Importance of Financial Benchmarking 2015

Importance of Financial Benchmarking 2015

Many business owners employ the strategy of benchmarking to assess the health of their company. Benchmarks provide a frame of reference by which they can gauge financial success and measure progress against an established goal. Typically, an industry benchmark is a range of financial performance metrics in key areas, compiled by averaging data from a group of comparable businesses.

In today’s economic climate, many small to mid-sized businesses may find it difficult to borrow money due to stricter financing controls, so it is even more important to ensure that a business is functioning as efficiently as possible, reinvesting profits to fund operations. Without use of an industry benchmark, businesses may think they are performing efficiently while in reality they have no basis for comparison. When evaluating benchmarks to assess progress, businesses should consider the following:

Source of data- One of the challenges in calculating benchmarks is the data source from which they are derived. Many small, privately held companies do not publish their financial data. Conversely, data such as tax filings for publicly held companies may be intentionally deflated or under reported for tax purposes.

Relevancy of data– When identifying comparable companies, businesses need to ensure that the companies are similar on multiple levels, as much as possible. For example, the comparable companies should offer similar products and/or services, have similar revenues, corporate structure, and number of employees.

Recency of data– When comparing a company’s financial performance to an established benchmark, it is critical to understand the recency of the data comprising that benchmark. Financial figures from 5 years ago used to create a benchmark need to be noted, as economic conditions have changed substantially, and therefore the benchmark may be faulty.

Calculation Methodology– When developing benchmarks, it is also important to know how companies arrived at their calculations so that the financials are an “apples to apples” comparison. For example, one company within the comparables may define “profit” as earnings before income taxes while another may define it as earnings before income taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Key Metric Comparisons- There are several ratios that businesses use to assess financial performance which can be useful to benchmark. These include profit margin (measure of profitability), Quick Ratio (measures immediate cash liquidity, cash + accounts receivable/liabilities), Current Ratio (measures liquidity, current assets/current liabilities), Debt: Equity (measures how well a company is leveraging its debt).

Financial benchmarking can be an invaluable tool to small to mid-sized businesses in assessing how they compare with their peers. It is important to acknowledge that although is an important tool, the benchmarks are meant to exist as a guide in assessing how a business is trending more than an absolute measure of success.

Uses Of Merchant Account For Online Trading 2015 Latest

Uses Of Merchant Account For Online Trading 2015 Latest

The internet world today is revolving very fast with new technology emerging each and every day. Most of the people do not want to go out for shopping, as they have an option of purchasing online. For online shopping, they use credit and debit cards. There are some businesses that could be dealt only face to face. Such businesses are also transacted with the help of payment cards. For those transactions, the person who does the business must have a Merchant Account. It is nothing but a kind of bank account to accept the payments made through the payment cards. The account holder and the banker come to an agreement to accept the transactions via payment cards. The payments through these transactions are credited directly to the merchant’s account with the corresponding bank.

The merchant acquiring bank appoints certain people as the agents to market the Merchant Account. For accepting the payments through the debit and credit cards, the merchant should have a card terminal known as point of sale terminals. By swiping the cards on the terminal, the amount gets transferred to the account of the merchant. Due to the advancement of technology, cell phones could also be used as the card terminals by connecting a card reader with them. For using the cell phones as the payment card terminals, the phone must have the android operating system. iPhones, iPads and iPods could also be used for this purpose. The amount received through the payment cards are credited to the account of the merchant within a maximum duration of forty eight hours.

For maintaining these accounts, there are charges levied on the merchant on periodic basis or on the basis of certain percentage. Certain banks allow to open the accounts by a merchant who is running his business successfully at least for two years. This is to reduce the risk in banking with the merchant. Application fees, setup fees, gateway access fees and statement fees are the common fees charged by almost all the providers. The websites could also be linked with the Merchant Account for online trading purposes. Most of the accounts are designed to accept the currencies of various countries. Allowing the currency transfers of various nations is very much useful for online trading. Offshore accounts give the advantage of tax benefits to the account holder. Before creating an account, a glance through the expert reviews is recommended.

The Main Advantages 2015 of Women Financial Advisors

The Main Advantages 2015 of Women Financial Advisors

During a forum back in 2010, then president of Citi Personal Banking and Wealth Management said that America would never have experienced the 2008 financial crisis if it was the Lehman Sisters and not the Lehman Brothers.

That being said, the financial services industry is still undoubtedly a man’s world. Based on a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 31% of financial advisors in the US are women, which means almost 8 out of 10 financial brokers and consultants are men. This is contraindicative to the recent findings of a research done by Pershing, a financial consultancy firm under the BNY Mellon group, which revealed a projected rise in demand for women financial advisors.

From the standpoint of financial advisor recruiters, this is a simple economic situation – high demand and low supply equals a lot of opportunities. If you’re a woman in the financial industry, this is a great time to look for better jobs and greener pastures. In doing so, it pays to know what your main advantages are over your male counterparts. This would allow you to strongly position yourself during job interviews.

So, what exactly are your key advantages as a female financial advisor?

Women Understands Women

Women-owned businesses account to trillions of dollars per year. According to the same report from Pershings, female investors are more likely to hire financial consultants than their male counterparts – 46% versus 36%. The study also shows that female clients are more likely to develop a long-term and loyal relationship with a consulting firm. Not coincidentally, most of these women entrepreneurs prefer to hire female advisors. Why do you think is that? For one, it is a consensus in the industry that women clients require more intensive consulting and they take more time than female clients. This is because female investors are more detail-oriented.

Also, the number of wealthy women who are not necessarily investors or entrepreneurs is rising. These are those who just got divorced, was recently widowed, etc. They have real money and they need help in managing their finances. According to financial services recruiters, this new breed of rich women are more comfortable working with female consultants because they are more patient, are typically good listeners and wouldn’t mind hearing about the personal stories of their clients.

Women Generate Clients in More Varied Ways than Men

According to the 2012 Fidelity Broker and Advisor Sentiment survey, 71% of female wealth managers attend industry gatherings and in-person seminars. This is significantly higher compared to the 36% of men who attend such networking events. The report says nothing conclusive about this information but it’s easy to draw an educated hypothesis – women develop more connections and therefore, more opportunities to acquire new clients. Also, women are more open to clients who are looking beyond the traditional investment platforms.

Experts also observe that female financial advisors are craftier in promoting their expertise. Carol Pepper, the woman behind the New York-based investment firm Pepper International wrote a book to promote her services. Chapin Hill Advisors president Kathy Boyle often gives speeches to create thought leadership for the firm. She also use blogging as a tool to reach potential clients.

Women have made and are continuously making their mark in the financial services arena and though they are still outnumbered, it wouldn’t be surprising if they equal or surpass the number of financial advisors in the future.

What To Look For When Applying For A Banking Internship 2015 Latest

What To Look For When Applying For A Banking Internship 2015 Latest

There are banks and companies that are just the best places to work at but have lousy internship programs. On the other hand, some companies are hiring interns all the time, with good pay and they get treated very well. So as an intern who is still at the learning stages of your career, these are the things you must look for in a company before applying for their internship program.

• Choose a company that offers a variety of financial services. You will be exposed to a lot of the processes and operations that they do and you will be able to just soak it all in like a sponge. Having a lot of experiences can be a benefit. You will know how each department works and you can choose later on which one works for you best. It will also look good on your resume to see that you have experience in a lot of different things.

• Of course, it’s always nice when a company has a good starting pay for an intern. Also look at the other benefits that they offer such as paid time off (PTO) and the like.

• A great training program with lots of good people who are friendly and are willing to help a trainee like you. It would be also great if they have proper facilities for training and development. There are companies that come with a gym and dry cleaning services so better watch out for those.

• Choose a company that has a great work environment and office culture with a lot of employee resources. There are also places where they allow casual dressing so you don’t have to wear a tie every day.

• Good working hours. In banking, expect to have long working hours. It’s normal to spend a lot of time at the office especially for the bigger companies. However, if you like to relax on evenings and weekends, you’re better off with a smaller company that doesn’t put in so many long hours on weekdays.

• Chance to travel. Some companies send their interns to client’s offices. It’s great if you like to travel and be in a lot of different places. You’ll be sent as far away as across the country or you’ll be sent just within your city. It’s a great chance to see how other companies function.

• Working in finance, you need to get up early. Some start business at early as 6 AM. So if you’re not the early bird type of person, maybe you can find a company that starts at 8 AM or 9. Banks open at 9 AM but there are corporate offices that open as soon as the stock market opens.

Those are just a few tips that you can follow in looking for a place to intern for future bank jobs. But to summarize, look for a place where you can have a work/life balance, there is compensation and benefits, there is career training and development; and lastly, a place where there is a good chance of employment.

10 Things You May Not Know About Credit and Finance Around the World

10 Things You May Not Know About Credit and Finance Around the World

The way that credit and finances are handled in other countries can be strikingly different from how it’s handled here in the US.

Read on for 10 surprising facts about money and credit in other parts of the world:

    1. If you go to Europe, your favorite credit card may not work. In Norway, you need to enter a PIN for all credit card transactions. In other parts of Europe, cards are now implanted with EMV chips for security.
    1. Throughout the continent of Africa, merchants and ATM owners are held financially responsible for fraud. (In the US, the card issuer is the one that’s left, legally, holding the bag.) As a result, 77% of credit card systems on that continent require the extra security of EMV chips.
    1. In Kenya and Tansania, most minor financing transactions don’t go through a bank. They are handled with a mobile system called M-Pesa that is run by the countries’ two largest mobile phone carriers.
    1. Chances are that Americans lag people from other countries in financial literacy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has begun testing 15-year-olds to find out how much, on average, kids from each country know. The results of the financial literacy test won’t be out till later this year; however, US scores are currently below average in math, which tends to correlate with scores in financial literacy.
    1. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, math teachers are required to have units on financial literacy in their classes. England and Australia will be adding this requirement to their curriculum as well starting with the 2014 school year.
    1. A new US company, COIN, is recruiting customers for the launch of a digital credit card wallet. The new system will be a substitute for the eight or more cards most Americans carry every day.
    1. In Canada and Australia, the average consumer charges over $7,000 on credit cards every year. That’s almost double the average American’s charges of around $4,000. Canada has over 72 million credit cards in circulation, compared to 686 million in the US.
    1. Countries where people use credit cards less tend to have higher savings rates. In Germany and France, the average consumer charges just a few hundred dollars a year. The average savings rate in both countries is over 10% of income per year.
    1. About half of all Americans carry a balance on their credit cards. By contrast, over three-quarters of South Koreans pay off their balance in full every month.
  1. In many countries where credit card usage is low, even large transactions are handled in cash. For instance, expenses associated with a wedding in Turkey or Bahrain would be paid in cash, despite being thousands of dollars.