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The CIA Exam Is Changing In 2019: How Might This Affect You?

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The IIA has identified a need for certain elements of the CIA syllabus to be updated and aligned in accordance with changes to the global business environment, and internal audit practices.

The course will continue to consist of three parts, but some areas of the CIA exam will change in 2019. So what amendments are being introduced, and when exactly will they take effect?

Part 1: Essentials of Internal Auditing

  • The revised version of the syllabus contains six domains, rather than three
  • The largest of these is now Governance, Risk Management and Control, which accounts for 35% of the exam
  • Contrasts between assurance and consulting engagements are included in the new exam format

Part 2: Practice of Internal Auditing 

  • The new syllabus includes four domains instead of three
  • Performing the Engagement is the largest domain, making up 40% of the exam
  • There is greater alignment with the IAA’s Performance Standards

Part 3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing 

  • The revised syllabus includes four domains, rather than eight
  • Cyber security risks and emerging technologies are covered in the new syllabus
  • There is a new sub domain on data analytics

In all parts of the new exam, your depth of knowledge will be tested at ‘Basic Level’ where you demonstrate your basic understanding of concepts and processes, and ‘Proficient Level’ where you apply this knowledge, make judgements, and come to conclusions.

When will the changes take effect?

The revised exams come into effect in January 2019, in English only, but IIA Global are working with affiliates around the world to introduce the changes in other languages – in these cases, the transition will be a gradual process, starting in 2019.

What happens if you're in the process of taking your exams, or you've taken the course prior to 2019?

Your CIA certification won’t be affected if you’ve already passed your exams - if you’ve passed one or two of the exams, you won’t need to retake them. You can continue to schedule and take the older exams until January 2019, when they’ll be replaced by the new format.

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4 Proven Strategies to Lift Yourself Out of a Career Slump

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Career slumps come to us all. That sinking feeling when it comes to embarking on the daily commute, the sigh of boredom when switching your computer on each morning, the increasing effort to conceal irritation at the same old grind, day in, day out. However, career slumps are trying to tell us something – either about our career choices or our lifestyle and often both – and should only ever be viewed as a positive thing.

Try these four strategies to put the spring back into your work step:

Take a holiday 

It can often be as simple as that. If you haven’t taken your full year’s holiday entitlement, you could be sailing dangerously close to burnout, and interpreting stress as being sick and tired of your job and everything to do with it. Even if you spend the next fortnight doing nothing more than being wrapped in a blanket watching box sets, a break from routine should always be your first strategy.

Explore other career paths

If you’re starting to feel a pull away from your current career path towards other projects, listen to your instincts. None of us should feel we’re in one job for life any longer, and many people will change career two, three, or even four times over the 40 or so years of their working lives.

Polish up your skills

The workplace is changing all the time, with new skills and specialisms required by companies all the time. If you decide to stay where you are, increasing your knowledge base won’t hurt (particularly in growth fields, such as digital marketing or logistics), and if you decide to move on, it could lead to the next stage of your working life.

Work on yourself 

A career slump can often be indicative of something lacking in your life outside of the workplace. Increasing your exercise, or taking a good look at your diet can help to pull you out of a rut, as can starting a new hobby or activity.

Career slumps are inevitable, even if you love what you do and have no intention of changing path any time soon. The trick is to view them as an opportunity to revisit your work brain and give it a good spring clean, perhaps picking up some new skills in the process!

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A Day in the Life of a Supply Chain Manager

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Perhaps you are considering a career in supply chain and are wondering exactly what the day to day entails. At a high level they are responsible for all of the steps required to produce a product/service and get it to the customer. Some would argue that their role does not stop there, but also extends in the case of some products to their appropriate disposal. However for our example let’s take a Supply Chain Manager with responsibility for a product set. Let us look at a typical day:

9am:10am – Review emails from suppliers, many of which are likely to have come in through the night if the supply chain is global in nature. Take a look at the meetings in the diary for the day ahead and ensure all preparation has been done.

10am:11am – Meet with internal stakeholders to agree a strategy for a negotiation with one of the materials suppliers later in the afternoon. Agree parameters for each variable due to be discussed and agree who will take the lead role.

11am:11.30am – A one to one with the head of Supply Chain to discuss ongoing projects, priorities and pipeline work. A discussion is had over maintaining the quality delivered by suppliers whilst making cost reductions in the coming year.

11.30am:12.30pm – Work through your upcoming contract renewals and begin emailing stakeholders and arranging meetings to agree the terms of potential renewals or whether you might go out to tender. Working through the detail carefully so that you do not miss any termination dates.

12.30pm:1.30pm – Working lunch with a current supply to discuss their performance and to run through the balanced scorecard.

1.30pm:3.30pm – Supplier negotiation to agree the terms of a new deal, working through a number of contractual clauses and having a final price conversation.

4.30pm:5.30pm – Back to the desk to speak with the legal team about a number of points that came out of the supplier negotiation and to take their advice. Then back to emails to see what has come in through the day and reply.

5.30pm:6pm – Have a look at what is in the diary for tomorrow and do any prep that you won’t have a chance to do in the morning.

In Summary

The day to day role of a Supply Chain Manager is very varied with tasks ranging from very tactical, to extremely strategic. This is what makes the role interesting and exciting – there is never a dull day!

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What on Earth is Digital Transformation Anyway?

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The chances are that if you went to each department head in your organisation, each will have a different answer. So what is it and what does it mean for marketers?

Digital Transformation refers to organisation-wide change to leverage new technology that improves business operations, workflow, insights and processes. Therefore, it can mean one thing to the manufacturing arm of your business and something else to finance, but ultimately, most business units will enjoy the same benefits of digital transformation, often with the same tools as one another such as Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP). Driven by emerging technologies such as Big Data, AI, cloud-hosting and Machine Learning, businesses are racing to stay ahead of their competitors by adopting Digital Transformation. The main aim is to capture data, analyse it and optimise accordingly. For many marketers, this might feel less alien than to other departments. Afterall, we are used to looking for data trends, optimisation and improved ROIs all the time. With Digital Transformation, more of this exercise is being undertaken by technology.

 

A full Digital Transformation involves all digital assets in your organisation, depending on your industry and specific niche, this can include:

 

  • Business networks
  • Websites & Social Platforms
  • Intranet
  • IoT
  • Mobile devices
  • eCommerce
  • CRM Systems
  • Warehouse Management Systems

 

There is a lot of data flying around in your business already, even in smaller businesses. Capturing that data, drawing meaningful insights from it and implementing optimisation accordingly is the focus of any digital transformation, whether it is to improve supply chain management or the customer experience, whether it is to decrease delivery times or increase customer retention, it all comes under the Digital Transformation umbrella.

 

If you would like to learn more about Digital Transformation, whether from a marketing or organisation-wide perspective, get in touch with our team. We can point you in the right direction and get you up to speed with the right course.

 

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Top 4 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Every department has their trade secrets – the insider knowledge that they know and carefully guard. Let’s take a peek into the top 4 secrets:

HR are not your advocates

This is perhaps one of the hardest ones for employees to get their heads around, but the HR team are not there to advocate for you. That is not to say that there aren’t occasions when they will – but their role is to support the organisation first and foremost.

HR support and don’t dictate

You may be thinking that HR dictate to the leadership team and your line management. In reality their role is to provide support rather than define organisational strategy. For example, HR support the development of succession plans, but they do not create them.

Performance plans are an early goodbye

In most, but not all cases, by the time an employee has been put onto performance management, they are halfway out the door. It is a strong signal from HR that there is limited possibility of a long term future for the employee. Start looking for a new role!

 HR perform online background checks

HR teams will very often do ‘non-standard’ background checks. This means looking on Linkedin to ratify employment history provided on the CV, looking at social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and alike. Employees should consider that actions in their personal life can have an impact upon their work life. In short, be cautious about what you put out there in the public domain.

HR perform ‘backdoor’ reference checks

HR are unlikely to just use the formal reference routes. Where they can they will use their own network to find individuals who have worked with the prospective candidate and get a real viewpoint. They are more likely to do this where there is something they are slightly suspicious of on the CV.

In Summary

All functions and departments have their ‘tricks of the trade’ and tools they rely on, above are just a few of the trade secrets that some, but of course not all, HR professionals utilise.

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What Not To Do With Your Auditor

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The words “we’ve got the auditors in” are enough to make even a company with the most accurate of financial records tremble, and nobody in their right mind would claim it’s an enjoyable procedure; in fact, it’s probably up there with a root canal for most people.

Auditor Jokes?

There’s a considerable stream of auditor and audit-related humour out there. For example, the auditor’s answer to “How many auditors does it take to change a light bulb?” will invariably be “how many did it take last year?”. Auditors might have a reputation for being dull and grey, but they’re rapier-sharp professionals who are out to do their job. Here are some important things to bear in mind about what an auditor doesn’t do – or shouldn’t be expected to do - when they visit:

  • Their time is important too – you wouldn’t do this for any other visitor to your premises, so don’t keep your auditor waiting in reception. At best, it comes across as impolite, and at worst, they’ll wonder what you’re trying to hide in those few extra minutes.
  • They aren’t the enemy, so don’t treat them like they are – they have a job to do and even if everything is in order, you’ll learn a great deal about your own business methods over the course of the audit which can only be a good thing going forward.
  • Don’t try to hide or fudge important details – if the person with the information at their fingertips isn’t around, say so. Auditors are pretty intuitive, but they don’t tend to carry crystal balls around with them so don’t expect them to just ‘know’ something about your business.
  • Don’t expect them to sort out your problems – your auditor is not there to hire and fire, to write your next year’s business plan, or to do anything other than give a picture of where you are.

Auditors can be seen as the bad guy, but all they really want to see is good record keeping with no evidence of dubious business practice.  After all – to end with another dreadful auditor joke – they’re only viewed as mean because we live in an accrual world.

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5 Things Every Investor Needs to Know

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Investments are a vehicle to store wealth and a wise investment will provide profit. Whether you are a personal or institutional investor, there is potentially a lot at risk when you begin investing. Therefore you need to have your wits about you. These are our top 5 things you need to know before you start investing:

  • Understand the different investment types

There are a range of different investment types such as property, stocks, bonds, funds, shares, and savings accounts. They each have different risk profiles and also varying windows for a return on investment. It is important to know the characteristics of each investment type.

  • Work out what you can invest

Decide upon what you have as an initial investment and potentially what you want to invest on an ongoing basis. You should also consider how much you can afford to lose in the worst case scenario as this will help you decide on your appetite for risk. For example, if you can’t afford to lose anything then you have no appetite for risk and you should be putting the money in a savings account with the bank.

  • Confirm what you want from your investments

Are you seeking additional income for now or are you looking at savings for the future? Most investors fall neatly into one of two categories – investing for income, or investing for growth.

  • Decide on your diversification strategy

To balance risk within your portfolio you need to diversify – this means choosing a range of investment types that will fare better/worse given the economic climate.

  • Decide on your risk appetite

It is important to understand the level of risk associated with each different type of investment. Higher risk investments, if successful, usually offer higher rewards. Lower risk investments conversely offer less reward.

In Summary

Investing is far from a game, and there is real money at stake. Therefore it is important to be equipped with robust knowledge before starting. Personal investors often hire the services of a CFA charterholder to assist them. Those looking to pursue a career in providing investment advice, or being an institutional investor typically look to gain the CFA charter.

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Self-Promotion Without the Bore-Factor – How to Strike the Balance

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Self-promotion and certain career paths just don’t seem to go hand in hand. For a skill that seems to be the preserve of more creative professions, many of us would rather saw our own leg off than push ourselves forward and tell our boss how great we are.

However, effective self-promotion for the introvert is possible, and without the cringe factor. Here are a few tips for effective self-promotion without going beetroot with embarrassment:

  • Don’t assume that everyone knows who you are and what you do – and that includes your manager and anyone who reports directly to you! Suggestion: arrange a team lunch where you can introduce yourselves and talk through what you do in an average working day.
  • Conquer Impostor Syndrome – if your discomfort with self-promotion comes from feeling that you’re not up to the job, it’s worth taking whatever steps are necessary to deal with that. Suggestion: a frank review about your progress and competency with your direct manager can not only help you develop confidence in your workplace skills, but identify those niggling areas where you’re less able that are sapping your willingness to jump on the self-promotion train.
  • Deal in facts, not bragging – sharing your success in bringing a new client in to your company is infinitely less dull for your colleagues than telling them how great you are at increasing business without providing concrete examples. Suggestion: be confident about your successes when they happen, and practice communicating them to others.
  • Document your doings – unless you’re a computer, you won’t remember every tiny little thing you’ve done, and be able to share it with others when it counts. Maintain an up to date CV (and biography, if that’s appropriate), and dive headfirst into LinkedIn. Suggestion: consider professional certification courses to up both your communication skills and your industry knowledge.

Thinking of self-promotion as anything other than boasting can be difficult for many of us. However, turning it around and using it to present yourself as the solution to a problem your company didn’t even know it had could make it the best skill you ever learned.

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How to Successfully Tier a Supply Chain

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

As an organisation grows, it is typical for the number of suppliers they do business with to also grow. As with any type of relationship, to be effective it must be nurtured. The issue arises when there are simply too many suppliers to be successfully managed by the buying organisation. An effective strategy is to tier the supply chain. How can this be done in a robust way?

  • Assess the risks

Consider which of your vendors present the most risk to the production of your product/service. These are your tier 1’s. You need to manage them closely, perform the most due diligence on them, and look to grow a strategic relationship. Your tier 1 vendors should be your most trusted, and therefore you may decide to ask them to manage your tier 2 vendors. Any vendor that could cause you significant reputational damage should be a tier 1.

  • Insist on visibility

Many companies rely on their tier 1 suppliers to manage their tier 2’s and maybe the tier 3’s. Of course some have a waterfall model whereby the tier 1’s only manage the 2’s, the 2’s manage the 3’s, and so on. Devolving management does not devolve responsibility. A good approach is to implement a global supplier database and insist on it being kept up to date with various pieces of important information. For example you may ask for tier 1’s to formally manage supplier performance of 2’s and update summaries of metrics and meetings to the database.

  • Maintain your culture

Just because a tier 1 supplier is managing a tier 2, does not mean that you don’t want the tier 2 supplier observing your company values and culture. A key way to permeate company culture is to hold events for all suppliers where you update them all on your vision and strategy. Also ensure you still communicate important news to the entire supplier database.

In Summary

For many organisations it is not feasible to manage the entire supplier base appropriately. Therefore a good option is to tier the supply chain – however this must be done in a robust fashion, and should never involve attempting to devolve ultimate responsibility.

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The Top 4 Marketing Communication Skills You Need for Success

By Morgan International Staff Writers

A marketer's chief responsibility is communication with customers. Getting the right message to the right people and making them act, think or feel a certain way takes skill and knowledge. Not all marketers are naturals in every type of communication and may focus on a specific area. For marketing generalists in smaller businesses, being a good ‘all-rounder’ is a big advantage. Even if you don’t need to physically create imagery, for example, you will still need to understand what makes an image effective if you are leading a campaign. Therefore, a good marketer never stops learning to improve their communication skills. Here are the main communication skills that marketers must continue to hone throughout their careers.

1. Writing compelling copy

Are you responsible for writing ad copy, sales collateral, press releases, blogs and newsletters? Each type of copy you create requires specific knowledge. A creative flair with words is a great start but you will also need to understand what motivates a journalist to pick up your press release and how to present the information- do you know the pyramid style? For web pages and blog copy, knowledge of SEO, content planning and research skills are needed. Is your ad copy persuasive? Is it punchy enough and does it compel your audience to buy from your brand? Each and every type of marketing copy you create needs to fulfill a different objective and, therefore, needs the writer to have the appropriate skills and knowledge to produce it.

2. Public Speaking Skills

Are you responsible for PR in your business? Do you have to deal with the press, speak at conferences or even present ideas internally to staff members? Public speaking is not something everyone enjoys but with training, it does get easier. Practice makes perfect! If you don’t have someone to practice in front of, record yourself and play it back. You will see how many ‘ums’ and ‘errs’ you need to remove, whether you sound and look confident in what you are saying and if your presentation is delivering the right message.

3. Non-verbal communication

Just as salespeople need to work on their non-verbal communication, so do most marketers. If you are working on your public speaking skills, you will notice your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice have as much, if not more, of an impact than your choice of words.

4. Visual communication

Imagery and Brand ID are powerful ways to convey a message, become a familiar face to your audience and deliver information to your audience. Even if you are not a skilled graphic designer, you should still understand the mechanics of visual marketing, how to interpret a brief and check that imagery fits your brand and marketing objectives.

No matter what your strengths and weaknesses in communication skills, you can learn a great deal about the areas in which you are less confident while continuing to excel and improve on your natural talents. To find out how we can help you improve your marketing communication skills, get in touch with our team today.