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Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces


Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.


Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:


By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.


Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.


It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.

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Easy Money Tips

Many, if not all, are dreaming of becoming millionaires and living comfortable lives. However, only a few achieve this goal because a lot of us get stuck in just dreaming and fantasizing. If you want to become rich, you have to put your acts together and start working in achieving that goal. The road to success may be hard, but if you persisted, you will realize that it is attainable.

Believe it or not, most millionaires reached their status because they spent their time, money and resources very well. They are not fond of flaunting their assets and live a very simple life. In fact, most of them live in simple houses and re-sole their shoes!

If you want to be rich, you must know how to save money, invest the money that you saved and save some more money. In fact, you have a bigger chance of becoming a millionaire through saving and investing, than winning the lottery.

Here are some tips that will help you save and make lots of money:

Easy Money Tips: Stay Away From Debt

Nowadays, there seem to be all kinds of debts for everyone. Creditors and loan providers seem to have been successful in luring many into taking on various debts, since almost everybody has some form of loan or debt to pay.

Although it is quite practical to pay for a big investment, such as a house or a good and viable business idea or a much needed family car, you must remember to think twice or thrice before securing any form of debt. If you are going to secure a loan just to pay for a luxury and not a necessity, then you are not really using debt facility wisely. Remember that debts come with huge interest. Therefore, if you are buying or paying for something that has little or no value as an investment, you are losing huge money in interest payments.

Use debts cautiously, and if you really have to, make sure that the money you get from a loan is used in something that you or your family needs, or in a well studied and researched money-making scheme.

Easy Money Tips: Don’t Collect Credit Cards

Remember that a credit card is also some form of a debt facility; thus, this must be used rarely. Use your credit card only for emergencies. It is advisable that you only maintain one credit card. The more credit cards you have, the more you will be tempted to borrow money to pay for unnecessary things. Many people end up getting broke or deeply in debt because of their indiscriminate and unwise use of credit card.

Easy Money Tips: Re-use and Recycle

The pennies that you save now will eventually turn to hundreds of dollars in the future. Thus, be mindful of the things that you buy and use. If you can buy items that you can re-use and recycle, do so instead of buying their disposable counterpart. For example, instead of buying plastic sandwich bags, why not buy a reusable container where you could store your kid’s lunch? If you recycle and re-use, you are not only helping in keeping the environment cleaner, but you are also saving a lot of money, which you can use in more profitable endeavors.

Easy Money Tips: Make a list

Before you even set foot in a grocery or store, you should already have made a list of the things that you ought to buy. Making a list of the things that need to be bought will not only help you save more time, but also a lot of money. If you do not know what you need to buy, there is a big tendency for you to overspend and buy things that you really do not need.

Easy Money Tips: Reduce or eliminate vices and excesses

If you are a smoker, just imagine how much money you spend on cigarettes everyday. If you add it all up, you might even have hundreds of dollars in your savings account if you only placed the money you paid for your vice in the bank. The next time you reach for an extra donut or order another bottle of beer, just think of how much money you will be saving if you don’t give in to such bad vices and excesses. Aside from the money you will save from eating less, drinking moderately and not smoking, you will also save a lot from future medical bills for health problems connected to such vices and excesses.

Looking for Ways To Finance a Franchise? There Is Only 1 Way When Financing a Franchise Investment!

You’re there. You have made the decision. You’re committed. You have timelines now. We’re talking about your franchise finance decision and the next challenge you have in the franchise process – financing a franchise. How many ways to finance a franchise are there? Only one… the right way! And we’ll show you how.

The ability to finance your franchise properly and satisfy the requirements of the franchisor without putting you overly in debt is what it’s all about of course. And if you do it right then you of course have the potential to grow a business, profit from it, and build owner equity for either long term resale of personal financial gain. That’s simply what it’s all about, and boy does it help if you like what you are doing, at the same time taking on the entrepreneurship role in Canadian business.

The good news is that your are lucky, because franchising couldn’t be any hotter or more popular. Franchises move goods and services in the billions in Canada, and you’re now part of that movement.

But let’s be realistic, whether it’s a franchise investment of any other business start up the same critical needs apply relative to planning and financing.

Homework. Did you hate it in school? Well here it is again because we strongly suggest to clients that you are now in homework mode when determining how financing a franchise works. It’s all about planning, which includes ensuring you have a profitable potential business on your hands, as well as understanding ways to finance a franchise in Canada.

Business plans are critical to your franchise investment. It’s a case of demonstrating your business has both profit potential plus, and this is what interests the lender, that you have the ability to repay your debt and loans. The franchisor naturally is interested in long term success of the chain, and your ability to pay royalties as they become due, usually monthly.

When you address the franchise finance decision you must consider a number of items – they are as follows – what is the total all in cost, what methods are available to finance each part of the cost breakdown, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, how is the actual financing done.

The costs to assess in a franchise finance investment are as follows – the initial franchise fee, the cost of fixed assets or leaseholds to your business – i.e. equipment, signage, vehicles if required, etc. And finally, if you did all that and didn’t address working capital for ongoing operations and growth then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Clients are always looking to us for a magic solution and a one stop finance strategy for their franchise investment. The closest we can come to that is the government BIL/CSBF loan, under which the majority of franchises are financing in Canada. You can successfully augment this strategy by equipment financing for a variety of assets as well as a small working capital loan, usually unsecured. Don’t forget also that your own owner equity investment becomes the final piece of the puzzle.

And getting back to our business plan, ensure that you have covered off all the debt you need and that if reflects your ability to pay it back.

Financing a franchise. Challenging? Yes, we guess so. Possible? Of course. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with franchise experience who will help you navigate, successfully, the only way to finance your new business – the right way!

Who’s Financing Inventory and Using Purchase Order Finance (P O Finance)? Your Competitors!

It’s time. We’re talking about purchase order finance in Canada, how P O finance works, and how financing inventory and contracts under those purchase orders really works in Canada. And yes, as we said, its time… to get creative with your financing challenges, and we’ll demonstrate how.

And as a starter, being second never really counts, so Canadian business needs to be aware that your competitors are utilizing creative financing and inventory options for the growth and sales and profits, so why shouldn’t your firm?

Canadian business owners and financial managers know that you can have all the new orders and contracts in the world, but if you can’t finance them properly then you’re generally fighting a losing battle to your competitors.

The reason purchase order financing is rising in popularity generally stems from the fact that traditional financing via Canadian banks for inventory and purchase orders is exceptionally, in our opinion, difficult to finance. Where the banks say no is where purchase order financing begins!

It’s important for us to clarify to clients that P O finance is a general concept that might in fact include the financing of the order or contract, the inventory that might be required to fulfill the contract, and the receivable that is generated out of that sale. So it’s clearly an all encompassing strategy.

The additional beauty of P O finance is simply that it gets creative, unlike many traditional types of financing that are routine and formulaic.

It’s all about sitting down with your P O financing partner and discussing how unique your particular needs are. Typically when we sit down with clients this type of financing revolves around the requirements of the supplier, as well as your firm’s customer, and how both of these requirements can be met with timelines and financial guidelines that make sense for all parties.

The key elements of a successful P O finance transaction are a solid non cancelable order, a qualified customer from a credit worth perspective, and specific identification around who pays who and when. It’s as simple as that.

So how does all this work, asks our clients.Lets keep it simple so we can clearly demonstrate the power of this type of financing. Your firm receives an order. The P O financing firm pays your supplier via a cash or letter of credit – with your firm then receiving the goods and fulfilling the order and contract. The P O finance firm takes title to the rights in the purchase order, the inventory they have purchased on your behalf, and the receivable that is generated out of the sale. It’s as simple as that. When you customer pays per the terms of your contract with them the transaction is closed and the purchase order finance firm is paid in full, less their financing charge which is typically in the 2.5-3% per month range in Canada.

In certain cases financing inventory can be arranged purely on a separate basis, but as we have noted, the total sale cycle often relies on the order, the inventory and the receivable being collateralized to make this financing work.

Speak to a credible, trusted and experienced Canadian business financing advisor as to how this type of financing can benefit your firm.

Film Television and Animation Tax Credit Financing – Canadian Solutions

Financing solutions and models continue to be sought after in the Canadian film television and animation tax credit financing area. Additionally other working capital solutions for Canadian productions in this area are also available and generally less known as to their existence and their ability to assist productions of Canadian content.

Early in 2010, as is by now well known by most players in the industry, the Canadian government at both the federal and provincial level ‘super charged ‘ tax credit grants and incentives. Rates and credits increased for specified expenditures by as much as 5-10 per cent in most areas of these tax credits. Additionally a fund was even creating for Intellectual property, with a projected funding of ten million dollars.

Productions with Canadian content are aggressively being produced and savvy principals in Canada are both taking advantage of these credits, and also financing them on an interim basis, or on completion.

A combination of private investing, government non repayable tax credits and even some participation by Canadian banks create a ‘tour de force ‘of financing assistance for Canadian content. Although a significant previous factor in Canadian growth was the cheaper Canadian dollar even the dollar at par now has not hindered Canadian productions in all three key areas, film, television, and digital animation. (And let’s not forgot those lesser known sisters – book publishing and music!)

Productions in Canada are of course financing in the same manner as almost anywhere else – equity by owners, tax credits, loans, and distribution deals. The most recent tax credit incentives in effect replace film tax shelters of previous days. In our opinion this method is more transparent, available, and takes a lot of the negativity associated with ‘tax shelters ‘.

So how do principals access tax credits and how can these tax credits be financed. Did you also know that financing is available on an interim basis also, so for properly documented productions you can obtain interim financing assistance that in many cases becomes a key up front component of your financing and will allow you to complete your project more advantageously from a financial perspective?

What are the basics of this type of financing – let’s review them. To say that film, TV and animation financing is a boutique industry in Canada is of course an understatement. For that reason we strongly recommend that you work with and speak to an experienced and knowledgeable advisor in this area. To access financing you must ensure your project or projects are eligible to be certified for any one or more of the six major tax credits that are available, for example, in Ontario. (We will use Ontario as our example, but each province has similar regimes to assist yourselves.) You should ensure you have created a single special purpose entity, essentially the legal shell under which your production or project will be qualified.

Carefully choose which credits you are eligible for, and ensure you apply for proper certification as soon as possible. Improper or incomplete certification only (as in any business financing process) slows down and stalls your tax credit and the ability to finance it.

Maintain proper disbursement and payroll records – we strongly recommend to clients that they use a specialized accountant or firm in this area. If you can demonstrate your background and experience, have proper certification in process, and are committed to document the project through completion by proper filing of tax returns and financials your tax credit can be financed as immediately as when it is accepted and provided to your project. If you seek interim financing for the same project, and are committed to maintaining and demonstrating the quality in the key fundamental areas noted above you are eligible for accrual financing, or cash flow and working capital assistance immediately even prior to the certification of your project(S).

In summary, ‘Hollywood North’ appears to be booming again. The economy has picked up, consumers want entertainment in all key sectors, and even the Canadian dollar has not deterred investment in production. Tax credits have increased, and even better yet, by working with the proper experienced partner your credits can be financing when they are certified, or even earlier if you can document a strong go forward action plan on disbursements, payroll, and your experience in this great area of the Canadian economy. And by the way, speaking to an expert in area doesn’t hurt – extra tips and assistance may be worth thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash flow and working capital for your projects!

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