Tag Archives: metrics

Chief Financial Officer

For the past tw0 years I have had the honor and privilege of being the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a nonprofit. The organization is a 501(c)7 with annual gross receipts under $50,000.

Image from http://myob.com.au/

I have learned a lot in these years about accounting, forecasting, budgeting, insurance, tax, credit, statistics, and reporting. In the beginning I relied heavily upon resources from preparing for my PHR and World at Works’s Accounting and Finance for the Human Resources Professional. I got to expand my experience in leadership, as the role was an Officer of the organization (reporting to the CEO and on the same level as the COO) as well as management as I had two “minions” that reported to me and assisted me with various items (one was keying data, the other with preparing taxes.)

In my tenure, I accomplished all of the goals I set those 26 months ago. Let me illustrate the situation when I started the role: 5 months before I took the role the former CFO was found to have (and admitted to) stealing funds from the organization. Due to on going investigations I can’t say much, but corporate counsel has stated I can share it was tens of thousands of dollars. The organization, being 100% volunteer run and operations financed 100% by donations this was a huge challenge to take on.

I am very happy to state that through my aforementioned skills (budgeting, etc) and working with a fantastic Executive team, I was able to repay nearly $10,000 in debt; build up a financial cushion of $10,000+; create reporting where previously there was none; documented the heck out of policies and procedures for a layman to understand and is also compliant with FASB standards. Repairing the trust of the organization donors was of paramount importance, to which I went to great lengths to improve transparency surrounding all financial matters. I reduced financial waste with the new procedures/policies saving the organization $1,000+ annually. My biggest accomplishment was playing forensic accountant and going through the previous three years of records to audit, amend taxes, and provide documentation towards the on going actions against the former CFO.

I am very proud of this accomplishment and experience. Like all good things, this is coming to an end. I have submitted my resignation. Being that it was a volunteer position (aka no pay) and it takes a lot of time (30-40 hour a week!) I feel I need to redirect my energy and time into that which pays me and being a more well rounded individual for better balance, grounding, and thus leave me able to offer more in what I do. I look forward to training my successor and ensuring that they are set up for success, so that the organization can also be successful.

SHRM certification

Congratulations on achieving your SHRM-CP.

Today I took advantage of the SHRM-CP tutorial to get the certification for free. I have to say that I actually like and see the validity of the competency based nature of this certification and how it will lend credence to Human Resources as a whole and a business partner.

I have largely staid out of the fray between the HRCI vs SHRM certification war. I’ve chosen to wait it out to see the offerings for comparison and see what the results are to organizations, professionals, and the profession as a whole over time. Without data it is hard to give an educated guess, and everyone has an opinion. 😉 I like my opinions to have weight.

It is early yet, since the certification was just offered for the first time three months ago, but it will be interesting to see when and which roles will require or prefer this certification. It will be interesting to see if it will be placed in relation to the HRCI certifications.

The part I enjoyed the most was the competency check lists. I answered as truthfully as possible, so that it could be a useful tool to me. I was pleasantly surprised that both my professional (paid) and volunteer experience places me predominantly in the Exec category.

Beaushene SHRM-CP competency chart

Beaushene SHRM-CP chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process took less than an hour, and was free. Can’t beat that! I really liked the situations and questions offered. Again, in the vein of being honest, I chose the best choice 7 of 9 times, the second best choice once, and one of the “what the heck, totally the wrong choice” once.

For one that does not currently have an HRCI or IPMA-HR to take the test is $300, which is $100 cheaper than the HRCI PHR. Being so new, it may not be eligible for tuition or expense reimbursement from organizations yet. To be fair, it has been five years since I took the PHR, so I cannot legitimately compare the SHRM-CP scenario quesitons to those of the PHR.

If an organization does reimburse you, why not go for both? Until the dust clears – which may be five to ten years from now, it is best to hedge ones bets. 😉 But if one is paying out of pocket, I would go for the HRCI certification simply due to its history and being well known.

Good luck which ever you decide. May the odds be in your favor!

Big Data

http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/17/big-data-startup-splice-machine-breathes-new-life-into-sql-pulls-in-4m/

Photo credit Venture Beat

I’ve been so excited to see that data is a big deal, being discussed much more, and is even considered a trend and the thing in 2013. Being an analytic person, I love data and love sharing both that love and HOW data can be helpful. Data driven decisions, in my humble experience, end up better. It shows progress, profit, areas for improvement/innovation, and helps one reach goals.

Think about the SMART principal – specifically the M part for measure. That is your data. You need to know where you start to know how far you’ve come or have yet to go. You need to know where you are going!

But all that excitement aside, I have two concerns related to The Year of Data.

The first is that having data is one thing, but processing it to be useful is key. Having data is like all the dirt in my backyard. I have lots of dirt, but until it is worked and done so in a specific way, it won’t be a garden or produce vegetables magically.

The second is that data lies. Data can tell you anything you want it to depending on how you manipulate and display it.

So, the questions I pose are these – what are we doing with all this big data? What measures will be discussed to ensure that it is useful and as impartial as possible?

HR to Employee Ratio

Image from cdc.gov

Believe it or not, this is a hot topic that reoccurs in the HR world on a regular basis. Even scarier is that I’m not sure it is on anyone elses radar.

Take for example a company I recently encountered. They have a ratio of 0.25  (or 1 : 400.) Yikes.

Back when I was taking my first HR Management college course (Thank you University of Richmond and Charlyne Meinhard!) our text book stated that the ideal ratio of HR employees to total employees at the company was 1:100. That was in 2004.

There is now apparently a formula and specifications as to what type of HR employees can count in that ratio. The image, by the way, is a generic equation and not actually for this calculation. 😉 There are also different ideals as to what that ratio should be based on company size (see SHRM chart in same linked article.)

I’ll do you one better. Your industry and the level and amount of technology and/or outsourcing also is a factor. Mike outlines this nicely. Unfortunately I don’t have any handy charts on that – I bet Towers Perrin, Robert Half, the BLS, SHRM, and maybe ADP have that sort of data on hand to create one though. It’s a project I’d love to get my hands on. 🙂 Until that day comes, Ben has a shiny infographic to share.

So, quick and dirty the answer is the typical “it depends” and “you gotta do your homework.” If you want to rely on the 1:100, be prepared to back it up with the C-suite. 😉 With ever increasing technology and the decreasing number of luddites, I would be willing to place a bet that the range is between 1:75 and 1:200. That is a huge range.

By the way, I wrote a best practice for a client that not only covered this topic, but went into the diversification of the HR department (how many need to be generalist vs benefits vs etc.) The information is out there.

What are your thoughts on this hot topic? What ratio (industry/technology/outsourcing/etc) have you found works well and what are the asymptotes that you’d stay away from?