At a fintech conference I was at this week, one topic was noted in a
panel discussion as a continuing impediment to new ventures – and not
only for businesses in this sector, but for any enterprises.

It's the corporate tax rate. Put simply, it’s too high in a
cross-border context.

In a local context only, well, it is what it is. If your choice is to
start a company in Australia or not start one at all, then the local
tax rate is what you’re going to pay. So if your company gets taxed at
30% that’s good. It means you are making money. It would be great to
keep it all but life’s not perfect.

As the discussion moved on to more technical elements including
analytics, I thought about the focus that analytics has on the
consumer-facing side of business.

A focus on the customer is good, but so is a bit of introspection.

Standard business analysis and looking at the numbers across all
elements of operations is always recommended for any business. Taking
an even closer look and applying some analytics (as we do for our
subscription clients) can provide even more advantage. Patterns will
exist in sales, but also in costs.

To get the best results for a business it's best to optimize not just
profit, but expenses also.

From a behavioural point of view, analysing one of the largest costs
components – staffing – is not always easy. We have experience with
time and motion studies and activity-based costing (ABC modelling)
plus we’re well aware of the Hawthorne Effect.

This states that people act differently when they know they are being watched.

Recently, Amazon has been in the news for tracking employee activity
in minute detail. Workers responded by acting like hyper-efficient
robots. That’s predictable, especially given the company was obviously
looking for high levels of productivity. Also predictable was that
workers eventually burnt out. Their productivity then dropped. Then
they were sacked.

We have experience monitoring performance in the public sector. Trust
us, the Hawthorne Effect can manifest in the opposite productivity
direction.

The point of all this is that it can be worthwhile to turn an
analytical lens on the expense side as well as the revenue side.

ZenBus can do this with our financial modelling services. In our
behavioural economics advisory services we can model the cost of gains
from a resourcing perspective, using ABC models as a foundation.

Just as we’ve stated in a previous post though, numbers with
inadequate interpretation are meaningless. Business acumen and
understanding of human behaviour are always paramount.

All aspects of a business can benefit from an analytical evaluation.
Just don’t lose sight of the context.