Never to old to learn

The last months I reserved some time to study for the so-called PMP exam. PMP stands for Project Manager Professional, which is an official certification delivered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

And I succeeded. Last Friday, May 4, I passed the exam successfully, and I am feeling very proud.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers a professional credential for project managers, known as the Project Management Professional (PMP)®.

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. You can find PMPs leading projects in nearly every country and, unlike other certifications that focus on a particular geography or domain, the PMP® is truly global.

The core of the study is based on the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) version 6, validated since end 2017. This book has over 700 pages of text, formulas and images, describing the various processes and knowledge areas of projects.

The exam rules of the PMP are outlined in the PMP Examination Content Outline, of which the main knowledge areas are:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing

The official exam has 200 questions, of which 175 are taken into the score. The time available for the 200 questions is 4 hours. My results overall were ‘above target’, which, as said above, makes me very proud.

So remember: one is never to old to learn.

Take care and have a nice day.

Bas

May 8, 2018

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My new short video for CFO meets CIO

Hello,

Today I wish to share with you my new video for the ‘CFO meets CIO’ initiative. I shared with you a few weeks ago already some more elements on this initiative.

Have a look to the video here, and enjoy. It only takes 1 minute and 18 seconds to view.

The video is introducing the initiative and focusing on the various activities, such as personalised support for CFO’s and CIO’s, news, blogs and events.

The video is in full HD, and was produced by me with support of makewebvideo.com, a really great site for making videos.

You can find more blogposts from me on the ‘CFO Meets CIO’ initiative here and here.

Please do not forget to have a look on our CFO meets CIO website, which is regularly updated with news, blogs and events.

Kind regards, and take care,

Bas for ‘CFO meets CIO’

Octyx 2018

Hello,

After some months of development, the latest version of Octyx, Octyx 2018, is released today.

As you know, Octyx manages your Books, Songs, Movies, Components, Wines, Stamps and Contacts. It has also a very complete personal Document manager, a Password manager, a To-do manager and extensive Calendar and Planning functions. On top of these functions, Octyx also delivers a Money manager enabling you to handle your bank accounts.

The latest version is Octyx 2018, version 18.180414, released April 14, 2018. Our software is downloaded by more than 100.000 happy users across the world. Check here what is new!

At the same time, the latest iOS mobile App is also released. The latest version 4.0.0 can now be downloaded on your iPhone via the Apple App Store (see here). We added various smaller functionalities and corrected some small bugs. More information on the iOS mobile App can also be found here.

Everything is developed with the latest versions of RAD Studio and Delphi (10.2.3). As you know, I use Delphi as a programming language since 1995. And it is constantly being updated.

I trust you will find the new functionalities and updates interesting and useful. Especially the management of documents and passwords in a secure way is extremely important these days. You own your data. Check it all out on our improved website.

Take care,

Bas

April 14, 2018

 

Designing my business

Hello,

As you may have noticed, I started developing a new business, called ‘CFO meets CIO’. This new business is focused on helping CFO’s and CIO’s to realise their goals by connecting them together and to give them pro-active and dedicated support.

To make this happen, I had to design and develop a various number of elements such as creating my website, creating my first e-book, making stunning e-mails, and getting noticed by my target customers (CFO’s and CIO’s).

This post might be helpful for everyone who wants to start a business or activity.

A summary

  • I use WIX as main provider to design and create my website CFO Meets CIO,
  • I used Apple’s iBooks Author application to create my e-book,
  • I use MailChimp as main solution for creating e-mail campaigns and forms, for subscribing to my mailing list,
  • I created profiles on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn to share posts and messages and create further tracking and visibility,
  • I still use my ‘old’ WordPress blogging solution to share my blogs (I published over 70 blogs since begin 2013),
  • And I followed specific training to become even more dynamic.

This article shows some main insights how this was done. If you wish to have more information on these tools, please contact me on bas@cfomeetscio.com so I can give further advice.

Wix

Wix is in the basis a powerful technology to create a professional and functional web presence. Wix is an established player since many years and has been developed from a basic website creator to a full-fledged professional CMS (Content Management System).

You can use Wix in 2 flavours: one way is to create a standard template based website with quite good functionalities. The other option, which I used, is to create the website from ‘scratch’ to be able to add all kinds of functionalities for both mobile and web formats.

As with other modern website creation platforms, you can add news, blogs, events and e-mails, which I all incorporated into my new website. Since end of 2017, Wix has also introduced programming code you can add to websites for better control.

What I found good with Wix:

  • Many options available with professional look and feel
  • Easy to use for mobile and browser options
  • Easy to link to my created domain

What could be improved by Wix:

  • Slow: As the website is stored at Wix, I think the website could respond faster.
  • Publish button is too ‘dangerous’ to the save button.
  • Still some errors on mobile after saving the website.

I pay less than 100 USD a year for Wix (next to the costs to manage my new domain). Not a lot of money, but I spent some days to build it …

Apple’s iBooks Author

The Apple iBooks Author solution is in the basis a Mac and iOS based tool. It is targeted to be used to create modern e-book’s, but it also saves to PDF. I found the learning curve  quite steep, as I wanted to know all functions.

To write an e-book, this is a much better tool than Word combined with PowerPoint, and it is free (always good for a Dutch guy). There are professional tools (from Adobe for example) which are probably better, but more expensive.

What I found good with Apple’s iBooks Author:

  • Many options available with professional look and feel
  • Automatic updates of texts and menus
  • Easy to make PDF

What could be improved by Apple:

  • PDF generation does not allow clicking on the menu management
  • Templates are not freely changeable. If you choose for portrait, you can not change back …
  • Limited functionalities overall compared to other tools.

Apple’s iBooks Author is free (included with a Mac). New announcements on the tool were made last week by Apple, so we may expect new features soon.

MailChimp

MailChimp is a large marketing automation platform. You can build lists and events with automatic e-mails. Those of you who downloaded my free e-book have seen how this works: after it is made, I have no work at all, and e-mail addresses are coming in.

I use here also the free version with limited functionalities of course. I mainly used until now their signup form functionalities.

What I found good with MailChimp:

  • Easy setup
  • Straightforward usage
  • And it works well !

What I found not so good on MailChimp:

  • Not all templates could be modified as much as I wished.
  • The buttons can not be placed yet centrally in the forms.

Other tools and training

To promote further my new business activities as part of designing my communication plan for my e-book, I use the following solutions:

  • LinkedIn: next to my personal LinkedIn profile, I created a so-called showcase for CFO meets CIO (see link here).
  • FaceBook: I added a company page for CFO meets CIO (see link here).
  • Twitter: I created a specific profile for CFO Meets CIO (see link here).
  • WordPress : I also update regularly my personal blog ‘Doing nothing? Not my style‘ (see link here).

I also follow regular training on communication, video’s, websites, networking made by the Business Boost Event team: Greet Bunnens and Karina Urbina. A fantastic support by these 2 ladies for all kind of topics when developing and designing your business. They organise regular events with entrepreneurs, especially in Belgium.

Since using the above tools, I got a much better feeling for designing and developing my new (or any) business.  If you need more information on this, or on the CFO meets CIO initiative, just contact me at bas@cfomeetscio.com.

Take care,

Bas

Brussels, April 2, 2018

Our free e-book ‘Managing ICT budgets is fun’ is launched today.

I just released my free e-book called ‘Managing ICT budgets is fun’. A coffee guide explaining that managing ICT budgets can be an enjoyable exercise. Get this free e-book at: http://eepurl.com/doGGo9. The guide is made possible by ‘CFO meets CIO‘.

Fun

The ICT budget is often seen as a non-enjoyable activity, partly because ICT is perceived as a boring cost centre instead of a sexy profit centre. I am convinced that the ICT budget can also be made to be fun. This is because of the incredible human efforts undertaken by many ICT to deliver and run solutions which are used by so many users.

Also fun, because the ICT budget is deeply linked to the business achieving its strategic objectives, allowing for enthusiastic presentations, and helping to sell the ICT budget to decision makers. It also strongly supports ICT as a driver for change, innovation and increasing efficiency benefits to the company as well as improving employee’s roles and tasks.

The coffee theme of this e-book is chosen to allow you to drink and think while reading this e-book, and it avoids drinking too much alcohol.

Structure

A first explanation of various cost notions will be shown in the chapter ‘Explanation’. It contains a description of several types of cost classification. You will use this when making and managing the budget as a means to explain your ICT budget in a way that key stakeholders will better understand. Hence you will gain a higher degree of buy-in, rather than if you sell it as a pure cost burden to the organisation.

The following part (‘Run’) of this e-book takes a focus on all aspects of running ICT solutions. How to manage people, assets or other resources? In house or externally, and what are the cost aspects?

Next to that, the Chapter ‘Change’ takes a closer look at modifying the ICT systems to adapt to changing business needs, legal requirements or ICT environments. Change is by definition challenging and should not be feared, challenging the status quo and finding a better way to do something is interesting and fun!

As any other department, there is also a generic part called ‘Overhead’. The managers, architecture, security and several other non direct attributable aspects, will be touched upon in this chapter.

The following Chapter (‘Sell the budget’) takes a specific look at how to sell these elements to your colleagues, your CEO and your Board. The relationship between Business and ICT will be treated here.

Finally, in the last Chapter (‘Have fun’) you will find the summary and some others perspectives related to the fun of managing ICT budgets.

Further information

This e-book is definitely not intended to give you a full description of all elements on ICT budgets. However, after reading this e-book, I trust you will be able to see the fun side of managing ICT budgets.

The e-book is written by Bas Eshuis, and brought to you by the ‘CFO meets CIO’ initiative. I wish to thank my pre-readers for their support, and especially Peter Blakeston for his valuable and strongly appreciated inputs.

The e-book was produced with Apple’s iBooks Author software. The email and download screens were developed with MailChimp. Our website CFO meets CIO is produced with Wix. A further blog will be written on my experiences with these tools.

Get this free e-book now at: http://eepurl.com/doGGo9.

March 21, 2018.

Take care,

Bas

How to improve efficiency in Finance by further automation.

You, as CFO, have increasing tasks to fulfil: next to your historic Finance activities, you are increasingly requested to be aligned with new regulations (financial or not), as well to participate in the analysis of ever growing amounts of data. All this requests an intelligent and efficient approach with a focus to increase efficiency by organising your activities and teams, but more especially by finding further ways to automate where possible.
This post highlights some specific possibilities to improve quality and efficiency by implementing further automation. The list of items below is clearly not an exhaustive list, but gives an indication of possible subjects. Your teams in your company are probably already working, with the CIO and ICT teams, on many of the below topics. However it is important to stay informed on new trends, as they have impacts on your efficiency and quality.

Accounting: as you are well aware, every financial department has to account for all asset and financial transactions.

  • Depending on the type of company, this can vary from a simple to a very complex way of accounting. Most companies these days have introduced various ways of automating these tasks, however there are still many topics which can be improved (non-exhaustive).

  • Invoice received: still many companies do add their invoices to pay manual into their systems. This causes delays and possible errors, with impacts on your company. Various solutions (from simple to complex) exist to solve this problem: mainly by a combination of scanning and automatic recognition (OCR).

  • Monthly closings: still many ‘manual’ entries are to be done just after closing. Avoid this! It will help you in the reporting (see below)

  • Book the costs in the month they are due: with using correct analytics you can better follow the costs. In some companies they book the costs in the month they receive the invoice.
Controlling: Your controlling team has to be efficient:
  • Often the controlling tem is very busy with making reports instead of doing the controlling itself. The last years however the focus shifted to understand the business in a better way, understand and act upon compliance and governance, and to execute effective controls. Automation can help with:

  • A common agreed data environment with a so-called BI (Business Intelligence) Datawarehouse. In many companies these days the Controlling teams are the guardians of the BI data, tools and reports.
Reporting: your teams are sometimes ‘always’ busy to create (and modify) reporting. This can be financial or tax reporting within the company, but off-course also to ‘mother’ companies, tax authorities or for investors.
  • Make sure that there is only one owner of data for a given topic.
  • Do you still use Excel? Microsoft Excel is still one of the most used tools on the market. Your teams struggle to align data with commercial, risk or other teams and spent many days to get it look nice. Solutions exists in many ways, with the first being: use a common set of data. I know, it is easy said, but this is the basis.
  • Use a Business Intelligence tool, and related reporting packages. And pack it nicely with tools like Qlik or Tableau.
Treasury and collections: this part of Finance contains not only cash management, payments, interest and FX risk transactions, but also all other aspects such as interest rates, fees, etc. There a are a huge number of topics and solutions, so let’s take a few:
  • Always use tools to upload data from your bank accounts. Since more than 20 years, incredible good cash management solution exists for big and small companies. PSD-2 impacts and solutions will improve this market even further in 2018.
  • Use advanced payment systems with your bank. Also have a look to other solutions, like Adyen or Ripple (via blockchain). Things are moving fast here.
  • FX management: the traditional world of Treasury systems is moving also. Various new integrated solutions, often directly linked with your accounting and controlling, are available on the market.
  • Collections and accounts receivables: involve a technology supplier to increase efficiency.
Procurement: An important activity, although not always found in Finance. What might be a topic which can be automated?
  • Contract management: solution exist these days to automate your contracts, and to link up to Finance.
  • Manage your accounts payables by managing purchase orders
Other important challenges:
  • Regulations: align your controlling team with the IT teams concerning PSD-2 (many new opportunities) and GDPR (ensure also that your ‘financial’ data do comply with regulations). The IT team can help in the creation and understanding of data within the company.
  • Big data: more and more date is available; either internally in various databases, but especially these days outside your company. Data can be used to inform your board better and enable faster forecasting. Open the discussion with your CIO to understand this better, and how it can be of use for yourselves and your team.
Next articles will go deeper into each of these topics, and also into how upcoming ICT trends will have strong impacts on you as CFO and your team.
This post was brought to you by “CFO meets CIO”, an initiative to help CFO’s and CIO’s to realise their common goals. We advise you to stay in contact (signup for more news at www.cfomeetscio.com) to have further explanations.
Take care,
Bas Eshuis
March 4, 2018