New CompTIA Channel Standards promote business and professional excellence within the technology industry

CompTIA Channel Standards provide organisations and IT professionals greater access to important industry best practices #AMM16

CompTIA LogoA comprehensive collection of best practices to help technology industry companies achieve business and professional success was unveiled by CompTIA, the technology industry trade association.

The new CompTIA Channel Standards program, available to all at no cost, was announced at the CompTIA Annual Member Meeting, the annual gathering of top executives from all corners of the IT industry.

“These standards will provide channel partners and channel companies with blueprints for best practices within the IT channel and undoubtedly lead to a stronger, healthier industry as a whole,” said Nancy Hammervik, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, CompTIA.

“The introduction of CompTIA Channel Standards is a testimony to the larger role CompTIA and its members play in advancing the IT industry and inspiring minds around the world to do more, learn more and be more,” Hammervik added.

As the next evolution of CompTIA’s well-regarded Trustmarks program, the CompTIA Channel Standards were developed in collaboration with IT professionals, industry thought leaders, and technology experts. They include an extensive library of principles and best practices for improving the relevance, quality and consistency of service delivery within the IT industry. They are designed to help businesses and IT professionals alike establish specific performance requirements for continual process improvement.

Moheb Moses, director, Channel Dynamics, and ANZ Community Director, CompTIA, said, “CompTIA exists to help channel companies achieve high business performance. Formalising these Standards gives businesses in Australia and New Zealand a benchmark to assess their own performance, helping them continue to innovate. They also provide a reference for customers to ensure they are getting the best service.”

The first in a series of CompTIA Channel Standards is the IT Solution Provider Standard. Available this month, the new IT Solution Provider Standard provides channel partners with a systematic guide to becoming a trusted IT advisor, outlining business practices for the core operational, management and delivery functions of an IT services firm. Included in the written documentation and training are a standards workbook providing an overview of best practices for each standard.

Throughout 2016, CompTIA will introduce additional Channel Standards focused on managed services, managed print services, cybersecurity and cloud computing.

New Channel Standards available to all at no cost

CompTIA Channel Standards are available to CompTIA Registered Users, Premier Members and non-members at no cost.
“We’re making these important tools available to everyone as a guide for process improvement and differentiation,” continued Hammervik. “By taking an ‘open book’ approach, CompTIA is empowering the IT channel with the knowledge and ability to see an immediate and positive change in their business that will spread throughout the industry and extend to the customers they serve.”
CompTIA will also continue to offer its IT Business Trustmark, Managed Services Trustmark, and Managed Print Trustmark, but will be retiring the CompTIA Security Trustmark+, Cloud Trustmark+ and AccredITUK Trustmark+. Members that have earned a Trustmark can maintain their accreditation and use the mark indefinitely, as long as they remain a CompTIA member in good standing.  More information about the CompTIA Trustmarks program is available at https://www.comptia.org/trustmarks.

For more information about the CompTIA Channel Standards visit http://www.comptia.org/standards.

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a non-profit trade association serving as the voice of the information technology industry. With approximately 2,000 member companies, 3,000 academic and training partners, 72,000-plus registered users and more than two million IT certifications issued, CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. To learn more, visit CompTIA online, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Contact:
Michelle Taylor
Recognition PR
02 9252 2266
mct@recognition.com.au

Australia’s net new businesses growth rate up 0.4 per cent

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xJune 17, 2014 – Australia’s net rate of business creation grew by just 0.4 per cent in the year to 2013*, with the creation of 9,000 new companies, according to a global survey of official data by RSM, the seventh largest global network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms.

Enterprise births and deaths in Australia diverged in 2008-09, producing net company formation of over 74,000 companies. Rates then converged on a downward trend, with new company entries marginally surpassing exits between 2010 and 2012.

Neil Cribb, Partner and National Head of the Turnaround & Insolvency Group of RSM Bird Cameron, said: “Notwithstanding an economic environment with falling interest rates to historical lows in the first quarter of 2013/14, going forward we would expect to see a continuing decline in net business creation.  This comes as a result of the continuing pressure of high operating costs for most Australian businesses (particularly when compared to our Asian neighbours). A particular case in hand the manufacturing sector as evidenced by the necessary restructure of the Australian motor vehicle industry, which has struggled to be competitive over an extended period even with extensive industry and government consultation and support.”

Construction was the leading source of business churn in Australia from 2008-2012, with more than 400,000 company births and deaths. Manufacturing registered the lowest aggregate business churn with 83,000 births and deaths.

Financial services accounted for the highest level of net business formation (nearly 18,500 organisations) from 2008-2012, a noteworthy achievement given the weak performance of financial start-ups in other OECD countries.

Measured by company size, micro enterprises (1-4 employees) exhibited the highest level of new business formation in Australia in 2008-12. Sole proprietorships (no employees) and small enterprises (20-199 employees) incurred net company losses
during the period. Large enterprises (200+ employees) displayed virtually no change in net business formation.

New company survival rates in Australia show considerable differences between
industries. One-year survival rates of Australian companies founded in 2008 ranged from 89.3 per cent in agriculture to 81.9 per cent in hospitality. Industry survival rates then diverged. By 2012, only 53.6 per cent of hospitality companies formed in 2008 had survived against 73.1 per cent of health care companies.

In 2011-12, the G7** countries were led by France in term of net new business births. France exhibited a 16.7 percent growth rate (588,000 new companies), the fastest of the 38 countries RSM reviewed. A major contributor to this success was France’s “Auto Entrepreneur” programme, launched in 2009 to stimulate company start-ups.

The USA, Japan, Germany and the UK all showed modest growth rates of 0.6 per cent, 0.8 per cent, 1.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, while Italy declined by 0.3 per cent and Canada dropped by 13.6 per cent, the worst performance all 38 countries.

RSM’s research also shows that the net rate of business creation among the G7 economies has increased relative to the BRICS*** countries. Between 2011 and 2012, the G7 countries posted a 1.9 per cent growth in the active company register, an addition of 531,000 businesses, versus a CAGR of only 0.8 percent from 2007-2011. By comparison, the BRICS generated 1.2 million new enterprises from 2011-2012, a growth of 4.9 per cent compared to a CAGR of 5.8 per cent net new business growth rate from 2007-2011.

The BRICS were led by China (9.1 percent). Brazil grew by 3.4 per cent but the other economies all showed negative growth: Russia (-0.4 percent), India (-3.2 percent) and South Africa (-10.0 percent).

Jean Stephens, Chief Executive of RSM, comments: “Entrepreneurs all over the world are continuing to start businesses, the most active sectors being wholesale and retail trade, and professional services, which have relatively low barriers to entry. However, nearly a third of the countries we reviewed exhibited a decline in the number of active enterprises. Creative destruction and the reallocation of capital to more efficient existing and new businesses will have a large part to play in this process but the global economy remains fragile. The watch phrase for the next year must be no more than cautious optimism as individuals and companies respond carefully to government actions and macro indicators.”

ENDS

* 2012 (most recent globally comparable data available; Australia data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics)
** Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US
** Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

About RSM International
RSM International is the seventh largest network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms, encompassing over 100 countries, 700 offices and 32,000 people internationally. The network’s total fee income is US$3.7 billion.

In March 2013, RSM was awarded the prestigious Editor’s Special Award for Global Initiative of the Year at the International Accounting Bulletin annual awards. The award recognises the outstanding achievement of the RSM network for its global initiative – RSM World Day – which was praised for being a unique and powerful cross-network initiative that enhanced both employee and client engagement. The judges highlighted the campaign as a shining example of how to successfully connect independent member firms around the world under a common vision and set of values.

RSM International actively engages in promoting and celebrating the very best in entrepreneurship, championing the role of the entrepreneur in today’s world economy. RSM International is the lead sponsor and corporate champion of the European Business Awards promoting commercial excellence and recognition of entrepreneurial brilliance.

RSM International is a member of the Forum of Firms. The objective of the Forum of Firms is to promote consistent and high quality standards of financial and auditing practices worldwide

RSM is the brand used by a network of independent accounting and advisory firms each of which practices in its own right. RSM International Limited does not itself provide any accounting and advisory services. Member firms are driven by a common vision of providing high quality professional services, both in their domestic markets and in serving the international professional service needs of their client base.

2014 marks an exceptional year for RSM International as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

www.rsmi.com

UXC Eclipse identifies key business and technology trends for 2014

UXC Eclipse LogoNovember 4, 2013 – Australian businesses looking to overcome current market challenges could benefit by following the key trends predicted for 2014 according to UXC Eclipse, a leading provider of intelligent business solutions to the enterprise and mid-market.

1. Risk mitigation remains key
With continued global economic uncertainty likely to continue into 2014, businesses need to mitigate the risks associated with large projects and software investments. Stakeholders are looking for security and guaranteed project outcomes.

Anne Callaghan, COO, UXC Eclipse said: “Business must demand their implementation partner offers quality assurance for all projects to mitigate the inherent risks associated with the software implementation lifecycle. Large-scale ERP implementations are often business-critical so it’s important to do your due diligence before you start, so that everything can run smoothly.

“It is equally important to have senior executive sponsorship from the implementation partner.  With an ERP implementation, you’re putting your business in the hands of another company, so you want to be sure that they will deliver the project. Having a direct line to management means that any concern can always be addressed immediately.”

Companies should also be aware of upcoming privacy law changes, which come into force in March 2014. Organisations will need to have the correct procedures and safeguards in place when sharing customer data with other entities. Companies will have to appropriately manage and protect their information and that of their customers, since failure to do so may lead to significant fines.

Anne said: “Organisations have to understand how the new privacy laws will impact their business. It’s important to act now to be ready for the changes.”

2. Platform and architecture transformation will speed up
The choice of cloud or on-premise deployment is now available for most applications, from Microsoft Office to large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.

Cloud has emerged as a great way for organisations to save money, perform more efficiently and flexibly and bring products to market faster. It will only grow in popularity as benefits become more widely documented.

William Moore, Senior Executive – Enterprise Solutions and Services, UXC Eclipse said: “Companies have to decide on the right applications to suit their operational needs and the method of deployment. This platform, whether cloud, on-premise or a hybrid approach, must then be integrated into the business, which adds a new layer of complexity.

“This type of transformation can be extremely valuable to reduce costs and increase flexibility but it is essential for companies to clearly understand their business requirements and options available to choose the right solution.”

3. Business intelligence goes real-time
Large and small organisations continue to seek benefits from data. Used effectively, data can reveal many opportunities for businesses to operate more effectively. In 2014 businesses will keep improving how they interact with data including where and how they can view the data, making sure it is relevant and using it proactively to make informed business decisions.

Mark Weimann, Senior Solutions Architect Manager, UXC Eclipse said: “Stakeholders and end users want integrated, user-driven dashboards that let them see the information they need at a glance. Making smart, informed decisions is more important than ever in the current business environment. That’s only possible when the information you need is available in real time and is accurate and comprehensive.”

4. Mobility will become ubiquitous
Mobility is no longer a hot topic but a mature technology across most businesses. It is expected to be seamlessly integrated into business applications as part of the whole delivery experience for both customers and employees.

William Moore, Senior Executive – Enterprise Solutions and Services, UXC Eclipse said: “Many businesses will be playing ‘catch up’ in 2014 to bring this end-user reality into their work-day application environment. Companies have mainly been focusing on external audiences when it comes to mobility but the internal aspects will be increasingly important.

“BYOD (bring your own device) or CYOD (choose your own device) will become more prevalent as companies realise the benefits of making business applications available securely on users’ own mobile devices.”

5. Projects have to deliver stakeholder value
Projects have to deliver ongoing value to stakeholders to justify the cost and be considered successful. Businesses will increasingly demand proof of value in 2014. Due diligence at the start of an IT project will help to assess the potential return on investment.

Russell Gordon, Practice Director – Business Process Management, UXC Eclipse said: “Delivering value to the stakeholders means understanding and agreeing on project deliverables from the start. Formally documenting business processes and having company-wide agreement on those before a project kicks off is a powerful way to ensure that the desired value and outcomes are understood and then delivered, particularly with ERP and CRM projects.”

6. ERP continues to be relevant
As business complexity increases, the need for an effective ERP system to tie it all together and provide a single source of information also increases. ERP will be highly relevant in 2014 and continue to evolve to suit business needs.

Mark Weimann, Senior Solutions Architect Manager, UXC Eclipse said: “ERP is likely to become more simplified and easier to use and access. User interfaces will become more tailored to user roles and user groups, while more advanced analytics tools should provide better, faster access to data. Specifically, more predictive analytics will help improve the decision-making process.”

(ends)

About UXC Eclipse
UXC Eclipse is a leading provider of intelligent business solutions to the enterprise and mid-market.

Established in 1991, UXC Eclipse’s success has been built by providing the highest levels of service and offering a choice of solutions from leading software vendors.  UXC Eclipse also delivers industry-specific (vertical) solutions on the Microsoft platform to meet ERP and CRM requirements.
 
UXC Eclipse’s service offerings include applications business consulting & project management, applications development, corporate performance management and business process management.
 
With a team of over 400 people across 14 international offices (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada and the United States), UXC Eclipse is committed to supporting over 1,300 customers.   

For more information, visit our website at http://www.uxceclipse.com.

Australia lagging behind in business creation

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xJuly 29, 2013 – Australia is lagging behind in business creation, according to figures from global research by RSM, the seventh largest global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms. RSM studied data on business ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ over the last five years in 35 countries across its international network. Australia ranks 23rd on the list, trailing behind other Asian countries like Hong Kong, China, Singapore, India and New Zealand.

Over the last five years*, Australia has seen a net gain of 58,000 businesses, an annual compound growth rate of 0.7 per cent. This puts Australia on par with the UK (0.7 per cent growth rate) and ahead of the US, which had only a 0.3 growth rate.

According to RSM, whilst some governments around the world have been looking for ways to stimulate entrepreneurship in the wake of the financial crisis, others have been slower to respond. The research clearly shows that with businesses around the globe facing a variety of challenges including regulation and compliance changes, tighter financing requirements and rising commodity prices, more needs to be done to boost business creation and survival.

Of the 35 countries sampled, Hong Kong has exhibited the fastest rate of new business creation over the last five years – 9.9% on an annualised basis, from 655,000 to 956,000 – while South Africa has seen the steepest decline in the number of active enterprises, – 3.8% per annum, from 956,000 to 817,600.

Other Asian countries with rapid growth included China (6.9 %), Singapore (4.8%), India (4.7%) and New Zealand (4.4%).

Number of active enterprises (in 000s), 2007-11

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Compound annual growth rate

Hong Kong

655

711

772

864

956

9.9%

China

9,600

9,715

10,427

11,365

12,531

6.9%

Singapore

329

358

367

382

397

4.8%

India

750

789

803

847

902

4.7%

New Zealand

474

506

521

533

564

4.4%

Australia

2,074

2,071

2,051

2,125

2,132

0.7%

 

Jean Stephens, Chief Executive of RSM, comments: “While most countries have seen the number of active businesses increase over the last five years, for a significant number the annual growth rate is sub two per cent.”

“Business is vital to jobs and prosperity, but with many countries – particularly in the West – cutting public spending and raising taxes, creating and growing a business has become more challenging than ever before.”

She adds: “Governments can do more to encourage entrepreneurship and help businesses thrive. In many economies, lack of external finance is a major impediment to starting and growing a business. Since the financial crisis, banks have de-risked and come under pressure to hold more capital in reserve, which has hindered their ability to lend to businesses.”

Neil Cribb, Director of RSM Bird Cameron in Australia says: “Australia was relatively insulated from the global financial crisis, but with the mining sector slowing down, the outlook is a concern. Cuts to interest rates and a decline in the value of the Australian dollar are helping some businesses. However, the costs of doing business in Australia, including high income tax rates, high labour costs and low productivity and compliance costs are still major issues, in addition to the current uncertainty in the political environment. The corporate tax rate in Australia is 30 per cent, for example, whereas in Singapore it currently stands at 17 per cent and in Hong Kong it is 16.5 per cent. This remains one of a number of important factors when businesses are deciding whether to invest in Australia.”

* 2007-11 (most recent data available)

-ENDS-

About RSM
RSM is one of the world’s largest networks of independent audit, tax and advisory firms, encompassing over 100 countries, 700 offices and 32,500 people internationally. The network’s total fee income is US$3.9 billion.

RSM is the brand used by a network of independent accounting and advisory firms each of which practices in its own right. RSM International Limited does not itself provide any accounting and advisory services. Member firms are driven by a common vision of providing high quality professional services, both in their domestic markets and in serving the international professional service needs of their client base.

RSM actively engages in promoting and celebrating the very best in entrepreneurship, championing the role of the entrepreneur in today’s world economy and lobbying governmental and regulatory bodies to protect their interests.

RSM is a member of the Forum of Firms. The objective of the Forum of Firms is to promote consistent and high quality standards of financial and auditing practices worldwide.

www.rsmi.com

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of the RSM network.

www.rsmi.com.au

Digium introduces new Switchvox business phone systems to support larger and more demanding applications

 

Wavelink LogoMay 3, 2013 – Digium®, Inc., the Asterisk® Company, has announced the general availability of two new Switchvox appliances designed to meet the IP phone system needs of mid-size businesses while delivering expanded performance capabilities. The Switchvox 400 Series includes all enterprise-class unified communications features at one affordable price, making it the best value in business phone systems. Supporting up to 600 users in a single system, the 400 series provides more powerful processing for more demanding applications.

The Switchvox 450 and Switchvox 470 are Digium’s newest additions to the product line and address larger applications and customer needs. These appliances offer server-class architectures, significantly more memory, state of the art processors, enhanced RAID options and solid state drives (SSD).  These enhancements let Switchvox more than double the number of concurrent calls supported on the prior models. In addition to improved capacity and performance, the size of the appliances has been reduced by 46 per cent, the weight by 37 per cent, and the power consumption by 22 per cent, producing environmentally-friendly solutions.

“Digium is broadening our line of phone systems to address the needs of larger and more complex UC requirements,” states Mark Amick, Digium’s Director of Product Management.  “Incorporating all of the award-winning features of Switchvox into two new appliances provides the solutions that our customers and channel partners have requested to address larger applications at the best value for SMB business phone systems.”

The Switchvox 400 products are complete business phone systems and include the following features:
* VoIP and Traditional Calling
* Mobile Applications
* Fixed Mobile Convergence
* Interactive Switchboard
* Advanced IVR Capabilities
* Integrated Conferencing
* Video Calling Support
* Voicemail with email integration
* Built-in Call Queues
* Detailed Reporting
* One-Touch and Scheduled Recordings
* CRM Integration & Extend API
* Faxing
* Music on Hold
* Digium IP Phone Phone integration.

The Switchvox 450 is a complete UC business phone system and is ideal for mid-sized or larger businesses seeking a high performance, highly redundant, full-featured IP PBX that supports up to 500 users in a single platform. The Switchvox 450 is available now.

The Switchvox 470 is a complete UC business phone system and is ideal for mid-sized or larger businesses seeking a high performance, highly redundant, full-featured IP PBX. The Switchvox 470 provides the fastest processing power in the Switchvox product line for the most demanding applications, and supports up to 600 users in a single platform.  The Switchvox 470 is available now.

-ENDS-

About Digium
Digium®, Inc. provides Asterisk® software, telephony hardware and Switchvox business phone systems that deliver enterprise-class unified communications (UC) at an affordable price. Digium is the creator, primary developer and sponsor of the Asterisk project, the world’s most widely used open source communications software. Asterisk turns an ordinary computer into a feature-rich communications server. A community of more than 80,000 developers and users worldwide uses Asterisk to create VoIP communication solutions in more than 170 countries. Since 1999, Digium has empowered developers to create innovative communications solutions based on open standards and open source software, providing an alternative to proprietary phone systems. Digium’s business communications products are sold through a worldwide network of reseller partners. More information is available at www.digium.com and www.asterisk.org.

The Digium logo, Digium, Asterisk, Asterisk SCF, Switchvox, Asterisk Business Edition, AsteriskNOW, Asterisk Appliance and the Asterisk logo are trademarks of Digium, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Wavelink appoints business development manager to enhance channel program

Michael PrideJanuary 30, 2012Wavelink, a value added distributor of enterprise mobility solutions, has appointed Michael Pride to the role of business development manager for the Northern region (NSW, ACT and QLD), and as the sales lead for Citrix’s Zenprise MDM solutions nationally.

Based in Wavelink’s Sydney office, Michael will be responsible for channel management, working with key channel partners to identify and close major opportunities, as well as assist in developing channel capability.

Michael has 25 years’ experience in the IT industry in the UK and Australia. Most recently he spent five years in IT security with McAfee and Kaspersky. Prior to that Michael held various management roles at Primus Telecom Australia, Telstra Bigpond and Austar.

Ilan Rubin, managing director, Wavelink, said, “Michael has extensive experience in the IT sector, in the channel space as well as direct touch with end customers. This will contribute significantly to Wavelink’s ongoing commitment to servicing its customers through the channel and supporting its channel partners in closing major deals.”

-ENDS-

About Wavelink
Wavelink (www.wavelink.com.au) specialises in the supply, marketing and support of a range of leading edge enterprise mobility and UC solutions. Wavelink distributes a range of products from Meru Networks, Zenprise, Polycom, Digium, AirTight Networks and Nomadix. For more information please contact Wavelink on 1300 147 000.

13 things business owners should do before 2013

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xOctober 18, 2012RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers 13 suggestions that business owners should think about before 2013 to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “Many businesses in Australia are still facing a volatile economic climate with some industries producing record results and others struggling.

“It is important to consider the uncertainty business owners face and put plans in place to reduce that as 2013 approaches.

“Having strategies in place to end the year, and start the new one in the best shape possible, will ensure that business owners can make the most of the holiday period from a business perspective, but also on a personal level.”

Cash flow is a problem many businesses already face. As always this will be felt even more throughout the new year period as the holiday season leads to slower payment terms.

Graham said, “Business owners shouldn’t hesitate to seek help and ask advice from accountants, advisors or other specialists if they are worried about their business or managing their cash flow over the holiday period.”

Tips to get the best start in 2013

1. Review the products and services you sell and tailor the mix to appeal to changing customer needs for the holiday and new year season. Also, start considering and planning for other times in the year when customers’ needs change, for example Easter.

2. Review pricing structures to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor and proactively respond to competitor pricing changes.

3. Review stock levels to make sure you can satisfy customer demand for profitable product and service lines, and identify slow moving stock that can be liquidated as “bargain buys” or bundled with other products as a value add.

4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans and make sure they are optimised to help achieve the best results not only during the holiday season but well into the new year. Ensure staff are aware of the targets for each week and be proactive monitoring and addressing shortfalls.

5. Review staffing plans and confirm acceptance of the rosters by all staff. For non-retail businesses, annual leave plans need to be balanced and finalised as early as possible to ensure the business continues to operate effectively. Consider a shutdown period if the Christmas and new year period is traditionally not busy to use up staff annual leave balances during this quieter time.

6. Review fraud and theft protection systems and ensure all staff are reminded of their responsibility to be vigilant as customer traffic increases and the pressures of Christmas expectations can motivate increased customer and staff theft.

7. Review debtor lists and actively chase all overdue accounts. Any amount not collected by December 23 is unlikely to be collected until February or later. Collecting money owed to you is critical particularly over this period when the cash cycle tends to tighten.

8. Review the use of finance products for effectiveness. Overdrafts, premium funding, lease facilities and cash flow funding products can all be excellent tools to help match a business’ cash supply with planned outlays, and may be especially useful in managing cash flow throughout the holiday season.

9. Complete a GST health check. Small businesses are in danger of losing time and money because of unreliable or outdated business systems causing them to incorrectly report GST.

10. Strategically plan end of year gifts and entertainment to key customers, prospects, suppliers and business partners. This will strengthen relationships into the new year rather than simply being a cost of doing business.

11. Carefully plan end of year staff parties to reward and recognise efforts for the year. Remember your workplace obligations to provide a safe environment for the event in relation to alcohol and discrimination.

12. Set effective goals. The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to review goals set at the beginning of the financial year, ensure you are track to achieve them and put in place an action if you can see areas that are not working. Important things to consider include retirement planning, present and future investments, maximising your superannuation scheme and reviewing assets.

13. Remember that you deserve a break as well. Plan some time off particularly around public holidays – take care of your health and enjoy some downtime with family and friends. The new year will dawn a brighter place if you end this one in a happy frame of mind, and feel prepared for the year ahead.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the sixth largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.

Wavelink and Zenprise share eight steps to secure mobile content and deploy “business-ready” mobile apps

Wavelink LogoSeptember 27, 2012Wavelink, a value added distributor of enterprise mobility solutions, and Zenprise, the leader in secure mobile device management (MDM) share eight steps to secure mobile content and deploy “business-ready” mobile apps.

Ilan Rubin, managing director, Wavelink, said, “Organisations around the world are embracing enterprise mobility. Most are letting some or all of their employees use their own devices to access the corporate network, email, and increasingly, business apps.

“Now that mobile devices are maturing, have more enterprise security features, and are more prevalent in the workplace, it is time for organisations to plan how those devices can help achieve business objectives that grow the top line and make them more competitive,” Rubin said.

To achieve the shift from simply managing the mobile device to managing content on the device organisations need to adopt strategies that harmonise enterprise IT needs with the end-user experience.

Eight ways to secure mobile content and deploy “business-ready” mobile apps

1. Deploy a secure content container on mobile devices to prevent sensitive business data leaking from users’ mobile devices.

2. Secure the connection between the container and the content repository with an app-specific virtual private network (VPN).

3. Set content-aware, role-based policies for mobile user permissions such as synch and email. Also, time-expire content to control it at a granular level to prevent leakage or inadvertent misuse.

4. Encrypt email attachments on mobile devices so that they can only be unencrypted when opened in the container to protect email attachments, without disrupting users’ email experience.

5. If an organisation has policies about assets remaining on-premise or concerns about data on mobile devices leaving the premises, establish automated compliance policies such as ‘wipe content on perimeter breach’.

6. Secure the connection between the container and corporate intranet or web portal with a corporate browser and an app-specific VPN. This will secure access from users’ mobile devices to the corporate intranet and web portals without offering full VPN access.

7. Extend content-aware, role-based mobile policies to the content on your corporate intranet or web portal.

8. Safeguard data and ensure performance and reliability by building or injecting foundational security and configuration services, including a secure content container, into the apps. This will let mobile users make the most of apps they like and make them more productive, while securing and managing those apps in an enterprise-appropriate way.

-ENDS-

About Zenprise
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Zenprise is the leader in secure mobile device management. Only Zenprise protects the mobile enterprise end-to-end with the industry’s easiest-to-use MDM solution. Zenprise MobileManager™ and Zencloud™ let IT say “yes” to personal and corporate-owned mobile devices by safeguarding sensitive corporate data, shielding the network from mobile threats, maintaining compliance with regulatory and corporate policies, and making the administrative process simple and intuitive. This gives IT peace of mind, lets executives take their businesses mobile, and makes employees more productive on-the-go.

Zenprise’s extensive list of global customers and partners spans a cross-section of countries and vertical industries including: aerospace and defence, financial services, healthcare, oil and gas, legal, telecommunications, retail, entertainment, and federal, state, and local governments.

For more information about Zenprise, please visit www.zenprise.com or follow us on the Zenprise blog (http://www.zenprise.com/blog), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/zenprise), and Twitter (@Zenprise_Inc).

About Wavelink
Wavelink (www.wavelink.com.au) specialises in the supply, marketing and support of a range of leading edge enterprise mobility and UC solutions. Wavelink distributes a range of products from Meru Networks, Zenprise, Polycom, Digium, AirTight Networks and Nomadix. For more information please contact Wavelink on 1300 147 000.

RSM Bird Cameron urges businesses to start preparing now for the carbon tax

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xMay 14, 2012RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, is urging businesses to start preparing now for the introduction of the carbon tax on July 1, 2012.

Tim Pittaway, principal, RSM Bird Cameron, said, “The task of transitioning to a low-carbon economy will place significant regulatory, market and reputational pressures on business.

“The main implication for management and boards is that carbon risks need to be integrated into decision-making and risk management processes throughout the organisation. Company directors need the skills and expertise to understand and respond to climate change-related risks.

“Businesses that do not manage carbon risks appropriately will fail to become compliant with emerging legislation or will not manage to collect quality emissions data or produce quality disclosure.”

The areas business should be considering in their strategies include:
* carbon risk management
* compliance audit with existing and future carbon legislation
* internal audit reviews of carbon reporting procedures, systems and internal controls
* verification and assurance of emissions reports
* tax and accounting advice for treatment of carbon permits and allowances
* tracking ongoing developments in environmental regulations aimed at mitigating greenhouse gases
* assessing the potential impact of global climate change on the company’s stakeholders
* devising the appropriate mixture of risk management instruments required to lower climate change-related threats to acceptable levels
* evaluating the company’s position in the technological landscape of sustainable energy
* undertaking strategic acquisitions of advanced energy technologies
* identifying possibilities for boosting energy efficiency within the organisation
* formulating and executing strategies to exploit emerging growth opportunities in sustainable energy markets.

Pittaway said, “Businesses need to identify opportunities to improve the management and reporting processes in place to manage, collect and report on emissions, energy consumption and broader environmental performance.

“Systems for addressing the risks need to be put in place and continuously monitored.”

RSM Bird Cameron advises the following issues should be considered.

Identification of primary liability under the proposed Clean Energy Legislation:
* identify any “facilities” of the company as defined under the National Greenhouse Energy Reporting Act and the operator of any such facilities
* determine the amount of emissions released by that facility that are covered by the Carbon Pricing Mechanism. If it is greater than 25,000 tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions per year, there is a registration requirement.

If the business has a primary liability under the Clean Energy Legislation:
* identify the gross quantum of emissions and verify the accuracy of those emissions
* assess whether any mitigation incentives are available, i.e. free carbon units, to reduce the primary liability
* determine the indirect cost impact of supply chain into the business, such as electricity
* model the impact of the direct and indirect costs of the Clean Energy Legislation
* assess whether such costs can be passed onto customers either contractually or through market forces.

If the business does not have a direct impact or requirement to register:
* determine the indirect cost impact of supply chain into the business, such as electricity
* determine whether any mitigation incentives are available to reduce the overall cost to the business
* assess whether such costs can be passed onto customers either contractually or through market forces.

Industry assistance:
* assess the availability of financial assistance such as through the allocation of free permits for emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) activities under the Jobs and Competitiveness Program, the Clean Energy Innovation Program, the Carbon Farming Initiative and other grant programs.

Financial reporting and taxation impacts:
* consider appropriate accounting treatment for any carbon units acquired and surrendered
* review the possible impairment of the value of affected assets
* include greenhouse reporting needs in corporate governance framework corporate tax implications, including cashflow impacts as a result of having to acquire carbon units.

Corporate governance and emissions measurement:
* allocate responsibility for greenhouse reporting
* assess emissions methodology and data
* establish appropriate reporting and documentation systems and processes.

Pittaway said, “Global climate change promises dramatic changes in the environmental, regulatory, and competitive environment of corporate Australia in the coming years and businesses need to consider now how to strengthen their capacity to navigate these shifts.

“Business that do not consider carbon as a major source of risk will also miss opportunities for future growth markets.”

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the sixth largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.

RSM Bird Cameron calls on business owners to review their business plan for 2012

December 1, 2011RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, calls on businesses to consider whether they have an adequate business plan for the new year, and offers tips and benefits for developing a solid business plan.
 
Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, RSM Bird Cameron, said, “There is a heated debate regarding the merits of having a business plan.

“Traditionally business plans have been lengthy and all-encompassing documents. Though there is a place for comprehensive business plans they are often a static representation of past history and future plans and not responsive to the modern business environment. 

“The real skill is not in writing pages of detail, but in developing the ability to get the real story across succinctly. A one-page outline of the business vision, values, objectives and how you will use your competitive advantage to achieve them will ensure you have the best tool to communicate the business plan.”

What is killing the traditional business plan?
* Rapid change means the formal written business plan is often irrelevant the moment the ink is dry.
* A five-year business plan can restrict business’ responsiveness to changing market conditions and blind business owners to new opportunities.
* More entrepreneurs are starting businesses to take advantage of a short-term opportunity and with an exit already in mind, which influences the way they plan.
* Many small and medium-size businesses have never found business plans useful and increasingly are saying so.

What is replacing a traditional business plan?
* A one-page living document that is continually updated.
* Entrepreneurs with highly developed communication and presentation skills who are “walking articulators” of the plan.
* Specific documents highly tailored towards meeting the needs of business’ stakeholders, including banks, venture capitalists, suppliers and alliance partners.

While every business should have a business plan there are some instances when a solid business plan can provide additional benefit including when a business is:
* stagnant or failing
* going through business simplification
* introducing new product lines
* being purchased by new owners
* expanding
* experiencing cash flow problems.

According to RSM Bird Cameron’s thinkBIG 2011 research study, SME owners who plan their business are significantly more likely to experience revenue growth, with 80 per cent who plan their business experiencing growth over the last two years compared with 60 per cent who don’t plan.

Graham said, “Business planning disciplines can be weakest in newly established businesses because of time constraints. At a time when business owners should be examining the market they are trying to penetrate, the competitors they are trying to defeat and the customers they are trying to capture, they are pushing those activities aside in favour of working in the business.

“Implications of this approach for longer term growth include capital being more difficult to obtain due to a lack of a well-documented plan for the lender and missing breakthrough strategies if the time is not invested in examining the market thoroughly and searching for real differentiation.

“While dedicating time and energy to a business plan can be tedious and challenging, the effort is well spent. Businesses should spend at least 20 per cent of their time working on their business, not in it.”

Tips for developing a solid business and why every business can benefit from having one.
* A good business plan should be detailed yet succinct. Many invested entrepreneurs find it hard to break down their most precious concepts to a minimum. Business owners need to be able to write a business plan as a skeleton or outline for what they want the business to achieve and how it will do so.

* Solid business plans include a statement of business objectives and a financial, marketing, and operational  plan.

* Business planning correlates with higher rates of growth. Examining the market, competitive positioning and the products and services your business offers is an essential prerequisite to systematically pursuing and capturing opportunities.

* When completed, a business plan should be reviewed frequently to ensure that actual business activities are in line with the plan. Be prepared to change your plan if there are major shifts in the industry, market or general economic conditions.

* The action of writing out a plan will give you an objective and more focused view on what you are intending to carry out and how. This in-depth analysis will help you foresee potential gaps or hiccups, and help to eliminate surprise hurdles and obstacles.

* Carrying out regular market research for your business plan will mean you will have in-depth and current knowledge of your industry, resources and markets, and will help you avoid mistakes made by competitors.

* Ensure you incorporate accountability into the business plan and be disciplined in implementing the actions that are required to move the business forward.

Graham said, “Business owners should be prepared to review, change and adjust the business plan to ensure the business goals continue to be attainable.

“Ultimately a business plan should be considered a tool for driving business strategy, providing an objective overview of the business and a better means of communication.”

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the sixth largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.