Survey Finds Time Management A Top Concern
If time is money, financial executives are in the red, a new survey suggests. Thirty-six percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said time management is the greatest challenge facing executives today. Keeping pace with technology followed, with 27 percent of the response. The survey was developed by RHI Management Resources, North America’s largest consulting services firm providing senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.
CFOs were asked, “Which one of the following is the greatest challenge for financial executives today?” Their responses:
Time management 36%
Keeping up with technology 27%
Achieving work/life balance 19%
Staying current with accounting regulations 13%
Don’ t know/no answer 5%
“For financial executives, balancing the budget may seem effortless compared to balancing their busy schedules,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of RHI Management Resources. “Beyond managing their companies’ fiscal priorities, executives have myriad other responsibilities that consume a large percentage of their day, such as investor relations and strategic planning.”
IRS Goes High-Tech
Taxes Can Be Paid Online
Businesses and individuals can now pay their taxes using the Internet. The newest venture, called EFTPS-OnLine (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), allows payment of federal taxes through a secure Web site. “EFTPS-OnLine provides a convenient and secure method for paying taxes that is consistent with the way people do business,” said Commissioner Charles Rossetti of the Internal Revenue Service. “The Internet is an increasingly integral part of today’s business community. It makes sense to offer an online option for paying taxes.” The original version of EFTPS was introduced in 1996, and since that time businesses have used it to pay more than $5.7 trillion in federal taxes with telephone and software options. Some business taxpayers are required to use EFTPS because their total deposits exceed $200,000 during a calendar year. Individuals can use the system to pay estimated taxes and also to pay a balance due with their return. Businesses and individuals can enroll for EFTPS-OnLine via the Internet at eftps.gov. After enrollment, they will receive a confirmation kit by mail with instructions on how to obtain an Internet password. A unique personal identification number will be mailed separately for additional security.
Thinking Like a Listener
How to Make a Winning Presentation
John R. Graham, president of Graham Communications, presents the following advice on making successful presentations:
Prepared for the critics. There will always be those who delight in challenging what has been said. It’s easier to maintain your mental equilibrium if you know what can happen and prepare yourself psychologically.
Recognize that stress minimizes mental agility. Unfortunately, it is normal to draw a complete mental blank when confronted with stage lights and a roomful of eyes. The key to overcoming this problem is thorough speech preparation. A speech should not be completely memorized. Instead, write it out word-for-word or prepare a detailed outline so you won’t be flustered by worrying what to say next.
Set the stage for success. The overall setting includes the room and the way it’s arranged, the introduction of the speaker and how the speaker begins. If you can control as many of these elements as possible, you will improve your chances of success.
Build the presentation on a solid structure. One outline works well for most presentations: present a problem, analyze it and give a solution.
Understand the audience. You must demonstrate to an audience that you know who they are, why they are there and what issues confront them. Unless a speaker establishes common ground with an audience, the speech will fail.
Speak slowly and move quickly. Speaking slowly and distinctly is essential, because there is no chance to go back and replay the message. In addition, a properly paced speech is essential to maintain listener interest. People think at the rate of 500 words per minute, but they speak at 125 words a minute. This disparity causes listeners’ minds to wander.
Make it visually interesting. Television and movies have conditioned audiences to expect visual stimulation. Any successful presentation will compelling visual elements, either on a screen or with props.
If 99.9 Percent is Good Enough…
If you think 99.9 percent accuracy is close enough to perfect, consider the following statistics showing what will happen if 99.9 accuracy is achieved.
1. Two million documents will be lost by Social Security this year.
2. 103,260 income tax forms will be processed incorrectly.
3. 22,000 checks will be deducted from the wrong checking account every hour.
4. 1,314 phone calls will be misrouted every minute.
5. 12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day.
6. At least 275 passengers each day will fly in planes that land at the wrong airport.
7. 880,000 credit cards in circulation will have incorrect information on their magnetic strips.
8. 315 entries in the Webster’s Third International Dictionary will turn out to be misspelled.
9. 114,500 mismatched pairs of socks will be purchased this year.
10. 291 pacemakers will be installed incorrectly each year.
11. Almost 2.5 million books will be shipped this year with the wrong covers.
12. 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written in the next 12 months.
13. And, finally, at least one item in Nevada Business Journal will contain an error an error an error.