Property Tax – Pros and Cons

Property tax can be the fairest and at the same time the not so fair tax collected by municipalities.

Two of the determining factors of how it can affect what an individual will pay for this type of tax are where you live and a person’s economic condition.

Even though we all can appreciate the good points of owning a home vs. renting, when it comes to property tax, renting is by far the better option. States will collect property tax on the following:

Any additions to the property such as improvements to the land

Land itself

Any structures that are not permanent to the property

The assessment is commonly made by an exclusive county tax collector in each state. An individual’s property and land will be appraised of its value and subsequently mailed as a tax payment notice. This usually is paid through a homeowner’s escrow amount stated on their mortgage.

Many times this can negatively affect a property or land owner as the taxes in a specific state can sometimes double or triple in amount and leave the homeowner unable to afford to pay their taxes, forcing them to sell their property or land.

People on a fixed income such as Senior citizens who have retired, can be greatly affected by the increase of property tax. The value of their homes increase, but at the same time they find themselves unable to pay their taxes because of their reduced income. Unfortunately, property tax doesn’t allow much wiggle room in the event of acts of nature or personal tragedy.

Although 2.3 seems to be the average percentage for property tax, it varies greatly from state to state, making it seem highly unfair for certain states such as New Hampshire, as it is a high 4.9 percent.

It also seem unfair when states like Alabama pay 1.3 percent and yet just a little distance away in neighboring Georgia would be required to pay 2.6 percent, then even more in Florida at a rate of 3.1 percent.

So who determines how the money generated from this income is spent or in some cases wasted? The state legislatures will determine this along with the decision to increase or decrease property tax and how frequent it is collected.

Even though property tax can absolutely help states with income,the amount of property tax to be paid can be a determining factor in one’s decision where to reside to achieve the American Dream of land or home ownership.

Source by Blayne Penton

Why Biomass Energy Is Better Than Other Types of Renewable Energy

There are many different forms of “green” or renewable energy available today and people are continually looking for more energy-efficient sources of green power as the concern about global warming and greenhouse gases comes to the forefront. For those looking to escape dependence on foreign oil and for those interested in reducing their impact on the planet, one type of energy stands out among the rest: biomass energy.

Biomass energy is energy derived from organic materials, usually waste materials.

Biomass energy is, of course, not the only type of green or renewable energy that exists on the market. Other popular options include solar power and wind power. However, while these other options get a lot of attention in the media, biomass is considerably better than these choices for several different reasons:

* Biomass helps keep waste out of landfills. While solar energy makes use of the power of the sun and wind energy harnesses the wind, biomass energy uses organic waste products to create energy. Approximately 70 percent of the waste products disposed of in landfills in the United States contain biomass and many companies produce a significant amount of biomass that adds to this number every day. Biomass keeps the waste out of landfills and harnesses it into something useful.

* Biomass energy has a very long track record of success. Biomass energy has been used in some form or another since the days of the caveman burning wood for fire. Biomass is not a new technology or a passing fancy but is instead a long-established source of energy.

* Biomass energy is a very reliable source of energy. You are not dependent upon the sun to shine or on the wind to blow in order to use biomass. This means it can be used in more places and by more people in a very reliable manner and produce the power necessary for many different applications. Many people are reluctant to switch to solar or wind power because of problems with consistent energy being available but this worry is eliminated when you make use of biomass. In fact, some companies produce enough biomass waste to provide all that they need for their energy production without depending on a third-party supplier, increasing reliability even further since there is always a ready source of biomass.

* Biomass energy doesn’t require an entirely new system or process to work. With co-firing, you can use your existing boilers and use biomass along with coal in order to reduce the amount of coal used by up to 20 percent. This is much easier in many cases than trying to entirely switch your power plant to solar or wind power.

* Biomass energy is the only form of liquid renewable energy that is available. This factor, along with the fact that it doesn’t depend on sun or wind, also helps to make it suitable for applications and uses where wind and solar power would not necessarily work.

All of these are significant advantages of biomass energy and they all help to explain why biomass is preferable to other sources of green or renewable energy. If you want to stay ahead of the curve; be prepared for new potential government regulations that limit energy use; and do your part to reduce waste and greenhouse gases, it is time to consider biomass for your industrial or commercial application.

Source by Pierce David

10 Services That Banks Offer

Whenever we are looking for a particular bank product, we of course always want the best for ourselves. There are numerous services that banks offer. The following article intends to outline 10 of the principal services that banks offer and the reasons why we would want the best in each one… for ourselves!

Wanting the best for ourselves is especially true when we are looking for a means to entrust the safe keeping of our money. So where is the best place for your money? Give it to a friend? Put it in a piggy bank? Hide it in a particular place where only you know? Put it into a bank? Well these are some of the possible places and means wherein you can keep your money. But there is one thing that these ways have in common: they are all actually risky. They are all risky in the sense that the money you have entrusted to them are in danger of being spent, destroyed or will be worth less to you when you take the money back.

Of course, entrusting your money to a reliable and trusted bank is one of the most trusted ways to keep your money safe. Of course to do this, you have to open a savings account first before you are allowed to deposit your money with a bank.

Before opening a bank account, it is best practice to carry out thorough research about any prospective bank. If you think you are satisfied with your research and think that the bank you have chosen can meet all your business and personal needs, then this will be the time for you to enroll yourself and begin to make your deposits.

I Now Have A Bank Account!

Now, you and your money are already relatively safe and secure. I have to congratulate you for finding the best bank for you. However, I would like to reiterate here that all banks vary in the services they provide. A good example of the common services offered is the savings account. This is basically the initial service one can ever have when joining a bank. With regards to services, there are also some cases where some banks offer one type of service and others do not.

10 Services Offered By Banks

For you to have a clearer view of a bank’s services, I have included 10 of the services that most banks offer to consumer banking customers.

  1. Savings and other Accounts
  2. Online Banking
  3. Wire Services (includes customer care service)
  4. Payroll
  5. CDs
  6. Payments
  7. Collection
  8. Transfer of Funds
  9. Bill Payments
  10. Loans

Source by Dave Cheeseman

How Cloud Computing Is Driving Unique Innovations?

There is absolutely no doubt that cloud computing, despite being a comparatively new concept, has become the dominant paradigm in the global IT sector these days. The evolution of cloud computing, in fact, has completely revolutionized the way how business people look at modern technology. Smart business owners, CEOs, and managers nowadays are looking forward to embracing new and innovative trends in the field of IT including big data and analytics and mobile computing, among others, to get their job done quickly and efficiently. But at the same time, most professionals are still dealing with their current information technology investments. This is where the pioneering cloud computing technology turns out to be the best possible solution to reap maximum benefits. It renders an easy, quick and convenient option not only to implement new business process changes but also, helps businesses to find effective solutions to draw attention and engage with customers.

What distinguishes the cloud computing technology is that it delivers a proficient and flexible platform for technology experimentation, rapid development, and distribution of advanced solutions, which used to be a part of IT department a few years ago. There are more than just a few advantages of cloud computing such as higher IT cost savings, improved accessibility and efficiency, reliability, manageability and unlimited storage and backup etc. Not only does working with the data in the cloud saves businesses thousands of dollars but also provides them with much-needed freedom, agility, and convenience and If used properly and to the necessary extent, cloud computing can benefit the companies of all sizes and types.

Below mentioned are the emerging trends in cloud computing that are gradually encouraging and speeding up the process of moving to the cloud:

  • Interconnecting systems of records with futuristic systems of engagement: Business organizations worldwide are amalgamating the systems that support their internal operations like accounting and finance, human resource and warehouse management etc. to advanced systems including email, social networking or collaboration hubs, which eventually help them to get connected with their business partners, associates, employees, and end-consumers. The reason behind this is to make the most productive, creative and effective use of the available information and data collected by the businesses. The cloud, being an easily accessible and highly scalable platform, is constantly propelling such unique trend, which is only going to help business organizations in the coming days.
  • Harnessing the power of the cloud to boost innovation:Cloud computing, since its initial days, has been laying a foundation for a more flexible and efficient model, not only to tap into technology investments made by businesses in the past but also to empower them to swiftly transform their business models and practices. Businesses worldwide are taking both services and data and combining them together to develop cutting-edge applications as well as innovative business processes. By choosing a safe and secure cloud environment, they can rest assured that their sensitive business data will be protected.
  • Streamlining services in a hybrid cloud setup: Business organizations, particularly the large ones, can actually see, manage and control how their services are being used to ensure their privacy and security by automating services in a distinct cloud environment. Most of them are making a significant investment to create applications and technology-based business models or working with collaborative communities. This is indeed a very noble way of thinking from past approaches in cloud computing where businesses assumed that they were losing control over their resources that were located in huge centralized data centers. With modern cloud computing technology, it has become relatively easier and hassle-free for businesses to be resilient and nimble.

Cloud computing is no longer limited only to those who are tech-savvy. Even managers and accountants with little or little technical knowledge these days are harnessing the power of cloud computing technology to grab real opportunities and add more value to the organizations. Simply put, cloud computing has come a long way from being a technology that was earlier seen as a way to reduce operational costs and attain higher efficiency to a powerhouse of innovation that can benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes if used in the right way.

Source by Tina S Smith

How Relevant Are Unemployed Loans in the Present Scenario?

If you are out of a job, it clearly means you have no income source. Devoid of any steady income, you will find it tough to cover the basic expenses. You may try to borrow some money from friends and family, but that’s more of a temporary arrangement. What about trying out a loan instead to tackle the needs, until you find a new source of income? The problem is lenders are not interested in offering financial assistance to people without any regular salary or job. Nevertheless, there are certain provisions made available and all you have to do is to look for a viable alternative that can support you, when not working. This is precisely where unemployed loans gain prominence, since it is conceptualised to provide convenient finances to settle the various needs of those with no active income.

Unemployed Loans for all

To begin with, unemployed loans are not very different from other similar arrangements. What really has changed is the attitude of the lenders, who are now more accommodating to the needs of those with no access to any income. Therefore deriving some cash relief to deal with certain expenses does not really seem to be much of a problem.

But there are certain key factors that play an important role, when it comes to accessing the credit. If you are having a good credit history, Then it means you have maximum chances of getting a suitable offer on this loan. At the same time, when you have arrears and dues, Then obtaining the funds does become a bit tricky, considering the situation. This does not really mean that you have run out of options. In fact, you will have a fewer options available and these will come at a greater cost.

Loans for Unemployed and its various types

If you are of the view that it is possible to get the best possible rates and feasible repayment options, then you are getting wrong information. As far as the loans for unemployed are concerned, you have the option to go for secured variety and an unsecured variety. If it is about deriving a larger amount with an elongated repayment terms and you have the asset to pledge as collateral, then you can prefer the secured option. On the contrary, the unsecured option is more sought by those in particular who are looking for a limited amount for a relatively Short Term period.

Despite meeting all the desired pre- requisites, getting the loans and utilising it is always a challenge. Apart from the higher interest rate and the other hurdles, it eventually comes down to handling the pressure. But when you avail the loans and make sure to keep up with the payments, it does help to improve your credibility as a borrower.

As far as relevance of unemployed loans is concerned, it does help when it comes to seeing through the crisis. But then, it is necessary to minimise the borrowing and limiting the expenses. The best you can do in these circumstances is to stay away from borrowing any money.

Source by Angie Rees

How to Write an IB Economics Evaluation Essay

Economics evaluation essays are often regarded as one of the most difficult assessment components of the IB Economics program. Students often struggle with structuring their evaluations and applying their economic knowledge to the question. However, evaluations do not need to be difficult and students often overcomplicate their thinking when writing evaluations. In this guide, we will examine first, the wrong way to approach evaluation essays and then how to correctly structure an evaluation. For this, we will use this question to demonstrate the essay writing process:

“Evaluate the extent to which a depreciating exchange rate may benefit or harm an economy.”

The wrong way

Many students adopt this approach when writing evaluation essays:

1. Define

2. Descriptions and analysis

3. Evaluate

Evaluation should not be the “icing on the cake”. Rather, the evaluation should be the cake itself. Writing an economics essay using the above approach can easily lead to the mistake of describing everything about a depreciation and leaving only a small part of the essay for evaluation.

The next problem is that, when reading this type of essay, it is unclear as to what the student is evaluating until near the conclusion. As the student, it’s also easy to get sidetracked.

Some students using this approach may often run out of time and not do any evaluation whatsoever, which will make earning even a 6 difficult.

Finally, this with this approach, it is difficult to effectively tackle different types of economics essays. With the approach in this guide, evaluations can be tackled almost systematically which means that less thinking time is required, leaving more precious writing time.

Note: This approach can work and I’m sure there are students who have scored 7s with this approach. But it is much more difficult to learn if you are unfamiliar with economics evaluations. What I recommend, is to use a systematic strategy and structure that can be applied to almost all types of essay questions.

The correct way

First, let’s think about what evaluation actually is.

This can be found in most economics mark schemes:

Effective evaluation may be to:

· Consider short-term versus long-term consequences

· Examine the impact on different stakeholders

· Discuss advantages and disadvantages

· Prioritize the arguments.

The third description is the one that we recommend as it can suit the widest range of possible examination questions. Stakeholder and long run versus short run analyses are often subsets of a discussion of advantages and disadvantages, i.e. the advantages and disadvantages to different stakeholders, or in the short run and long run. Regardless of the question, there will always be advantages and disadvantages. However, there may not be enough to discuss regarding short run versus long run, or regarding various stakeholders.

You should prioritize your arguments anyway, listing the most important advantages/disadvantages first.

The approach I recommend can be used for almost all types of evaluation essays (With some minor tweaks). The key here is that with practice, you can do evaluations almost systematically, which saves on planning time and keeps your essay focussed.

So, the 5 steps to getting full marks in your economics evaluation essay (Using the advantages and disadvantages approach):

1. Define key terms in the question

This is fairly straightforward. The mark scheme awards a few easy marks just for defining the key terminology. It also helps to focus the essay and for the student to get into “essay writing mode.”

2. Answer the question in 1-2 sentences

Essentially what this means is, summarise the entire essay into 1-2 sentences. This sentence is crucial and is designed to focus your essay. All of your future paragraphs from here will support this.

It is also important to demonstrate your intention to evaluate here. Your 1-2 sentence summary must have elements of evaluation – i.e. useful phrases to use include, “it depends on” or “there are advantages and disadvantages” or “there are many costs and benefits associated” etc.

This sentence can be fairly vague. What’s important is clarification on the direction you will take with your essay.

3. List and explain advantages

Note: For policy choices, this can be replaced with “benefits” and for questions where you are required to evaluate a statement, simply replace this with “arguments supporting the statement”

The more detailed the explanation of the advantage, the fewer advantages you need to discuss and vice versa. Aim for at least 2 and at most 3, although in rare instances you may only have one advantage that you discuss in length.

With practice, you will intuitively work out how the length and detail that each advantage needs to be discussed in. Ideally, include one diagram per advantage discussed.

As you become more advanced in your essay writing, it is often useful to qualify these advantages as well. Rather than simply writing “One key advantage is that the policy will reduce unemployment,” write “Given that the economy is likely to be experiencing a deflationary gap, an key advantage of the policy is that it will help to bring the economy closer to full employment.”

4. List and explain disadvantages

Note: Replace with “costs”, or “arguments against the statement” as appropriate to the question.

The principles behind this are the same as for advantages.

5. Weigh up advantages and disadvantages

It is often the case that the advantages and disadvantages do not carry equal weight. Depending on what is being evaluated and the economy in consideration, it is often more appropriate to lean one side or another rather than simply writing “it depends.”

This is essentially your conclusion. For the vast majority of evaluations, this should be a tentative conclusion, i.e. “It is likely to be advantageous overall” rather than “It is definitely advantageous overall.”

For evaluations of policies, it may be powerful here to consider some alternative policy options. Remember also that doing nothing is a possible policy choice.

Key things to remember

1. Your essay’s purpose should be to evaluate. Evaluation should not be the “extra” part you add on for bonus marks.

2. Answer the question and only the question. But use the question as an opportunity to show off your economic knowledge

3. Diagrams should always be “sandwiched.” Relevant text should always be used to introduce the diagram and subsequently to explain the diagram. Do not have a diagram hanging at the end of a paragraph or randomly inserted before a chunk of text.

4. Diagrams must be labelled accurately and titled. Diagrams should also show a shift of some kind. This can be done by using an arrow. I also recommend labelling diagrams Figure 1, Figure 2 etc. This makes them easier to refer back to.

5. Use real world examples. Tackling this is easy. Go on Google and find a statistic for:

a. A country that is experiencing rapid growth (Hint: China)

b. A country that is experiencing very slow growth

c. A country experiencing high inflation

d. A country experiencing low inflation or deflation (Hint: Japan)

e. A country with low GDP/capita

f. Countries with high and low income inequality (HL)

g. Countries with fixed and floating exchange rates

h. A country with high levels of debt

i. A country that is a net exporter

j. A country that is a net importer

The list goes on. Basically, you can get some quick and easy marks just by having some real world knowledge handy.

6. Have some original thought

Original thought is essentially using your creativity to add a little extra flavour to your response. Try to go a little beyond what is mentioned in the text book. The easiest way to do this is to qualify your advantages and disadvantages to the question specifically.

For instance, if the country has high debt levels and you are evaluating depreciation, it may be useful to include something like: “Given that the economy is experiencing high debt levels, a depreciation is likely to make it more difficult to service debt repayments.”

Your essay should not be generic. To achieve the highest marks, it needs to be targeted to the question. This is especially true for the 8 mark data response evaluation question.

7. Explain concepts linearly

What this means is don’t have your analysis jump from A straight to D. Explain your reasoning in a step-by-step manner, as if you are an economics teaching explaining the concept to a student.

For instance, if you are trying to explain that lowering interest rates is likely to increase aggregate demand, your explanation should look something like this:

“Lower interest rates represent a lower cost of borrowing. As such, firms more likely to invest in capital, which is likely to increase the level of investment in the economy. Furthermore, a lower interest rate results in a lower return on savings, which is likely to result in a lower marginal propensity to save and thus a higher marginal propensity to consume. All else being equal, this is likely to result in higher consumption. Since investment and consumption are both components of aggregate demand, lowering interest rates are likely to lead to an increase in aggregate demand.”

The wording could probably flow a little better, but you see the point. Explain concepts in a linear fashion or the examiner may get lost, or assume that you don’t fully understand what you are writing.

8. Practise, practise, practise!

Write as many economics essays as possible before your final exam. This is the only way that you will be able to master the art. After you have written each essay, ask for feedback from your economics teacher. If you are doing past paper questions, look at the mark scheme to see what you may have missed.

In your final exam, do not expect to have much time left remaining. Through practice, you will be able to write faster and not need to commit as much time to thinking. In your final, planning time should take no more than 5 minutes and for the most part, if you have this structure memorised, you should be able to think ahead as you are writing.

At first, it is acceptable to use the textbook/Google as you are writing. But I have a rule for this – don’t use the textbook twice to look up the same concept!

9. If you’re doing HL, make sure to include HL content.

Source by Owen Yang

Car Loans With a Credit Score Below 500 – Get Yours Now

Owning your own car is not just a luxury, but it is a necessity that most people must have, including those people with bad or damaged credit. You need your car in order to get to work, go shopping, and to take your kids to school. However, there are many people out there with credit scores that keep them from getting the financing that they need in order to buy the car that they need. If your credit score is below 500, you have what is known as horrible credit, and traditional financing options that are available to you are scarce or even non-existent. The good news is that while you need to work on rebuilding or repairing your credit file, there are lenders who will take a chance on you with damaged credit, even for those borrowers whose credit scores are below 500.

Less Worry About FICO Score

These lenders worry less about your FICO score and look more at what really matters to them – your ability to repay them when they loan you the money to buy a car. These types of bad credit car loan servicers are accustomed to dealing with those who have bad credit, and in their eyes, the car itself stands as collateral for the loan. This means that the lender looks at factors like your length of time at our current job and the amount of pay that you receive for doing that job. They also take into consideration your other income, or income that other people in your home receive. For this reason, it is always best to include the income that your spouse brings into the home when you apply for your car loan for bad credit.

Interest Rates To Expect With Bad Credit Car Loans

Be prepared for a bit of a surprise when the lender informs you about the interest rates that you will pay on a bad credit car loan. Because you have had negligent credit in the past, the lender will likely assess a higher rate of interest than he would for a borrower with good credit, and this is done to offset his risks. You can reduce the rate of interest that you will pay in one of two ways. First of all, you can apply a down payment to the purchase price of the car that you want to finance under the bad credit car loan.

Any type of down payment that you can produce will help lower your rate of interest, so even if you pay only 10% or even less down on the car, you will get a lower rate of interest and that, in turn, will cause the loan to cost less and have the bonus benefit of making your monthly payments smaller. Secondly, you can apply for the bad credit car loan with the help of a cosigner who has good credit. Having a cosigner can significantly reduce the amount of interest that you are charged on your loan.

Bad Credit Car Loans Can Improve Credit Score

Once you have been approved for your bad credit car loan, become a good steward of the credit that has been extended to you by making timely monthly payments. Many people that take out these types of bad credit car loans find that they are able to improve their credit scores, which can have the ripple effect of reducing the interest that you are charged on subsequent loans in the future, and opening the door for you to obtain other types of credit.

Source by Jess Peterson

6 Common Causes of Crime That We Should Be Aware Of

A society is defined as a group of people who establish relationship with one another while performing their own roles based on their work and status in life. In a particular society, a person tries to get involved with the people around them regardless of culture, language, work or lifestyle. Society plays an important role in the upbringing of a person especially among the youth. But then, it is noticeable that in different societies, crimes are committed and thus instill fear in the hearts of many.

Theft, burglary and murder are only some of the crimes that are rampant in our society. Even inside the homes where we should be safe, crimes still happen. Burglars enter our homes, steal of valuable possessions and in some instances, harm one of the family members. This is can truly be frightening that’s why many of us install security or burglar alarms.

Installing alarms is a good idea but there’s no stopping a criminal from harming you if he really wants to. So, let’s discuss some common causes a person commits crime so we can be aware of them and know how to help improve our society. Below are the common causes of crime.

1.) Lack of proper education and judgment.

Some people who lack education commit a crime because they are not taught by teachers the proper manners and good values that they should have. They tend to have poor judgment and cannot distinguish right from wrong because they are not properly guided in school.

2.) Poverty

This is sometimes the lame excuse of criminals. Poverty can at some point be one factor that can trigger criminals to commit a crime but the society should also be blamed for this because criminals are tempted to get the material things that they see around while other offenders really need money and food so they resorted to theft or robbery.

3.) Lack of parental supervision

Statistics can prove that many offenders particularly young people lack supervision by parents. Some are fatherless or motherless while others are abandoned by their parents or in the care of a relative who care less in the way they should be brought up. Some parents are also too busy working so they neglect their child and spend no time in teaching them good deeds.

4.) Influence of media and environment

The movies and shows we see on tv, watch on video or easily access on the internet can truly influence on the way a person thinks. Young people who have seen violent movies or brutal acts on TV may think that being violent is acceptable. There are also shows that imply revenge which make some people think that they should get revenge to those who have hurt them. Even the environment where a person lives has a high impact on his upbringing and if crimes is rampant on their place then most likely he/she will also adapt it and do the same crime.

5.) Lack of Love

Studies show that many offenders are those that feel neglected by their families. They fell unloved by their parents or siblings thus they attempt to be accepted by the outside world. Some of them unfortunately meet bad people and join gangs because they feel a sense of belonging. They are influenced then by the gang and believe that they should join their peers in committing unlawful deeds.

6.) Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Some crimes are committed because a person needs money to buy drugs in which they are now addicted to. They resort to stealing money just so they can buy the drugs they want. Crimes are also committed because those who are drug addicts or under the influence of alcohol can no longer think clearly and cannot distinguish bad from good thus they commit murder or other crimes.

As a parent can do our part in avoiding more crimes from happening by educating our children on proper conduct and guiding them to the right path. As part of this society, let us join organizations that help the youth be educated and keep them away from bad influences and if we have extra income, we can give to charities/donate to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Let’s do our part in making our society peaceful and crime-free.

Source by Jimmy Hermann

How to Evaluate Your Finance Department

Nobody knows your business better than you do. After all, you are the CEO. You know what the engineers do; you know what the production managers do; and nobody understands the sales process better than you. You know who is carrying their weight and who isn’t. That is, unless we’re talking about the finance and accounting managers.

Most CEO’s, especially in small and mid-size enterprises, come from operational or sales backgrounds. They have often gained some knowledge of finance and accounting through their careers, but only to the extent necessary. But as the CEO, they must make judgments about the performance and competence of the accountants as well as the operations and sales managers.

So, how does the diligent CEO evaluate the finance and accounting functions in his company? All too often, the CEO assigns a qualitative value based on the quantitative message. In other words, if the Controller delivers a positive, upbeat financial report, the CEO will have positive feelings toward the Controller. And if the Controller delivers a bleak message, the CEO will have a negative reaction to the person. Unfortunately, “shooting the messenger” is not at all uncommon.

The dangers inherent in this approach should be obvious. The Controller (or CFO, bookkeeper, whoever) may realize that in order to protect their career, they need to make the numbers look better than they really are, or they need to draw attention away from negative matters and focus on positive matters. This raises the probability that important issues won’t get the attention they deserve. It also raises the probability that good people will be lost for the wrong reasons.

The CEO’s of large public companies have a big advantage when it comes to evaluating the performance of the finance department. They have the audit committee of the board of directors, the auditors, the SEC, Wall Street analyst and public shareholders giving them feedback. In smaller businesses, however, CEO’s need to develop their own methods and processes for evaluating the performance of their financial managers.

Here are a few suggestions for the small business CEO:

Timely and Accurate Financial Reports

Chances are that at some point in your career, you have been advised that you should insist on “timely and accurate” financial reports from your accounting group. Unfortunately, you are probably a very good judge of what is timely, but you may not be nearly as good a judge of what is accurate. Certainly, you don’t have the time to test the recording of transactions and to verify the accuracy of reports, but there are some things that you can and should do.

  • Insist that financial reports include comparisons over a number of periods. This will allow you to judge the consistency of recording and reporting transactions.
  • Make sure that all anomalies are explained.
  • Recurring expenses such as rents and utilities should be reported in the appropriate period. An explanation that – “there are two rents in April because we paid May early” – is unacceptable. The May rent should be reported as a May expense.
  • Occasionally, ask to be reminded about the company’s policies for recording revenues, capitalizing costs, etc.

Beyond Monthly Financial Reports

You should expect to get information from your accounting and finance groups on a daily basis, not just when monthly financial reports are due. Some good examples are:

  • Daily cash balance reports.
  • Accounts receivable collection updates.
  • Cash flow forecasts (cash requirements)
  • Significant or unusual transactions.

Consistent Work Habits

We’ve all known people who took it easy for weeks, then pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline. Such inconsistent work habits are strong indicators that the individual is not attentive to processes. It also sharply raises the probability of errors in the frantic last-minute activities.

Willingness to Be Controversial

As the CEO, you need to make it very clear to the finance/accounting managers that you expect frank and honest information and that they will not be victims of “shoot the messenger” thinking. Once that assurance is given, your financial managers should be an integral part of your company’s management team. They should not be reluctant to express their opinions and concerns to you or to other department leaders.

Source by Fred McKibben

Definition and History of Sociology

Definition

In a nutshell, sociology is the scientific study of society. Sociologists use the tools and methods of science to understand how and why humans behave the way they do when they interact together in groups. Though social groups – or societies – are made up of individual people, sociology is the study of the group rather than of the individual. When it comes to understanding how the individual human mind works, sociologists largely leave that up to psychologists.

Most people who call themselves “sociologists” work in universities and colleges, where they teach sociology and conduct sociological research. They ask a variety of questions about society, sometimes wanting answers just for the sake of curiosity; however, many times their findings are used to inform decisions by policymakers, executives, and other individuals. Many people who study sociology go on to conduct sociological research outside of academia, working for government agencies, think tanks, or private corporations. Accurate, systematic study of society is in one way or another useful to just about everyone.

Studying sociology, whether or not you call yourself a “sociologist,” means taking a particular view of the world: a view that sociologist C. Wright Mills called “the sociological imagination.” You have to be willing to set aside your ideas about how the social world should work so that you can see how it actually works. That doesn’t mean that sociologists don’t have personal values and opinions about the social world; they believe that to change the world, you first need to understand it.

History

Sociology is considered one of the social sciences – along with economics, psychology, anthropology, geography, and political science (among others). The social sciences were born in the 18th and 19th centuries, as people began applying the scientific method to human life and behavior. The world was changing dramatically and quickly as industrial production replaced agriculture, as democratic republics replaced monarchies, and as city life replaced country life. Realizing how many great insights science had lent regarding the natural world, people decided to try to use the same method to understand the social world.

Among the social sciences, sociology has always been unique in its ambition to understand the entire social world – considering all its aspects in combination rather than in isolation. It’s a daunting task, and one that sociologists are still struggling with today.

The most important early sociologists had clear ideas about how to study and understand society; these ideas still form the basis for much sociological investigation and discussion today. Karl Marx emphasized the importance of physical resources and the material world; he believed that conflict over resources is at the heart of social life. Emile Durkheim emphasized cooperation rather than conflict: He was interested in the shared norms and values that make cooperative social life possible. Max Weber took ideas from both Marx and Durkheim and argued that both conflict and cooperation, both material resources and cultural values are essential to social life.

Over the past century, sociologists have continued to debate the early sociologists’ ideas and have applied them to specific societies all over the world. Thanks in large part to the influence of “the Chicago School” of sociologists in the early 20th century, sociologists today pay close attention to small groups and person-to-person interaction as well as to the grand sweep of social history. Today, sociologists appreciate that the big questions and the little questions regarding society are interlinked, and that you can’t understand the macro (the big) without also understanding the micro (the little).

Source by Kamar Hussain