SME 75 is an Affordable Accounting and Taxation Support Service

Crowe Horwath Jamaica , with its group of dynamic and professional accountants,understand the needs and requirements of small and medium-size entities. We are always seeking ways to satisfy those needs and requirements in ways that are affordable to our clients. As such, we NOW offer SME 75 and SME 75 PLUS.

SME 75 is an affordable package offered to small business operators for a fee of J$75,000 per year or J$6,250 per month.

SME 75 includes:

 Review of accounting transactions to ensure they are properly posted in the accounting system or posting of accounting transactions in the accounting system (whichever is applicable);

 Preparation of Monthly Financial Reports;
 Payroll Preparation;
 Preparation and filing of Employer’s Monthly Statutory Remittance Payroll Deductions (S01);
 Preparation and filing of Employer’s Annual Return (S02);
 Preparation and filing of Monthly GCT Returns (4A);
 Preparation and filing of Annual Returns: Companies (IT02, IT07, AT01); Individuals (S03; S04, S04a; IT05);
 Preparation and filing of Minimum Business Tax (MBT);
 General accounting and tax guidance.

Who qualifies for SME 75?

Companies and Sole Traders with:

i) Annual Revenues not exceeding $7,500,000;
ii) Number of employees not exceeding 7; and
iii) Number of monthly transactions not exceeding 75.
What other packages are available if you do not qualify for SME 75? Just ask about our SMEPLUS.
Under our SME PLUS you will qualify for either SME175; SME275; SME375; or SME475.

Next Step:  Contact us for additional information at :876- 9083124/9083123 or


Successful Decision-making Process

Decisionmaking seems like it should be a simple process, but sometimes we can find ourselves vacillating back and forth between one or more choices, truly unable to make a solid decision.

One of the things that makes decisionmaking so unnerving is the fear of making a wrong move. We may hesitate about making any kind of decision because we’re not sure of what the outcome will be. We get mired in “what ifs,” paralyzed by fears of what could go wrong. We worry that choosing wrong will cause an avalanche of bad luck to tumble onto our heads, or even worse, our decision will be wrong AND irreversible.

However, even worse than making the wrong decision is letting our fear prevent us from making any decision at all. This, in itself, is a choice, and not always one that serves our highest good. Rather than allowing ourselves to feel confused and paralyzed with fear, it can be useful to have a simple decisionmaking process to fall back on when we just can’t seem to make up our minds.

Following are techniques that can help you gain the clarity to make wiser decisions for yourself:

1) Clear your mind. First take a few minutes to get into a relaxed state of mind and release all fears and worries. This will help you to think more logically, rather than getting stuck on emotional responses.

2) Listen for signals. Bring each choice to mind individually, and pay attention to the responses from your body. Does one choice make your gut tighten up in apprehension? Does another choice make you feel a bit giddy or hopeful? Do you get a sense of dread from any options? Your intuition is a powerful tool that is always speaking to you. You just need to get quiet, tune in, and listen to what it says.

3) Consider the pros and cons. This is an old trick that is still quite effective. Rather than relying on your emotional impulses, you can look logically at the benefits and downfalls of each choice. Writing them down on paper is even better, because it can help you to see clearly which choice seems most beneficial. Sometimes this technique alone is enough to help you decide one way or another.

4) Consider the consequences. Though few of us have the ability to see the future in great detail, we can imagine a likely outcome to any choice we make. By thinking about these potential consequences, we stand a better chance of understanding which choice would be better for us in the long run. Two good questions to ask during this process are: “What could possibly happen if I make this decision?” and “Is it likely to happen?” Sometimes you’ll discover that your fears are out of proportion to the likely consequences, and once you realize the likelihood is small, you will be more confident in finally making a decision.

5) Choose. That’s the hardest part, I know. But again, even NOT making a decision is a choice in itself. Wouldn’t you rather have control of your choices, rather than letting your inaction bring about its own consequences? After using the techniques above, you should have a pretty solid idea of which choice is best for you.

Most importantly, remember that truly “wrong” decisions in life are rare. Rather, each choice has a corresponding consequence. Some of these consequences may seem positive, some may seem negative, but ultimately none of them are really “wrong” for us. (Except destructive choices that result in harm to yourself or another. Those I would consider definitely bad or wrong choices.)

But in a general sense, every decision we make simply moves us down a particular path in life. If we later decide we don’t like that path, we do have the power to choose another direction. But even the paths we decide we don’t like have something positive to offer us. We learn and grow in wisdom with every decision. We get to know ourselves better and better, and each decision we make later will be more in line with who we truly are, and the lives we want to create for ourselves.



Seven Strategies for Inflating Your Success

When I ask people to describe characteristics of successful people, they often identify characteristics that they associate with others but not themselves. This never ceases to amaze me.
In a recent survey, respondents indicated that the top two drivers for success were 1) having a strategic vision (87.5%) and 2) having written goals (50.0%). Further, 62.5% indicated that their definition of success was “work that is both challenging and rewarding.” Interestingly, no one indicated that their definition of success was “being financially secure.”

We all have the capacity to be successful. The question is, how successful do you want to be? Here are some key characteristics exhibited by successful people. Most successful people:
1. Have clearly identified their core values/ mission/ vision. These comprise the compass by which key life decisions are made. If a mariner didn’t have a compass, how successful do you think she would be navigating the world’s oceans? You need a compass too.
2. Create a personal definition of success. This is not what society defines as success. Your personal definition of success becomes your map and it goes hand-in-hand with your core vales/ mission/ vision. If you don’t define success, how will you know when you achieve it?
3. Have clearly defined, written goals. According to a Yale Study, 3% of the graduating class of 1953 identified goals and 20 years later, those who had written down their goals appeared happier and more content. Further, the same 3% that had written down their goals had achieved more wealth than the remaining 97% of their classmates put together! Need I say more?
4. Develop competency in negotiation. During interviews with successful women in business, negotiation was cited as the most critical factor in getting what was wanted both personally and professionally. Successful people understand that negotiation is not only about getting what you want, but getting what you deserve. If you can’t or won’t negotiate the results and outcomes you want for yourself, then who will?
5. Embrace risk-taking. People who are comfortable taking risks typically experience increased autonomy, heightened self-esteem, a more positive attitude toward life and an increased sense of personal power. Most successful people I speak to, see and seize opportunity. They recognize that taking risks typically involves personal growth. Those with an aversion to risk often link risk with failure. What is failure? Simply a judgment about events. So, instead, view risk as a learning opportunity. Remember, no risk, no reward!
6. Engage in continuous learning. One successful man I spoke to indicated that, “continuous learning is key if you want to get ahead in life.” Does that mean formal education? It might, but for most, it simply means staying current in their field or maintaining expertise in an area of passion. And if your field of expertise also happens to be your area of passion, then you are really onto something!
7. Think big. Successful people aren’t afraid to think big. During a recent seminar, I asked participants to write down one goal they would like to accomplish and to think big. One woman shared with the group that she was a professional speaker and that her goal was to replace Oprah Winfrey when she retires. I followed up with her recently and discovered that she is currently in discussions with a local broadcast company is being considered for an afternoon TV program. That’s the power of thinking big.
Woody Allen once said “eighty percent of success is showing up.” To inflate your success, it’s the other twenty percent that is most critical, that is, hard work combined with the desire to succeed. If you do nothing else, carve out time to craft a strategic vision for yourself, write down your goals and remember, think big!


Survival: The Evolution Of The Entrepreneurial Paradigm

Experts say that there are societal trends in play that are precipitating a return to pre-industrial era ways of survival. In the face of changing economic realities and disillusionment, many people are questioning the ways they currently make money and are seeking alternate means of income. But, instead of simply getting another job, or opening a fast-food franchise, many are instead asking, “What am I good at?” “What’s my passion?”

Today’s trends are all pointing to a move back to the way things were. At the very least, as the economic landscape becomes more uncertain, people need to look at options for increasing their streams of income. It may be only way to survive.

However, there is also a new awareness developing among those who are seeking to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. The question this time is: What sort of business does it make sense to start in these times of global change?

To lay the foundation for my response, I’d like to introduce you to a term with which you’re probably already familiar. The term is “catalyst.” As you may remember from high school chemistry class, a catalyst is a substance that ignites, sets in motion, or speeds up a reaction without itself being affected. In life as well, every experience is a potential catalyst. Your flat tire, the argument with your spouse, your unhappiness at your job–all are potential catalysts. Because of the free will inherent in our experience here on the planet (we have the freedom to choose our responses), the reaction that a catalyst can spark is entirely under your control.


All catalysts are designed to offer a challenge or lesson.

There are only two possible paths one can choose from in response to a catalyst: It can be accepted or it can be controlled. The path you choose will be determined by your orientation. If you are oriented towards service to self (your own comfort), you will make one set of choices. If you are oriented towards service to others, you will see and choose from a different set of choices.

When faced with a catalyst it is important to understand that we are here to evolve in the direction of our orientation, and without life‘s catalysts, the desire to evolve and the faith in the process do not normally manifest and thus evolution does not occur. So don’t rail against the changes and situations. Accept them as a natural part of the experience designed to help you grow.

Life is really that simple. Things happen. You choose your response based on your orientation. You evolve in the direction of your choice.

When neither path is chosen, the catalyst fails in its design and you proceed through life until some other catalyst appears which causes you to choose again towards acceptance and love or toward separation and control.


It’s a basic law of this dynamic, ever-changing universe that there’s no such thing as something “staying the same.” Things are either expanding or contracting, increasing or decreasing, getting better or getting worse. Even the metal or hard plastic computer or sheet of paper on which you are reading these words, as solid and as stable as they seem are all slowly decaying and deteriorating. Come back in a few dozen years, and you’ll see the effects of decay over time. If you know this, then you can look at everything from business phenomena to romantic relationships a little bit differently, and can perform what some might consider fortune-telling simply by asking, “where is this heading?”

Every business, every situation, every relationship is either getting better or getting worse, growing or shrinking, going up or heading downhill. Therefore, as long as you can honestly assess what you observe or experience over a given time frame, you can “predict” where something is heading and take any evasive or remedial actions as necessary.

Now having said that, let’s examine some observable facts and trends that are catalysts occurring right now and that will affect the future, and to which we have a choice of response.

1. The earth is going through changes. Global warming is a reality. Temperature fluctuations are affecting access to water, arable land and other resources for a growing segment of the world’s population. These and other physical, climatic, and cataclysmic changes are observable.

2. “Peak Oil” is a reality. The term “peak oil” refers to the peak in the world’s oil production. The amount of oil available on the planet is finite. There is a point in oil production whether within a single oil field or the entire planet, when a maximum is reached. Once that maximum rate of production is reached, the rate of oil production (as well as the profitability of extracting it) on Earth will enter a terminal decline. Thechallenge this presents is that while the SUPPLY is declining, the DEMAND for oil (and the plastics, electricity, etc, which are oil-dependent) continue to increase as population and industrialization continue to grow.

3. Corporate downsizing persists More and more companies are outsourcing, downsizing and offshoring in an effort to cut costs. Companies, particularly public corporations, are bound by their charters and by law to seek first the profitability of their shareholders. That’s why the decisions these companies make often seem less humanitarian and more profit-inspired. That’s because they have to be.

4. Global power and focus is shifting China and India are growing economic forces. They represent sources of labor, consumers, as well as increased oil and energy demand. Companies the world over in Europe, (Romania and Poland most recently made news) and the US, are importing laborers from China, or outsourcing skilled jobs to India.


As a potential entrepreneur, indeed as a nation, the opportunity exists to predict, anticipate, prepare for and position oneself for the effects of these trends. Don’t wait for mainstream news broadcasts to confirm this. Don’t expect politicians to make it part of their agendas in time. They are operating from a different agenda. Those who seek to rule the world are by nature unlike those of the world they seek to rule.


As I said, there is always either a lesson or a challenge.

Within the context of these trends, the economic condition, and by extension, your unique situation is a catalyst that provides an opportunity for you to respond in search of a lesson or a challenge.

As potential entrepreneurs, if we choose to rise to the challenge, using what we know about predicting the future, the question becomes first: What’s going to happen as these trends and catalysts continue? And then more importantly, what shall I do in response to these happenings? Where should I look for theopportunity? What sort of business would I start? And finally which business path offers the most opportunity for service to others?

Now there are those who would ask, ‘which path offers the most profit?’, but that’s a service-to-self orientation. We need a new paradigm. I suggest, as motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is credited with saying: that if you help enough people get what they want, you automatically get what you want.


There’s another important trend that I believe is important to factor into this equation, and it is this: The continued growth upon which the current economic model is based cannot be sustained indefinitely. Infinite growth based on finite resources is unsustainable. Growth based on the exploitation of others is unethical and untenable.

Yes, China and India are both ideal sources of labor as well as the next great frontier for consumerism. The rest of the world’s industrialized, market-driven, capitalist, consumer-oriented companies and entrepreneurs know this as well, and are rushing to position themselves.

However, the gold watch-sporting, cola-drinking, junk food-eating, luxury car-driving, soap opera-watching, video game-playing lifestyle upon which these companies rely to support their spiritually vapid, environmentally-depleting and mindless products, while exploiting the poor as the labor source, is on an inevitable decline. Global consciousness of a more serious nature is actually on the rise (it’s just not being reported).

So if as a result, you see, as I do, the potential crash of the entire economic system upon which this model hinges, then you might agree that basing a new industry or business idea on such shifting sand, while perpetuating a soon-to-be outdated business model that separates and destroys the family structure, enslaves communities, while perpetuating indentured servitude is not a desirable course. So, here is the challenge in a nutshell. The current model is unsustainable. We need to survive. However, our survival is based on buying into a definition of success which perpetuates the very model which is threatening our survival. What then, should be our best course of action?


How do you survive in an economic system that is threatening your and its own survival. Answer: You sell survival. That’s right, the game is changing to one of selling survival.

Right now others in the know are mobilizing to prepare to offer you their solutions. But what they offer won’t be real solutions. They will offer products, services and a paradigm which perpetuates their control and their individual survival. In some parts of the world, companies are already charging the population for access to clean water, and some are selling seeds which have been genetically altered to produce single-generation crops forcing farmers into a cycle of having to purchase new seeds every season just to survive.

But how do you survive in good conscience by profiting from what others need to survive. Therein lies the paradox of selling survival.

But that sort of response is not the best option. Selling altered seeds or clean water is not the survival I wish to sell. If I were starting a business, I would follow the experts who predict that the stated trends will favor business models that:

1. anticipate coming global shifts in social interaction and lifestyles (i.e. tribal living in larger social families that are self-supporting; ones that engage in more efficient means of creating energy, obtaining food, and supporting the common welfare)

2. offer people the means of survival given the “peak oil” phenomenon (i.e. alternative fuel sources, power generation capacities, solar, wind, insulating technologies)

3. utilize technology in ways that empower and free the exploited from the manual labor which keeps them at the lower rungs of the totem pole

Why not start your own brainstorm session to come up with some unique business ideas based on the suggestions above?

Wouldn’t it be nice to jump ahead of the entrepreneurial curve and start or join an industry, or launch a new business idea that helps the most people, prepares for coming earth changes, empowers rather than exploits the labor pool, reduces dependence on diminishing energy resources, offers the consumer real alternatives, while at the same time offers the world a new paradigm and consciousness as it relates to survivability, sustainability, adding our voice and actions to the very change in consciousness and alternate paradigm that our very survival necessitates?

Yep, that would be pretty cool. And that’s what I would do if I were starting a business.


Identifying Candidates for Leadership

A critical task in the succession planning process of any organization is identifying candidates. Traditionally, candidates have been identified based on past performance. While this seems logical, it is problematic in practice.

Past performance always measures success in a lower-level position. What is needed in succession planning is a system to identify potential for success in a future higher-level position.

The best predictive model I have found is the Leadership Pipeline Model by Charan, Drotter, and Noel. The Leadership Pipeline provides a model that describes the skills, time applications, and values required to succeed at different levels in the organization. While most leadership models and theories describe characteristics of leaders in general, the Leadership Pipeline describes specific criteria for success in transitioning from one level to the next.

The Leadership Pipeline Model helps us to see the importance of identifying candidates for positions throughout the entire organization. The pipeline must be continuously filled with leaders who have been identified for development for the next higher level.

A pipeline clog at one level will clearly harm leadership development and succession throughout the entire organization. What is needed is a carefully monitored system for developing in-house talent from front-line supervisors to CEOs.

At GE and Citicorp, two companies using the Leadership Pipeline Model, leadership passages from one level to the next are seen as “turns” in the leadership pipeline. These turns (or passages) provide significant developmental experiences. If these turns are skipped the individual may not be prepared for higher-level leadership positions. The focus for development should be the lack of critical skills and values for the next higher level, not past performance.

I am often asked “Is it better to recruit from outside the organization or to develop leaders from within?” The safe, but rather uninsightful answer is, “It depends.”
Recruiting from outside the organization makes sense when a major change in corporate culture or direction is needed. But, I would caution about the over-dependence on outside recruiting of leaders. Desperate attempts to recruit leaders from outside the organization suggest an inadequate leadershippipeline.

Recruiting leaders from the outside of the organization can be very expensive. As we all know, there is a talent shortage in the marketplace. This can lead to paying high premiums (or even outright price wars) for promising talent.

The Leadership Pipeline Model offers a common language (terminology) and specific criteria for what to look for in leaders at the next higher level. The Model provides a description of the skills, time applications, and values required of leaders at each successive level. This criteria is critical not only for identifying candidates but also for their subsequent development.

The key to identifying candidates for higher levels of responsibility is to predict their potential to succeed in attaining and using the skills, time applications, and values of the next higher level. Past performance is often a poor predictor of future success. Remember that the skills, time applications, and values of each successive level of leadership are dramatically different.

The challenge in succession planning and identifying candidates is making sure people are assigned to a level that is appropriate for them. The challenge is complicated by the fact that people change (hopefully for the better) over time. An appropriate position for someone today may not be appropriate three years from now.
Identifying candidates for the organization’s future leadership positions is a critical task. Do you have a system for identifying candidates that considers not only their current skills, but also their willingness to adopt new work values and time applications?


The Synergy of Vision

Over the years I have experienced some amazing results with people who have been secure enough to view their leadership or personal capacity through the eyes of corporate vision.

In one situation, the general manager stood down in preference to his assistant taking his role. They changed roles and the result was growth and expansion for the organisation, greater synergy and momentum.


A person’s visionary capacity will determine the outcome!

Leading people or an organisation without a clear Mental vision, is the last place you should be.

Power games, position seeking, and climbing the corporate ladder can never fulfil the requirements of vision. Leading others (whether it be in your own business or in an organisation) will most likely bring frustration and a slowing down of momentum.

An organisation that has not established its core values and vision will unlikely keep visionaries within it.

Visionaries will likely take less pay, work longer hours and suffer extreme circumstances that none-visionaries would quit over.

Why is that? Because the “buy in” factor, goes way beyond natural circumstances and into the realms of values. Value in a natural sense we put a price on, whereas vision is priceless.

The amazing thing about vision is it is not impoverished. It will reward in the end, way beyond our primal anticipation.

What value would you put on vision?

Ask Martin Luther King junior. or maybe Winston Churchill!

I can guarantee they did not look for a vision, the vision looked for them. It arrested them and consumed their life. They lived within the parameters of their vision and died spent, yet fulfilled by it.

Vision is the awakening of our life’s purpose and the force that compels us to exist!

It moves us from country to country in the search for people of similar spirit. It stands for something rather than falling for anything.

Vision will either empower you, or expose your vulnerabilities.

As for me, I would rather live in pursuit of my life purpose, than exist within the restrictive fences of being Mr average.

Personal Empowerment Is Activated Through Vision!

I had a conversation this week with a visionary. During the conversation I recalled how every organisation I have ever led, has drawn people (in the first two years), so full of vision that the nuts and bolts people pulled their hair out. Why?

Vision inspires and brings momentum. Visionaries love such an environment as it allows for creativity, (an essential component to release vision) but it does not guarantee fulfilment. Vision needs practical, systematic, analytical support players. These analytical individuals however, can often frustrate visionaries, as they need clear lines of communication and boundaries.

Visionaries break boundaries and are often so caught up with new ideas, that communication is “wrongly expected” to be generated (through each individual player) that has partnered into the vision. Buying into the enthusiasm that is generated out of sharing the vision does not transfer automatically to fact based people.

I can hear everyone that has ever been a part of one of my teams shouting a loud “AMEN”!

Vision is powerful, but it must be measurable, definable and most of all achieved through multiple strategies. If you have got great ideas, an enthusiastic mandate and a passion to succeed, you need to heed this one statement!

You will never achieve it without the help of others!

I can tell instinctively those that will succeed in their vision, because they are big enough on the inside to recognize their weaknesses, yet strong enough to manage them. That’s why synergy demands momentum and momentum needs a clear strategy.



Productivity Growth Factors

The primary components that help determine labor productivity had already been identified. Capital deepening, labor quality, and total factor productivity are the elements that had been used in many of past applied productivity work.

In capital deepening, workers are found to be more productive when they have more or better physical capital with which to work. Growth in labor productivity is proportional to the growth in capital per hour worked.

Labor quality means productivity gains are also dependent towards the quality of workers: more skills mean higher marginal products. Labor quality is defined as the growth in labor input per hour worked.

Total factor productivity is a catch-all term that captures the impact of technological change as well as the increasing returns to scale, omitted variables, reallocations, and any remaining measurement errors.

Capital deepening

This is an indicator that shows the increase in the amount of services from the physical capital presently available to each worker. As corporations and firms invest and purchase new equipment and structures, the workforce becomes better equipped.

Consequently, they are able to produce more. Productivity growth rises proportionally with capital deepening. However, there had been some questions addressed in different manners by the experts regarding capital services.

One is how to treat individual assets which are rapidly changing over time. The other is how to correctly group these different types of capital into a single number. These questions are central to the accuracy of measuring capital as a factor in productivity.

Labor quality

This factor captures the increase and the quality of labor inputs from the ever-evolving and changing mix of workers. As the workforce evolves, workers with different skills are employed at different rates.

This change in composition directly affects how much output can be produced from a given amount of worker hours.

An example would be as follows: As relative wages change, firms substitute between different types of workers. This in turn changes the average productivity of the workforce. This composition effect is often referred to as a change in labor quality.

Estimates of labor hours are relatively easy to compute by simply adding up the hours worked of all types of workers. From there, growth rate can be extracted. In this calculation, all types of workers are essentially treated the same and receive identical weights.

More difficult is the construction of an estimate of the aggregate labor that accounts for the changing composition of workers. Instead of simply summing up the hours, estimates use weights that are equal to marginal products.

Total factor productivity

Also known as the Solow residual (in honor of Nobel laureate Robert Solow), total factor productivity represents the ability to produce more output from the same input.

However, it is often seen as a measure of technological change. TFP also reflects additional factors like economies of scale, resources allocations, measurement errors, and also as growth in disembodied technology.

TFP is calculated as a residual and a catch-all term that captures the impact of all growth factors not explicitly measured by economists. Unmeasured inputs and the inaccurately measured capital and labor inputs affect the measured TFP residual.

All in all, these are the factors presented that determine the labor productivity in general. As had been noted, these traditional factors had been in use for other applied productivity work.


Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

Produced in the valleys where the sounds of reggae and gospel music drift freely across and over the highest peak – the Blue Mountain itself – Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a world-famous classification of coffee grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. The classification is specifically noted for its mild flavor and lack of bitterness.

Over the last several decades, Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee has developed a reputation for being excellent, making it the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world.

In fact, the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is so valued that it is protected worldwide as a certification trademark. This means that only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labeled as Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. The Board is monitors the production of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee from its cultivation to its production as coffee beans or ground coffee sold all over the world.

By the Coffee Industry Regulation Act, the types of coffee that may use the label Blue Mountain are specified, in addition to the general restriction of coffee that may use the Blue Mountain trademark. In broad, the said Act states that coffee harvested from the parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint Thomas, Portland, and Saint Mary may be considered as Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.

Below are the specific boundaries defined by the Act:

“Starting at Skibo and proceeding in an east-south-easterly direction to Swift River;
thence east-south-easterly to Chelsea;
thence east-south-easterly to Durham (Samba Hill);
thence south-easterly to Belleview;
thence south-easterly along the western slope of the John Crow Mountain to Cedar Grove;
thence westerly to Font Hill;
thence north-westerly to Ramble;
thence westerly to Good Hope;
thence north-westerly to Dallas;
thence north-westerly to Industry Village;
thence north-westerly to Maryland;
thence north-westerly to Golden Spring;
thence northerly to Brandon Hill;
thence north-easterly to Tranquility;
thence east-north-easterly to Skibo.

In addition to these fairly extensive boundary restrictions, only coffee grown at elevations between 3,000 to 5,500 feet may be called Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. If the area of cultivation is only between 1,500 and 3,000 feet, the coffee is called Jamaica High Mountain while those at 1,500 feet below are called Jamaica Supreme or Jamaica Low Mountain.

Under the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee label, there are five classifications. They are the following:

* Blue Mountain No. 1 – For Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee to be graded No. 1, 96% of its beans must have a screen size of 17/18.
* Blue Mountain No. 2 – For coffee to be graded Blue Mountain No. 2, 96% of the coffee beans must have a screen size of 16/17.
* Blue Mountain No. 3 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 15/16/17.
* Blue Mountain Peaberry – 96% of the beans must be peaberry.
* Blue Mountain Triage – the bean sizes are varied and no more than 4% of the beans must have significant defects.


New Year’s Planning – Critical Success Factors for 2018

Whatever time of the year it is, you have probably set a working direction for the rest of the year, including clear-cut objectives. Your first-iteration plan to reach them should be in place. This now (whatever time it is – if you are thinking about it) seems like an ideal time to rethink the whole thing, doesn’t it? In our sped-up 21st century world, plans are subject to change just as soon as – or perhaps even before – they are written.

If you haven’t already done so, now is an excellent time to review your company’s year-end results and plan for the coming year. If you’ve already created your annual plan, you may want to look at it in a new light.

A typical approach to planning suggests multiplying last year’s quantitative results by an acceptable growth factor. Industry standards vary, often from 5% to 25%. Add to that number scheduled enhancements to your product line plus solutions to key problems you’ve been meaning to address, and that’s your plan.

Those of you who’ve been following my articles know that I advocate a different approach to this process: Step 1) Learn whatever you can from last year’s results – something many of us forget to do. For example, make 2018 the year you act on the knowledge that it takes six months to train your field reps, not the six weeks you used to allocate. Step 2) Set targets which will excite you and your team and get you out of bed every morning; Step 3) Figure out how to reach the targets in Step 2.

A well rounded strategy which will provide a platform for continuous growth should impact these critical factors:

* revenue and profit
* product development
* customer satisfaction
* quality
* intellectual capital
* productivity
strategic relationships
* new customer growth
* employee retention.

For each factor follow the three step analysis.

Step 1. What can you learn from last year’s experience in each area?

What did you do right – what worked – what should you do more of? What did you do wrong – what didn’t work – what should be stopped immediately?

Also, ask what is missing from this area. In other words, what could you add – or eliminate – which will make a big difference in your organization’s effectiveness. Random examples of what might be missing: an organizational knowledge manager, periodic competitive analysis, a report of market share, an employee training plan.

Step 2. What results are you committed to produce in each area?

Remember, these results should be bold and dynamic. They should inspire everyone responsible for making them happen to do whatever it takes to get the job done. These targets or measures work best when they are objective and quantifiable. They must be achievable, however difficult that might be. Some examples of bold results: a 50 percent increase in sales; top of the list in prospect mind-share; 100 percent customer repurchases; three new products shipped by June; customer problems resolved in half the current time, a career path in place for each employee, zero turnover.

Step 3. How are you going to achieve these goals?

Your implementation plan has a number of components:

Who is accountable for each factor? Which executive? Which managers? What department? Some factors map directly onto a functional department, like revenue to marketing/sales. Those are the easy ones. Less obvious are factors like intellectual capital or customer satisfaction – they don’t fall under one clear domain. Nevertheless, one person has to pick up the ball. Along with their teams, whoever accepts accountability for specific the targets and goals will answer the remaining questions.

What strategies and tactics have a good chance to produce the results? Remember, if you’ve set bold objectives, you probably do not yet know how to reach them. That’s what makes them bold in the first place. You are inventing the answers, making them up.

The approach to some targets will be simple, others more complex. While there are no guarantees of success, each target should have an identifiable path with a good probability of getting your company to where you want it to be. That path will define one or more initiatives to be put on a timeline. The path will also include milestones – checkpoints to measure the ongoing success of the initiative.

What structural and procedural changes will you make relative to this factor?

Some examples are adding two salespeople, creating a quality czar, establishing new reporting lines, eliminating paper memos, making a large capital investment, acquiring a component vendor, or having a monthly new business quota. Each structural and procedural change will give birth to its own initiatives, which also need to be time-lined.

Does this initiative have any staffing implications? Do you need to increase headcount, create new job descriptions or add specific managers? Where a factor maps directly onto a department – such as revenue or customer service – what is the annual staffing plan? If there is a staffing increase, make sure the financial considerations are fed back into the budget.

Taken together, all the factors, targets, accountable parties, initiatives, structural changes, timelines, measures and milestones add up to a strategic plan for the year.

Can you live without addressing all of these factors?

Of course you can – but will you prosper, and for how long? Increase sales, but neglect quality – what will happen to customer satisfaction? Improve product quality but neglect employee retention? What will happen to quality next year? And then what will happen to sales? Focus on profits but not new customers or strategic relationships – next year’s sales (and profits) decline, and so on. Each factor’s improvement synergistically contributes to your company’s survivability and prosperity.

Last issue: Can you do everything at once?

You probably don’t have the resources for that. But the solution can not neglect any of your critical factors – we’ve just looked at the outcome of that approach. Instead, create another breakthrough. Create a breakthrough in planning which commits your company to some level of advancement for each of the factors. One that ensures they all receive some level of attention so that each is moving forward, although maybe not all to the same degree. To reuse a well-worn phrase, if you are not making progress in each area, you are loosing ground.


Activity Based Budgeting in Organizations

Activity based budgeting is not new. As early as 1990, some organizations in countries like the USA and Australia implemented this new budgeting program to replace the old and known method of budgeting, the “line item budgeting.”

Activity based budgeting is a method of budgeting in which activities that incur costs in each function of an organization are established and relationships are defined between activities. This information is then used to decide how much resource should be allocated to each activity.

In other words, activity based budgeting is budgeting, planning and controlling by activities rather than cost elements of an organization. For users of this budgeting program, they claim that it engages everyone in thinking about how they can better create value for organization. It develops a flexible budget based on activity work load that is not as rigid as ledger of the line item budgeting that pre-identifies costs eventhough that cost may not be of use at all.

Activity-based budgeting is simply organized common sense. More specifically, activity based budgeting is a technique for enhancing the accuracy of financial forecasts and increasing management understanding. When automated, activity based budgeting can rapidly and accurately produce financial plans and models based on varying levels of volume assumptions.

Activity based budgeting also can eliminate much of the tedious work in traditional budgeting. Activity based budgeting analyzes the products or services to be produced, what activities are required to produce those products or services, and what resources need to be budgeted to perform those activities. Simply put, activity based budgeting is the reverse of the activity-based costing process to produce financial plans and budgets.

With the advent of powerful and low-cost database systems, activity based budgeting is allowing businesses to reduce costs, better utilize resources, and achieve strategic objectives.

The Australian National Audit Office has identified the advantages of activity based budgeting:

The Advantages

– Output costs are supported by a schedule of costed activities

– Opportunities to examine work processes

– Identifies non value-adding activities that can be eliminated

– Basis of a performance measurement system and direct link between strategic goals and operational realities

– Enables cost profiles to be managed

– Accurate costing data for operational management

– Costs are transparent, understandable and actionable


– Activity definition may become too detailed and the model may become too complex and difficult to maintain

– Underestimation of the task of collecting activity driver data

– Implementation may be considered a financial management “fad” and there is insufficient commitment from operational managers

– Usually requires buying Activity Based Budgeting software

– Requires training of all managers including budgeting department

– Requires people to really understand what drives their budget

– Eliminates excuse that activity volume changed because it makes visible volume changes

– Requires everyone to collect or estimate activity volume

By understanding how resources are transformed into products or services, and by focusing on the cost of activities, activity based budgeting helps an organisation to obtain a greater understanding of how costs behave in their organization and which activities create significant amounts of cost. Organizations can then begin to control their costs based on tangible activities rather than relatively uninformative general ledger or cost center reports.