Month: October 2022

Recession
Articles

Whistleblowing Services Remain Vital As Recession Looms

Recession

As UK inflation rises above 10% and global market economic turmoil continues, the reality of a recession becomes ever closer. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a reduction in GDP growth of 0.3% in August and production fell by 1.8%. Economic forecasters are bracing themselves for a significant downturn – it’s simply a matter of time.

As trading conditions within a turbulent economy become ever more challenging, organisations across the world are looking at how a recession will impact them not just from an output perspective but the wider effect it will have on workforces and their unique situation.

Often, recessions or economic instability is linked to an increase in employee theft and fraud within businesses. But is it really a case of desperate times means desperate measures?

Here, Greg Ogle from Safecall, which provides a range of whistleblowing services to businesses across the UK, discusses the impact of recessions on employee theft, the role of whistleblowing and provides practical tips on how organisations can safeguard themselves against employee fraud.

 

Employee fraud during recessions – impact on whistleblowing services

With ever rising prices, stagnant wages and a slowing economy, the cost-of-living crisis is real. It’s plausible to understand why businesses are mindful of a rise in employee fraud and theft.

If we look back at previous recessions, it’s clear that three key factors are required for fraud to increase. These are pressure, opportunity, and the ability to rationalise illegal behaviour. A recent report from TransUnion found a 149% increase in fraud attempts in the first four months of 2021. [1], which is reflective of the Covid situation and the financial impact that it had on millions of employees across the UK.

Professor Mark Button, Director of the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth, found that previous recessions show a direct correlation between a fall in economic output and a rise in fraud.[2] For example, the 1990 recession saw a 3% fall in GDP which directly led to a 9% increase in fraud offences. The 2008 recession saw a 1% fall in GDP which led to a 7.3% increase in fraudulent crimes.

A rise in fraud offences often occurs from a combined result of genuinely more people committing theft, businesses becoming more motivated to conduct detailed internal reviews during recessions – leading them to discover past or ongoing deception – and nervous or worried employees blowing the whistle on others through an organisation’s whistleblowing system or process.

The 2022 Safecall whistleblowing benchmark report reveals an increase in the number of anonymous whistleblower reports driven by job insecurity and fear of dismissal. It also shows a shift away from ‘speak up’ hotline calls to web reports thanks in part to the increase in Generation Z and millennials within the workforce who prefer to report issues virtually.

 

 How to recession-proof your whistleblowing processes and policies

When it comes to ensuring you have a robust and effective whistleblowing process in place, the key ingredient is preparation. To be adequately prepared, there are key actions business and HR leaders can take now to improve the success of their whistleblowing system. These include:

  • Conducting an internal audit: businesses should review their existing whistleblowing management system. Ask yourself, are your policies, processes and plans effective? Are they up-to-date?

    Maintaining and improving systems will help you to identify nonconformity and where you need to take corrective action. This continual improvement will ensure compliance with your organisation’s policies and procedures as well as its legal and social obligations.
  • Awareness: Are your employees, at all levels, trained on your whistleblowing management system? Do they understand how to report wrongdoing, and feel empowered to make reports?

    Clear communication is vital to encouraging and facilitating the reporting of wrongdoing especially when it comes to highlighting that employees can maintain their anonymity. This enables your employees to follow whistleblower best practices in identifying and addressing wrongdoing at the earliest opportunity. It also demonstrates leadership commitment to preventing and tackling wrongdoing.

    The benefits of external training can be found here.
  • Competence & resources: It’s crucial to ensure your investigators are adequately trained and resourced to effectively and thoroughly process a report of wrongdoing in a timely manner.

    Not only to help prevent or minimise loss of assets – as well as aiding the recovery of lost assets – but also to support and protect whistleblowers. Reducing and preventing detrimental treatment of those involved fosters trust in your system.
  • Communications: As an organisation, you should foster a culture of openness, transparency, integrity and accountability. How this is achieved differs for each business from leadership buy-in to internal communications or bolstered training. There’s no one size fits all answer, however, the benefits of addressing your culture can help your organisation to attract and retain people who committed to your values.
  • Continual improvement: How are you going to monitor, measure and evaluate your policies and procedures going forwards?

    The benefits of dedicating time and resources to maintaining and improving your whistleblowing management system are two-fold. You can actively help to reduce the risks of wrongdoing while also demonstrating sound, ethical governance practices to society, your markets, regulators, owners and other interested parties.
Articles

How To Increase Your Monthly Spending Budget

Knowing how to manage your income each month is essential – it gives you a clear idea of where your money is going, and how much you have left to spend. But what do you do when the money that you have left over is not enough to get you to your next pay check? Payday loans bad credit are there to help you if you are faced with an emergency, however, there are ways that you can free up your cash flow and increase your spending budget.

What is a budget & why is it important?

If you’re thinking about getting to know your money a little better as a way of managing your finances, a budget is the best place to start. Usually, a monthly budget works best – you take the amount of income you get and subtract the number of outgoings throughout the month. You should make sure you categorise your outgoings to help you identify if you’re overspending. Your primary outgoings should be rent, mortgage and car payments, as well as any additional energy bills, debt payments and food shopping. The rest are known as secondary expenses. When creating a budget, you will learn how much you have left over to work with for the rest of the month.

Budgets are essential when it comes to reaching your financial goals. Having an overview of your spending means that you can see where your money is going and you can identify areas that you may be overspending, so you can make changes. These changes allow you to save or pay off debt – no matter if your money goals are big or small, a budget can help you to achieve them. Generally, they help you to get to know your finances, and keep you out of difficulty.

Ways to increase monthly budget

If you’ve worked out a budget, there is a chance that the money you’re left with after your primary expenses may not be as much as you’d hoped – but don’t worry, if you think you need more money to live comfortably throughout the month, there are a few ways that you can free up some extra cash – we will look at these in more detail below.

Pay off debt

The best place to start is by paying off your debt. Debt is money tied up in paying previous lenders that you could be putting towards other things. It is essential that you pay off your debt in full as soon as you can. And although this may seem counterintuitive, you’ll be spending more money by paying down your debt, it is better in the long run so that you can benefit from an increase in cash flow when your debt is finally gone.

Make cutbacks

One of the best things about a budget, as we previously mentioned, is the fact that you can identify where you are spending your money and make changes when needed. For example, getting to know your outgoings means you’ll notice any subscriptions or memberships that you don’t use anymore that you should cancel. Taking the time to manage these things means an increase in your cash flow and having more money to spend elsewhere.

Reduce impulse buying

If you’re not familiar with impulse buying, you may not realise that you’re doing it! Impulse buying is purchasing things that you don’t need because they’re a good price, or simply because they caught your eye in the supermarket. You should try and refrain from doing this if you are hoping to increase the amount of money you have to spend each month. Adding extra items to your food shop, or clothes shopping when you’re bored could add up to a large amount each month, that you could use for something else! Try and take a list with you when shopping anywhere, not just the supermarket, so that you’re not tempted to deviate and spend more money.

Increase income

This point seems obvious, if you are looking to increase your monthly budget, you can start by increasing your monthly income. You could look for another job that pays more, ask your current employer for a pay rise in line with a good performance, or you could start working on a side project. If you have a hobby that you enjoy, why not see if you can make money from it?

Articles

Common Mistakes That Lower Profits for eCommerce Businesses

Is your eCommerce business underperforming and causing a financial strain? Although it’s no secret that generating sales, meeting projections, and achieving company goals won’t always go according to plan; however, continuing in the black or red may lead to a deficit you can’t come back from easily. While multiple factors contribute to a business’s profit potential, perhaps your eCommerce platform isn’t succeeding due to one of these common mistakes below.

Mistake: Failing To Effectively Market Your Site

You can’t expect to generate sales if no one knows your eCommerce site exists. Although this seems obvious, many entrepreneurs launch their websites without investing in marketing, while others put forth minimal effort. As consumers have access to millions of businesses, a non-existent or barely-there digital presence will limit your earnings potential.

Solution: Develop A Marketing Plan

Marketing is an ongoing and multifaceted process that requires knowledge of your products, services, industry, market, competitors, and, most importantly, your target audience. You must develop a marketing strategy that builds brand awareness, separates you from the competition, and reaches your target market on the platforms they utilize most.

Mistake: Poor Site Navigation

Are the bounce rates, page views per session, session duration, and average time on page metrics for your eCommerce site unsatisfactory? One reason for these low rates is poor site navigation and user experience. It means that when consumers visit your platform, they have difficulty finding the products, services, or features they want.

Solution: Update Your Website Layout

Have your web developers, IT team, or an outside agency improve your website layout. Your home banner should have straightforward navigation with topic, product, or subject lines that correlate with your products and services. You can incorporate drop-down menus for smaller categories and add a search bar for quick results.

Mistake: Complicated Checkout Process

Another eCommerce metric to review is your cart abandonment rate. Consumers will not disclose their financial and other sensitive information on a platform that isn’t secure, doesn’t accept their preferred payment method, or has too many steps to complete a transaction.

Solution: Partner With A Payment Processing Company

Your checkout process must be secure, seamless, and convenient. Managing these aspects is time-consuming and expensive. However, a payment processing company is equipped to handle these tasks for you. They offer point-of-sale applications that integrate with other sales management systems for secure, streamlined checkouts that boost your profits.

Mistake: Unpredictable Product Availability

Inventory management is a balance. Too much of a product could result in waste or a need to drop prices to eliminate the inventory. However, you risk missing out on a sale if you don’t have enough supplies in stock to meet the demand.

Solution: Inventory Management Software

If keeping track of how many products you need and when to replenish your inventory is difficult, inventory management software can help. It’s an application that lets you easily track product availability, manage orders, refill your stock, and make effective decisions to improve customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

Mistake: Ineffective Customer Service

Some entrepreneurs don’t invest enough time, money, and resources into enhancing customer experience. However, if your customers aren’t satisfied, they won’t continue shopping on your site. They’ll also share their negative experiences with others, which causes you to miss out on new business.

Solution: Become A Customer-Centric Business

It would be best if you were a brand about its customers. Identify your target customers, use segmentation to develop personas, then use the information to tailor your marketing, website, products, and services to accommodate their needs. Cultivate a positive customer relationship by asking for their input through surveys and polls and implementing their ideas. Train your customer service team on communication, problem-solving, and de-escalation. Lastly, take accountability and promptly resolve customer complaints.

eCommerce sites are convenient, affordable, and effective ways for businesses to generate sales. However, reaping the benefits requires more than launching a website. You must evaluate every aspect from a professional, technical, and consumer perspective to ensure that your platform operates efficiently. If you’ve made any of the mistakes above, the provided solutions can help you turn things around and increase your profits.

Fintech Trends
Articles

Experts Predict the Biggest Fintech Trends for 2023

Fintech Trends

From tribe- based banking to embedded finance, here’s what to expect in the year ahead 

The financial technology sector is rapidly evolving with traditional methods of banking now being replaced with digital solutions, in a bid to make things faster, easier, and more streamlined for both businesses and consumers.  

As we edge closer towards 2023, fintech experts from all-in-one financial toolkit, Intergiro, have made their top predictions for the biggest upcoming trends.  

Using their industry knowledge and Google Trends data, Nick Root, CEO Intergiro reveals everything you can expect to see in the year ahead.

 

Virtual cards 

With the growth of digital banks, in 2023 we expect to see the use of virtual cards continue to surge. Since 2017, searches for the digital bank ‘Revolut’ have increased by 143%, now receiving 1.3M monthly searches globally on average.  

Looking at Google Trends, we can also see the term ‘virtual card’ has increased 216% in the last five years and is currently at its peak. But how are they being used by businesses? 

Nick Root commented: “Hailed as the future of financial spending, virtual cards are the forefront of a revolution in business expenses management. 

“Perhaps the biggest reason why virtual cards are increasing in popularity is because they offer more robust security measures, helping eliminate misuse from hackers and fraudsters. 

“They also reinvent the way companies handle employee business expenses. Every employee has their own unique card, which means anyone can easily see who is spending what. Funds can also be assigned to team budgets and purchases can even be limited so that nobody spends more than what’s allocated to them.” 

 

Embedded finance 

Embedded finance is also expected to grow in 2023, with searches for the term accelerating by a staggering 488% in the last five years. The success of embedded finance will be predominantly down to distribution, trust, and improved user experience.  

Alongside this, data shows the term “Banking as a service” has seen 176% global increase, too.  

Banking as a service defines an ecosystem in which licensed financial institutions offer non-banking companies access to their services, typically through the use of APIs. 

BaaS enables clients to embed financial services into their own products or build completely new financial services from scratch. Use cases vary from modern virtual card issuing products, creating in-app payment methods, or building the next neobank, to setting up traditional card programmes, white-label payment processing, or embedding multi-currency IBAN accounts into your apps. 

“The emergence of API led banking services means that distribution is no longer an issue. That layer of friction has now been removed, with any digital company being able to offer a financial service without the headache and complexity that offering financial services used to bring.  

“What WordPress did for the internet, FinTechs are doing for finance” says Nick Root.

 

Buy Now Pay Later 2.0 

Whilst buy now pay later has raised concern in recent years, the online trend allowing customers to split their payments into interest-free instalments continues to surge.  

While traditionally, BNPL services were used to split payments for high value items, they soon became associated with online fast fashion brands, targeting Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. In recent weeks, BNPL was further criticized after Klarna partnered with fast-food delivery app, Deliveroo, allowing customers to ‘eat now, pay later.’ 

And although many mainstream banks are steering towards virtual cards, in January 2022, Klarna launched its first physical credit card, allowing customers to pay in three instore as well as online.  

In 2023, although it is expected to further expand, BNPL will be more regulated in the UK, as the government will bring legislation into effect requiring lenders to carry out affordability checks before approving loans. The financial promotion rules for BNPL are also set to change to ensure advertisements are clear and do not mislead consumers. 

Searches for ‘BNPL’ have seen a 130% increase since 2017, while the term ‘how does Klarna work’ also shows an upward trend, with search volume peaking in December, just before Christmas when families are faced with extra financial pressure. 

 

Cryptocurrency will become an everyday way to pay 

In 2023, we expect to see a growing number of financial institutions accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. 

Mastercard recently announced it is keen to start rolling out plans to make crypto an ‘everyday way to pay.’ Acting as a bridge between crypto trading platform Paxos (used by PayPal) and major banks, Mastercard will handle the major roadblocks, including regulatory compliance and finance.  

Furthermore, this week, Google also announced a partnership with Coinbase, allowing customers to pay for some cloud services with cryptocurrency in early 2023.  

“As more and more people invest in cryptocurrency, businesses are starting to adopt it as a form of payment. ” 

“The term ‘pay with crypto’ has seen a surge of interest, with searches increasing by 136% since 2017, and with huge firms such as Google jumping on board, in 2023, we we predict more banks and financial providers will join them.” 

 

Contactless wearables 

The Internet of Things is making waves in the fintech sector, allowing consumers to pay for goods and services faster than ever with wearable technology. 

Alongside smartphones, bracelets and smartwatches are now being used to make payments instead of a bank card. 

The Apple Watch is one wearable that took the world by storm, showcasing an upward trend in 2022. Smart rings are also on the rise, with searches for the revolutionary wearable increasing by 180% globally.  

We predict this trend will continue to grow in 2023, and in light of this, fintech companies will increasingly use these connected devices to gather customer insights and make more informed decisions. 

 

Regtech 

A fairly new buzzword that you may have heard in 2022 is Regtech – but what is it, and why does it matter?  

The rise in digital products means there is an increased risk of data breaches, cyber hacks, and money laundering – but that’s where Regtech comes in. Regtech is a group of organisations that solve challenges arising from a technology-driven automated economy.  

The Regtech industry is expected to disrupt the regulatory landscape by providing advanced tech solutions to compliance issues that arise in the Fintech sector. 

Despite being coined in 2008, in the last five years, searches for ‘Regtech’ have increased by 184%, and on top of that Grand View Research predicts a 52% growth in the technology market by 2025, giving it a value of $55.28 billion.

 

Artificial intelligence 

AI will also continue to drive infrastructure decisions in the Fintech sector. Chatbots specifically will become more sophisticated and could soon be the future of fintech customer service.  

In fact, studies from Juniper Research suggest that successful banking-related chatbot interactions will grow 3,150% between 2019 and 2023, saving banks a lot of time – 826 million hours to be precise.  

Over the last five years, Google searches around the topic have seen significant growth too, with the term ‘AI in banking’ increasing by 104% globally. 

 

Tribe based banking 

The term ‘digital tribe’ has become popular in recent years, used to describe online communities who share a common interest, and are usually connected through social media or other online platforms.  

In 2023 and beyond, we predict more businesses will engage with online ‘tribes’ as a way to form deeper connections with consumers.  

As such, we also anticipate more businesses launching their own financial services centred around the tribes they are connected with.  

Nick Root added, “In the past, people from diverse communities have been uncomfortable with legacy banks because they have not been represented, don’t feel empathised with, and aren’t open to communication. 

“In this new era, banks need to be more authentic and receptive to communication. People from these communities will soon be looking for a bank that gives them a sense of representation and openness.” 

Articles

What Do Rich People Invest In?

What do reach people invest in? Volatile markets are resulting in diverse investment portfolios

Wondering what rich people invest in? They typically invest in a range of inflation-resistant assets that provide a passive income to protect family wealth. 

With inflation soaring, the rich seek to preserve their wealth through a combination of tried-and-tested investment structures and modern-day assets that are likely to reap dividends for early adopters. Real estate, art, and gold are amongst the most popular investment assets with the world’s richest. Read on to learn more about what the rich are investing in now.

What do rich people invest in?

Real estate

Luxury real estate remains one of the most popular investments for the world’s richest. Wealthy people invest in real estate as it continues to give healthy returns. Take, for example, the Principality of Monaco, the world’s most expensive real estate market. Monaco has seen property prices rise by an incredible 75% over the past decade, ensuring investors a solid return on investment. The principality’s luxury offerings and political and economic stability ensure property for sale in Monaco remains an attractive investment. Real estate provides an attractive hedge against inflation and is a proven way to build capital. An investment property can also provide a lucrative income stream. However, one of the downsides is its lack of liquidity.

Art 

Another asset that rich people invest in is art. Art is considered a unique asset class, which is often immune to economic shocks. Indeed, when stock prices dip, art tends to hold its value. According to Statista, the global art market is valued at US$65.1 billion and is anticipated to grow, especially as investors seek investments that can ride out market volatility. As art is a tangible asset, it can perform well during periods of rising inflation, making it a popular investment with rich people seeking a diverse portfolio. Just like real estate, art lacks liquidity, as it can be time-consuming to sell a valuable piece of art. This means art is often best used as a long-term investment.

NFTs

Wondering what else rich people are investing in now? Well, the tech-savvy and early adopters are dabbling in NFTs. Non-Fungible Tokens have grown in popularity over the past few years. NFT’s indicate ownership of a digital asset, such as art, digital clothing, an item within a video game, musical composition, or even real estate in the metaverse, with ownership protected by a blockchain, providing asset security. However, as a relatively new form of asset, they are risky as the long-term return on investment is unknown.

Gold

Wealthy people also invest in gold. Investing in this precious metal provides stability, especially in times of economic turbulence, while also providing diversification to investment portfolios. Gold is a limited commodity – according to the World Gold Council, about 90% of the world’s gold has already been mined – meaning it is highly susceptible to global demands. According to the WGC, in 1992, the price of gold was around US$200. Earlier this year, it was priced at over US$1,500, an eight-fold increase, providing a sound return on investment.

So, now you know the answer to ‘what do rich people invest in?’ What other investments would you add to our guide?

Articles

5 Potential Roadblocks on Your Path to Financial Success – and How to Overcome Them

Financial success is something everyone wants, but it can be tricky to achieve. Life tends to throw all obstacles your way, and many can stand between you and a solid financial standing.

Countless items can get in the way of your progress toward financial success in your life, and it can feel impossible to address them.

Here are five potential roadblocks I have found and how you can overcome them.

1. Roadblock: Credit Card Debt

It’s easy to spend money with a credit card. It’s less simple to pay that money back. Many people find themselves stuck in crazy debt because they borrowed or spent too much money with their credit cards.

If you find yourself in credit card debt, it can feel like an impossible situation. I recommend making a serious payment plan to get your life back on track. You can also seek debt consolidation with professionals to push yourself out of this situation.

You don’t have to get out of debt to move to financial success, but you must be on the right path. Make a spending path and ensure intelligent choices to get out of debt. In the future, steer clear of credit cards unless you’re sure you can repay spending.

2. Roadblock: A Serious Road Accident

An accident can wipe your car out and potentially cause injuries. In 2020, there were 4.8 million injuries from automobiles that sought medical attention. With yourself hurt and a car needing replacement, it can make financial success feel even further. Accident lawyers may help in this case, defending your name and winning money if you are in the clear.

If you need truck accident lawyers, you will find them on this page. Munley has over sixty years of experience handling these troubles, so you are in good hands if you run into this roadblock. A serious road accident is a hurdle you can climb with the right help.

3. Roadblock: Inflation

Inflation tends to appear at the worst times. It’s a rise in prices, which makes the dollar worth less. If the dollar is worth less but you don’t have more of it, you may find trouble moving toward financial success.

When the economy is amid inflation, it’s critical to make intelligent choices with your money. Don’t make any expensive choices. Wait for the dollar to be worth more, and then you can make wider spending choices.

4. Roadblock: Health Troubles

Health troubles can be unexpected and bump your path toward financial success. Although no one wants to experience health issues, they may appear at the most inconvenient times. Hospital bills and additional expenses can cost a lot and drag funds from your account.

If you find yourself amid pricey health troubles, ensure you have a savings account for emergency purposes. Speak to a professional to see if there is any way to save money on costs and prioritize your spending. Don’t buy anything more than what you need in this situation.

5. Roadblock: Investment Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, and one of the most common areas for failure is in the investing market. When an investment mistake occurs, it can cause the owner to lose a ton of money. It can hurt to see your exciting opportunity spiral out of control.

You can move past this point by learning. Remember the action that caused the loss, and don’t repeat it. With trial and error, investments may work out in your favour. Consult a professional and get advice before putting your money into any additional investments.

Articles

4 Applications of Blockchain Technology Emerging in the Next Decades – and What This Means for Your Financial Planning

The era of the blockchain has dawned, and this tech is already causing a seismic shift in many industries, disrupting markets in a major way and causing people to rethink the fundamentals of finance.

The best way to prepare for its likely future trajectory is to know how it’s being used today, and where it may be applied further down the line, so let’s talk over key applications of the blockchain so that you aren’t behind the curve in your own planning efforts.

Blockchain for orchestrating the Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT has an image problem. High profile breaches of connected smart devices continue to occur, eroding user trust in web-enabled gadgets of all shapes and sizes.

Various businesses are moving to address this with the help of crypto-based tech, with the idea being that storing data and even running IoT apps on the blockchain will reduce the risks and mitigate many cyber threats.

This is achievable through decentralization; if IoT devices aren’t all feeding back into a central server, they’re safer from exploitation by hackers.

Blockchain for commercial real estate transactions

Even domestic real estate transactions move at a glacial pace and are prone to delays and hiccups along the way, so you can imagine how this is amplified when business properties are being bought and sold.

The use of commercial real estate smart contracts is poised to grease the wheels of major agreements, while making them harder to corrupt or derail as they are wrapped up.

Getting accustomed to the idea of committing to contracts which are stored and executed on the blockchain is something we all must do, and their use in many commercial transactions is already gathering momentum.

Blockchain for fraud prevention

Online banking fraud costs unsuspecting victims millions each year, and there are many avenues by which cybercriminals can manipulate incumbent systems and circumvent security to steal data, spoof user identities and escape with hard-earned cash.

Once again the main flaw is that user data is stored in one place, so if hackers can breach a bank’s systems, they’ve got unfettered access to all sorts of juicy private info.

Migrating information over to the blockchain means that there’s no single point of failure from a cybersecurity perspective. Thus fraudsters won’t have an easy ride, and online banking customers can rest easy.

Blockchain for healthcare

The same security benefits apply to patient data in healthcare as they do to customer data in the world of online banking.

However, there’s also the advantage that the blockchain provides in terms of making anonymised information available to researchers for the purpose of furthering our understanding of all aspects of medicine.

Coupled with the potential to drive down IT costs for healthcare organizations on a global scale, it could make all sorts of treatments more effective and affordable, meaning a smaller tax burden associated with keeping everyone healthy.

How your financial planning should be affected

For the average individual, the main use of blockchain technology from the perspective of embracing it proactively is for investment. More experts are recommending adding cryptocurrencies to portfolios as a means of hedging against market volatility and tagging onto a movement that’s gaining momentum.

However, it’s also important to note that even if you don’t decide to put any money into the blockchain yourself, your financial future will become more robust as a result of the aforementioned applications that are either already widely applied, or are set to become more prevalent in the decades to come.

Articles

5 Perth’s Best Currency Exchange Places

Perth is a city in Western Australia that offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. If you’re looking to exchange your currency, plenty of options are available. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell currency, these businesses can help you do that.

1. Crown Currency Exchange Perth

Crown Currency is among the most popular currency exchanges in Perth. They have over 80 currencies available, helping you get the best deal no matter where you’re from. They also don’t charge any commissions or fees, so you can be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. They have three locations in Perth, so you’re sure to find one near you.

2. Travelex Currency Exchange

Regarding foreign currency exchange, Travelex is one of the most well-known places to go. They have over 40 years of experience and have built up a good reputation. You can order your currency online and then collect it in-store at one of their 11 locations around Perth. They also promise to give you the best rate possible.

3. Travel Money Oz

Travel Money Oz is the place for you if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your travel money needs. They offer various services, including foreign currency exchange and international money transfers. Also, they even offer prepaid travel cards to make your trip hassle-free. Also, their budget calculator is a handy tool to help you manage your spending while abroad.

4. S Money

S Money offers the best currency exchange rates online. They also offer a secure delivery service so you can have your currency delivered to your doorstep. Yet, their delivery charges are a bit steep at $14. But S Money is the way to go if you’re looking for convenience. They have a large range of currencies available and will even buy back any leftover currency you have.

5. Redrate

Redrate is one of the best places to buy popular currencies such as US dollars or Euros. They offer excellent exchange rates and have a wide range of currencies available. However, it cannot be easy to find their store. But once you find it, you won’t be disappointed with their service or rates.

These are just some of the best currency exchange places in Perth. So whether you’re looking to buy or sell, there’s sure to be a place that can help you out.

How to Get the Best Currency Exchange Rate in Perth

You can do a few things when it comes to getting the best currency exchange rate. Here are some tips on how to get the best rate when exchanging currency in Perth.

Be Sure to Research

The first step to getting the best currency exchange rate is to do your research. Many different factors can affect the exchange rate. These include the country’s political and economic stability, the time of year, and even world events. By keeping up-to-date with current affairs, you’ll be in a better position to predict how the exchange rate will fluctuate.

Know What You’re Looking For

When you’re ready to exchange your currency, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. There are two main types of currency exchange: spot exchange and forward exchange. The spot exchange is when you exchange currency for immediate delivery. At the same time, the forward exchange is when you agree to buy or sell currency at a set rate for delivery at a later date. Depending on your needs, one type of exchange may be more helpful.

Compare Rates

Once you know what currency exchange you need, it’s time to start comparing rates. There are ways to compare rates, including online comparison tools and speaking to a foreign exchange specialist. When comparing rates, be sure to take into account any fees or commissions that may apply. By getting multiple quotes, you’ll be able to find the best rate for your particular needs.

Consider Using a Foreign Exchange Specialist

If you want the best possible rate, you may want to consider using a foreign exchange specialist. These companies are experts in the field of currency exchange. They often have access to better rates than banks or other financial institutions. They can also offer guidance on how to get the most for your money.

Use a Reputable Company

When choosing a currency exchange company, use a reputable and reliable one. Many companies claim to offer the best rates, but not all of them are created equal. To avoid being scammed, research any company you’re considering using. Moreover, considering our stores mentioned above are all reputable, you can’t go wrong if you use one of them.

Conclusion

When it comes to exchanging your currency, it’s important to do your research and compare rates. By using a reputable company, you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal. Perth has several places where you can exchange your currency, so check them out before heading overseas.

Did we miss any of Perth’s best currency exchange places? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Diversify Your Portfolio with Quanloop?

Quanloop took a novel approach to portfolio diversification for its investors. A large portion of the risk-reducing functionality is just a feature without sufficient safeguards. This article will help you understand what is hidden behind Quanloop’s portfolio diversification, what its main features are, and why you should use this platform to gain profit.

Why do individuals use investment platforms? It’s simple: to gain profit. Also, their most sacred wish is to get as much money as possible while maintaining the lowest risk. That’s when all the risk-management plans come into play. Most investing platforms let you choose between hands-on and automatic diversification to maximize your profits. A lot of investing enthusiasts don’t know (or, let’s be honest, don’t want to know) how to use automatic diversification to the fullest. There are different reasons why this happens, but the thing is that without the correct data on risks, people are not that eager to use their money as investments.

That’s where Quanloop comes to the financial rescue. The company aids the enthusiasts in forming a portfolio in such a way that they can easily and, what is even more important, safely diversify it. It’s not a diversification system though; it’s an investment platform that has a diversification system incorporated in it.

Before we cover the peculiarities of the Quanloop diversification system, we have to talk a bit about the risks that come with investing.

What are the risks?

First of all, a potential investor has to bear in mind that there’s always a chance of losing whatever money they invest. Some people may say: “Yes, but you can minimize the chance by diversifying your investment.” That’s true; however, it’s not that simple.

When diversifying one’s investment, it is crucial to remember not to put all eggs in one basket. People with little to no expertise may want to find a financial area they find the most appealing for the investment project and put their money in it. In theory, it can work. If the market continues to drive the investment option upward, this might theoretically result in a substantial profit. However, it is hard to call this approach a diversification as it is both costly and useless if the economy fails since assets would react negatively to a particular economic event. Basically, it’s the absence of diversification.

That’s why it is essential to understand and anticipate all possible risks that a potential investment can impose so that you can prepare yourself in case of a potential loss.

What does Quanloop offer to its clients?

To put it simply, Quanloop is an alternative investment fund. For a short period of 24 hours, it borrows modest amounts from investors by entering into a large number of agreements with a minimum principal amount of €1. Lending to Quanloop partners, who are expert leasing and factoring businesses, involves first pooling together several short-term loans with very small principals. Due to the competitive nature of Quanloop, your investment will be given preference if your suggested interest rate is lower than that of another investor.

The Quanloop diversification program is divided into three risk-level systems and is visually explained on its website. For example, you have 1,000 euros that you want to invest. The first level (low risk) allows you to put all your money into it. If you choose to divide your investment between low and medium levels, you will get a 50/50 ratio. If you want to engage your money in all three levels, it will be divided into three approximately even shares.

Another useful feature of Quanloop is that it doesn’t allow you to put all your money into the medium- and high-risk plans, always keeping a particular sum of your investment in a relatively safe environment.

There is one thing that may keep potential investors reluctant. It is Quanloop’s desire not to provide information about its partners. Fortunately, people who want to invest via the platform won’t need to fret about it for a variety of reasons:

  • They are highly selective about the projects they handle. They have alliances with reputable companies all around Europe.
  • When lending money to the Partners, Quanloop takes collateral in their assets. If there is a default, these assets will be gathered by Quanloop and sold to pay back the lenders.
  • If the business fails, investors will get their funds back. It works only because investor money is kept in a discrete client account that is never used to cover operational expenses or wages.
  • The client interacts only with Quanloop; therefore, the responsibility of repaying its investors lies solely on the investment fund.

What’s more, there even exists a special mechanism assuring the payment in the case of default. The fund takes responsibility and uses its own reserves to satisfy its investors.

Using this approach investors are able to reduce their risk profile saving optimal risk-to-return balance. Though Quanloop reduces risks and offers steady returns, it is a good diversifier of avid investors’ portfolio, even if some people may believe it’s a stretch.

Investors may reduce their exposure to risk without sacrificing potential gain by using diverse risk plans. Although it may seem far-fetched to some, this investment in Quanloop is a well-balanced diversifier of your portfolio since it lowers your exposure to risk and generates consistent returns.

Articles

How to Implement AML in 2023

While digital transformation has created an opportunity for companies to transform their business, expand their operations, and move them online, it has also opened new doors for illegal activities such as money laundering and financial fraud. Criminals and fraudsters will take every advantage to get ahead in their illicit activities, and so should you. Discover what will happen with anti-money laundering (AML) practices in 2023 and how you can use it to make your business more secure.

Prepare for the future of anti-money laundering (AML)

New anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations are constantly being introduced, leaving businesses struggling to keep up, especially considering the regulations differ around the world. With new technological trends rapidly reshaping business practices and how financial crime is committed, businesses need to start preparing for the future. What better way to prepare for the future of AML than by looking into its past?

While there have always been malicious actors trying to exploit businesses for their own profit, money laundering became a part of the financial crime landscape only in 1970 when the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) was introduced. The truth is that throughout history, dealing with money laundering crimes was done reactively instead of proactively. Once the new regulations are introduced, financial institutions react to them and update their security strategies. This can make AML systems slow and outdated while leaving institutions and their employees quite confused as various departments end up being in charge of different elements. These issues can cause financial crimes to go unnoticed until it is too late.

AML strategies of the future need to take a closer look at past issues and work towards mitigating them if they want to create effective and proactive solutions.

What can we expect from AML in 2023?

Global money laundering annually deals with losses of around $1.6 trillion due to money laundering worldwide. Considering how good criminals are at exploiting our weaknesses, the number will only get higher. This is why in 2023, we need to concentrate on fixing the mistakes from the past and embracing technological advancements that can allow us to stay ahead of criminals and prevent their illegal activities.

We first need to realize that for any cybersecurity strategy to work, it needs to embrace all the elements that make it whole and effective. While AML is a good start, only when combining it with other cybersecurity elements, such as KYC or a digital footprint, can it become fully effective. While AML and KYC might seem similar, key KYC AML differences make them most effective when combined. While regulations dictate both, AML covers a broad category of laws aimed at preventing money laundering, and KYC concentrates on verifying the identity of prospective clients.

If we want AML of the future to be effective, it needs to be technology driven. The technological market, especially the area of cybersecurity, is filled with new advancements and applications that can make a significant difference in any AML strategy.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) can allow businesses to analyze data in real-time and detect any discrepancies that might indicate fraudulent activity, such as money laundering. Implementing it can reduce the number of false positives and use historical data to recognize any suspicious behavior while keeping up to date with the newest trends due to the self-learning aspect.
  • Machine learning can be used for risk analysis and determining every customer’s risk factor, allowing you to make informed decisions.
  • Network analytics helps you to determine any irregular or unusual money flow, making it easier to recognize the red flags indicating money laundering.
  • Verification systems can be used to verify the customer’s identity and to confirm they are who they claim to be, not illegal actors.

Conclusion

Illegal actors are never going to stop trying to use us for profit; the only thing we can do is to stay ahead of them and prevent them before they can cause any damage. Embracing new technology is the key to creating effective AML solutions that can safely lead us into 2023.

Invoice
Articles

Invoice Fraud Costs the Average UK Business £295,000+ a Year

Invoice

New data examines the top challenges of finance teams in 2022: rising fraud, retaining talent, late supplier payments, and the relationship with procurement

Financial professionals estimate over £295,000 is lost to invoice fraud per business, every year in the UK. Even more shocking is the fact that 1 in 5 (20%) finance professionals are unaware or unable to even estimate the cost of invoice fraud to their business. This lack of visibility is likely due to the messy paper trails that continue to plague the invoice process.

With invoice fraud on the rise, the question arises, who in the business is responsible for preventing invoice and payment fraud? In over half of organisations (56%), the responsibility is not shared between finance and IT.

To paint a complete picture of the challenges facing finance departments, Medius, in partnership with Censuswide, recently surveyed 2,750 senior finance executives globally, including 501 finance executives in the UK. 

 

UK finance teams face highest churn globally

With mounting pressure on finance teams, they have the added struggle of high employee churn and challenges recruiting qualified staff – a problem that’s particularly acute in the UK. Almost 20% of finance professionals in the UK leave after 7-11 months, almost 10% higher than any other market surveyed. Across the globe, the average tenure in the finance teams is 30 months.

As businesses struggle with high staff turnover, finance professionals are a particular flight risk. In the UK, 27% say their finance department is so busy they are concerned colleagues are on the cusp of leaving, and 26% report having a high churn rate in the team. One of the problems reported by finance teams is the nature of the job – 21% feel their job is dominated by monotonous and boring tasks, and 36% of professionals think they are working with outdated payments software.

 

London lags behind UK for automation in finance with implications for payments

At the same time, London lags behind the rest of the UK when it comes to automating finance departments, where only 25% of respondents track and measure their automation practices. In contrast, 31% of UK finance departments track and measure automation, rising to 33% in large companies, and to 43% in the US – which is leading globally for automation practices.

As a result, over a third of finance professionals (39%) say they can’t close their books on time and paying supplier invoices remains the biggest challenge for the finance department in 39% of UK businesses. Furthermore, in the UK, businesses take the longest time globally to process invoices, coming in at 27 days, 13 days longer than Denmark, where it only takes an average of 14 days.

 

Account professionals admit 51% of supplier payments are late

In the UK, account professionals admit that the majority (51%) of supplier payments are late, lower than the global average of 56%, but with significant room for improvement compared to Finland, where only 44% of supplier payments are late. At the same time, 98% of UK businesses say they would like to take advantage of early payment discounts, and 79% offer early payment discounts themselves.

Deciding when to pay a supplier has a direct impact on cash flow but can also damage supplier relationships and the external reputation of a business. To increase transparency and aid decision-making for businesses, in 2017, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy introduced new requirements for large businesses to self-declare supplier payments data.

 

Relationship troubles: 39% say it’s costing the business cash

The report revealed that one of the most prominent issues leading to late supplier payments is the relationship between procurement and finance. A healthy relationship between procurement and finance can transform an organisation, whereas a bad relationship can lead to missed opportunities for supplier discounts, increased errors and time spent managing payments, a lack of transparency and oversight, and damage relationships with suppliers.

In the UK, 72% of respondents stated that they either didn’t work with procurement at all (32%), or only occasionally worked with procurement (40%). When they do work together, 51% of respondents in the UK claim they are not satisfied with the cooperation, the highest level of dissatisfaction across markets – at the other end of the scale is Denmark, with only 4% of respondents dissatisfied with the relationship. 

Jim Lucier, CEO, Medius, said: “Invoice fraud is on the rise, while global supply chains are becoming more complex. Finance and AP teams face numerous challenges in an increasingly complex business environment. They need technology to move from automation to elimination – eliminating the invoice, fraud, and wasted time on needless manual tasks. As a technology provider, we still have work to do to help them solve these challenges and we’re 100% focused on doing just that.”

Kevin Permenter, Research Director, Financial Applications at IDC, comments: “For the past three to five years, we’ve seen finance and procurement teams play a game of ‘whack-a-mole’ as they respond to global economic fluctuations and the rapid digitisation of processes. Not surprisingly, they are struggling to keep up with the ever-evolving shift in customer expectations, heightened risk and vulnerabilities, and challenges caused by global supply chain issues. It’s a tough environment for even the strongest of teams.”

Articles

7 Tips for Buying a Business

When it comes to making the decision to buy a business, there are a lot of factors to consider. The process can be complex, and there’s a lot at stake. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve been through the process before, there are always things to keep in mind. So to guide you through, we’ve collaborated with Lloyds brokers to bring you these seven tips for buying a business.

1. Know your financial limit

Before you start looking at businesses for sale, it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend. This will help narrow down your options and save you time in the long run.

For instance, if you have a budget of $500,000, you’ll know to focus your search on businesses that are priced within that range.

2. Do your research

Once you know your budget, it’s time to start doing some research. Look at different businesses that are for sale in your industry and price range. Talk to people who have experience in buying and selling businesses. Get as much information as you can before you make an offer on a company. Moreover, a business broker can provide you with a lot of insights and resources that can help you in your search.

3. Get a feel for the market

Before purchasing a business, it is critical to have a better understanding of the current market conditions. This will help you figure out whether or not the asking price is reasonable. You can talk to business brokers, look at industry reports, and compare businesses that are similar to the one you’re interested in to get a better idea of the market value.

4. Know what you’re looking for

When you’re looking at businesses for sale, it’s important to know what you want and what you don’t want. Make a list of the most and nice-to-haves so you can simply eliminate any businesses that do not meet your requirements. Owning your own company is a major responsibility, so you want to make sure you’re buying something that’s a good fit for you.

5. Have realistic expectations

It’s critical to go into the process with realistic expectations about what you can achieve. Buying a business is a big commitment, and it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for all that comes with it. Think about the time and effort that you’ll need to put into the business to make it successful. Think about the risks involved and be realistic about the growth potential.

6. Be prepared to negotiate but don’t be afraid to walk away

When it comes time to negotiate the purchase price, be prepared to haggle back and forth until you reach an agreement that works for both parties. But don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal if it doesn’t feel right—there will always be other businesses for sale. Like with any major purchase, it’s important to take your time and make sure you’re getting what you want.

7. Get everything in writing

Before finalizing the purchase of a business, always get everything in writing, including the purchase price, payment terms, inventory lists, equipment lists, and so on, to avoid confusion later on. Additionally, have a lawyer look over the contract to ensure that everything is in order and that you understand the terms and conditions.

What a Business Broker Can Do for You

Working with a business broker can be a big help if you’re thinking about buying a business. A business broker is a professional who specializes in helping people buy and sell businesses. They can provide you with information and resources that you might not have access to on your own.

A good business broker will:

  • Help you find businesses that are for sale
  • Assist with negotiation and due diligence
  • Provide advice and guidance throughout the process

When you’re ready to start looking for businesses for sale, a business broker can be a valuable resource. They can help you find the right company, negotiate the purchase price, and provide guidance and advice throughout the process. They study the market, know the ins and outs of buying a business, and can help you avoid common pitfalls.

Conclusion

Buying a business can be complex and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these seven tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a smart and informed decision about which business is right for you. And, if you work with a business broker, you’ll have access to even more resources and information to help you through the process.

Purchasing a business is a huge choice and definitely not one to be taken lightly. However, by being well-informed and working with the right people, buying a business can be a very rewarding experience.

Do you have any tips for buying a business that you would add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Articles

What Is the Role of a Digital Account Manager?

The role of a digital account manager is to ensure that the company’s online presence is managed and monitored effectively. This person will be in charge of all things digital, including social media management, website maintenance, and more. They should have great communication skills and be able to work well on their own as well as in a team environment.

In this post, we’ll explore exactly what makes up the day-to-day duties of a digital account manager.

Hiring A Digital Account Manager

Having a dedicated account manager is crucial to the success of your company and the maintenance of customer relationships. They’re the ones who can make your company indispensable to customers. However, the wrong person in the role might have negative consequences for the company.

How do you know that you hired the right person if their role is unclear to you and your business needs? The best course of action is to use a recruiting service, such as seo for hire, to find a suitable Account Manager on your behalf.

What does a Digital Account Manager do? Read on to find out more.

The Day-to-Day Tasks of a Digital Account Manager

A digital account manager’s responsibilities will vary depending on the client and the project. However, there are some key things they do in a typical day.

  • They help their clients determine where they should focus their efforts.
  • This can include researching competitors and analysing industry trends to determine which channels will be most effective for them to reach customers.
  • They set up campaigns that match the goals of each client and project, and then monitor results so that any changes necessary can be made quickly.
  • They make recommendations for improving content or branding strategies based on data from previous campaigns.
  • They use this insight as well as feedback from stakeholders to make informed decisions about new initiatives going forward.And finally, they keep track of all relevant information about metrics
  • such as social media impressions or website clicks
  • so that these numbers remain accurate throughout the life cycle of each campaign (since these numbers may change over time).

The Role of a Digital Account Manager

Clients Come First

Because the customer is king, account managers should be customer-centric, focused, and driven. Account managers are the face of the company, so they have to have excellent communication skills and be able to communicate with their clients in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

Account managers should always be listening because they never know when they might learn something new. They need to be willing to learn from their clients and from other people within your organization as well.

A Digital Account Manager Is a Team Leader

The role of the digital account manager is to lead the digital marketing team at their company by helping them create and execute strategies that will drive growth for their brand. A digital account manager must understand how each department in their company works as well as how they can work together to achieve results.

A good way to think of this is by comparing it to managing your own personal life: when you’re planning out your schedule for the week, you don’t usually put all of your tasks on a single day. Instead, you spread them out over several days so that each task has its own time slot during which it gets done most effectively.

This same concept applies when planning out an entire marketing strategy for an entire organization. If one person takes on too many responsibilities at once (for example, if they’re responsible both for managing clients’ budgets and also managing employees), they’ll have trouble keeping up with all of their many different jobs at once. They won’t be able to give each one proper attention leading up until launch date.

Creativity and Communication Are Key Skills

To be an effective digital account manager, the ideal candidate needs to know how to work with a team and communicate effectively.

They must be able to explain your ideas in a way that other people understand. This skill is especially important when working with clients who don’t have expertise in the field of digital marketing or web development.

The ideal candidate also needs this ability for internal communication within your own company about what has been done on each project and what remains unfinished. For a project to be successful, there needs to be good collaboration between everyone involved.

Final Thoughts

Digital Account Managers are vital members of the digital marketing team. Their role is to bring together all the elements of online marketing and customer service into one cohesive and successful strategy.

Articles

How to Boost Your Profits Through Effective Employee

Businesses cannot survive without their employees. Unfortunately, many employers fail to recognise this, leading to poor performance and a high turnover rate. Implementing an incentive program is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve employee morale and increase profit. You may have to spend money on this, but it’s one of the best investments you can ever make. Here’s how to boost your profits through effective employees.

1. Understand Your Employees Needs

Every individual has to deal with various financial worries, from concerns about debt and making the monthly budget work, which may affect your employees’ well-being. As an employer, you must take time to understand your employees’ financial needs and see if there is anything you can do to lighten the burden. 

Each employee deals with different circumstances, which means they also have different financial needs and priorities. Employers must assess the various factors that affect their employees’ financial needs. For instance, the younger ones may need help in acquiring their first home, while the older ones would prioritise retirement. Therefore, it’s a good idea to segment the workforce and determine the needs and priorities of these different groups of employees. 

Once you have assessed the different needs of your employees, it’s time to implement a benefits package that will appeal most to them. See if these can benefit your employees and are relevant to their needs. It also helps to provide financial training to teach employees how to manage their finances well. Financial education seminars can help employees understand the different issues and how to best address these. 

2. Ensure Training is Offered to Employees 

As technology evolves and workplace strategies change, companies should prepare their employees to adapt to these changes through training. There are some great relevant compliance training courses that will help equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their respective roles and improve their performance at work.

While staff training is essential for new employees, it’s also necessary for long-term employees to receive the proper training to help with their development. Create a training program that will apply to all staff members, including those working with the company for many years. Everyone should feel that you are serious about helping them to grow and develop. They are less likely to leave the company if you equip them with the knowledge and skills to help them advance their career. 

Instead of relinquishing an employee who can’t properly carry out specific tasks, employers should provide staff training to support employees and acquire and develop the skills needed to perform their respective roles well. By creating an effective training program that will help employees develop, companies can retain staff members with the right attitude and who can help the company boost its profits.

3. Encourage Employee Engagement 

Employee engagement is essential for all organisations since it’s critical for overall job satisfaction. Engaged employees are more motivated to give their best at work. It also influences their mental health and positively impacts the people around them, including clients and colleagues. 

There are various strategies to engage your employees. You can solicit valuable and honest feedback from the team and ensure you act on it. Make sure you communicate transparently across all departments. Observe how your employees work and provide constructive feedback based on your observations. Always recognise your employees’ accomplishments and be open to whatever opinions or suggestions they may have. 

Keep everyone in your organisation informed so they will feel more invested in helping the company achieve its goals. Support the learning and development of your staff and delegate tasks to demonstrate your confidence and trust in their abilities. More importantly, provide your employees with tools and services to help them connect and communicate with each other. 

4. Hire More People 

Sometimes, companies can’t grow because of the lack of employees. One way to help boost profits is by hiring payroll specialists, a great way to help determine where money is spent and what areas need more investment. So, determine the capacity of your current employees and assess whether it’s time to hire. The best way to know if your employees can handle the current workload is to ask them yourself. If you find that some employees can’t take on new tasks or are struggling to manage their current workload, consider hiring more to keep up with the growth of your business.

One of the reasons why you need to ensure you have enough workers is to keep employees from getting overworked. If your employees struggle to keep up with work demands, they could suffer from stress which will affect their work quality. Stressed workers will lack interest in their jobs and constantly request time off, affecting work productivity. Eventually, they will decide to leave, leaving some employees to be more overworked. If you want to grow your business, do not ignore these red flags.

While hiring additional employees can cost you some money, consider this an essential investment for your business. Remember, your company cannot function well without your employees. 

5. Allow Employee Feedback 

As mentioned, one way to boost profits is to engage employees. And when it comes to employee engagement, employers should establish a system that allows constructive and positive feedback. Feedback is essential as it helps improve business processes and enables teams to work more effectively towards achieving a common goal.

Most employees will appreciate it when you provide consistent positive and negative feedback. They will be more motivated to invest their time and skills to help your business grow instead of seeking opportunities somewhere. Given the competitive battle for the best talents, leaders should recognise that losing employees and hiring replacements can cost money. Turnover often contributes to lower employee engagement. If your staff is overworked, tired, and dissatisfied, they will be happy to leave your company if they find better opportunities somewhere. 
Employee feedback also helps boost employee morale. Employees who are satisfied and happy with their job will more likely do an excellent job at work. As a result, productivity will increase, which also improves your ROI.

Inflation Recession
Articles

The Key to Survival – How Businesses Can Improve Poor Credit Ratings and Beat the Recession

Inflation Recession

Lynne Darcey Quigley, Founder & CEO of credit management solution Know-it, talks about the importance of a good credit score and how businesses need to embrace good credit management practices now.

In the light of the recent rises in inflation, rising operational costs and the recession expected to hit later this year, many businesses will look to boost their credit ratings to limit hiring freezes and supply chain shortages, which impact productivity and output.

The key to thriving even at the darkest times of a recession is to have a business credit score that will hold a business in good stead for a successful future and strengthen financial security in the event of a downturn in the market due to uncertainty surrounding the economy.

Yet it is important to remember that ratings can vary depending on which credit reference agency a business chooses to use. Each uses slightly different criteria and algorithms to calculate credit ratings. But typically, a good business credit rating from one credit reference agency will translate to another.

 

A good business credit rating opens doors to growth

A host of opportunities for growth and expansion is possible once a company has a good credit rating while also giving businesses peace of mind if there is a downturn in the market. In times of downturn, enterprises are likely to turn to seek out funding avenues and the company’s credit score will be checked to see how trustworthy a business is and how likely they are to default on payment. A company’s credit report will also be checked in the event they purchase large ticket items such as machinery or commercial premises and when ordering large quantities of stock.

A low rating suggests that a company is slow-paying invoices (if they pay them at all) or does not abide by payment terms, so they are deemed a high credit risk to lenders and suppliers. A low rating can restrict a company’s operations and drastically limit its overall growth potential.as it will also determine how much money a business can borrow, how much stock it can purchase per order, payment terms and interest rates.

 

Addressing why your business might have a poor credit rating

There are several ways a business can improve its credit rating, starting with immediate activities such as addressing missed payments on loans, credit cards, suppliers, and other expenses such as rent. Yet, it is also essential to understand that it cannot just be an overdue payment that can lower a credit rating.

Not abiding by an agreed repayment schedule or credit terms can reduce a business’s credit score. Even County Court Judgements (CCJs), Insolvency or bankruptcy, having a poor debt to credit limit ratio, also known as credit utilisation rate, late filing accounts to Companies House, and making multiple credit applications simultaneously can lower even the best of business credit ratings.

Fraudulent activity can also harm a business’s credit score as criminals typically try to take out credit and loans in a company’s name. Businesses may notice a sudden unexpected drop in their business credit score, and it is always worth checking for potential fraud.

Turning a poor credit score into an excellent one for your business Whether a business has a poor, fair or reasonable credit rating, it always helps to improve it where possible. For example, keeping relevant parties up to date with any financial and business changes can boost a failing score. Be sure to inform customers, lenders, suppliers, banks, and directories like Companies House of changes that affect your rating. Inconsistencies or inaccuracies in business information can make it look untrustworthy and unreliable, which may negatively impact a rating. Other activities to boost a score include:

• Making your payments on time

• Ensure your finances, such as your turnover, are transparent

• Submitting your full accounts on time to Companies House

• Consider setting up a private limited company (Ltd)

• Opt-in to open banking

• Limit the number of credit applications in a short period of time

• Reduce your debt-to-credit ratio

• Dispute any errors on your credit file

• Establish a good relationship with your suppliers

It is critical that businesses check their credit scores and reports frequently so they can react quickly to any changes. An automated company credit checking, and monitoring solution makes this easier, using the most up-to-date intelligence from multiple reliable sources to help managers make informed credit decisions. Business owners can consider running a credit report that keeps them up to date on changes if it offers a credit monitoring facility that can forward notifications of any changes.

When working to build a business’ credit rating, it is essential that its progress is available in real-time. Business owners, finance managers and credit controllers can unlock key insights from a business credit rating that will help them see what improvements a business can make for future financial prospects. At the same time, companies should be able to check other business credit ratings if they are potential suppliers and key customers to know the shape of their customers’ credit reports.

2022 Fund Awards Logo Long
ArticlesPress releases

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2022 Fund Awards

2022 Fund Awards Logo Long

United Kingdom, 2022- Wealth & Finance magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Fund Awards.

Now running in its seventh year, the programme spans the length and breadth of the funds industry, covering all facets of the financial sector from banks to insurance companies and family offices, to solo practitioners. The Fund Awards acknowledges those who have reinvigorated the market with their experience and expertise and act as a pacesetter for the greater landscape.

On the eve of the announcement, Awards Coordinator Steve Simpson commented: “I am proud of all the winners of this year’s programme as we have strived to acknowledge all those who have worked effortlessly this year to provide their customers with outstanding services. I wish them all the best for their future endeavours and hope you all have a wonderful year ahead.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/fund-awards/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Note to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a quarterly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Debt Financing
Articles

Debt Financing Within Climate Tech Set to Grow Over the Next Few Years

Debt Financing

By Marc Deschamps, co-head at DAI Magister

Software and technology enabled businesses were considered risky by debt finance providers a mere decade ago as “classic companies” still dominated the landscape and the perceived threat to disruption from many ‘known unknowns’ was almost impossible to predict. The dotcom crash at the turn of the century constantly reminded investors of the perils of backing nascent technology companies. Fast forward to 2022 and the outlook could not be more different. Today many of the world’s most valuable companies are related to technology. A similar revolution is now coming to Climate Tech.

Availability of credit financing (various forms of loan instruments) has globally enabled entrepreneurs, venture, and private equity investors to rapidly build, scale and acquire high growth businesses within the digital transformation and technology enabled sector. Given the broad nature of technology it is hard to point to a robust figure in how much technology lending has grown over the last decade. However, using private equity transactions as a barometer, according to Bloomberg in 2021, $146bn of technology company buyouts were accomplished compared to $42bn in 2011.

There is typically plenty to like about lending to technology enabled businesses from a lenders perspective. The acceleration of digitisation within businesses small and large across the globe driven by increased adoption of cloud, 5G and connectivity, provides a huge opportunity. Rapid transformation of businesses through deployment of software applications in the areas such as payments, supply chain, e-commerce, sales & marketing, and learning & communications has not only enhanced efficiency and automated traditional business processes but also created a loyal, sticky and highly profitable customer base for technology providers. These dynamics have enhanced lender appetite for the technology sector. This viewpoint has been further galvanized based on the pivotal role technology played during the recent pandemic.

The impact of inflationary pressures is now evident in the global economy, just like the damage from industrialisation is now apparent in our environment. Technology in many ways is seen as the panacea to these forces as it can increase automation, facilitate remote collaboration, and create operating efficiencies within most processes across multiple sectors. Not to mention technology is and will play a key role in solving the planet’s largest climate related challenges.

Over the next decade, it is expected that companies offering climate related technology, will garner the same attention from financiers as technology companies have enjoyed. ‘Investing in the Green Economy 2022’, a report from the London Stock Exchange’s research arm, suggests the market capitalisation of green equities ballooned from under $2 trillion in 2009 to over $7 trillion by 2021, almost doubling its share of the global investable market from 4% to 7%.  Debt financing typically lags equity financing as companies are created through risk capital before accessing any forms of debt finance. Companies harnessing renewable energy or electric energy to replace traditional fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions or supporting clean water, environmentally friendly packaging, and the circular economy from fashion to electronics to name a few are all gaining significant momentum. Technology and innovation are now firmly seen as a force for good and this image is further enhanced when it is applied for the betterment of the planet and humankind.

The debt financing universe has also evolved over the last decade in response to this phenomenon and debt is no longer just the preserve of large technology companies. Lenders are increasingly active within the start up to unicorn universe alongside profitable software businesses, with the aim of not only capturing good financial returns and a meaningful market share, but also to fulfill the increasing Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) based responsibility finance providers have towards their investors and shareholders. Lender’s appetite to finance the wider technology sector is highly evident within the private equity leveraged buy out sector and increasing penetration of venture debt financing within growth companies since the 2009 global financial crisis and throughout the 2020 pandemic.

Today lenders are offering a wide range of hybrid financing solutions from warrant-based venture debt or convertible loan instruments to traditional term loan finance – determined by the financial and operational maturity levels of the potential borrower. Tech enabled companies (including fintech, healthtech, clean energy etc.) with a differentiated high growth business model, robust technology platform (often including intellectual property), re-occurring revenues, sticky client base and profitability or path to profitability (profitable unit economics when paring back any costs deployed for growth such as customer acquisition or marketing costs) can now explore debt funding options alongside traditional funding instruments such as equity.

Similarly, when looking at climate related sectors, debt funding is becoming more prevalent outside of traditional capital-intensive project finance opportunities such as solar parks, wind farms and eco-friendly real estate projects. Energy transition opportunities and electric mobility is for example, a sector that is attracting increasing levels of debt financing. UK electric vehicle subscription service Onto, electric vehicle charging infrastructure developer Gridserve and Germany based e-scooter provider Tier Mobility have all successfully raised different forms of debt.

Alongside attractive financial and commercial prospects, debt fundable companies also tend to have a few rounds of equity investment under their belt, a reasonable funding runway, a strong purpose driven founding team and preferably value add investors as shareholders.

Given the nature of technology companies, typically there is no one size fits all financing solution and potential borrowers need to not only assess the pros and cons of carrying debt, but also create a ‘compelling case’ and be ‘match fit’ for due diligence processes conducted by financiers. Listed and private peer group valuation metrics may or may not be available to benchmark niches or sub-sectors within alternative energy, mobility, healthcare and automation, to name a few, forcing lenders to pay more attention to valuation appraisal processes – to determine the level of equity value underpinning the debt structure which in part drives the commercial terms and pricing of debt structures.

Along with the evolution in debt structures, the financing universe itself is being transformed away from traditional banks to now comprise private credit and specialist asset managers such as TPG, Blackrock and KKR, ESG focused government backed funds such as UK’s  Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund (LEVI), sovereign wealth funds such as Temasek, GIC, Mubadala and infrastructure funds such as Macquarie and M&G to name a few.

Equity valuations are being influenced by the global geopolitical uncertainty alongside economic factors such as the impact of inflation on operating models and increasing cost of debt service as interest rates rise – which affect earnings and revenue. Companies experiencing potential valuation changes are increasingly looking for alternative funding options such as debt. In direct response to this many large asset managers are seemingly gearing up to focus on debt opportunities across the technology and climate sectors.

Whether listed, venture/private equity backed, or founder led, companies should consider ways to reduce their overall cost of capital by considering debt options to finance organic growth or acquisitions. Debt financing can also be a very effective instrument to achieve other strategic objectives such as change in ownership or to finance shareholder dividends in well performing businesses.

businessman,male is pressing a calculator to calculate tax income and expenses, bills, credit card for payment or payday at home
Articles

Planning an Office Renovation: There May Be Tax Considerations

With many businesses practising hybrid working, many are taking the opportunity to update or renovate their office spaces to make them fit for purpose and attractive to the workforce. However, they may not be aware that much of the cost of the renovation could be eligible for tax relief under the capital allowances regime.

With the ‘super deduction’ deadline of 31st March 2023 fast approaching, it is important that businesses make strategic decisions now that could potentially save them money.

While minor decorative or cosmetic works, such as painting walls, are likely to be classed as revenue in nature, rather than capital, any capital renovations that are directly linked to the function of the business, for example, updating IT equipment or new furniture will qualify for tax relief under the capital allowances regime. Furthermore, eligible expenditure will also qualify for the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), which gives businesses 100 per cent tax relief on their expenditure up to a value of £1 million.

The capital allowances regime has several categories providing different amounts of relief.

Main pool capital allowances offer tax relief for items that are moveable or classed as ‘plant and machinery’, including equipment such as televisions, computers, and furniture. Anything that is classed as a ‘main pool’ capital allowance qualifies for the 100 per cent AIA up to an annual limit of £1 million and then 18 per cent writing down allowances thereafter.

Expenditure may also be eligible for the super deduction, which gives businesses 130 per cent tax relief provided certain criteria are met, although this will end on 31st March 2023.

There is also the ‘special rate pool’, which includes features that are integral to a building, such as lighting or air conditioning. These items will also qualify for the 100 per cent AIA up to the annual limit of £1 million limit and 6 per cent thereafter.

In addition to the above, the structural and building allowance was introduced in 2018, under which expenditure on structural renovations, such as reconfiguring walls, qualify for three per cent tax relief per annum.  This allows claims for builders’ fees, as well as professional fees for the design of the renovations. However, it is important to note that while some legal and administrative fees may qualify for this relief, planning permission is not eligible.

Although there is not a time limit by which companies can claim capital allowances in general, any claims for AIA and super deduction must be made in the tax return in which the expenditure was incurred. Companies then have two years following their financial year end in which to amend a corporation tax return and include a claim for these first-year allowances. Any claims made after this time will have a much lower return. For example, claims for main pool allowances will only receive 18 per cent tax relief per annum, which means it will take much longer to obtain full tax relief.

Consulting a tax professional for advice at an early stage will allow businesses to get the information required to make a successful claim.  Creating and maintaining a detailed report of scheduled works will provide all the information needed to file a claim for tax relief efficiently and accurately, making for a smoother process overall.

Businesses should remember that most of the costs associated with office renovations do qualify for some form of tax relief. Completing a claim as early as possible will enable businesses to make the most of the allowances available; realising value and realise value for improving workspaces at the same time.

Natasha Spicer, tax specialist at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP

Articles

How Do You Calculate Mileage For A Small Business?

As a business owner, you can take advantage of various tax breaks that will lower your monthly tax bill. Several factors like home office, medical expenses, and business supplies are some of the most prevalent deductions claimed by owners of businesses. If you run a business out of your car, you can deduct the mileage you put on the vehicle from your taxes.

Conversely, you might deduct the actual costs you incur when traveling for your business. These costs might include the cost of gas, new tires, repairs, and the depreciation of your vehicle. Therefore, regardless of how you calculate it, you must keep a record of the cost per mile of using your car.

To fully comprehend how, one needs to have a solid comprehension of how to compute mileage for business use of a vehicle, regardless of whether you are using a company-owned automobile or your car.

Keeping a Log of Your Mileage

Generally, you need proof to back up your claim when deducting business-related mileage expenses. You are not required to send it in with your tax returns; however, if the IRS ever decides to audit your finances, they will want to view your paperwork.

In addition, you must provide the date of the trip, the location visited, and the business purpose for the journey to claim mileage reimbursement. Suppose you are a salesperson or a delivery person who makes the same visits regularly. In that case, you do not need to document the objective of every trip as long as you have regularly scheduled trips.

On the other hand, keeping accurate accounts of your business driving during the first week of each month may be all that is required if your company does not use its vehicle very frequently but does so regularly. Sometimes keeping a thorough log is unnecessary.

Mileage worth

Does keeping track of your mileage have any value? A few company heads don’t give this deduction the attention it deserves since they believe it’s too time-consuming for them to deal with. The miles add up over a year, and there is a possibility that they will be worth a significant amount in terms of the deductions available for your tax calculations.

The Internal Revenue Service updates its standard mileage rate deduction for tax purposes. Its rate is applied to determine whether you are eligible for mileage deductions or reimbursement for business mileage incurred while driving your vehicle for work. This deduction may be an excellent option if you’re looking for ways to lower your taxable income.

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a modification in the mileage rates effective midway through 2022, most likely in response to rising gasoline costs. The following are the mileage rates that will be in effect beginning on July 1st, 2022:

A rise of 4 cents from the first half of the year brings the cost of a business trip to 62.5 cents per mile.An increase of 4 cents from the first half of 2022 brings the price per mile for medical and relocation purposes to 22 cents.The 14 cents per mile rate, which applies to driving for charitable purposes, has not been altered.

Talk To Your Accountant

It is highly suggested that owners of small businesses consult with accountants to formulate the most efficient plan possible for their financial situation. Even if you find articles on deduction tactics online, nothing can replace speaking with a professional with a firm grasp of your company’s financial situation.

Moreover, your company’s accountant will make suggestions concerning your company’s expenditures, the handling of payroll, and other related matters. When you decide to outsource these services rather than take on the responsibility in-house, you free up your time to concentrate on activities that will contribute to the expansion of your company.

Conclusion

Even for the best-organized business owners and staff, documenting mileage and ensuring it is kept available for the tax authority over an extended period may be a complex and time-consuming process.

Consequently, hiring an accountant or using a mileage tracker designed for small businesses can save you and your employees a ton of time, keep all of your past mileage records in one place, and streamline the process of claiming mileage-related expenses.

Transaction
Articles

Inefficiency Is the Root Cause of High POS Transaction Fees Says Expert

Transaction

The cost of Point-Of-Sale transactions can be significantly lower for businesses by increasing efficiency and using thousands of  terminals across three continents

Fact 1 — In July 2022, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the European Union reached an all time high and, as a result, businesses and consumers are generally paying substantially higher prices for goods and services than a year ago.

Fact 2 — The annual inflation rate across the EU has skyrocketed over the last few months. It reached 9.8% in July of this year compared to 2.5% a year earlier. In some countries including Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the inflation rate has reached between 14% and 23%.

Fact 3 — Merchant card processing fees are high. They are made up of 3 main elements — one charged by the acquiring bank, the second charged by the card scheme itself such as Visa or Mastercard, and the third, interchange fee, charged by the cardholder’s bank, and which makes up the largest portion of the card processing fees.

These facts have led to an unavoidable reality — merchants are forced to hike prices while consumers’ purchasing power has been eroded.

“There are a number of reasons for the high merchant card processing fees” explains Radoslav Tomasiak, Head of POS Solutions at payment tech kevin. “It is common to assume that banks, acquirers and card schemes are speculating by charging higher fees. In reality, the main reason is inefficiency. Too many intermediaries, limited competition in the card industry which is controlled by a global duopoly, and low security by design which leads to high levels of fraud, all play a major role in the fee structure. Speaking of fraud, according to a Nilson report, the card industry will experience fraud losses of $408 billion over the next 10 years”.

Notwithstanding the current market conditions, post-pandemic in-store shopping is back. The human need for physical interaction has fueled the return of consumers to brick-an-mortar stores and malls across the globe.

And although e-commerce’s share of retail sales is estimated to continue growing over the next few years, the growth in physical store sales is predicted to reach US$ 22T globally by 2025. 

Which brings us to the point of sale. Traditional payment options such as credit and debit cards (70%), cash (11%) and digital wallets (11%) still dominate the market but payment innovations are rapidly replacing the conventional with technology based options.

One such option is Open Banking (OB) enabled Account-to-account (A2A) infrastructure which allows payments to move directly from the payer’s bank to a merchant or service provider’s bank. A2A payments are becoming more mainstream, allowing consumers to bypass traditional card schemes while offering retailers lower costs and higher conversion rates. The number of OB players is growing rapidly but payment tech kevin. has taken it to the next level by offering the solution in-store.

Tomasiak adds that “In a recent industry first, fintech kevin.’s A2A payments will be available on tens of thousands of POS (point-of-sale) terminals across Europe connected to the Switchio platform. The platform by Monet+ works with multiple acquirers to manage millions of transactions each day, covering the entire process from POS terminals to processing centers.

By integrating kevin.’s high-tech infrastructure into Switchio’s platform, Monet+ becomes the first-ever company able to offer their clients and partners A2A payments in physical stores, enabling businesses to receive payments safely, instantly and at reduced costs.

Tomasiak concludes that as well as being more secure due to its foundational design, using Open Banking based A2A payments will reduce costs at the POS. Another advantage of this new payment solution is the fact that consumers’ user experience at the POS does not change — they can simply link their bank account within the merchants’ mobile application and pay via NFC by placing their phone near the POS terminal.

Stock Investment
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Foolproof Investments During the Cost-of-Living Crisis

Stock Investment

With investors having less money for investment due to the surge in cost-of-living, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, gives four safe investments to get investors through uncertain times. 

Periods of uncertainty are not a time to experiment with or risk investments. The most important aspect of any investment strategy during a recession, or when money is tight, like a cost-of-living crisis, is safety.  

While it may seem tempting to survive a recession or cost-of-living crisis without stocks, investors may find that they are missing out on significant opportunities by sitting it out. Historically, there are companies that thrive during economic downturns, you just need to know where to look.

During a crisis period, it is best to focus on industries that offer goods and services that are in constant demand. These are safe investment options as they are basic consumer goods and essentials that people need, and buy, regardless of their financial situation.

It is therefore worth continuing to invest and accumulate these investments despite the rising cost of living. Crises are more likely to be short-term, while in the long term present an excellent opportunity for returns.

 

Where to invest during a cost-of-living crisis 

Coca-Cola (KO). The world’s largest soft drink company generates most of its revenue internationally, with its key markets outside of the US and UK being countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Japan. Over the last decade, Coca-Cola’s gross margins have been relatively stable at around 60%. Even in the pandemic-ridden 2020, its gross margin was 59.3%, with Coca-Cola delivering excellent operating margins.

Price power is crucial in an environment of rising inflation and Coca-Cola has demonstrated price power for decades. If Coca-Cola’s input costs rise because of inflation, which is currently the case, Coca-Cola can pass those increases on to consumers to protect its profit margin. Coca-Cola beat earnings per share and revenue estimates in the latest quarter and raised its full-year forecast, posting earnings per share of $0.70 (£0.63) in the second quarter, three cents above the target set by Wall Street.

The outlook for the full year has been raised with the company now expecting organic revenue growth of 12% to 13%, up from the previous forecast of 7% to 8% growth. Growth potential to the average target price at $70 (£63), about 23% upside.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is the world’s largest healthcare company. Key reasons for J&J to succeed includecontinued earnings growth and growth through mergers and acquisitions. Specifically, J&J’s total revenue, excluding its consumer business, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the low single digits and its earnings at a compound annual growth rate in the single digits over the next 5 years. 

Late last year, J&J announced plans to spin off its consumer health products business into a new public company within the next 18-24 months. J&J wants to focus solely on healthcare through two other segments – pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The move should help boost the company’s revenue growth. 

J&J’s largest therapeutic areas by revenue are oncology and immunology. These two areas are also the largest and fastest growing in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, J&J has increased its dividend every year for a long time and is likely to continue rewarding its shareholders with payouts. There is upside potential to an average target price of $187 (£169), about 13% upside.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) is the world’s largest defence contractor and has dominated the western high-end fighter aircraft market since the F-35 programme was launched in 2001. Lockheed Martin has a robust business model, high and growing free cash flow, a desire to spend it on shareholder returns and a long history of consistent and high dividend growth. 

LMT is on track to meet its $4 billion (£3.6 bn) annual forecast in stock buybacks as it seeks to deliver more than 100% free cash flow to shareholders during the year, including dividends. It continues to pursue its long-term strategy of disciplined and dynamic capital allocation, increasing free cash flow per stock and thereby delivering strong long-term returns to shareholders. 

With stable military budgets in the US, increased international sales of defence equipment and a return to the expansion phase of commercial aircraft deliveries, the defence industry has long-term growth potential, with a focus on modernisation and research and funding for defence contractors. Moreover, US defence spending has grown significantly in recent years and is currently projected to grow over the next decade. The country’s current annual spending is at around $700 billion (£631 bn), and this amount is projected to rise to more than $900 billion (£811 bn) in 10 years, implying a 28% increase. Growth potential to the average target price at $470 (£424), about 16% upside.

Costco (COST) is a leading retailer with 815 shops worldwide (at the end of fiscal year 2021). It sells memberships that allow customers to shop in its warehouses with low prices on a limited range of products. 

The main argument is that this retailer has long demonstrated the ability to thrive regardless of general economic conditions. This is what gives this discount club operator an advantage over traditional discount retailers. Costco, for example, has historically shown consistent results in times of recession. This advantage is also true when it comes to an inflationary period like the one we are currently in and as seen in its quarterly results, it continues to “thrive amid belt-tightening”, which was also seen in the previous report. 

That said, it is reasonable to expect that the company will continue to show good results in the coming quarters. Simply put, investors are beginning to realise that the story hasn’t changed. As expected, net sales rose strongly during the quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $51.6 billion (£47 bn), up 16.3% year-on-year. Earnings per stock (EPS) of $3.04 (£2.74) rose 10.6%, it was good to see that both revenue, $52.6 billion (£47.5 bn) and EPS of $3.04 (£2.74) per stock beat consensus forecasts. Upside potential to the average target price of $610 (£550), about 28% upside.