What Is Elicitation? An Overview

An elicitation is the process of discovery to determine business requirements with the help of a business analyst. Often, the information that someone investing in a business or someone who is a stakeholder in a business needs is not listed anywhere. Instead, it comes through random emails or phone calls – an elicitation aims to put down all of the information that is needed for the stakeholders or investors and then provides that information.

If you are pitching a business or trying to get more funds for a specific project, an elicitation is absolutely necessary, even if it isn’t ordered. It can help to organize information, ensure that your business report is complete, and to identify business needs and risks.

If you are in need of an elicitation professional, give us a call now: +27 87 980 0000.

What To Do Before An Elicitation

The most important thing to do before an elicitation (and before any type of business planning) is to get an accurate understanding of what your business needs for this specific project or undertaking. Everything that happens during this process will fall back to those needs.

You should also talk to stakeholders and backers to determine what aspects are necessary for the elicitation. This can include what they want to hear about, what the end results will be, a quality analysis, project sponsors, operational supports, subject matter questions, implementation, regulation, and more – be prepared for a vast amount of information, especially if this is for a new business or backer.

Elicitation Methods & Techniques

After getting the information needed from the elicitation together, there are a few different methods that one can go about to get the information. These can include brainstorming to create new ideas and themes based on the questions. All ideas should be recorded in this session, even if they will not all be used.

Next, you need to complete a document analysis that involves collecting and reviewing documentation that goes back to your business needs, risks, and ideas. This can be a lot of information, so organization is absolutely critical here.

Some other steps can include interviews, where important people involved in the business or planning may be interviewed. Sometimes, it may even be beneficial to interview subject matter experts.

After gathering all of this information, it can be beneficial to create a prototype or storyboard so that stakeholders can visualize your plan. It can help to validify your information and provide valuable insight into where there may be holes. In general, the more detailed, the better. You may also be able to create surveys to help gain information from your stakeholders after presentations so that you can know where you were missing information, where you could provide more, and where you provided enough.

Who Can Conduct An Elicitation?

An elicitation is often completed by a third-party business analyst who can determine which methods are the best for everyone involved. He or she will look at all of the information provided and help to structure the format of the elicitation and gather the necessary information.

It is important to note that an elicitation can take place at any phase of a project, not just at the start – that is just the ideal scenario.

Regardless, the person who conducts an elicitation needs to be trained in doing such, has intense attention to detail, and has experience in carrying out elicitations.

Business Consulting in South Africa – Need Help?

Are you getting ready to present to a financier? Stay cool, calm, and collected when it comes to your presentation. Practice it, anticipate questions, and make sure that you are comfortable with your material. You do not want to go into the room like a robot or an actor, but you do want to be prepared.

One of the best ways to prepare for financial presentations is to work with a business consultant who can help you to plan and practice. At ICQ, we have years of experience working with businesses and entrepreneurs as business consultants. If you are ready to get started, give us a call today.

7 Everyday Tasks Professional Bookkeeping Services Do

A bookkeeper can be a job within a company or it can be something that is outsourced to a third party. No matter what, a bookkeeper is likely to have a long list of duties that range from simplistic and quick to lengthy and complex. Often, the bookkeeper will need to use tools to automate certain processes and eliminate the risk of human error.

Sometimes, a bookkeeper will also be an accountant, allowing them to cover even more skills and tasks. No matter what, your bookkeeper ought to have business sense, work quickly but correctly, adapt to different forms of technology, have a finger on the pulse of changes to rules and regulations, and pay attention to detail.

Keep Track Of Bank Accounts

The most obvious task that a bookkeeper does is to keep track of financial accounts. This means ensuring that all transaction details are accurate. He or she will use accounting software to match transaction details, credit card statements, and other important documents.

This task is essential for bookkeepers because it provides the backbone for other tasks that he or she will carry out.

Advises In Budgeting Decisions

A bookkeeper will be there to help when business leaders are making budgeting decisions, especially those involving new projects or plans. He or she will be expected to not only know how the budget may impact the business but what changes in financials will mean for tax purposes.

Accounts Receivable Duties

Accounts receivable is an important thing for businesses to manage, and a bookkeeper can handle all of the intricacies. Your bookkeeper may be able to help in creating invoices, sending them to the appropriate parties, providing statements, and helping with collections for delinquent clients.

Once again, there are tools to help with this, but those tools need experienced oversight.

Help With Seasonal Flows

Having a long-term bookkeeper can help to plan for downtimes and slow periods. Some businesses are only busy during certain times of the year, and a bookkeeper can help plan for the leaner periods. Now, this isn’t something that they will be able to tell right away (even with accurate financial records, though they can help), but something that comes from experience and insight.

Prepare For Taxes – All Year Long

A bookkeeper can work with your tax preparation services to ensure that you are staying on the right side of the law all throughout the year. He or she can also help to plan for any taxes that may be new due to regulations.

Now, not all bookkeepers can do business taxes (but some can, like those at IC Quantum), but they need to have a working understanding of them.

Process Payroll

Bookkeepers can also be tasked with fulfilling payroll and other basic human resources functions. Sometimes they can help with the entire process and other times, they simply help with the taxation portion of payroll. The role will depend on the size of your team, how busy your human resources team is, and how many employees you have.

Keeping Track Of Bills

Now, every business has certain bills that they need to pay. From rent to internet access to the tools that you use to stay working. A bookkeeper can help to ensure that all of your bills are paid on time and in full. At the same time, you may expect them to audit bills to see if there is a way to streamline costs.

Need A Bookkeeper in South Africa? Contact Us Today

IC Quantum Accountants is registered with the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) as both an accounting practice and an Accredited Training Centre (ACT) for accounting trainees. At IC Quantum Accountants Hub (Pty) Ltd, we are committed to building long-term relationships with our clients by providing excellent client service and embracing high ethical standards.

If you need a bookkeeper in South Africa for any services, personal or business, give us a call today and we can schedule an appointment with you – +27 87 980 0000/+27 81 403 5948. You can also fill out the form below and we will contact you.

3 Hidden Medical Costs To Plan For In Estate Planning

Everyone, absolutely everyone, needs an estate plan that is well written, thought out, and complete. Even if you don’t have a ton of money, you don’t own a home, and you don’t run your own business, you need an estate plan. Estate planning is a way to declare your wishes for what will happen if you can no longer take care of yourself and when you pass away. Estate planning eases stress on your loved ones and lets you make decisions about your legacy.

However, there is something else you need to think about in estate planning: the rest of your life. You are going to need some money for your medical care. While many people can look at the medical histories of the people around them, they may not accurately prepare for some hidden medical costs.

Hearing Aids

Most people don’t realize it, but hearing aids can actually be quite expensive – and they are going to be more common in the coming generations. So many of us spend hours every day with earbuds in at full volume that the hearing aid industry is just waiting for us.

Hearing aids that are bulky and more evident aren’t quite as expensive, but most people do not want to use those – they want sleek, hard to detect, and easy to use. Of course, you also want to get a hearing aid that actually works and allows you to do the things you enjoy, like listening to music, seeing theater, and being active.

Updating Your Home

As we get older, our homes may need to be renovated or changed to help meet our needs. Perhaps you will need to install a lift to help you get upstairs, a ramp to get into your home, or make your entire home wheelchair accessible. You want to ensure that you have some funds to make necessary updates.

Of course, you can also prepare for this by buying a home that is accessible, such as a ranch style home. Even so, you may need to make some adjustments.

Caretakers

Who will take care of you when you get older? If your children live far away or you don’t have children, you may need to plan ahead. Perhaps you will have a live-in caretaker or caretakers that help you – you will need to pay those people.

Perhaps you will go into a nursing home or a retirement community – you will need to pay for those as well. The sicker you are and the more help you need, the more expensive it can be.

Who Will Make Your Medical Decisions?

Included in your estate plan should be something called a “medical advance directive.” This gives permission for someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is particularly beneficial for those who are single or those who do not have children. If you do not want an estranged relative or virtual stranger to make medical decisions for you, you need to assign someone with this task. It is best to talk to this person before you need their services.

Top Estate Planning Services in South Africa

The truth is that an accountant is the best possible person to handle estate planning for many people in South Africa. While talking about what will happen after we pass on may seem morbid, it is a necessary part of life for so many people. In particular, if you have a business, children, or loved ones that you want to provide for, this is one final way that you can take care of them. You will be able to save them a lot of stress and confusion – and potentially even money. In some ways, it is comforting for them to hear about what you wanted.

It is never too early to start estate planning, even if you don’t have a great deal of money in your bank account or you aren’t ready to give up your business just yet. Make sure you work with a professional that has your best interests in mind and can work with you to not only protect you while you are alive but to help preserve your legacy once you have passed.

To get started, schedule an appointment today.

Pretoria Business Tax Planning Tips For 2020

As the end of the year quickly approaches, it is time to start thinking about how your business will handle taxes. Tax laws are extremely complicated and it is best to work with a professional accounting firm to have them handled appropriately. Most people work all year to ensure that their taxes are easy to file. Even so, there are still some things that you can do to make tax season easier.

 

Here are some of our best tips for tax planning for businesses as we enter 2020:

Think About Deductions

Tax deductions can help to reduce your business’ tax bill. Knowing what deductions you can take, and having an itemized list of the items that you purchased throughout the year can help your accountant get everything in order quickly. You want to get everything listed, from company trips to ordering new supplies.

Tax deductions can be any number of things that you can subtract from your taxable income, including Interest on mortgages, Medical expenses, other taxes, home usage, loans, charitable contributions, Pension and Retirement annuity contributions and more.

Through the years IC Quantum Accountant has helped scores of clients to develop a system that can work in their environment to save documentation either in hardcopy or soft. Keeping track of your expenses does not have to be a stressful exercise.

Learn What Credits and rebates You May Have

Another thing that could save you money come tax time is learning about the different credits that are offered and which ones you can get. These will help take away from your tax burden. Even better, learning about credits now can help you to meet the requirements for new or different credits for your taxes into the future.

Many tax credits give you proportional reductions on your tax bill – if you get a credit for R2500, you will see your tax bill lowered by R2500. There are many different credits that you can take advantage of – so make sure you look into your options.

There’s rebates on interest earned and others that can be taken into account for better tax planing helping you save more for retirement.

Understand Tax Brackets

There are different tax brackets that individuals and businesses fit into – so make sure you understand what tax bracket you will be in when you file. Trying to figure out how much you owe by using the wrong bracket can give you wildly wrong totals.

A tax professional should be able to help you with this.

Set Up A Place For Your Tax Records

For business owners, one of the most important things you can do is set up a place where you keep all of your relevant tax information, including payroll, receipts, and transactions. These documents are imperative to filing your taxes, so you should know where they are. Try to get digital copies that are kept in a safe place. Most businesses will keep all of their tax records, but you should aim to keep at least 7 years.

Find An Accounting Firm You Trust

Business taxes are a bit more complicated than your traditional taxes. You need to work with an accounting firm that you can trust – both with your information and in their work. It is easy to find an accounting firm that can do the work, but few are personable and help you to grow and change. Taxes are stressful, and you need someone who will make the situation less tense.

Find an accounting firm that has everything that you need and can help you to meet your goals next year. A firm that can handle the size and scope of your needs. If you need to, try a few different options until you can find the one that fits the best.

Talk To An Accounting Firm in Pretoria

Many people don’t realize the importance of talking to an accountant while they are planning for tax season because they think that person will handle everything when the time comes – but that isn’t a good habit to fall into. Instead, you want to talk to an accountant as soon as possible.

It is never too early to start thinking about your taxes, even if you don’t have a great deal of money in your bank account or your business isn’t yet making that much money. Make sure you work with a professional that has your best interests in mind and can work with you to ensure your business stays on the right side of the law.

To get started, schedule an appointment today.

Three Ways A Business Coach In Gauteng Steers Himself Toward Success

Three Ways A Business Coach In Gauteng Steers Himself Toward Success

Trying to be a successful business owner is something that requires quite a bit of trying by many, many people. Not only is it just the business owner, but the people who surround him as well. Many people know that it takes hard work, but there are also some other things it takes. Working hard is one thing, but you also need to make smart choices when it comes to your work.

 

Here are some areas in which you can be smarter when planning your business.

Prioritize What It Is That You Want To Get Done

Most people go into their days with a to-do list and we all tend to do the same things: we get the “low hanging fruit” out of the way. Part of this is because these tend to be easier tasks that don’t take as much effort. We also just like to cross things off our lists. At the same time, that pushes the most important tasks to the end of the day, which really means they will go to the next day.

When you are writing your to-do list, start by listing your priorities at the top. You may even want to number your list so that you work in order. That way, you have a plan for how to work and you don’t put stuff off until the last minute, sabotaging all of your other work.

Make priorities and make them clear. Use a star, write them in a different color, highlight them, or do whatever it is to set them apart from the rest of the items on your list. Work on those tasks (and only those tasks) first and then work on the little stuff at the end of the day. You will be surprised how efficient your work is.

Focus On One Task At A Time

We touched on this with the last point but it is important to drive home: focus on one specific task and get that done. Do not have your email open while you work on something. Put your phone away. You cannot listen to podcasts and be effective at your work. When you are working on something that is important to you, focus only on that task.

Once again, set aside specific times to work on things that are important to you. Do what you need to do to focus – play some classical music, lock your phone, or work in a coffee shop where you cannot browse your phone.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

If you are going to be a business owner, the most important thing you can do is get good people on your side. Hiring the best is one thing, but you also need to surround yourself with people who motivate you. Many people are great at what they do, but they aren’t that personable and don’t make working on something all that fun.

You need to have people around you that you can go to when things get difficult. People who will help you as best they can, even if they do not know how to do something. This includes your friends and people outside of your business. Ask your kids to take over some of the dog walking responsibilities, tell your friends you need to stay focused on tasks so you cannot text all day. Ask for help with things that you know other people can do. We are too afraid to ask people for help because it makes us seem vulnerable.

Need Help With Your Business Plan?

Do you have a great idea for a business but need funders and a business plan? At IC Quantum, we can help you to present a business plan that funders will find clear and to the point making your proposal stand out from the rest. We have years of experience in guiding people to make the right decisions about their business, starting with feasibility studies and ending with working hand-in-hand with them to handle the bookkeeping once their business has flourished.

Ready to get started? Give us a call today at +27 87 980 0000 or send us an email at info@icq.africa to schedule an appointment.

Estate Planning: Choosing A Trustee

Trusts are a major part of estate planning for anyone, particularly those who have a significant estate to leave behind when they pass away. Choosing a trustee and setting up a trust is important to many people because it can help to reduce taxes, hold back money, and avoid probate. However, trusts are also quite difficult to set up on your own. It is a major decision to set up a trust, and an even bigger decision to determine just who your trustee will be. A trustee can be an individual, individuals, or a financial institute. No matter who it is, there needs to be a lot of thought that goes into the selection.

A Trustee Has An Important Job – That Is Sometimes Boring

Selecting a trustee requires you to be honest about who people really are in your life. Trustees have a significant job to do, and they have legal responsibilities. They need to be able to pay attention to details and get things done in a timely manner. A trustee has to administer the trust to the beneficiaries – exactly as you laid out in your estate plan or will. The trustee has to ensure that everything is handled appropriately and in a timely manner – sometimes this means picking someone who will keep a cool and calm exterior. Your children may be too emotional with your passing, even though they are the obvious choices.

A trustee also has to have a mind for figures and numbers. There is a need to look over investments and distributions once you pass away. If you have minors who are still in school, the trustee may need to allocate funds for college payments, clothing, or transportation. The trustee has to record all of that information and keep it neat and tidy. Anyone who is a beneficiary may request to see the transactions and every penny should be accounted for at all times.

The trustee may want to do some investing on his or her own to help benefit the estate. If this something that you want, you want to choose a trustee who will do so ethically. Most importantly, trustees absolutely need to be fair and just.

Your Trustee Needs To Have Deep Financial Knowledge

There are many people in this world who are smart, but very few people who have the kind of financial knowledge that is necessary to be a trustee. Trustees need to have bookkeeping skills, know at least a bit about tax and trust laws (or be willing to learn), and know about investments.

Of course, you also may want to look at who your trust will be impacting. Some trusts are large enough or set up in a way so that they last generations. Trustees should be on the younger side (and healthy) so that they can work with the estate for a long time. Some people choose to name a financial institute a trustee for this very reason.

Many people want to name a family member as their trustee because it seems appealing or a way to honor your relationship with that person. Some people just want to avoid the extra costs. However, there are very few people who can fulfill all the requirements of a trustee’s job unless they themselves work within the financial sector.

Remember, naming a trustee is one of the most important decisions you will make during your estate planning period. This person is responsible for carrying out your will – so choose wisely.

Talk To An Estate Planning Professional in South Africa

Many people aren’t comfortable talking to an estate planner because it can be somewhat macabre and upsetting. However, it is a necessary part of life for so many people. If you have a business, children, or loved ones that you care about, this is one final way that you can take care of them. You will be able to save them a lot of stress and confusion. In some ways, it is comforting for them to hear about what you wanted.

It is never too early to start estate planning, even if you don’t have a great deal of money in your bank account. Make sure you work with a professional that has your best interests in mind and can work with you to not only protect you while you are alive but to help preserve your legacy once you have passed.

To get started, schedule an appointment today.