MOTIVATION IS THE ULTIMATE TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE

Motivation is the key to all that we do as living people. There is this Universal bank account that nature gave to everybody. What we do with ours is purely up to us. We all have the same amount of money deposited in it irrespective of our status in the society (politically and economically). The most funny part of it all is that this account will always go in the RED at the end of the financial year (in this case time year) whether we spend it or not.

Your question at this point will be “what will one do now to keep this account out of RED”. well. the simple answer is to be motivated and every other things will be taken care of. If you are looking for yet analytical tool for time management, sorry, this is not the right article for you.

I have no problem with all the time management techniques out there, in fact, I use most of them on a regular basis, but motivation comes first. and that is probably why I had time to write this article you are reading now.

first, you have to find a reason for whatever you are doing. until this is done, your day can be extended to 72 hours or more without you achieving a single thing. have you ever lost concentration while working on something before? Now, one will be wondering how and where on earth will I find the reason for what I am doing. My question to these class of people is : why do you defy all odds of inertia to go to work on Monday morning? Did I hear you say to keep your job? Fine then, that is enough reason to find joy in what ever you find yourself into.

After you most have found the reason, make it work in your favour rather than against you. For instance, you have activities lined up for you this weekend that you may not have the time to take your clothes to the laundry, tidy up your table in the office for fresh work(s) On Monday morning. On the other hand, your activities for the weekend are so important that you cannot afford to miss because of the knowledge and experience you stand to gain from there.

This is no doubt a tricky situation. I have found my self in this situation on several occasion. but guess what, I INVITE motivation to take over all other time management techniques.

NEGATIVE AND FRAUDULENT USES OF IT IN FINANCE

Fraudulent use of IT infrastructures have become the order of the day. The intent of those that toiled day and night in the past to make sure that there is advancement in the already existing way of communication is almost defeated. They researched to make sure that we all enjoy a comfortable and enhanced life. But I feel bad whenever I see or hear about people who engage Information Technology tools in fraudulent act. Banks and other financial institutions are always the prime target of these men of the underworld. For this reason, I have sworn to always expose every negative use if Information Technology tool that comes to my notice.

Computer is the primary component of InfoTech that we all talk about. The primary aim of the founding fathers of this device was to aid us in our daily activities. But today, it is being employed as the primary tool to commit fraud – especially on the internet and other networks. Below are the two main ill-use that the computer is being put into today:

  • The spread if Virus (Malicious code)
  • Stealing of confidential information illegally.

What am about to tell you now are few tested and trusted ways of shielding yourself against these ill-use of computer. I will start from the second. The major points will be listed in bullet form then followed by brief explanation.

  • The use of firewalls and Intrusion Detection System.
  • Use of a virtual private network (VPN)
  • Use of Copper in computer rooms.
  • Use of appropriate data remover tools (Soft-wares) from your hard-drive before disposing.
  • Employment of both physical and logical security measure.
  • Use of encryption and other cipher techniques.

Obviously, a computer in a network especially the internet needs more protection today than ever. There is no amount of protection you provide that will be much in today’s world. Firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) are guards that alert us whenever the security of our system is compromised. They don’t always stop the intruder but draw our attention to their presence.

Virtual Private Network is a secured way of transferring our confidential data over the network. Secured socket Layer (SSL) is employed in most cases as a standard to follow.

It has been proven beyond doubt that there are numerous softwares that has the capability of stealing information from computers within certain range even when they are not connected by any means. And Copper happens to be a good conductor that traps those data that the conventional wall cannot trap to earth. Is a good security practice to build computer rooms with coppers.

Many people end up loosing valuable information to the outside world through disposed hard-disc of computer. This security loophole can be blocked by ensuring that data from hard-discs are safely removed with the help of third party software after formatting and disposed properly.

It is not enough to take the above measure when the physical and logical access to the computer is not properly secured. Access control software can be employed on the logical part of it.

Encryption and Digital Signature has in no small way help beef up security in the area of data protection. Encryption ensures that the data is safe while digital software gives the assurance that the data has not been compromised in transit.

Wow! That has been a bit long but we still need to talk about the use of computer to spread virus. Some of the above tips still apply here. Like the use of Digital Signature and Envelope to establish the authenticity of a message before running it on the system.

The use of anti-virus is the most popular measure against virus. One rule here is that you carryout you due diligence on the anti-virus company before installing the software and always make sure it is updated all the time.

By chance your system is already infected, read the article titled financial identity theft- defending your self for insight.  Good luck.

Identity theft – what you should know about it.

 Identity theft is a term used to describe those circumstances when someone uses another person’s name, address, certificate, bank account number, international passport, ATM information and other identifying information to commit fraud or other crimes.

Identity fraud like every other fraud can only be perpetrated when the three necessary conditions for fraud are met. These conditions are:

  • Motive,
  • Opportunity and
  • Rationalization

Many times, those whom we trust the most are in the best position to defraud us. I know you may be wondering at this point how these “nice guys” can possibly benefit from these information. May be the following paragraph will interest you most.

I know a guy in my neighbourhood whose international passport was found at the scene of robbery. Now tell me. How can this guy deny that he was not involved in the robbery. The only saviour he had was that he was hospitalized in a government recognized hospital during the time the robbery took place.

A fraudster can use your certificate to secure employment, commit fraud in that company, disappear into thin air, leaving you to face the trouble. Or still, your personal information could be used to collect a dedicated IP address from ISP (Internet Service Providers). In turn, this IP will be used to commit online fraud knowing fully well that the Police and other relevant Security Agents will be looking for the wrong person.

The most common and easiest use of personal information illegally is to open a new Credit Card account with the victim’s details. These fraudsters complement this by applying for a change of address from the postal authority so that the victim doesn’t find out on time, if at all. Always check out with the postal authority if you fail to receive your bills for some time.

Ones personal identification information could also be sold to group of other fraudsters that will even employ more sophisticated means of defrauding and putting one into trouble in the long-run.

Stealing a victim’s identity is not a rocket science (i.e. not as difficult as you may probably be thinking at this point in time). Fraudsters use numerous ways to get the information required to commit identity theft. Some of the more common types of information gathering technique used by these fraudsters are as follows:

  1. Posing as Legitimate employee, bank official, government official or representative of any organization.
  2. ‘Bin scanning’: the fraudsters rummage through victim’s trash with the hope of finding pre-approved document with necessary information.
  3. Skimming of victim’s credit card information. Though this involves some advanced technical knowledge, but is not impossible. The perpetrators often employ the following: War driving, war walking, hacking, sniffing (with the help of protocol analyzer), and infiltration of victim’s computer with dangerous Trojans, etc.
  4. Fraudsters can gather information from businesses by bribing or conning a worker in the company who has access to confidential information.
  5. Shoulder surfing is also another easy way of stealing your identity – especially ATM (Automated Teller Machine) information.
  6. Fraudsters can resort to stealing their victim’s wallet, sneaking into victim’s house, stealing victim’s mail, personal computer, PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
  7. They also employ some social engineering techniques via the use of the internet.

As it stands now, education is the only weapon you have to protect yourself from these unscrupulous evil agents of our time. At the barest minimum, always do the following:

  1.  
    • Guard your mail and Trash from theft.
    • Protect your wallet, all personal information, your home, your password and personal computer.
    • Take advantage of  any of the several privacy Acts out there e.g, Gramm-Leach-Blily Act. Opt out of it. Go to your bank and other financial institutions you deal with and opt out of sharing your personal information with marketers. Just like every other endeavour of life, what really matters is not he amount of information you have but the action you are able to take to benefit from those information. Take action today!

ANTI-SPYWARES, ANTI-MALWARES AND ANTI-ADWARES SECRET OPERATIONS REVEALED

Spywares are malicious codes that resides in our computer to cause different kinds of harm. Some of those harms are noticed as a result of the malfuctioning that we notice in our computer. The majority of spywares however do not disrupt the operation of our computers. Hence, the essence of this article.

I took an Oath to review the operations of most soft-wares out there after the Company I represent lost its vital business secret to its competitors as a result of the use of software that is supposed to be protecting it.

It seemed all hope was lost after we lost our vital business secret to our competitors. I did not loose hope because of the lost of vital information to our competitors but because this was actually caused by a software whose primary function was to protect our information from intruders (identity thieves).

It all started on The 20th of May, 2008 when my Company (the Company I represent suffered a great loss in terms of sales revenue and profit due to lost of its planned unique promotional campaign. This led to the acquisition of three soft-wares (Anti-Spy-ware, Anti-Mal-ware and Anti-Ad-ware) that we believed to be the best in the market. You can imagine the peace of mind we had after installing these heavy and expensive “protect-ional software” on our systems.

We whole-heartedly transferred some of our hard copy core business secrets to our system (Just as innocent as a baby will fall into the arms of the Mother).

You guessed right! This time we were HIT even bigger. This singular event swung me into action. I went underground; I started contacting owners of various software companies, presenting them with some mouth watery offer to let out secrets of some sort of rapport with the owner(s). Some turned down the offer, while some gladly accepted the offers. The Cruz of the matter is that amongst those that accepted my offer was one of the so-called producers of the ‘ANTIs’ that our company bought into.

This then led me into further research and discovered that most of the software companies include one or two malicious code into their software.

Here are some of the precautions to take before installing soft-wares in your system.

  • Get testimonies from previous users of the product you intend using (possible if the company is old)
  • Ask for presentation date. After the presentation, take the computer to a security expert for examination if there is no in-house expertise.
  • Run the software on a system (computer) that those not contain vital information for a period of time before installing in other systems.
  • Buy software that has been reviewed by a trusted reviewer. The question here is; who is TRUSTED.
  • Always be on the lookout for your information without.

For details about protecting your online identity from theft, you may consider reading other articles under the FINANCIAL INFORMATION SECURITY  TIP section of this webpage

BAD PERSONAL FINANCE STRATEGIES

Bad personal finance strategies contribute most to the lack of money that a lot of people suffer from. Finances are like trees, they quickly die off as soon as they stop getting the required nutrients to survive….good personal finance stratgies acts like all the nutrients needed to grow your financial tree.

In this article are some bad ways of managing your money that you must avoid at all cost. 

Nobody ever wake up in the morning and pray to God that S/He should be poor. Yet, most of us do those things that will naturally block the heavenly windows of finance against them. In this article are some of those things that we should avoid if we truly don’t want the finance heaven to close against us.

The first thing that you should avoid doing is; having a negative mindset. Garbage-In-Garbage-Out (GIGO) is one computer term that can easily relate to natural law. You cannot expect something good to come out of a negative mind- Impossible!

Actively seek motivation. A non-motivated person cannot face the challenges of financial battle. Motivation plays a very significant role in our life especially our finances.

Take time to plan. Planning is the bed-rock of every of your activities.

Avoid over spending at all cost. A lot of people fall prey to the bogus marketing strategies of marketers and buy things they have no need for. They spend more than they earn, thereby living in perpetual debt. If you must be indebted, let it be a good one. That is, business or investment related debt. Avoid credit card debt as much as possible.

Also do not take advice from people that are not qualified. When I say qualified, I don’t mean paper qualification alone. See the article on selecting Personal Financial Advisor .You don’t go to a mechanic when you are sick or do you? I bet your answer is no. Why then do many seek financial advice from friends and relatives who are themselves not sound financially. To me, that is crazy, so don’t do it.

Confusion is another thing to avoid. Be focused at all time. Focus on one thing at a time. If your financial advisor asks you to follow certain investment vehicle, please do stick to them. Provided it’s coming from the right financial advisor

Procrastination is a killer, avoid it. The right word is Action!, Action!!, Action!!!. Never say tomorrow because now is the right time to take charge of your finances.

Never at any time ignore investment (in your assets and your–self). Invest your money on assets and your time in learning. It will help open up the windows of finances from above.

Don’t be at war with the concept of time value of money. Also be at peace with financial statements of companies. My mentor once told me that Accounting as a subject is the best course to ever study. It will help you acquire all the above techniques and more. And the good news is that it must not be learnt on a formal basis. Little book here and there and articles like helps on this.

The final thing I will be discussing in this article is INSURANCE. You must not leave your assets unprotected. A lot of people have been taken back to square one because they failed to insure their assets.

Oh! Sorry, I almost forgot this, the most important for that matter. The natural law of giving and taking need not be overlooked. Learn to Tithe and give back to the society.

Haven being equipped with all these wonderful tips, now is the time to go ahead and kick open the window of finance and grab as much wealth as you can.

UNDERSTANDING AND IMPLEMENTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIC PLAN

Strategic plan is the collection of activities that are channeled towards the achievement of organizational goals. It involves all that company’s executives and directors do in order to meet the demands of the various stakeholders with an almost insatiable wants. These challenges that needs to be met includes; government regulations, customers continuous demand for quality product at a reduced price, competitors action, natural phenomenon, technological breakthrough, etc

All the measures taken by business owners and mangers to effectively manage all that surrounds business operation are known as strategic plans. Therefore, IT (Information Technology / infotech) strategic plans are those measures taken by companies to get the best out of their investment in IT. There are no two ways of making it in business if you don’t understand how to set and implement strategic plan.

This article is written to give you my personal, tested and trusted tips on how to set strategies and implement them to get results from your IT investment.

SETTING STRATEGY FOR IT INVESTMENT

Understand the need of the company: the first thing that must be done is to understand what the company actually needs before you even think of making any IT investment. It will be useless making huge investment into the most sophisticated IT and network infrastructure if you don’t know what the needs of your company are and then work towards meeting those needs. So, understanding what the needs of your company is the first step in the right direction as far as IT strategic plan is concerned.

Weigh the actions of the competitors: consider what your competitors are doing, before spending a dime on IT. If investing in the project will give you and your company, then their may be no point wasting your money on it. Gone are the days when businesses invest in IT products just to show off.

Sourcing for IT infrastructures to meet your organizational needs: when you are satisfied that your investing in IT will place you in a strategic position, then, send out letter of invitation to prospective vendors.

Evaluating and appraising possible outcomes from investing in each of the identified IT investment opportunity: at this phase of the investment process, techniques are employed to evaluate and appraise possible outcomes of making any of the identified investment opportunity.

Select the right choice in the light of company’s need and available features: based on the evaluation and analysis made above, you may now select the best alternative that best meet your needs and that of your company. the selection phase is the simplest phase of implementing IT strategic planning.

Acquire the selected IT infrastructure: this is the acquisition phase. Care should be taken here to ensure that the right description and specifications are actually acquired.

Educate your workers: your system will still malfunction if you have the best IT and network facilities without educating your staff members on how to use the already purchased equipment.

Implement operation: start operating your newly acquired equipment. Make sure that the asset turnover ratio does not fall below what is expected.

Monitor and control outcome: without control and monitoring, actions becomes useless and worthless. You need to constantly monitor your performance through a feedback process. This feedback process can come from any source provided it is not biased.

Until you and your company become aware of the importance of setting up and implementation of IT strategic plan.

You will agree with me an article of this nature cannot possibly cover all that you need to know on this subject, I therefore encourage you to buy the Amazon books displayed below as they will really help enhance your understanding of information technology implementation.

FINANCIAL RISK MANAGEMENT- DOING IT RIGHT WITH IT

Risk management is the practice of defining the risk level a company desires, identifying the risk level it currently has, and using derivatives and other financial instruments to adjust the actual risk level to the desired risk level. Financial risk management is the collection of various calculated measures taken to mitigate financial losses that would wreck the activities of a business if not properly checked.

As far as risk is concerned, a company does either of the four: mitigate the risk, transfer the risk, assume the risk and do nothing. The purpose of this article is to give you tips on how to go about mitigating risk using IT infrastructures. Before I go on discussing the mitigating procedures using IT, let me quickly give brief explanation of other two options opened to risk managers. The first is to transfer the risk. Basically, this has to do with engaging the services of insurance companies.

The other option is to do nothing. Managers should go by this option if they are satisfied with the level of risk, this they often do through risk analysis.

MANAGING RISK WITH IT INFRASTRUCTURE

Effective risk management begins with a clear understanding of the organization’s appetite for risk. This drives all risk management efforts. Here, I will assume that the company is risk averse. Since the primary tool for managing financial risk is derivative, the first thing to do is set up your IT infrastructure right. There are so many financial modeling softwares in the market today. This ranges from simple spreadsheet to more advanced ERP (enterprise resource planning).

By their rights, these softwares cannot offer anything as far as financial risk is concerned. What happen in most cases is that these financial modeling softwares are configured to act like a robot. For it to be done right, a team comprising of financial risk management, experts and IT professional needs to pool resources together. I have seen a case where an IT professional was contracted to single handedly implement financial risk management software. This is no doubt the wrong approach to the right decision.

Below are some aspects of business and finance reduces financial risk to a bearable minimum.

  • Fraud fighting: forensic softwares can be used to effectively detect financial and other economic crimes before they cause serious financial loss to the company. Access control softwares are used to restrict access to highly sensitive information that would increase financial risk of a business.
  • Physical security: biometrics and other physical controls are employed to restrict access to areas marked out of bound to non authorized persons.
  • Enterprise systems: ERP softwares help businesses reduce the financial risks and business risks that a company may assume if business processes are processed manually. Though ERP implementations have its difficulties, but, when properly planned and managed, would give benefits that would greatly outweigh the challenges.
  • Financial statements analysis and interpretation/financial management: IT has made it possible for businesses to be in control of their finances. In fact, finances and IT has so merged that one cannot do without the other. You reduce the risk of error in financial statements preparation for instance through the use of IT infrastructure. Again, forecasting that requires complex regression analysis is easily done with softwares with little or no room for errors that may eventually lead to financial risk and loss.
  • Investment appraisal and management: some investment appraisal requires that iterative steps be taken in order to make the right ‘what if’ decision. These decisions when made wrongly will definitely affect the bottom line of the business. IT can help eliminate the risk of miscalculations and other errors that can easily be avoided.
  • Human resource management: it is relatively easy to manage personnel of a business with IT than it would be when managed manually. Error of over and under payment of staff members would be avoided in an environment where IT is used to manage human resource department.
  • Compliance services: IT will make it easy for businesses to track compliance with relevant laws and regulations that a company is required to follow. Softwares are configured to raise alarm whenever procedures that could amount to violation of rules and regulations are violated.
  • Privacy service: deployment of relevant IT infrastructures will help companies save legal expenses that might be spent on cases. People of this generation no longer take light the issue of privacy violation. The right kind of softwares can help reduce the incidence of privacy violation to the barest minimum.
  • Knowledge management: a company that does not mange her knowledge base well stands the chance of being exposed to high level of business risk and financial risks associated with lack of continuity in business. Intelligent softwares now abound that can mimic processes or activities performed by human beings. These softwares would fill the gap for the employee in the case where he or she leaves the company. All that needs to be done is to allow the software learn from the responsible individuals. Yes, softwares learn certain routine processes just like human beings do.

A lot of people have this misconception that financial risk is only associated with capital market and other aspects of business finance. Their view of financial risk is narrowed down to the effects of financial assets on the activities of both individuals and corporate bodies.

This is a wrong assumption as the prevailing financial and business landscape have made it even more complex and riskier for entities and their finance.

Financial risk management with IT is a skill that every finance professional should constantly strive to acquire. Finance and IT are ever changing fields and requires a high level of dynamism in handling.

To your successful financial risk management through IT!