Thursday, February 19, 2009
Q. Why are you seeking new employment?A. Don’t be negative about your current job or employer. Stay positive and focus on your achievements explaining how moving jobs will help you to develop your career.
Q. What are your strengths and weaknesses?A. Prepare this in advance by identifying three or four key strengths. Adjust these to fit with what you perceive the interviewer is looking for and back them up with practical examples. Explain how your strengths have benefited previous employers. Where possible you should find ways to present your weaknesses as strengths. For example, if you say that you’re not feeling challenged, ensure you demonstrate a proactive approach to keeping yourself motivated.
Q. What salary are you looking for?A. Your CV could indicate a salary range that allows scope for negotiation. Remember that your recruitment consultant can handle this negotiation for you.
Q. What attracted you to this organisation?A. Research the company thoroughly and identify how it can help fulfil your career aspirations. Refer to your research, and discuss the observations you have made. Listen carefully to the responses given.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This morning once step into the office, heard our Singga Lim's voice, "US share market drop, company XXX in US bankrupt, company XXX retrench their staff...."
Below is an article extract from CIMA Insight August 08 to discuss on how a company can survive when economic downturn by Audrey Besson
Surviving the liquidity crisis
With the right focus and some advance warning, it is possible to survive a credit squeeze. Audrey Besson, CIMA innovation and development specialist, offers some practical advice and looks at a real life case study.
As the grip of the credit crunch tightens, the ability of companies to survive market downturns or seasonal fluctuations is reducing. According to Experian, 4,798 businesses in the UK failed in the first quarter of 2008 – an increase of 8.5% on the previous year. Companies going through market downturns or normal seasonal fluctuations, which would once have survived by extending their credit facilities, may now be pushed into liquidation. This is especially true for start-up companies that tend to consume cash faster than they generate it in their early years.
Businesses are therefore forced to seek alternative sources of funding. CFOs could also consider releasing cash by reducing their working capital cycle time, for example, by negotiating payment terms with customers and suppliers, opting for invoice financing or reducing inventory. Another solution could be to sell non-core assets.
Keeping investors in the loop
When access to liquidity is expensive and limited, it is crucial for management teams to have a plan to mitigate the effects.
Economic uncertainty is prompting investors to focus more on company performance and, particularly, on cash flow analysis. Whereas in the past net income forecasting was sufficient, today investors expect companies to produce a rolling 12-month cash flow outlook.
CEOs and CFOs must spend more time and effort communicating with investors and keeping them up to date with the company’s current situation and future outlook. This puts an additional burden on those finance teams that are unprepared and lack the right tools.
Impacts of a volatile environment
Market volatility and changing risk profiles makes accounting for balance sheet items at fair market value an increasingly difficult task. This, coupled with additional investor scrutiny, means that external auditors will place more emphasis on assigning fair value to assets and liabilities.
With limited access to credit, companies might be in a situation where the ‘going concern’ assumption is no longer valid. As a result auditors need to obtain confirmation of the existence and terms of a company’s bank facilities. In case these are no longer available, auditors have to disclose it in the financial statements as well as in their auditor report.
In January 2008, a Financial Reporting Council bulletin emphasised that directors of listed companies are required to make a statement in the annual financial report that the business is a going concern, together with supporting assumptions or qualifications as necessary.
A real life example
One example of the impact of the credit crunch on a medium-sized business is that of a private UK retailer. When the market slow down affected the company’s sales, credit insurers withdrew insurance levels. Suppliers subsequently pulled back credit. The company suffered a liquidity crisis, as it had no other way to fund working capital. It was unable to renew inventory and sales continued to fall, increasing suppliers’ anxiety.
The combination of a market downturn, risk adverse credit insurance agencies and suppliers, and limited access to cash from banks created a vicious circle. The CEO and CFO had to work with the investors, suppliers and banks to improve confidence that the business was still viable.
The crisis happened fast and the company’s financial reporting failed to highlight the problems in time. It had adequate profit and loss forecasting and rudimentary cash flow analysis, but lacked the level of detail needed to anticipate and communicate the downturn. This raised investors’ concerns. A team from the private equity firm that owned the company arrived on site and worked with senior management to review cash flow analysis, validate, audit assumptions and implement processes to improve forecast accuracy.
New cash forecasting tools helped to restore confidence by demonstrating that the business was viable and had a workable plan. The company implemented a 13-week daily cash flow forecast and now updates this every week. They also report the daily cash position to investors.
The team used this work to persuade the credit insurance agencies to restore insurance levels. As a result, the company was able to set new supplier terms and reestablish investors’ confidence.
A vice-president of the private equity firm, said: ‘There were two big surprises for management in this situation: how fast its liquidity crisis developed and how ill prepared the team was to respond both in terms of resources and availability of tools. Survival depended on the CEO and CFO creating open, honest and timely communication with all stakeholders.’
Things to consider if your company faces a similar situation
Plan cash not only profit. CFOs must prioritise cash management to keep investors confident and ensure that the firm can anticipate a downturn in time to implement a mitigation plan.
Anticipate the reactions of customers and suppliers. Foresee cash flow sources and uses not only for the business itself, but also for customers and suppliers. Monitor customer payments closely and identify defaults early. Inform suppliers up front if you are likely to have problems meeting payment terms.
Communicate - interaction with investors is crucial and CEOs and CFOs must have a plan to ensure they can report business cash flow regularly, provide detailed forecasts and answer questions. Timing is vital and you must communicate issues early.
Accelerate the cycle time of the company’s working capital. Where possible, negotiate flexible payment terms with suppliers and customers. Manage inventory in relation to sales trends and delay non-critical capital expenditure. It may also be worth considering invoice financing.
Use extra diligence when preparing the accounts and related asset impairments. The auditors will spend extra time on those items.
With the right focus and some advance warning, surviving a liquidity crisis is possible. Having open communication and the right tools in place will determine success rates of a company facing such a challenging situation.
Friday, September 5, 2008