The one constant about the Information Age is that it is fluid and everchanging. There is no consistency and stability over long periods of time.
Therefore, digital media marketing best practices also change regularly. Google, widely known as the world’s foremost search engine, spearheads this fluidity and transformation by continually enhancing their search engine algorithms to provide their users with improved search results to the queries submitted to the Google search engine.
Search Engine Optimisation: A succinct definition
Before we look at reasons why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is still relevant in today’s digital age, let’s look at what SEO is defined as:
According to searchengineland.com, SEO is “the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”
This definition might sound esoteric or “up in the air”. Furthermore, if website traffic is derived from natural search results, then inevitably SEO specialists break the cardinal rule of the definition of natural, or organic, traffic.
There are several branches of SEO like on-page SEO where the search engine optimisation analyst’s main aim is to ensure that the keywords that the brand wants to rank on are contained within the website’s or text. Thereby, increasing the brand’s chance of ranking in the top three to five results on the SERP (search engine results page) and driving organic traffic to the brand’s site.
SEO and its application today
Global statistics show that Google processes about forty thousand search queries every second. This translates into “3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year.” Thus, these statistics alone show the need for a professional and knowledgeable SEO to optimise sites so that they rank in the top SERP results.
The salient point in this context is that it is vital for a knowledgeable and expert SEO to optimise websites.
Because of the high volumes of Internet content that is consumed daily, there is serious competition between brands to rank at the top of the SERP. Thus, it stands to reason that a mediocre SEO has the potential to do more harm than good to a brand’s SERP ranking.
Furthermore, what is vital to be cognizant of is the fact that the overall SEO model is still as relevant today as it was at the development of the digital media marketing genre. However, some of the details, based on the latest trends, within this model have changed. A typical example of these changes is the increasing importance and relevance of social media in the online community. Consequently, the primary difference between the original SEO and the current SEO is that brands with smaller marketing budgets can now compete with their global counterparts by using Social Media Marketing tactics.
As noted at the outset of this article, the single most important constant in the digital media marketing world is that there is continuous change and fluidity. Therefore, it’s vital to contract an SEO specialist to ensure that brands remain relevant within the everchanging digital world.
Tips for Evaluation of Accounting Department Performance
Accounting department performance is and will always be a critical part of organizational success. This statement remains true irrespective of the size of the organization or business.
It must, however, be noted that the size of the company, whether it is an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) or a large organization, will determine the number of employees that are required to ensure accounting function success.
Therefore, it makes sound business sense to measure accounting function success by embarking on a program that includes the evaluation of accounting department employees using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
What are KPIs?
Before we look at some pointers with regard to evaluating accounting department performance, let’s look at a concise definition of a Key Performance Indicator:
Succinctly stated, a KPI is a measurable value that proves the achievement of key business objectives. In other words, targets like the number of invoices processed per month are set, and an equivalent KPI is used to measure whether the goal was met or not and to what extent the target was met.
Furthermore, organizations within industry use KPIs across all employment levels, from the most junior assistant to the most senior executive, and in all departments to evaluate employee performance. Consistent employee performance translates into business success.
There are typically two types of KPIs:
- High-level or organizational KPIs that focus on the comprehensive overall business performance
- Low-level KPIs that focus on the success of individual departments or teams and the individual employees working within each department or team.
Tips to improve accounting department performance
Job description clarity
It is challenging for an employee to perform in a position when there is a lack of job description clarity. Simply stated, how can employers expect employees to do their jobs when they don’t know what they have to do.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure that all employee roles and functions as stated explicitly so that the employee has a clear understanding of what is expected from the outset of his/her employment with the organization.
Key Performance Indicators
Similarly, it is vital for the organization to set out specific KPIs for every job description within the company. This will allow for transparency and accountability within the organization. Employees within an organization cannot be expected to perform if there is no transparency and accountability, or individual staff members are treated differently to others.
Drawing up Key Performance Indicators are an excellent way to ensure that every staff member is treated equitably and fairly. Additionally, the continuous measurement of these indicators is also a valuable tool to use both to measure accounting performance and to prevent short-term issues from developing into long-term crises that will substantially impact the company’s profitability.
Both the previous points, job description clarity, and the setting up of KPIs, are vital to the long-term sustainability of any organization. However, it is equally essential for management to act on the results of the KPIs, irrespective of whether the outcomes are negative or positive.
Positive performance must be rewarded, and action must be taken against negative reviews. Positive reviews can be rewarded by more responsibility or a promotion to a more responsible position, a wage increase, or a financial bonus.
On the other hand, negative performance must be managed appropriately to ensure that it does not negatively impact the organization in the long run. Further measures such as additional job training, counselling, probation, and finally, dismissal must be implemented by management.
It is vital to note that the management of negative performance is a step-by-step process. Dismissal must only be considered as the last step unless the employee’s performance is disruptive and is intended to sabotage the company’s success.
An organization’s accounting department is required to perform critical functions with respect to the overall management of the company’s finances. The success, or failure, of this department, will have a significant impact on the company’s ability to function in terms of cash flow and liquidity. A company that does not manage its finances properly will not be able to pay employees, nor will it be able to pay suppliers; thereby, forcing it into bankruptcy and to terminate all employee contracts.
Thus, it is vital to ensure that the accounting department functions optimally by implementing the three points mentioned above, namely, providing job description clarity, the management of employee performance using KPIs, and finally taking action to ensure that negative performance reviews are turned into positive reviews.
Performance Management: Why Organisations Should Prioritise Performance Management
Performance management is defined as the “process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.” Additionally, in order to ensure that the optimal work environment is created, employee performance is measured.
This definition raises the following issues or questions that need to be asked and answered:
How do companies measure performance, what parameters or metrics are used to measure performance, and how is an equitable measurement drawn up across all job roles? In other words, how is a sales assistant’s performance weighed equally against a sale’s executive’s performance, for example?
Performance management: A case study
By way of answering these questions, let’s look at a simple case study. Company A is involved in the design and manufacture of a new product that they hope to launch just before the Festive season this year.
Thus, there is a design team with a team lead, and a sales team, headed by a sales manager. The company outsources the product manufacture and packaging, so the buying department only consists of a single person at this stage. A multi-departmental team dually manages quality control. It includes employees from the design and sales team as well as staff from the manufacturer.
It must be noted that the manufacturing company employee has no relevance to our case study, so we will ignore him/her for now. Also, the company has decided that it manages its performance review on a project basis, and they any one of the software applications that are available on the market to drive its process.
Therefore, let’s start by dividing the project’s performance management process into its key performance areas:
The goal of this project is to design, manufacture, and launch Product X in time for the Festive season. Therefore, both staff and management need to sit down and define measurable and equitable goals to meet the project deadlines.
This point includes the three following elements:
- Clarity on job expectations.
- Discussion about organisational vision & core values
- Discussion on time bound goals
At this juncture, it must be noted that the clearer the job expectations in relation to the organisation’s core values and vision, the great the chance there will be successful outcomes.
Review collection and analysis
When utilised correctly, employee reviews can be a valuable resource for management and human resources as they are an accurate reflection of the organisation’s employee culture and inner workings. Therefore, by organising regular feedback using team performance management software, it is possible to collect valuable data that can be plotted on graphs and charts for senior management to make sense of it.
Consequently, it is vital for management to get employee buy-in; otherwise this process will fail.
Using analytical data gathered to facilitate informed decision-making
Finally, if the performance management process is administered correctly; thereby, gaining employee trust, management will be able to utilise the valuable information collected to make improvements to the work environment and employee culture to ensure business growth and an increased bottom line.
After all, a company exists to make money. And wise top-level management will pay close attention to the fact that happy employees result in a successful organisation.
Top Blockchain Applications Making Waves in Commercial Real Estate
The commercial real estate (CRE) industry is comprised of many different types of service providers, including property management, brokerage firms, banks, and other types of lenders. When a CRE transaction takes place, there are various operators involved, requiring extensive sharing of official property documents, and financial information which need to be validated. The requirements for validating all information across all parties slows down the speed of each transaction, which can take weeks and months to complete. Many CRE firms have turned to blockchain to speed up execution times, decrease error and increase transparency in each transaction.
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is a way to store and transfer information in an encrypted manner by distributing data instead of copying it in a central location. Blockchain does so through a cloud, peer-to-peer network that eliminates the need for a third party, which ultimately reduces transaction fees. A digital ledger is then created and updated with each financial transaction in blocks.
There are plenty of benefits to making transactions and transferring data using blockchain as the technology is not controlled by one central entity, such as a central bank. This means that breaching these blocks is extremely difficult, maintaining the sanctity and transparency of its transactions and data.
Blockchain is the backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which offer speedy and low-cost ways of sending and receiving money.
One of the most exciting ways blockchain is disrupting the CRE world is in the form of smart contracts. The industry currently relies on an inefficient system of old-school verification of property ownership by conducting research to ensure the property belongs to the party who is selling it.
Blockchain can reduce the speed in which the chain of custody regarding CRE properties takes place as a property’s title would be stored on a public ledger. This would remove the need for another central repository, thus reducing transaction, state, city and legal costs. The same principle would apply for leases that would be recorded via blockchain.
More Transparent Deals
Blockchain can also ensure that real estates assets are more liquid and the terms of the agreement are fully understood by both sides as every piece of data regarding a property would be stored publicly. This includes data surrounding former owners, construction done on the property, past maintenance costs and records regarding former inspections.
Having all this information available would give the investor a more comprehensive idea of the property they are investing in. Blockchain essentially ensures that everyone is on the same page and both sides are fully aware of what they’re getting into as every piece of information is out there for anyone to access.
Digital Paper Trail
Another challenge with the CRE industry is the fact that public records can be outdated, unreliable or not available. Following a property’s paper trail can be time-consuming and frustrating as a lot of this information is lost due to poor organizational skills from industry workers and legacy systems that lose data when updated.
With blockchain, every piece of information on a property would be available in the same place rather than in multiple physical and digital domains. Blockchain would also help to eliminate the type of fraud that sometimes exists in the industry as deeds and titles can be counterfeited easily.
Buying Property With Cryptocurrencies
As previously mentioned, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that relies on blockchain to complete financial transactions online in a matter of seconds. Some investors and real estate firms have started adding Bitcoin to the industry, including Ivan Pacheco, who bought a two-bedroom condominium in Florida for $275,000 in Bitcoin.
In the residential space, you can buy a condo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Bitcoin. Meanwhile, some apartments in New York City are allowing their tenants to pay for rent using Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies have been historically volatile and they’ve been on the decline since peaking in December 2017, but some investors believe that the future of real estate will be closely tied with Bitcoin and other digital coins.
Nevertheless, blockchain’s role in the CRE industry is becoming more prevalent each day. The technology’s potential to speed up transactions with smart contracts, its ability to add transparency to a deed or title and the fact that it dramatically decreases the chance for fraud suggest that more investors will flock towards firms that use blockchain for CRE transactions.
This article first appeared on RealAtom.
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