A Solution for SMEs to Optimise Cash Holdings: Akoni in an Interview on Fintech Focus TV

Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, CEO & Co-Founder of Akoni, speaks to the Harrington Star about the solutions that Akoni brings to SMEs and small corporates to make managing their cash easier and more beneficial. One of the many pain points Felicia addresses is the huge amount of time that such organisations, who aren’t big enough to qualify for banking corporate treasury functions, must spend managing their cash. The interview discusses the use of AI and data optimisation as Akoni seeks to help busy SMEs maximise their cash with access to new tools and better interest rates. Watch the full interview now!

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter

Auto enrolment for employee pensions – SME checklist for compliance

The UK population is facing a major savings crisis – and it’s not confined to the millennial population. In fact, the so-called ‘generation debt’ demographic – those aged 18-25 – are active savers and putting up to 10% of their earnings aside to plan for their future.  74% of those recently surveyed by one bank claimed to invest regularly, more so than this country’s older generation.

This is an impressive figure and dispels the stereotype of the over-spending millennial.  But it’s still not enough for old age. We are living longer – and our money pot needs to accommodate this reality.

Retirees are feeling the pinch, with one in five people in their 50s and 60s unable to set aside enough money after bills and other living expenses are paid.  Only 43 per cent are occasional savers according to a recent report carried out by Aviva.

In further research commissioned by Age UK, half the UK’s workforce between 40 to 64 years of age  – eight million people – expect to have to work until their late-60s.

Government has taken action to try and reverse this trend. It wants to encourage the population to save more and to legislate businesses to provide pension schemes.

Hence the enactment of statutory staging dates – the period whereby employers must enrol staff into a pension. Staging began in 2012 with larger employers followed by smaller firms. February 1st 2018 marked the last staging date.  From now on, all new employers – including SMEs- must comply with automatic pension enrolment on the day their first member of staff starts work.

2% of ‘qualifying earnings’ has to be paid into a scheme for each employee, with at least 1% of this coming from the employer.  In April 2018 the contribution rate will rise to 5% of qualifying earnings, with a minimum of 2% from the employer.  The following year it will increase to 8% with a minimum of 3% from the employer.

All employers must enrol workers into a workplace pension who:

  • are not already in a qualifying pension scheme
  • are aged 22 or over
  • are under State Pension age
  • earn more than £10,000 a year

Most SMEs will probably turn to accountancy firms to manage the administrative side of the auto enrolment.

For SMEs that want to set up the pension themselves, the first step is to visit the workplace pension sector of the Directgov website to learn more about their responsibilities.

The pension regulator also has important information online that SMEs should consult – including the master trust assurance list of schemes that meet government approval.  The register includes the National Employment Saving’s Trust (NEST), a not-for-profit, trust-based, defined contribution pension scheme that was created to support automatic enrolment and to ensure UK employers have access to a suitable pension scheme. NEST is easy to use and provides an affordable way for employees to save.

The UK government is right to enact this pension reform – and businesses must comply or face stiff penalties that can hurt their bottom line and impact the wellbeing of employees.

Millions of people are not saving enough for retirement – and as life expectancy increases, savings in pensions are decreasing. Auto enrolment offers a hassle-free way for employees to reverse this worrying trend and for all companies – including SMEs – to play an active role in creating a better financial future for everyone.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter

Tax Returns – Did you file on time

January 31st was the deadline to file your tax return in the UK.

The good news is that each year more people are actually submitting the returns on time Last year a record was set – nearly 11 million people got their annual tax returns by midnight on January 31, with nearly 33,000 filing online just an hour before according to the UK’s tax authority. 

But for every person that made the deadline, there’s plenty of others that didn’t.

It’s estimated that one in 14 tax payers didn’t file on time last year. While it’s too early to assess what the numbers were like this year, what is certain is that submitting a late tax return is a costly affair – especially for small businesses.

An automatic fine of £100 pounds is generated by computer after January 31st – and the later that people wait, the greater that number increases. If you’re three months late, there’s a £10 fine for each following day up to a 90 maximum of £900. Six months later or more and you could be asked to pay up to 100% of the tax due instead as well as any tax owed, which is doubling the payment you were originally asked to pay.

Paying your tax return on time is probably what most SMEs aim for but maybe it’s not procrastination that is the cause of the delay, but the actual process of filing the return in the first place.

Going online and navigating through the government portal can be confusing and frustrating. There are also requirements to provide a host of information and ID, which takes time as well. Add to the mix the need to supply a Unique Transaction Reference (UTR) and suddenly you find yourself running out of time as you scramble to locate where and what this number is and why it matters so much.

Another serious issue is the struggle that most SMEs face: late client invoices. If small businesses are struggling each month to get paid – how will they file their tax return on time?

The Federation of Small Businesses asked government for some mercy, complaining that people have faced an unusually difficult year, which is impacting their ability to file their return.

HMRC estimates that nearly 11 million people have to complete a tax return because they are self-employed, earn more than £100,000 or have a second income.

For those firms that filed on time this year – a big congratulations are in order. For the millions that have missed the deadline – here are a few tricks to prepare for the next return:

First, be organised- keep paperwork sorted throughout the year so everything you need is in order and you’re not panicking the day before the deadline.

Second, keep track of all expenses and include all the information required. Double check that forms are fully completed and include all earnings. Many tax returns are rejected by HMRC due to errors and mistakes so find the time to cross check all paperwork before you file the return.

Third, use the plethora of FinTech software that’s readily available and can simplify processes. They include online platforms such as the Which? online tax calculator that helps businesses submit tax returns directly to HMRC with little hassle.

If all of this sounds too daunting, then there’s always the final option and that’s to seek out an accountant.  That can be a costly affair but so too is the whole business of late tax returns.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

Turning inventory into cash: Tips for SMEs struggling with late payments

Small businesses are the foundations for every economy – but they are also the most precarious of enterprises.  And it all boils down to money.

A great service, an iron will, and great customer loyalty are not enough to keep things moving if there’s a cash flow problem. This major issue is what determines whether an SME is on the brink of success, ready to scale or nearly bust.

Getting cash flow positive doesn’t happen overnight. Any investment made in products or workers takes time to transform into liquidity. Unfortunately – that’s one thing most SMEs simply don’t have – time to wait for payment.

Add to the mix the need to also pay for employee wages and other overhead costs and suddenly an SME without a decent cash flow runway is borrowing money to cover costs at high interest rates, which hinders the ultimate goal for any business – maximum profitability.

On average, SMEs have a 30-day cash reserve to cover cash flow problems. If payment takes 60 days or more, businesses can start to falter because they need twice the amount of reserves to cover costs and the next round of inventory – whether it’s physical or professional services. The slower the cash-to-cash cycle the more expensive it gets to run a business.

The culture of late payment is getting worse for SMEs and undermining the stability of economies. According to research conducted by MarketInvoice, over 60% of invoices issued by UK SMEs in 2017 – worth over 21 billion- were paid late – up 62% from the previous year.

An economy can’t thrive if SMEs cannot resolve this critical issue – they are worth too much to national growth and to the cohesiveness of communities. In the UK, SMEs account for 47% of all private sector turnover – a sum too big to ignore.

So, what are some of the ways to avoid such a scenario?

Do SMEs have any power over the speed in which they manage cash flow? Or is the act of chasing invoices part and parcel of what it means to run a small business?

While there’s no panacea to cure the late payment scourge, there are several ways to help minimize the cash-to-cash cycle without having to borrow finance or call in the lawyers.

  1. Don’t tolerate late payments

Extending terms to your customers to delay payment will give them permission to make late payments – a something you need to avoid from the very start of a client relationship. Offering discounts for early payments can also work well, and incorporating a late payment policy can dissuade payment delays.

2. Itemise and split invoice fees to encourage faster payment

Billing for fees or expenses can bloat a final invoice – so why wait until the very end to settle the total if the service has already been delivered? Itemise and bill separately for spending you’ve made for your client to complete the job the moment it’s done. This gives the client enough time to review and go through the charges- and enough time for you to resolve any disputes that can delay reimbursement.

3. Optimise supply and demand performance

Keep track of the demand of your inventory – don’t order too much or too little – and work closely with marketing teams to know when promotions and new campaigns will launch and potentially spike interest in your goods or services. This can help you prepare for demand and get the right amount of stock in place ahead of time. Planning and forecasting schedules for sales and operation planning goes a long way to managing cash-flow cycles. You would also be wise to consider investment in customer relationship platforms that keep track of their spending habits and preferences – as well as the performance of your competitors.

4. Trim overheads

Lean companies have the agility to deliver goods quickly and to achieve faster turnaround for payment. Take control of your end-to-end processes, and fill any gaping holes that are making it more expensive to run your operations and partner with any suppliers to integrate process and enhance your performance. Running a tight ship is important – but keep an eye on stock calculations to guard against your customer service and company brand.

5. Optimise order-to-cash process

Examine every step of the invoice process, and eliminate anything that is slowing down the payment cycle. Investing in digital invoicing, financing and payment platforms are other good ways to reduce time in order-to-cash processes as well.

The persistent and growing trend in late payments remains a critical issue for most SMEs, so preparing for the likelihood of slow cash-to-cash cycles is important – not only for the small businesses but for the overall economy as well, which relies on the billions that small companies generate each year to fuel its growth and prosperity.

6. Manage cash effectively

When holding cash, ensure that it is always deposited in accounts that will create the optimal returns for your cash flow circumstances. Managed porting of your cash holdings will leave you with cash available when you need it, but also generate returns from an asset that otherwise wouldn’t be working for you. For more information on how to manage cash portability effectively, contact Akoni.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

2017 in Review and Looking Forward to 2018

This is it! The end of 2017 has arrived and what an interesting year it has been, for Akoni, for business and for the country as a whole.

Brexit has been at the forefront of the news for the entire year and we imagine it will continue to be so for 2018. How could it not be? It is a huge change that this country is going through and nobody can tell what the results will bring for the economy and for the individual. Facing the unknown has never been an easy task for humanity and our instinctive reaction is often fear and despair. But like many times before, an uncertain future, involving hardship, has often resulted in greatness and prosperity. We are watching the developments closely, and in particular the decisions made that affect business.

While the majority of predictions about the UK’s prosperity in light of Brexit have been negative, business in the UK has continued to grow with the notorious entrepreneurial spirit of Britain not disappointing.

Below we go into more detail on:

  1. Some interesting and encouraging numbers on the UK economy relating to businesses
  2. An overview of Akoni’s successes this year – we have had an exciting year, which we are eager to tell you all about.
  3. Two focus areas for Akoni: Charities and UK Tech Start-ups
  4. Akoni’s insights for the year ahead

 

  1. 2017 for business:

 Although confidence levels among Britain’s SMEs has suffered amidst the Brexit turmoil, entrepreneurship has not suffered. In 2017 SMEs in the UK accounted for:

  • 51% of all private sector turnover with a total combined turnover of £1.9 trillion
  • 60% of all private sector employment with a total of 16.2 million people employed
  • at least 99.5% of the businesses in major sectors.

Investment in UK PLC has been hampered since the 2016 Brexit vote but that hasn’t stopped the business population in the UK increasing – by 4% since 2016 – reaching a record of 5.7 million private sector businesses early this year. These numbers are published by the government each year in January. In a few weeks the numbers for 2017 will be released and we will likely see a further increase in this regard.

However, we are also seeing that the UK economy has slowed down over the past year, with the International Monetary Fund calling Britain a ‘notable exception’ to an improving global economic outlook.

 Nevertheless, we at Akoni strongly believe that SMEs are significant contributors to the UK economy, as seen in the above figures. Therefore, we will continue to support SMEs and charities as the bedrock of economic growth.

  1. 2017 for Akoni: highlights

 Over the last year as our business has gone from strength to strength so has our team, and as the year draws to a close our number of team members has already doubled. We have a group of talented and motivated individuals, each in their own field, from various backgrounds, contributing valuable resources to the Akoni endeavour.

 

Throughout the year we took part in various events, had the chance to speak and present the Akoni proposition to vast and fantastic audiences, were selected for prestigious industry competitions and have been mentioned in major news publications.

Here are Akoni’s finest moments of 2017:

 

  1. Akoni’s focus areas

As we look to build on the success we have had to date, there have been a few sectors of the business community that we have been focusing on and we wanted to highlight some of our key takeaways for these communities.

  • Tech Start-Ups

At Akoni a key focus for us, along with assisting SMEs, is working with the start-up community to help these new businesses to reach their full potential by utilising their cash reserves. With an increase in co-working spaces (notably WeWorks but also Plexal and Rise London (the latter for the Fintech industry)), accelerator and incubator programmes often in collaboration with large industry corporates (CO:CUBED and HighTech XL to name a couple) and national led initiatives like London & Partners, the UK feels like an exciting place to be starting a new tech venture. And although there have been mixed reviews about the health of the UK economy, we have been particularly encouraged by what we have seen within these various ecosystems, including collaboration between incumbent tech start-ups in various industries.

Given Akoni’s specialism, we are seeing a number of fintechs growing in the UK, with the aim of giving SMEs more control of, either their existing assets (like Akoni), or providing easier access to funding sources (like Funding Circle and Capitalise) to allow the UK SME market to hopefully achieve even better returns than noted above. In addition, these new Fintechs are also providing sources of capital for the start-up industry, beyond typical VC investment.

With all this being said, we are excited for what 2018 holds for all tech start-ups.

  • Charities

2017 has been another year where charities have been in the spotlight. The response by charities and the public in donating to charities, in the wake of incidents at Grenfell Tower and the Manchester Arena bombing, as well emergencies beyond our shores, has shown that the charity sector in the UK is still huge force for good and plays an important role in society.

With that important role comes accountability and the focus in 2017 charity governance remained a hot topic. The continued scrutiny of the role of Trustees, and use of funds raised, together with the release of the Charity Governance Code outlining standards charities, should aim to points for a need and appetite for improved governance.

What is certain – the voluntary sector is a vital cog in the wheel of our economy and improved governance can be seen as a positive moved for the sector.

Brexit is going to have an impact on the charity sector in the UK. Aside from the £250m+ direct funding UK charities receive from the EU, the impact on the economy will likely put a squeeze on public pockets which could make fundraising harder. The value of the pound will also impact on those charities who operate overseas.

GDPR legislation, continued focus on governance and uncertain political times will also impact on the non-profit sector, but collaboration across the sector, innovation in fundraising and communications, and embracing digital technology in all functions of the organisation, are opportunities to be grasped in 2018.

Charities have faced turbulence in the past and have always found ways to raise funds and continue their important work. We look forward to playing a role in this and helping charities to maximise their income.

  1. Looking ahead to 2018

 2018 will be a critical year for the UK economy where we may see one out of three scenarios:

  1. A bespoke agreement with the EU, which will likely see a stronger pound, reduced inflation, employment growth and a return to economic prosperity.
  2. A hard Brexit which would create a difficult scenario because of the uncertainty around it. In this instance, it seems likely that inflation will rise and the pound and economic growth will likely weaken, whilst unemployment rises.
  3. The PM faces a no-confidence vote by the government, leading to an election with the possibility of seeing labour come into power. This would understandably be quite a shock to the economy, at least for the first year of the new government.

Looking at current reports, it seems likely that interest rates will go up in February following the next Bank of England meeting, particularly if inflation remains around 3%. Unemployment will probably remain reasonably low and wage increases won’t be drastic either. When it comes to overall economic growth, the UK will not see as much growth as will be the case for the rest of the world. While we cannot speak about a recession just yet, the UK economy will face one of its most challenging times and the uncertainty around which of the three above mentioned scenarios will unfold, does not assist the economy with getting back to its expected level, that being the 4th or 5th largest economy in the world. But when it comes to economic forecasting they say that there are two types of economists: Those who cannot forecast and those who don’t know that they cannot forecast. In that same spirit, we at Akoni choose to remain positive.

We very much look forward to the events of next year and what possibilities they will open up for us and for business in general. We cannot help but mention Open Banking coming into effect from January 2018 and how this will change the landscape of finance for the better, allowing SMEs to leverage new types of financial services to their advantage. We are full of hope and optimism that next year can be a great one and that this country’s entrepreneurial spirit will catapult us into a fantastic era of innovation.

           

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Neither Akoni or its advisors or officers authorised to make any express or implied representation , warranty or undertaking as to the accuracy or completeness of this update. Furthermore, the writer expresses his /her own opinion and not an investment advice.  

 

What does Brexit mean for the tech sector so far

The tech sector was a major voice in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU. There were fears that an exit from the European Union would cause investment to shift to tech companies outside the UK, uncertainties about the status of EU nationals working in the UK, the acquisition of new talent from the EU and tech companies choosing to have their headquarters elsewhere.

We would like to look at where we stand today with regards to the tech sector and the developments of the Brexit negotiations.

1. Investments

 2016 saw a record high in investments, with more than £ 6.7 billion being invested into UK tech companies, leading Europe in merger and acquisition activity. While investment did slow down after the June 2016 referendum, the fall wasn’t as drastic as expected and was not necessarily attributed to the vote on Brexit, seeing as there was a general fall in tech funding, not just in the UK.

Today the UK remains top of the list when it comes to capital invested by quite a large margin to European countries such as Germany and France. Nevertheless, this margin is shrinking and the UK is the only country where more founders say it was harder to raise investment in 2017 than 2016.

The recent budget announcement included a large amount of government investment into the tech sector, as an attempt to tackle possible losses due to Brexit.

2. Tech companies relocating

The continuing uncertainty regarding trade deals between the EU and the UK, mean that existing UK based companies consider relocating to Europe if the UK leaves the single market. European founders, on the other side, also no longer see the UK as an attractive base for their companies’ headquarters. But is that really the case?

The European tech scene is evolving and beginning to build its own ecosystem independent from what’s going on in the UK, US or elsewhere but that certainly doesn’t remove the UK as a major player in the global tech scene. UK tech companies will continue to have advantages, such as London fintech companies being located in the world’s biggest financial centre, with direct access to a huge b2b market that London offers.

3. EU nationals working in the UK

 After much insecurity regarding EU tech workers’ rights to remain in the UK, the recent reciprocal deal agreed between the EU and Britain certainly caused a sigh of relief in all sectors of business, not least the tech sector, with almost 200,000 EU citizens contributing to UK tech.

EU citizens’ rights to live and work in the UK have been guaranteed including the rights of a range of family members to move to the UK. This of course makes it easier on employers, who up until now did not know, which of their employees would be able to continue working for their companies and how much they would need to re-staff their offices. It also adds to more certainty for new potential talent to be recruited before the March 2019 deadline.

Another concern of the tech sector was the amount of time an EU national could live outside the UK, before losing settled status. Originally this was set to be only 2 years and has now been increased to 5. For tech companies this is a big improvement as they regularly second staff across a global network.

To sum up…

 While the tech sector was not a fan of Brexit, the actual results seen at the moment are not as bad as expected. The deal guaranteeing rights of EU citizens in the UK, is a major break-through in favour of the future of the UK tech sector and while leaving the single market may be considered a disadvantage, there is plenty of room left for positive development of the UK tech sector, still seen as a world leading hub for technology.

 Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Small Business Saturday – get ready

On Saturday, the 2nd of December, it will be 5 years of Small Business Saturday. It is an event that was created to support small businesses. It attracts millions of customers each year and gives businesses an income boost before Christmas. Akoni believes firmly that SMEs are the bedrock of our economy and we do what we can to support them so we have put together a few tips to prepare for the day:

1. Prepare your customers

Don’t wait for the day to advertise your business. Make sure you tell your customers about it in advance. If you have a newsletter, tell your customers to mark the event in their calendars, with hints to special promotions. Publish multiple posts on Social Media, leading up to the day and get customers excited for your offers.

2. Know your Social Media

Publishing posts to spread the word is key to reaching as many people as possible. Be sure to use the hashtag that is trending. #SmallBizSatUK is used in more than hundred thousand tweets on the day.

3. Stand out

On Small Business Saturday you don’t want to be conducting business as usual. Make sure to make changes that would attract customers. Extend your opening hours for those who have not seen your online promotions or for those who are walking past at unlikely shop opening hours. Since that day is an event, you should treat is such. Hand out balloons to children on the street and for that extra advertising you could make them branded balloons as well. Speaking of advertising, you could encourage passersby to take selfies in front of your shop by providing fun props. This way your name might appear on various Social Media profiles, which will act as free advertising.

4. Partner with other Small Businesses

A great way of promoting your business is to partner with others. You could offer discounts for those who shop in another local business and vice versa. For example, if you own a coffee shop, you could offer a free pastry with every coffee, when shopping at the next door clothing boutique.

5. Make sure your online presence works

Regular social media posts are important. In addition you should always, but particularly on a day that you expect increased traffic, make sure everything on your website works and is up to date. If you have a blog you want to make sure you have recent and relevant blog posts. The last thing you want is for visitors to feel that the site is stale and boring. You want customers to shop on that day, but you also want them to go away with a great experience and for them to come back as a result.

Promoting your business can be a lot of work and expensive. Small Business Saturday was particularly created to focus the awareness of shoppers to businesses like yours. Our advice is to make the most of a relatively cheap, but highly affective promotional tool. While increasing revenue and advertising your business, it will also be great fun for you and your team.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

 

Government launches new industrial strategy

Today sees the launch of the Government’s new industrial strategy.  Last week Nigel Wilson called for us to put back the Capital into Capitalism and that same (budget) afternoon, Phillip Hammond name checked the “Patient Capital” project that is designed to do just that.

The new strategy for industry aims to tackle weak productivity and support businesses to counter any new problems caused by Brexit. The plans are laid out in the so-called Patient Capital Reviewintended to support innovative firms to access the finance that they need to scale up. The review addresses three key areas:

  • Unlocking institutional and retail investors’ capital
  • Increasing the number of venture capital (VC) funds that can deploy patient capital at scale
  • Increasing returns to scale-up investments

In our last week’s blog on the budget announcement we mentioned the better regulated incentives for EIS as a great step for investors and start-ups. The plan is to extend the investment limits for existing EIS and VCT schemes, targeting the lack of capital availability, particularly at the boundary of the existing EIS and VCT threshold. Get all the details in the full Patient Capital Review, which you can download here.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

How Enterprise Social Networking is Changing the Role of Middle Management

Following is a guest blog post from Okappy. A leading market network technology for job management. They share their insight on current trends in social and market network technologies for industry.

When Facebook (or “Thefacebook” as it was then known) originally launched in 2004, it was intended as a small private network for use exclusively by students of Harvard College. Fast forward 13 years, Facebook has two billion users worldwide and has changed the ways in which many of us organise and even carry out our social lives.

Now, building on the fundamentals of social networking sites such as Facebook, enterprise social networks (ESNs) are set to change our working lives in much the same way.

What is Enterprise Social Networking?

Enterprise social networking can be understood as to serve the same purposes as other more recognised forms of social networking, but specifically in application to the working world rather than in a primarily social context.

Joining existing ESNs such as Connections by IBM and Yammer owned by Microsoft, Facebook launched its very own ESN known as Facebook Workplace in October 2016. As reported by Techcrunch, Facebook Workplace has already been adopted by 30,000 organisations in just one year.

Regardless of whether one ESN will eventually reign supreme or whether competing ESNs will continue their coexistence, what is clear is that ESNs are here to stay.

How is Middle Management Affected?

The working department that is arguably set to undergo the greatest transformation by result of enterprise social networking is that of middle management.

As ESNs open up direct channels of communication between senior managers and junior workers, the necessity for middle managers as mediators in hierarchical organisations will be put to question.

However, far more than merely relaying any messages coming from the top of an organisation, middle managers are the people expected to take charge of their working environments—whether online or offline. In directing and moderating an organisation’s use of an ESN, the role of middle management gains new significance as it is brought up to date within the modern working world.

The Changing Role of Middle Management

Middle managers are expected to lead, so the first new task imposed upon them by enterprise social networking is simply to involve themselves in this new form of networking before anyone else.

This may seem a daunting prospect to some of the less technologically minded middle managers out there, but ESNs are designed to be as user friendly as possible. With a little time and energy, anybody can get to grips with how they work. Most of the skills required for an ESN’s operation are also transferrable from more traditional forms of social networking, so middle managers who already use social networks have no excuses.

Once middle managers have set an example for the correct use of an organisation’s ESN, they will ultimately be the people responsible for the ESN’s upkeep. While it’s true that senior managers will have access to an organisation’s ESN, the chances are that they will not have much time to really engage workers on the platform and encourage progress. Naturally, this responsibility will fall to middle management.

Middle managers must actively participate on ESNs, clearly posting targets and inciting discussion. If any workers are unfamiliar with social networking or are struggling to learn the nuances of ESNs on their own accord, then it is down to middle managers to give appropriate support and guidance.

Middle managers can also use the internal analytics provided by ESNs in conjunction with their own professional judgement in assessing adoption rates and the effectiveness of any features that ESNs offer. Where there are failings, middle managers must ask why.

When an ESN has been successfully implemented within an organisation, middle managers will then be able to communicate at any time and in any location with however many workers they wish. Not only does this mean they will be able to give workers real-time updates round the clock, it also means that they will be able to lead remote workforces and not just workers with whom they share office space.

By expanding working environments beyond the physical walls of an office, middle managers will be able to manage larger workforces than ever before.

What to Remember

Despite all the new opportunities made possible by enterprise social networking, perhaps the most important thing for middle managers to do is to not underestimate the value of the face-to-face interaction that they themselves provide.

It can be difficult for workers to trust and put their faith in an organisation that operates entirely online, and workers lose motivation when they can no longer perceive the human element within the organisation they work for. In an increasingly technological era, middle managers are still required to influence and inspire workers in the real world.

Enterprise social networking does not diminish the role of middle management, it simply changes it.

 

—Freddie Kentish, Okappy

 

About the Author: Okappy is a B2B innovative communications and collaborations platform for job management. Okappy combines social and market network technology to communicate and collaborate with employees, subcontractors, across different sites and with different clients. For more insights from them, check out their blog.

 

Bureau Van Dijk Data Innovation Interview

Akoni partnered with Bureau Van Dijk as their products serve us well at various steps of our business. Our main purpose is to help SMEs maximise returns on their cash deposits, quickly, easily and securely. In order to deliver on this business premise, especially the quickly, easily and securely part, Felicia explains that we turn to several of Bureau Van Dijk’s products.

Watch the video to get the full picture.

 

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter