What makes a good Engineering Manager?

I was asked this question recently and and since answering, I’ve come away and thought about it in more detail. Here is where I ended up…

A good Engineering Manager creates an environment where their team can do amazing things whilst delivering great software.

OK, so how do you do that?

Well, you need to provide what Engineers need to be truly fulfilled in their roles. To me, this consists of five things:

1) Purpose

We need to know the reason we are required…and indeed that we are actually required. This is not just about our specific role but the bigger picture too, everyone ought to understand and be bought into what we, as a company, are trying to achieve.

2) Control  / ownership

People care far more about things they own and can control then things that they can’t. If you can’t control something, you aren’t really responsible for it succeeding (or failing!), so why bother?

This is why autonomy is so important. Show Engineers what problems need solving and let them take ownership and work out how to solve them.

3) Appreciation

I once read that all anyone wants is to be appreciated and this is so true. If you feel appreciated, you’ll be eager to do more for someone. If you don’t, well, why bother?

4) To be themselves

So you may have purpose, control over what you do and feel appreciated but if you can’t be yourself, is it worth it? No one wants to spend all day putting on a front, what a waste of energy! Energy that could be used to do your job even better!

5) To work with great people

However diverse a team is, a great team will all get on (most of the time!) and celebrate each others’ differences.

They will also support each other. Engineers need to know that they can ask for help and not be judged. We also need to know that if we make a mistake, the finger of blame won’t be pointed; making someone feel bad for their mistakes helps no one.

In summary, a good Engineering Manager builds a team who know what they need to do and why they need to do it but they let the team decide how they will do it. They will encourage a team that supports each other and that appreciates people for who they are.

Ormsby Street become Gold Award Winners in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International

Ormsby Street Wins Gold in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International

Most Innovative Product of the Year – SMB Most Innovative Product of the Year

 

London, UK – July 26, 2017 – Ormsby Street has been named the gold winner in SMB Most Innovative Product of the Year in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International, the only independent global business awards program judged each year by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications from around the world.

Founded in January 2014, Ormsby Street is one of Europe’s most disruptive firms, providing tangible help to 40,000 small businesses across Europe. It uses multiple data sources – credit reference agencies, Ormsby Street’s community of small business users and a company’s own bookkeeping data – and powerful analytics to address late invoice payment and poor cash-flow. It does so by providing easy-to-understand insight into how businesses should trade with customers and what action to take to reduce risk of non-payment.

“It’s great for our efforts to be recognised by Best in Biz says Robert Drury, Head of Product at Ormsby Street. “Late and non-payment is a huge issue for businesses across the world and we’re here to support small businesses get paid the money they are owed so they can do what they do best.”

Almost 300 public and private companies hailing from all sectors of the global economy from more than 30 countries competed in Best in Biz Awards’ fifth annual International program. Best in Biz Awards 2017 International honors were once again presented in a range of categories, including Fastest-Growing Company of the Year, Most Innovative Company of the Year, Support Department of the Year, Executive of the Year, Most Innovative Product, Enterprise Product and Consumer Product of the Year. 

Winners in the 5th annual program were determined based on scoring from an independent panel of judges hailing from a wide spectrum of top-tier publications and media outlets and from 15 countries and all continents. Best in Biz Awards’ uniqueness stems, in part, from the composition of its judging panels. Each year, only editors, writers, and contributors to business, consumer, financial, trade and technology publications, as well as broadcast outlets and analyst firms, are invited to serve as judges. Structured this way, Best in Biz Awards can best leverage the expertise, experience, and objectivity of its influential judges to determine award winners.

“I thought the caliber of entries in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International was even higher than in previous years – the entrants intrinsically were more impressive companies,” said Martina Devlin, Irish Independent.

This year’s judging panel included writers and contributors to such publications as ARD (Germany), Business Breakfast (United Arab Emirates), Computer Hoy (Spain), Data Breach Today (United Kingdom), HT Mobile (Israel), IAA Magazine (United Arab Emirates), InBusiness (Cyprus and Greece), Irish Independent (Ireland), Radio Ngati Porou (New Zealand), TechHim (India), TechnoFILE.com(Canada), Tune Media (Singapore), Ventures Africa (Nigeria), and Wirausaha & Keuangan (Indonesia).

For a full list of gold, silver and bronze winners in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International, visit: http://intl.bestinbizawards.com/intl-2017-winners.

 

About Ormsby Street

Ormsby Street, through their products CreditHQ and CreditFocus, are addressing one of the main challenges faced by small businesses – late payment and non-payment of invoices. When customers and partners do not pay on time, this leads to cash-flow issues, which can affect business growth.

Tens of thousands of small businesses all over Europe are using CreditHQ to credit-check their customers, and some of the world’s biggest banks are also using it to better understand and provide a valuable and innovative service to their SME customers.

 

About Best in Biz Awards

Since 2011, Best in Biz Awards, Inc. has made its mark as the only independent business awards program judged each year by a who’s who of prominent reporters and editors from top-tier publications from North America and around the world. Best in Biz Awards honors are conferred in two separate programs: North America and International, and in 65 categories, including company, team, executive, product, and PR and media. For more information about the International program, see: http://intl.bestinbizawards.com.

What’s the point of a business credit score anyway?

In your own personal life you probably know why your credit score makes a difference. You need to get a mortgage to buy that house you need because you’re in that place in your life when settling down seems the thing you’re supposed to do.  You want to get a credit card so that you can take advantage of some last minute holiday deal to a sunshine resort but don’t have the funds to pay for it now.

 

You know that when you apply for these things your credit score is going to be looked at by the banks or the credit card companies to see whether you’re worth them risking their money on you.  Are you going to pay them back?  Are you going to pay them back regularly, and on time?

 

Without a good credit score, you probably know that your chances of getting the card, or the loan, or the mortgage, are reduced.  Or you won’t get quite as much as you hoped for.  You might get a £3,000 credit limit as opposed to a £5,000.  Or a 6 months interest-free period as opposed to 12 months.  You might be advised to provide 25% of the value of the property as opposed to 15%.

 

All because your credit score doesn’t show the financial institutions that you’re a good CreditScore100risk for them.

 

Well, it’s exactly the same for businesses when they need to get their hands on a new source of funding.

 

The financiers will take a look at the credit score of the business to see whether their money is going to be safe, but whilst we’re aware of this in our private lives, small businesses often pay no attention to it in their business life.

 

A Department for Business Innovation & Skills report into how small businesses try to raise external financing found that 69% of UK businesses had NEVER checked their credit score, despite the fact that 56% of SMEs have required external financing during the previous three years in order to operate their business.

 

CreditScoreAnd what happens when you need to get external financing?  Your credit score gets checked.  That’s a whole host of businesses going into financial negotiations completely blind as to their chances of success.

 

You need a loan to extend your premises or buy that new van.  You contact a source of external finance and the first thing they’ll do is check how big a risk you are to them, and they’ll find out your credit score before you do!

 

How is it possible to plan your business if you have no idea what finance your likely to get given your credit score and visible financial record?  The reality is that most businesses don’t plan this kind of thing.

 

The average time between a business enquiring about external finance and actually needing to use the finance is just 8 days.  That’s not a lot of time to adjust your plans if you’re unsuccessful in getting all the finance you need, or the finance you do get is more costly than you expect, both of which might happen if your business’s credit score isn’t in good shape.

 

That’s why you should be monitoring your credit score from the day you start trading, because at some point in the future you’re likely to need it, and by that time it needs to be as good as it can be and there’s no time to take any steps to improve it if it isn’t.

 

Start putting some positive effort into your business credit score today so that when the time comes you’re ready.  Check your score regularly, ensure the details are correct, pay your bills on time, file your accounts on time, don’t go overdrawn, and don’t default on any debts.  You’ll then have a much greater chance of being able to finance the business on your terms.

 

What’s your business’s credit score?

Release notes – April 2017

CreditFocus

(www.creditfocus.co.uk)

We’re a third of the way through the year already and many of our 2017 resolutions are way behind us, but the CreditFocus team have continued trying to deliver more stability and value in the service. This month we’ve released the following:

  • Increased resilience of our integration with our Solicitors partner to deliver Solicitor’s Letters
  • Refresh of Experian data to populate missing credit scores
  • Improved payment data synchronisation
  • Updated FAQ/Support content

Feedback

If you have feedback on the CreditFocus service then do get in touch with us at support@creditfocus.co.uk and let us know your thoughts.  It could be an issue you’ve identified or a great idea for how we can support you more.

CreditHQ

(tfc.credithq.co.uk)

Work on CreditHQ has also continued, where we’ve addressed some concerns of our new customers who access CreditHQ via some of our channel partners:

New

  • Removal of proactive email alerting for new channel users prior to sign in
  • Increased ability for channel partners to support the creation of new users
  • Improved reporting for channel partners

Feedback

If you have feedback on the CreditHQ service then do get in touch with us at support@credithq.co.uk and let us know your thoughts.  It could be an issue you’ve identified or a great idea for how we can support you more.


Note: These release notes summarise the key releases undertaken during the period.  A series of smaller or more technical releases have also taken place.

Release notes – March 2017

CreditFocus

(www.creditfocus.co.uk)

Who can believe it’s the end of March already!  We’ve been busy little bees on the CreditFocus service this month and released the following:

New features

  • Launched a new site homepage
  • Ability to select your summary email preferences
  • Business who ceased trading are now included in email summaries
  • Hiding of Companies House sections for non-limited companies
  • Ability to set a Solicitor’s Letters status as ‘closed’
  • Updated FAQ/Support content

Feedback

If you have feedback on the CreditFocus service then do get in touch with us at support@creditfocus.co.uk and let us know your thoughts.  It could be an issue you’ve identified or a great idea for how we can support you more.

CreditHQ

(tfc.credithq.co.uk)

A slightly quieter time was had with CreditHQ, where we’ve introduced a couple of new features aimed at highlighting key features, as well as offering an incentive to upgrade.

New

  • Ability to select your summary email preferences
  • Business who ceased trading are now included in email summaries
  • Hiding of Companies House sections for non-limited companies

Feedback

If you have feedback on the CreditHQ service then do get in touch with us at support@credithq.co.uk and let us know your thoughts.  It could be an issue you’ve identified or a great idea for how we can support you more.


Note: These release notes summarise the key releases undertaken during the period.  A series of smaller or more technical releases have also taken place.

Wouldn’t it be great to know whether large businesses paid on time

As part of our Ask the Expert series, Karen Savage, Partner at law firm Shoosmiths, takes a look at the draft regulations for large companies to report their payment practices.


The regulations

With effect from 6 April 2017, draft regulations (Reporting on Payment Practices and Performance Regulations, 2017) would have large companies and LLPs publishing information about their payment practices and performance twice a year via a government website so that you can see who pays their bills on time. You will be a large company for these regulations if you tick two of the following three criteria: annual turnover of over £36 million; balance sheet total of over £18 million or over 250 employees.

Everyone will benefit from these regulations because you can see who does what, but if you tick two of the following three criteria: annual turnover of over £36 million; balance sheet total of over £18 million or over 250 employees, then you’ll need to be one of the ones who submits their data.

The reporting will include information about your payment terms, including your standard contractual length of time for payment of invoices, maximum contractual payment period and any changes to standard payment terms and whether suppliers have been notified or consulted about any such changes. You will also need to give information about your dispute resolution process related to payments.

Statistics will also feature in the report, and you will need to provide the average time taken to pay an invoice from the date of receipt of the invoice. This will include the percentage of invoices paid within the reporting period which were paid in 30 days or fewer, between 31 and 60 days, and lastly over 60 days. You will also need to confirm the proportion of invoices due within the reporting period which were not paid within the agreed terms.

There are a number of statements within the reporting requirements about whether you offer e-invoicing, supply chain finance and whether you are a member of a payment code. For example, the prompt payment code. You will need to state whether your practices and policies cover deducting sums from payments as a charge for remaining on a supplier’s list, and whether you have done this within the reporting period.

The report will need to be signed off by a director and so the intention is that this will be an issue at board level, and will therefore be a prominent consideration for those affected.

Guidance is expected at the same time as the regulations are placed before Parliament, and readers are welcome to monitor our publications for further updates.

Thoughts?

The aim of these regulations is to enable suppliers to identify which of their customers subject to the regulations are good payers. It will also provide information about payment terms and conditions which will allow suppliers to assess how their customers trade with their suppliers, and presumably whether they wish to offer their goods or services to that company.

Broadly, this is intended to be a tool for small business to tackle late payment, but there can be many reasons for late payment. The companies affected by these regulations will need to consider how they identify the risks from these regulations and manage those within their business, and in communications with suppliers. It may be, for example, that potential partners rule themselves out from a trading relationship with you before you even get the chance to dialogue with them.

Disputed invoices will be included within the statistics which record the proportion of invoices which were not paid within the agreed terms, and within the statistics on the average time taken to pay. This aspect might well need close examination within your business, and what impact if any, disputed invoices could have on your supplier base.

For those suppliers recovering unpaid invoices, this new regime will provide information which might assist with that debt recovery process. Depending on where the company is on the cycle of reporting, current information about their payment profile might assist you with your decision making in relation to debt recovery options.


About Karen Savage

Karen is a Partner and leads the recoveries team at Shoosmiths, a makor UK law firm. Karen has over twokarensavage decades experience in commercial recoveries and insolvency litigation, having acted for a broad range of clients within the financial sector, utilities, debt purchase , trade creditor and credit insurance sector.

Karen is recognised and ranked by Legal 500 and Chambers and known for her commerical and pragmatic advice, together with her exceptional client care skills. Karen is also a previous winner of Credit Todays Litigation Specialist of the Year


Disclaimer – This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.