PRP blog

Cybersecurity

Posted by: Blayne Johnson on Friday, 29 April 2016

In the wake of high-profile cyberattacks on large multinational corporations such as Sony, Target, and Home Depot, business leaders are more aware than ever of the importance of cybersecurity in the infrastructures of their businesses.

At PRP’s 2015 executive forum, we hosted information technology experts within PRP and its client base for a panel discussion on best practices pertaining to cybersecurity in an increasingly digitized workplace. The panel was moderated by Bill Fowler, Vice President and General Counsel at PRP. Panelists for this workshop included:

  • Scott McFetters, President, CoreTech Leasing
  • Ryan Schlunz, Chief Innovation Officer, Stoel Rives LLP
  • Stan Stahl, President, Citadel Information Group
  • John Wolff, Chief Information Officer, PRP

Each of the panelists was chosen for their deep knowledge of cybersecurity best practices and extensive experience in the information technology industry. Each of the panelists have worked in the technology industry for over twenty years, and come from a variety of backgrounds within the industry, including equipment leasing, programming, and management, giving attendees confidence that the “picture” on cybersecurity being painted by the panelists included perspectives from all sides of the information technology industry.

Data Security: Risks and Implications

The panel began with a discussion of a surprising fact: cyber-attackers are generally not after personal information of users within firms said President of Citadel Information Group Stan Stahl—rather, they tend to target client and vendor data. Thus, a cyberattack on your firm does not only compromise internal data within your firm, but the data of all of the clients and vendors you do business with. The devastation that can be wreaked on your and your colleagues’ firms’ data integrity and professional reputation is enough to topple any small- or medium-sized business.

What, then, are ways that firms can avoid these disastrous outcomes of poor information management?

The Importance of Employee Education

The first preventative measure discussed for avoiding data security disasters was employee awareness and training. One of the most common ways in which hackers gain access into firm data mines is through phishing, which disguise malware-containing links and attachments in emails as official correspondence from reputable companies. Though younger-generation employees are often more privy to the hallmarks of such schemes, older-generation employees, who are often less knowledgeable and experienced in data security practices, are more likely to fall victim to phishing schemes. This “knowledge gap” on information security between older- and younger-generation staff creates a loophole within your firm’s data integrity—a loophole that cyber-attackers are all too eager to exploit at your and your clients’ and vendors’ expense. For example, early last year PRP learned that one of its clients had nearly compromised its financial information when its CFO was sent an email from a phisher claiming to be the firm’s President, asking to transfer a large sum of money to an unknown bank account. Both the CFO and the President took action on these high-risk emails, and nearly compromised the firm’s bank account information. Were it not for the quick intervention of the firm’s CIO, who saw that the sender’s email address did not match the President’s usual email address.

Thus, the first step in ensuring the integrity of your and your clients’ and vendors’ data is employee education. IT staff at should make regular efforts in training your employees to spot the hallmarks of phishing schemes, and impress upon them the importance of basic data safety measures, such as never clicking on links or attachments from unknown senders, verifying the authenticity of the vendor and client email addresses (since cyber-attackers often masquerade under such disguises), and never sharing sensitive information over email. At PRP, company-wide training sessions with PRP’s IT team have been highly successful in educating employees on such topics. Holding regular training sessions on cybersecurity with your staff is also another excellent way to close the “knowledge gap” between your older and younger employees that threatens the security of your firm’s data.

Data Security: It’s Not Just an IT Problem

Ryan Schlunz, Chief Innovation Officer at Stoel Rives LLP, also shared some ways in which data integrity can be monitored and ensured at the executive level. “Data security isn’t just an IT problem,” Schlunz emphasized, “There also needs to be executive oversight.” One of the ways that data integrity can be secured at the executive level, Schlunz suggested, is to continually review cybersecurity regulations, as well as creating “incident response plans” to minimize damage and prevent other sensitive data from being compromised should a cyberattack ever strike. At PRP, data security protocols are reviewed and updated every year at the minimum, and recommends for most companies to follow similar timelines for reviewing and updating their respective cybersecurity protocols. Another is to ensure that data security is always a top priority in your operating budget, by always keeping antivirus software up to date, and considering investing in “cybersecurity insurance,” which will help to protect your digital assets and safeguard against losses in the event of a cyberattack. Finally, Schlunz suggested getting the FBI involved in any cyberattacks on your firm, as the agency will investigate cyberattacks free of charge.

What Does Your Firm Do to Keep its Data Safe? 

Cybersecurity is an issue that affects all businesses. If you have any other cybersecurity tips or management strategies that have proven successful please share them in the comment section below.

Also be sure to read on to learn what panelists had to say about other hot topics in business.

Commercial Real Estate – Design, Acquisition, Development, Management and Divestiture in 2015

Posted by: admin on Thursday, 28 April 2016

How important do you think the design and management of your real estate is for the successful operation of your business, and the satisfaction level of your employees? Most would not think of relating real estate management with retaining top talent, but October 2nd’s panel on commercial real estate management at PRP’s 2015 Executive Forum sought to educate its attendees on just that relation.

This panel was moderated by Bill Fowler, Vice President and General Counsel at PRP.  Bill was joined by the following panelists:

  • Gordie Beittenmiller, Chief Financial Officer, HOK
  • Keith Klein, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, PrimeLending
  • Dave Stasiwicz, Director, Corporate Planning & Development, BDO USA LLP
  • Ken Ward, President, Managing Principal, CoreStrategy Corporation
  • Robert Wertz, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate & Office Services, Ryan LLC

Each of the panelists are esteemed experts in the field of real estate, and have implemented highly successful strategies in developing and managing their own firms’ properties. Gathered all in one place for the benefit of all Executive Forum attendees, the panelists shared the real estate management strategies that were successful for their firms.

Space Utilization: What it Means for your Employees’ Productivity

This panel was very much complementary in content to the “Attracting, Training, and Retaining Top Talent” panel that followed it, in that its main focus was strategies for using firms’ real estate resources to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. One of the main aspects of property management to consider in the fulfillment of this larger goal is space utilization—that is, arranging available space within a facility so as to maximize employee productivity and brighten team morale. Several of the panelists, such as Keith Klein of PrimeLending and Gordie Beittenmiller of HOK, agreed that traditional office floorplans waste valuable space, and leave little room for planning for firm growth. In HOK’s offices, teams operate in a “workbench” environment marked by open spaces, open lighting, and vivid color schemes, which Beitenmiller says “encourages creativity and collaboration.”

Atlanta HOK Office

The HOK office in Atlanta makes use of natural lighting, bright color schemes, and “workbench” work environments to foster creativity and collaboration among staff.

Creating “Best in Class” Workspaces

Increasing productivity and encouraging creativity isn’t just a matter of effective use of floor space, however. Each of the panelists offered several other “outside-the-box” suggestions for creating “Best in Class” workspaces for your employees. One suggestion given by Keith Klein was to invest in noise management technology, to rein in “sounds of the workplace” (ringing phones, neighborly chit-chat, sounds of air conditioning, microwaves, and so on) that distract your employees from their work. In PrimeLending’s offices, white noise/sound masking systems have been very effective in managing noise in the workplace, and have increased his employees’ productivity.

Even in the most peaceful and distraction-free workplace settings, sometimes employees need to work on their tasks in more private settings, such as for an important conference call. Another suggestion was to provide for this occasional need for privacy, by setting aside small private offices to be used by employees on a temporary basis.

There are times when employees need peace and quiet to complete their tasks, and the above suggestions are possible ways that employers can provide for those needs. There are other times, however, when breaks from day-to-day operations are needed to brighten the overall mood of the workplace, raise morale, and foster employees’ sense of comradery. At BDO USA, Dave Stasiwicz has set up “fun zones” for his employees to serve that purpose—these are special facilities equipped with TVs, table-top games, and other furnishings for employees to enjoy on their breaks, or as part of a rewards system for completing a task. Millennials in particular appreciate such accommodations at their workplaces, though “fun zones” can certainly be enjoyed by employees of all generations. Thus, equipping your offices with these facilities, make your firm a more desirable place to work, will both increase employee satisfaction and decrease turnover, which in the long run save you time and money in training costs.

Break room at BDO

A look inside a break room at BDO USA’s Pittsburgh office.

Metrics and Costs to Consider

These new and markedly “youth-friendly” trends in real estate management all sound like pipe dreams—the benefits of “fun zones” and noise management systems are indeed appealing, but may be too costly to invest in for smaller firms, or firms that operate within tight profit margins. How, then, do you decide which potential improvements are right for you?  Stasiwicz, says that there are several metrics to consider:

  • How many square feet per employee does your floor plan allow?
    • Large offices typically use 150 square feet per employee.
  • What are your current costs for up-keeping your property(s) as a percent of annual revenue?
  • How might your firm’s floorplan/space needs change over ten years?

In order to invest in these new trends, you may also consider investing in “green office” initiatives that cut down on your overhead costs, by investing in solar power, window film, and LED lighting. Federal, state, and local governments may also offer tax incentives for investing in such “green initiatives.” Ken Ward, of CoreStrategy Corporation, added that creative approaches to real estate financing, seller-paid tenant improvements, and innovative payment structures can all be used to help companies make more efficient and effective real estate improvements. For example, firms may use lessor-provided funds to remake firm facilities so that they are attractive to newer-generation employees. Robert Wertz of Ryan LLC, also emphasized the importance of auditing your utility invoices for non-compliant billing rates—another area in which “hidden” savings opportunities can be uncovered.

HOK CFL

HOK’s Consolidated Forensic Laboratory in Washington, DC is LEED Platinum certified.

What Works for Your Office?

Real estate investment and management is most firms’ costliest expense—thus, reducing expense and making sound investments in this area can have a momentous impact on both your costs and the operation of your firm itself. If you know of other real estate management strategies that have proven successful for your firm, please share them in the comment section below.

The Art of Talent Management

Posted by: Blayne Johnson on Thursday, 28 April 2016

Whether your company produces widgets, writes patent applications to protect those widgets, or invests capital to bring those widgets to market, your success is dependent upon one highly variable competitive advantage: talent.

At PRP’s 2015 executive forum, we invited thought leaders to share with attendees their best practices for attracting, training retaining top talent.

These panelists were chosen because they represent a new way of thinking about Human Capital Management—one that takes into consideration unprecedented factors affecting the future of America’s workforce:

  • With five generations working side-by-side, there’s potential for miscommunication and misperceptions. Because each generation approaches life based on their experiences, motivations and expectations, it’s easy to let stereotypes interfere with developing a cohesive culture.
  • Differences do exist among these generations, so it’s vital to embrace the diversity and make it work for your company.
  • The work force is in transition. As the Silent Generation (those born 1925-1945) and Baby Boomers (1946-1964) reach retirement, they must pass on intellectual capital to younger workers so they’re ready to lead.

With Bill Fowler, Vice President and General Counsel at PRP, serving as moderator, the four panelists urged their peers to study the multi-generational demographic trends putting a fresh face—as well as never-before-seen challenges—on human resources.

Implications of the Multi-generational Workforce

“It’s a fascinating time in the history of talent development,” Fowler said. “The four generations working today contribute diverse skills to any company and help organizations broaden their perspectives, making them more competitive.” However, he pointed out that companies slow to embrace this new kaleidoscope could be in danger.

“Companies can’t afford to stick to their old ways of attracting, training and managing them,” Fowler said. “By organizing this discussion, we wanted to prompt PRP’s clients to recognize the complexity of talent management and give them ways to exchange ideas with peers. I think by talking things out, our attendees realized the fundamentals of talent management are universal across company size and industry.”

This point hit home for Sonia Menon, Chief Operating Officer at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, a Chicago-based law firm specializing in domestic and global corporate transactions and litigation.

“Law firms have one model of how to do things,” Menon observed. “It was interesting to learn how other companies have reconfigured systems based on generational preferences. They’re adapting how they evaluate candidates and reconsidering which incentives to offer based on their values.”

Although the panelists covered some unique qualities of each generation, they said understanding demographics alone won’t put your company in the running to earn any “best places to work” awards. Instead, they concluded today’s dynamics require business leaders to:

  • Appreciate what makes each generation tick
  • Incorporate ways to meet their unique needs
  • Retain top performers from each generation for smooth succession planning
  • Ensure senior talent is transferring their wealth of hard-won knowledge to younger workers.

Also, a new view of the role of talent attraction, training and retention emerged. It’s no longer the sole responsibility of human resources. Instead, anyone in the position of hiring, managing, or even indirectly mentoring another employee needs to be aware of best practices.

The panelists stressed there’s more at stake than simply creating an environment of satisfied workers. The real hurdle is that is that a worldwide talent shortage is imminent—meaning companies need to hustle now to identify and train leaders. Furthermore, they need to re-evaluate some workplace rules, even embrace some new ways of doing business, such as permitting workers to work from home or reorganizing offices to create communal spaces for collaboration.

Don’t Call Them Slackers

Tomorrow’s leaders hail from perhaps the most misunderstood generation America has ever produced: millennials. Also called Generation Y, these workers were born between 1981 and 1992. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rank millennials as the largest demographic in the workforce, and estimates they will comprise 75 percent of all workers by 2030. They’ll not only be the in the majority, they’ll also be in charge.

One key message panelists conveyed is that it’s dangerous to lump all millennials into one category, as Husch Blackwell LLP’s Tyler pointed out: “Often, we stereotype generations.”

However, some generational characteristics have emerged, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has described. Millennials are considered smart but easily bored. They’re eager to move up in an organization and value work-life balance more than their older counterparts. They like stimulation, variety, and challenges, and are comfortable with ethnic diversity. Tyler offered that he seems these characteristic emerge at Husch Blackwell. “We’ve found that younger generations can learn things really quickly, and we appreciate their enthusiasm,” he said.

Millennials also bring to companies some highly competitive soft skills. Panelists applauded this generation for its tech savviness and pointed out that—perhaps because they grew up with technology doing things for them that previous generations did manually—they feel like they’re good at multitasking.

One of the biggest advantages for employees, panelists concurred, is that this is the most team-oriented generation by far, as well as the most socially conscious.

“It was interesting to hear the C-suite leaders say one benefit of recruiting millennials is their enthusiasm,” said Christine Kilicarslan, a Senior Analyst in the Solutions Management department at PRP. “Someone fresh out of college is a strength, they’re eager to establish themselves and their career paths. Rather than criticizing them, these panelists are tapping into their energy.”

Bridge the Gap between Millennials and Baby Boomers

The majority of senior leadership and management positions are occupied by the baby boomers. What happens when they retire? Panelists are gearing up to ensure their organizational knowledge and best leadership doesn’t go with them.

Some of these progressive companies are tackling the issue now by incorporating technology, modifying existing organizational structures, and redefining mentoring and training programs. This will help them transfer organizational knowledge to a younger generation of workers and make the best use of demographic shifts in the workplace.

What many attendees found most reassuring is that the types of changes to technology, organization structure, and training are relatively easy to implement. Consider these:

  • Ryan Schlunz, Chief Innovation Officer at Stoel Rives LLP, realized companies could become more attractive to millennials by updating online application processes. “It’s one of the first introductions future employees have to your business,” he explained. “You might not be able to attract top talent if your online technology isn’t sophisticated.”
  • Small things count. Regardless of generation, people want to feel appreciated and won’t stay if they don’t. PRP’s Alyssa Stellner, Director of Solutions Management, took home the idea of sending handwritten personal notes to colleagues and direct reports to recognize them for specific contributions.
  • Darren Phipps, Executive Partner and Vice President of Solutions Management at PRP, considers the discussion about workspace important. Some companies have moved to an open floor plan, which eliminates hierarchy and facilitates communication – something millennials enjoy. Others have set up communal work desks to spur collaboration without giving up traditional walled offices or cubicles. He noted that speakers listed pros and cons for each arrangement, but “so many companies have wasted space and fluid walls could maximize opportunities to use their space more efficiently. Trying out some of the trends in workspace design could help attract and retain top talent.”

Train to Stimulate

Ever since Pac-Man chomped his way into the hearts of Gen Xers, people have grown up learning through entertainment. This trend toward gamification has entered the work force, too, as companies use it for e-learning initiatives and corporate training. Games engage employees by stimulating their curiosity—and let’s not overlook the fact that people simply love to win. When you make learning fun, this kind of training reinforces skills and information.

“Training can be used to nurture the culture you are trying to create,” observed Jeremy Linehan, Executive Vice President, Practice Groups, PRP. “Use training to build teamwork and collaboration.”

Now It’s Your Turn 

PRP hosted the executive forum to allow our clients to exchange information. But the knowledge-sharing goes beyond the event. If you have any tips about attracting, retaining and training top talent, please share them in the comment section below.

Also be sure to read on to learn what panelists had to say about other hot topics in business. 

Here’s Your Roadmap to Becoming Best in Class

Posted by: Blayne Johnson on Thursday, 28 April 2016

How can business leaders go beyond “management speak” to find the elusive Best in Class practices? That’s the question Profit Recovery Partners sought to answer in convening our 2015 Executive Forum at the oceanfront Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

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We invited 40 executives, all PRP clients, to network, exchange knowledge, and connect as peers. A dozen of our own partners, practice leaders, and solutions experts also joined to offer insight into cost reduction solutions and discussed the worrisome issues keeping clients up at night.

Problem-Solving, not Think-Tanking

Executive Forum attendees all emerged from the four-day summit better equipped to handle the strategic opportunities and threats unique to today’s 24/7, hyper-connected, multi-generational, and globalized business climate.

In pursuing avenues toward reaching Best in Class expense reduction benchmarks, we struck a chord. Forum participants—a mix of leaders from a diverse group of industries including legal, health care, manufacturing, architecture, finance, and accounting—honed their abilities to balance the unique culture of their own organizations with the practices in common with others. The result: A how-to guide for striking success in 2016 and beyond.

The content explored during the forum is too good not to share, so we’re creating a blog series devoted to each strategic management topic explored. Although we can’t capture the magic of being there, we can share highlights from each panel discussion to help you get ahead.

You Won’t Find This Information in a Textbook

Although varied in operational application, these topics have one thing in common. Each encompasses a new set of strategic skills required to navigate. Business leaders are called upon to radically adapt—or be left behind—thanks to the dynamics created by the demographic shifts, technology advancements, and financial diversity of the past three decades.

“We should all be engaging in these conversations together,” said Ryan Schlunz, Chief Information Officer at Stoel Rives, the largest business law firm in Oregon. “There’s no reason not to share across industries and reduce the learning curve substantially.”

Schlunz served as one of the cyber security panelists. Stoel Rives has been a client of PRP for six years.

Early Adopters Help Slingshot Your Way to Usability

Consider these perplexities—you’ll probably recognize the relevancy to your own organization:

  • Today’s workforce spans four generations, each with their own—and often conflicting—set of values and motivations for working for your company. How do you cut through the differences to attract, manage, develop and evaluate staff for optimum performance?
  • Outsourcing business operations to third parties with high labor quality and low-cost markets is nothing new. But are you ready to capitalize on the next generation of shared services, technologies, facilities, and programs?
  • It’s no secret that real estate is one of the most expensive investments you’ll make to run your business effectively. Are you making the most effective use of these assets in the current market?
  • In this post-Edward Snowden era, cybersecurity is the single greatest threat to business and professional services firms. Do you know how to assess your firm’s cybersecurity position and identify cost-effective ways to stay out of the headlines as yet another hack?
  • Taxes are inevitable. Paying through the nose is not. Yet, there are often overlooked ways to minimize tax burdens and even recover over-payments. Are you confident that you’re not missing out?

Strategies Are Good, But What about the People?

We didn’t overlook the most intrinsic value of coming together: people helping people.

As Heidi Matsumoto, the Chief Financial Officer of Nissin International Transport U.S.A., described it, “hearing what other issues companies are facing and what they’re doing to solve them was the biggest benefit of attending”.

For Sonia Menon, Chief Operating Officer at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, “the whole concept of knowledge sharing and hearing from peers about trends, cutting-edge topics, and how others deal with similar issues made the forum tick”.

Attendees left the forum with new knowledge and new relationships, as well as well as memories of the great food, libations and activities provided throughout the weekend.

A little playtime never hurts

A Little Playtime Never Hurts

Before attendees worked their brains at the five-panel discussion, we gave them the chance to work up an appetite for another kind of knowledge: how to appreciate old-world, new-world and emerging-world wine. Master Sommelier Brian McClintic joined us for a relaxing lesson about the diversity of grapes and growing regions that render the complex flavors and character of wine. But let’s not get caught up solely in the savoir-vivre of this culture. We lifted our glasses in appreciation and tasted great examples of select wines from the around the world, too.

The conviviality developed during the opening reception continued throughout the weekend over shared meals and activities.

Lift a Glass, Share a Meal: How Friends Were Forged at the Forum

On Saturday, some people channeled their inner artist for some “wine and design.” We hosted a quintessential California plein air painting and wine tasting session during which an artist guided each participant through the creation of an original work of art. We’re told the signature wine tasting made the brush strokes flow effortlessly for each budding Monet and Renoir.

Monet and Renoir

Continuing with the food-and-wine theme, some attendees opted to study the concepts of synergy and balance in a delightfully gastronomic way. They learned how the basic components of food (acid, fat, protein and sweetness) and wine (tannin, acid, body and sweetness) complement one another as they tasted classic food and wine pairings. Others took part in a cooking class to experience the ultimate outdoor epicurean kitchen adventure. They worked side-by-side with an expert chef blending flavors, textures and the freshest farm-to-table ingredients, including homemade honey and sea salt.

Not an oenophile? Don’t worry. We had something for everyone. Another set of attendees took up the challenge to become master mixologists. They not only learned how to create classic cocktails—think martinis, mojito margaritas and nonalcoholic versions of each—they had the opportunity to create their own versions. The winning recipe received top billing at the Terranea lobby bar that night!

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OC BUSINESS JOURNAL 2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS HONOREE

Posted by: Jennifer on Thursday, 23 May 2013

In the most recent issue of the Orange County Business Journal, PRP’s very own Ann Hart was acknowledged for receiving a nomination for the Nineteenth Annual Women in Business Awards presented by the Orange County Business Journal.

Ann received her Bachelors in Business Administration in 1991 and has 20 plus year track record in business development roles working with executives across the country. In her role as a National Account Manager and Partner at PRP, Ann has worked extensively with law firms, real estate, and healthcare companies to help them increase profitability through expense reduction and management solutions. Furthermore, Ann is deeply involved in many other aspects of PRP’s operation and growing the firm over the next several years.

Ann is also has volunteered with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Orange County, mentoring a young girl for five years during that time, and is an active member of the Sierra Club.

We proudly congratulate Ann and  all of the other deserving individuals who were  nominated  for all of their achievements in their respective fields and we wish them nothing but success in their futures.

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Doing the best in this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

Are You Paying Fair Market Value for Legal Databases?

Posted by: Research & Information Practice Group on Friday, 23 March 2012

Last week, we shared some tips on how to manage law firm expenses in an uncertain economy. In this post, we drill down into one of the costliest expenses. Within PRP’s Legal Resources Practice Group, the number one question law firm partners and administrators alike ask is, “Are we paying fair market value for our basic online research service and our other legal resources?”

The short answer: Your contract is unique and needs to be examined individually. Determining whether your firm is paying fair market value for legal resources takes more than simply comparing a single dollar amount. Cost, usage patterns, redundancies, viable alternatives, practice group sizes and other variables all contribute to the equation.

However, law firm decision-makers can help reduce firmwide database costs. Here are some simple steps you can take to help ensure your organization is making the most of your database subscriptions. (more…)

How-To Guide to Law Firm Expense Management in an Uncertain Economy

Posted by: Research & Information Practice Group on Wednesday, 14 March 2012

At a recent family event, Uncle John — a successful stock trader — told us, “Sell everything! The sky is falling!” Citing the evolving Eurozone crisis, escalating gas prices domestically and continued bloodshed in Syria, he postured that we were about to be taken on another ride.

For the past few years, pundits have been debating our economic recovery. On paper, the recession is over. Yet with fractional growth numbers reported quarterly and social crises looming in every corner of the global, most of us fear, “What’s next?”

The legal industry has been especially hard-hit by the global financial crisis since 2007. (more…)

How to Get Six-Pack Abs for Your Business

Posted by: Don on Friday, 2 March 2012

Nine weeks ago, I committed to a new year’s resolution to get in physical shape. I’ve made this resolution before, but this year, I’m compelled to make it happen so I spend a lot of time thinking about why I failed before and how I will be successful this time.

You probably can identify with my goal because no resolution is more prevalent than the desire to trim down and shape up. Also, if you’re like me, you probably have to balance a workload and schedule often at odds with your goal. I try to combine activities, such as walking while contemplating a vexing work issue.

While walking this past weekend, it occurred to me that my formula for getting and staying in shape is no different from PRP’s formula for expenses reduction and management. I drew a comparison between personal physical fitness and company fiscal fitness. For both, you have to look internal to identify the benefits of getting in shape as well as the barriers to achieving your goals.

(more…)

Do You Measure the Cost of Doing Nothing?

Posted by: Don on Monday, 23 January 2012

CFOs and other business executives routinely measure many returns: investment, reputation and objective. These metrics give them a snapshot of business health. But how many of them measure the factors that contribute to an unhealthy business? The “cost of doing nothing” is another return you can measure to index the price of operating at the status quo this year. Financial executives who do probably will find that inertia robs their organizations silently. (more…)

Why You Need More than a Cost Czar

Posted by: Don on Thursday, 19 January 2012

Last week, Deloitte jumpstarted a debate on whether companies need a “cost czar,” an executive appointed to oversee cost improvement activities across the entire enterprise. Cost reduction is a strident business theme in 2012. In its recent survey of 139 FORTUNE 1000 companies, Deloitte found that 80 percent are continuing to pursue cost improvements and 17 percent have established a cost czar to lead cost-improvement activities.

Does your company need a cost czar? On its website, Deloitte outlined the pros and cons of cost czars for you to consider. These are valid points, especially the admonishment that a cost czar isn’t a silver bullet.

But we think something is missing from the discussion. (more…)