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CSR and Companies Act, 2013 – Responsibility or Compulsion

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The persistent commitment of corporates to act ethically and contribute to the socio-economic development, while refining the living standards of the employees and their families, as well as of the local community and society at large is Corporate Social Responsibility. It is also understood as a way through which companies achieve balance of social, environmental and economic imperatives in order to fulfil – the now global – dream of sustainable development.

In our modern world, sustainable development and inclusive growth have become catch phrases. An ideal situation calls for equal distribution of wealth and equal availability of opportunities for everyone. This, though, is easier said than done. The state alone is not accountable for the socio-economic development of a country, the corporate sector being as crucial cog in the wheel of development as the state. The profits that the private and/or the public sector make are supposed to be shared for the good of the nation. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an arrow in the quiver for holistic development of the nation. It is a mean to an end, the end being socio-economic development. It gives an opportunity to the corporates to give back to the nation.

Unfortunately, we live in a real world rather than an ideal one. Many questions arise when we talk about CSR. Is CSR enough? Is it followed to the letter? Is it merely a vehicle for corporates to build their brand value? To even try answering these questions, we have to have a deeper understanding of CSR.

CSR and Companies Act, 2013

There is a thin line that is drawn between a strategic business management concept, which CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility actually is, and charity, philanthropy or sponsorships. CSR is seen by businesses more as a technique to enhance the image of the brand than actually contributing to the society. It is the same all across the globe, with no exception. Ever since the birth of this concept, the mighty corporates have made fundamental contributions to the society as a whole and built a respectful brand image.

Let’s take the example of India. Before its independence and immediately after it, the social contribution of private companies was mostly confined to religious context, like building places of worship or donating to religious charities. With the liberalisation of Indian economy and surge of young entrepreneurs, organisations began to see beyond religion for their social contributions. Organisations like Aditya Birla group, Tata group and Reliance are some of the note-worthy companies that have made major investments in their CSR. Foreign companies like Larsen and Toubro, Cairn Energy, Coca Cola Company and others have also initiated many schemes under their CSR. These schemes range from setting up hospitals to starting vocational education or self-employment centres. Nowadays many organisations are involved in schemes like developing village industry clusters, adopting model villages and assistance to PAP (Project Affected People), and environment initiatives.

With the bill passed in the new Companies Act, 2013, the age old concept of Corporate Social Responsibility has seen a dramatic change in India. It is no longer a stunt to gain reputation but statutory responsibility that every company has to fulfil. According to the act, every company that meets any one of the following criteria of: a net worth of ₹500 crore or more, or with a turnover of ₹1000 crore or more or a net profit of ₹5 crore or more during any financial year will have to spend at least 2% of the average net profits of the company for CSR. It is also mentioned in the act that the company shall give preference to the local area and areas around where it operates, for spending the amount kept aside for Corporate Social Responsibility activities. These new rules would be applicable from 2014.

To assess the performance of the companies in their Corporate Social Responsibility, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) have plans to develop India’s first CSR index. This index will also look into the mandatory two percent spending of the corporates as per the new Companies Act, 2013.    CSR and Companies Act, 2013

Although the amended Companies Act, 2013 lays down certain guidelines for the amount of money to be spent on CSR activities it – probably intentionally – stops short of defining the ambit of such activities. The government has left it open for the companies to decide on what activities/programs they would undertake to fulfil their CSR. Sachin Pilot, the Honourable Minister of Corporate Affairs, stated that the government has left the canvas wide open for the companies to decide on their own about CSR activities they wish to undertake to comply with the new norms. He also said the few areas prescribed under the law are only suggestive in nature and it should not be seen as a restrictive list.

After the amended Companies Act, 2013, many believe that the act of social responsibility shall be forced out of the corporates rather than being their natural and dedicated decision towards the society. However, it is imperative to understand the importance of contributions from corporates, as they can radically upgrade a community and the nation. The impact of CSR is not confined to  only social and economic well-being but it spreads to environmental and emotional well-being as well. With a mixed response to this bill from companies, it remains to be seen whether the Indian corporate sector takes CSR as an honest responsibility or merely a compulsion after the introduction of Companies Act, 2013.

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How To Make Business Life So Much More Favourable

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If you have a business or you’re heavily considering starting a business, then you’ll know all about the perils and the difficulties that will come with it all. While it seems like such a wonderful idea from the outside looking in, it’s actually something that can really take its toll on you if you’re not prepared enough both mentally and physically. 

You’ll always be looking for ways to make business life an awful lot more convenient. The idea in this game is obviously to work hard as you never get anywhere without a serious commitment. You’ll really want to focus on working smart, however. Hard work for no reason is foolish when you have much better ideas and techniques staring you in the face. Business life can be a real hassle if you get things wrong and have to go through laborious days. Here are just a few ways to make your days, weeks, and months a lot more favorable for you: 

Get The Right People Around You  

Who you share your time with in business matters so much. If you have all of the wrong people, then you could be on a downward slant over the next few years. If you have good people with the right attitude and intentions, then you’ll likely become a lot more successful. In terms of using the right people, we’re talking about networking, hiring staff, bringing in specialists, soliciting advice, and so many other areas. Business is an interpersonal game, so make sure the right groups and individuals work with what you’re trying to achieve. 

Embrace Technology A Lot More Than Perhaps You Are Right Now 

If you’re already someone who wants to milk every platform they have, then this idea won’t worry you too much. There are so many pieces of ai powered software around that will help you with what you’re trying to achieve. Analytics, ads, management, and so many other areas can be bolstered with good programs. 

Set Up Genuine Plans With Achievable Goals 

This sort of goes without saying because you’ll likely have plans for the tasks ahead. This is more the idea of creating more structured plans for areas that are perhaps freer and less structured. Setting goals for everything you do can lead you to understand more about what needs to be done. It also gets everyone even more motivated. 

Take Care Of The People Working With You 

In terms of those you’re with, you’re going to need to treat them properly. It’s amazing what can happen if you neglect how they feel and the work they put in. The best leaders will always hone in on each individual and check in with them. 

Outsource Certain Jobs That Are Tedious

Sometimes, there are particular tasks that – although they need to be done – take up lots of unnecessary time and stress. If you are outsourcing admin, for instance, it makes life a lot easier for you as you all can focus on the productive and progressive side. 

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Current Trends in Business That Every Entrepreneur Should Work Towards Achieving

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The world of business is changing and with it the trends that entrepreneurs should be working towards. Entrepreneurship has become a lifestyle as opposed to just a paycheck. With an entrepreneurial mindset, you can do anything. Check out these current trends in business that every entrepreneur should work on achieving:

E-Commerce

E-commerce has been a significant trend for the past few years, and you can expect it to continue being so. E-commerce has multiple benefits, including increased revenue, high availability of products, and a more significant customer base.

E-commerce allows businesses to be present on all digital platforms, which helps them reach out to more customers quickly. In addition, it makes it easier for companies to reduce overhead expenses as there are no physical stores that have rent costs associated with them or inventory levels that need maintenance constantly. Statistically, e-commerce has grown rapidly in the past few years from 25% – 30% year on year.

Financial Apps and Software

The software aspect comes into play when considering how businesses manage their finances moving forward. Companies must adapt to technology. Otherwise, they will find themselves left behind by competitors who embrace emerging technologies such as cloud computing and mobile apps. It is also easier to make purchases using these apps and communicate with the sellers. Incorporating such software with equipment and partnerships with a payment processing company will diversify the business activities and set you up for expansion.

These apps allow them to move away from traditional forms of financial management such as spreadsheets and accounting software to financial management apps such as Xero. With these new apps comes the ability to monitor business finances from anywhere, which can help businesses grow faster than what they would ordinarily be able to manage with slower conventional processes.

Blockchain Tech

Blockchain tech is the current trend in business that every entrepreneur should work towards achieving. You can apply this technology to many different industries, and entrepreneurs need to find their niche within this growing market. It’s also critically important not to overlook blockchain tech when deciding which cryptocurrency or token you want your company associated with.

Both positive and negative factors are involved in choosing one solution over another, but it all comes down to finding what works best for each situation. For example, today’s most valuable aspect of blockchain tech is its promotion of secure transactions between parties while eliminating third-party transaction fees (or at least significantly reducing them).

It means that businesses operating on a global scale could potentially enjoy significant savings in maintaining financial records. Transparency is also an important selling point for blockchain tech. The decentralized nature of its design makes all transactions public and easily accessible by anyone who has access.

Fraud and Cyber Crime

Another current trend that every entrepreneur should work towards achieving is fraud and cybercrime. In today’s modern world, the internet has brought the business community closer together as it allows you to reach a global market from almost anywhere with an Internet connection. Unfortunately, this means those who want to take advantage of this have access to millions of more potential customers, making it easier for fraudsters to steal money from unsuspecting victims.

Businesses that are not careful can fall victim to several types of cybercrime, including phishing, spoofing, pharming, and identity theft. These crimes are increasing at an alarming rate as more people use the internet for business purposes which means scammers often target them.

Conclusion

Today, business is becoming increasingly challenging. The traditional ways of doing things don’t work anymore, and it’s time for entrepreneurs to adapt to stay relevant within the industry. However, the industry itself is evolving rapidly, and it’s challenging to keep up with the changes that are happening every day. Fortunately for you, this post is here to help you understand the current trends that every entrepreneur should work towards achieving.

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Employee Training and Development Becomes One of the Most Disruptive Megatrends That Is Shaping the Future of Work

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Employee training

There is no question about the effectiveness of employee training and development. It’s incredibly important to help your staff advance their skills and knowledge to help grow a business, but the impact of employee learning has often been understated and even neglected. However, companies are now suggesting that employee training and development is one of the biggest megatrends that have completely transformed the future of work. It has overhauled how businesses should be developing and engaging with employees, and it’s leading to an incredibly diverse and talented workforce that is capable of wonderful new things.

Part of the problem of employee training and development is that it’s difficult to measure its impact on the workplace. Employee performance often isn’t a quantitative measurement that is easy to read and link to their output. This is one of the reasons why the effectiveness of employee training and development has been questioned by management experts.

Thankfully, new strategies have been developed to help measure workplace learning and its impact on companies. Below, we’ve included a helpful infographic that covers some of the most important measurements, such as return on investment and how it is calculated in the context of employee learning and development. It should put the effectiveness of employee training into perspective and will help you better understand when training is needed and how development actually improves your business and its productivity.


Infographic by: Ezra Coaching
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