Schedule a Consultation (904) 394-2913

Monthly Archives: September 2018

Pitching to Win: Strategies for Success Book Launch

I am excited to announce the publication of my new book Pitching to Win: Strategies for Success! During my more 30 years of experience as a CFO and financial strategist, I have come across many businesses who do not understand the concept of financial readiness. This is particularly important if they are attempting to ready a company for investors. Pitching to Win is a practical how-to guide for entrepreneurs that details how to get a business infrastructure-ready and how to create pitch materials. I am passionate about creating financial clarity to enable businesses to focus on the big picture. This book allows me to share my passion and expertise with a wider audience.

        

I could not have written this book without my former colleagues and Barker & Associates clients over the years who have provided me with a wealth of experiences and examples which you see throughout the pages of Pitching to Win. I am also grateful for the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) and the Athena PowerLink program, which has given me invaluable experience working with fellow entrepreneurs. Pitching to Win is currently available for download as an e-book on Amazon.com, and it will also be available in hard copy soon through Amazon.

Get the details and inspiration behind the book here on the website Book page.

Strategically Manage Your Brand

How to Strategically Manage Your Brand

C-level executives, particularly financial executives, historically have relied exclusively on their technical abilities and work ethic to advance up the corporate ladder, within the same organization. My father talks about when recruiters came to Georgia Tech in 1959 to discuss with upcoming graduates their potential future with the company, including their retirement plans. The expectation was that graduates would get a job, work hard and stay with the same company their entire career. Today you must manage your personal brand – especially CFOS, who have approximately a 2.5-year lifespan at a company.

Unsure how to get started managing your brand?

The CFO Leadership Council is a dynamic, energetic organization that provides countless opportunities for professional development and to keep up with the changing role that CFOs face. Jack McCullough, founder of the CFO Leadership Council, offers his perspective on the value of building and maintaining a personal brand.

 “In the modern business climate, it is no longer good enough to be good enough.  Any up-and-coming executive, or even one who is well-established, needs to understand and own her or his personal brand.  This is especially challenging for financial executives who are hampered by a “humility gene” that prevents that from taking credit for their accomplishments.  But, it is also critical for these leaders to cultivate these brands, since there are still many who consider CFOs to be glorified controllers.  Every executive has a personal brand.  The question is, are you going to control it, or is it going to control you.”  

Jack McCullough, Founder, CFO Leadership Council

CFOs and other senior financial executives are invited to join the Jacksonville CFO Leadership Council on September 25 for a panel discussion on Elevate Your Personal Brand & Executive Presence. Click here for more information or to register.

Yikes! Are You Still Using Paper Checks?

Placing paper checks in the mail to vendors places your company at risk if you are placing them in the mail without Positive Pay.
Why don’t you just play Russian roulette with a full chamber or ride a motorcycle without a helmet? That may seem a little over the top, but the paper check is a risky way to submit payments to vendors. 

What Can Happen?

A client contacted me recently to help unravel the mystery of the missing payment to one of his vendors. By researching his automated AP system and conferring with his third-party print vendor, we confirmed that the check had been produced and picked up by the post office for delivery. The check was eventually presented to a bank in Chicago for payment. The vendor was in North Carolina.

The bank in Chicago eventually released a photo to the FBI (yes, they had to get involved) of the person trying to cash the check. We had the chance to view the photo to confirm the person was not an employee of my client’s company. Thanks to using Positive Pay, they did not lose out on the amount of the check.

Check Fraud

The incidents of check fraud are so frequent that law enforcement officials such as the FBI aren’t that interested in pursuing the “little guys;” they want to go after the big fish. Even though the check my client had cut was over $20,000 – big to him – it wasn’t worth pursuing just that instance to the FBI.

If you thought checks were old news, take a look at these statistics from the 2016 AFP Electronic Payments Fraud and Control Survey:

  • Seventy-five percent of organizations that were victims of fraud attempts/attacks in 2016 experienced check fraud, a 4% increase over 2015.
  • Positive pay continues to be the method most often used by organizations to guard against check fraud, used by 74 percent of organizations. Other methods include:
    • Segregation of accounts (cited by 69 percent of respondents)
    • Daily reconciliations and other internal processes (64 percent)
    • Payee positive pay (41 percent)
  • Lack of positive pay (cited by 23 percent of respondents) and clerical errors (18 percent) were two primary reasons for financial loss due to check fraud.

Electronic Payments

As the statistics show, checks continue to be the payment method most frequently targeted by those committing or attempting to commit fraud. One method companies use to fight check fraud is converting to electronic payments. In addition to the fraud prevention benefits, ePayments provide benefits such as:

  • Ability to quickly process last-minute bill and payroll payments.
  • Take advantage of early payment discounts, while paying closer to the due date.
  • Improved client-vendor relationships due to rapid, more efficient payments.
  • Eliminate the cost of printing and mailing paper checks, which can be as much as $9 per check.

Often implemented as an add-on to your existing financial system, the selection of vendors offering B2B ePayment solutions is huge. Barker Associates has seen the “deer-in-the-headlights” look that clients get when trying to sort through the options to choose the best solution for their company.


Gathering this information and learning more about the ePayment process can be overwhelming. Want help? Sign up for a 30-minute consultation with me to discuss. 

In addition, we have compiled an invaluable checklist that will guide you in the transformation of your payment process to select the best vendor for your circumstances.