Conniethemonkeys

The world has undergone enormous changes over the past decade. We now live in a world where communication is paramount. It seems that everyone and everything is connected in some way.

For school students this has made things much more efficient. Research papers that used to involve hours of laborious effort, can now be researched and documented without ever touching a card catalog or a periodical index. Worlds of information are now available at the click of a mouse.

Questions that people pondered without any answer previously can now simply be typed into any convenient search engine and answered almost immediately. There are countless sites filled with informative short articles all over the Internet. Videos and music can now be seen on demand and news from across the world can be delivered in an instant.

There are some people who worry that the technological revolution and evolution we are experiencing today is moving too fast. There seems to be a loss of privacy in some respects and the specter of a Big Brother society looms larger than it has since 1984. Whether their fears are well founded or not will remain to be seen, but it is unlikely that people will ever willingly give up the almost instant connections to our wired world.

Flying in the face of these fears are individuals who share their worlds through their blogs. What used to be shared with only close friends is now put online for millions of people to see if they should happen upon the blogger’s website. Individuals are learning to take advantage of this by using their well placed blogs to sell products and services. The internet has allowed individuals an opportunity to step on to the same playing field as the big boys of business. With the right information and the ability to get it seen, anyone can now reach the masses and share their thoughts, feelings and even sales pitches.

Businesses as well as individuals have come to rely on the Internet as a source of advertising and actual sales. Entire business models have been constructed and thriving based solely on using Internet websites. It is rare today to find a traditional brick and mortar establishment that does not have some type of online presence. Any business that does not adapt and grow to keep up with the newest technology seriously risks being left behind in the wake of their competitors who choose to ride technology’s leading edge.

Time will tell where this all will lead. We should make the most of the positive possibilities technology promises, but we should also keep a careful watch on where we are going.

 

The term “financial skills” covers a range of activities that a professional buyer or procurement executive needs to have if they are to deliver value for money and manage commercial risk for their organisation. However, these skills are not always covered by conventional training which means that a buyer could be creating needless exposure both for themselves and their career as well as their organisation.

There are six financial skills that everyone who works in procurement should acquire.

1. Financial analysis – this covers the use of financial ratios that enable you to identify suppliers who are under performing compared to their competitors or who might be financially vulnerable and so create a supply risk for you. Ratios compare one financial value with another in order to give you an insight into the way that supplier is run. For example, liquidity ratios look at the ability of a supplier to meet its short-term financial obligations by dividing the value of current assets (such as cash and inventory) with the value of current liabilities (such as creditors). Other ratios tell you how efficient the supplier is in turning sales into profit, generating sales from the use of assets and its ability to grow.

2. Activity based costing – this is a method that takes all of the costs of an organisation and assigns them to the products or services that the supplier sells. The big difference between this approach and more conventional costing methods is that it first allocates costs to the activities that create those costs and then to products or services in direct proportion to the amount of those activities that they use in their production or service fulfillment. What this means is that you get a clearer picture of the true costs of making a product or delivering a service than you get from conventional means. The importance of this for the buyer is that they get an understanding of what drives costs and so what actions suppliers can take to reduce them which in turn lets them reduce the price to the buyer and still make an acceptable profit.

3. Understanding profit and loss accounts and balance sheets – the profit and loss account shows a buyer a summary of all the transactions a supplier has made in a period of time (such as a year) with the resulting profit they make and the balance sheet is a snapshot of the financial position of the supplier at that point in time. Accounting policies that the supplier adopts can make a big difference to the declared profit; for example, a supplier can choose how much to charge each year to the profit and loss account for an asset it has bought and this can have a major impact on the profit in any one year. Knowing what accounting policies a supplier uses can help a buyer to understand their accounts and so make sure that the financial ratios that are used to get an insight paint an accurate picture.

4. Understanding cashflow – the lifeblood of any organisation is its cashflow as it can only pay its bills on time and remain solvent if there is cash in the bank. It is important to understand that this is not the same as its profit. For example, if you sell something for $100 now and give your customer 14 days credit then you will not physically receive the cash for another two weeks. If you have bought materials that have been used to make that product and your supplier has given you only 7 days credit then you will have to make a payment to them before you receive the cash from your sale. If you do not have the money in the bank then you may be in difficulties. Understanding the concept of cashflow and how to calculate and analyse it is an important tool in predicting the solvency of your suppliers and their vulnerability.

5. Understanding break-even analysis – this technique calculates the level of activity your supplier needs to have if it is to break even. Levels of activity above the break-even point result in a profit for your supplier and levels of activity below it means your supplier is operating at a loss. The importance of knowing this figure is in negotiations. If your supplier is already above its break-even point and has included your current level of purchases in its calculation, then any further business from you will provide a “super profit” (that is, profit over and above its expected amount as their fixed costs have already been covered). You should be able to negotiate a price reduction based on this information.

6. Price and cost modelling – one of the key questions that procurement people ask of themselves is “am I paying the correct price for this item?”. Price and cost modelling helps to answer this question. Price modelling involves comparing the price you pay against some yardstick of reasonableness such as the price paid last time or a benchmarked price. Cost modelling goes further and is a technique in which you build up an understanding of the cost of the materials, component and other costs that go into the items production or delivery (if it is a service) so that you can assess whether or not they are reasonable and whether the subsequent profit is fair.

Everyone is affected by fashion to some extent. In the era of early supermodel age, fashion could be categorized by glamour or commons. Today, fashion is fast, trendless, comfortable, and personal. Street fashion, as one of the most popular form, is more of a reflection of personality and lifestyle than of trends in general. Because social media have offered abundant avenues for people to get to know trends happening now, fashion has becoming really shapeless. Hollywood stars have their Facebook and Twitter accounts updating almost every second of their day including what they are wearing. Thus, Stars set fashion trends. However, Stars are not the only people only can openly express their fashion styles. Bloggers of fashion, not just professionals, but ordinary peoples, can send out their fashion style to the world. In an instant, fashion has truly become everyday, everywhere, and everyone.

In the information age and a much globalized world community, fashion has transformed in its outlook, and concept as it starts embodying many varieties of elements of different cultures. For example, in the 1980s, jeans had monopolized youth culture not only in the U.S. but also other countries, particularly East Asian countries like Japan and Korea. Now, American styles are no longer the standard as designers of different ethnic background incorporate their own outlook into their design. In addition, in this much globalized world, ethnicity is no longer the only factor that affect the trend in fashion as it was decades ago. Now, people are guided by taste, lifestyle, and experiences. For instance, Alexander Wang’s simple power women’s look has won many fans of minimalism. Thus, it is possible the fashion’s trajectory will more closely appeal to people’s lifestyle and social trends.

Furthermore, today fashion has much evolved to embody personal brand. Everyone’s unique style can be called his or her fashion. For example, punk style was originally styles of socially discontented youth’s, now it has been taken up even by couture designers. Decades ago, fashion had it standard rules such as how women and men should wear. Today, fashion is not strictly dictated by gender. There have emerged a new class of fashion called unisex in which clothing lines can be worn by both sexes.

This type of fashion has been tremendously popular given greater equalities between men and women. Women have more choices than before.

Not only adults, children have their own fashion. Although they mimicked what the adults wear, children’s fashion also been commercialized extensively. Children’s fashion is greatly affected by adult fashion. Many adult designer brands also have children’s line that follow closely of the adult trends.

Fashion styles have been changed that allowed more freedom of choices. The price of fashion has also been changed. Before, fashionable clothing meant high prices. Now, a fashionable piece of clothing doesn’t need to be expensive. Brands such as Forever 21, J. Crew, Target clothing and etc. offer couture style clothing with very affordable prices. Simply put, price doesn’t equate good style or good fashion any more.

Fashion has fundamentally evolved-not only the concept of fashion, but also the price and accessibility.

Travel is frequently listed as one of the “must do” things on peoples’ lists, and resort hotels that not only pamper but also include natural beauty, history, great food, and lots of recreational opportunities are very attractive. Here’s the lowdown, in no particular order, on five of these resort destinations I’ve visited recently; they are located in the eastern part of the country, and some are offering enticing incentives during these tougher economic times (golf, tennis, pools, and spas are part of each location unless indicated):

1. The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Of the five hotels, I’d say this one has the prettiest lobbies and other public areas – colors such as peach and pink combine in magical ways to produce drop-dead gorgeous palettes. The resort became popular in 1778 because it was thought that the mineral waters had healing properties, and people flocked to “take the waters.” Located in the Allegheny Mountains on 6,500 acres, there are more than 700 rooms and 50 different activities you can attempt, including falconry, kayaking, and geocaching. Eight restaurants, ranging from jacket and tie to casual attire will address your culinary needs. Don’t miss: The Bunker Tour ($30/person), a hidden government enclave under the Greenbrier built to shelter Congress in case of a nuclear war. Rates begin at $99/person. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee. (The resort is undergoing some changes – West Virginia businessman Jim Justice of Justice Family Group LLP recently has acquired The Greenbrier from CSX Corp.)

2. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania. The ambience here is woodsier – after all, you are in 2,000 acres of the Laurel Highlands of Southwest Pennsylvania. The resort offers 335 rooms within its six different options – from lodge guest rooms to luxury homes. The property began as a private game preserve, was later used as a conference center, and took on its present character with its purchase in 1987 by the founder of 84 Lumber Company, Joseph Hardy III. The name of the resort honors Chief Nemacolin, a Lanai Lanape Indian. A few less-common activities include a shooting academy, dog sledding, and a bowling alley; you can also land your plane at the resort’s 3,900-foot airstrip. Dining ranges from elegant (jackets suggested) to casual with more than a half-dozen choices. Don’t miss: The Great Escapes E-Newsletter notifies you of upcoming activities, special promotions, and reduced rates. Rates begin at $319/person. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

3. The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia. This National Historic Landmark was founded in 1766 (pre-Revolution), but according to the site’s timeline, archaeologists found evidence that the “hot springs” were used in 7000 BC! With 483 rooms on 3,000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, miles of hiking trails, a 270-seat movie theater inside the resort, carriage rides, ice-skating and skiing, there is something for everyone year-round. Only 40 miles from the Greenbrier, you could try out both places over a long weekend. A number of restaurants, from formal to casual, will tickle your taste buds. Don’t miss: We’re beginner golfers, and played 9 holes on the Old Course, so named because it was completed in 1892 (we did schedule the last tee time so we wouldn’t delay anyone’s game). The Number 1 tee is the oldest tee in continuous use in the United States. Rates begin at $99. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

4. Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, New Hampshire. My parents are from the North Shore area of Massachusetts, and I love going to New England any chance I can. So, our July visit to this Marriott Hotel & Spa was eagerly anticipated, and I wasn’t disappointed. An hour north of Boston, this is the most easily accessible resort hotel among the five, with 161 rooms and views of the Atlantic. Wentworth by the Sea is close to Portsmouth, an historic, pedestrian-friendly city. The hotel itself was built in 1874, was closed in 1982, and, after many changes in ownership and its almost-demolition (two different times), it ultimately re-opened in 2003. Historically, the Wentworth is noteworthy as the venue for hammering out the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Japanese-Russo War. Although the grounds are small compared to the first three hotels, golf is available at the adjacent Wentworth by the Sea Country Club, and a 170 slip marina is available for boaters. Dining includes the seasonal Latitudes restaurant by the marina, and the Wentworth Dining Room with a local emphasis (i.e. lots of offerings from the sea). Don’t miss: Portsmouth Harbor Cruise departing at Ceres Street (I’d recommend making reservations in the summer – a few walk-ups were turned away). About an hour and a half long, the Harbor Cruise offers lovely scenery, historical sites, and is fully narrated ($16/person). Rates at Wentworth by the Sea begin at $229. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

5. The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Greenbrier had the prettiest public places, but the Wauwinet had the most charming rooms (all 35 of them) – each one unique yet elegant – ours had blue and white flowered wallpaper, a high antique pine bed, and a small but modern bathroom. The little extras were nice – especially nice turn-down service with yummy chocolates, personalized stationery, full breakfast included with room, the services of an excellent concierge (she knew us by name), and 4 p.m. port, sherry and cheese. The location of the Wauwinet, on the secluded end of the island between the bay and the ocean, lets you escape from it all, but with jitney service provided to town nine miles away you enjoy the best of both worlds. No pool at the Wauwinet and no golf on the premises, but it’s nearby. Now a member of Relais & Chateaux, the inn was built by two sea captains in 1876, and is only open from May until October. TOPPERS restaurant provides fine dining, and has won many culinary awards. We ate there twice -once for the formal dining, and once on the deck enjoying a spectacular sunset. Don’t miss: Use the Wauwinet’s bikes and pedal (about five miles) to ‘Sconset, a quaint oceanside fishing village dotted with historic cottages covered in roses. Rates can vary – a lot. We were originally going to go over Labor Day Weekend, but found that the price of a room was hundred of dollars less per night on the Tuesday/Wed/Thursday preceding the holiday weekend, so ASK (we were able to book a room for $250/night. Pet friendly? No, and guests (human) need to be over the age of 12.

 

It’s all over the magazines, frequently featured on television, and even some newspapers are in on the game. Advice on what to wear and what not to wear. The people we surround ourselves with tend to be all too happy to share their thoughts on our outfits. It’s hard to avoid, because the message is everywhere, and if we don’t follow the trend, we’re told we’ve “let ourselves go”.

But does it really matter? After all, the main purpose of clothing is to keep us warm and safe from the environment that surrounds us. Clothes are meant to be functional. Without fur or feathers to keep us comfortable, we rely on different materials to do the job for us. It certainly is nice when clothes look attractive, but no matter how appealing something is, if it doesn’t feel pleasant against the skin and if it is a pain to wear, why should we subject ourselves to it simply because it’s fashion?

One fashion statement has divided women’s opinions for decades – the high heeled shoe. Some women wear them because it’s generally thought that they make legs look good. Some wear them because they make you look taller. Some actually find them comfortable to wear, whilst others can’t manage to walk more than a few steps in them without twisting an ankle. They can cause foot problems, leg and back pain, all in the name of fashion. Is it worth it?

The answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Generally speaking, the older we get, the less we care about what’s in and what’s out. We’ve decided on what we like to wear and what we feel comfortable in, so when we go on a shopping spree, we’re likely to get more of the same or similar. We may get the occasional “fancy” item for special occasions, but if we like our jeans and trainers, that’s what we will return to on a day to day basis.

Like any industry, fashion is about money. The constant change in trends that makes people change the content of their wardrobes throughout the year is designed to keep us spending our cash. If fashion magazines told us that the latest must-have is, in fact, the same must-have as last year, and the year before that, people would only replace that item if it were damaged or if it didn’t fit anymore. To keep customers on their toes, and to keep people in the industry in work, fashion must keep evolving.

That doesn’t mean that we have to follow along. Not unless we want to. There’s no point in purchasing clothes just because they’re trendy if we cannot afford or long to do so. Yes, pretty clothes can help when we want to attract a partner, but unless that partner is part of the fashion industry or someone who follows the latest trends to the dot, they’re unlikely to care all that much.

My advice is to go for what you like, regardless of what the media tell you to wear. If you want to look good, just about anything will work if it’s suitable for your body type and skintone. If you like to dress to impress, go for it. If you like your high heels, go for it (though I wouldn’t wear them all the time – give your feet the break they deserve). If you like your clothes made for comfort, feel free. Don’t let anyone tell you you’ve let yourself go just because you like your hooded tops. They don’t have to wear them.

Everyone should be free to dress how they like. If you like what you wear, it helps you feel confident, and that’s far more attractive than the latest designer dress.

 

Space… The final frontier…

It is also a land loaded with floating metal objects that rotate the planet and beam signals back to our gadgets. One of these floating metal objects is a satellite designed to push radio programming to our receivers. In the United States the only brand on the market is Sirius XM satellite radio.

Satellite radio is filled with hundreds of stations with programming that varies from hit to obscure music; talk programming from conservative views to home design tips to Howard Stern. Essentially it is a medium that offers something for everyone. This is one of the reasons it is becoming a very popular option for satellite radio advertising.

A common misconception about the medium is that it is “commercial free”. While the music stations do remain free of any satellite radio advertising, the talk stations do not. They have several commercial breaks per hour just as any talk show on AM or FM radio would. The shows that offer advertising options are quite diverse and offer advertisers a way to micro-target an audience with a specific interest.

What does satellite radio advertising cost? The answer to that question will vary depending on the station you want to advertise on. Some of the more nich’ formats with a lower audience can fall as low as fifty dollars per commercial, while the top stations such as Howard Stern may cost hundreds of dollars per airing because the reach of a station like this is much greater.

Satellite radio offers smaller and medium-sized companies that do not have a large budget the opportunity to reach a national audience.

This is something new, because the price point to reach a national audience on national TV or a syndicated radio show can be far to cost prohibitive for most small and medium sized businesses. With a starting budget of around 5k, almost any business can have their message broadcast to the nation through satellite radio advertising. The message can also be targeted to a very specific group of people based on the programming that the radio commercial airs on. Programming targets range from pet lovers to cigar enthusiasts to new moms and everything in between.

What was once the work of science fiction, is now a medium that puts another tool in the arsenal of small business when they want to get an effective message out to the masses on a restricted budget.

If you are looking to sell real estate in Jamaica, you can do so by attending the Real Estate Salesman’s Course #100H that is offered at the University of Technology, Jamaica. After passing the course, you are required to go through a few background checks to ensure you don’t have any skeletons in your closet. The final step is an interview with the Jamaica Real Estate Board to get final approval for you to become a Sales Agent.

Salesman’s Course #100H

This course is four weeks full time at the Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Jamaica. It offers material that is necessary for you to become an efficient agent in the local market, because what you don’t know can hurt you. You will be trained to handle transactions for Jamaica Properties such as Sales, Rentals and Leases.

Background Checks

The nature of the industry involves huge monetary transactions and in such a field you might find persons of a dishonest nature. In order to protect persons and their assets from thing like fraud, a background check is done on each applicant for a license approval, one of these checks is a police report.

The Interview With The Board

After gathering all the documents from your background check, you should submit these documents and attend an interview with an officer from the real estate board that puts the final stamp of approval on you application to become a sales agent in Jamaica.

Start Selling

After you have passed the exams and checks to practice in Jamaica legally, in most cases you must be employed to a licensed Dealer in Jamaica. There are some exceptions where persons can sell properties without being licensed but you should check the Jamaica real estate Act for the conditions.

 

You wonder how can I hypnotize my pet?

Think about it, you have your pet animal as one of the family member, same as your own baby, they both hear, breath and active, their for what calms you can calm your animal… just like energy. Now here is a step-by-step guide to bond and hypnotize your pet animal.

First find a comfortable place for you and your pet, such as a chair, sofa, and bed or anywhere next to your pet. The their back as you continue stroking their stomach area in a gentle soothing movements, it is very important that you do it very gently and slow, especially if you want to build a trust between you and the pet, either if it is your own or others. You may remove your hand or keep the gentle massage over your pet’s body. Make sure you touch each and every part of your pet gently to condition them to your touch and movement, then as you breath slowly in and out begin to speak softly with a deep soothing voice to keep your pet in a state of trance…

If you feel comfortable play and touch their ear with a gentle stroke to create more deepening, then start talking a little faster with a humming dog sounds, (listen to dogs cry and dogs laughter and learn the happy sound of their voice then apply it within the hypnotic suggestions) it will take them deeper…

PS: If you have a pet, you will know what type of sounds your pet makes when they are happy or excited, it is almost like talking to your pet with a baby voice, the same way you speak to an infant. With practice your pet will be conditioned to your voice using hypnosis to change their behaviors and to improve their health. When ready to bring your pet out of trance, hold their body with a firm mastery and followed with an authoritarian voice then flip your pet over to bring it out of the trance. Make sure you praise your pet with you did great, good so and so, or good dog.

Please Note: Your pet can easily be distracted from sounds and noises from outside, and therefore it is a common thing that that they will break out of trance once they have been distracted and run out toward the sound, this is a natural instinct response….So don’t be discouraged, keep practicing eventually they will not react to sounds or noises once they are deeper and comfortable where thy are within their minds.

Source by Doreen Cohanim

In any Listing Agreement there is a point in time when the agency relationship ends.

A Listing Agreement, as it is widely known, is none other than a contract between the rightful titleholder of an interest in land (the ‘Principal’) and a duly licensed real estate firm (the ‘Agent’), whereby the firm stipulates and agrees to find a Buyer within a specified timeframe who is ready, willing and able to purchase the interest in land that is the subject matter of the contract while acting within the realm of the authority that the Principal confers onto the Agent, and wherein furthermore the titleholder stipulates and agrees to pay a commission should the licensee ever be successful in finding such Buyer.

As in all contracts, there is implied in a Listing Agreement an element which is commonly know at law as an ‘implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings’. This covenant is a general assumption of the law that the parties to the contract – in this case the titleholder and the licensed real estate firm – will deal fairly with each other and that they will not cause each other to suffer damages by either breaking their words or otherwise breach their respective and mutual contractual obligations, express and implied. A breach of this implied covenant gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Due to the particular nature of a Listing Agreement, the Courts have long since ruled that during the term of the agency relationship there is implied in the contract a second element that arises out of the many duties and responsibilities of the Agent towards the Principal: a duty of confidentiality, which obligates an Agent acting exclusively for a Seller or for a Buyer, or a Dual Agent acting for both parties under the provisions of a Limited Dual Agency Agreement, to keep confidential certain information provided by the Principal. Like for the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings, a breach of this duty of confidentiality gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Pursuant to a recent decision of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (http://www.recbc.ca/) , the regulatory body empowered with the mandate to protect the interest of the public in matters involving Real Estate, a question now arises as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends beyond the expiration or otherwise termination of the Listing Agreement.

In a recent case the Real Estate Council reprimanded two licensees and a real estate firm for breaching a continuing duty of confidentiality, which the Real Estate Council found was owing to the Seller of a property. In this case the subject property was listed for sale for over two years. During the term of the Listing Agreement the price of the property was reduced on two occasions. This notwithstanding, the property ultimately did not sell and the listing expired.

Following the expiration of the listing the Seller entered into three separate ‘fee agreements’ with the real estate firm. On all three occasions the Seller declined agency representation, and the firm was identified as ‘Buyer’s Agent’ in these fee agreements. A party commenced a lawsuit as against the Seller, which was related to the subject property.

The lawyer acting for the Plaintiff approached the real estate firm and requested that they provide Affidavits containing information about the listing of the property. This lawyer made it very clear that if the firm did not provide the Affidavits voluntarily, he would either subpoena the firm and the licensees as witnesses to give evidence before the Judge, or he would obtain a Court Order pursuant to the Rules Of Court compelling the firm to give such evidence. The real estate firm, believing there was no other choice in the matter, promptly complied by providing the requested Affidavits.

As a direct and proximate result, the Seller filed a complaint with the Real Estate Council maintaining that the information contained in the Affidavits was ‘confidential’ and that the firm had breached a duty of confidentiality owing to the Seller. As it turned out, the Affidavits were never used in the court proceedings.

The real estate brokerage, on the other hand, took the position that any duty of confidentiality arising from the agency relationship ended with the expiration of the Listing Agreement. The firm argued, moreover, that even if there was a duty of continuing confidentiality such duty would not preclude or otherwise limit the evidence that the real estate brokerage would be compelled to give under a subpoena or in a process under the Rules Of Court. And, finally, the realty company pointed out that there is no such thing as a realtor-client privilege, and that in the instant circumstances the Seller could not have prevented the firm from giving evidence in the lawsuit.

The Real Estate Council did not accept the line of defence and maintained that there exists a continuing duty of confidentiality, which extends after the expiration of the Listing Agreement. Council ruled that by providing the Affidavits both the brokerage and the two licensee had breached this duty.

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects communications between a client and the attorney and keeps those communications confidential. There are limitations to the attorney-client privilege, like for instance the fact that the privilege protects the confidential communication but not the underlying information. For instance, if a client has previously disclosed confidential information to a third party who is not an attorney, and then gives the same information to an attorney, the attorney-client privilege will still protect the communication to the attorney, but will not protect the information provided to the third party.

Because of this, an analogy can be drawn in the case of a realtor-client privilege during the existence of a Listing Agreement, whereby confidential information is disclosed to a third party such as a Real Estate Board for publication under the terms of a Multiple Listings Service agreement, but not before such information is disclosed to the real estate brokerage. In this instance the privilege theoretically would protect the confidential communication as well as the underlying information.

And as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends past the termination of a Listing Agreement is still a matter of open debate, again in the case of an attorney-client privilege there is ample legal authority to support the position that such privilege does in fact extend indefinitely, so that arguably an analogy can be inferred as well respecting the duration of the duty of confidentiality that the Agent owes the Seller, to the extent that such duty extends indefinitely.

This, in a synopsis, seems to be the position taken by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia in this matter.

Clearly, whether the duty of confidentiality that stems out of a Listing Agreement survives the termination of the contract is problematic to the Real Estate profession in terms of practical applications. If, for instance, a listing with Brokerage A expires and the Seller re-lists with Brokerage B, if there is a continuing duty of confidentiality on the part of Brokerage A, in the absence of express consent on the part of the Seller a Realtor of Brokerage A could not act as a Buyer’s Agent for the purchase of the Seller’s property, if this was re-listed by Brokerage B. All of which, therefore, would fly right in the face of all the rules of professional cooperation between real estate firms and their representatives. In fact, this process could potentially destabilize the entire foundation of the Multiple Listings Service system.

In the absence of specific guidelines, until this entire matter is clarified perhaps the best course of action for real estate firms and licensees when requested by a lawyer to provide information that is confidential, is to respond that the brokerage will seek to obtain the necessary consent from the client and, if that consent is not forthcoming, that the lawyer will have to take the necessary legal steps to compel the disclosure of such information.

Nobody knows your business better than you do. After all, you are the CEO. You know what the engineers do; you know what the production managers do; and nobody understands the sales process better than you. You know who is carrying their weight and who isn’t. That is, unless we’re talking about the finance and accounting managers.

Most CEO’s, especially in small and mid-size enterprises, come from operational or sales backgrounds. They have often gained some knowledge of finance and accounting through their careers, but only to the extent necessary. But as the CEO, they must make judgments about the performance and competence of the accountants as well as the operations and sales managers.

So, how does the diligent CEO evaluate the finance and accounting functions in his company? All too often, the CEO assigns a qualitative value based on the quantitative message. In other words, if the Controller delivers a positive, upbeat financial report, the CEO will have positive feelings toward the Controller. And if the Controller delivers a bleak message, the CEO will have a negative reaction to the person. Unfortunately, “shooting the messenger” is not at all uncommon.

The dangers inherent in this approach should be obvious. The Controller (or CFO, bookkeeper, whoever) may realize that in order to protect their career, they need to make the numbers look better than they really are, or they need to draw attention away from negative matters and focus on positive matters. This raises the probability that important issues won’t get the attention they deserve. It also raises the probability that good people will be lost for the wrong reasons.

The CEO’s of large public companies have a big advantage when it comes to evaluating the performance of the finance department. They have the audit committee of the board of directors, the auditors, the SEC, Wall Street analyst and public shareholders giving them feedback. In smaller businesses, however, CEO’s need to develop their own methods and processes for evaluating the performance of their financial managers.

Here are a few suggestions for the small business CEO:

Timely and Accurate Financial Reports

Chances are that at some point in your career, you have been advised that you should insist on “timely and accurate” financial reports from your accounting group. Unfortunately, you are probably a very good judge of what is timely, but you may not be nearly as good a judge of what is accurate. Certainly, you don’t have the time to test the recording of transactions and to verify the accuracy of reports, but there are some things that you can and should do.

  • Insist that financial reports include comparisons over a number of periods. This will allow you to judge the consistency of recording and reporting transactions.
  • Make sure that all anomalies are explained.
  • Recurring expenses such as rents and utilities should be reported in the appropriate period. An explanation that – “there are two rents in April because we paid May early” – is unacceptable. The May rent should be reported as a May expense.
  • Occasionally, ask to be reminded about the company’s policies for recording revenues, capitalizing costs, etc.

Beyond Monthly Financial Reports

You should expect to get information from your accounting and finance groups on a daily basis, not just when monthly financial reports are due. Some good examples are:

  • Daily cash balance reports.
  • Accounts receivable collection updates.
  • Cash flow forecasts (cash requirements)
  • Significant or unusual transactions.

Consistent Work Habits

We’ve all known people who took it easy for weeks, then pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline. Such inconsistent work habits are strong indicators that the individual is not attentive to processes. It also sharply raises the probability of errors in the frantic last-minute activities.

Willingness to Be Controversial

As the CEO, you need to make it very clear to the finance/accounting managers that you expect frank and honest information and that they will not be victims of “shoot the messenger” thinking. Once that assurance is given, your financial managers should be an integral part of your company’s management team. They should not be reluctant to express their opinions and concerns to you or to other department leaders.