FreshBooks Cloud Accounting Solution Gets Revamped.

Cloud accounting

FreshBooks, the small business accounting software designed for service-based small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of an entirely rebuilt user interface (UI) designed to make managing invoices, clients and expenses faster and easier. The platform is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations and adding companies such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.

“The new FreshBooks is designed to be the most ridiculously easy to use accounting software ever built — yet still packed with powerful features for self-employed professionals,” says Mike McDerment, CEO and co-founder of FreshBooks, in the announcement. “This isn’t innovation for innovation’s sake. This is about making it easier for self-employed professionals to succeed because it’s hard enough being out on your own serving your clients.”

According to McDerment, who spoke with Small Business Trends via Skype, a year and a half ago the company took a hard look at the future and determined that if there was one thing that it could do differently, it would be to make the UI much easier for customers to use. The new design reflects that mindset.

“We determined that the only way to get there was to go from the bottom up,” he said. “You can’t iterate your way to a design change like that. It demands a completely different user experience from top to bottom.”

A Look at the FreshBooks Redesign

New FreshBooks Interface Features

FreshBooks’ new interface includes the following features:

Redesigned Dashboard. The new dashboard is designed to help self-employed professionals see at a glance how their business is doing. First, it shows a graphical representation of outstanding revenue, followed by a picture of profit, a review of expenses and other commonly-used reports (P&L, account aging, expense reporting, etc.).

 

dashboard

Notifications Center. A feature unique to this version is a notifications center, which acts like an assistant that keeps a record of any activity taking place on the platform since the last time a user logged in. Click the bell icon to see the latest activity.

Reimagined Invoices. “Creating a FreshBooks invoice is now simpler than typing in Word and packed full of new benefits,” says the announcement. That includes options for customization (layout, color, logo, etc.), due dates and the ability to communicate with clients directly on an invoice.

Project Management. A new simple to use project management tool allows teams to share files and communicate inside a single interface.

Time Tracking. The time tracking component was completely redesigned to reflect a time of day orientation and show the hourly utilization rate more clearly.

Multiple Business Management. Many self-employed people own more than one business. The new UI lets users switch from one to the other seamlessly, without having to log out and back in, something the older version did not accommodate.

Redesigned Mobile Apps. The new version also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, to enable business owners to run things at anytime from anywhere.

Older Features Made More Visible.  The old interface prevented users from seeing all the available features, such as the ability to accept credit cards, send payment reminders and charge late fees. In fact, many customers did not know these features even existed, he said. The new interface makes such features more conspicuous.

Expanded Integrations Ecosystem

FreshBooks is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations to include major players such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.

“We’re expanding our network of partner integrations, launching with 14 partners today, and will be rapidly adding more as we continue to invest in our platform,” McDerment said in the announcement. “When your accounting data flows effortlessly between the apps you use every day … you end up spending less time on administrative tasks and more time serving your clients.”

The new interface was beta tested with 1,000 of Freshbooks customers. The company is conducting a gradual rollout so not everyone will have immediate access. Users will also have the option to switch back to the older version if desired.

Managing Risk With Software An Introduction To ERM

This is a fully integrated system that is applicable to credit risk, market risk, operational risk, liquidity and interest rate risk, hedge accounting risk, portfolio modeling, fund transfer pricing, etc. While costs are past expenses that can be easily determined, risks are future costs which organizations are potentially exposed to but there occurrence and resultant cost cannot be determined with certainty. Occurrence of risks can result in untold costs to the firm. This therefore necessitates the use of this software to look out for risks.
The risk management system is tasked with identifying and assessing the prevailing risk situation with an enterprise-wide view. Together with a risk register that shows the risks drivers of an organization, their impact and probability of occurrence, this software provides a lasting solution to risk management.

The system works by outlining clearly significant risks facing the firm and the most appropriate treatment measures aimed at mitigating the likelihood of materialization of those risks and their respective repercussion. This can be presented on graphs using charts or as a management report.
The software integrates risk management tasks from various departments of the organization into an enterprise-wide view. For instance, the software may be integrated with control self-assessment that scrutinizes and ratifies controls to find out whether they are operating as per the set standards for optimal results. It could also be consolidated with issue manager that seeks to iron out differences that create a divergence between the organization’s actual performance and the stakeholders’ expectations. This allows for an enterprise view on risks which can be exhibited on several charts to show their correlation and appropriate mitigation measures.

Uncertainties are properly managed by ensuring that unforeseen risks are kept under control at all times. This could be achieved by avoidance of the risk or transferring the impact of the risk to a third party or maybe an insurance firm. This way the optimal organization goals are adequately protected. This would not have been possible without the risk assessment and risk treatment capabilities of the credible risk management system. However, this is not the end. It is of paramount importance that the risk management efforts are constantly monitored and reviewed.
This way, pending treatments are executed on time while past assessments and treatments are surveyed to ensure their continued viability. The risk management system is able to communicate with the end users through alerts regarding assessments, treatments and reminders for expected treatments. The same information is relayed via email too. This is a unique characteristic of this system. Besides, enterprise risk management is a corporate regulatory requirement.

There is no questioning; this software gives you a chance to make responsible, informed and justifiable decisions with regard to risk management. Luckily, this works for firms of all sizes and from all industries. For instance, proactive operational risk management procedures facilitate positive events and duly mitigate deplorable events. Thus, the enterprise risk management system identifies, analyzes, monitors, responds to and mitigates risks in an enterprise wide view. This entails taking up risk management with the day to day operations of the organization for the desired results and hence unrivaled growth.

Enterprise Risk Management Courses

In a competitive world like ours, based on greedy capitalism and money, a manager can’t ever say that his or hers job is safe. Being a manager is a continuous process of learning, and at the end, when a comparison is made, you might be left aside, not because you have bad financial results, but because you are not prepared for the new economy created after the Financial Crash in 2008. For this reason, you should take any opportunity to study something new, and the enterprise risk management training courses might be the next step in your career.

Why are those courses needed?

Your business seems to work perfectly: you have a large number of clients, the competition is at a significant distance behind you, and the profit of the company grows from one year to the next. Are you sure you won’t have troubles; if you identify the risks of your business in time, you can avoid the negative results, and you could use risk in your advantage.

Risk management refers to transposing a business scenario in any way possible. It is about preventive attitude, and about faith in the possibility of speculating a risk. Having with this attitude, the manager will have the strength to take risky but smart decisions. Moreover, the eventual damages and material loses could be minimized.

The enterprise risk management training courses show you how to do this. Risk management becomes a process of identification, analysis and answers to the potential risks connected with the activity of an organization. For example, when the accent is put on information, the risks are connected with the security of the computer network. When the domain is developing new products, the risk is for those products not to be successful on the market.

The companies that allot resources in the area of risk management and control are those in the field of banking, IT, but also the local authorities. Any manager that has an important position within one of those companies has to think about enterprise risk management training courses.

The general purpose of risk management is to help the managers and other interested persons to understand the risks connected with the activity of an organization, so the risks could be administrated. Considering the moment when the risks are analyzed, there are pre-event measurements that must be taken, measurements that could prevent or minimize the risks, but also the post-event measurements, when the damage was already done, and those actions are needed to limit those damages.

The main advantage of such a course is the increased economic efficiency: the managers are aware of the possible risks, and they are able to administrate them accordingly. Risk management is mandatory for the entire managerial team of a company, and for the employees that work in key jobs. The risk can be assumed, rejected or ignored. Each one of those actions could have positive or negative effects for the activity. A manager that knows what decision to take is considered as a gold mine for a company.

Enterprise Risk Management Training Courses

ERP and risk

Enterprise risk management training courses are growing in popularity each day. This is a result of increased awareness on the importance of risk management. Following the recent global economic crisis, organizations, individuals, businesses and even entire economies can no longer afford to ignore the significance of risk management. These training courses equip professionals with the requisite skills to help them deal with risk in their professional settings.

Enterprise risk management includes the processes and methods applied by organizations in the management and mitigation of risks. It also includes the process of identification of events that are of relevance to an organization’s objectives and their assessment in terms magnitude and likelihood. It goes further and determines the response strategy to be taken and the progress monitoring process. By identifying and addressing both risks and opportunities, organizations create and protect value for all the stakeholders who include the shareholders, customers, employees and the societies. These training courses equip the trainees with the required skills to achieve these goals.

The training is suitable for risk professionals and all decision makers in an organization. The hands-on training courses are taught in a setting resembling a normal class. The aim is to help these professionals be better risk managers and also advance new practices in the enterprise risk management field. The training is up to date and is based on the most recent findings in the risk management field which is making strides each day as professionals explore and test new risk management strategies.

Professionals are taught how to execute enterprise risk management in their organizations. This includes its execution at both the strategic level so as to run the business and to use it to drive decision making processes in the organization. They are also taught how to integrate enterprise risk management with strategic planning. This normally poses a challenge to less experienced professionals and the training helps them get over these challenges.

Enterprise risk management training courses also sees the participants participate in mock risk committee meetings. This is like a simulation of the real setting in their workplace and it provides them with a chance to execute what they are learning and learn from each other. Case study groups are constituted in which the trainees practice all the steps of the risk control process. They also draft dummy enterprise risk management frameworks and risk appetite statements. Finally, they come up with a blueprint for implementation of a best practices enterprise risk management framework. The training is practical and not just theoretical. It is done in groups for effectiveness.

The enterprise risk management training courses are mainly organized for; chief risk officers, actuaries regulators, rating agency analysts, board directors and senior executives. They train them on sophisticated techniques for quantification and management of both financial and non financial risks faced by their organizations. They are equipped with skills that make them more effective in running their organizations, meeting the set goals and dealing with unforeseen events. These courses are advertised online and in business magazines as well as other media platforms. They are mainly carried out in the major cities all over the world by qualifies risk management experts.

Enterprise Risk Management Programs 2016-17

Over time, there has been a surge in demand for risk managers due to increasing complications of financial and other functional undertakings. These are professionals who identify and analyze risks facing the firm and come up with mitigation measures against such risks. This demand has increased with standards-setting examinations which in turn have led to many organizations in the risk management industry competing to furnish interested candidates with a standard certification.

For instance, the Global Association of Risk Professionals and the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association offer Financial Risk Manager (FRM) exam and the Professional Risk Manager certification (PRM). These tests take not less than 500 hours of study but unfortunately only 50% or less of those who attempt them actually succeed. The GARP exam is a two part task that costs $1250 and the four part PRMs’ test goes for $ 500.

The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) and the Society of Actuaries also provide risk management certifications. However, these are less bent towards financial risk compared to FRM and PRM. They are inclined towards risk management with an enterprise wide view. For instance, the RIMS Fellow, the Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA), the Certified Risk Manager and the Associate in Risk Management. These mainly span all the risk issues relating to companies.

An individual who has been previously exposed to risk management can take a few months of study to earn some of these titles as opposed to beginners who are at it for more than a year. This requires one to be adept in financial markets, mathematical principles relating to risk management, up-to date risks like market and credit risks and risk management measures, behavioral ethics and organizational governance.

This certification is not a compulsory prerequisite to practice risk management but people take up the exams because they come with a host of benefits. Certification equips with invaluable concepts and skills that enable you to effectively perform a better job. It’s also a living proof to dubious potential clients and new businesses. In the event that you are looking for employment, this certification gives you a competitive edge over other interviewees.

The CERA is a rigorous and highly recommended credential for people who have a keen interest in risk management. It is a development of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) credential and seeks not only a detailed understanding of risk but also implementation of proven risk management strategies with an enterprise-wide view.

An enterprise risk management qualification, e.g. CERA enables the candidates to gain a broader understanding of risk that is more extensive than the classical actuarial areas. This allows them to help companies to strategically manage risks and improve their competitive advantage. This global ERM qualification is widely recognized by 13 actuarial associations in 12 countries in the whole wide world. However, achieving this qualification is never a leisure walk in the park. It’s quite a daunting task.

This certification makes actuaries proficient to practice as chief risk officers in various spheres such as insurance, reinsurance, consulting, energy, infrastructure, transport, media, technology, healthcare and manufacturing. Besides, one can also work as a business manager, a financial professional, a risk professional, senior analyst, risk reporting manager, casualty actuary, risk leader, etc. Clearly, the possibilities are endless.

ERP Power Triangles

There are two power triangles at play here. The first: people – process – technology,
defines the dependencies that underpin the project. The second: scope – time – cost,
is a relationship triangle that cannot be broken. If you are running out of time, you can
either reduce the scope or spend more money. Running out of money means you
reduce the scope and this impacts the timeframe. Increasing the scope in any way will
ALWAYS result in overspend and delay. The secret is to limit the initial scope to
something manageable, control the delivery to meet this initial scope and then launch
additional projects to drive the product deeper and more broadly into the organization.

erp diagram

Lombard Risk Management Launches Compliance Assessor

As a consequence of the financial crisis firms, more than ever, are faced with a plethora of regulations as governments seek to regulate as a means of protecting individual economies.   As a result, a considerable amount of management time is spent in trying to keep up with the pace of regulatory change and addressing regulatory demands, whilst having less and less certainty about the level of enterprise or departmental compliance. Regulatory risk, being the risk of non-compliance and the repercussions that may follow, is now a major challenge and of serious concern for institutions.

In conjunction with the launch of Compliance ASSESSOR TM, Lombard Risk is delighted to announce the appointment of David Wilford as Director of Compliance Products.  David has over 35 years’ experience, primarily in the areas of risk management and regulation, and will head up the dedicated Compliance ASSESSOR TM team as its product director.  Over the last 10 years David has been involved in the interpretation and implementation of the Basel II/III Accord as reflected in the EU CRD and subsequently the FSA Prudential Sourcebooks.  He has also been advising banks on the adequacy of their risk governance frameworks to address these and other regulatory requirements and implementation issues.

John Wisbey, CEO, Lombard Risk commented: “Our clients look to us for solutions to all their regulatory needs and an increasingly important part of that is to ensure that their firm as a whole is meeting, and/or working towards meeting, all aspects of compliance.   Compliance ASSESSOR TM has been designed to show senior management how a firm complies and continues to comply with regulations.  It addresses the new approach to supervision by providing a means of assessing the state of compliance with all applicable regulations at business unit and regulation level – irrespective of jurisdiction – and addressing deficiencies through appropriate action plans.

More importantly, dashboards and reports enable senior management to identify deficiencies in compliance anywhere within their organisation and take appropriate action, a valuable tool given the regulators’ intention to make executives collectively and individually responsible for non-compliance.”

David Wilford adds: “With governments seeking to impose further regulations as a means of stabilising and protecting economies, and the regulators taking a more intrusive approach to supervision, it is clear that many compliance and audit functions will come under enormous pressure, possibly to breaking point, without investment in resources and appropriate applications.”

Risk Management Financial Crisis

Finance and risk go hand in hand, however many finance institutions were unaware of risks and risk management hence the financial crisis…

In part, this is because of the failure of previous risk management projects to deal adequately with the challenges that the financial sector faced. After each crash, the financial sector has attempted to improve its risk management, often spending large sums of money, only to find itself caught unawares yet again in the next crash.

Many financial institutions have been disillusioned by the failure of major projects to achieve their goals or to reduce risk. As a result, firms are wary of projects that promise to transform risk management and may even become convinced that they can do little to improve risk management over the long term. Instead, regulation has taken center stage and plans are based around introducing tactical, compliance-focused risk management solutions.

While these short-term tactical actions are necessary, they need to be taken in the context of a long-term strategy for solving the problems around risk management. Identifying these problems is easier said than done. Financial institutions face myriad challenges in today’s environment, making it more difficult to understand what solutions and technologies should be employed to solve these problems.

To understand the problems that firms are facing and to track developments in the risk technology market, Misys commissioned Chartis Research to carry out a survey of risk professionals on the subject of their aims for enterprise risk management and the obstacles that they face. The survey and analysis was carried out independently by Chartis Research.

The key findings of the survey show:
• Almost half of firms surveyed did not have a well-formulated enterprise risk management program, one that gives them a clear view of all risks across their organization and allows them to manage
these risks in a flexible, collaborative way
• Regulation, especially Basel 3, is a major driver for change, but firms also believe there is currently too much emphasis on regulatory compliance and not enough on improving risk management.
Regulations are forcing firms to deal with the symptoms of crashes, rather than the root causes, which can only be solved by better risk management
• Firms want to do more to embed risk throughout the firm to enable collaborative risk management – respondents want more accountability in the front office for risk, more use of risk information in the
front office, and increased use of risk-adjusted performance measures.

The results show that firms are moving from centrally controlled, top-down risk management towards collaborative risk management based on encouraging all areas of the bank to take responsibility for risk management. This report examines these results and explores how firms can implement collaborative risk management.