Workplace Mentor Unashamedly Ethical

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Mike Smith

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Workplace Mentor

May 2008 Infocom

Under Financial survey

On his early retirement from KPMG, Mike Smith founded the Workplace Mentor in 2006, offering financial management assistance and control over the environment review. Smith has also helped create the Mentorship Programme at PERCCI which aims to support and encourage SME’s through the mentoring by an experienced business person.

With regards to financial management, Smith deals with financial performance, reporting and managing resources. He also assists with the environmental review of a company, which revolves around the risk assessment process, control over the environment, the information and communication system, controlling activities and monitoring of the business.

Smith explained that non-financial managers often feel frustrated because they do not understand the language of business. “Many managers, at one time or another, who do not have a financial background, experience difficulty in coming to grips with the financial aspects of a business problem, or in communicating with financial people like accountants.” He added that it is difficult to manage costs if the manager does not understand exactly what costs are, how they behave and how they have been allocated.

With regards to management of the environment, Smith commented that owners of small and medium businesses are often over-reliant on the trustworthiness of employees, without regard to the effect of changing circumstances in the lives of these employees and the resultant temptations in a business with little or no control. “Theft of business resources might also go undetected during a period of economic uncertainty.”

He added that a major problem faced by SME’s in a time of good growth, is the ability to secure sufficient working capital, especially in a climate of rising costs, as well as the shortage of skilled labour. “Past experience reveals that many SME’s fail because they run out of cash and/or the skills to meet their growth targets. Much of this can be avoided by good planning and, where possible, advice from someone who has walked this road.”

Recently Smith has gained experience in the manufacturing industry and also provides accounting services. Advice offered to members is to communicate with the banks, customers and suppliers if you see that you are heading for trouble – communication is the key.

Date Added: 2008-07-11

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 CK 2006/003609/23 
     Member: MD Smith CA(SA) 

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