Sunday, December 26

Accounting company Acotax celebrates its fifth anniversary

In November 2010 specialized accounting company Acotax celebrated its fifth anniversary on the market of financial and accounting outsourcing services and business process outsourcing.

The company was founded in 2005 as a Marlin Group subsidiary, initially focused on accounting services and from the beginning became an outsourcer of financial and accounting functions for small and medium-sized businesses. Sustainable development towards of the higher level of key competences, quality and reliability of service, as well as the step-by-step increasing of specialization has also led to need of altering in the middle of 2009 of original company name Marlin Consulting. As a result, the name of outsourcer was changed to Acotax, rights to use of that were purchased from Belgian company Acotax BVBA in 2008. Today the name Acotax is a registered trademark (service mark) of service provider.

"Five years on the Russian market of financial and accounting outsourcing for highly specialized service provider in the field of business process outsourcing is really important event, especially given that the majority of accounting firms cease its work during the first three years since its inception," said Sergey Bulavsky, Acotax business development director. -During these five years, primarily thanks to our customers, we not only developed an excellent practice of outsourced accounting processes and daily operating activities, reached a high level of competence in the field of business process outsourcing and overall maturity, but also we made a great basis for further development of the our company.

About the company:
Acotax today is a specialized accounting company - outsourcer, has a high-level professionals in a fields of accounting and management, with a high degree of competence in the field of business process outsourcing. Accounting services are the only professional specialization of Acotax. Staying focused on its major specialization, she became in the 2009 the only accounting company among the 50 largest auditing and consulting company of the Northwest of Russia according to opinion of the analytical center "Expert North-West".

Company Acotax is the first and only known in the Russian market of accounting outsourcing companies today that operate on the basis of regular use of the most substantive professional knowledge in the field of outsourcing – Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge (OPBOK).
Professionalism and competence of outsourcer repeatedly confirmed by the customer and partner feedback, opinions of experts, representatives of various inspection bodies, and even recognition of some of the other companies operating in the market of accounting services and business process outsourcing.

The company has membership in the Institute of outsourcing (Outsourcing Institute, United States) and the world's largest International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP, United States). Sergey Bulavsky, Acotax business development director, became the one of the two Russian professional members of International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP).

Wednesday, January 20

Make your costs smart

By Maxim Stepanov

We are hearing from many sources that the world economic crisis has reached its bottom. Over the last 12 months, companies have examined each and every cost in their operation, looking for any expense to eliminate or decrease. Seven out of 10 businesses have reduced personnel head count, salaries and benefits on a limited or permanent basis, to ensure their survival as the global economy spiraled downward. Now, with economic conditions improving and wage demands on the rise again, employers are seeking solutions to keep their fixed costs in human capital at their current levels. Yet, how can this be done when improvements in demand necessitate increases in headcount, salaries and benefits?

Employers have a variety of instruments to “right-size” their labor force as demand in their business goes up and down, as economic conditions fluctuate in their industry and as the availability of skilled labor moves from surplus to shortage. One strategy to cope with these uncertainties is to engage temporary help, lease employees or transfer certain business functions to outsourcing service providers.

Accounting, payroll, clerical services, tech support, call centers and office management are classic examples of cost centers transferred to outsourcing companies by employers to keep their organizations “right-sized” as demand increases. Business process outsourcing services are available in Russia to fulfill these functions, saving time and money on the hiring, training and management of personnel.

Through outsourcing, fixed expenses become variable costs. Transforming a permanent cost into one that can be proactively managed up or down as conditions dictate enables employers to better manage time, resources, capital and cash. Outsourcing reduces clients’ personnel expenses as they outsource only the necessary amount of tasks to get the desired results.

Outsourcing has other benefits. Because service providers are experts in business processes, they have deep knowledge of the most modern management and technology techniques used to manage these functions. Such expertise ensures the continuity of their clients’ business so companies can concentrate their efforts and resources on their profit centers as new revenue opportunities open in the market. Staff leasing and temporary staff services for accounting, payroll and tax declarations are just three of the prime cost centers ripe for outsourcing in today’s market.

In one way, the crisis has taught us to identify employees who are truly critical to our long-term success. Ups and downs in staffing as normal consequences of business cycles really are detrimental to employee morale, to recruiting, attracting, motivating and retaining high achievers. Since no one is immune to the negative effects of downsizing, solutions like outsourcing stabilizes employment levels since employers can shift business functions to service providers. Because of their specializations, they are able to recruit, attract, motivate and retain the high achievers that are needed to make your business a success.

Outsourcing will see new growth as the Russian economy revives. It will become one of the most popular business tools to maintain the stability and effectiveness of the business models of international companies operating in Russia, and Russian enterprises. Outsourcing transforms fixed costs into variable costs that can be scaled up or down as business conditions demand to give companies more flexibility and control over their business.

Sunday, January 10

Is the crisis over?

By Thomas D. Nastas

Has the world economic crisis reached its bottom? Clearly, the first signs of recovery have appeared. This means that the hope of improvement in the labor market has appeared too. Is it possible that the lean times have already passed, and that the end of the extremely complicated situation in the world markets will be as sudden as its beginning? What lessons can Russian executives draw from the preceding crisis?

Without a doubt, emotional reactions to recent economic proceedings can have a real effect on market behavior, accelerating loss or enabling gain, but market confidence alone is not enough for a quick recovery in collapsed economies. It is impossible to deny that the recent economic crisis has been not only felt, but very painful to all strata of the population. However, just as exposure to disease is necessary for the human immune system to improve itself, this crisis will have a most favorable effect on the Russian economy, by providing country, company and individual with a good lesson in crisis management. The only complaint is that the majority has and will pay a very high price for that education.

Never before in the era of the Russian free market has it been necessary for executives of so many different enterprises to implement such large-scale reductions of expenses, due to decreased production, examining each expense “with a fine-toothed comb.” Never before has the “human factor,” a fundamental component of any production process, been as poignant and painful as at this time. Seven out of 10 businesses were forced to reduce personnel, on a limited or extensive scale, to ensure the survival of their company and protect as many jobs as possible under prevailing conditions. The tragedy of reductions served as a good motivator for the analysis and revision of earlier common models, concerning traditional labor mobilization. Many looked at what had once seemed a natural and beneficial resource, i.e. their own personnel, with a new perspective, and began to assess the real costs, risks and social benefits. More and more executives, who are responsible for a company’s profitability, began to look at modern methods of safeguarding their business and alternatives to hiring their own personnel.

As the economy improves, companies look to hire new staff to manage increased workloads. But higher employee headcount adds fixed expenses to the balance sheet, and given the unpredictability of the recovery, companies might consider outsourcing as a variable cost solution to manage increased work loads. Since outsourcing is ‘scalable’ to the workload, it gives companies a way to adjust variable costs as economic conditions dictate.

The amount of outsourcing services available in Russia today is already great enough that any company can take advantage of them to fulfill any number of functions, which had earlier been handled by internal departments, saving both time and money on the hiring, training and management of personnel. Accounting, payroll, clerical services, tech-support, call-centers and office management are some classic examples of formerly internal services transferred onto the market in order to optimize business.

Outsourcing transforms fixed expenses into variable costs so employers can better manage time, resources, capital and cash. Outsourcing reduces clients’ personnel expenses as they outsource only the necessary amount of tasks to get results desired.

Outsourcing has other benefits; because service providers are experts in business processes, they have deep knowledge in the most modern management and technology techniques used to manage these functions. Such expertise ensures the continuity of their clients’ business so companies can concentrate their efforts and resources on their profit centers as new revenue opportunities open in the market. Staff leasing and temporary staff services for accounting, payroll and tax declarations are just three of the prime cost centers ripe for outsourcing in today’s market.

Simultaneously the demand for outsourcing services also requires people to be ready to consider nonstandard conditions regarding the use of their labor. This testifies to a sufficiently high level on the market and high level of outsourcing’s development. In particular, it testifies to its ability to resist negative factors inherent in the global economy and to guarantee adaptability and stability.

One could also see the readiness of people to adapt to temporarily complicated conditions as “sagging” under a changing world, or on the contrary, as a developed ability to resist and to defend their long-term vital interests and plans, through the manifestation of flexibility and readiness to make concessions.

Today it can confidently be said that, due to crisis conditions, outsourcing will find a second and prolonged life. It will become one of the most popular business tools, not only in all areas of recovering economies, but also as a long term method of maintaining the stability and effectiveness of business models.

Wednesday, March 4

Marlin Consulting entered the top of audit and consulting companies

Marlin Consulting (a subsidiary of Marlin Group) entered the top of major audit & consulting companies NWFD, according to version of the annual «Expert NW» analytic center rating. The primary specialization of Marlin Consulting is a provider of financial outsourcing and accounting services. However, before creation of separate accounting firms ranking, the publication has been invited to participate in the rating of audit & consulting companies.

In February of 2009 Magazine «Expert North» published regular annual ranking of leading accounting and consulting firm of Russia’s North - West Federal District. The project involved companies registered in the territory of North - West Russia, as well as acting in NWFD branches of organizations registered in other federal districts. The Marlin Consulting company has taken 47th place in records of 2008 fiscal year. The presence of the largest companies in the rating indicates the maturity of the company and its stable position in the market.

«This event is noteworthy for us not only because the presence in the ranking, but also because we were the only accounting niche market companies there in fact. It is a great uprush for us to find ourselves in the project among the leading companies especially taking into account comparatively inconsiderable age of the Marlin Consulting - 3.5 years», - said Sergey Bulavsky, Marlin Group CEO
. In addition to the recognition by professionals of the market, presence in the ranking offers the Marlin Consulting an additional advantage in the working with current and further clients, because the rightness of their choice is confirmed by the decision of the authoritative edition.

The Company intends to continue participation in professional ratings, and in particular in the near future will take an active part in working on the development of specialized accounting and outsourcing providers rating.
«On the one hand presence among the largest audit & consulting companies is important event for Marlin Consulting that gives us some advantages, but on the other - participation in the current ranking is not wholly correct for us, considering that the Marlin Consulting is a niche market company unlike the majority of enterprises noted by the edition. Besides of all our professional specialization is not fully consistent with the rating subject», - Sergey Bulavsky stresses.

Tuesday, December 16

Marlin Consulting upgrading one's accounting software

Marlin Consulting, accounting department of Marlin Group has announced the cessation of the use of January 2009 automation program accounting «1C: Accounting 7.7». In doing so, the company expects to complete a full transition to a technological platform «8.1». At the end of the year, all clients who work with the company under a contract accounting outsourcing will be transferred to the new version of the program.

To date, the company is a long time been used in parallel platform «1C» - «8.1» and «7.7», as part of Marlin Consulting clients have already had its own database, created in previous versions.

«Data transfer accounting «eighth» version of effort, so we were forced to support both platforms for the work», - said Sergey Bulavsky, Business Development Marlin Group.
«8» has a number of advantages compared with the previous version, especially with the technological point of view. The latest development «1C» significantly reduces labor specialists in the performance of standard accounting operations and further processing of the data that eventually makes it possible to optimize the working time accountant.

An updated version of «1C» also provides some new functionality: greatly simplifies the issues of joint work of distributed databases, where the same base at the same time are available, as a specialized company and the customer. A significant advantage «G» is an opportunity to bind to the same document several operations. The updated version also allows the use of various tax schemes SFAD, ENVD in one configuration, and expands the features of typical operations.

In addition, the updated version makes it possible to maintain records of several entities in one database, and exempt from the need to re-establish the same information about the agent, goods, materials for each company where they work in a group that is a definite plus for professional accounting firms .

«A total refusal to work with« 1C: Accounting 7.7 »and the transition to a single technology platform accounting allows, estimated savings of time professionals and 15%, and savings on the cost of tracking accounting software to 10%», - Sergey Bulavsky stresses.

Wednesday, July 23

Marlin Group starting a new financial year

During June enterprises and divisions of Marlin Group have completed financial results over a period since July 1, 2007 till June 30, 2008. In this way the company declares a new financial year open. Annual income of Marlin Group during the past year only in financial outsourcing service increased 70%, in IT service – 23%.

Changing of a period of financial year was reflected in current business planning of Marlin Group activity. The company concluded some agreements; in particular, a professional liability insurance contract was signed in May according to the new politics.

Summing up financial statements in spring-summer period is common in world business practice. Nowadays a financial year is specifically established not to match the calendar year in many countries. According to the company research, financial years differ from company to company. In the USA, for example, the financial year of Microsoft runs from July 1 to June 30, Nike – from June 1 to May 31, Cisco System – from August 1 to July 31. Most of public companies in Europe also have a non-calendar financial year. Prior to 1995 when Finland joined the Europe Union, it used the fiscal year ending June 30 when it was changed to match the calendar year. In the United Kingdom, a number of major corporations, such as BT Group and the National Grid, use the government’s financial year, which ends on the last day of March. Many universities have a fiscal year, which ends during the summer, both to align the fiscal year with the school year, and because the school is normally less busy during the summer months.

«Ending of December is a period of high activity for most businesses, - says Sergey Bulavsky, Marlin Group, Business Development. It is the time of maximum sales growth in respect of the whole year. That is why it is not reasonable to sum up at the height of this period.»
Using of a non-calendar year as the fiscal year is also determined by Russian Legislation. According to the tax code, a tax year runs from January 1 to December 31. Most of accountants and financial analysts are usually on holiday till January 10. At the same time according to the law all legal Russian companies should give an annual tax report to the Social Security Fund until January 15 and a 4th quarter value-added tax declaration until January 20. In practice, it is rather difficult to process all financial data during those ten days. And it is not worth to add the extra work during this intensive period.

The analysts of Marlin Group note that the summing-up at the end of June will help to see the course of financial indexes over the period of highest activity as a whole, instead of tabulating different information in each months of a fiscal quarter.

«It will also give us an opportunity to carry out high-quality analytic work and make predictions for the future. Taking into account that the companies do not take active steps during the holiday period when employees may prefer to take vacation, we have a month and a half or two to plan our further work» , - says Sergey Bulavsky.