10 Home Office Must Haves

Monday, April 16 at 02:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

More and more U.S. workers are replacing their commutes for remote and flexible work environments these days.

In fact, telecommuting has grown 115 percent in the past decade, according to data from Global Workplace Analytics.* That increase has been due, at least in part, to the millennial generation. They have opted for telecommuting positions in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance, Forbes reports.*

There are many benefits of working from home, including reduced commuter costs and increased productivity.

If you're considering working from home, here are a few office staples you will need to ensure maximum success—and productivity:

  1. A dedicated work area. If possible, designate a separate room in your home, such as a spare bedroom or bonus room over your garage as your home office. This will ensure you have the quiet and privacy you need to work. It's also a good way to separate your workspace from your living space.

  2. A desk. Have a desk or a flat surface where you can place your computer and any paperwork. Today, office supply and furniture stores offer a range of desk types, including stand-up desks, which provide a healthier alternative to sitting all day.

  3. A good computer. If your company doesn't provide you with a computer, invest in a reliable one. You may want to consider purchasing a laptop, which will allow you to easily transport your work as needed.

  4. A printer. Consider investing in an all-in-one printer that will allow you to scan, fax, copy and print and help you save space.

  5. Internet access. For maximum productivity, be sure to get high speed Internet access.

  6. Filing/storage space. Consider purchasing a file cabinet to store important files or purchase baskets to store files under your desk.

  7. Good lighting. Make sure your work area gets proper light. If not, use a desk lamp.
     
  8. Surge protectors. Protect your work and computer from power outages.

  9. Document shredder. To ensure the confidentiality of your work, be sure to purchase a shredder and regularly shred important documents.

  10. A work-from-home wardrobe. Your wardrobe has an affect on the way you work and interact with your remote colleagues. Consider clothes that make you feel confident and ready for the day.

A well set-up office can go a long way in ensuring you remain productive, and effectively leverage the advantages of working from home.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

Tags: Financial Education
 

Online Love Can Have Financial Risks

Thursday, April 12 at 02:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Arvest Bank is warning consumers about scams related to online dating

Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. Many form successful relationships, but romance scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, thousands of reports are made each year about scammers who create fake online relationships only to steal their victims’ money.

Unfortunately, an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist. Caution should be used when a newly formed relationship partner begins to ask for money.

The FTC has created a new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, which lists common signs of online dating scams and what to do if someone you meet online asks you for money. Victims may be embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but consumers can help one another by sharing this information. A simple phone call, email or text, saying “Look what I just found” and sharing this information may make a difference in someone else’s life.

How to Report Fraud Related to Your Arvest Accounts

  • To report Identity Theft, financial fraud or an unauthorized transaction in your account, please contact Customer Service immediately at (866) 952-9523.
  • To report a lost or stolen credit, debit or ATM card, please contact Customer Service immediately at (866) 952-9523 or by using our Contact Us page.
  • To report a suspicious email, phone call or text message, please forward the suspicious email to, or send a message to: reportfraud@arvest.com.

Below are specific tips from the FTC to identify a scammer in an online dating environment:

 

 

Tags: Financial Education, Fraud Alert
 

Small Business Breakthrough: Sessions Scheduled for May

Thursday, April 12 at 02:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Small Business Breakthrough: Start in Bentonville

May 1, 8:30-11:00am

Exchange Bentonville
409 SW A Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72712 

Start in Bentonville is a two hour session aimed at helping potential entrepreneurs turn their side hustle into their main hustle. Come at 8:30am for networking, coffee and light breakfast items provided by The Buttered Biscuit. At 9:00am, we'll kick things off with Start-up Junkie's Ellen Brune who will talk about product market fit and market research. Then we'll roll into how to build your lean canvass with Jeff Amerine, also from Startup Junkie. Have an idea for a product or service that solves a problem? Come to this session and learn how to get your idea off the ground!


Register here:  https://bit.ly/2GAkooS

 

----

Small Business Breakthrough: Reaching Beyond in Bentonville

May 2, 1:30-4pm

 

World Trade Center Arkansas
3300 S. Market St. 4th Floor
Rogers, Arkansas 72758

You’ve mastered your local market and you’re a small business rockstar here in Bentonville- but what's next?  Join us for this informative session and hear from experts on how to go beyond and capture international markets, get your product in with a large organization or even selling to the government. 

Register here: https://bit.ly/2ulKvuN

 

----

Small Business Breakthrough: Grow in Bentonville

May 3, 9:30-noon

Walmart Auditorium
Bentonville Public Library
405 S. Main St. 
Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Grow in Bentonville, presented by Arvest, is a two hour session that will help small business owners understand tax planning, financial management systems, and cash flow management. Come at 9:30am for networking, coffee and light breakfast items provided by Snack Lab. At 10:00am, we'll begin with Judy Coker, an Enrolled Agent in Northwest Arkansas. Judy is an income tax professional, licensed by the US Department of Treasury, to represent taxpayers before all levels of the Internal Revenue Service. Judy is an educator, a planner, and an advocate. She believes that even though she can't change a small business client's tax history, she can change their tax future. At 11:00am, Carolyn Kennedy, Director of Treasury Management for Arvest will discuss cash flow management and the affects it can have on your business. 

Register here: https://bit.ly/2DWnpu5

 

    

Tags: Arvest Benton County, Bentonville, Financial Education
 

Clean Up Your Financial Act This Spring

Tuesday, April 03 at 02:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Spring is in the air. It’s the time of year when many of us devote our weekends to cleaning out garages, attics or closets; however, it may be worth your time and effort to focus some of your spring cleaning energy and intensity on your finances. By refreshing and organizing your household finances, you put yourself in a much better position for the rest of the year. Plus, there’s no heavy lifting required and your future self will thank you!

Here are seven easy ways to help get you started.

  1. Organize your financial records. Don’t hoard old statements, summaries, receipts and bills. Only hold on to documents that are necessary and toss the others. Be careful to shred sensitive documents. Many organizations host free shred events. Check your local events calendar.
  2. Reduce your future paper clutter by signing up for paperless statements and account summaries. This will also help you to create a digital record for easy reference.
  3. Ensure original documents like savings bonds, legal documents, birth certificates, and marriage licenses are in safekeeping. Keep copies on hand for quick reference.
  4. Evaluate your credit products and rates. Take a look at your credit card, for example, and consider if there’s an annual fee you could be assessed or if you are about to reach the end of an introductory offer period. What about balance transfer fees and other charges? Are you in the position to consolidate and transfer balances to lock in rates and eliminate unnecessary finance charges?
  5. Identify your expenses that are fixed everyday necessities, such as groceries and gas, and capitalize on rewards programs to maximize your spending power. Arvest credit cards not only offer bonuses for new cards, but many additional bonus opportunities are available, including triple points on gas and travel spending this spring for card holders. Arvest offers Classic, Gold and Platinum cards to fit every lifestyle, with Arvest Flex Rewards™ that you can use for cash back, travel, shopping and more.
  6. Review your credit report. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year. Visit the official annualcreditreport.com* for more information about obtaining yours.
  7. Make sure your budget and spending plan are up to date. Do they incorporate recent changes in your income or expenses? For some helpful articles and tips on budgeting, visit the Arvest Education Center.

Cleaning up your financial act this spring may prove to be the most satisfying cleaning you accomplish!

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Financial Education
 

Finding and Keeping Good Employees

Wednesday, February 07 at 02:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

The following article is republished with permission from the Feb. 8, 2018 edition of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.


When I am visiting with local small business owners about their biggest challenges, the majority of them answer, “Finding and keeping good employees.”

As unemployment rates in Northwest Arkansas have declined and stayed at historically low levels, the issue of finding and keeping good employees has required more attention and resources from employers. This significant variable in the business equation is one to pay close attention to when considering starting a new business or major change in one’s business.

When putting together a business plan, many will plug an arbitrary number into the “payroll” line item without digging into what makes up the line item. Expecting even average performance from an employee may cost you much more than the hourly wage estimations from the region. The expectation of average performance (and many owners expect more than just average) from average pay may not be met.

As current and potential business owners are working through their labor projections, they need to ask themselves some critical questions:

  • Do I fully understand the day-to-day operations of my business and what my current (or future) employees are doing?
  • Do I have clear guidelines for duties and performance for each of my employees? Were expectations made clear when the employee was considering employment? Have these been communicated clearly and frequently?
  • How involved will my employees be in the strategy of growing and improving my business? Do my employees understand how the business makes a profit and ways to increase the margins? Do I have incentives in place for this behavior? Do I share bottom-line performance with my employees or is it kept a mystery?
  • Will I give employees financial and operational responsibilities that are not overseen (e.g. bank deposits, reconciliations, customer invoicing and collections)? Do I have a system of checks and balances in place for certain critical duties, and are these procedures reviewed regularly? Do all employees and contractors (payroll, accounting, etc.) know that I will be auditing transactions and documentation on a regular basis (This happens much less than you think, and to dire consequences)?
  • What are the key skills and traits a good employee needs, and am I ready to train the rest?
  • Am I passionate about the mission of my business and can I effectively convince my employees of the same?

This may sound like a lot of work, but a business will not be successful if it does not have the right people in place working toward the same goal. If, as an employer, you do not have a clearly articulated mission and clearly defined expectations, you will spend greater time and resources on frequent employee turnover, and expose the business to unnecessary reputational, operational and financial risks.

Loyal, energetic and easy-to-teach employees have always been in high demand and – with reports indicating 90% of small business owners plan to hire 1-2 new employees in 2018 – the competition for these individuals will become more intense.

Potential employees have options. Employers will need to do some soul-searching as to what makes their business special and unique. Employers will also need to be creative with how they incentivize their employees and possibly, how they require labor from them.

  • Does your employee need to work 8-5? Can the work day be defined differently, but still achieve the desired results?
  • Can the business achieve its goal by supplementing the existing staff with key, industry-specific experts (e.g. marketing, human resources, accounting and finance)?
  • What motivates your employee? It may not be the almighty dollar, but a more flexible schedule with a chance to take four weeks off and bike the Great Divide Trail.
  • How does your business contribute to the world in a way that improves it? Will your employees feel they are part of a larger, socially conscious movement?
  • Are you communicating with your employee about how their individual performance is contributing to the overall goal and success of the business? Do they feel like they are making a difference?

As you contemplate the new year and what it means for you and your business, make sure you are spending the time and deliberation required for your employees. They are so much more than a line item.

Eileen Jennings is a commercial lender for Arvest Bank in Fayetteville. She can be reached by emailing ejennings@arvest.com.

 

Tags: Financial Education

Choose one or more categories to subscribe to:




Cancel