Worldwide web gender differences

Wanobe founder/CEO Dave Noble

Are you aware that more women are online today than men. And did you know that men and women are adopting web technologies such as social networking, blogging and location-based activities at different rates and for different reasons? I’ve taken a fast look at some of the gender differences in web use in 2011.

–       Men make up a minority of the overall Internet population – there are 95.9 million men online (48.2%) compared to 103.2 million women (51.8%), according to eMarketer.

–       Nielsen Online found that men prefer user-generated video sites (like YouTube) while women take more of a liking to video streams of TV shows (such as those offered from Hulu);

–       social web search company Rapleaf put out a report saying that men are more likely to use social networks for business while women use them to build personal relationships;

–       men are also more likely than women to share their writings, photos, videos, and other creations online, according to Northwestern University;

–       men think they’re the kings of Internet security, even though they’re equally affected by security threats as women, according to a survey funded by security software maker AVG.

–       Women Tweet like Venus, Men like Mars. Both genders have adopted Twitter at similar rates, but for different purposes, according to a Comscore study. Men are more likely to post their own Tweets, while a larger percentage of female Twitter users say they use the site to find deals and promotions, use the service as a conversation medium and to follow celebrities.

Creating 46,000 jobs for the unemployed

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has come up with a nifty idea to create an extra 46,000 jobs by extending Work Trials, voluntary programmes that allow employers and employees to try a role before taking on a permanent position.

With around 1.64 million people having been out of work for up to one year and unemployment currently standing at 2.45 million, the FSB believes the Government needs to do more to get people back into employment. The FSB’s ‘Voice of Small Business’ survey panel shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of small firms think Work Trials would act as an incentive to taking on staff.

Currently, Work Trials are available to those who have been on Job Seekers Allowance for at least six months.

The FSB woiuld like the Government to extend Work Trials by making them available from the first day someone claims Jobseekers Allowance. The FSB believes this could help to create an extra 46,000 jobs.

FSB research shows that small business confidence has dropped, and although small businesses want to employ, they lack the resources they need to take on a member of staff.

Work Trials are beneficial for both the employer and the employee as they offer key skills to help businesses move forward while at the same time ensure the person on the work trial is learning new skills. Research shows that nearly half of all jobs beginning with a Work Trial have led to a permanent job in that business.

The FSB is the UK’s leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at http://www.fsb.org.uk

The DNA of the CFO

Wanobe founder and CEO Dave Noble

A recent report by Ernst & Young, titled The DNA of the CFO, challenges the assumption that all chief financial officers (CFOs) are aspiring chief executive officers (CEOs) and instead finds that the majority see their role as a vocation of its own. Of 669 CFOs interviewed across Middle East, India, Europe and Africa by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Ernst & Young, 73% saw their role as a career destination of its own with just 10% aspiring to be the CEO. Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services.

The majority of respondents report their leading strategic contribution to be in providing insight and analysis to support the CEO and the senior management team.

“The CFO is expected to be someone who provides guidance, advice and counsel on the bigger picture,” says Michael Hasbani, Ernst & Young’s MENA Leader for Performance Improvement. “It’s not just the numbers, but what you do with them and how you can use that information appropriately.”

Who is the average CFO?

The research also provides a snapshot of the average CFO: they are most likely to be male; are highly educated, highly skilled and highly motivated; 42 years and eight months old; have worked in finance for most of their careers; believe that five years and 10 months is an appropriate tenure for their role; and most likely to hold either a degree in finance (29%); MBA (27%) or a chartered accountancy qualification (27%).

Strategy co-pilot

There has been a shift in the perception of the finance function from outmoded “business prevention units” to an enabling partner to the business. Just over half of the CFOs surveyed said that business managers routinely consult them on key aspects of strategy. But the majority of respondents say their contribution focuses on providing insight and analysis to support the CEO and ensuring that business decisions across the business are grounded in sound financial criteria. The CFO acts in many cases as the co-pilot; driving the process of setting corporate strategy and bringing that vision to life.

Top three business priorities

While CFOs are reveling in their newly elevated role, they are also coming up against the challenge of carefully balancing the development of company strategy with the renewed focus on finance fundamentals brought about by the financial crisis. CFOs identified cost management, risk management and cash flow as their top three business priorities in the wake of the financial crisis.

European Growth Sputters To Halt

European growth sputtered to a halt in the second quarter with increasing import and decreasing export trade, according to tradeintelligency.com, a top provider of trade intelligence.

European governments are put under further pressure to cut deeper into spending after figures showed growth in Europe’s first and second biggest economies, Germany and France ground to a halt in the spring, in another sign that the global economy is facing rising recessionary threats.

With the worse-than-expected German and French figures suggesting a possible budget shortfall this year. government ministers may have to find additional savings .

The flat growth reported in the second quarter of the year is attributable to a slump in consumer spending, imports and exports, and came as policymakers scramble to soothe investor concerns that other countries could be next major economies to loose their coveted triple-A credit rating.

Unemployed Get Help Starting Up in Business

 The UK’s government is launching an enterprise scheme to help the long-term unemployed start up in business.

That’s good news on the surface but the downside it is only open to people who have been out of work for six months or more, which seems a shame to me as those who’ve just lost their jobs are often less demoralised and full of ‘get up and go’ energy.

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) initiative is open to anyone who has claimed jobseekers allowance for 26 continuous weeks or more.

Under the NEA, participants will get access to a business mentor and, once they develop a viable business plan, financial support. A weekly allowance of £65 for the first 13 weeks is available, followed by £33 for a further 13 weeks. Those taking part will also be able to apply for a loan of up to £1,000 to help with start-up costs.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the scheme aims to stimulate enterprise and aims to create up to 40,000 new businesses by 2013. Funding will be delivered by local enterprise agencies and chambers of commerce.

British employment minister Chris Grayling said: “By expanding the NEW we can ensure that those who find themselves out of work, but with a good idea, get the right advice to turn that idea into a successful business venture.”

National Enterprise Network chief executive Dawn Whiteley said she welcomed the scheme “in principle”, but voiced concerns that support was only available to those out of work for six months or longer. “Our view would be that it would beneficial to capture clients sooner, when levels of motivation are still high and before people have eaten into any savings which might assist start-up costs.”

 

Late payments still hurting small firms

Almost three quarters (73%) of businesses have been paid late in the last 12 months, according to a new paper by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and for the majority (77%), it is by other businesses.

Small firms do not have the same cash-flow buffers as larger businesses and so being paid late causes a vicious circle, meaning that 38 per cent of members that are paid late say they then pay their suppliers late.

The survey showed that 43 per cent of members are currently waiting for between £1 and £4,999. And in the past 12 months, 56 per cent of members have written-off invoices worth between £1 and £9,999 because of non-payment and six per cent of members in the construction sector have written off £35,000 or more.

The Government’s commitment to pay all invoices to small firms within 10 days has improved payment times. However, the latest ‘Voice of Small Business’ panel survey has shown that 18 per cent of respondents are still being paid late by the public sector.

The FSB is calling on the Government to ensure that all public agencies follow the lead of central Government and pay all invoices to small firms within 10 days; that all contractors that the public sector uses pay their sub-contractors within the same time; and that all private sector companies used by the public sector sign up to the Prompt Payment Code.

With 53 per cent of small business owners saying that they spend between one and six hours per week chasing late payments, firms can take control by:

• Making sure there is a contract in place which confirms payment times and then penalties if payment is late – such as interest charges
• Offering a discount for prompt payment, dependent on the relationship with the purchaser
• Asking for payment up-front, or a deposit before work begins
• Talking to the purchaser before shipment to make sure that all sides know payment terms

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“There are always going to be companies that pay late, but there are steps that businesses can put in place to make sure that they don’t fall foul of the issue. We are pleased that the Government has stepped-up to the Prompt Payment Code – but there is more work to be done.

“In the current economic climate, every penny counts and for small businesses a late invoice can mean not being able to pay their staff. We need to see all businesses ensuring that they make payments on time if the private sector is to get on with the job in hand of strengthening the recovery.”

The FSB is the UK’s leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at http://www.fsb.org.uk