Smith & Howard Panel Focuses on Leadership Challenges Facing Women in the Workplace
Nov 27,2019
Three high-profile businesswomen took the stage at Smith & Howard’s Vision 2019 at the Cobb Energy Center November 7, 2019 to discuss leadership and obstacles to success in corporate America. Moderated by Julie Barnes, Smith & Howard’s Director of Marketing, the Leading with Power and Influence panel featured Becky Blalock, the Managing Partner of Advisory Capital and former Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Southern Company; Dr. Eloisa Klementich, the President and CEO of Invest Atlanta; and Virginia Hepner, Corporate Director with Cadence Bank and former Woodruff Arts Center CEO. Each faced critical decisions and challenges early in their careers. For Hepner, it was accepting a promotion in banking in a division she knew little about and was outside her comfort zone. Dr. Klementich applied for job after job heading up economic development, only to lose out to men who were less credentialed. A CEO told Blalock if...
How to Navigate a Career Fair
Aug 20,2018
Recruiting season is here which means accounting firms are gearing up to attend college career fairs. This fall Smith & Howard will be visiting the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia College, Georgia Southern, North Georgia, and Kennesaw State University searching for the best and brightest students who are looking to begin a career in public accounting. The main objective of the career fair is to find top notch candidates to fill internships and full-time opportunities. Firms might also be looking for students to participate in their summer leadership programs, such as Smith & Howard’s Leadership Institute program that is held each July. Firms talk to a number of students at the career fair. How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd? A student has 1-3 minutes to make a meaningful impression on a recruiter at a career fair. To make the most of this...
3 Ways to Supercharge Your Supervisors
Jul 03,2018
The attitudes and behaviors of your people managers play a critical role in your company’s success. When your managers are putting forth their best effort, the more likely it is that you’ll, in turn, get the best performances out of the rest of your employees. Here are three ways to supercharge your supervisors: 1. Transform them into teachers. Today’s people managers must be more than team leaders — they must also be teachers. Attentive managers look for situations that will help subordinates learn how to work smarter and more efficiently. ​ Typically, learning occurs most readily when rewards are applied as close to the intended behavior’s occurrence as possible. Thus, train managers to look for moments when employees are being successful and to immediately recognize those efforts. Managers should praise them in the presence of others and regularly. Low-cost rewards such as the occasional free lunch or gift card can also...
7 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Sale
Mar 07,2018
For some business owners, succession planning is a complex and delicate matter involving family members and a long, gradual transition out of the company. Others simply sell the business and move on. There are many variations in between, of course, but if you’re leaning toward a business sale, here are seven ways to prepare: 1. Develop or renew your business plan. Identify the challenges and opportunities of your company and explain how and why it’s ready for a sale. Address what distinguishes your business from the competition, and include a viable strategy that speaks to sustainable growth. 2. Ensure you have a solid management team. You should have a management team in place that’s, essentially, a redundancy of you. Your leaders should have the vision and know-how to keep the company moving forward without disruption during and after a sale. 3. Upgrade your technology. Buyers will look much more favorably...
Get Smart: How AI Can Help Your Business
Dec 06,2017
The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution isn’t coming — it’s here. While AI’s potential for your company might not seem immediately obvious, this technology is capable of helping businesses of all shapes and sizes “get smart.”AI generally refers to the use of computer systems to perform tasks commonly thought to require human intelligence. Examples include image perception, voice recognition, problem solving and decision making. AI includes machine learning, an iterative process where machines improve their performance over time based on examples and structured feedback rather than explicit programming. 3 applications to considerBusinesses can use AI to improve a variety of functions. Three specific applications to consider are:1. Sales and marketing. You might already use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, but introducing AI to it can really put the pedal to the metal. AI can go much further — and much faster — than traditional CRM.For example, AI is able to analyze...
4 Tips on Making Your Marketing Emails a Blast
Nov 08,2017
No business owner wants to send out spam. Even the term “email blast,” the practice of launching a flurry of targeted messages at customers and prospects, has mixed connotations these days.  Yet email remains a viable and even necessary communications channel. Here are four tips on making your marketing emails a blast (in the fun and informative sense) and keeping them out of recipients’ spam folders: 1. Craft a catchy subject line. It should be no longer than eight words and shouldn’t be in all caps. Put yourself in the customer’s place, particularly considering his or her demographic, and ask yourself whether you would open the email. Also, clearly indicate the message’s content. Example: Office Supplies Blowout! 30% Year-End Discount 2. Write a compelling headline. The first thing readers see upon opening an email is the headline, so make it: Different from the subject line, Short (four or five words),...
Minimize Inventory, Services to Make Your Financials Shine
Nov 01,2017
Your business financials — where they stand currently and where they might be going next year — are incredibly important. Obviously, sales and expenses play enormous roles in the strength of your position. But a fundamental and often-overlooked way of making your cash flow statement shine is to minimize inventory or services so you have just enough to fulfill demand.Sprucing upCarrying too much inventory can devastate a budget as the value of the surplus items drops throughout the year. In turn, your financial statements simply won’t look as good as they could. Taking stock and perhaps cutting back on excess inventory:Reduces interest and storage costs,Improves your ability to prevent fraud and theft, andIncreases your capacity to track what’s in stock.One item to perhaps budget for here: upgraded inventory tracking and ordering software. Newer applications can help you better forecast demand, minimize overstocking, and even share data with suppliers to improve...
How to Protect Yourself Against Taxpayer Identity Fraud
Oct 18,2017
In light of the recent issues surrounding identity theft and cybersecurity, Smith & Howard would like to offer some tips to protect your credit and your federal tax account from fraudulent tax returns. Residents of Georgia, Florida and the District of Columbia may participate in an IRS pilot program and apply for a special identification number called an IP PIN. An IP PIN is a unique six-digit number assigned by the IRS to prevent others from filing a fraudulent return using your social security number.Note: If you have already frozen your credit, you will need to unfreeze it temporarily to create this IP PIN. We also recommend that you enroll in credit monitoring, if you haven’t already done so.Instructions for obtaining an IP PIN from the IRS can be found here.Other things to note on taxpayer ID fraud and the IP PIN:The IP PIN is a unique number that is...
5 Ways to Dance Through Digital Disruption
Sep 07,2017
You’ve probably heard the term and wondered whether it could happen to your company. Maybe it already has. We’re referring to “digital disruption” — when new technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.Perhaps the most notorious recent example of this is the rise of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, which have turned the taxi industry on its ear. But it’s hardly a fait accompli that a business will fall flat on its face because of digital disruption. You may be able to dance right through it with the right digital transformation strategy. Here are five steps to consider:1. Focus on customers. Businesses often view the world through the filters of marketing, sales and maximized revenues. Instead of thinking about business success, target the customer experience.2. Make analytics your friend. Develop a strategy to access, analyze and use that data. Tap the brains...
How to Ensure Your Hurricane Harvey Donations Help Those in Need
Aug 30,2017
For most of us, the devastation in Texas and Louisiana is a time when we seek to reach out and help those affected by the storms. Our thoughts and hearts are with those affected and we often follow this up with volunteer work and donations. Unfortunately, for many this is an opportunity to prey upon the good will of people in an effort to scam you or hack your computer or phone. So, as you receive emails, texts, and social media posts claiming to be from organizations and individuals providing relief aid and support to those most affected please keep in mind that the criminals are out in force seeking to take advantage for their own profit. Below are some steps you can take to protect yourself and ensure your donation goes to a legitimate group out to help those affected by the storm: Steps to stay safe and help...

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