4 Tips for Choosing a PR Consultant

For most companies and organizations, the PR (public relations) department boasts a huge and important presence. This is because public relations has a huge impact on how successful your business is. It takes a very specific skill set to excel at PR, and that's why you need to keep a discerning eye if you're hiring a professional in the area. When it comes to hiring a consultant, what tips do you need to keep in mind? Read on to find out!

A Degree
Now, this is often debated, because many people could claim to have a working knowledge of public relations. After all, many individuals know the basic strategies for reaching out to a target audience. However, most would agree that it's important to hire someone with a degree in public relations or similar field (journalism, communication studies, etc). You want the candidate to understand the diverse techniques needed for your company's success, in addition to a grasp of the entire disciplines - terminology, notable names, laws, etc..

Social Media
If your PR consultant is adamantly opposed to the use of social media in marketing, you're going to have a major problem. So many companies and businesses are using social media marketing today, and you need catch up to them if you want to have any chance of being competitive. From Facebook pages to Twitter accounts, these tools really help to get the word out about your business in ways never before envisioned.

The Approach
When you are interviewing potential candidates for the job, find out their best methods. For example, some public relations experts emphasize networking, while others will downplay the importance of these events in favor or online efforts. There is no universally correct approach, but there are likely best practices for your niche or market. It all depends upon who you are as a business and what your business-specific goals are. You need to make sure their methods match yours. Just because something worked for a vacuum company doesn't automatically mean that it will transfer over to a non-profit agency. If they're coming from a different sector, find out why they think their skills will transfer - unless you're looking to expand into a new market, of course.

No "Quick Fixes"
Upon hearing the word "consultant," you might think you are hiring someone with whom to work for a short amount of time. Instead of hiring a person to hold a permanent position on your team, you're envisioning someone who will diagnose the problem, offer some solutions and then move on to another company or business. Instead, you should really be looking for a consultant with whom to build a long-term relationship. Public relations fixes do not just happen overnight. No, they are supposed to be helping you to create long-term relationships with customers, media and more. This simply can't be accomplished with a "quick fix" - public relations isn't a single task - it's an investment, upkeep even. You never know when something terrible or controversial could befall your organization, and your PR professional may just be the most important person on your staff.

Author Pam Johnson is a PR professional who obtained her degree from one of the Top 20 Value Online MBA Programs.

Accounting Opportunities: Personal CFO

Some individuals and families need daily, hands on financial management... kind of a personal CFO of sorts. While most of these people are of the high asset, high activity sort, some are merely going through some sort of crisis, are seniors without a support system in place, or a variety of other issues. For whatever reason, they need a butler who specializes in financial matters.

At its very simplest level, you might be asked to pay bills for a client. To do this efficiently, I require access to their online banking account so that I can quickly and accurately download the transactions into Quicken.

Once downloaded into Quicken (or similar software), you can quickly record the income/expense account for each deposit and withdrawal. Alternatively, the software can be set-up to automatically do this for you under most circumstances. Also, the software will automatically reconcile the account after each banking connection.

With the recording of all transactions, you can now easily prepare an income statement and general ledger (so to speak) for the client, all automatically from the software. The time required to download the transactions, assign the correct income or expense categories to each, and prepare an income statement should take about 30 minutes, maybe less.

Personal bill paying is not a huge money maker, but still profitable. More importantly, it can be an entre into other parts of the client’s business which can really help build your practice.

The logistics involved in paying bills is a bit more involved, but not complex. I will share this with you in my next writing. Other topics will include client reporting, document retention, and gateway conversations with the client for additional, more profitable work.

Irvin Jaffe is an MBA, CPA in private practice for decades dealing exclusively with the daily management of high asset/high activity families and individuals. He routinely deals with both personal and business related issues.

Accounting: A Degree You Can Count On

As many students or job seekers search for fulfilling career paths, perhaps now is the time to seize an opportunity in accounting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent by 2020. This outpaces the projected 14 percent growth rate for jobs in general, and could mean over 190,000 new accounting jobs through 2020.

The profession is expected to grow for a number of reasons: • An expanding economy means more businesses, and more businesses inevitably mean more accountants • Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) will be in demand as companies face increased financial scrutiny, and the globalized economy will require accountants capable of navigating complex international accounting rules • Lastly, many “baby boomer” CPAs will be retiring within the next ten years, creating job openings for today’s young professionals prepared to fill the void

What you can expect as an accountant With the advent and growing adoption of technology such as cloud computing and advanced mobile applications, the responsibilities of accountants are rapidly changing. Cumbersome data entry and compilation is becoming more of an automated process with the help of advanced software like Oracle/Peoplesoft, SAP and Epicor, thereby freeing up accountants at all levels and in all industries to take on more consulting, advisory and supervisory roles for their companies and clients.

While traditional accounting principles still apply, the integration of technology has created exciting accounting specializations within the field. For instance: • Green accounting: looks at operations costs as they relate to the environment • Forensic accounting: analyzes numbers involved in disputes or litigation, often for issues like data loss or theft • Healthcare IT auditing: evaluates the numbers associated with healthcare and information technology systems

Who is hiring accountants The job market for accounting is increasing. Job opportunities are especially strong for tax professionals, financial analysts and compliance officers in manufacturing and food services.

An accounting degree is one you can count on, and it’s a field that is rapidly growing each year. Do you see your future career in accounting?

Barbara Davies is an adjunct instructor at DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. Prior to joining DeVry in 2002, she was an adjunct instructor at Upper Iowa University and an accountant at Deloitte Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte & Touche LLP). Davies holds a bachelor’s of science degree and a master’s degree in management with a specialization in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Why Your Business Should Have Data Backups

No matter what size a business is, backing up all business related data is an important practice. Because data backup is not always seen as being a mission critical function, some business people think that they can get away without having a backup plan in place. This idea is wrong for a number of reasons.

Even in the safest environments, data storage solutions fail. This failure can be caused by old age, or even a defective part. Regardless of the reason, without a backup any data loss is likely a permanent one.

Even in cases where data can be restored, restoration is not always the smartest option. In a business setting, it rarely makes sense to cease operations while technicians work to fix corrupted data. Having a proper backup solution in place prevents this.

Increasingly, businesses depend on data for a variety of business tasks. Customer data stores important information about the people who purchase products and services. Any business that loses a significant portion of this data, will immediately lose any kind of tracking information about their consumers and their buying behaviours.

Much like customer data, it is rare for a business not to store employee data. In a data loss scenario, losing access to employee payroll information can be as bad as losing customer data. This can result in delays in wages which will result in a disgruntled team of employees.

Every hour of the average day, a natural or man made disaster is happening somewhere in the world. Whether an earthquake or a flood, extreme weather plays havoc with even the most well prepared businesses. During these times, it can be almost impossible to access data, let alone restore it. Having data securely backed up before disaster strikes can lessen the effect of natural disasters.

Man made emergencies are no less serious than natural disasters. If anything, man made emergencies happen even more frequently. In the event of a fire, or just plain human error, having critical data properly backed up is the only way to ensure that work continues uninterrupted.

Employee incompetence and malice are equally serious threats. In a typical business, any number of employees have the ability to destroy important data at the push of a button. Given the fact that everyone makes mistakes, such a scenario is virtually inevitable.

It is impossible to know what lurks just around the corner. Even the most innocent seeming of events, can destroy your data and the years of hard work that it represents. The only way to prevent this destruction is to have a quality backup solution in place before disaster strikes.

For more information on data back ups and other IT solutions, visit http://www.proactiveitservices.com.au/

Selina Gough is an enthusiastic writer about all kinds of industries; ranging from business, start ups, marketing and design. She is always looking for the latest news and trends to write about and share with the online world.