Month: July 2019

From the Information Age to the Human Age: Business is Evolving

Our guest blogger today is Hilary Corna, Founder of the Human Processes Continuum with the mission of humanizing business. Hilary is the former Kaizen Senior Executive Office for Toyota Motor Asia Pacific in Singapore where she served as the first female Toyota had ever hired in Asia-Pac Operations managing kaizen operations. Hilary is also a Bestselling Author and worldwide speaker. 

Over the past decade, we’ve built systems that are dehumanizing. Business leaders and companies learned processes from the industrial age, attempted to convert them to the information age, and, in turn, became disconnected from the people who built and continue to build the business.

How many times have you been told, “the system won’t let me do that” in airports, over the phone, or in another situation? We overprocess so many aspects of our lives that people feel detached from the very systems they are responsible for running.

This is a problem we face in the Human Era… but there are ways to overcome it.

I believe we are in the midst of the next great evolutionary leap in business. The next great evolutionary leap is from the information to the human age. This leap requires leaders to upgrade their thinking—their minds. Technology isn’t the leap. Technology is the catalyst for the leap. The leap is humanization.

The Human Processes Continuum (HPC) creates human-centric processes to show companies how to keep their people for life. This is accomplished by leading from the inside-out with an experience mindset. First, discovering what gaps existing in the employee’s experience; second, analyzing what customers are lacking; and third, how society experiences the business.

HPC reflects a blending of empathy and contemporary business practices that produces profound, sustained results. Taking its own advice, the model is designed to be human, and no two companies will find the exact same solution. Each solution is as unique as the business that discovers it.

While HPC utilizes the same tools for all businesses when conducting initial consulting, those tools simply serve to facilitate the process by which each business discovers its solution(s) to become more of the business it was meant to be.

Let’s get one thing straight: HPC is not the end-all be-all for identifying and applying business solutions. These human processes cannot be cut and pasted. And technology, whether it be AI, Machine Learning, Chatbots, the next best CRM software, are all just tools to support the process. Every process is still a human experience.

HPC’s primary focus⁠—transitioning to human-centric processes within business⁠—becomes increasingly relevant every day, and companies like Shake Shack, USAA, and Starbucks showcase the benefits of humanizing business by putting their employees first and intentionally implementing long-term strategies and decisions.

The old style of management principles no longer works, and business leaders are losing A-player talent to competitors every day. We have created the most productive workforce in the world that is the least engaged. To evolve in this Human Era, companies must adapt their processes to have a human perspective.

About the Author:

Headshot Hilary SM

As seen on NBC, ForbesWoman, Upworthy and The New York Times, Hilary Corna is the Founder of the Human Processes Continuum with the mission of humanizing business. She is the former Kaizen Senior Executive Office for Toyota Motor Asia Pacific in Singapore where she served as the first female Toyota had ever hired in Asia-Pac Operations managing kaizen operations. Hilary is a Bestselling Author and her memoir, One White Face, is now being adapted into a screenplay. Hilary has spoken and presented at General Motors, Coca Cola, State Farm, The United Nations, TEDx, and to over 300 colleges worldwide. Hilary serves on the President’s Advisory Council at Elon University, is a Leadership Facilitator for the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation and a Notley Foundation Fellow. Hilary regularly volunteers for the Texas Blood Bank, The Prison Entrepreneurship Program, and Vipassana Meditation Research Institute. Hilary studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan, and at Elon University in North Carolina. She speaks conversational Japanese, resides in Austin, Texas and is represented by Talent Bureau. Get to know her better at www.HilaryCorna.com. Follow her on social at @HilaryCorna and watch a clip from her recent talk here.

Let’s find a better way to manage your receivables

Failure to collect accounts receivable (AR) in a timely manner can lead to myriad financial problems for your company, including poor cash flow and the inability to pay its own bills. Here are five effective ideas to facilitate more timely collections:

1. Create an AR aging report. This report lets you see at a glance the current payment status of all your customers and how much money they owe. Aging reports typically track the payment status of customers by time periods, such as 0–30 days, 31–60 days, 61–90 days and 91+ days past due.

Armed with this information, you’ll have a better idea of where to focus your efforts. For example, you can concentrate on collecting the largest receivables that are the furthest past due. Or you can zero in on collecting receivables that are between 31 and 60 days outstanding before they become any further behind.

2. Assign collection responsibility to a sole accounting employee. Giving one employee the responsibility for AR collections ensures that the “collection buck” stops with someone. Otherwise, the task of collections could fall by the wayside as accounting employees pick up on other tasks that might seem more urgent.

3. Re-examine your invoices. Your customers prefer bills that are clear, accurate and easy to understand. Sending out invoices that are sloppy, vague or inaccurate will slow down the payment process as customers try to contact you for clarification. Essentially you’re inviting your customers to not pay your invoices promptly.

4. Offer customers multiple ways to pay. The more payment options customers have, the easier it is for them to pay your invoices promptly. These include payment by check, Automated Clearing House, credit or debit card, PayPal or even text message.

5. Be proactive in your billing and collection efforts. Many of your customers may have specific procedures that must be followed by vendors for invoice formatting and submission. Learn these procedures and follow them carefully to avoid payment delays. Also, consider contacting customers a couple of days before payment is due (especially for large payments) to make sure everything is on track.

Lax working capital practices can be a costly mistake. Contact us to help implement these and other strategies to improve collections and boost your revenue and cash flow. We can also help you with strategies for dealing with situations where it’s become clear that a past-due customer won’t (or can’t) pay an invoice.

© 2019

M&A transactions: Avoid surprises from the IRS

If you’re considering buying or selling a business — or you’re in the process of a merger or acquisition — it’s important that both parties report the transaction to the IRS in the same way. Otherwise, you may increase your chances of being audited.

If a sale involves business assets (as opposed to stock or ownership interests), the buyer and the seller must generally report to the IRS the purchase price allocations that both use. This is done by attaching IRS Form 8594, “Asset Acquisition Statement,” to each of their respective federal income tax returns for the tax year that includes the transaction.

What’s reported?

When buying business assets in an M&A transaction, you must allocate the total purchase price to the specific assets that are acquired. The amount allocated to each asset then becomes its initial tax basis. For depreciable and amortizable assets, the initial tax basis of each asset determines the depreciation and amortization deductions for that asset after the acquisition. Depreciable and amortizable assets include:

  • Equipment,
  • Buildings and improvements,
  • Software,
  • Furniture, fixtures and
  • Intangibles (including customer lists, licenses, patents, copyrights and goodwill).

In addition to reporting the items above, you must also disclose on Form 8594 whether the parties entered into a noncompete agreement, management contract or similar agreement, as well as the monetary consideration paid under it.

IRS scrutiny

The IRS may inspect the forms that are filed to see if the buyer and the seller use different allocations. If the IRS finds that different allocations are used, auditors may dig deeper and the investigation could expand beyond just the transaction. So, it’s in your best interest to ensure that both parties use the same allocations. Consider including this requirement in your asset purchase agreement at the time of the sale.

The tax implications of buying or selling a business are complicated. Price allocations are important because they affect future tax benefits. Both the buyer and the seller need to report them to the IRS in an identical way to avoid unwanted attention. To lock in the best postacquisition results, consult with us before finalizing any transaction.

© 2019