Fitness And Exercise Equipment Financing

Fitness and exercise equipment pieces are inevitable in a gym or fitness center. There are various types of equipment like treadmill, exercise bike etc which are generally expensive. Thus, fitness and exercise equipment financing is called for quite often.

Treadmill is the most important equipment for any gym or fitness center. It helps to burn excessive fat and to give the body a proper shape. It is versatile equipment which can serve useful for different weights of people. Nowadays treadmills come with specialized features like heart rate monitors, computers, fans etc. These extra features add to the cost of the equipment and so fitness and exercise equipment financing is the best way to acquire treadmills.

Rowing machine provides the best ways to work the entire body. It helps build muscles and also burn calories. Since it offers number of benefits, it is quite expensive. Many gym owners therefore find it wise to go for financing to purchase this equipment.

Weight machines play a vital role in fitness centers and health clubs. It is very simple to learn the techniques to operate these machines. The users find it a comfortable to use these weight machines within a few days. Due to their special features, they cost more and so fitness and exercise equipment financing is the best option to buy it.

Exercise bikes are perfect for doing cardiac work outs. They help in toning and strengthening leg muscles. They have comfortable seating which helps reduce stress. In fact exercise bikes are one of the pain free work outs. Hence they are desirable by many gym owners. However they are extremely expensive and so many gym or fitness center owners look for exercise bike financing to acquire sophisticated and well-enhanced exercise bikes.

Stepper machine is very easy to operate and it helps strengthening the leg muscles. People can do the work out easily with the stepper machine by watching TV or enjoying their favorite music. It occupies less space and so it is often desirable by owners of gyms and fitness centers which operate in limited space. For those who want to acquire number of stepper machines, fitness and exercise equipment financing is the best option.

Gym rack system helps to strengthen the entire body. They are durable and versatile. Hence they are quite pricey and gym rack system financing is often preferred by gym owners to acquire them.

Elliptical machine is perfect for doing cardiac work outs without any injury or pain. It helps to reduce the stress of the body to do the work outs. Since it has numerous benefits, it is expensive and financing fitness and exercise equipment is often desirable.

There are some reliable financing companies that have vast experience in the field of equipment financing. They can understand the need of sophisticated fitness equipment in a gym or health club. Hence they offer financial assistance at low interest rates. They do not call for tedious procedures and a simple online application is enough to get the desired amount. Hence many gym owners find it wise to go for fitness and exercise equipment financing.

Medical Accounts Receivable Financing-Stat

According to the U.S National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Medline dictionary the word “stat is an adverb for the latin word: STATIM. Statim is an adverb that means immediately or without delay. When a persons arrives at the hospital emergency room with a gunshot wound, the staff might say, “We need to get this patient to surgery stat!” meaning immediately, now. In a medical situation “stat” connotes extreme urgency. Does your medical business need to accelerate cash flow with accounts receivable financing “stat”?

One of the greatest challenges for medical professionals is managing their accounts receivable. Medical accounts receivable typically are the largest asset on their balance sheet. It typically takes 60 to 120 days or more to collect medical accounts receivable because of the long reimbursement process from third party payors, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance companies. The collection process is long and complex. Disputes regarding payment amounts are common. Medical accounts receivable financing accelerates cash flow to pay for expenses such as payroll, malpractice insurance, rent, inventory and advertising.

What are the types of medical professionals that may qualify for medical accounts receivable financing? The following is a partial list: hospitals, medical centers, rehabilitation centers, medical laboratories, surgical centers, sports medicine centers, MRI imaging centers, physical therapy centers, substance abuse clinics, physical therapy centers, manufacturers and/or distributors of medical devices, and physician’s practices whether general or specialized from A to Z such as anesthesiologists, gastroenterologists, obstetricians, and Zygote – Morula Specialists.

How lengthy is the process to obtain medical accounts receivable? It generally takes four to eight weeks to obtain funding because of the unique issues presented. The commercial finance company must perform extensive audits and analysis of the prospective client’s financial situation. They need to determine that the business is and will be a “going concern”. They need to examine billing practices which often are outsourced. This may require a separate audit of a third party. And they need to examine the forseeability of collection of the outstanding accounts receivable by auditing the accounts receivable aging reports from a historical collection perspective. In other words, how much of the amounts owed will be collection losses? How much will actually be collected?

What are other unique issues regarding medical accounts receivable financing? There are potential bankruptcy issues, lien priority issues and the “big bad wolf” issue: after a commercial finance company has purchased medical accounts receivable, the federal government can assert lien priority on the assets of a bankrupt medical company. One example of this is the case of American Investment Financial (“AFI”) versus the US also known as the internal revenue service.

AFI loaned over $800,000 to a pediatric and urgent care clinic. The clinic defaulted on their financial obligations to AFI and also defaulted on their tax obligations to the federal government. It was undisputed that AFI had followed the rules correctly in terms of filing their liens and perfecting their security interests. Nevertheless, the court held that pursuant to Federal law, after a 45 day statutory safe harbor period had passed, the government’s lien took priority. AFI lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of federal tax law and IRS regulations. It is no wonder that commercial finance companies look very carefully before they purchase medical accounts receivable.

Commercial finance companies will generally advance an amount equal to 70% to 80% of a borrowing base, which may be called “the aggregate amount of eligible accounts”, “net realized value” or “net expected collections”. You can expect the following items to be excluded from your borrowing base: accounts which are subject to dispute, counterclaim or setoff; accounts of any account debtor who has filed or has filed against it a petition in bankruptcy; accounts owed directly by patients or customers.

The bottom line: medical accounts receivable financing, or medical factoring, is more difficult to obtain than other types of factoring because of the legal risks and business risks faced by the lenders. The process to obtain medical accounts financing usually takes much longer than accounts receivable financing for other industries, such as a manufacturer. This good news is, once the credit facility is established, funding can take place in a day or less from your request for financing. You can have medical accounts receivable financing “stat”!

The Numerous Advantages of Short Term Car Insurance

What I’m about to clarify to you could not be the answer you might be searching for, but short-term car insurance absolutely has its benefits. It’s the primary preference to get a swift and legal solution to temporarily insure a vehicle, primarily if funds could be the obstacle holding you from obeying the laws and covering your backside in situation of a mishap. It does not matter in the event you a have had the motor vehicle for many years or if it’s a new car or truck. If you only really need to use a particular automobile to get a small even though, you really don’t really need to invest within an extended expression costly policy.

Not merely will possessing a short-term car insurance policy keep up you out from the courts and poorhouse, it is going to give you piece of thoughts to not must be concerned about people achievable outcomes. Considering that traditionally the common insurance coverage policies see just the automobile, not you, so you will want to search into receiving some short-term car insurance coverage on any car or truck you really don’t very own but which you are working with for some goal that you just couldn’t use your very own ride.

Let’s break it down right here so you comprehend what it can be, when it really is that you simply would want it, and the way to find the very best possibilities to suit your needs to buy.

What exactly is it?

Any time you are in possession and driving a auto that does not belong to you, it nonetheless needs to be covered to suit your needs to legally work it and short-term car insurance fits this short-term predicament. Just while you decide on your forms of coverage and deductible if you apply for the conventional policy the same options are offered to you quick expression. All of your acquainted possibilities, such as but not restricted to liability, detailed, collision uninsured motorist, medical payments and road side emergency service are nonetheless there. Similar to along with your frequent policy, you set your deductibles. A price tag might be set and you will spend that flat price ahead of time. Brief expression policies are renewable using a single mobile phone and one more payment.

When do you need one day car insurance?

The primary explanation persons use short-term car insurance is once they are renting an automobile. Automobiles is usually rented for pleasure trips, enterprise, and when your car or truck is in the store. You’ll be able to use it if you are loaning car to somebody or they’ve lent they motor vehicle to you. Though you each may perhaps have an important insurance coverage policy, even the two mixed can not cover the important things which will go incorrect and also the added extra protection can imply the big difference of a onetime fantastic client having a no-claims discount to drop that standing and spend substantial prices for many years to come. In the event you get a brand new auto or you promote yours to one more driver, you would like that interim period to become fear no cost and legal, so be intelligent and take the uncomplicated precaution.

In which is it possible to invest in it?

I can tell you that your finest bet for very affordable short-term car insurance is discovered on the web. You have got before begun your search on-line or you wouldn’t be right here studying about it. You will find comparison web pages in which you simply plug as part of your data and also a quantity of quotes from a variety of companies might be at your disposal within a matter of minutes. You’ll be able to visit the internet sites of specific title organizations and fill in their quote request applications as well. Should you just adore your present agent and wish to keep up all of your policies beneath one particular umbrella, that is cool also, but armed with all the numbers and expense of what their competitors has supplied you is certainly going to reduced your price much more.

Now you recognize the fundamentals of short-term car insurance, so you could experience confident and reassured that you simply will likely be ready to satisfy your legal obligations, and be offered using a superior reliable protections at a value which is straightforward in your wallet while you start to store for the proper strategy your you as well as your circumstance.

6 Ways to Finance a Daycare Center

Are you thinking of the best ways to finance your new business which is a daycare center? Are you willing to invest in order to open up a new business?

The truth is there are ways in order to finance your new business and it depends on your personal and financial situation.

There are few common ways to finance your daycare center. But, you have to bear in mind that all of these methods have ups and downs, some can work for your situation and some may not. So, it is best to know all the pros and cons of every method in order for you to effectively choose the right ones for you. Never jump into it without solid information or better understanding of it.

-The first thing you need to consider is your own savings and investments. In using your own investments and savings, at least, you won’t be responsible to others in case your business fail since it is hard to risks others capital.

-After beating your own savings, you can ask for the help of your family and friends. But of course, you need to think that they will expect you to give it back someday even if they say they wont. If your family invests in your business, you have to make sure that you run your business well; you do not want your dad or mom that their life savings went down.

-You can let your credit cards finance your business. But with this, if your business failed, you will be left with thousands of dollars debt and it will take you years before you pay off all of it. If you wish to finance your business with the use of credit cards, you need to bear in mind that you are obliged to pay high interest rates with the money you borrowed. But if you hit big with your business, you can pay off the money that you borrowed.

-If you have collateral, you can do bank loans. With this, you can finance your daycare business, but make sure even if you succeed or not, you must pay it off.

-You can seek for an angel investor, someone who is wealthy and willing to invest in starting up your own daycare center. This investor can help you up to keep the business running.

-Venture capitalist is another way to finance your business. But before entering into this, make sure to check it all out and gain better understanding in order to know how it works.

Express Couriers and Other Types of Courier Services

When we think of express couriers or your usual standard courier service, what comes to mind is the simple process of delivering packages, letters, or goods to places that could range from a building several blocks away to thousands of miles across the oceans. Pretty straightforward, right?

We only come to think of the complexity of this operation when something happens to our deliveries along the way. There are incidents reported about parcels lost, delayed delivery, pilfered, or sent somewhere else other than your intended recipient’s address.

Express couriers and other types of courier services have their own procedures and paperwork that must be filled-up to make sure that your parcels and documents reach their intended destinations safely and on time. It is not something like you hand your package to the courier, the courier goes over to the receiver and there you have it. The process is more involved, where the courier service takes a lot of pain recording pertinent details: both the sender’s name and address (which will be printed out on the packaging of the item itself) are recorded in their office, together with the shipping number (which will also be printed on the package) for tracking purposes; the weight and size of your package, etc.

The part about the sender’s and receiver’s name and addresses is often taken for granted which becomes the usual cause of a delivery gone haywire. Nothing could be more frustrating than having your parcel delayed or sent to the wrong address.

There is also the matter of insurance. Mostly, packages and parcels are automatically insured up to a certain specified amount. You may also opt to increase the insurance if the parcel you are sending is worth more than what the standard insured amount is; this would mean you have to pay an extra charge that will be added to the shipping rate. Besides the weight and size factor, shipping rates also differ according to how fast you want your package to arrive to its destination. Express couriers would ship your packages or parcels overnight, or have it reach its destination by 10:00 am; 3:00 pm, or 5:00 pm the following day, or even on weekends-at a premium rate.

There is also the very convenient option of having your items (to be delivered) picked-up by a messenger from your express courier. This does not only saves you time and trouble, but it also keeps you or any of your staff from leaving the office thus leaving some tasks unattended.

The above steps are basically the main consideration when you have any of your neighborhood express couriers deliver a package for you. Once the above steps are completed, your package will be sent by either by plane, by truck, by the messenger, or any combination or all of the preceding means.

American Express Credit Cards for Small Businesses

American Express offers a variety of credit cards specially meant for small businesses. These credit cards come with several benefits and incentives. There are small business credit cards with cash back offers, travel awards and shopping benefits. You can get some cards that have even no pre-set limit, low introduction APR, and no annual fee.

Its Business Platinum Card, Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card, Gold Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card, Platinum Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card, Skypoints Business Credit Card from Delta and American Express, Platinum Freedom Business Credit Card are specially designed for business travelers. They offer travel benefits, services and privileges. If you are a frequent flyer, these cards will be suitable for you.

Business Platinum Card has no spending limit. There are also some other business credit cards like Platinum Business Cash Rebate Card, Business Green Rewards Card, Platinum Business Credit Card, Business Gold Rewards Card, Blue Cash for Business Card, True Earnings Business Card from Castco and American Express. These cards have cash back offers among several other incentives.

Platinum Business Credit Card has no annual fee and charges 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for the first 12 months. With Platinum Business Credit Card, you can enroll in Membership Rewards Options program for free. You can earn points toward rewards from 20 major airlines, 150 hotel properties, more than 50 of the finest names in shopping and entertainment. The points have no expiry date and there is no limit to the number of points you earn.

Blue Cash for Business Credit Cards offers up to 5% cash rebate. It charges no annual fee, 0% APR for the first six months and unlimited fee-free additional cards.

With True Earnings Business Card from Castco and American Express, you can not only enjoy warehouse prices on a wide range of business products at Costco, but also get cash back every time you make a purchase with the card. You can earn 3% cash back for eating out at any restaurant or for home delivery. You can earn 2% cash back for traveling–airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and cruises–even when you book through travel agencies. Besides, there is 1% cash back, every other time you use your True Earnings Business Card. It has 0% APR for the first three months of the card membership.

You can save up to $50 on Delta airfare by using Skypoints Business Credit Card from Delta and American Express. It offers 3,000 bonus points with your first purchase — redeemable for up to $50. It has no annual fee for the first year, 0% introductory APR for 6 months. The Balance Transfer APR is 9.99% fixed for the life of balance, for balance transfers made during the first six months of membership. For cash advance, it charges APR of 22.99%.

All these business cards come with insurance coverage. You can get insurance cover for all purchases. Besides, it gives you car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance. Car rental loss and damage insurance provides coverage for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles. Travel accident insurance provides up to $100,000 coverage for accidental death and dismemberment insurance while traveling on a common carrier conveyance when the entire fare has been charged to the card.

There is also facility for flexible payment for larger purchases over time with its Extended Payment Option. There are also emergency services facilities that assist you with emergency card replacement, check-cashing, and hotel check-in. If you are an American Express credit card member, you can access your account online and view up-to-date billing information online, including transactions, charges and payments. Compare the features of cards before applying for any business credit card that will be better for you and your business.

Note: The figures specified in this article were current at the time of writing the article. However, author doesn’t guarantee the correctness of these figures.

American Express Credit Cards Offers Excellent Options

The fact is that American Express credit cards can be found in such a relatively large selection that you may possibly not recognize what type is the best for your needs. There are cards that have no annual membership fee, money back incentives, small business along with large business cards. They have of late additionally turned into a fairly large provider within the gift card business as well.

We need to highlight the fact that American Express issues both credit cards plus charge cards. The real difference generally is that while in fact you can hold an account balance over from one billing cycle to another in succession utilizing a credit card, a charge card must be paid back completely each month.

One offer that’s new happens to be the Zync from American Express. This financial instrument permits you to select as many or as little within the Lifestyle Packs as you wish. In the event you determine you would like to include another one in the future, you are able to accomplish that.

The ubiquitous American Express Green Business card happens to be the signature business bank card for individuals that have a rather substantial income and need more flexibility than a traditional credit card is able to supply. There is not a set in stone spending limit and the first thing you buy on this card can earn the user 5000 bonus points.

Bonus points are redeemable for numerous forms of perks ranging from cruise trips, travel packages, spa retreats, airline tickets and hotels across the globe. Moreover, American Express credit cards offer you travel accident insurance, theft and collision insurance protection for vehicle rentals, baggage insurance protection and also a consumer protection plan.

Blue Cash is another of many forms of American Express cards. This card features 5% money back on every single expenditure made that is qualified and there is no yearly membership fee. For certain, AMEX Blue is thought to be one of the top credit cards in the marketplace.

It ought to be pointed out that AMEX normally calls for greater than standard credit scores for authorization. They also happen to be the undeniable market leader when it comes to giving business cards to small businesses.

American Express credit cards have been around for decades. All of us have seen the ads promoting their offers including traveler’s checks that can easily turn out to be replaced in the event they are lost or perhaps stolen. American Express is a major participant around the credit sector and they feature a large variety of financial instruments.

6 Insurance Aspects That Upset Canadians

INDEPENDENT CONSUMER REVIEWS FOCUS ON INSURANCE COMPANIES

Insurance is an essential part of life since it protects our main assets: cars, dwellings, life etc. But how do consumers feel about insurance? What do consumers like and dislike about their insurance providers? How do insurance companies measure up when it comes to service, value, and claims experience? We recently completed an analysis digging into the question: “Which aspects of a service or product do Canadians do not like most in their insurance companies?”

The most frequent issue indicated by consumers was “unfair handling of claims” including a perception of “incorrect value estimation for my insured auto or dwelling”. Also more dramatic issues such as “Feeling threatened that insurance rates will go up” made it to the top list of consumer concerns.

SO WHAT EXACTLY DO CONSUMERS DISLIKE ABOUT THEIR INSURANCE?

This analysis is based on over five hundred consumer responses. All negative consumer ratings and feedback have been closely studied to determine which issues most concern Canadians. The top 6 issues identified are (in order of increasing importance, as a % share of negative feedback):

#6: “Being threatened that insurance rates will go up” (3%): Some consumers express that they feel threatened during interaction with insurance companies that their rates will go up if they make a claim.

#5: “Lack of contact / insufficient help from customer service” (15%): Many consumers say that they didn’t get enough help or guidance from the insurance personnel / call center staff either when filing a claim or when asking questions.

#4: “Rude insurance agents or call center personnel”(16%): A surprising amount of consumers perceive customer service as unfriendly and often simply rude.

#3: “Slow claim processing” (19%): One of the most frequent issues named by consumers is slow claim processing time. Claims took several months in a number of cases, and up to 9 months in particular cases.

#2: “Increase of insurance rates w/o any reason: w/o accidents or after “not-at-fault” accidents” (21%): Rising insurance rates are a permanent issue for the consumer. In some cases insurers justify increases via growing claims costs as e.g. per last year’s report of the Auditor General. Overall the level of premiums, especially for auto insurance, reach exorbitant values and this trend is clearly reflected in consumer feedback. In addition, many consumers say that being not-at-fault can mean an increase in insurance premiums with their provider.

#1: “Unfair handling of claims, incorrect value estimation for insured auto or dwelling” (26%): The top issue named by consumers has to do with fairness of treatment and the perception of the core values offered by insurers. Insurers could deal with this issue relatively efficiently with transparency and clear communication of policy conditions and value estimation rules for accident cases. This should be communicated both BEFORE a customer signs a policy and DURING the claims process.

There are two main benefits for insurance providers of pro-actively collecting consumer feedbacks: First, consumers can express their opinion, share their concerns and feel that their voice is heard. Second, customer feedback allows insurers to improve their product and service.

Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

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.

Challenge

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:

Centralization

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.

Culture

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.

Conclusion

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.

An Elemental Guide to Shopping Center Financing

Since we haven’t fully recovered from the credit slump, finding shopping center financing through banks is getting to be quite a challenge, especially when banks have been denying credit middle of the process in some cases. However, do know that while getting a loan for shopping center might seem like an uphill battle, it is possible. And this holds true for various types of shopping retail centers such as strip centers, retail centers, super malls, regional malls, and so on.

There are instances that credit worthy borrowers with good financials and experience are getting turned down in their loan applications for retail center financing, and it wouldn’t be out of place to say that a number of deserving candidates get left out, simply because they haven’t used the right approach. Remember that looking for a shopping center loan can be difficult, and seeking professional help would certainly not be out of place. After all, owing large loan amounts, the relatively high interest rates and closing costs can leave the borrower in need of help.

Factors to be considered at the Onset:

While running a shopping/retail center can be quite profitable and rewarding, it is important that you consider various aspects before you even look for shopping center financing or retail center financing. Even though the investment will be significant, take into account costs that will be incurred otherwise, and these would include costs for tenant improvements, Leasing commission if the property has vacancy, repairs, insurance, taxes, and advertising. Ensure that the building codes have been adhered to and that all the required permits are in place. You also need to delve into factors such as location, project viability; and only then should you think about the type of loan.

The Loan Size:

Large balance loans start at $1M and can go up to $4M, and loans less than $1M but higher can $400,000 come under small balance loans. SBA financing for owner user retail center, is available up to $4M, and in both cases a down payment of around 25% should be expected. Note that in case of SBA loans; the down payment would come down to around 10%. Additionally, while large balance loans come with fixed rate and variable rate interest options, the small balance loans only offers the fixed rate option.