1. Benchmark Memo – February 2011

    March 11, 2011 by

    The year is well underway – it's February already! We trust that all is going well for you.

    Members may access this month's edition of the Benchmark Memo in PDF format by clicking the link below:

    February 2011 Members Benchmark Memo

  2. Enhance your career and hold on to your job

    February 15, 2011 by

    Susan H Ivancevich [1] a fellow of the Dixon Hughes Faculty and her colleagues, in a article aimed primarily at newly employed accountancy graduates, provide the following tips for holding on to a job enhancing a career:

    Best practices for new employees

    1. Volunteer for new assignments: employers appreciate employees that show initiative and that look for new assignments and responsibilities.
    2. Work as a team player: the new employee’s goal during the first two years in particular should be to do whatever it takes to earn recognition as being a valuable member of the team.
    3. Show a desire to learn: including reading trade journals in  clients' industries, studying new accounting standards, and asking questions concerning these in connection with job responsibilities.
    4. Display a positive attitude: arriving at work on time with a positive attitude can greatly benefit your career.
    5. Have a strong work ethic: going above and beyond requirements, demonstrating a willingness to work hard and putting in extra effort for the organisation.
    6. Ask good questions: ask questions when required taking care to do this in an appropriate way.
    7. Produce quality work: be committed to excellence, review work before submitting, ensure that it accomplishes what was requested.

    [1] R11063 Ivancevich, S H., Ivancevich, D. M., Roscher, R., (2010), The First Two Years of Employment: Strategies and Pitfalls, The CPA Journal, Vol 79, Iss 7, pp 69-73, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, New York

    Neil Crawford

    Members may read the full article which provides further advice about giving feedback to employees by clicking on the link below:


  3. China First in ISO 9001 & ISO14001 Certifications for 2009

    February 6, 2011 by

    ISO9001 use 2009

    The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the results of The ISO Survey of Certifications – 2009 about the global use and growth of ISO 9001, 14001, 16949, 13485, 27001 and 22000 standards.

    Despite Europe having acquired the most number of certifications, China is the leading country for ISO 9001 compliance, with a total of 257,076 certifications in the year 2009 alone.

    According to the ISO survey, China owns the highest number in the list of 10 countries for ISO 9001 certificates, with Italy coming in second having 130,066 certificates, or just a little above 50 percent of China’s overall amount.

    Previous years have witnessed China’s quick rise to the top; as early as 2000, China achieved Number One status moving up from third position. Other countries have remained constant: Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Others, like the Republic of Korea, are now experiencing a historic low after being recognized earlier as one of the top achievers; while the Czech Republic has completely disappeared from the list.

    ISO 9001 is an international standard for quality management systems. This translates to an assurance that an establishment or institution has passed quality requirements and to be able to demonstrate that they are managing their business so as to achieve consistent quality goods and services. The fact that China continues to hold the topmost position is an affirmation that the country is ramping up its quality standards.

    ISO14001 Growth 2009

    While the records have shown a historic boost in the issuance of ISO 9001 certifications worldwide, the same cannot be said of ISO 14001 certifications. ISO 14001 prescribes the standards for environmental management systems (EMS), or how economies would better handle the effects their industries have on the environment, and which measures to apply in order to practice effective environmental management.

    Close inspection of the annual growth chart will reveal a distinctly erratic rise and fall in ISO 14001 issuances. In recent years, however, the numbers have seemed to stabilize; in 2008, figures display a total of 34,243 certifications as compared to the year 2009’s subtle increase at 34,334. The leading country in terms of growth is, unsurprisingly, China.

    Currently, a new ISO/ITC handbook/CD package has been created to make ISO 14001 guidelines more comprehensible. Released at the start of the year 2011, its aim is to provide “an easy-to-use checklist for small business”, so that SMEs can achieve ISO 14001 certified status more quickly and more conveniently. It highlights the varying benefits of the certification, particularly in profitability and enhancing one’s corporate image. This could be ISO’s way of addressing the need to further raise environmental awareness.

    More information can be found at ISO Survey of Certifications – 2009 here

    Ahmed Abbas
    Benchmarking Researcher, BPIR.com

  4. BPIR Newsletter – No. 1 2011

    January 29, 2011 by

    Check out or BPIR latest BPIR newsletter:

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  5. Book Reviews…

    January 22, 2011 by

    Over the past year I have read and reviewed a number of books – it is part and parcel of our job at BPIR.com to keep up-to-date with the latest information. Here are some of the most interesting books I have read. Why not get off to a good-start in 2011 by reading one of these books and applying their insights and ideas.

    Authentic Personal Branding – A New Blueprint for Building and Aligning a Powerful Leadership Brand, Dr. Hubert Rampersad, 2009. www.total-performance-scorecard.com. Hubert has a talent to apply business concepts to personal improvement. In this book, he shows us all how to build our own personal brand—and just as importantly—how to persuasively communicate this brand to the world.

    FAST Action Solution Teams – How to save a million dollars in 2 days, Jim Harrington, 2010. www.qualitydigest.com/inside/quality-insider-news/book-fast-action-solution-technique-fast.html. Jim Harrington is still going strong at 82 years old, his mind and thinking is as sharp as ever and this is his reflected in his latest book. FAST Action Solution Teams is a straightforward book on how your organisation can pick off the low hanging fruit and put in solutions that will quickly reap major bottom-line returns. FAST Action Solution Teams refers to one or two-day study projects that define improvements that individuals performing the study can implement within the next 90 days.

    Hoshin Kanri – The Strategic Approach to Continuous Improvement, David Hutchins, 2008. www.hutchins.co.uk/bk_hoshin.aspx. David has been a leader for many, many years in bringing tried and trusted techniques from the Far East to the awareness of the West. David’s latest book focuses on Hoshin Kanri—a strategic approach that encompasses four key elements of business management, namely Vision, Policy Development, Policy Deployment and Policy Control. This approach, developed in Japan, and used by organisations such as Toyota, was initially popularised by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa. It is a powerful approach, as it particularly assists in strategy deployment, which is often a weakness in organisations.

    Key Performance Indicators – Developing, Implementing, and Using Winning KPIs, David Parmenter, 2009www.davidparmenter.com. I have known David for many years, and could not wait to read the second edition of his book. The book simplifies performance measurement and is highly practical. Its focus is on the correct selection and deployment of performance measures to ensure that all resources and effort are focused on achieving business strategy. In particular, it explains the right way to measure and not the wrong way. Too often, companies claim they have key performance indicators, and yet these are often lagging measures and measured infrequently… therefore, how can they be key?   This second edition includes a discussion of critical success factors, as well as new chapters that focus on implementations issues and 'how to sections' on finding your CSFs and brainstorming the performance measures that report progress within the CSFs, Key Performance Indicators. The second edition will help you to identify and track your organization's KPIs to ensure continued and increased success.  

    No More Consultants – We Know More Than We Think. Geoff Parcell & Chris Collinson, 2009. www.chriscollison.com. This book describes interesting and practical ways to do internal benchmarking through self-assessments and the use of a “River Diagram”. A River Diagram visually shows where there is the greatest opportunity for sharing practices and learning within an organisation. By using River Diagrams, the level of internal sharing can be mapped and increased, thus assisting an organisation to leverage off its internal experience, expertise and practices.  

    The Rudolph Factor: Finding the Bright Lights that Drive Innovation in Your Business, Cyndi Laurin and Craig Morningstar, 2009. www.guidetogreatness.com. The Rudolph Factor details the impressive turnaround of The Boeing Company, with real stories from the people at Boeing C-17 who contributed to its success. Rudolphs, explain the authors, are the 10 percent of any organisation's people who are the true agents of innovation – people who can shine the light exactly where a company needs to go. Since they tend to identify causes of problems (rather than symptoms), they generate sustainable solutions more quickly and efficiently than others. Because their thinking tends to be counter-intuitive, Rudolphs are typically considered outcasts or loose cannons until their talents are needed (often at the 11th hour of a crisis, at which point they often are hailed as heroes).

    In finding these crucial individuals, nurturing them, and putting their ideas to work, your company can achieve consistently higher levels of innovation – and thrive in every economy. The Rudolph Factor shows managers how to spark bright ideas and capture greatness in others. Another great book from Cyndi!

    I hope these reviews were useful! Please, let me know of any books that you recommend.
    Dr Robin Mann
    Co-founder BPIR.com