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The Benefits of Auditing Services for Your Business

Auditing is good for your business. If you don’t agree, you may need to re-evaluate your operations and methods. Auditing helps businesses to identify problems, solve problems, and improve. Auditing has many benefits or advantages for businesses and we would like to share some of these. If these benefits don’t convince you, also read this article on why you should hire auditing services.

Asset Protection Associates has seen many businesses prosper and grow exponentially after making use of auditing services. Here’s why:

It shows you whether you are in line with what is expected. Auditing looks at processes and procedures and checks whether your business is performing in line with these requirements. If your business is off or was unaware of changes, the auditor will help you understand where the problem lies and how to fix it.

It prevents fraud. When employees know that auditing is part of your business processes, they will be less likely to commit fraud. If your books and procedures are audited annually, any discrepancies will stand out immediately and indicate a problem. It will place the fraudster in a difficult position if they do decide to go for it.

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It shows whether your processes are effective or not. Profits and losses will be highlighted in an audit and will also help you realize if certain processes or practices are being effective or not. This puts you in the great position to make changes that will increase profits, reduce losses, and increase efficiency in your business.

It forces you to be vigilant and organized. If you can expect and audit on regular intervals, you will be forced to put in place systems to keep records and documentation in order and above board. This will prevent chaotic and panicky scrambles to set things in order when the auditor comes. Everything will already be in place and ready for auditing.

It adds credibility. If your business is audited regularly and people know that, they will come to trust your business. When a business is audited with good results, it adds credibility and builds a positive and trustworthy reputation. Credibility can only benefit your business.

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It increases sales. This point is a combination of a few others. Improvements and better efficiency combined with credibility and a good reputation will make people want to shop with you. When word gets out that your business is efficient and credible, more people will buy from you.

It will create a positive working environment. Because no-one will be able to get away with illegal activities and the admin side of things will be well-planned, the work environment will have less stress and less trust issues. With fewer security concerns and less stress, employees will be more relaxed and focused on doing their jobs. This will create a great and positive working environment with positive employees.

Auditing is necessary and very beneficial to companies for many reasons. Consider hiring an auditing company that also offers other services like mystery shopping and risk management.

5 Tips for a Becoming a Good Mystery Shopper

Being a mystery shopper is a fun job, but it is also quite serious. A mystery shopper’s evaluation of a company and the resulting feedback are used to help companies change, grow, and improve. This means that these things must be taken seriously and done very well. If you are a mystery shopper or want to become one, this article will help you be the best shopper you can be.

1. Choose the Right Companies

To start off with, you need to make sure that you choose the right companies to work with. There are scammers out there that will try and lure you. Be alert, be aware, and do your research on companies that hire mystery shoppers. A company like Asset Protection Associates is a legitimate service provider and can be trusted. Choose companies that have a good track-record and has been successfully operational for several years. Avoid companies that give free money or offer vacations and also beware of companies that require you to pay a fee to get hired. These are scams.

2. Choose Your Niche

Every shopper’s experience will be taken into account because experience in a certain field will help with insights and evaluations. After you have done a few shops, you will start realising which ones you enjoy more and you do better. You can then decide to focus more on companies and shops that work in these areas. For example, if you have a dance background, you will be ideal to be a mystery shopper at dance schools.

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3. Have a Good Work Ethic

Work ethic and integrity are two of the most important characteristics that mystery shopper companies look for. They want shoppers who can be trusted, who will be loyal, and who will deliver work on time. They also look for people who will be committed to their responsibilities and the needs of the client. If you want to be a great mystery shopper, develop these skills and always be honest, on time, and professional.

4. Keep Records

Organizational skills are important if you want to be a great shopper. You should have templates with all your details for applying to different companies. You should keep copies of all the narratives or evaluations that you do. Also keep record of all payments. You should be well prepared by checking new assignments daily and planning how you will fit the shops in with your other activities. Plan your shops in a diary and make sure to be dressed and prepared for each and every shop. Each job is different and you should follow the requirements closely.

5. Remember Details

Your report or feedback must be as detailed and accurate as possible. Try to use memory techniques to remember names and specific details that are important. You can’t just whip out a notebook and start making notes, so take notice and remember until you can write it down. You can also record comments or record the whole interaction if that would help. These recordings should only be used for the purpose of writing your narrative.

Like we said, organization and planning is crucial to be a great mystery shopper. Plan, schedule, and enjoy. The more you do it, the easier it gets and you will start finding the best ways for you to go about each job and also how to best remember details.

How to Prepare for a Business Audit

Internal or business audits can be quite intense. If you and your employees prepare well, the process should be relatively painless and fast. There are some things you can do to get you ready and prepared for when the auditor arrives. The most important thing to remember is to keep your side clean, be professional and transparent, and be prepared.

As an auditing services provider, Asset Protection Associates knows a thing or two about the process. Here are a few things you can do to get yourself prepared.

Know what is being audited – Ask for a scope for the audit if one is not provided. This will help you prepare the necessary documents and also inform employees of what to expect. Make sure that you are clear on the scope and the requirements of the auditor.

Know the schedule – Auditing generally takes more than a day. Ask for a schedule of what the auditor will be doing when. This will help you prepare the employees and also make plans to ensure that key role players are available at the right time.

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Prepare documents and records – The auditor will be looking at many different things including compliance, performance, finances and more. You should prepare and have all these records neat and ready for when the auditor comes. Best practice is to keep these records, plans, and other documents sorted and filed throughout the year. That makes the whole process a lot easier.

Prepare your employees – Your employees should know what to expect from the audit and also what will be expected from them. If they may be interviewed, they need to know and also know what they should prepare. They must always be honest, professional and knowledgeable about the company processes and systems.

Be calm and available. During the auditing process, your employees will look to you for guidance and reassurance. Always be calm and go about your business as usual. If you’re not hiding anything, everything should be fine. You should also be available to the auditor at all times as questions may arise throughout the process. Not only your employees need to know their stuff, you do too.

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Treat the auditor well. Make sure that the auditor will have a workspace with all the necessary things like a computer, printer, desk, chair, etc. Also make sure that someone looks after him or her by making coffee, arranging for meals, etc. When the auditor is set up well, the process will flow much faster.

Auditing services are a good thing if you want to ensure that your business remains above board and also to help you improve. Auditing is a tool that should be utilized to your advantage. If you are organized and prepared throughout the year, an audit should be no big deal and it should go fast. If you’re still not convinced that auditing is a good thing, look at the reasons why you need auditing.

Top 5 Management Risks and How to Deal with Them

Any business comes with management risks and this is true for retail trade stores as well. There are many risks that need to be identified and managed. Today, we want to take a look at the top 5 risks that can cause problems for your business. It is important to be able to identify these problems and also successfully deal with them before they become a problem. Risk management solutions are important and you should consider hiring a company to help you if you’re not sure how to approach it.

These are the top 5 risks that you can expect and will need to deal with:

Loss of property, stock, or money. Theft and loss of stock is the most common risk. Employees or customers can steal from the store. Employees can give things away for free without telling anyone. Stock can get lost. Your property may be damaged due to fire or water damage. All of these things cause loss in some way. To deal with it, you need to ensure that you have strict security policies in place and that you can easily catch and deal with thieves. You should also make sure to get business interruption insurance or something similar to prepare for when your store may need to close for repairs.

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Injury of employees and customers. We often hear of lawsuits against companies by employers who got injured on the job. The same with customer injuries. Lawsuits can cost a lot of money and cause your reputation to take a dip. You can prevent injury by ensuring that there are no hazards in your store. Things like loose wires, loose tiles, stairs without railings, slippery floors, sharp or protruding objects, etc. should be taken care of. You or your employees should do regular sweeps of the store during the day to ensure that customers are safe. You also need to ensure that your staff will not be put in a situation where they can get injured.

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Security breaches. We live in a digital world in which it is becoming increasingly easy to hack and steal data. There are many ways in which this breach can take place including physical documents or information being copied or taken, system hacks, credit card system problems, and more. You may even experience people hacking your website or emails to try and get information on your finances or business processes. It may sound far-fetched, but unfortunately it is a very real threat.

Competition. Competition in the market is healthy and needed. However, if you are a small business or store and a big corporate or commercial chain store opens up near you, chances are you will experience some reduction in customers. To add insult to injury, you now need to also keep an eye on online competition because business is no longer restricted to brick and mortar. Be prepared for the competition and instead of panicking, adjust to the new environment and make sure that you still offer the best products and services.

Risk is part of running a business and you should face it head on. Preparation and having plans in place for every eventuality is the best way to help keep your business out of trouble. For tips on loss prevention, go here.

Why You Need a Business Plan: Its Importance and Purpose for Your Enterprise

Planning is one key to success.

In business, planning ahead and projecting where you want and expect for your business to go and grow is one of the most important initial steps toward launching and establishing, and eventually running and operating any business venture. This is the reason why a business plan is a must for any budding enterprise, or even an already established company.

Why a Business Plan Is a Must

Why a Business Plan Is a Must

Your business plan is the blueprint, practically the theoretical backbone, of your business. You can constantly refer back to it especially when you think your business may be experiencing some sidetrack. In such circumstance, you may make tweaks along the way of business operations on some parts and segments of your business plan as needed.

You can continually make these changes as necessary but it is important to always have it on hand for your reference to return to as you create a business or carry on thriving in an existing business.

Writing a structured and formal business plan will also make you learn more about the venture which you are getting into and help you become more analytical about how a business works.

Presented here are the reasons for you to take the time to invest in and thoroughly think out writing a business plan.

Why You Need to Write a Business Plan: The Importance and Purposes of a Business Plan for Your Company to Succeed

The Mission and Vision: You Will Set Your Goals and Objectives for Your Company

Through a business plan, you will set your goals and objectives for your company and actually see it in writing which can be an effective way of motivating and encouraging you even more to adhere to these goals and objectives which you yourself have decided on.

You will be able to clearly see your reasons from a more formal, constructive and professional perspective for getting into and creating your chosen business in the first place.

The Marketing, Financial and Operational Plans: You Will Be Able to Study the Efficiency of Your Business Operations and the Likelihood That Your Target Market Will Buy Your Products or Services

The marketing, financial and operational plans are an integral part of any business plan.

Through the marketing, financial and operational plans, you will be able to calculate and project the resources which you will need during the production phase of your items, or the actual operations in case your company will be offering services instead.

On this section of the business plan, you will lay out the schedule and timing of production, the labor requirement and the requirement for equipment and raw materials. Quality control system will also fall under the marketing, financial and operational plans.

Moreover, this can help you project your sales and profits based on the population of your target market in a particular area coverage. Here, you will program the marketing and advertising strategies to introduce your business and make it known to as many potential clients as your marketing initiatives can reach.

The Organizational Plan You Will Better Understand the Legal Form of Business

The Organizational Plan: You Will Better Understand the Legal Form of Business

You can list the necessary certifications and accreditations which will identify the reputability and reliability of your company. You will also need to list the permits to operate and where to obtain them. When you have a business plan, you are sure to not miss any of these important aspects of legalities involved in running a business.

You will understand and see from a clearer point of view how much workforce you will need for business efficiency. You will also gain better knowledge about charting your people’s business activities. There is also the consideration of administrative and office expenses.

All these you will have to jot down on a business plan. In this way, your analysis and aspirations for your company will not be a clutter because you have every aspect mapped out on a written business plan.

Reasons Why Your Company Should Hire Mystery Shopping Services

Mystery shoppers have become a very lucrative business in recent years. The mystery shopper services help companies in many ways. Companies that have used these services have great things to say about it and says that it has helped them improve their business operations immensely. At Asset Protection Associates, we offer mystery shopper services and people can also apply to become shoppers. Mystery shopping is definitely something your business should try if you want to improve and become more efficient.

So, why should you make use of mystery shoppers?

1. Improved Customer Service

Mystery shoppers can give valuable feedback about how they are treated as customers. This can be in-store, by email, or phone call. By telling the employer how he or she was greeted, treated and helped by employees, they help the business improve on areas that cause problems. It shows where employees may need more training and where they are doing well.

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2. Marketing Information

Marketing is a big part of making a business successful. Today, the process has become more complex because of online marketing. Mystery shoppers can help companies by identifying which campaigns draw them and why they would or wouldn’t buy from them. This helps the company to adapt its marketing strategies to be more effective.

3. Identify Problems

Problems is broad and can include everything from employees conducting illegal activities on business premises to customer safety hazards or insufficient security. A mystery shopper can spend a lot of time in a shop and pick up on activities that are going on and identify potential hazards that could lead to lawsuits. When people don’t know they are being watched, they tend to do things they wouldn’t usually. This is where the mystery shopper comes in.

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4. Enlighten Employers

Any employer wants to know what the experience is like from the customer perspective. Mystery shoppers can give them this information. Employers can ask mystery shoppers all the questions they really want answers to about their store. This can lead to solving of problems, better decision-making, improved sales, and more efficient processes.

5. Uncover Illegal Activity

Mystery shoppers can be sent in to take note of what employees are doing. If an employer suspects that one of his employees may be stealing from the store or taking part in other activities that are illegal or against the code of conduct, a mystery shopper can get the evidence. It happens that employers suspect something but they cannot fire a person without proof. Mystery shoppers can help prove that certain activities are taking place or not.

Mystery shoppers can be your business’ own private investigators. They are a great tool to make use of to get insight into the workings of your staff and the processes that you have implemented. There is no better way to get an honest review and feedback from someone that will help you improve your business and profits.

Loss Prevention Tips for Retail Stores

Retail stores have a lot of loss due to mainly theft. Shoplifting and theft by employees are the two main ways in which retail businesses lose money and stock. Luckily, Asset protection Associates have some great tips on how to prevent or at least reduce the losses. We strongly suggest putting these things in place to help reduce your losses and increase profits.

Put up signs – Warning signs that show there are cameras or that warn against illegal activities are a relatively low-cost way to deter potential theft. Whether there really are cameras or other technology doesn’t matter. It will make it less likely for people to take chances and steel from your store.

RFID tags – RFID stands for radio frequency identification and are those chips you find attached to clothes or in CD cases. These tags cause an alarm to go off when someone tries to go past the sensors at the door. Theses tags have caught many thieves in retail stores and have prevented a lot of stock and money loss.

Install mirrors – Those round mirrors you see in movies and drug stores are good for seeing the whole store. Install these in areas that are blind spots. Areas that are obscured by shelves or around a corner are good places to place these mirrors.

Security cases – High-value items like electronics and jewelry can be placed in cases that require passwords or special keys to open. This will reduce the likelihood that someone will try and steel it. Many shoplifters go for the ‘grab and go’ method and these cases will make that almost impossible. It is also good practice to only display a few of these items and keep the rest locked up in a secure storage area.

Surveillance cameras – This is a great option if you are willing and able to spend money on your security. It will help you catch people before they leave and if they get away, you will have footage to hand over to the police. Security cameras can be installed in hard-to-see areas as well as by cash registers to monitor employees.

POS System – A POS system has different security settings and you can set up specific user permissions. These permissions places restrictions on who can do what. This is a good way to prevent employees from committing fraud. These systems make it very difficult and will immediately show problems if money is missing.

Employees – Your employees are also assets. To keep them from steeling from you, communicate with them often and make sure they know that they are valued and satisfied with their jobs. Create an environment where everyone feels supported and like they can come to you with issues. You should also train your employees to be aware of what is happening in the store all the time. Give them responsibilities that will make them feel like they are in charge and have a bigger purpose.

All of these things will add extra security measures and work to deter potential criminals. The chances of eliminating loss completely are slim, but with these methods you can drastically reduce losses. Also, have a look at our risk management tips to further secure your retail business.

Great Business Ideas for 2017

Having a business has helped millions of people attain financial security or financial freedom. This might also be the reason why you would want to start up a business this 2017. Starting up and even running a business takes a lot of work and effort. You need to be committed to the operation and growth of your business. Great business ideas for 2017 could mean your own journey to your financial success. Start up a business and earn more income.

Great Business Ideas for 2017

Great Business Ideas for 2017

Brilliant business ideas are plans that are not only for amassing great wealth but also aims to create a positive impact to the society or even to the world. Great business ideas for 2017 could be establishing a company for the tech industry or creating a business that revolves around food revolution.

Creating a food business is always good because food is a necessity. Food is not a want or a luxury. It is a need or a necessity. People can’t live without food. Having a business catering to the needs of the people are always excellent because you’re sure to have customers if you plan out your business well.

This makes creating a business in the food industry one of the great business ideas for 2017. The tech industry is also brilliant because mankind has always been an audience for innovation. The industry however is extremely competitive because the market is typically global.

Whatever your business plan may be, make sure that you love what you’re going to do to make keeping a business easier for you.

Starting up a Business

You will first need to come up with a business plan with starting up a business. The business plan includes the process to carefully and thoroughly plan out your endeavor. This includes the business summary which entails the summarization of the entire business plan.

This is what investors or key people usually check to see if your business has high enough value for them or not. It is the overview of the business. Other parts of the business plan include making the business details, marketing and sales planning, setup planning and financial planning.

Moreover, you will need to have a capital to start a business. You may not be able to implement the plan without the money to fund it. Invest or device a way for the funding and begin implementing your business plan.

Keeping a Business

Keeping a Business

Starting up a business may be very difficult but keeping a business could be just as much or more. Operating and making your business should be your main concern. If you have to make changes in your business plan based on your projections, adapt to the change and quickly recover.

Starting up a business is just the beginning of the day to day process of running and keeping a business. Keeping a business requires the entrepreneur to also grow and add value to himself if he wishes his business to flourish.

The careful study of competition greatly helps because your competitors might also used excellent business ideas. Strive to be the b est in your local competition then plan greater goals to make certain that your business indeed grows.

Starting up a business requires a lot of time, effort and work. Keeping a business requires even more. Remember to first create an excellent business plan then have the funding to implement it. Once you’ve established your business, strive to be the best in your industry and work hard to also make yourself more valuable.

4 Reasons Why Your Company Needs Auditing Services

Companies and employees often go into a flat spin when they hear the word ‘audit’. This should not be a scary thing if you run the company well and with compliance. Audits are actually great tools for improving operations, services, products, and profits. It helps you see where adjustments are needed or where problems are occurring. Asset Protection Associates offer auditing services and this is why your company needs those services.

Compliance – This refers to compliance with administrative requirements, government requirements, managerial aspects, SOPs, etc. If you are compliant in all areas, you have nothing to worry about. Compliance helps you stay on top of things and it also sets solid ground for audits and queries. It is obviously important and necessary that you know what you need to comply to and that is also where hiring someone is a good idea.

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Efficiency – Auditing helps you identify areas where things are working well and areas where you may need to change things. It points out bad service or problems with products, etc. In other words, auditing helps you make the company and the employees more efficient. It is a great way to see trends and to help your employees understand why things are done a certain way.

Reputation – A company that has a successful and positive audit, will have a good reputation. This means that consumers will trust your company and your credibility will increase. This will draw more business and establish your company as trustworthy and compliant. A reputation can make or break a company and auditing can help give that credibility or at least lead to improvements that can lead to future credibility.

Security – This refers broadly to finance records, operations, due diligence, fraud prevention, and related things. When your company is audited, it can shed light on fraud or discrepancies that you may otherwise not know about. Auditing helps to pick up problems and helps you solve them to protect the company.

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Auditing should be seen as a tool rather than a threat. You can also look at hiring a mystery shopper to see how things are for a customer. The feedback can be very valuable. Consider hiring a company that can offer you these services and do audits to help you improve your company and be more successful.

Mystery Shopping: What It Is and How to Become a Shopper

Mystery shopping is something that companies use to evaluate their systems, service, products, and more. There are several companies that hire people as mystery shoppers and anyone can apply. These companies are often asset management or auditing companies like Asset Protection Associates. However, each company will be looking for certain characteristics or requirements in their shoppers. Applying for a mystery shopping job is quite easy, but there is no guarantee that you will be successful. Here is how you can become a mystery shopper.

1. Do research on companies who hire mystery shoppers. It is important to have a list of companies as there are several and you will have to apply to more than one. It is also important so you can avoid getting caught up in a scam. When you research a company and want to apply, make sure that the company does not require you to make a payment first. That is a big warning sign. A legitimate company will never ask you to pay them money to get the job.

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2. Apply to a few companies. The basic process involves you choosing the jobs or shops you accept. However, working for just one company may seriously diminish your chances of actually making a profit with this. Few people make enough money as full-time mystery shoppers and it is better to start off doing this as a side income.

3. Follow instructions to the letter. Every job you take on will have specific requirements and specifications. Make sure that you stick to these and don’t compromise the job. You will often have to buy something or be rude or things like that. Be ready to spend the money and also be willing to do some acting.

4. Have good writing skills. For every job, you will have to complete a survey or report in which you will have to write about your experience and the specific things you were asked to look at. Make sure that you write well with good grammar and good use of language. If you can’t write well, they will probably not give you more work.

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5. Be timely and thorough. The companies you will work for will have deadlines and will need your feedback within a given timeframe. It is very important that you stick to that timeframe and let them know if there is a problem or if you need an extension. Always be thorough when giving your feedback and make sure that you can answer all the questions or give information about all the areas they want.

Applying to become a mystery shopper is quite simple. You should start with proper research and find out as much as you can. Preparation and planning is the key to success here.