Monthly Archives: February 2017

What To Expect From a Financial Course

Thanks to the influx of technology and the Internet what once was only available to a privileged few is now available to a wide array of people from all walks of life. Thanks to online financial courses, students who once would have been unable to attend prestigious schools of finance or tertiary education colleges are now able to pursue the degrees in finance they desire.

Simply put, finance education and financial courses are available with the click of a mouse.

A finance course consists of studies relevant to global finances. Courses vary from one-time seminars, to certificate and diploma programs, to undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

While “Finance” may seem to be a simple topic, it is actually a complex and diverse course of study. The basic area of study covers everything from finance theory to the application of statistical and mathematical principles. From the basics, students of finance would pursue specialized education in areas of banking, accounting, business management, and law.

The quantities of available finance courses are bountiful. These courses focus on areas like corporate finance, investments, banking, fixed income and financial management, financial engineering, derivatives, interest rates, risk management, personal finance, computer applications of financial management, international finances, financial institutions and banking, as well as insurance and risk management. Specialized financial courses are available to help analysts and advisors build additional skills in the areas of education finance and budgeting, health care finance, global finance and managerial finance.

College finance courses take the simple finance courses outlined above and provide more details, address more issues and give undergraduate and graduate students the advantage. These college finance courses cover aspects like in-depth corporate finance, monetary economics and its position in the global economy, business economics at microeconomic level, investment management, corporate valuation, international corporate finance, analysis and financing of real estate investment, international financial markets, international banking, urban fiscal policy, fixed income securities, behavioral finance, finance of buyouts and acquisitions, among many others.

Once an advanced degree of finance study is being pursued, a student will encounter the progressive courses of econometrics, principles of micro and macro economics, statistical practice, accounting, and international trade.

It’s best to understand financial courses as much as possible so you can make an informed decision and take the best steps possible to reach your objective. Our time is our so precious and despite cell phones and other conveniences we seem to never have enough of it. See below for more information on Finance Course.

Managerial Economics – Application of Economic Theory in Solving Business Problems!

Managerial economics is concerned with various micro and macro economic tools and the analysis of which can be used in managerial decision making to solve business problems. Micro economic tools that are used in this subject include demand analysis, production and cost analysis, break-even analysis, pricing theory and practice, technical progress, location decisions and capital budgeting. The macro economic concepts that are directly or indirectly relevant to managerial decision-making comprise national income analysis, business cycles, monetary policy, fiscal policy, central banking, government finance, economic growth, international trade, balance of payments, free trade protectionism, exchange rates and international monetary system.

The scope of this managerial science is wide and it has close connections with economic theory, decision sciences and accountancy. Traditional economics talks about the theory and methodology while managerial economics applies economic theory and methodology to solve business problems. It uses the tools and techniques of analysis to provide with optimal solutions to business problems.

  • Relationship with economics:

Managerial economics borrows concepts from economics just as engineering does from physics and medicine from biology. The analysis of both micro and macro economic concepts add valuable inputs to the organization. Say, national income forecasting is an important aid to business condition analysis which in turn could be a priceless input for forecasting the demand for specific product groups. The theories of market structure can be analyzed for the purpose of market segmentation.

  • Relationship with decision sciences:

Decision models are created to format the solutions for problem situations and the process utilizes techniques like, optimization, differential calculus and mathematical programming. This also helps to analyze the impact of alternate course of action and evaluate the results obtained form the model.

  • Relationship with accounting:

Accounting data and statements constitute the language of business. The accounting profession considerably influences cost and revenue information and their classification. A manager should therefore be familiar with the generation, interpretation and use of accounting data. Accounting moreover is viewed as a management decision tool and not anymore as a mere practice of bookkeeping. The concepts and practices of accounting can be very well applied to improve the economic scope of a project.

Economics is an interesting subject as it deals with the day-to-day problems of a common man and at the same time is concerned with the economic prosperity of a country as a whole. Its primary focus is on scarce resource allocations among competing ends. Individuals, enterprises and nations face problems of resource allocation. Managerial economics may be viewed as economics applied to problem solving at the level of the firm.

The 5R’s in Waste Management

The 5 R’s – The key factors that are to be remembered in respect of waste management are – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Replace.

1. Reduce – wherever possible reduce waste production. One can always reduce waste production by following these simple guidelines:

a. Use or buy only what is needed – when there is no waste generated, then there is no waste to be treated. Make a shopping list before going for shopping. This will ensure that you don’t buy things which are not needed. Don’t give in to temptation by buying random items.

b. Buy items that can be re-used like rechargeable batteries. This will create very less waste as they can be reused more than once.

c. Unsubscribe from paper mails and instead opt for emails.

d. Buy products with minimum packing. Flashy and fun packaging does not necessarily mean better product quality.

e. Say NO to plastic bags. Carry your own reusable shopping bags.

f. Spread the word on waste reduction at source – more people adopting waste reduction means less waste generated.

2. Reuse – if waste is produced, explore the feasibility of reusing the waste. Don’t throw away items that are reusable. Reduce waste by making full use of any item. Here are some useful ideas on how to reuse those everyday bits and pieces.

a. Re-use old clothes by stitching items like cloth bags, cushion covers, table / sofa covers etc. Those that cannot be reused as such can be used as waste cloth for cleaning.

b. Re-use old tires in the garden as swings or as pots for growing small plants.

c. Re-use glass bottles and jars as storage containers after cleaning and drying.

d. Re-use envelopes by sticking labels over the address.

e. Re-use plastic bags as waste bin bags.

3. Recycle – if reusing is not feasible, explore the next option of recycling the waste. As there are economic and environmental costs associated with waste collection and recycling, it should be considered only where reduction and reuse of waste is not practicable / feasible. Most of the household and work place items can be effectively recycled with a little effort. Here are some tips on adopting recycling:

a. Keep recyclable trash containers at strategic locations at home / work place. This will foster better participation in the recycling process from every one.

b. Don’t throw something out just because it is old or broken. Repair and repurpose it for use again.

c. Recycle food waste by composting using compost bins.

4. Recover – it may be possible to recover materials or energy from waste which cannot be reduced, reused or recycled. For instance, Sweden has been successfully generating biogas and fuel oil from waste and trash.

5. Replace – adopt eco-friendly goods or lifestyles, such as using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, travel by public transport instead of private cars, walk or cycle for short commuting distances, adopt car-pooling for long distance commuting instead of self-driving etc.

Habit is a powerful tool in our daily life. Most of the things we do in our daily life are a matter of habit. Buying unwanted items, using tissues instead of handkerchief / cloth napkins are all habits which have been ingrained into us. The trick lies in changing these habits into environmental friendly habits, a challenging task for anyone, but still necessary for a better world. In other words, the 5 Rs should be practised as a norm rather than as an exception.

Know When Your Business Needs IT Consulting Services

Businesses must ensure that only the latest technologies and software are deployed at the workplace, in order to provide quality solutions to their clients, and to be ahead of the competition. With the ever-changing technological trends in the industry, businesses find it cumbersome to adopt these technologies. Instead they can hand the entire function over to a sound IT consulting services company – who in turn will tap into their global pool of highly skilled IT professionals, who have the advantage of working in various IT environments, and have extensive experience across sectors. By providing assistance to business, IT consulting services providers free up existing resources; ensure IT transitions are smooth and problem-free; optimise key business processes; identify areas that benefit with further cost saving; build competitive advantage through IT; reduce IT complexities; provide IT strategy consultancy services, IT project management services and provide specialised programme management solutions – all of which, help the organisation achieve significant business efficiencies and cost benefits.

Choosing to work with an IT firm definitely boosts a company’s overall efficiency, which in turn decreases costs. Firms tend to look for a flexible and bespoke solution to address the client’s IT needs, thereby delivering solutions that are in tandem with the client’s goals.

The advantages listed above necessitate hiring an IT company. But how will a business know that it needs IT consultancy services?

A business may function with its existing IT architecture without knowing the benefits of such services. In order to discern the need for IT consulting services, businesses must first understand the details of their services. According to Wikipedia, ‘IT consulting is a field that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use IT to meet their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on businesses’ behalf, known as Outsourcing’. IT consulting services firms thereby help businesses strategise and evaluate their IT functions as a whole and take the necessary steps to implement and/or deploy and then administer effective and robust IT systems in place. Businesses can seek the services of an IT firm when:

  1. IT investments regularly overshoot the set budget. Fast-paced technologies and trends warrant proper planning. When making strategic use of the allocated budget seems difficult, seeking the advice of IT consultancy services providers is imperative.
  2. A business decides to relocate or reduce staff.
  3. Projects regularly miss deadlines. Lack of specialists, complex projects and shoestring budgets lead to inefficient project management. A sound IT consulting services company designs bespoke, safe and cost-effective solutions, either full time or part time.
  4. Challenges of globalization, technical and regulatory changes arise. Business and technology management when integrated help the business survive, and therefore IT strategy consultancy is important.
  5. Programmes and projects eat into the budget. A business needs specialised programme management solutions to achieve significant cost savings. A robust IT services company provides either the co-sourcing or the outsourcing model to help businesses remain ahead of the competition, by providing tailored solutions.
  6. There is a need to change networks or when the need to shift to a new IT architecture arises.
  7. The company is in need of a robust disaster recovery plan.
  8. There are no data storage systems in place.

Availing the services of the right IT consulting services company may be a challenge. A business must choose a provider before the problems stated above get worse – and must choose a provider who is able to set in place a sound IT system in place. Therefore, a business must choose a provider who provides flexible solutions. Businesses must also remember that though they think they are able to fix small issues, the reality is that these issues must be treated at the root, and they can be properly tackled only with strategic IT solutions – only provided by an effective IT consulting services company.

Management Styles – The Unorthodox

You can’t always define right and wrong when it comes to management styles. You have to find your own style that’s right for business. Sometimes this means trial and error – and heresy. There are times when heresy and an unorthodox management style can pay off – as shown by a Brazilian engineering company called Semco.

If you have your own business then it is your prerogative to run it any way you see fit. Your management style might be considered eccentric but no one can prevent you putting it into practice.

The unorthodox management of Ricardo Semler of Semco certainly paid off. As he reveals in his book Maverick! his off-the-wall management ideas have worked for Semco, with unusual business practices such as subordinates giving their managers twice-yearly appraisals. If a boss scores low, he can even lose his job!

The manager is referred to as ‘the subject’ in a multiple choice questionnaire. The first among the 36 questions is: ‘If an employee makes a small mistake, the subject:

1) Is irritated and unwilling to talk about the error

2) Is irritated but willing to discuss the error

3) Identifies the mistake and discusses it in a constructive manner

4) Ignores the error and pays attention only to more important matters.

It’s not rocket science to spot the correct answer and you can tell Semler has a good understanding of management behavior. He expects his managers to be fair and relaxed, secure and friendly, innovative and competent, trustworthy and participant.

So do unorthodox management styles help with the above?

In all businesses and all processes, there is room for improvement and you have to listen when someone comes up with an idea that has the potential to realise that improvement. You have to look at the benefits before dismissing the idea. You should be prepared to embark on challenges and change in order to create an organisation where people are happy with the management style – and that goes for the people managing and those being managed.

Semler has found success with an unorthodox management style and built a company that has the power to create effective new ideas, and continues to do so.

Waste Management Solutions: Five Crafty Ways To Reuse Plastic

Every year there is approximately 333,557 tons of plastic waste tossed into the ocean. Plastic pollution is a toxic hazard that threatens the habitats of ocean and land wildlife. In addition, the mass production of plastic contributes to the dilution of natural resources and increases the burning of fossil fuels.

Waste management companies across the globe are seeing an uptick in plastic pollution-and most are encouraging people to avoid it. Sometimes, plastic is unavoidable-however reusing it can minimize production which is important for the environment. Here’s a look at five crafty ways to reuse plastic materials.

1. Refill Plastic Jugs

Milk jugs, plastic orange juice cartons, and gallon water jugs are great for lemonades and punches. Although it’s encouraged not to use them for drinking too long, it doesn’t mean you have to throw them right in the recycling bin. Fill them with non-consumable items such as glue, dishwashing detergent, or an anti-freeze mix.

2. Make Plastic Bags Useful

One of the biggest headaches for a waste management company is plastic bags. Most of these bags aren’t biodegradable and eventually will end up in oceans or streams. Plastic bags can be used for a variety of projects, including:

– Carrying school lunches

– Making fashionable purses and bags

– Worn as booties over shoes

– Piping bags for cake decoration

The most damaging type of plastic bags come from the grocery store. Avoid using them by purchasing reusable shopping bags or asking the cashier for a paper option.

3. Turn Water Bottles Into Wire

Every day, people throw away thousands of plastic water bottles that end up in a waste management facility or landfill. Water and small plastic soda bottles are comprised of a thicker plastic and are perfect for making wire. Use industrialized scissors, wire cutters, or a utility knife to cut thick or thin strips of plastic. These makeshift wires are great and prevent purchasing and using plastic zip ties.

4. Keep the Bottle Caps

Caps from soda bottles and plastic jugs are hard to recycle-however, they can be used for an assortment of projects. Conserving bottle caps can be useful for things such as:

– Creating a push cushion ring for sewing

– Decorative art projects

– Making jewelry such as earrings, rings, and necklaces

– Fusing them together to make pill holders

Most bottle caps aren’t biodegradable and linger in a waste management facility for awhile. Large bottle caps can also be used as a buffer between furniture legs and flooring-especially fine grain wood and carpets.

5. Turn Two-Liter Bottles Into Planters

Two-liter bottles have an array of uses. A popular option is cutting it in half and using the top piece as a funnel. However, the bottom half of a two-liter bottle can be used to create a planter. Plastic planters are great for small plants such as herbs and succulents.

Alternatives to Reducing Plastic Waste

Waste management companies, scientists, and environmentalists can agree that plastic waste is a growing problem for Mother Earth. Reusing plastic materials isn’t always a viable option, however, there are alternative means such as recycling, using glass and ceramics, and avoiding the purchase of non-recyclable plastic items.

An Introduction to the Scientific Theory of Management

Scientific management theory was proposed by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the first decade of the 20th century, is the first coherent theory of administration. According to this theory the same principles of management can be applied to all social entities. The governing policies for our homes, farms, state, business, and church, have the same underlying principles. It emphasized on improvements in the lower level of the company rather than at top management. It aimed at studying the relationship between the physical nature of work and the physiological nature of the workmen. It stressed upon specialization, predictability, technical competence and rationality for improving the organizational efficiency and economy.

PRINCIPLES

Taylor gave the following four principles which according to him can be used universally:

-Construct a science for each element of a man’s work.

-Scientifically select, train, teach and develop workmen.

-Management should fully cooperate with workers.

-The division of work and responsibility between management and the workers must be shared equally.

Scientific management, according to Taylor, involves a complete mental revolution on the part of workers towards their duties, work, fellow men and their employers; and on the part of managers, towards their employees and their problems.

TECHNIQUES

The techniques of scientific management facilitate the application of principles of scientific management mentioned below:

FUNCTIONAL FOREMANSHIP: Under this, a worker is supervised and guided by eight functional foremen. Four of these are responsible for planning viz. Order-of-work-and-route-clerk, Instruction-card clerk, Time-and-cost clerk, Shop Clerk. The other four are responsible for execution and serve on shop floor namely, Gang boss, speed boss, inspector and Repair boss.

MOTION STUDY: It involves the observation of all the motions comprised in a particular job and then determination of best set of motions.

TIME STUDY: It is used to determine the standard time for completion of work.

DIFFRENTIAL PIECE RATE PLAN: Under this plan, a worker is paid a low piece rate up to a standard, a large bonus at the standard and a higher piece rate above the standard.

EXCEPTION PRINCIPLE: It involves setting up a large daily task by the management, with reward for achieving targets and penalty for not meeting it.

CRITICISM/OPPOSITION

Scientific management came to be criticized and opposed by various sections for the following reasons:

-It was concentrated on the shop floor. It did not stress on the higher levels of management.

-It was criticized as a mechanistic theory of organization as it neglected the human side of the organization. It treated worker as a machine and sought to make it as efficient as machine itself.

-It was criticized on the ground that it underestimated and oversimplified human motivation by explaining human motivation in terms of monetary aspects only.

-It was also opposed by the managers due to two reasons. First, they would lose their judgment and discretion due to the adoption of scientific methods. Second, their work and responsibilities increases under Taylorism.

The Importance of Project Closeout and Review in Project Management.

Description

The well known English phrase “last but not least” could not better describe how important the project closeout phase is. Being the very last part of the project life-cycle it is often ignored even by large organizations, especially when they operate in multi-project environments. They tend to jump from one project to another and rush into finishing each project because time is pressing and resources are costly. Then projects keep failing and organizations take no corrective actions, simply because they do not have the time to think about what went wrong and what should be fixed next time. Lessons learned can be discussed at project reviews as part of the closeout phase. Closure also deals with the final details of the project and provides a normal ending for all procedures, including the delivery of the final product. This paper identifies the reasons that closeout is neglected, analyzes the best practices that could enhance its position within the business environment and suggest additional steps for a complete project closeout through continuous improvement.

Project managers often know when to finish a projects but they forget how to do it. They are so eager to complete a project that they hardly miss the completion indicators. “Ideally, the project ends when the project goal has been achieved and is ready to hand over to customer” (Wellace et. al, 2004, p156). In times of big booms and bubbles, senior management could order the immediate termination of costly projects. A characteristic example of that is Bangkok’s over investment in construction of sky-scrapers, where most of them left abandoned without finishing the last floors due to enormous costs (Tvede, 2001, p267). Projects heavily attached to time can be terminated before normal finishing point if they miss a critical deadline, such as an invitation to tender. Kerzner (2001, p594) adds some behavioural reasons for early termination such as “poor morale, human relations or labour productivity”. The violent nature of early termination is also known as ‘killing a project’ because it “involves serious career and economic consequences” (Futrel, Shafer D & Shafer L, 2002, 1078). Killing a project can be a difficult decision since emotional issues create pride within an organization and a fear of being viewed as quitters blurs managerial decisions (Heerkens, 2002, p229).

Recognition

The most direct reason that Project Closeout phase is neglected is lack of resources, time and budget. Even though most of project-based organizations have a review process formally planned, most of the times “given the pressure of work, project team member found themselves being assigned to new projects as soon as a current project is completed” (Newell, 2004). Moreover, the senior management often considers the cost of project closeout unnecessary. Sowards (2005) implies this added cost as an effort “in planning, holding and documenting effective post project reviews”. He draws a parallel between reviews and investments because both require a start-up expenditure but they can also pay dividends in the future.

Human nature avoids accountability for serious defects. Therefore, members of project teams and especially the project manager who has the overall responsibility, will unsurprisingly avoid such a critique of their work if they can. As Kerzner (2001, p110) observe, “documenting successes is easy. Documenting mistakes is more troublesome because people do not want their names attached to mistakes for fear of retribution”. Thomset (2002, p260) compares project reviews with the ‘witch hunts’ saying that they can be “one of the most political and cynical of all organizational practices where the victims (the project manager and the team) are blamed by senior management”. While he identifies top management as the main responsible party for a failure, Murray (2001) suggest that the project manager “must accept ultimate responsibility, regardless of the factors involved”. A fair-minded stance on these different viewpoints would evoke that the purpose of the project review is not to find a scapegoat but to learn from the mistakes. After all, “the only true project failures are those from which nothing is learned” (Kerzner, 2004, p303).

Analysis

When the project is finished, the closeout phase must be implemented as planned. “A general rule is that project closing should take no more than 2% of the total effort required for the project” (Crawford, 2002, p163). The project management literature has many different sets of actions for the last phase of the project life cycle. Maylor (2005, p345) groups the necessary activities into a six step procedure, which can differ depending on the size and the scope of the project:

1. Completion

First of all, the project manager must ensure the project is 100% complete. Young (2003, p256) noticed that in the closeout phase “it is quite common to find a number of outstanding minor tasks from early key stages still unfinished. They are not critical and have not impeded progress, yet they must be completed”. Furthermore, some projects need continuing service and support even after they are finished, such as IT projects. While it is helpful when this demand is part of the original statement of requirements, it is often part of the contract closeout. Rosenau and Githens (2005, p300) suggest that “the contractor should view continuing service and support as an opportunity and not merely as an obligation” since they can both learn from each other by exchanging ideas.

2. Documentation

Mooz et. al (2003, p160) defines documentation as “any text or pictorial information that describe project deliverables”. The importance of documentation is emphasized by Pinkerton (2003, p329) who notes that “it is imperative that everything learned during the project, from conception through initial operations, should be captured and become an asset”. A detailed documentation will allow future changes to be made without extraordinary effort since all the aspects of the project are written down. Documentation is the key for well-organized change of the project owner, i.e. for a new investor that takes over the project after it is finished. Lecky-Thompson (2005, p26) makes a distinction between the documentation requirements of the internal and the external clients since the external party usually needs the documents for audit purposes only. Despite the uninteresting nature of documenting historical data, the person responsible for this task must engage actively with his assignment.

3. Project Systems Closure

All project systems must close down at the closeout phase. This includes the financial systems, i.e. all payments must be completed to external suppliers or providers and all work orders must terminate (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2004, p13). “In closing project files, the project manager should bring records up to date and make sure all original documents are in the project files and at one location” (Arora, 1995). Maylor (2005, 347) suggest that “a formal notice of closure should be issued to inform other staff and support systems that there are no further activities to be carried out or charges to be made”. As a result, unnecessary charges can be avoided by unauthorized expenditure and clients will understand that they can not receive additional services at no cost.

4. Project Reviews

The project review comes usually comes after all the project systems are closed. It is a bridge that connects two projects that come one after another. Project reviews transfer not only tangible knowledge such as numerical data of cost and time but also the tacit knowledge which is hard to document. ‘Know-how’ and more important ‘know-why’ are passed on to future projects in order to eliminate the need for project managers to ‘invent the wheel’ from scratch every time they start a new project. The reuse of existing tools and experience can be expanded to different project teams of the same organization in order to enhance project results (Bucero, 2005). Reviews have a holistic nature which investigate the impact of the project on the environment as a whole. Audits can also be helpful but they are focused on the internal of the organization. Planning the reviews should include the appropriate time and place for the workshops and most important the people that will be invited. Choosing the right people for the review will enhance the value of the meeting and help the learning process while having an objective critique not only by the team members but also from a neutral external auditor. The outcome of this review should be a final report which will be presented to the senior management and the project sponsor. Whitten (2003) also notices that “often just preparing a review presentation forces a project team to think through and solve many of the problems publicly exposing the state of their work”.

5. Disband the project team

Before reallocating the staff amongst other resources, closeout phase provides an excellent opportunity to assess the effort, the commitment and the results of each team member individually. Extra-ordinary performance should be complemented in public and symbolic rewards could be granted for innovation and creativity (Gannon, 1994). This process can be vital for team satisfaction and can improve commitment for future projects (Reed, 2001). Reviewing a project can be in the form of a reflective process, as illustrated in the next figure, where project managers “record and critically reflect upon their own work with the aim of improving their management skills and performance” (Loo, 2002). It can also be applied in problematic project teams in order to identify the roots of possible conflicts and bring them into an open discussion.

Ignoring the established point of view of disbanding the project team as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary overheads, Meredith and Mandel (2003, p660) imply that it’s best to wait as much as you can for two main reasons. First it helps to minimize the frustration that might generate a team member’s reassignment with unfavourable prospects. Second it keeps the interest and the professionalism of the team members high as it is common ground that during the closing stages, some slacking is likely to appear.

6. Stakeholder satisfaction

PMI’s PMBoK (2004, p102) defines that “actions and activities are necessary to confirm that the project has met all the sponsor, customer and other stakeholders’ requirements”. Such actions can be a final presentation of the project review which includes all the important information that should be published to the stakeholders. This information can include a timeline showing the progress of the project from the beginning until the end, the milestones that were met or missed, the problems encountered and a brief financial presentation. A well prepared presentation which is focused on the strong aspects of the projects can cover some flaws from the stakeholders and make a failure look like an unexpected success.

Next Steps

Even when the client accepts the delivery of the final product or service with a formal sign-off (Dvir, 2005), the closeout phase should not be seen as an effort to get rid of a project. Instead, the key issue in this phase is “finding follow-up business development potential from the project deliverable” (Barkley & Saylor, 2001, p214). Thus, the project can produce valuable customer partnerships that will expand the business opportunities of the organization. Being the last phase, the project closeout plays a crucial role in sponsor satisfaction since it is a common ground that the last impression is the one that eventually stays in people’s mind.

Continuous improvement is a notion that we often hear the last decade and review workshops should be involved in it. The idea behind this theory is that companies have to find new ways to sustain their competitive advantage in order to be amongst the market leaders. To do so, they must have a well-structured approach to organizational learning which in project-based corporations is materialized in the project review. Garratt (1987 in Kempster, 2005) highlighted the significance of organizational learning saying that “it is not a luxury, it is how organizations discover their future”. Linking organizational learning with Kerzner’s (2001, p111) five factors for continuous improvement we can a define a structured approach for understanding projects.

This approach can be implemented in the closeout phase, with systematic reviews for each of the above factors. Doing so, project closure could receive the attention it deserves and be a truly powerful method for continuous improvement within an organization. Finally, project closeout phase should be linked with PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity (OPM3) model where the lessons learned from one project are extremely valuable to other projects of the same program in order to achieve the highest project management maturity height.

References

1. A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge, 2004, 3rd Edition, Project Management Institute, USA, p102

2. Arora M, 1995, Project management: One step beyond, Civil Engineering, 65, 10, [Electronic], pp 66-68

3. Barkley & Saylor, 2001, Customer-Driven Project Management, McGraw-Hill Professional, USA, p214

4. Bucero A, 2005, Project Know-How, PM Network, May 2005 issue, [Electronic], pp 20-22

5. Crawford K, 2002, The Strategic Project Office, Marcel Dekker, USA, p163

6. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2004, Project Management Guide, Office of Information and Technology – USA Government, p13

7. Dvir D, 2005, Transferring projects to their final users: The effect of planning and preparations for commissioning on project success, International Journal of Project Management vol. 23, [Electronic], pp 257-265

8. Futrel R, Shafer D & Shafer L, 2002, Quality Software Project Management, Prentice Hall PTR, USA, p1078

9. Gannon, 1994, Project Management: an approach to accomplishing things, Records Management Quarterly, Vol. 28, Issue 3, [Electronic], pp 3-12

10. Heerkens G, 2002, Project Management, McGraw-Hill, USA, p229

11. Kempster S, 2005, The Need for Change, MSc in Project Management: Change Management module, Lancaster University, [Electronic], slide 16

12. Kerzner H, 2004, Advanced Project Management: Best Practices on Implementation, 2nd Edition, Wiley and Sons, p303

13. Kerzner H, 2001, Project Management – A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling, 7th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York, p594

14. Kerzner H, 2001, Strategic Planning For Project Management Using A Project Management Maturity Model, Wiley and Sons, pp 110-111

15. Lecky-Thompson G, 2005, Corporate Software Project Management, Charles River Media, USA, p26

16. Loo R, 2002, Journaling: A learning tool for project management training and team-building, Project Management Journal; Dec 2002 issue, vol. 33, no. 4, [Electronic], pp 61-66

17. Maylor H, 2005, Project Management, Third Edition with CD Microsoft Project, Prentice Hall, UK, p345

18. Mooz H, Forsberg K & Cotterman H, 2003, Communicating Project Management: The Integrated Vocabulary of Project Management and Systems Engineering, John Wiley and Sons, USA, p160

19. Murray J, 2001, Recognizing the responsibility of a failed information technology project as a shared failure, Information Systems Management, Vol. 18, Issue 2, [Electronic], pp 25-29

20. Newell S, 2004, Enhancing Cross-Project Learning, Engineering Management Journal, Vol. 16, No.1, [Electronic], pp 12-20

21. Organizational Project Management Maturity (OPM3): Knowledge Foundation, 2003, 3rd Edition, Project Management Institute, USA

22. Pinkerton J, 2003, Project Management, McGraw-Hill, p329

23. Reed B, 2001, Making things happen (better) with project management, May/Jun 2001 issue, 21, 3, [Electronic], pp 42-46

24. Rosenau & Githens, 2005, Successful Project Management, 4th Edition, Wiley and Sons, USA, p300

25. Sowards D, 2005, The value of post project reviews, Contractor, 52, 8, [Electronic], p35

26. Thomset R, 2002, Radical Project Management, Prentice Hall PTR, USA, p260

27. Whitten N, 2003, From Good to Great, PM Network, October 2003 issue, [Electronic]

28. Young, 2003, The Handbook of Project Management: A Practical Guide to Effective Policies and Procedures, 2nd Edition, Kogan Page, UK, p256

The Importance of Import and Export

No matter how rich a country is, how small or big it is, no nation is self-sufficient. It will never be totally independent from the rest and have everything it needs. Every country, no matter how powerful it is, needs raw materials from other countries to produce products that it needs or that is needed by other countries. In short, every country is involved in import export transactions.

Hundreds of years ago, Europe, the Far East and the United States were already importing and exporting goods between themselves and other countries. It had already set up a simple system of trading and global sourcing, albeit on a smaller scale. Today, import and export has become a very important part of the economy. This business has flourished into a more sophisticated but convenient, smoother and safer business. Risks are minimized with more international trading laws that aim to protect both importers and exporters. Regulating and governing bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) has streamlined the export import system. Trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have greatly contributed to the growth of the industry.

It is also now highly possible for small countries to go beyond the borders of their countries and reach out to a wider marketplace that can bring in products and supplies that they need. The businesses in these countries can benefit from having lower product costs and have a competitive edge over bigger countries. The demand for more imported products is growing exponentially and businesses are taking these import export opportunities seriously. There are new international markets open for both importers and exporters that have brought in a lot of opportunities for companies to lower production or buying costs and make higher profits.

Because of global sourcing, businesses have access to more product and technology choices that are up to international standards that are otherwise not available in that particular place. Importing products offers an alternative source of supply so there is reduced dependence on local suppliers for products that may have a limited supply. Exporting products give countries a chance to expand its market outside its territories.

With more information available to the businessmen following the advent of the internet and advancement of technology, all types of businesses can take advantage of the many import export business opportunities available. It is not so surprising for a processor to be exported from the Philippines to Taiwan for assembly into laptops.

Singapore then imports the laptop for Asian distribution then re-exports it back to other countries within its Asian sales territory.

Advanced trade systems have given businesses the assurance that transactions can flow smoothly and securely. Several companies have seamlessly integrated its import export business transactions with its operations by bringing in professional manpower that understands the intricacies of the business and who have undergone import export training courses.

With enough information and assistance from knowledgeable personnel, businesses are able to take advantage of the many import export business opportunities for both purchasing and marketing as well as make use of business systems that can help the company achieve maximum advantage in the international market.

The Importance of Credit Risk Management for Banking

The importance of credit risk management for banking is tremendous. Banks and other financial institutions are often faced with risks that are mostly of financial nature. These institutions must balance risks as well as returns. For a bank to have a large consumer base, it must offer loan products that are reasonable enough. However, if the interest rates in loan products are too low, the bank will suffer from losses. In terms of equity, a bank must have substantial amount of capital on its reserve, but not too much that it misses the investment revenue, and not too little that it leads itself to financial instability and to the risk of regulatory non-compliance.

Credit risk management, in finance terms, refers to the process of risk assessment that comes in an investment. Risk often comes in investing and in the allocation of capital. The risks must be assessed so as to derive a sound investment decision. Likewise, the assessment of risk is also crucial in coming up with the position to balance risks and returns.

Banks are constantly faced with risks. There are certain risks in the process of granting loans to certain clients. There can be more risks involved if the loan is extended to unworthy debtors. Certain risks may also come when banks offer securities and other forms of investments.

The risk of losses that result in the default of payment of the debtors is a kind of risk that must be expected. Because of the exposure of banks to many risks, it is only reasonable for a bank to keep substantial amount of capital to protect its solvency and to maintain its economic stability. The second Basel Accords provides statements of its rules regarding the regulation of the bank’s capital allocation in connection with the level of risks the bank is exposed to. The greater the bank is exposed to risks, the greater the amount of capital must be when it comes to its reserves, so as to maintain its solvency and stability. To determine the risks that come with lending and investment practices, banks must assess the risks. Credit risk management must play its role then to help banks be in compliance with Basel II Accord and other regulatory bodies.

To manage and assess the risks faced by banks, it is important to make certain estimates, conduct monitoring, and perform reviews of the performance of the bank. However, because banks are into lending and investing practices, it is relevant to make reviews on loans and to scrutinize and analyse portfolios. Loan reviews and portfolio analysis are crucial then in determining the credit and investment risks.

The complexity and emergence of various securities and derivatives is a factor banks must be active in managing the risks. The credit risk management system used by many banks today has complexity; however, it can help in the assessment of risks by analysing the credits and determining the probability of defaults and risks of losses.

Credit risk management for banking is a very useful system, especially if the risks are in line with the survival of banks in the business world.