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Be ‘Prepared’ to Succeed in Class

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Studying for a professional certification program is unsurprisingly going to be rather different than a full time academic program. Most students will have a full time job and be trying to fit study around that and all of their other obligations. We are specifically interested in how to effectively prep so that you make the most of the limited time you have in live classes. Making best use of this time will also lay the right foundation for your own study plan. The good news is that the tips we are about to provide are relevant to whichever program you might be pursuing, including the CMA, CPA, and CFA.

Read the material

You will almost always have some pre-reading and perhaps even an exercise to do. It may be tempting not to do the work and ‘wing it’ in the session. However try and find time somehow – perhaps in your work lunch breaks. By not preparing it is not just you that will suffer, but you are likely to hinder the rest of the class too.

Focus

Concentrate on the topic at hand. It might be tempting to dive into other chapters – but ensure before you do that you have prepped thoroughly for what is due to be covered in your session.

Jot down questions

As you are covering the material before the session you are likely to have thoughts, questions, and/or queries. Make a note of all of them to take with you. The likelihood is that most of them will be covered off by the tutor, but have a quick check through your list towards the end of the session just to make sure. If not, raise your hand and ask.

In summary

Sometimes it can be challenging to find the time you need to do your prep when you have a really busy schedule. However, if you don’t do it, you will find yourself paying for it in additional time needed to catch up later down the line.

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Improve You Inventory Management in 4 Simple Steps

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

It does not matter if your business is online, has a physical presence, or a mix of the two – inventory is the lifeblood of your business. When inventory is mismanaged the repercussions can be huge. It can cause reputational damage with customers, lose you sales, and may even mean you have to write off product that you can’t sell. The fundamentals of inventory management are simple – you need enough stock to satisfy demand in the right place and the right time, but not more stock than you need. Many businesses have sunk from having their cash tied up in warehouses full of stock that they can’t shift. So how do you get this right? These are our top 4 tips:

  • Hire a supply chain professional

There are some great candidates out there who are professionally qualified to manage complex inventories. They will produce and implement a suitable strategy based on the particular demand patterns of the organisation and the product/service in question.

  • Be organised

This seems very simple but it is probably the most important tip. You should know where your inventory is, how much of it you have, what anticipated demand will be, and so on. You must have full transparency and current data at all times. The best way to do this is by using technology.

  • Monitor in real time

There is some brilliant technology available that can be used to monitor supply and demand. The possibilities of this software is huge – one good example is that it can be used to order stock within given parameters depending on what has been sold. It can also be used online so that customers know what is available to order, and what they might need to wait for. It is a great way to not disappoint customers.

  • Don’t run out of stock in demand

The ‘in demand’ bit is key. Don’t run out of stock that you have demand for. You can’t sell what you do not have and that is a missed opportunity for cash into the business. This is a fine art as you do not want to hold unnecessary stock. By implementing tips 1-3, you are far more likely to be successful at mastering this tip.

In Summary

Inventory management is an art. Getting it right has alluded many organisations for years. However by being methodical, utilising technology, and hiring some great supply chain professionals, the chances of being successful are greatly increased.

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Top 5 Marketing Trends Not to Miss in 2018

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Are you ready to hit the ground running in 2018? Keeping up with the latest marketing trends, especially in social media and adtech, is increasing as much in difficulty as it is in importance. Here are our top marketing trends for 2018 to help you stay ahead of the competition.

1. AI takes hold

There has been non-stop excitement in the media about AI in the last few years and now businesses are starting to see applications take hold in the marketing space. A prime example is the chatbot, the little robot that replies to messages on behalf of your business. Brands like Starbucks, National Geographic and Marvel have already successfully rolled out chatbots via Facebook messenger this year and we expect to see more follow suit into 2018 in both the B2C and B2B spaces.

Chatbots might change the way brands interact with their customers in a very obvious way, but according to research conducted by Accenture Interactive, AI is also enhancing data analytics, customer insights and workflow processes for marketers, thus improving strategy and ROI on marketing budgets.

2. Big Data Analytics

Wait, hasn’t this been on the ‘trends to watch’ for years now? Well, yes it has, but it will continue to adapt and change. Insights from analytics have mainly been the preserve of campaign optimisation and performance tracking to date, but it could also be used to start making the customer experience better with tools such as the aforementioned chatbots.  For larger businesses, CRM and ERP software will continue to get smarter, see increased adoption and provide actionable insights across multiple business units, including marketing.

3. Live Streaming Video

Social media platforms paved the way for live streaming video and brands will be taking full advantage in 2018. Studies have shown that 80% of consumers prefer watching a brand’s live video to reading a written blog so it is time to brush up on your live-streaming skills if you are not on board yet. Live-streaming is very interactive which is great for both the audience and the brand. Getting feedback and questions that you can respond to in real-time gives you great insight into customer needs while also making your brand transparent and trustworthy.

If you are already on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter, consider working live-streaming into your 2018 content plan.

4. The rise of micro-influencer

Influencer marketing has had its ups and downs in 2017, when Instagram’s algorithm changes kicked-in, many an influencer was left frustrated or, sometimes exposed as being built on less than true fan followers.

However, there is nothing quite like tapping into the audience of an influencer who is genuine and trusted by their audience. The big celebrities might be out of reach for many marketing budgets, but there is a lot to be said for influencers with between 1k and 20k followers. Their endorsements are more likely to be perceived as authentic than a superstar who is clearly being sponsored.

5.  The GDPR

Things are about to get very real around the GDPR in 2018 as businesses that handle the personal data of EU citizens get their compliance policies ironed out and rolled out. When first announced, the GDPR probably struck fear into the hearts of many marketing teams but it is a good opportunity to clean up databases and ensure your marketing practices are ethical and your communication with your audience is welcome.

If you would like to learn how to better leverage new marketing trends and technology, get in touch and we will help find the right course for you.

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Top 4 HR Trends of 2018

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

HR has been impacted by significant change in the past few years and that is expected to continue into 2018. These are our top 4 predictions:

  • A focus on employee experience

As the importance of millennials within the workspace and the transparency provided by the age of digitalisation both increase, employees are seeking a work experience that goes beyond ‘employee engagement’. The employee experience is more holistic and looks to support the employee as a whole. This includes for example the use of wellness and fitness apps and employee self-service technologies.

  • HR digitalisation

HR has lagged behind other departments with respect to IT transformation. One of the primary reasons for this is that HR as a function has traditionally been risk averse due to legal ramifications of a significant amount of the work they do being overseen by employment legislation. In 2018 expect to see artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions transforming the space.

  • The Gig economy

We have spent the past few years talking about interim roles transforming the permanent workforce. We are now entering the era of the gig economy where freelance labour is coming to the fore. This has been popularised by sites such as Freelancer, Fiverr, and People Per Hour. There is a very interesting move towards decoupling location from productivity.

  • Real time learning

This is not new but has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years and has been a welcome addition since the learning space has been traditionally slow to utilise opportunities offered by technology. Expect to see much more micro learning, gamification, and learning on the move via smart devices. Artificial intelligence will be powering this space, with the delivery of tailored content.

In Summary

It is an exciting time to work within the HR function, as IT plays a transformative role and leadership teams recognise the importance of providing employees with a complete work experience. If you think a career in HR might be for you, please take a look at the course syllabus for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP qualifications.

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Pre-CFA Exam Words Of Wisdom

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Becoming a CFA charterholder is likely to be the longest and most difficult process most candidates have experienced in their educational lives so far. On average, a candidate will study for 300 hours for each level of the exam. This typically takes 6 months bearing in mind that most candidates also have a full time job.

Nailing the exam first time around for each level is far more likely if some straightforward study tips are followed:

Plan

Produce a timetable that covers the detail of what you will study and when. You need to fit in approximately 300 hours of study, which will include reading, retention activities, and mock exams. It is useful to build in some additional slack of approximately 5-10% to allow for unexpected events such as being extra busy at work or being unwell.

Consider a professional programme

You may want to undertake review days, or seek more detailed support. Consider what will work for you, do your research, select a provider, and schedule that into your overarching plan.

Find what works for you

We all learn and retain information in different ways. Some candidates may be able to read material once and commit it to memory. Others may need to use flash cards to retain information. Find out what works for you early on and utilise that technique throughout your studies.

Do practice papers in exam conditions

The CFA exam is arduous – prepare for that by undertaking practice papers in exam conditions. I cannot recommend highly enough taking a day out to do the full six hour exam in the two sections, with the set middle break.

Avoid panic cramming

If you have followed the tips above, there will be no need to panic cram. It will not only stress you out, but it may cloud the systematic learning you have undertaken.

In Summary

If becoming a CFA charterholder was easy, many more people would be pursuing it. To be successful, a methodical approach to study and exam preparation is fundamentally important. For more advice and tips, take a look at our website.

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What Do CFA Charterholders Really Earn?

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

According to the Robert Half 2018 salary survey, salaries within the finance and accounting industry have reached a ‘steady plateau’ which is great news for those looking to gain their CFA charter.

Specific areas of expertise

When Robert Half spoke to businesses about what they are seeking in candidates, they produced the following list:

  • Internationally recognised qualifications
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • ERP skills (SAP and Oracle)
  • Cash management
  • Macro-level Excel expertise
  • Effective communication

The unsurprising but great news is that right up the top is the desire for an internationally required professional qualification.

Roles in demand

Interestingly, the roles in demand are not straight-up Financial and Management Accountants. To earn big, you need to specialise – for example into tax, treasury or financial planning. As ever, CFOs remain in demand as there are a limited supply of individuals who not only are qualified accountants, but also have the leadership skills required to be successful.

Salaries by role

The data looks at the minimum and maximum salaries by role type within an SME and a large company. We have picked out some of the key roles within the data for large companies – but you can find the full report here. What you will undoubtedly note from the figures is that the range varies hugely in the more senior roles such as CFO. There are narrower gaps in the more junior roles.

  • CFO: $240,300 - $605,300
  • Finance Director: $196,200 - $402,800
  • Financial Controller: $140,500 - $204,300
  • Treasurer: $147,100 - $222,300
  • Finance Manager: $119,500 - $194,500
  • Tax Manager: $92,000 - $141,000
  • Senior Tax Associate: $71,200 - $91,200
  • Financial Analyst: $65,400 - $98,000
  • Senior Internal Auditor: $88,200 - $147,300
  • Internal Auditor: $65,500 - $81,800

In Summary

It is a lucrative and stable time to become a CFA charterholder. The salary levels are stable and fairly consistent for the entry level roles, but there is a wider gap for the more senior candidates. What the data does indicate is that the more in demand roles typically require specialising after the CFA programme has concluded.

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Forget the New Fitness Plan – Here Are the Resolutions You Really Need to Make in 2018

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Resolutions are made to be broken. If you make it past the end of January, then you’re probably a robot, and if you actually are a robot, hopefully your New Year’s Resolutions didn’t include “team up with Skynet and take over the world”.

Small changes – certainly in terms of your working habits – are the best kind of resolutions to make, as just a small shift in attitudes and routines can make a huge difference to your professional life. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Make professional social media work for you – if you have anything to do with your company’s social media, or have ideas for ventures of your own where growing a following would help, it’s worth learning how to do it properly. The internet isn’t just for cat videos and photographs of food, you know.
  • Make the numbers add up – whether you’re considering a career change, or whether you need to develop your professional skills, an accountancy qualification will boost both your CV and your confidence. It’s time to put a head for figures to something more rewarding than adding up the receipt at the supermarket, or impressing your darts team with speedy mental arithmetic.
  • Make time for a break – if you’re planning to improve or increase your skillset over this coming year, make sure you don’t burnout through overwork. You might want to make this the year where you seriously factor in some leisure time as well as adding letters after your name. You could take out that gym membership (although perhaps leave it until February, when the majority of the “I’m going to get fit!” joiners have fallen by the wayside!). A creative pastime will not only relax you but recharge your brain too; why not pick up those childhood piano lessons again?

Once you’re inspired to make this the year you’re going to add to your qualifications, you’ll need to find the right people to help you study. Why not contact us and see what we can offer you to help you make those changes in 2018?

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The Best Marketing Blogs for 2018

By Morgan International Staff Writers

You may have tried to hide from digital marketing for a while now, but there really is no hiding any more. If you want your business to be successful, you need to implement a strong digital marketing strategy and in 2018, the importance of this is only going to increase. Don't worry though, you are not alone, there are plenty of marketing blogs and publications to help you along the way, and these are just some of the  best ones to look out for in the New Year.

Social Media Examiner

This blog offers a wealth of information and knowledge on social media, for the beginner to the more experienced. You can also sign up for a free industry report and there is information on latest events, which you might want to attend to improve your knowledge of social media. Social Media Examiner is a definite blog to look out for to keep up-to-date with latest trends and for general tips and advice in 2018.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a great tool for businesses for many reasons, and there is also a highly informative blog on it, with plenty of information about digital marketing and how to improve your techniques. HubSpot have already starting posting blogs for 2018, so if you want to get ahead in the New Year, it is worth checking this out.

Econsultancy

A sign of a good blog is one which is kept up-to-date and at the Econsultancy, you get access to all the latest digital marketing news and trends. There are trends already published for 2018 on this blog to get your ready for the New Year.

Moz Blog

There is lots of information on this blog for marketers, including content management, SEO and much more. If you want to ensure you keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date, this is a great blog, particularly for those who are already quite experienced.

It is important for marketers to keep updated on the latest social media trends and any (or all) of these blogs will help you keep on track to achieve the best results. If you'd like more information on courses which might help, get in touch with our team!

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Do you know your SHRM-CP from your SHRM-SCP?

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

There are many reasons you may want to obtain a SHRM certification. If you want to learn and develop within the HR field, this accreditation shows that you have the knowledge and skills to benefit both your career growth and those of the organisation as a whole. These competency based certifications are the only within the HR field and many HR professional find them extremely valuable for career growth. There are two different types of certification; the SHRM-CP (SHRM Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (SHRM Senior Certified Professional.) So, which is best suited to you and how do you know if you qualify? There are quite clear differences between the two, both in terms of eligibility and suitability.

SHRM Certified Professional

The SHRM-CP is most beneficial for HR professionals who either are or plan to be involved in the implementation of policies and who will be acting as support for staff. If you are currently working as an HR Consultant or HR Advisor, it would be worthwhile undertaking the SHRM certification. It would also be suitable for those working in other HR roles, such as HR Administrator or HR Assistant and are looking to progress to HR Advisor/Consultant level. There are some criteria you need to meet though, before you are able to sit the SHRM-CP exam. If you don't have a Bachelor's Degree, but the qualification you have is HR related, you must have 3 years experience in an HR role. If the qualification is not HR related, you will need 4 years experience in an HR role. If you have a Bachelor's Degree, and it is HR related, you will only require one years' experience within an HR role. If it is not HR related, you will need to have two years experience in an HR role. With an HR related graduate degree, you should be in an HR role or non related graduate degree, you should be in the role for one year.

SHRM Senior Certified Professional

The SHRM-SCP is for HR professionals who lead the HR function or hope to do this in the future. An example would be an HR Business Partner who is responsible for developing HR strategies and analysing performance. There is also specific eligibility criteria for the SHRM-SCP Degree. With less than a Bachelor's Degree, you must have 6 years' experience in an HR role, if you're undertaking an HR related program or 7 years if its an unrelated program. If you have an HR related  Bachelor's Degree, you need to have 4 years experience in an HR role or 5 years if it is an unrelated Bachelor's Degree.

If you want to find out more about sitting the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP, get in touch with us and we will be happy to advise you.

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The Inspiring CMA Journey of Rubab Fatimah Rizvi

By Rubab Fatimah Rizvi 

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time.”

These lines from the poem, A Psalm of Life, have always inspired me.

With a passion for growth and the drive for excellence, I have always aimed for achieving the extraordinary in all facets of life.

Academically I have been inclined towards Accounting, Economics and Finance. After completing my BSc in Finance with first honours and the highest grade in my class, I wanted to pursue Master’s and eventually enter the corporate world. However, due to certain personal circumstances, I could not go for Master’s that year and being a non-Saudi female meant I couldn’t get a job either because of the Saudization laws. I had a teacher for the course Money and Banking who often stressed the importance of professional certifications and at that instance, his words struck me and my quest for learning propelled me to register for the Certified Management Accountant [CMA] programme.

Morgan International, a renowned institution in the Middle East offering professional certifications including the CMA in partnership with the Institute of Management Accountants [IMA], USA was extremely welcoming. I registered for the course and was promised all the support that I required.

I was born with Congenital Glaucoma, a degenerative eye condition because of which I have little functional sight in one eye. This has never been my limitation but my driving force to face challenges and achieve the impossible.

I was the first visually impaired candidate to have taken the CMA and hence, it was a new experience for Morgan International and IMA and they were highly enthusiastic in providing all possible support. I was readily provided with a pdf version of the books and PowerPoint slides and got access to the Wiley test bank. I was fortunate to have the most capable teachers who read out the material from the board out loud while explaining the lessons. I was very active in class and always shared my insights into lessons and took part in discussions. My classmates never hesitated in reading out the questions or material to me from the textbooks during class work.

I use a screen-reader called JAWS [Job Access With Speech] on the laptop and do all my work independently. CMA is obviously a technical subject involving numbers, complicated tables and large calculations. However, my base in Accounting and Finance is extremely strong and I am very fast at visualizing tables and numbers so I absorbed the course material well. I am a very fast learner and devoted a reasonable amount of time towards understanding each chapter but practiced, practiced and practiced as many questions as I could.

I faced implicit challenges while studying because at times JAWS was not very accessible with online test bank sites or when questions or the course material had large tables or technical questions.

I have always been accustomed to working and studying independently using JAWS and the thought of having a reader during the exams made me very apprehensive. I had been granted extra time and a reader and scribe as well as permission to use my talking calculator.

There were few challenges during the exams not so much because of the anxiety or time constraint but because of getting used to the reader’s style of reading and that too on the very day of the exam.

Nevertheless, all the hard work bore fruit when I received the most awaited and splendid news of passing both my exams in my very first attempt! Not just that, I was the CMA Part II Exam Top Scorer in Saudi Arabia.

I have always aspired to achieve the extraordinary and accomplishing this milestone of my life is indeed gratifying. Mr. Emran Adam of Morgan International, Mr. Abdul Karim, Mr. Ibrahim and Mr. Talib all deserve a special mention for their continuous support and guidance.

I did not just take the CMA because I wanted to prove my caliber to anyone but because I wanted to exploit my knowledge of Management Accounting and Financial Management. A lot of people are conditioned to believe that any person with a visual impairment cannot pursue technical fields of study and I hope that my experience with Morgan International and IMA can open avenues for aspiring CMA’s, regardless of their circumstances.