Category: Articles

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ArticlesBanking

Revealed: Top 3 Types Of Businesses To Start In The UK – The 2nd Country With The Most Bankruptcies Worldwide

According to Statista, a record 22,305 businesses will go bankrupt by the end of 2022 in the UK, second only to France’s 22,305

Statista - forecasted number of businesses insolvencies worldwide in 2022

Add to that a bleak economic outlook, and it becomes apparent why starting a business in the UK is risky.

However, not all is doom and gloom.

In 2022, the market size of the private equity industry was expected to grow by 7.1 per cent, reaching nearly 3.2 billion British pounds. An emerging and continually growing market has increased opportunities for businesses that aim to sell.

Therefore, it’s essential to note which types of businesses have a higher potential for success and can prove lucrative when “selling equity to the highest bidder” in the long run.

Here, Gareth Smythe, the CEO and founder of Hilton Smythe – one of the foremost and award-winning business brokering companies in the UK; has highlighted 3 types of businesses for serial entrepreneurs to start in the UK.

1- Managed Service Provider (MSP) businesses are always ideally placed in terms of value-building and “saleability”. This is because they have large potential for significant recurring and contracted revenue. They are generally positioned in a clearly-defined niche – for example, in data science, cloud engineering, cybersecurity or hardware development – that requires specialist expertise and a unique product. In other words, significant barriers to entry render businesses within the MSP sector particularly valuable.

2- Specialist recruitment businesses also sell conveniently and generate much interest from prospective purchasers. A partial explanation for this is that recruitment is a saturated market. Therefore, other businesses within the sector will always seek out strategic acquisitions for their growth interests and market share. Moreover, recruitment businesses often prove resilient in the face of economic changes – an important consideration considering the recent turmoil of Brexit, Covid-19 and the impending recession – because businesses will always need staff.

3- E-commerce businesses that manufacture their own products also prove popular with prospective purchasers: such businesses keep expenses low, enable greater control over the shape of the business, and offer the potential to build something unique. The result is excellent profits and greater growth potential. At Hilton Smythe, for example, we have recently brought to the market an e-commerce timber supplies business and an e-commerce company selling unique personalised digital products, both of which have achieved some impressive financial milestones and which look set to generate much interest.

Ultimately, when it comes to value-building, entrepreneurs should think about establishing recurring revenue streams for their business, diversifying their client base, and building a skilled and experienced team that can run day-to-day business operations independently of themselves. Most importantly, the focus should be on identifying and promoting the business’ competitive advantage.

While indeed not every budding entrepreneur would find these businesses a cup of their tea, for those with the right combination of skills and expertise and adequate funding, either of these could be the answer to a question most individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset often ask themselves:  “What business should I start?”

Gareth Smyth
Articles

5 Tips For Registering A Business Trademark

A business trademark is an important addition to any business. It aims to protect a business’s identity and how the public knows it. Customers can recognize you through your logo, catchy phrase, or other aspects. These are the items to trademark.

The trademark ensures no other business uses the same logo or phrase for their operations. However, for this to be possible, you must register the trademark with the relevant body in your state. How will you do this? It’s a question you might ask; put your worries aside. This article gives insight into business trademark registration.

Here are some tips to adopt:

1. File For A Statement Of Use

Successfully registering your business trademark isn’t enough. You must start using it as soon as it’s registered. Regarding this, most states will require you to file a statement of use document. What is a trademark statement of use?

The document proves that you are using your registered trademark. The body will require proof of its use on your product or service. Be sure to file this document, providing the needed documentation within the given timeframe. Most bodies will require this statement within six months of issuing you a notice of allowance.

A notice of allowance informs you of the success of your business trademark registration.

2. Do Your Research

When making business decisions, knowing all there is about the prospect is always advisable. It’s the same approach you should adopt when registering a business trademark. 

You should learn about business trademarking. Knowledge is power; the information you get from the research will ensure you get the process right on the first attempt.

Please use online sources to find out what the registering body requires of your trademark. For instance, some require that it be free of abusive language or illustration, surname, and neither should it be descriptive. These sources will also help you find out if your chosen logo or phrase is trademarked.

It’ll also be an added advantage if you discover what makes these bodies reject applications. Is it spelling errors in the trademark, leaving blanks in the form, or delays in submitting the documents? 

With all this information, you have a checklist to verify your application. You’ll have better chances than the party without such insight.

3. Take Care Of Your Trademark

Getting a business trademark is commendable, and you should protect it to ensure no other party tries to use it for their brand. These are possibilities that have happened; hence, the need to be wary.

You’ll protect your trademark by closely monitoring other businesses’ activities. The aim is to look out for brands that are using your exact trademark or something closer that could cause confusion to customers. If you identify such a business, proceed with legal action against them.

It’s important to acknowledge that active monitoring can be challenging for a business owner. You have more important things to handle to keep your operations running. Therefore, consider hiring somebody to handle this aspect for you.

4. Act Faster

Thousands of businesses apply for trademark registration every day. Among these, what’s the probability of another business wanting to trademark a phrase or logo similar to yours? The probability is quite high, hence the need to act faster.

Suppose a business wants to trademark your ideal logo, and they submit the documents ahead of you. The registering body will reject your application, taking you back to square one of designing another logo.

Consider registering your business trademark as soon as you open shop, be it an e-commerce or a physical business.

5. Take Note Of The Dates

Business trademark registration is a continuous journey that you’ll need to take as long as you plan to use your trademark in the long run. In most states, other documentation follows registration. 

Some of the documents are mentioned earlier; the statement of use and notice of allowance. The other document touches on the renewal of the business trademark. 

The filing of these documents is based on a time frame. Should you file the document a day or two late, there’s a high probability you’ll lose your trademark rights. The registering body will give the trademark to another business. However, it’s crucial to point out that some bodies will allow you to request an extension to file the documents. Most will require you to do this before the deadline.

This shows the importance of marking the filing time frames and the day of your trademark registration. Please mark this on your business calendar and set alerts as the day nears; you’re less likely to forget.

Conclusion

This discussion has established that registering a business trademark can and is easy with the right guidance. It has further given tips you should consider adopting to help you with the process. The main take-home is to do your research before filing for registration. It’ll avail all the necessary information for the process.

Investors
ArticlesFinance/Wealth Management

Is It Time For Retailer Investors to Move Away From Tech Giants?

Investors

Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google (FAAMG) represent the most publicly traded technology stocks by market capitalisation. Collectively, FAAMG stocks are worth several trillion dollars and are widely considered market movers due to their value relative to the S&P 500’s total holdings. 

According to Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, technology giants suffer from high-interest rates due to their stocks trading on an expectation of higher returns in the future, which are risks investors are usually unwilling to take in a turbulent economic environment. This includes FAAMG stocks. 

However, in times of heightened volatility, solid opportunities for long-term investors arise as these companies continue to lead the market with steady growth prospects. Crucially, investors must examine how these tech giants fare during soaring inflation and macroeconomic instability.

 

Meta a bet on Mark Zuckerberg 

Meta is undergoing significant business transformation during a challenging macroeconomic period and within a highly competitive market. Mark Zuckerberg’s bet on the Metaverse is one the market does not yet fully understand, leaving Meta as the most rapidly declining stock among big techs. 

Meta reported better-than-expected revenue of $27.7 billion (£22.93bn) in Q3. However, rising operating costs and fluctuations in the currency market led to a significant drop in net profit. While the outlook for Q4 fell short of expectations, the outlook on 2023 costs shocked the market.

Despite the drop in revenue, Meta forecasts 2023 expenses to be $96-101 billion (£79-84bn), a 15% year-on-year increase. Although rising costs are frightening, aggressive investment during the recession could yield solid returns for Meta in 2024 and beyond, should the Metaverse venture prove viable. Meta’s liquidity position looks impeccable – enough to survive an economic downturn – with a net cash balance of around $31 billion (£26bn).

 

Amazon’s quarterly wasn’t terrible

Amazon’s revenue has fallen short of expectations with the cloud business gradually slowing in line with the decrease in the cloud at Alphabet and Microsoft, meaning Amazon Web Services is not losing its share. However, even with this slowdown, the cloud business is still growing at an annualised rate of 28%. 

Meanwhile, growth in the advertising sector accelerated to 30% during the quarter, which is impressive against the backdrop of both Meta and Alphabet YouTube divisions reporting negative growth in advertising revenue. This is an area where Amazon is clearly gaining significant market share. 

The online retail business has returned to growth after three consecutive quarters of contraction due to fierce competition, while the physical shop segment continues to grow steadily. Of course, profit margins are under pressure, and overall revenue growth is slowing. But this is almost entirely dependent on headwinds in the foreign exchange market, which will likely subside in the coming quarters. 

Amazon is still the leader in the cloud industry with consistent growth. It is a share gainer in the ever-growing digital advertising industry, and the giant is still successfully defending its throne in the ever-growing e-commerce business. Despite weak forecasts for the next quarter, there are reasons to remain optimistic about the company’s long-term prospects. Since Amazon’s e-Commerce margins can be boosted by continued revenue growth from its cloud and advertising businesses, the company will benefit from increased market share and lower costs going forward. 

 

Apple remains the king of cash flow

Apple’s report was the brightest in the big-ticket segment and supported the market, given its large capitalisation, proving once again the strength of the business in a challenging macroeconomic environment with record revenue over the past quarter.

The company achieved solid financial results for Q3 of 2022, with revenue of $90.1 billion (£75bn), beating analysts’ forecasts by $1.37 billion (£1.13bn). Product revenue was $71 billion (£59bn), up 9% year-on-year and a record for Q3. This was assisted by the steady increase in iPhone, Mac and services revenue. 

Apple has maintained its status of ‘cash flow king’ with a result of $20.182 billion (£17bn) in September 2022, up 51% year-on-year. Apple also has a strong balance sheet with $48.304 billion (£40bn) in cash. Despite tough economic conditions, the company continues to post good sales, allowing Apple to still be considered a solid long-term investment. 

 

Modest predictions from Microsoft were its downfall

Microsoft’s revenue and profit results surpassed analyst expectations. However, investors were frustrated by the giant’s modest financial forecast which triggered the stock price to fall. Wall Street had expected Microsoft’s revenue forecast for the end of Q4 to be $56.1 billion (£46bn), with the company itself forecasting a deficit across the board and revenue in the range of $52.4-$53.4 billion (£43-44bn) at the end of Q4. 

Nevertheless, Microsoft has a positive future. Its prospects aren’t particularly worrying in the face of short-term headwinds. 

While average estimates now assume revenue growth of around 7% in the 2023 financial year, the market average expects an increase of 14% over the next three years. On the revenue side, average estimates assume growth of just 5% this year, followed by growth and recovery of 17% in fiscal 2024. This is a result of Microsoft creating barriers to entry and its competitive advantage in PC software, enterprise software, social media (LinkedIn), gaming and the cloud. 

 

Hints of advertising market recovery will drive Alphabet stock higher 

Profits at Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube, came in well below expectations in Q3. However, it’s important to remember that Alphabet remains one of the market leaders in advertising, even as the economy weakens. Revenue seems to be falling across its core businesses. For example, Alphabet’s advertising revenue came in at $54.48 billion (£45bn), well below the expected $56.9 billion (£47bn). YouTube advertising revenue fell short of the $7.5 billion (£6.2bn) forecast with a result of $7.07 billion (£6bn). 

Google Cloud’s segment revenue delivered above what was anticipated, with $170 million (£141m) above the expectation of $6.7 billion (£6bn). In any case, Alphabet is primarily an advertising firm and weak results overall could present some headwinds for the stock as it is anticipated that spending on advertising will deteriorate with the economy. 

However, businesses are most likely to advertise on the search engine network than other avenues, providing Alphabet with a strong competitive advantage. Markets are focused on the future, Q3 earnings are already in the past, and any hints of a recovery in the advertising market have the potential to trigger a rebound for Alphabet shares.

Articles

Citizenship By Investment: How Does It Work?

There are a few ways a person can obtain citizenship—by birth, marriage, or naturalisation. However, one route that’s not as customary as those mentioned is through investment. This means person has to invest a certain amount of money into a country to obtain citizenship. It’s a popular option for those who wish to live and work in another country, or those who wish to become citizens of a nation with strong economic prospects. Several countries offer citizenship by investment programs, although the requirements and benefits vary.

Some of the best examples include the Nevis and St. Kitts citizenship by investment program, which has been in existence since the 1980s. This has facilitated the growth of the island since investors have injected money to the economy through real estate and donations.

This article, however, gives a general overview of how the citizenship by investment process works, its benefits, and how to get started.

How Citizenship By Investment Works

Citizenship by investment is a program offered by certain countries that allows individuals to obtain citizenship in return for making an economic investment in such nations. There are two main types of citizenship by investment programs:

  1. Investment-Based Programs: The most common way to obtain citizenship by investment is to invest in the country’s economy. You can do this by putting your money into a business, purchasing property, or making a financial contribution to a government fund.
  2. Donation-Based Programs: Under these programs, applicants donate charitably to the government to obtain citizenship.

Each type has its own set of requirements. However, some common prerequisites include:

  • A Minimum Investment

Citizenship by investment programs generally require a certain amount of money in the form of a real estate purchase, investment fund, or business venture. The specific amount required varies from program to program, but ranges from USD$ 500,000 to USD$ 2 million.

  • A Clean Record

In addition to the investment itself, most citizenship by investment programs also require that applicants have a clean criminal record and be of good character. This means that applicants must not have been convicted of any serious crimes and must not be considered a security risk to the country in which they’re applying for citizenship.

  • Financial Stability

Such programs might also require that applicants demonstrate a certain level of financial stability by providing proof of income, assets, or investments. Applicants may also be required to have a certain amount of money in a bank account in their prospective country.

  • Residency Requirements

Finally, most citizenship by investment programs require that applicants meet a residency requirement. This means that applicants must live in the country for a certain period before they’re eligible to apply for citizenship. The specific residency requirements vary from program to program, but typically range from 1 to 5 years.

Citizenship by investment programs vary from country to country; thus, it’s essential that you research the programs available before getting started on investing.

How To Get Started With Citizenship By Investment

The application process usually takes around six months, and, once approved, the applicant will receive a passport from the country concerned.

Here are the steps necessary to obtain citizenship by investment:

Step One: Choose A Country That Offers Citizenship By Investment

Many countries offer citizenship by investment, but not all are equal. When choosing a country, it’s important to consider the benefits you may obtain. Some of the factors to consider are:

  • Economic stability
  • Political stability
  • Quality of life
  • Taxes you’ll be required to pay

When choosing a country for citizenship by investment program, take the above variables into account.

Step Two: Determine If You Qualify

As mentioned, you’ll need to demonstrate that you own a certain amount of wealth and meet other requirements, such as good character. Each program has a different set of criteria, so it’s important to research the available programs to find one for which you’re eligible.

Step Three: Submit The Application

After you’ve established that you’re qualified, you’ll need to apply for citizenship. This will require documentation, such as proof of investment, a passport, and a birth certificate. This is typically done online, and you’ll likely need to pay a processing fee. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you’ll have to make the investment and pay any associated fees.

Step Four: Attend An Interview

Some programs require an interview as part of the application process. This is an opportunity for you to provide more information about your investment and demonstrate your commitment to the program.

Step Five: Obtain Citizenship

If your application has been approved, you’ll be granted citizenship. You’ll typically receive a certificate of citizenship as proof.

Step Six: Make The Investment

After you’ve officially become a citizen, you’ll need to make the required investment. This can be in the form of a financial contribution or investment in a real estate project. Once the investment has been made, the applicant and their family, including dependents up to 18 years of age, can apply for citizenship.

Step Seven: Renew Your Citizenship

Citizenship by investment programs typically require renewing your investment every few years to maintain your citizenship status. This ensures that you remain committed to the program and continue to meet the requirements.

Benefits Of Citizenship By Investment

Once you’ve obtained citizenship, here are some benefits that follow thereafter:

  • Increased Mobility And Freedom

One of the biggest benefits of citizenship by investment is the increased mobility and freedom that it affords individuals. With a second citizenship, you can obtain a second passport. This is extremely beneficial if you want to live in another country for whatever reasons. This also helps since you can pass down citizenship to your children and the generations to come.

You can also travel more freely worldwide and enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more countries.

  • Tax Advantages

In some cases, citizenship by investment programs offer preferential tax treatment for foreign investors.

  • Economic Opportunities

Citizenship by investment can provide access to new economic opportunities. You can take advantage of new business and investment opportunities by becoming a citizen of a country with a strong economy.

Such benefits and more are what entice people to obtain citizenship in countries of their choice.

Final Words

Citizenship by investment is an excellent option for those who wish to live and work in another country. The process is simple, and the benefits are numerous. If you’re interested, you should look into the citizenship by investment programs offered by different countries, and choose one that can be advantageous to you and your family. Utilize the information in this article, and you can get started on the path to citizenship by investment.

Credit Card
ArticlesFinance/Wealth Management

Payments Expert Argues Credit Card Challengers Add to Payments Industry Growth & Maturity

Credit Card

Although Visa and Mastercard have lost the unequivocal leader status as far as payments industry market share is concerned — they are still perceived as ones to beat. Payments industry expert argues that consumers and merchants stand to benefit if payment providers continue to challenge each other to deliver new solutions to market, but only if new offers offer substance

Payment service providers Visa and Mastercard are one of the biggest brands in the payments industry. Merchants and consumers associate them both with high fees, especially in the US market, where both legislative and market challengers are hoping to curtail their duopoly, since the payments processing fees are uncapped like in the EU. However the payments industry is more complex than just the transactions at the check-out counter. It is often overlooked that as a result of influence and pressure from the two card giants, a lot of payments industry innovation was initiated across the globe, especially in cross-border payments and e-commerce.

Frank Breuss, whose local payment Fintech company Nikulipe operates in fast-growing and emerging markets, argues that “killing” credit cards should not be the focus of market challengers and that the presence of diverse industry players in the payments industry is necessary for the payment technology to advance.

 

An environment that fosters competition

Visa and Mastercard’s payments industry popularity has pushed Fintechs and even governments across the globe to look for alternative payment infrastructures and methods. Most payments solutions, including A2A payments, Online Banking, Pay by Bank and Local Payment Methods were initially introduced as challengers to dominant market players. Since local payment methods are becoming the dominant choice around the world — the narrative is changing slightly, but the sense of challenge is not going away. The good news being that as in any free-market, the competition will always benefit the consumer.

 

A2A payment innovation

Account-to-Account (A2A) payments move money directly from one account to another without the need for additional intermediaries like in card payments. Even though this technology has been around for many years, mainstream adoption was not possible due to a lack of infrastructure. That’s why for the past 10 years around 80% of Central Banks around the world have invested in building the infrastructure that enables A2A payments. The simple reason being elimination of transactional fees or extra costs. The money travels directly from the account of the customer to the account of the merchant.

“With the goal of eliminating payment processing, assessment, and interchange fees — that only benefit the transaction operator such as Visa or Mastercard, many Fintechs started developing payment solutions with the A2A technology,” explains Mr. Breuss. “Aside from the reduction of transaction fees, such payments offer a more flexible infrastructure as well as accepting and collecting payments faster which benefits both the consumer and the merchant.”

 

Major ‘pay-by-bank’ and LPM adoption

Close to 59% of Europeans use online banking and ​​this share is constantly increasing and has more than doubled since 2007 when it stood at 25%. Aside from a diversified and competitive market, online banking adoption allows Fintechs to develop innovative Local Payment Method (LPM) solutions for particular countries or regions using Open Banking technology. Solutions such as banklinq, LPM for the Baltic region, benefit the merchants and consumers alike, offering an integrated payment solution that allows consumers to pay via their favourite bank if integrated by a global merchant.

“Open Banking solutions in the form of LPMs benefit both the customer and the merchant. For both parties the fees are significantly reduced, transactions are faster and chargebacks are virtually eliminated for the merchant which is a big issue in e-commerce,” says Frank Breuss. “Furthermore, Fintechs are able to offer a more convenient shopping experience for merchants with enhanced user experience and region-specific aspects such as language or payment options.”

Most recently, banks like JP Morgan have made a strong push for ‘pay-by-bank’ alternative payments processing system, hoping to push out credit card market dominance and escape the threat of “non-banking competitors beating JPMorgan to the punch.”

 

Credit cards as innovation enablers

Aside from local payment methods gaining adoption over credit and debit cards, the two credit card giants themselves are acknowledging the need for innovation in the payment industry. Both Visa and Mastercard work with fintechs, digital banks, and Fintech enablers across the globe. Both companies run partner accelerator programs and provide Fintech startups guidance and investment to grow their companies. Although the innovation is consolidated as companies who choose to enlist in these programs have to work within the frames and guidelines of Visa & Mastercard. Visa has even launched an initiative to act as a mediator between banks and Fintechs and thus increase their efficiency in cooperation.

“Legacy institutions can also drive innovation. They support startups that create solutions involving money 3.0, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence,” adds Mr. Breuss. “The downside is that innovation is often kept within a controlled environment that is convenient for both Visa and Mastercard. Perhaps Fintech-driven disruption can change this dynamic.”

 

Levelling the playing field

The discussion on how to balance the dependence between consumers, merchants and the card giants is still developing. Mr. Breuss suggests we don’t try to punish a party who has ushered payment infrastructure stability and facilitates global commerce. “Rather than penalising Visa & Mastercard, we should embrace the free market and all the new technologies or players that are entering it. Whether it’s government subsidies or new legislation, it should be targeted towards fostering more innovation and not limiting one’s activity.” He adds, “I hope credit cards don’t die for the simple reason of ensuring that consumers get the best of both worlds until the best solution within the payments industry will be found and adopted.”

Articles

What The Leap In Personal Injury Claims Mean For Small Businesses

It’s no secret that personal injury claims have increased and are becoming a nightmare for small business owners—not just because they’re expensive.

While it’s true that most small businesses don’t have the resources to fight these kinds of claims, understanding them is important, and business owners need to know how these claims affect a business. After all, information is the first step to making informed decisions.

Are you a small business owner who wants to know how much of an impact personal injury claims have on your bottom line? If yes, this post will look at how personal injury claims affect small businesses and what you can do to avoid them in the future.

1. They can create a negative business perception among customers

First, increased personal injury claims are bad news for your business and customers. Here is why

When your customers hear that employees are filing and winning personal injury claims against your business and you’re paying to settle these cases, it can create a negative perception of your business that might make these customers unlikely to shop with you again.

Because business success often boils down to how customers perceive your business, it is important to ensure that you’re properly managing your risks before something happens.

Here are some tips you can use to reduce the odds of workplace accidents—and the resultant claims:

Train your employees—always have safety training sessions scheduled to ensure employees know what to do to stay safe in the workplace. Safety training should be among your topmost investment priorities as a business owner.

Ensure all equipment is well maintained—you wouldn’t take your car out in bad weather just because it looked good, would you? Likewise, ensure that employees work with well-maintained machines, especially those with moving parts.

Keep employees informed about emergencies—ensure they know where the nearest fire extinguisher is and how to use it.

Ensure everyone has access to first aid kits at all times—they’re not expensive!

2. Increased legal spending

As a small business owner, you know that most things you do within your business cost money. When your business has to fight many personal claims, you will spend more on defending your business, which can be very costly, especially when you don’t have an in-house attorney.

Fortunately, you can reduce such instances by being careful about how you manage your employees. Ideally, you want to adopt a managerial style that makes employees happy and satisfied with their work because it can quickly become an expensive problem if you get it wrong.

However, because workplace accidents never announce themselves, you can protect your business against such claims by hiring an on-call personal injury lawyer for your small business if you have any concerns about employee safety or health. A personal injury lawyer will know how to handle all legal issues related to accidents, property damage, and any injuries that may occur on or near your premises.

Additionally, an on-payroll general counsel will also represent your small business in court and offer advice on any legal issues arising from these accidents—such as whether or not it’s worth pursuing an insurance claim or if there are other ways to seek compensation.

3. Increased general liability insurance premiums

A commercial general liability insurance policy is one of the first things you should get when starting your small business. It covers you in case someone gets hurt on your property, including slip-and-falls and car accidents, or gets injured by something you sell. Your general liability insurance policy also protects against lawsuits that result from claims made against your business.

Unfortunately, when many employees file personal injury claims against a business, the insurer can decide to increase the insurance premiums, which can have far-reaching effects on a business and its profitability.

Conclusion

As a small business owner, the last thing you want to worry about is being liable for someone else’s medical bills. Fortunately, as highlighted in this post, you can take action to safeguard your business against the rising cases of personal injury claims.

Equity
ArticlesFunds

Best Private Equity Investment Group – East Asia

Equity

AEI Capital is passionate about dealing with the capitalization of corporate vision. It knows that anything is possible with the correct strategy alongside a smart capitalization model and a knowledgeable blueprint for the most effective, essential parts of the Private Equity industry. Looking to nestle itself within the industry as a great business to work with for the global capitalization and re-stratification opportunities of the modern world. Here we look at the industry as AEI continues to grow.

AEI Capital is a Private Equity (PE) firm with over 20 years of accumulative experience. With over 500 Million USD of Assets Under Management (AUM), it is growing exponentially and with great tenacity.

PE is a financial approach that helps companies to acquire funds from firms or accredited investors instead of stock markets. It makes a direct investment that doesn’t depend on stocks as the PE industry offers equity stakes in businesses that aren’t listed. This global market is something to be tapped into by investors.

The goal of PE investments is to create a space where each business can grow rapidly, so that it can go public or become recognised by a larger company. In exchange of this investment, investors are benefitted by huge shares of improved profits that allows them to also become part of the company’s shareholders. All of this means that companies can reap the rewards of larger funds without having to fundraise via public listings or acquire business loans. Investors look for PE so that they can earn more than what can be achieved in public equity markets.

In the present times, PE refers to a variety of subcategories within investments that are all connected via the process of raising funds from private investors. Venture capital is one of the most important strategies that aids the start-up of a business and helps to provide it with the ability to evolve early. It is mainly concerned with technology firms with ideas and products that are moulding the modern way of life.

We have recently seen an explosion of alternative data sources that rely on collection and scraping processes. Traditional data can include investor presentations, SEC filings, financial statements, and press releases. However, alternative data includes externally sourced factors such as company size, location of HQ and branch offices, website traffic, reviews, employee salaries, organizational structure and more.

Over the next decade, it is predictable that we will see even more advancements in the industry and harvesting of data as we see more in-depth machine learning through the studies of algorithms that can solve new problems without humans having to program them. PE firms are using machine learning to analyse and evaluate investment opportunities that help them to discover better investments for the future. Machine learning plays a crucial part in the future of PE as it substantially improves the efficiency of opportunity analysis.

With automated data comes higher levels of efficiency and the expansion of the tools used to improve the process. These tools generally mean less mistakes are made, and a lot of money is saved. As technical challenges arise it is most important for us to move away from the human bias against technology, as with this tool it is more possible to feel the benefits and keep up the pace within the industry.

As AEI continues to work with tech scalable businesses and it is able to aid the growth of businesses by means of technological developments. It focuses on three levers of the capital force such as capitalization, strategy, and digitalization to ensure a wide scope of growth.

With regards to COVID-19, many industries have had to implement remote work strategies very quickly. This increased the rate of virtualization of a selection of PE procedures. With more meetings, decisions, and deals happening online, the pandemic has meant that remote work and virtualization has been entirely helpful and is never going to return to the normal amount, as things have actually been more positive this way than imagined before.

Continuing through 2021 and beyond, virtualization of the workflow will help to remove the barriers set by distance. It also reduces unnecessary administration as moving towards remote work, we learn to recognize which procedures or documentations are nonessential and even redundant. All of this leads to improved efficiency and sustainability for PE firms.

AEI understands every business as a continuously evolving living being that needs to be nourished and taken care of. It helps businesses to thrive and build on what they already have as well as giving them further life after they may have collapsed.

Intending to reach a target in the Greater China Region or Southeast Asia, AEI is aware of the “new economy” that is a combination of globalization, information technology, and the communication revolution. This applies to all high growth industries such as internet, financial technology such as e-commerce, O2O retail, renewable energy, AI, Cloud-based technology, healthcare, education, and other consumer-driven, big data or digitally enabled properties that ensure the capitalization of global trends. According to AEI these characteristics allow businesses that follow global trends to grow and adapt along with the industry changes, pandemic or not.

Overall, AEI Capital offers the best solutions and services to its customers that are based all around the world. It has adapted swiftly to any problems that have arisen due to the global pandemic, and it is picking other businesses up with its viable solutions.

For further information, please contact John Tan or visit: https://aeicapital.com/ 

Inheritance Tax
ArticlesFinance/Wealth ManagementFunds

Inheritance Tax Receipts Reach £4.1Billion in the Months from April to October 2022

Inheritance Tax

Figures out from HMRC this morning show that the Treasury raked in another £4.1billion in inheritance tax receipts in the months between April and October 2022. This is £500 million more than in the same period a year earlier, continuing the upward trend. These figures are revealed just days after the Autumn Statement in which it was announced that the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 will be frozen until April 2028.

These new figures demonstrate just how much the government’s inheritance tax take seems to be increasing without the need for any more freezes, thanks largely to the steady increases in house prices which are pushing more regular hardworking families above the threshold who are relying on money being passed down through the generations.

While the average bill is currently £216,000, research conducted by Wealth Club shows just that with this extended freeze combined with rampant inflation, average inheritance tax bills are conservatively estimated to reach £297,793 by 2025-26 and £336,605 by 2027-28.

Alex Davies, CEO and Founder of Wealth Club said: “There has been a total U-turn on inheritance tax over the last few months. From Liz Truss raising the hopes of the nation with a cut back in September, and now Jeremy Hunt announcing the extension of the freeze until 2028. This is another stealth tax and the case of the boiling frog is apt. The treasury hopes by leaving rates and allowances unchanged, inflation can do the hard work of turning the temperature up on tax payers without them noticing.

Contrary to what many think, inheritance tax doesn’t just affect the super-rich. It will be the thousands of hardworking families that will bear the brunt. Rampant inflation, soaring house prices and years of frozen allowances will magnify the tax take in the years ahead. More and more families are going to find themselves hit by death duties they might not expected or planned for.”

 

How inheritance tax is calculated

  • Inheritance tax (IHT) of 40% is usually chargeable if one’s assets exceed a certain threshold, after deducting any liabilities, exemptions and reliefs.
  • The threshold (nil rate band) has been £325,000 per single person since 6 April 2009 – and will stay frozen at this level up to and including 2028-29.
  • There is an additional transferrable main residence nil rate band of £175,000 available when passing the family home down to children or other direct descendants.
  • Any unused threshold may be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner. So, a couple could currently potentially pass on up to £1 million before IHT might apply.

“The good news is that with some careful planning there are lots of perfectly legitimate ways you can eliminate or keep IHT bills to the minimum, so more of your wealth is passed on to your loved ones rather than being syphoned off by the taxman.”

 

1. Make a will

Making a will is the first step you should take. Without it, your estate will be shared according to a set of pre-determined rules. That means the taxman might end up with more than its fair share.

 

2. Use your gift allowances

Every year you can give up to £3,000 away tax free. This is known as the annual exemption. If you didn’t use it last year, you can combine it and pass on £6,000. You can also give up to £250 each year to however many people you wish (but only one gift per recipient per year) or make a wedding gift of up to £5,000 to your child; up to £2,500 to your grandchild; up to £2,500 to your spouse or civil partner to be and £1,000 to anyone else. Beyond these allowances, you can pass on as much as you like IHT free. So long as you live for at least seven years after giving money away, there will be no IHT to pay.  

 

3. Make regular gifts

You can make regular gifts from your income. These gifts are immediately IHT free (no need to wait for seven years) and there’s no cap on how much you can give away, provided you can demonstrate your standard of living is not affected.

 

4. Leave a legacy – give to charity

If you leave at least 10% of your net estate to a charity or a few other organisations, you may be able to get a discount on the IHT rate – 36% instead of 40% ­– on the rest of your estate.

 

5. Use your pension allowance

Pensions are not usually subject to IHT for those under 75 years old – they can be passed on tax efficiently and, in some cases, even tax free. If you have any pension allowance left, make use of it.

 

6. Set up a trust

Trusts have traditionally been a staple of IHT planning. They can mean money falls outside an estate if you live for at least seven years after establishing the trust. The related taxes and laws are complicated – you should seek specialist advice if you’re considering this.

 

7. Invest in companies qualifying for Business Property Relief (BPR)

If you own or invest in a business that qualifies for Business Property Relief – the majority of private companies and some AIM-quoted companies do – you can benefit from full IHT relief. You must be a shareholder for at least two years and still be on death though.

 

8. Invest in an AIM IHT ISA

ISAs are tax free during your lifetime but when you die, or when your spouse dies if later, they could be subject to 40% IHT. An increasingly popular way of mitigating IHT on an ISA is to invest in certain AIM quoted companies which qualify for BPR. You must hold the shares for at least two years and if you still hold them on death you could potentially pass them on without a penny due in inheritance tax.

 

9. Back smaller British businesses

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) offer a generous set of tax reliefs. For instance, SEIS offers up to 50% income tax and capital gains tax reliefs, plus loss relief if the investment doesn’t work out. But EIS and SEIS investments also qualify for BPR, so could be passed on free of IHT. 

 

10. Invest in commercial forestry

This is an underused option for experienced investors. Pension funds and institutions have long ploughed money into forestry. The Church Commissioners has a forestry portfolio worth £400 million. Commercial forest investments should be free of IHT if held for at least two years and on death.

You should also benefit from capital appreciation in the value of the trees (and the land they are on) and from any income produced by harvesting the trees and selling the timber (this income may also be tax free).  

 

11. Spend it

One sure-fire way to keep your wealth away from the taxman’s hands is to spend it.

 

Key IHT stats

  • One in every 25 estates pay inheritance tax, but the freeze on inheritance tax thresholds, paired with inflation and decades of house price increases is bringing more and more into the taxman’s sights. 
  • While you can pass on money IHT free to your spouse or civil partner, the estate could still be subject to IHT on their death though they may be able to make use of your pass-on allowance.  
  • The main threshold is the nil-rate band, enabling up to £325,000 of an estate to be passed on without having to pay any IHT. This has been unchanged since April 2009.
  • There is also a Residence Nil Rate band worth £175,000 which allows most people to pass on a family home more tax efficiently to direct descendants, although this tapers for estates over £2 million and is not available at all for estates worth over £2.35 million.
  • Wealth Club calculations suggest the average inheritance tax bill could increase to just over £266,000 in the current tax year. This is a 27% increase from the £209,000 average paid just three years ago. 
Articles

5 Tips to Avoid Bankruptcy After a Workplace Injury

Bankruptcy is a terrifying word for anyone who has ever even been close to filing for it. When you experience a workplace injury, the creeping presence of bankruptcy can suddenly become uncomfortably close. However, there are benefits, tools, tips, and lifestyle changes you can use to avoid this tragic financial situation. To help you stay afloat financially, here are five tips to avoid bankruptcy after a workplace injury:

1. File a Workers’ Comp Claim

While it may seem like a no-brainer, many people fail to file workers’ comp claims after experiencing a workplace injury. Almost all employers are required to have workers’ comp insurance claims (either through the state or a private entity), so you deserve to use this benefit to stay afloat as you heal from your workplace injury. If you’re finding it difficult to file your claim, or if your boss is trying to keep you from filing a claim, it’s worth getting a quality workers’ comp attorney involved in the situation.

2. Consolidate or Settle Debts

If you want to stay on top of your finances and avoid bankruptcy as you recover from your workplace injury, you need to seriously consider any avenues you have for consolidating and settling debts. You can look into lowering interest rates on your loans, and if you pay them all off, your credit will likely be in a position where you can borrow a loan that will help you stay far away from bankruptcy territory. With debt settlement, you’ll want to contact a quality debt relief company to help you reduce your debts. Depending on the nature of your debts, and whether you’re a veteran or disabled, you may even qualify for special forgiveness plans in some states (or through federal programs). By using both of these strategies in tandem, you can strengthen your financial situation significantly.

3. Maximize Your Income

Although it may seem difficult to swing, there are some nifty ways you can maximise your income and avoid bankruptcy after a workplace injury. Finding secondary work that you can do while you heal is your best option. There are tons of online job sites that are dedicated to remote work, after all. If you’re able to drive, there are many freelance gigs available to you as well. While this option may not be accessible to everyone who has suffered a workplace injury, it’s one of the most effective ways to fight off bankruptcy in today’s economic landscape. Additionally, you should consider selling any valuable items you have that you no longer need or want. Almost everyone has some type of expensive gadget or piece of furniture that they rarely use, after all.

4. Create a Budget

Budgeting is the absolute best way to get control of your finances and can help you live within your means. Without a solid budget, and without the drive to follow it, you’ll get uncomfortably close to filing bankruptcy. There are many ways you can handle budgeting, and there are many online websites and services that can help you determine your best budget options. Be sure to allow yourself money for self-care and hobbies, but make sure you’re prioritising your financial stability above all else. You can expand your budget by cutting down on expenses as well, especially if you’re able to downgrade to a smaller living space, a cheaper car, or if you’re able to make some other type of drastic budgetary cut.

5. Cut Spending on Subscriptions

In today’s world, we all have at least one subscription. Whether you’re subscribing to music or movie streaming services, you’re spending at least a solid chunk of your expendable income on subscription services every month. Many of us are even paying for subscriptions that we had no idea we had! Scanning through your monthly bank statements can help you ensure that you’re not wasting money on rarely-used or never used services. If you want to get your finances under control and avoid bankruptcy, you may have to make some tough cuts (but it will be worth it once you finally get your financial situation back under control).

Reclaim Your Financial Stability

With these five tips, you can quickly reclaim your financial stability. Budgeting, debt consolidation, spending cuts, workers’ comp benefits, and investments can all help you boost your credit and avoid bankruptcy. Ultimately, these actions are an investment in your financial future.

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Insurance Coverage Everyone Needs

The importance of various types of insurance coverage is often underestimated until someone finds themselves in a situation where they need it. There are so many situations that are unpredictable and entirely out of your control, but when you have good insurance, you can financially protect yourself. You’re also giving yourself priceless peace of mind when you have good coverage.
You’re protecting your assets, making insurance a critical part of building a strong financial plan. You can protect not only your possessions but your earning power.

With those things in mind, below are some of the types of insurance everyone should have.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Homeowners insurance protects your biggest investment. The prices can vary depending on the state you’re in and other factors, but overall, it’s not an extremely expensive type of coverage. For example, homeowners insurance in South Carolina is, on average, $1,269 a year. The national average for homeowners insurance is $1,211 annually.

Homeowners’ insurance should ideally include dwelling coverage, giving you an added layer of protection beyond the limits of your policy.

You may also need to add flood and hurricane insurance, depending on where you live.

Renters’ insurance has similarities to health insurance. If you don’t have renters insurance and you’re the victim of something like a fire, flood, or theft, you won’t be protected. Some landlords require renters insurance.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is essential. Around 67% of people who file for bankruptcy do so because they have medical debt. If you don’t have health insurance, you’re always going to be on the brink of a financial disaster, whether or not you realize it. Medical bills can quickly be hundreds of thousands of dollars for even a relatively mild illness.

Even if you don’t go to the doctor a lot, don’t think you can get away without health insurance. You might end up getting a high-deductible plan, but still, you need that coverage.

If you have a high-deductible plan, you can open a Health Savings Account. A Health Savings Account or HSA is a savings account with tax advantages, where you put money aside to cover medical expenses if and when they arise.

If you have an HSA, you can deduct your contributions from your business income or gross pay. You can invest the funds that you contribute, and they’ll grow tax-free, and you can use tax-free withdrawal for qualified medical expenses such as your deductibles.

Long-Term Disability

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t work, a long-term disability can protect your income. According to the Social Security Administration, more than one in four current twenty-year-olds will become disabled before they’re 67, highlighting the importance of this insurance.

If you’re in your prime earning years, a disability could derail all of your other financial goals.

If you want to avoid paying for something you don’t need, on the other hand, you might make it short-term disability insurance because your emergency savings should cover you in this scenario where you’d be out of work for three to six months.

Long-term disability coverage will provide a monetary benefit that’s equal to part of your salary for covered disability. That portion of your salary it will cover is usually 50-60%. In order to receive benefits through LTD, the disability has to have occurred after the issuance of the policy, usually after a waiting period.

Medical information confirmed by a physical is usually submitted to the insurance company.

A lot of LTD policies will group disabilities as their own occupation or any occupation. Own occupation means that if you’re the insured person, you aren’t able to do your regular job or a similar job because of disability. Any occupation means that you’re not able to do any job you’re qualified for.

Worker’s compensation also pays for disability, but long-term disability coverage isn’t limited to injuries or disabilities that occur on the job.

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is something you’re required to have in most states, but you might be better off going beyond what’s required.

You shouldn’t drive if you’re uninsured because getting into even a minor accident can be costly, and you’d have to pay damages out-of-pocket.

Liability coverage is what kicks in if you’re in an accident that you’re responsible for. Most states require that drivers have a minimum amount of coverage, and it takes care of both injuries and property damage that occur because of a collision.

Collision coverage is for the costs of repairing or replacing a car that’s damaged or totalled, and comprehensive coverage is for losses not caused by a wreck, like a flood, fire, or hail.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is one that so many go without. Only around 54% of people in America have life insurance, but most financial experts say it should be a priority.

If you die unexpectedly, you’d be leaving your family to manage without your income. A term life insurance policy for anywhere from 10 to 12 times your yearly income would prevent your family from having to worry about making ends meet if you weren’t there to provide for them.

Umbrella Policy

Finally, an umbrella policy is one more layer that you can add to protect yourself and your family if you want coverage that’s beyond your auto or homeowners insurance.

If you were to end up at fault in a car accident with multiple vehicles involved, for example, your property damages and medical bills might add up rapidly, totalling more than your car insurance will cover. If you’re then sued for the difference, you could lose your savings, your home, and more.

A personal liability umbrella policy is a way to protect yourself, especially if you have a net worth of at least $500,000. These policies usually cost just a few hundred dollars a year, and you can raise your liability coverage so that it’s more than $1 million.

Business cyber security
ArticlesDigital Finance

Ten Free Ways to Boost the Cyber Security of Your Business

Business cyber security

Looking to strengthen the cyber security of your business? Anthony Green, CTO of cyber security firm, FoxTech, wants to demonstrate that making a big difference doesn’t always need to come at a big price tag.

“Many companies – particularly start-ups and smaller businesses – are reluctant to investigate the state of their cyber security because they are worried they don’t have the budget to fix any problems they might find,” says Anthony.

“Of course, having a budget to invest in strengthening your cyber security is the ideal scenario, but if the money simply isn’t there, it doesn’t mean a business is doomed to security chaos. There are many things that any organisation can do to strengthen their protection without spending a penny – so there’s no excuse for having terrible security!”

To help businesses take control of their cyber security, FoxTech has created a list of ten free ways to boost your business’ cyber security.

 

1. Software updates offer free security fixes – so install them promptly

Installing software updates is one of the easiest and best things you can do to boost your cyber security. Software updates contain fixes to bugs and security holes discovered in the previous software versions. Software companies do not fix issues on old versions of software, so if you don’t regularly install updates then you are exposed to any hackers looking to take advantage of these flaws.

Security experts create these updates for a reason – and it’s part of what you’re paying for when you purchase a device or software package, so ensure you take advantage of this.

It’s a good idea to turn on automatic updates and install fixes as soon as they become available. This goes for the operating system on your device, as well as any third-party software that you use in your business, such as the Windows suite.

 

2. Configure DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol. It identifies email spoofing (people sending emails on behalf of your domain), spam and phishing scams, providing businesses with another layer of protection against scam emails.

It’s free to configure DMARC yourself, or businesses can get it configured by a third-party cybersecurity firm for a low cost.

 

3. Educate your employees about phishing

The UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 found that 83% of UK businesses experienced at least one phishing attempt in the 12 months preceding their survey, making phishing emails the most common form of attempted cyber attack. Employees are the first line of defence against phishing, so ensure that employees know how to identify and correctly report phishing emails.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers free cyber security training which has a module on spotting and reporting phishing scams.

 

4. Instil a no-blame culture

If employees are worried about being penalised for falling victim to an attack attempt, they are far less likely to report it. Actively instilling a no-blame culture means that, if an employee does click on a scam link, they should feel confident enough to report it as soon as it happens. As a result, your business will have time to investigate whether it has resulted in intruders breaching your system before the worst happens – such as the attacker locating sensitive data or launching a ransom demand. 

 

5. Get a free CyberRisk score

FoxTech offers a free CyberRisk score for businesses. It uses your business email address to search for publicly available information about your company’s cyber security posture – essentially showing organisations what their system looks like to an attacker. The assessment identifies security weaknesses to help businesses fix them before they are exploited by hackers.

 

6. Practice good password hygiene

The NCSC advises disabling complexity requirements and mandatory password updates, because they encourage password re-use and the use of common passwords (like Password1234!) Instead, their official guidance is to use three random words, such as glasscattree or plantbluewheel. This strikes the balance between creating a password that’s easy to remember, but secure enough to keep cyber criminals at bay.

 

7. Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts, meaning that even if your account passwords are compromised, a cyber criminal won’t be able to breach an account without access to a linked device. While employees might view 2FA as a frustrating additional step to sign-in, it really is one of the most effective ways of preventing a password breach. You can enable 2FA for free on Microsoft accounts, Google accounts, and Apple products.

 

8. Don’t connect to insecure Wi-Fi networks

An unsecured Wi-Fi network is one you can access without a password. These networks usually have no security encryption, meaning hackers can use them to distribute malware onto any connected devices. Business owners should communicate the risks of connecting to unknown public Wi-Fi networks to their employees and put appropriate measures in place – such as discouraging practices like working while travelling.

 

9. Create an incident response plan

According to the UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, only 19% of businesses have a formal incident response plan – which lays out what to do in the event of an attack.

Without an incident response plan, businesses are unprepared to deal with a hack, making the potential fallout worse, and the recovery period longer. Incident response plans also ensure you are acting legally when it comes to informing customers of data theft. Read the NCSC’s guidance on creating an incident response plan.

 

10. Don’t overlook physical security

Whether it’s leaving server rooms unlocked, sticking post-it-notes of passwords on your devices, forgetting to shred documents containing sensitive data, or leaving company devices unattended in public spaces, attackers can, and still do, take advantage of these physical vulnerabilities. So, while the average hack might not rely on a physical element, no organisation should be complacent when it comes to traditional security advice.

Accounting
ArticlesFunds

Buyer Beware: The Hidden Costs of Changing Your Accounting Software and How to Avoid Them

Accounting

By Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director at award-winning accounting software developer, iplicit.

Sometimes, if you get a decision wrong, you’re stuck with the consequences for quite a while. You’ve spent substantial money to get where you are and, for the time being, you have no choice but to spend more.

It can be true of accounting software. Before your new system has even gone live, you might realise it will not do everything you need unless you spend significantly more than you budgeted.

But it’s rare for any business to perform a U-turn in that situation. Even if the new system hasn’t arrived, the business is probably too far into the process to change course without a lot of pain and expense. And the person making that decision may feel weakened in their own organisation if they announce they’ve made a mistake.

With all the costs and time involved in implementing a new system, it’s not a process that most people will want to go through again soon. So it’s important to watch for those hidden costs from the outset.

 

When ‘cheaper’ costs more: what are the hidden costs?

We could do without unpleasant surprises when making a major purchase. But it’s rarely as simple as comparing price X with price Y. And for the enterprise-level accounting packages, you won’t get a useful idea of price until you’ve started a detailed conversation anyway.

There are a host of factors which can result in the apparently ‘cheaper’ option costing more. And if you’re unlucky, a salesperson who senses you’re quite cost-sensitive might feel no obligation to point them out to you.

 

Here are some key issues to consider:

Scope creep: A vendor could offer you a fixed cost for the implementation of new software. But whether it’s £20,000 or £100,000, it is likely to be tightly aligned to a scope document which sets out what you’re getting. If you need something outside that package, it runs into money – that’s scope creep.

If you ask for the software to do something that wasn’t covered, you could be looking at several days of development work, and that £20,000 project could soon be costing £25,000.

Adding functionality: A lot of accounting software is modular – meaning you pick a basic package and then add the other “modules” you need before arriving at a final price.

You need to be wary of assuming something is included in the base-level product. If it isn’t, you could be adding thousands of pounds a year for those extra modules. An example might be an application for expenses: does it come as standard?

Scalability – adding users: Will your finance software keep up when your business grows? How many users might you need to add to the system if things go the way you hope? And what will that cost you?

Scalability – adding entities: Perhaps phase one of your software implementation involves a single company, but you’d like to add other businesses to your group later. You’ll probably have considered that as an issue – but what about adding businesses you might launch or acquire later on?

Scalability – adding entities outside the UK:  This is where the costs can really mushroom. Perhaps you buy an operation in the US or Canada and your software provider wants to charge you a fortune to add this overseas entity to your system. If that happens, you may have little choice but to absorb it as a high, unexpected cost.

Integrating with other systems: This is another issue that’s likely to increase in importance as you grow and acquire other businesses. If you have systems for inventory, stock management, timesheets, expenses, membership fees, or a host of other things, will they talk to your accounting software?

If this specific application of yours is one that’s commonly available in the marketplace, then most accounting packages will be able to integrate it into what they do. But if it’s a bespoke product that didn’t previously need to integrate with anything else, you could be in difficulty.

If you do have bespoke needs when it comes to integration, look for software that makes use of open an open API (application programming interface – the way different computer programs speak to each other). This means it fits together with other systems easily and flexibly. So if you acquire a legacy system as you expand, or you want to do something that’s new for your business – selling at the click of a button online, for example – it can be integrated easily, in ‘plug-and-play fashion.

Archiving: You’ve got a lot of information in your existing system about past transactions – and it needs to be available to auditors for seven years. So what happens when you’re changing your software?

You could keep your old system going alongside the new one, perhaps in a ‘read-only version – which will require you to keep paying for licences.

Alternatively, you could export all that data from the old system, into Excel, or CSV files.

That’s fine, but it becomes a hidden cost if the auditors need to audit that data alongside the new system – potentially adding days to the auditors’ work, and therefore a massive extra outlay for you.

 

How to avoid those hidden costs

As you’ll have gathered, the key to avoiding unwelcome surprises is to ask the right questions.

Few businesses go into the same level of detail as public sector bodies, with their comprehensive tender documents and Requests for Information (RFI). But if you want to avoid getting burned, you need to be as clear as possible about what you’re buying.

Spell out your requirements as precisely as you can and get the offer locked down.

It’s wise to get the right stakeholders involved as well so that key people from all the departments which will use the system and will have input. You don’t want them spotting the system’s shortcomings after the contracts have been signed, when fixing them will be impossible or costly. 

Of course, it’s easier if the software has been structured to include as many features as possible as standard.

The upside of all this is that while there are hidden costs to watch for, there can be ‘hidden’ benefits.

If a good software package frees up time which can be spent more productively, it can help you improve and grow the business. Which, after all, is what we’re all at work for.

Articles

Why Budgeting Apps Are The Best Way To Stay On Top Of Your Finances

Preparing your finances in order isn’t a one-time job. It’s an endless procedure.

Whether it’s budgeting, planning your debt payoff, or monitoring your credit, your financial life needs regular, reliable attention. Well, use the right set of methods to help.

Here we have some satisfactory money apps to help you get on track and stay there. Whether you have not created a budget or you are a seasoned investor. Unless otherwise noted, all these apps are free.

While using these methods you must need the bank or credit information. Whether they are strictly secure measures to protect your data.

All in all, there are many types of different online payment to receive or integrate in your apps or website for seam less transactions.

But, you should always ensure before using these apps you must follow the terms and conditions, that you know what you are getting into.

You Can See Your Entire Financial Picture At Once

One of the best things about budgeting apps is that you can see your entire financial picture at once. You may have heard of “financial health” before – but what exactly does it mean? It means knowing where you stand financially, and being able to make informed decisions based on this information.

Your budgeting app will give you a snapshot of your finances in one place, so that when an unexpected expense hits (or maybe even a little extra income), it’s easy for you to see how much money is available for these situations without having to shuffle through receipts or dig through bank statements. This way, if something comes up later down the road that requires more funds than anticipated — like buying new furniture — then there won’t be any confusion about where those funds should come from next time around!

Budgeting Apps Consolidate Your Accounts

One of the best ways to stay on top of your finances is by consolidating all of your accounts into one place.

Once you have a budget app, it will be easier for you to see what’s going on with each account and make adjustments accordingly.

If there are multiple banks and credit cards, it can take some time to get everything organized in one place. However, once all the information is collected in one place (and if there aren’t too many accounts), this process becomes much easier than if they were spread out across different sites or apps.

Help You Track Your Monthly Expenses

A budget app helps you track your monthly expenses. It can help you keep an eye on how much money you are spending, and it offers a way to see where your money is going so that you can make adjustments as necessary.

For example: say you’re trying to save up for something special like a vacation or new car, but aren’t sure where all the cash will come from. With a budgeting app like Mint or Personal Capital (a personal finance dashboard), there’s no need for guesswork! Simply input all of the relevant details of what/where/who and when—and then watch as those numbers change over time with each passing month until finally reaching their goal(s).

Send You Alerts Before You Overdraft

If you’re diligent about budgeting, the best way to stay on top of your finances is by having alerts sent out before you overdraft. With budgeting apps like Mint, YNAB and Mintable, once you’ve set up a spending limit for a particular category (like groceries), it will send a notification if that amount gets used before the next pay day.

You can also set up alerts for different amounts: For example, if an ATM withdrawal costs more than $100 but less than $200; or if an online purchase costs more than $20 but less than 30%. These types of alerts can help save money so that when there’s an unexpected expense—like medical bills—you’re prepared for it!

Analyse Your Spending Habits

Tracking your spending habits is one of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your finances.

You’ll be better able to identify areas where there’s room for improvement, so that you can get back on track. It will help prevent overspending and unnecessary purchases. Budgeting apps can analyse this data easily and quickly, which makes them an excellent tool for budgeting beginners or those who don’t want to spend hours entering information into an Excel spreadsheet or making manual calculations every night before bedtime is over.*

Budgeting Apps Help You Keep Up With Monthly Goals

If you’re like most people, your monthly goals are probably set by the end of each month. You may have some long term goals in mind—for example, saving up for a vacation or buying a car—and shorter-term ones like paying off debt or saving more money toward retirement. If so, budgeting apps can help! They track your progress toward these different kinds of goals so that you can see how much progress has been made over time and adjust accordingly if necessary (like lowering your long term goal until it feels attainable).

Conclusion

We hope that our tips have been helpful, and that you’re looking forward to using a budgeting app in the future! If we missed anything important, please let us know in the comments below.

Articles

How Much VAT is My Business Paying on Energy

As a business, keeping tabs on your expenses and ensuring you’re getting the best value for your money is important. Knowing how much business energy you’re paying for is essential. Not only will this help you stay accountable for your expenses, but it can also help you make more informed decisions about where to cut costs. Did you know that your business could be paying too much VAT on energy? In this blog post, we’ll look at how vat is applied to energy and how you can ensure you’re getting the best deal.

What is VAT?

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is charged on the value of most goods and services in the United Kingdom. It’s also sometimes referred to as a “goods and services tax” (GST). The standard UK VAT rate is 20%. There are reduced rates of 5% for some items, such as food and children’s clothing, and a zero rate for some items, such as books and newspapers.

Should my business sign up for VAT?

It is required by law that businesses with an annual taxable turnover of more than £85,000 register for Value Added Tax. Voluntary VAT registration is available to companies with annual sales below this threshold.

  • When you register, your VAT registration certificate will be sent to you by HMRC. This proves:
  • How and when to file your first VAT return and pay the associated tax
  • In which your “registration” officially begins to be active (the date you went over the threshold or the date you asked to register)

Which goods and services are subject to value-added tax?

If your business is VAT-registered, the price of your products and services will normally increase by 20%. This value-added tax (VAT) must be paid to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) every three months.

Any product or service outside the scope of the UK’s Value Added Tax system and hence VAT-free. Even though it is a business-to-business transaction, gas and energy purchased by a company are still subject to VAT and cannot be refunded. You should always monitor your contract renewals to ensure you aren’t overpaying. The Do It For You service takes care of all of this.

How much is VAT on business energy?

To encourage energy efficiency and aid in meeting national targets, the government gives a reduced rate of 5% VAT for enterprises that consume low levels of electricity.

If your business’s daily gas use is below 33-kilowatt hours (kWh), monthly electricity consumption is below 1000 kWh, and the annual energy consumption is below 12,000 kWh, your provider should immediately switch you to the lower, VAT-free rate.

Checking your bill is a good idea to make sure this lower VAT rate was applied. Contact your electricity provider if you believe you should be receiving the lower VAT rate on your company’s electricity bills. Click here for more information on VAT paid on energy.

How much is the VAT on business gas?

Commercial natural gas likewise incurs a 20% VAT, with the option to pay a 5% rate. Less than 145-kilowatt hours (kWh) of gas consumption per day qualifies a firm for the reduced VAT on gas. The annual equivalent is 52,764 kWh, or 4,397 kWh every month.

Review your most recent commercial gas bill in comparison to the usage above rates to determine if you qualify for the reduced VAT on the gas rate. Whether you’re a business owner and use electricity, check your statement to see if you are being overcharged for value-added tax. If so, contact your source immediately.

Should I pay VAT on business gas and electricity?

All energy consumption, whether commercial or personal, is subject to VAT. That means whether you’re using your house as an office or a commercial space, you’ll have to pay value-added tax on the cost of any gas or energy you consume. Even if the purchase of commercial energy is technically a business-to-business purposes, the VAT cannot be refunded in this case.

Can my business get the VAT back on the business energy it uses?

It is expected that a business that is VAT-registered can deduct VAT paid as input tax on business expenses following the standard VAT deduction rules. This holds whatever interest rate you’re paying, 20% or 5%.

Visit the HMRC webpage to learn how much tax refund your company is eligible for.

You should also realise that VAT is not charged on various expenses that fall outside of its purviews, such as company rates, council tax, wages, and a lot more.

Could my company qualify for a reduced VAT rate on its energy bills?

However, there are other scenarios where you may be eligible to pay lower energy VAT rates than the de minimis threshold. Examples of this are:

  • Your organisation operates exclusively for charitable or other non-commercial purposes.
  • Workspaces are double as living quarters.
  • Academies and other schools that don’t charge tuition.
  • Your company uses at least 60% of its energy for residential purposes.
  • Religious communities like monasteries and convents.
  • Most of the employees also live in facilities such as dormitories, nursing homes, and other forms of residential care.
  • Holiday lodging where guests are responsible for preparing their meals.

Only certain of your company’s expenses may be eligible for the discounted rate. If that’s the case, a mixed-use’ contract could be ideal for your company. Parts of your company that meet the criteria can pay a reduced rate, while the remaining 20% of your company must pay the standard rate. You should talk to your service provider or the energy expert handling your pricing comparison to see if you qualify for this.

Where can I look up the business energy VAT rates?

Looking at your most recent commercial energy bill is the quickest approach to determining your VAT contribution. Every month, you should receive a statement detailing your balance, the interest rate, and the amount you’ve paid toward the debt.

How can I cut costs on my business energy bills?

There are a few things that you can do to cut costs on your business energy bills:

1. Switch to a more affordable energy plan. There are a lot of different plans available, so shop around and find the best business energy supplier that matches your needs.

2. Invest in energy-efficient appliances and equipment. This can help you save money in the long run by reducing your energy usage.

3. Make sure that your business is adequately insulated. This will help keep your energy usage down and reduce your monthly bills.

4. Schedule regular maintenance checks for your equipment. This will help ensure that everything runs efficiently and prevent small problems from turning into big ones.

The vat on energy can be a significant expense for businesses. By understanding the different rates and what qualifies as energy, business owners can work to reduce their vat bills. Are there any other ways your business could save money on its taxes?

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Mortgage Repayments Guide

It is essential to ensure you are on the best mortgage deal to get your finances in order. It’s probably your largest monthly expense.

There are many ways to find the right home loan for you at the lowest interest rate.

These are some tips to help you find the right mortgage for you.

Do your homework

If you’re confident enough to navigate the mortgage markets alone, many resources online will help you find rates across the market.

Price comparison sites

You can compare websites to find the lowest rates for the type mortgage that you’re looking for, whether it be a fixed-rate, tracker, or offset over two, three, five, or ten years.

You can search for free from your home.

A comparison site won’t help you find the best loan type for your situation. These sites simply display the rates available.

Tools to help you get a mortgage

A mortgage eligibility tool can help you do your research and find the right lender for you.

It will show you which mortgages are most likely to be approved and how much money you can borrow, based upon the lenders’ criteria.

This tool will help you be more informed when speaking to a mortgage broker to get professional advice. It could also save you time.

This can reduce disappointment later on. According to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, 64% of brokers consider not fitting a lender’s criteria to be a major frustration for consumers.

Get professional help

There are many options for mortgage deals, each with its own set of fees, rates and conditions.

You might consider hiring a professional to help you with your search.

They can assist you in your application and help you find the right mortgage for you based on your personal and financial circumstances.

Your bank

Your bank’s adviser should be able give you a good idea of how much you can borrow, as they have access to your mortgage history.

Financial watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), regulates all mortgage advisors. They will need to ensure that you are satisfied with the recommended product.

They can only suggest products within the bank’s range, so they are limited in their options.

They may have to pay fees, but these will be product-related fees and not for the advice as such.

Use a broker

A mortgage broker will search the entire market for you. They may also be able to access deals that are not directly available to borrowers.

The broker will help you navigate the application process, so if you are looking for a £120,000 mortgage then they can work out the repayments for you.

They should also know which applicants lenders accept. They can also help you find lenders accepting applicants with poor credit and who are self-employed. A popular mortgage of £150,000 should be achievable with a low deposit as will a mortgage for £180,000 however above this some lenders require a higher Loan to Value (LTV).

Lenders pay almost all mortgage brokers a commission. Some mortgage brokers charge their clients a fee for searching for products or the application process.

Talk to a mortgage advisor at a fee-free mortgage broker.

Alternatives online

Online brokers are the new breed of mortgage advisors. Online brokers combine product comparison and advice to help you make a completely online mortgage application.

These are especially useful if you need to manage your mortgage application online during the day. You can then fill out your details online and receive a product recommendation.

There are many online brokers on the market. Each broker does things differently, so choosing the one you feel most at ease with is important.

You might want to ask these questions:

Is it the “whole market”? Are they able to offer the most variety of mortgage deals, giving you the best chance at getting the top deal possible?

What is their business model and what type of service are they offering?

Which charges could be involved?

Are they FCA-registered?

If they are then great, proceed with your application and we hope they provide a great service.

Global Recession
ArticlesFinance/Wealth ManagementMarkets & Assets

Businesses Aren’t Ready For a Global Recession – It’s Time to Act Now

Global Recession

Richard Jeffery, Chief Executive Officer at ActiveOps explores the need for businesses across the UK, US and Australia to take action in the face of impending recession.

The world has never been more globalised than it is today. International reach and connections across borders power change and success through hardship, and the links forged between nations and their economies can result in a domino effect when catastrophe strikes.

From America to Europe, Asia to Africa, there are widespread and volatile challenges facing every economy – and every business. In particular, the threat of a global recession is hanging heavy over the heads of business leaders. On top of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine has slowed economic recovery, disrupted global supply chains, and drastically increased the cost of living.

The World Bank is therefore warning that a recession is on the horizon, and that means that organisations need to start considering how they will prepare for that eventuality – now.

 

The need to look ahead

2008 was the last time the UK and US experienced a recession, whereas Australia has remained mostly unscathed by the outside world, staving off sharp economic downturn since the early 90s.

2008 holds lessons for today’s leaders, but the world is now a very different place. For Australian businesses, the last recession is a distant memory that doesn’t serve much use in today’s climate. So, dusting off previous response plans – such as outsourcing, redundancies and headcount freezes – is likely to fail. What’s needed to ensure success is a deep understanding of your operation and an accurate read of the current markets on a global scale.

According to our recent report, ‘Are you recession ready? How to do more with less’, recession is likely but 89% of organisations are yet to begin preparations. This is according to 1,000 operations professionals in finance and banking across the UK, US and Australia.

88% of UK respondents felt that a recession is likely in the next 12 months, in contrast to 77% of US respondents and 77% of Australian respondents. Despite many expecting a recession, the number of businesses that have started preparations is shockingly low. Just 5% of Australian businesses have started to ready themselves, while just 11% of UK and 9% of US organisations have preparations underway.

In fact, the majority of businesses across the three markets intend to start preparing in two to six months – by which time we may be facing a deep recession already, with difficult decisions needing to be made immediately in order to weather the storm. When in fact, by preparing now, businesses can significantly improve their outlook.

 

Expecting the expected

Rough seas ahead are anticipated, and it’s no surprise. Recession veterans are no stranger to economic downturn and its consequences, and most senior leaders will have experienced a global or national financial crisis in their time. This has often resulted in redundancies, budget cuts and an increased workload.

This time, senior leaders are expecting to absorb an increased workload with fixed staffing levels. Juniors, in contrast, are expecting that their organisation will review processes to find efficiencies. Experience is no doubt the reason for this difference, and perhaps a belief from recession veterans that the costs associated with process improvements wouldn’t be approved. Time will tell whether the same is true this time around.

There are also concerns from operations employees that if their teams need to reduce costs, they wouldn’t have enough performance improvement opportunities. While cost cutting is almost a certainty during a recession, this may mean that leaders who plan on finding process improvement opportunities may struggle – unless they can find a way to save and budget.

Flexibility is also an essential during economic difficulty, and while no business wants to make fundamental changes to their strategies, there are some tactics that can prove useful. Particularly, retraining and cross-training staff can be implemented to create a more versatile and agile workforce.

According to our report, while more than half of UK, US and Australian operations teams believe that cross-training and retraining will be required to balance the workload during a recession, they also felt that their organisations aren’t prioritising this. Not only does this indicate that employees don’t feel that their workplace is focusing on the right strategies in the face of recession, it also highlights the disconnect between what people think their organisations will do compared with what their organisation needs.

 

The time to act is now

While there’s no guarantee significant changes won’t need to be made to adapt to a recession, operations teams within the finance and banking sector have an opportunity to avoid disaster and avert the worst-case scenarios that they are expecting.

Organisations need to focus on building resilience and agility, enhancing customer experience, retaining top talent, and making critical technology investments or using the existing tech stack effectively. Visibility into operations needs to be optimised as soon as possible in order to understand work patterns and control capacity. Without this knowledge, it’s impossible to know if your operations can withstand the pressure of a recession. Businesses need to have a true picture of weak spots to see spikes in demand, understand changing workloads and find efficiencies to meet SLAs, enable flexibility to adapt to uncertain workloads and understand what ‘fat’ to trim.

Customer service and employee satisfaction are at risk if your business isn’t prepared. 58% of respondents agreed that if headcount is reduced, then customer service will be sacrificed. When defining strategies, customers must be at the heart of decision making and similarly, must be shared with employees along with a rationale that everyone can buy into, to avoid customer experience and employee engagement suffering.

Take the time to understand your workforce data and empower managers with this knowledge to prioritise the right tasks and cross-team collaboration; so they can lead teams in a way that keeps them engaged and happy, while bolstering morale during difficult times. It’s also important to check in with your employees to ensure their health is cared for and they feel supported.

Your top performers should also be identified as part of recession preparation as retention may be difficult and losing their skills can have a significant impact. Bring the leaders into the fold and share the challenge with them – not only will they be engaged, but you’ll have the benefit of their expertise and ability to lead to support on the road towards recession. Lastly, investing in technology that creates more efficient and effective operations might cost, but it will pay for itself many times over when implemented correctly. From visibility to forecasting, technology has a significant role to play to help businesses become recession ready.

Engaging with employees at all levels, analysing the current position of your business and assessing whether you have the tools, resources and people power to meet organisational objectives in the face of difficulty will be key. It’s also crucial that senior staff communicate with their employees as soon as possible to ensure everyone is aligned on the operation’s response to a recession.

Then, if the worst does happen and international markets are hit with a global recession, your business will be in a strong position to not just survive economic downturn – but thrive.

close up of rows coins for finance and banking concept
Articles

Recognise Passes on Full Bank Base Rate Rise to Business 95 Day Notice Savers

Business 95 Day Notice Account will pay 3.00% AER, matching the Bank Base Rate

Following the increase in the Bank Base Rate by 75bps to 3% by the Bank of England, Recognise Bank has announced it will pass on the full rise to its Business 95 Day Notice Savings Account customers, so the account will pay 3.00% AER, matching the Bank Base Rate.

The Bank’s Business 95 Day Notice Account was currently pays 2.25% AER, but last week Recognise pledged to pass on today’s increase in full to help small businesses.

Dean Carter, Group Treasurer of Recognise Bank, said: “Many small businesses are under considerable financial pressures at the moment, so we wanted to show that Recognise is here to support them by paying them the same interest rate as the Base Rate.

“We know that SMEs often keep a cushion of cash to pay future bills or in case of an emergency, such as a late payment from a customer or other cashflow issues. By being able to earn 3.00% AER on their savings, businesses can maximise the earning potential of their cash when they are not using it.”

The new rate of 3.00% AER for the Business 95 Day Notice Account will come into force next Wednesday 9th November and will be applied to new and existing savers.

In addition to the Business 95 Day Notice Account, the Bank also offers SMEs a Business Easy Access Account which pays 2.00% AER. Recognise says it offers a choice of accounts so companies can manage their savings in a way that suits their business and cash flow needs.

All of Recognise Bank’s Business Savings Accounts are FSCS protected up to the maximum for £85,000. They have been designed to be quick to open and easy to manage online, with telephone customer service support if required. Savers also don’t need to have a current account or any other product with Recognise to be able to open a Savings Account.

Recognise Bank launched with a mission to support the UK’s SMEs with great lending and savings products. Smaller business savers often get a raw deal from the main banks who dominate business banking, so much so that research by Recognise* found that almost half of SMEs don’t bother saving and leave their cash in a current account earning no interest at all.

Having business savings is arguably more important than ever due to difficult trading conditions. The Bank’s research* found that around a third of UK SMEs keep a cash surplus as an emergency fund or in case of late payments or other cashflow problems.

*Research was carried out amongst the financial decision makers of 500 SMEs with between 1 and 49 employees by 3Gem in November 2021

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How Can Loans Help You? A Formal Guide To Loans Available In America

How Can Loans Help You? A Formal Guide To Loans Available In America

With household debt at an all-time high in America, it is understandable why people turn to loans to help them cover the cost of living. Taking out a loan can be a stressful situation, as you may have concerns about how and when you will be able to pay it all back. There are lots of different loans available in America, and they all have different terms and conditions attached to them. In this article, we will go over some of the loans available for you and go into detail about what they are. So, if you have considered taking out a loan but you are unsure which one is right for you, then follow along in this article to find out.

Payday Loans

The first loan we are going to discuss is payday loans. Payday loans are short-term loans that allow you to get money quickly when you need it. People get payday loans when they are in a financial emergency and need to pay for something immediately. Unexpected emergencies happen throughout life, and not everyone is lucky enough to have savings that they can dip into. If your car breaks down or you have a water leak at home, you will need to get that sorted as soon as possible, which is where a payday loan comes in handy. It is important to remember, however, that payday loans should only be used when you need to pay something off as soon as possible. You shouldn’t be taking out a payday loan just because you would like some extra cash. You can get payday loans all across the country, and if you are based in the south, then you can get payday loans in Texas from Kallyss. They can help cover you for an unexpected emergency, and allow you to relieve any stress you might be having.

Mortgages

The next loan on the list is mortgages. This loan is probably one that you have heard of, as it is very common for people to have a mortgage in America. A mortgage is what you get when you purchase a house, and it is just a way of spreading the cost of the house over a long period of time. Most people cannot afford to buy a house upfront, which is why mortgages are good, as they make buying a house much more accessible. There are quite a few different types of mortgages available in the US, and the type of mortgage you get will depend on your personal finances and what sort of property you intend to purchase. A fixed-rate mortgage is a good idea if you are looking to pay off your house over several years as the interest rate applied will not changes, so you will be paying the same amount every month.

Business Loans

As the name suggests, a business loan is a loan that you get to help you with the running of your business. A business loan can be used in all aspects of business, but people often get them at the beginning, when they are just launching their business. For a new business owner, being able to get a loan can make a huge difference in how their business thrives as it just gives them a little bit of extra support and cushioning. It can also mean that businesses can dive straight first into the launch as they no longer have to wait and save the money themselves. If you are considering opening your own business, then looking into the business loans available for you could be worthwhile.

Debt Consolidation

A debt consolidation loan is a loan that is used when you have lots of different debts to pay off to multiple companies. Having lots of debts to pay off can be extremely stressful, so a debt consolidation loan allows you to pay off those debts, meaning you are just left with one. Essentially, you work out how much in total all of your debts are, then borrow that amount from a lender and use that money to pay off your debts. Once you have paid off your multiple debts, you will be left with one debt to pay off, which you can slowly pay off over time. This can be a good option for people who are struggling with multiple loan companies.

Student Loans

Student loans are one of the most popular loans in America, and it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have student loan debt. The idea of being in debt for your education is a pretty bleak concept, but it is an unfortunate reality if you want to get higher education in America. Having said that, being able to get a student loan is something that is not available everywhere, so at least it does give people the opportunity to go to college and study something they love.

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
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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?

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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
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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.”

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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!

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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.

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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
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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.

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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
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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
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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