and sharing some of your past failures (and the lessons you learned from them).

Remember to be concise and stick to just one or two creative approaches that best highlight your particular approach to business and your specific history.

How can mcda help?

At MCDA we have a solid model for helping new business owners create an explosive business plan to attract investors. Not only do we attract the investors, we help you all the way to closing the deal. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you get the funding needed for your business! Call Now (714) 872-2393

Should I Outsource My Accounting?

The growth of your business is exciting, but not without some growing pains. There will be a point usually around $1M in revenue, in some cases more – you can no longer be involved in every part of your business.

You have to focus on what you are good at and delegate the rest

Accounting is generally one of the first functions that many businesses will look to hand off to someone else. It is critical to maintain an accurate picture of your financials but it doesn’t do much to drive revenue.

Going out and hiring more staff isn’t your only option, though. In many cases, outsourcing your accounting is a better business decision. Here are a few reasons why:

focus on growth

Unless you happen to be an accounting firm, accounting is not what is driving your revenue, nor is it your area of expertise.

I would be willing to bet however that you are an expert in your specific industry.

Outsourcing your accounting services frees up more time for you to work on tasks you excel at, which happen to be the tasks that will bring in more revenue and lead to further business growth.

cut employee costs

The average salary for a CFO ranges roughly from around $120K-$220K and a financial controller will run you roughly $90-100K+.

In those numbers don’t incur some stick shock, consider this: employees also require hiring, training, benefits, and paying payroll taxes, all of which add to your costs.

Another consideration is supervision. If your accounting department grows large enough, you will more than likely need to hire managers.

In many cases, employee costs can eclipse those you’ll incur by outsourcing your accounting. Not to mention that outsourced firms provide you with more scaling flexibility.

scalability

If you need more employees that is a good sign as it means that your business is growing. But hiring more employees for your accounting process could take almost 24 days. On top of that, new hires have to adjust to your company, learning all your systems and processes.

Current staff may be pressed for time, trying to balance an increased accounting load with training and assisting the new employees.

Your rapid growth company doesn’t have months to onboard new accounting staff.

Outsourced accounting services are a much better solution, as they can increase the time and resources allocated to each client on demand. Of course, be sure the read your contract with the firm and see if they require a waiting period before making changes. At MCDA, we do not.

expertise and guidance

Outsourced firms are your go to experts for accounting and finance questions. Any firm you choose will generally have experience working with similar businesses in your industry. Consequently, the firm may have invaluable advice regarding growth and investment opportunities.

Also, they can help cut costs by analyzing your current budget and offer advice on areas where you my be spending more money than necessary.

reduce chances of fraud

Unfortunately businesses lose roughly $150K per year to fraud. A large chunk of your annual budget gone from right under your nose! Additionally, smaller companies are at an increased risk of fraud than larger organizations.

Fraud can happen to any business, even in you trust your employees.

Outsourcing your accounting reduces the changes of fraud since the firm is a third party. As a third-party, they keep the record keeping separate from other accounting or finance functions, like authorization and custody of assets.

Additionally, the outsourced firm has the accounting expertise required to audit your money trail and spot signs of fraud to minimize damage to your finances.

access your financial data everywhere

Accounting is moving like everything else, up to the cloud. As of early 2020 nearly 80% of small businesses use cloud based accounting. Outsourced firms use the latest cloud-based accounting software to provide you real time updates on your accounting records. Such flexibility makes decision making substantially easier and less stressful.

confidence

When professionals handle your accounting, you can make decisions with confidence. You’ll always have an accurate financial picture of your business, as well as an expert resource to consult with when you need advice.

HOW CAN MCDA HELP

MCDA has years of experience providing outsourced accounting and CFO services to several industries. We always tailor our accounting services to your specific needs so you can always make the best business decisions. We are here as your financial team!

Focus on what you do best and call us today (714) 872-2393

Ask about our COVID-19 Discount or deferred payment options.

Tips to Improve Your Business Acumen

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone but business acumen is one of the behavioral competencies in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) competency model. It’s important to know the business, be able to talk about it, and make decisions to help the business grow.

It can honestly be a challenge to develop business acumen. Of course, a lot of people know how to throw around business buzzwords like “customer Journey” and “wheelhouse” but do they really know exactly what those terms mean? Things move very quickly in the business world, new ideas and concepts are being developed all of the time. It’s definitely a challenge to stay on top of it, especially when your plate is full of work.

Everybody has their own way of staying on top of business. I personally like lists that provide a reminder that I need to take a quick step back and get focused. So here is my quick list for building business acumen.

  1. Read (and listen to) the right stuff. I discovered an electronic newsletter called “Morning Brew” that helps me stay on top of business news. This Monday-Friday enewsletter provides a stock market overview and some commentary about the business headlines of the day. What I really like is the casual, conversational tone. Business acumen doesn’t have to be boring or stuffy to be effective.
  2. Develop a business book library. There’s no specific book that everyone needs to buy, find something that interests you. Cameron Herold is one of my personal favorites. Pick up, Meetings Suck or Double Double if you need a couple of kickstart ideas.
  3. Learn how your organization makes and spends money. If you haven’t bought your CFO/Controller a cup of coffee lately and asked about the profit and loss statement, now might be a good opportunity to do so. The good thing is there’s no rule that you’re only allowed to do it once. Consider scheduling coffee time with your controller right before budget time too.
  4. Join your professional association. I’m not here to tell anyone which professional organization(s) to belong to.  Everyone needs to figure that out on their own. But I do believe it’s valuable to be a member of a professional organization. I am a member of Vistage, and it has been a very positive and rewarding experience. And let me add that I feel it’s important for individuals to volunteer. Not only will you make friends, but you will learn from your colleagues. Part of developing business acumen includes developing both an online and an offline professional network.
  5. Step out of your regular responsibilities. The next time your boss is looking for a volunteer, consider raising your hand. Getting involved in project teams can help you 1) learn new knowledge and skills 2) build new working relationships and 3) get noticed by the organization. These types of special assignments might be worth it. Both from a learning perspective and your long-term career development.
  6. Know your customers. When I talk about customer here, I’m not referring to employees. Do you know who the top ten customers are for your organization? Not just their names, but do you know what they do? Years ago, my employer asked me to go on regular customer calls with the sales team. If you’ve never done it, consider asking a sales manager if you can tag along.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that business acumen isn’t something you learn once and you’re done. Business acumen is changing all the time. Yes, it’s true that terms like profit and EBITDA haven’t changed. We have new term now like blockchain, disruption, and light-bulb moment. If you want to be a contributor and partner to the business, then you have to know how to really talk the game.

Southern California Workplace Orders

Southern California Counties have released new workplace health orders regarding face coverings, effective this week.
City of Los Angeles: Effective April 10, 2020 a new Worker Protection Order requires employers provide and pay for nonmedical essential workers to wear nonmedical-grade face coverings while working.  The order specifies that reusable face coverings should be washed once a day, while single-use face coverings should be discarded after use.  Employers must also implement social distancing measures and permit their nonmedical essential workers to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes.  Customers must also wear face coverings when entering essential businesses and may be refused entry and service if they fail to do so.
City of Los Angeles Worker Protection Order

San Diego County:  Effective April 11, 2020, San Diego County has mandated businesses that interact with the public to provide employees cloth face coverings  and allows businesses to refuse services or entry to customers not wearing face coverings.
San Diego County Public Health Order

San Bernardino County and Riverside County: Effective April 8, San Bernardino and Riverside have issued Public Health orders that require all residents who leave their home to wear a face covering.
San Bernardino Public Health Order 
Riverside Public Health Order

Orange County: Effective April 9, Orange County issued arecommendation “strongly encouraging” employees at open businesses to wear face coverings, but not a mandate.
Orange County recommendation

BUILD CULTURE- CONNECT WITH YOUR REMOTE TEAM

With the sudden and somewhat overwhelming switch to remote work, many are finding ourselves trying to recreate the professional and social environments of our workplaces from our homes.

From the awkward uncomfortable Zoom or Skype calls with entire teams to the sudden absence of water cooler talk, participating in the workplace culture now feels like a job in itself. This rapid transition can be different levels of jarring depending how on remote-friendly your company is, but there’s no doubt some of us are bravely entering the remote world for the first time.

There are a ton of great resources out there on managing the logistics of remote work; running meetings, holding 1on1’s, setting up your home office, creating boundaries between work and home, and even getting dressed. At MCDA, we spend a lot of time thinking about building a culture of appreciation.

Most of our colleagues work from home two or three days a week, MCDA made the jump to a fully remote workforce two weeks ago. Created by our own experience, I wanted to share some thoughts on how gratitude and recognition can help your remote team stay connected and engaged.

A lonely world

A 2019 study by Buffers found that 19% of remote workers report loneliness as their biggest work struggle. And, if you’re used to working in an office most of the time, the problem might be exacerbated. Loneliness is problematic for a few different reasons:

  • Burnout: a command and very well-documented trap of remote work is longer hours, caused by the frail boundary between work life and home life. Being disconnected from your coworkers might hamper your expectations around productivity and availability, leading you to work unsustainable hours.
  • Disconnect: a recent study found a link between loneliness and decreased performance at work, a disconnect caused by a lack of information sharing and personal investment. Detachment from social connections and organizational goals leads to unhappier employees.
  • Loss of creativity: working remotely eliminates the unplanned interactions that happen when you bump into your coworkers in the office kitchen, hallways, or at the proverbial water cooler. As a result, lots of informal knowledge sharing and serendipitous idea generation dissipates without an intentional effort to connect with your colleagues.
  • Mental health: humans are social beings, and lack of social interaction has tangible downsides. Isolation has been repeatedly linked to poor mental health and higher morbidity and mortality rates. We spend a lot of our time at work—let’s make sure it’s not isolated time.

The first thing to realize is about loneliness: you’re not alone. Even experienced remote workers feel lonely without intentional interactions, first-time remote employees need to strive extra hard to create meaningful connections online. In the next section, we’ll explore some specific ways to go about this.

Staying connected: The basics

Let’s establish some ground rules for remote communication, both social and professional:

  1. Overcommunicate
    With so much information conveyed by tone and by body language (93%, according to a UCLA study), it’s essential that you overcommunicate your ideas when writing or even over video chat. State your assumptions, cite your sources, and be clear about your desired outcomes.
  2. Default to video
    Try to use and jump on a video call whenever possible, especially if there’s even a hint of miscommunication. Seeing your coworkers’ facial expressions and hearing their tone will make it easier to find common ground.
  3. Show extra empathy
    Many of us are facing new and additional responsibilities, from caring for our children, parents, and loved ones who may be sick or quarantined, to financial pressures and existential dread. A rule we try to follow at MCDA is: “assume positive intent.” Try to be extra patient and kind with your coworkers, and you’ll help create a culture of trust and encouragement, not pressure and shame.

Staying connected: ideas

“Okay, I got it!” you might be thinking, “It’s important I connect with my coworkers intentionally and in a kind-hearted way. But how do I go about it?”

Here are a few ideas you can bring into your organization.

Check in on your coworkers

With the missing luck of passing by your coworker’s desk or bumping into them in the kitchen, you’ll need to intentionally reach out to see how they’re doing. You don’t need a work reason to check in. While you don’t want to overdo it, a once-in-a-while, “hey, how are you doing?” can help you and your coworkers feel less alone. The advantage of doing this over an asynchronous communication tool like Slack or Skype (or email) is that you won’t interrupt their work – they can respond on their own timeframe!

Remember to listen actively, give your coworker the space to feel whatever they’re feeling, and don’t be afraid to share your own worries and frustrations. After all, trust is built through vulnerability.

Knowing someone out there cares about how you’re doing – not just your work product – can make all the difference.

Be explicit about recognition and praise

We spend a lot of time thinking about recognition at MCDA. We believe that when great work is visible, it keeps everyone informed and inspired and helps people understand why their contributions are meaningful. Positive communication helps employees feel more connected to and engaged with their work. So, be explicit about recognizing your colleagues – thank them publicly and in detail for their work via email, on Slack or Microsoft Teams, etc.

Create dedicated social spaces

Bring everyone together over Google Meet or Zoom for the sole purpose of hanging out and catching up! Holding virtual happy hours, team lunches, or even employee-led yoga classes is a great way to create low-stakes opportunities for meaningful connections. A social gathering can be a great way of bookending the workday, signaling that work is over, and helping prevent the remote burnout we mentioned earlier. Finally, tools like DONUT for Slack can randomly pair you up with your colleagues for informal small-group chats.

Have fun WITH IT!

A few creative employees have helped our team come up with all sorts of great and silly ways to have fun together over Slack.

  1. We played “guess this baby,” trying to match baby pictures with our teammates.
  2. We started a remote lunch-and-learn, where coworkers share their hobbies, passions, and learnings.
  3. One of our coworkers started a weekly remote yoga class.
  4. We made a video series for everyone to share their remote setup.
  5. We did virtual happy hour after Friday’s work day.

We’re in this together

At a time when more and more of us are isolated and trying to stay productive, it’s crucial that we intentionally connect with our coworkers. For all the awesome benefits of remote work (freedom, flexibility, focus), it’s important that your coworkers don’t have a feeling of out of sight out of mind. You can nourish your company culture and encourage employee engagement while everyone’s WFH by expanding meaningful relationships, publicly recognizing great work, and creating dedicated spaces for social connection.

Whether your team continues to work remotely or happily reunites back at the office in the distant future, you’ll be stronger for it. 

For even more tips, best practices, and strategies on how to engage your remote workforce, contact us today!

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

We wanted to make you aware that your staff may be eligible for a $500 grant from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) Employee Relief Fund

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (“Fund”) was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria, as reviewed and verified by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). This Fund is operated by the NRAEF, whose mission is to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workers.

Your staff may be eligible for a $500 one-time grant if they: 

  • Worked on a part- or full-time basis in the restaurant industry for at least 90 days in the past year (this includes food delivery); and
  • Have had a primary source of income in the restaurant industry for the last year; and
  • Have experienced a decrease in wages or loss of job on or after March 10, 2020, which these grant funds will help offset; and
  • Live in the United States, an overseas U.S. military base, or any U.S. territory; and
  • Are over the age of legal majority in their U.S. state or territory.

Applications opened on April 2nd 
Applications for grants opened, Thursday, April 2, 2020. Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the eligibility criteria. The grants are subject to availability and are limited to one per person. Click here to learn more and apply: https://rerf.us/apply-for-aid/