Research and development 研发
Property costs 财产耗费、物业费用
Capital goods 资本货物
Balance sheet 资产负债表
Redundancy payment 失业金
In the short term 短期内
Temporary measure 权宜之计
Let out 出租
Hotel bill 旅馆住宿费用
Public transportation fares 公交费用
Expenses claims system 报销制度
Discount air ticket 打折机票
Electric rates 电费
Office supplies 办公用品
Paper clip 回形针，曲别针
Generic brand 普通品牌
Group purchasing 团购
Bulk price 批发价
Rough draft 草稿
Put in a word 说一句话，插一句话
Printer cartridge 打印机墨盒
Rechargeable battery 可充电电池
Comply with 遵守
In the long run 从长远来看
Might as well do sth. 不妨做… …
Abide by 遵守
Paperless office 无纸化办公
It’s a good idea to review overheads regularly.
It becomes even more important if you are having problems generating cash.
You may need to make big cuts in overheads, but try to avoid slashing costs to a level where it is difficult to operate.
Advertising, as well as research and development, are often the first activities to be cut because they can be reduced almost instantly.
Cutting overheads such as property costs or capital goods will take much longer to have an effect on the balance sheet.
You can also cut staff costs by reducing your number of employees, though redundancy payments will increase costs in the short term.
The consequences can be devastating, particularly for small businesses and morale suffers after redundancies.
Key employees may feel insecure and choose to leave your business.
It can be useful to talk to employees before taking such action.
They may suggest less drastic ways of cutting costs.
You can also reduce overheads, for example by delaying purchases of new equipment, although this is a temporary measure.
Investment is crucial if you want to grow your business and ensure it remains competitive.
Other short-term measures for cutting costs include:
l Letting out part of your business premises but check first with the owner or mortgage company that sub-letting is allowed—approval may be needed.
l Leasing new equipment rather than buying it outright
l Renegotiating your contracts with suppliers
Part One: Interlocutor’s questions
（1） What expense do people typically incur on a business trip?
Expenses on a business trip include hotel bills, traveling expenses, public transportation fares, fax or telephone charges and client entertainment expenses, etc.
（2） How should companies control business travel expenses?
Companies should develop a sound expenses claims system to prevent any system abuse and possible malpractice.
（3） Do you think it’s necessary to have control over the usage of electricity ? (Why? /Why not?) 你是否认为控制电力使用很重要？（为什么？）
Yes. Electricity costs are a very important component of overheads, if a company can keep electric rates low, it will certainly be very helpful in overheads reduction.
（4） Is it important to involve employees in overheads reduction project ? (Why?)
Yes. Overheads are the indirect cost of business, they are closely related to the welfare of all staff members, and so concerted efforts are needed from both managers and staff to implement the overheads reduction project.
PART TWO: Mini-presentation
What’s important when…?
Aiming to slash business overheads
l Budget and management
l Long-term effects
First of all, business overhead expenditure needs to be budgeted and apportioned as fairly as possible to different departments of the business. Once we have set a clear budget plan, we’ll be able to manage the overheads costs by limiting budget spending and improving overhead productivity. And in case an over-expenditure occurs, we’ll be able to track the cause and check it in time.
Meanwhile, long-term effects should also be considered. In reducing overheads costs, we should not aim to seek instant success, we should put our overheads reduction plan in a greater perspective and evaluate their overall effects. Reduction measures should enable the company to tap its potential productivity and ensure its future development.
In addition to that, we also need to involve our staff member into the overheads reduction project, and try to see if
they have anything to contribute to it.
PART THREE: Discussion
Introducing new ways to save on office supplies
The company you work for has decided to introduce new ways to save on office supplies, as a part of the overheads
reduction plan. You have been asked to make suggestions about it. Discuss the situation together, and decide:
l what are the ways to save office expenses
l how to motivate the staff
A: To keep office expenses down, we can start from office stationery. Items like pens, paper, paper clips, and pencils do not cost a lot individually, but we use them in large quantities, so there is potential for huge savings.
B: I’m with you here. You see, there is a great difference in price between the name -brand and generic brand stationery, so if we look for cheaper sources, we’ll end up saving hundreds of pounds a year.
A: Yes, cheaper sources are important; we can get much cheaper prices on office suppliers through group purchasing. If we pool our orders with other businesses, we can buy in large quantity and receive lower bulk prices.
B: Indeed. We can also use mail-order. Mail-order office supply companies are convenient because they deliver to your door, and it saves both gas and time.
A: We should also encourage staff to recycle used paper, and ask our staff to edit on the screen as much as possible, print one final rough draft to proofread on paper. That’s a very effective way to reduce paper consumption.
B: And buying used office furniture is also an important way of cutting overheads. But to motivate our staff members, there should be measures to monitor their performance regularly. We can…
A: I’d like to put in a word here, never use disposables in the office, use recycled printer cartridges and rechargeable batteries.
B: Yes, that’s especially important. We should involve all office staff into our cost saving plan. For example, we should ask staff members to turn off the air-conditioner half an hour before they leave the office, so as to cut some electricity bills.
A: You’re right. To make sure that our staff voluntarily comply with the overheads expenditure reduction rules, we can include that in our staff appraisals. I mean whether staff members are supportive in our overheads reduction project.
B: I agree. And we can also award those who are most supportive in our project.
A: That’s good.
Follow up questions:
（1） How important is it for companies to keep overheads down?
Keeping costs under control and overheads down is a priority for all organizations, because overheads costs are directly related to the company’s profitability and welfare of the staff members.
（2） Is it a good idea to cut investment to reduce overheads?
No. cutting investment to reduce costs is a short-term measure. In the long run, it is unfavourable to company development, as limited scale and productivity weakens a company’s competitive edge.
（3） Might there be some measures that would not be effective?
Yes. If you set a very low limit on telephone bills, employees might fail to maintain regular contact with their clients or customers for fear of over-expenses.
（4） What do you think the manager should do in overheads cutting project?
I think the manager is responsible for budgeting overheads and caref ully tracking the costs, minimizing expenditure at all time. He should also see to it that staff members abide by the rules as required.
（5） What new ideas do you have to keep overheads costs down in a company?
Companies can make use of the internet, conducting routine office work through digital media. We can convert every single paper process into a digital one, the so-called “paperless office”. It lowers overheads very effectively.