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Opinion Editorials

Why you should disconnect your accounting and annual calendars

(OPINION NEWS) The only thing that your accounting calendar and your yearly calendar have in common is the word calendar.

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IGNORE THE CALENDAR YEAR

The “year” defines the amount of time it takes the Earth to make a full orbit around the sun. During this lengthy journey, we experience four seasons, 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours and 525,600 minutes. But what does our planet’s trek around the sun have to do with the accounting rhythm of your organization? The correct answer is “nothing.”

Frequently I hear businesses talk about their annual budget or the year’s sales goal. Many bonuses and incentives are based on annual targets, but there is no direct connection between a sales goal and the amount of time it takes our planet to travel 92.96 million miles.

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The easiest explanation for the annual accounting rhythms is the government’s need to collect taxes. Historically, governments collected taxes based on an organization’s profitability for the calendar year. Therefore, most companies adopted the annual calendar for targets and reporting. I believe the time has come for most organizations to break from the planet’s orbital rhythm and adopt a rhythm that makes more sense – the weekly accounting calendar.

THINK BY WEEK

The reasons for the move to a weekly rhythm are many, but let’s start by acknowledging another most common timeframe used for company accounting and planning – the month.

At first glance, the month looks like an ideal length of time to track. But unfortunately, the month is a poor time increment. Some months have 28 days, while other have 30 or 31 days. (Even more confusing, every four years we have a month with 29 days.) Some months have four weeks and other have five weeks. Also, the number of work days is inconsistent from month to month.

The month has too much variability to make it a consistent measure.

In a weekly accounting rhythm, every week is exactly the same (excluding holidays.) From a behavioral and psychological standpoint, it’s also a measure that every human being understands and can grasp.

For example, ask any of your team members what they did last weekend or what they have planned for next weekend and they can likely answer quickly. But ask a team member what they were doing last June 23 or what is their plan for November 8 and they’ll look at you like a deer in headlights. This is particularly true for any business that requires timesheets. Ask an employee to complete a missing timesheet from six weeks ago, and you’re likely to get an incomplete and inaccurate record of that week.

TIGHTER RHYTHM FOR BETTER RESULTS

The weekly rhythm also allows you to keep a tight pulse on your organization. Too frequently, we wait until the end of the month (or even worse, the end of the year) to measure our performance only to be surprised at a shortfall we didn’t see coming. But watching a week unfold in real time allows quicker adjustments.

It also avoids the tendency to put things off until the end of the month.

Incentives also improve when implemented by week. Giving an annual bonus for something that happened 10 months ago has very little impact on behavior, but a weekly bonus is beneficial because it is awarded closer to the time of the behavior we want to encourage.

NOW IS THE TIME

Many readers are thinking that it would be overly time-consuming to close your books 52 weeks a year. But from a technical standpoint, it’s never been easier to collect and reconcile data on a weekly basis. Banking and credit card statements can be digested on a daily basis. And internal systems can easily be calibrated to a weekly rhythm. Why wait until the end of the month to send an invoice when you can send it now?

You still must file your taxes on a calendar year basis, of course, but your accountant will no doubt be thrilled that your data will be completed and reconciled the first week of January. So, don’t wait for another journey around the sun to adjust your company’s accounting rhythm to a more sensible approach – the weekly accounting rhythm.

#52weekbooks

Certified Petra Coach Rob Simons draws upon his 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, brand expert and business coach. Rob founded PixelWorks Corporation in 1993 to serve the interactive advertising industry and in 1996 he founded Toolbox Studios, Inc., one of the most respected branded content marketing firms in Texas. Rob sold Toolbox Studios in 2015 to focus exclusively on business coaching, which includes certification as a Gazelles International Four Decisions™ coach. An active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Rob is currently a “Master” EO Strategy Summit Facilitator and an EO Accelerator Instructor. In 2007, the San Antonio Business Journal named him one of San Antonio’s “40 Under 40.”

Opinion Editorials

If Reddit goes IPO, will it have to shed its soul?

(EDITORIAL) Reddit is known as a firebrand, a bastion of free speech, but if they go public, will they be able to remain as they are now?

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Reddit, the eighth-most popular website on the Internet, is reportedly considering an IPO. As a site valued at over 1.8 billion dollars, this is great news for the company itself – but how much of Reddit will remain if the IPO goes through?

Reddit’s history is steeped in controversy, from minor incidents such as invasion of privacy and a few creepily quirky community members to allegations of child pornography and egregious hate speech. While Reddit’s policy has allowed it to tighten posting restrictions regarding the latter two, the fact remains that Reddit – for all its usefulness – is viewed by many as a ticking time bomb.

An IPO would certainly lend back to Reddit a degree of credibility not seen since its inception, but the problem is that Reddit itself (the haven of free speech and original content that made it so popular in the first place) might not survive the offering. Given the platform’s controversial past, many believe it likely that stakeholders would move to tighten further the restrictions on the platform, ultimately ending a significant era in Reddit’s history.

Admittedly, Reddit has come a long way since its early days of supporting user-created content regardless of persuasion: this past year saw entire subreddits shut down for violating the terms of use regarding hate speech, and the platform certainly has cracked down on illegal and abusive content. Unfortunately, the history might be too much to shake off going forward, which is why we think that Reddit’s branding won’t be a part of the final IPO.

The platform’s developers’ dedication to free speech and truth-seeking is what makes Reddit so fantastic, and that’s not liable to change – it’s the most marketable aspect of the site, after all – but perhaps the rationale behind going public lies in a sense of duty rather than routine. 2017 has seen some of the most reprehensible instances of false reporting and deliberate misguidance in recent history; maybe Reddit’s team feels that they can provide a stable news platform at the cost of some personality.

At any rate, the IPO itself isn’t set in stone, and is unlikely to take place for quite some time. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see if Reddit embraces its past, or sheds it altogether.

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Opinion Editorials

‘Follow your passion and the money will follow’ is bulls**t advice

(EDITORIAL) Following your passion can create success, though it may not be financial. So should you really just “do what you love” and hope for the best?

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If you asked anyone who knows me, they would tell you that I’m a strong advocate for people following their passion. However, when I encourage people to pursue their dreams, this comes with a big asterisk.

I recently heard someone use a phrase along the lines of, “if you do what you love, the money will follow.” Um… no.

While it’s great that you’ve found something you’re passionate about, that’s only a trillionth of the battle. You need to be willing to work your ass off and be willing to sacrifice everything in order to make that enthusiasm into a success.

Most people that have started their own business will tell you that it took a while into the process to begin paying themselves. Again, if it truly is your passion, this is all worth it in the end. But if you like food and shelter, it might not be.

Say, for example, your passion is acting and your goal in life is to become a famous movie star. Now, you can’t pull a Tobias Funke and simply say, “I’m an actor” and then expect everything to miraculously fall into place.

Like any other passion, you need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to get headshots, take acting classes, and find a flexible day job that allows you to go on auditions. Cutting corners on any of this in order to expedite the process or save a few bucks will end up hurting you in the long run.

For the sake of this article, let’s define “passion” as loving something so much you couldn’t imagine doing anything else… you would even do it for free. And, as there is no correlation between having passion for something and money, you just might.

While doing what you love is admirable, be aware that it may take an incredibly long time to see results in the form of numbers. Because of this, it’s wise to always have a back up plan to support yourself financially and pursue passion with a strong business plan in tact.

It is never wrong to want to follow your passion. I personally think that everyone should give it at least something of a shot during the course of their career so that you never ask “what if?” But following passion because you read a cliche statement can lead to major financial and emotional losses, so put on your business hat before blindly chasing dreams.

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Opinion Editorials

Tech CEO tweet ruins years of a young designer’s hard work

(EDITORIAL) With a tweet here and there, thoughtless questions have potentially bullied a young Asian woman in tech out of her career.

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It’s hard enough for women, particularly women of color, to make it in the world of tech, without rude jerks questioning if you literally exist.

Sadly, that’s what happened to Naomi Wu, also known as “SexyCyborg,” a 23-year old cyberpunk superstar from Shenzhen, China who has amassed a huge following for her 3D printing experiments and other techie pursuits. Wu has 140,000 followers and millions of views for her YouTube channel, where she shows off her experiments and provides educational tutorials.

Unfortunately, some rude dudes from America can’t seem to imagine that a young Asian woman is capable of the feats that Wu has accomplished.

Dale Dougherty, CEO of the DIY magazine Maker (and an official schmuck), has cyberbullied Wu so badly that it is said to have damaged her career. He tweeted, “I am questioning who she really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.”

This despite the fact that Wu says that she has actually spoken to Dougherty, and that he knows she is real. “For Westerners who don’t understand the important of reputation in China it seems like a very minor thing,” says Wu, “it is everything here and there’s no repairing this.”

Wu has even lost a sponsorship deal from a 3D printer company over the accusations that she isn’t who she says she is.

Dougherty eventually apologized, but Wu says that “the damage had been done” at that point, and that Dougherty knew the accusations would be “devastating” to her “reputation and professional prospects.”

Wu says that the attack is motivated by white male entitlement to tech spaces.

She says that she can’t imagine Dougherty attacking “a white lady from San Francisco.” Wu has been an advocate for diversity in tech and maker spaces. “I kept pushing for more inclusion – not just me, other underrepresented people,” she says. “They didn’t like being pushed. This is payback.”

We stand behind Wu as she continues to push the edge in tech spaces, and say shame on you to bullies who won’t make space for women and racial minorities. Sorry you’re not as cool as SexyCyborg, but that’s on you and you need to get over it.

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