Category Archives: Finance & Treasury

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Protect-Your-Business-from-Credit-Card-Fraud-02

Protect Your Business from Credit Card Fraud

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Many businesses accept credit cards from customers, whether that be over the phone or on the internet. Typically products are shipped before the business becomes aware that the credit card was used fraudulently. In this case the business is out of pocket as the real card owner will not be liable – so what can be done to avoid this from happening?

 

  1. Capture all the credit card information

Make sure you request the cardholders name in full, the long card number, the expiration date, and the three/four digit verification number on the back of the card. Also request the full address that the card is registered to. If the customer refuses to provide any of the information, don’t ship. With all of this information you will be able to use the address verification service. Don’t forget that in most cases someone who has stolen a credit card will not know the address it is registered to.

 

  1. Be cautious

Question orders that are very large and next day delivery. Clearly someone using a fraudulent credit card will be keen to get the order as soon as possible before you have an opportunity to realise the card is fraudulent. Furthermore be cautious when the bill to and ship to addresses are different. There are websites out there such as www.anywho.com which can be used to validate billing addresses.

 

  1. Validate the order

Another validation step is to call the mobile number provided to confirm the order. Furthermore, you could request scanned ID such as a passport if the order is very large and you are concerned about the identity of the customer placing the order.

 

  1. Report to the police

If you have reason to believe there has been a fraudulent transaction, report it to the police as soon as possible. There is a possibility that the stolen goods can be recovered.

 

In Summary

Use all of the tips above to try and reduce the possibility of credit card fraud. However remember to trust your instincts – if you think an order is suspicious, ensure you follow up.

 

5-Startup-tips-get-your-finances-right-02

5 Startup tips – get your finances right

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

There are so many things to think about when kicking off with your first startup, finances being one of them.  Here we take a look at a few tips that will enable you to get your finances right from day one.

  1. Cash flow is key

Don’t ever take your eye off the ball when it comes to cash flow; you should always know what your money situation is at any given time.  If it comes as a shock to see that money is tight when you check your accounts, you are not doing it properly.  Track every single dollar and treat each one spent or coming in as vitally important.  Keep to a budget and don’t let yourself get into a sticky mess financially.

  1. Track spending

Particularly at the beginning, you are going to have a lot of expenses.  Work out how much you need to set aside for this and stick to it.  Rather than hire an accountant to do the books, use one of the fabulous accounting packages that are online (some free) or set up your own spreadsheet in Excel.  If you do this on a regular basis, at the end of the tax year you will have your figures all ready to go.  Only go to the expense of a professional accountant when your business starts to become too much for you to handle.

  1. Limit your fixed expenses

Don’t go overboard when it comes to things like office space or facilities/equipment.  A single room should do to begin with; some people convert garage space or use a spare room.  Later on, as you grow, you may want to look at hiring a small commercial space or even a spot in serviced offices. It is essential that early on your capital is fed into growth and not overheads. Keep revenue as your top priority and don’t lose focus.

  1. Maintain a safety net

Don’t expect to make a lot of money from day one; keep a safety net/slush fund of savings so that if you do have dry periods financially, you can keep going. If you are giving up a full time job to go it alone, maybe maintain your key source of income for a while until your business is ready to replace it.  Some people decide to create their own start up after being made redundant – this can also work, particularly if you have a large redundancy sum of money to keep you going while the business grows.

  1. Love your customers

Each and every customer is paramount to the success of your business as, without them, you have nothing.  Set time aside to acquire them and don’t neglect your marketing. Try and make use of the channels that cost little or nothing, such as social media.  Once you have a customer, look after them well and maintain your relationship.  This all bodes well for building a great client base.

Bringing your first startup to life is incredibly exciting but do take note of our tips and ensure that you begin slowly, building steadily and always paying attention to that one vital things; finances.

For those of you looking to begin a new business, make use of our professional training courses which will provide you with much more information on how to make your startup successful.

Contact us now to find out which of our training programs are most suitable for you.

 

Create-and-maintain-a-winning-online-reputation-02

Create and maintain a winning online reputation

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

I doubt I need to tell you how important a business’s digital presence is. So why do so many get it wrong and damage their reputation both on and offline? By following some basic guidelines, you will not only be able to create an outstanding online reputation, but you will also be able to maintain it.

 

Perfect your presentation

All information should be accurate, and everything that is written should be spelt correctly with on-point grammar and reflect the brand. All links should be working and point in the right direction.

 

Stay up to date

Keep all of the information in your online presence up to date. If telephone numbers or addresses change – make sure you update the details on all platforms where you are listed.

 

Keep your content fresh

Release new content regularly and ensure it is interesting, on brand, and targeted at the right audience. It is really useful to have a schedule for the release of different types of content – i.e. tweets, blogs, Instagram posts etc.

 

Respond to questions and reviews

The great thing about the digital world is that you can engage with your customers in real time. It also means that feedback is in full view quickly and you need to be prepared to respond quickly.

 

Do it offline

There are going to be times when unfortunately you get feedback that is not 100% positive. The key thing is to initially respond online so that it is visible for all to see. Do not play the blame game or seem bitter – keep it professional and explain you will be in contact directly to address the feedback and reach a resolution the customer is happy with.

 

Use sources

When blogging or sharing other content, make sure statements are backed up with credible sources where appropriate. It is fine to make statements of opinion, but make it clear to the reader that is the case.

 

In Summary

The internet has opened up so many opportunities and possibilities, but it also comes at a price as having that real time presence means anyone can search for you any time night or day and anywhere in the world. Many businesses now decide to hire a Digital Marketing professional to manage that presence for them and keep their online reputation in good shape.

Decision-making-is-it-as-simple-as-it-seems-02

Decision making: is it as simple as it seems?

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Decision, decisions; every day we make hundreds of decisions, many of them totally subconsciously but some being more demanding and requiring more concentration and attention.  But how do people make these decisions and what factors come into play?

Whether we are involved ourselves in the decision making process or we are subjected to this in our line of business, it is an unavoidable part of life.  If we are involved in sales of any type then working with the client to reach the right decision can be complex and taxing.  As financial professionals we also find ourselves involved in this process when customers make use of our services and by understanding how decisions are reached we are better able to advise our clients.

How are decisions made?

Whether people are making financial decisions or those related to something else such as career or family, judgments have to be made. If the choices are complex then using a multi-step process to break down the path towards the conclusion can be very helpful.  Here we are going to look at some of the factors that can impact upon decision making.

  • Past experiences

Events that have occurred in the past can impact greatly upon decisions made going forward.  Much depends on whether the results in the past were negative or positive as those involved are more likely to use the same methods if the outcome a good one.  The problem here is that decisions made now based upon past experiences do not always result in the best result.

  • Cognitive biases

These are patterns of thinking based upon generalizations that can result in judgments that are faulty and inaccurate.  Things such as prior knowledge, omission and hindsight may kick in with people being so affected by the influx of this information that the decision reached is not the right one.

  • Escalation of commitment and sunk outcomes

People may make a decision based upon how much money, effort and time they have sunk into it.  This can play out by people ending up making a risky decision purely because they have invested so much they do not want to go back i.e. they are now so far down the line, it seems like the only way to go is forward – right or wrong.

  • Individual differences

Particular differences such as age, cognitive ability and even status socioeconomically can all impact upon the way in which decisions are made. As we get older, our ability to make a decision can become harder as cognitive ability diminishes whilst younger people may be over-confident with the arrogance that comes from youth. It is definitely worth noting that the older we are, the fewer decisions we like to make.

  • Belief in personal relevance

When people feel that what they decide really matters, they are much more likely to come to a decision.  For example, constituents are far more likely to vote if they think that their support will change things.

  • Decision Making Heuristics

Heuristics are strategies used based to make a decision based upon a small amount of precise information.  Think of it as a mental short cut; a judgment can be made by focusing upon just one or two aspects of a very complex problem, ignoring others.

 

As financial professionals we can see that decision making is a very important area to understand and by having knowledge of the process, we are able to develop a greater comprehension of not only our own decisions but those of others.

 

Check out some of our training programs now and get yourself fully equipped with a thorough and detailed understanding of decision making, enabling you to interact far more effectively with clients, professionally and competently.

 

 

 

8-Financial-Tips-for-Entrepreneurs-Launching-a-Startup-02

5 Startup tips – get your finances right

By Morgan International Staff Writers

There are so many things to think about when kicking off with your first startup, finances being one of them.  Here we take a look at a few tips that will enable you to get your finances right from day one.

  1. Cash flow is key

Don’t ever take your eye off the ball when it comes to cash flow; you should always know what your money situation is at any given time.  If it comes as a shock to see that money is tight when you check your accounts, you are not doing it properly.  Track every single dollar and treat each one spent or coming in as vitally important.  Keep to a budget and don’t let yourself get into a sticky mess financially.

  1. Track spending

Particularly at the beginning, you are going to have a lot of expenses.  Work out how much you need to set aside for this and stick to it.  Rather than hire an accountant to do the books, use one of the fabulous accounting packages that are online (some free) or set up your own spreadsheet in Excel.  If you do this on a regular basis, at the end of the tax year you will have your figures all ready to go.  Only go to the expense of a professional accountant when your business starts to become too much for you to handle.

  1. Limit your fixed expenses

Don’t go overboard when it comes to things like office space or facilities/equipment.  A single room should do to begin with; some people convert garage space or use a spare room.  Later on, as you grow, you may want to look at hiring a small commercial space or even a spot in serviced offices. It is essential that early on your capital is fed into growth and not overheads. Keep revenue as your top priority and don’t lose focus.

  1. Maintain a safety net

Don’t expect to make a lot of money from day one; keep a safety net/slush fund of savings so that if you do have dry periods financially, you can keep going. If you are giving up a full time job to go it alone, maybe maintain your key source of income for a while until your business is ready to replace it.  Some people decide to create their own start up after being made redundant – this can also work, particularly if you have a large redundancy sum of money to keep you going while the business grows.

  1. Love your customers

Each and every customer is paramount to the success of your business as, without them, you have nothing.  Set time aside to acquire them and don’t neglect your marketing. Try and make use of the channels that cost little or nothing, such as social media.  Once you have a customer, look after them well and maintain your relationship.  This all bodes well for building a great client base.

Bringing your first startup to life is incredibly exciting but do take note of our tips and ensure that you begin slowly, building steadily and always paying attention to that one vital things; finances.

For those of you looking to begin a new business, make use of our professional training courses which will provide you with much more information on how to make your startup successful.

Contact us now to find out which of our training programs are most suitable for you.

 

Where-the-Worlds-Wealthiest-Invest-Their-Billions-02

Money and what to do with it!

By Morgan International Staff Writers

All of us learn to have loads of money but in truth, becoming a billionaire is something that happens to very few.  But just imagine what it would be like if you had so much money that you could literally live on the interest without having to dip into the capital; if you had $1 billion and made a 5% return then your annual interest would be a whopping $50 million – much more than the take home salary of most!

The problem is that when you have the money you need to know what to do with it in the way of investments.  One thing that all billionaires tend to do is invest in liquid securities so how about we take a look at how some real-life billionaires invest?

  1. Bernard Arnault - Chairman of LVMH – approximate net wealth of $38.1 billion

The richest guy in France runs a mix of luxury goods companies including Christian Dior and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  A great art collector, much of his money is invested in his companies with his cash sums coming from things like salaries, holdings and dividends.  Properties also encompass a large amount of his wealth with a mansion in Paris and a home in the Bahamas; the rest of his millions is divided amongst art and yachts.

  1. Steven A. Ballmer - Former chief executive of Microsoft – approximate net wealth $30.8 billion

Although he is no longer with Microsoft, much of his money is invested into the company’s stock and he keeps several billion in cash and several hundred million in Twitter shares.  His various homes are also worth several million between them.

  1. Susanne Klatten - Deputy chairwoman of Altana – approximate net wealth $20 billion

At 54 and already the richest woman in Germany, she inherited stakes in BMW and Altana.  Also chairwoman of the SGL Group, most of her wealth is tied up in these companies with several billion of it in the BMW Group.  Keeping 22.5% of her money in cash, she is fairly private when it comes to disclosing the details of her wealth.

  1. Azim Premji - Chairman of Wipro – approximate net wealth $10 billion

His wealth was inherited from his father who owned the Wipro Company (originally Western India Vegetable Products).  64% of his wealth is invested into company shares and 13% into an offshoot company named Wipro Enterprises. Several million are held in JM Financial, several hundred million are in cash and about a million is tied up in property in Mumbai.  His wealth has been set up in a way that his privacy is well protected.

So as you can see, the issue is not just about accumulating wealth but looking after it once you have it.  All of these people have one thing in common and that is that they have spread their wealth well, keeping some in cash and the rest secured via a variety of investments.

Many people can struggle with knowing how to take care of their wealth which is why we provide a range of training courses that can imbibe you with the necessary knowledge to share with them.

Contact us now and find out exactly what type of courses will suit you best.

 

How-Are-Ethics-Important-in-the-Financial-Industry-02

Ethics and the Financial Industry; do the two go together?

By: Morgan International Staff Writers

When it comes to the financial industry, ethics are incredibly important.  No matter the size of the business operating within this arena, it is essential that it behaves in a totally ethical way, not just for the business’s benefit and that of their customers but in order to protect the image of the financial industry as a whole.

The worrying thing is that although the financial industry has a massive impact upon the economy, in the past it has been tarnished by the sometimes illegal or unethical behavior of a few.  This in turn can have a vastly negative impact in other areas, with lack of transparency adding to the issues.

But what can be done to preserve and establish these ethics which are so very important? Some have said that the overall values need to change and that bankers, for example, should take an oath (as doctors do) to protect the interests of their customers.  The trouble with this idea is that although it seems great in principle, in practice, values cannot be amended purely by re-writing them as they naturally tend to evolve over time and after all, how do you split financial culture from the effects that it has upon money and the economy?

The solution needs to come from elsewhere.

  • Compliance needs to be rigorously enforced

The Government may oversee the financial industry but what does it do if something goes wrong?  It needs to ensure that if companies or individuals cross the line, behaving unethically, and regulations will kick in that will ensure they are dealt with severely; it is not just enough to give them a rap on the knuckles but custodial sentences must be top of the agenda.  Where certain professions are obliged to comply with a set code of ethics, such as with certified public accountants, not only should their training ensure that this is understood but they must be seen to actually comply.

  • Individual businesses need to pay attention

Let’s take a look at ethics where they apply to businesses, such as in the case of an accountant working for a client in line with a code of respect and trust.  In this case, they must always put the client first, guaranteeing that their financial affairs and their money is safe.  Even the slightest flavor of unethical behavior in these circumstances not only destroys the client-accountant relationship and the business but also impacts generally upon the way in which the industry is regarded by those outside of it.

  • Total transparency needs to be applied

This may sound like an obvious statement but it is paramount that anyone operating within the financial industry reveals all and any relevant information that involves the parties they are dealing with.  Not only should client details be kept confidential but contracts should be explained clearly and self-regulation should always be in place; by setting up their systems and procedures to operate in this way, laws and codes of ethics more easily be complied with.

In summary, ethics within the financial industry are essential, not only because rules and regulations demand it but because failure to apply them tarnishes the image of a sector that has long been subject to bad press; sometimes purely due to the nature of the business as money and morality are not always seen as going together.

Many of our clients take part in our training courses to ensure that they are fully compliant with the financial industry’s code of ethics.  Check out the many training opportunities that we provide that deal with this matter in detail and point you in the right direction when it comes to running your business not only professionally but absolutely ethically.

4 Rules to be a Prudent Investor

4 Rules to be a Prudent Investor

By: Morgan International Staff Writers

When talking of investments, many will speak of being a prudent investor. The word Prudent traces back to Middle French and the Latin verb providēre which means to see ahead, foresee, and provide (for). The word is a natural choice when speaking of investments. We would like to share our 4 rules to be a prudent investor and therefore make strong returns whilst not being exposed to an undue amount of risk.

 

  • Primarily invest in major index stocks and bonds

Major index stocks and the more frequently held bonds move more predictably. Remember that these often have long histories so that trends can be observed and analysed over many years. They also tend to be less shocked by market forces. We are not saying not to invest in small caps and foreign bonds too, but ensure the primary investment is in the big and established stocks and bonds.

 

  • Diversify – but not too much

In your portfolio you should have a prudent level of diversification. Clearly you do not want to be spread too thin, but consider commodities, property, and perhaps even emerging market stocks. Clearly the less traditional the asset class, the higher the level of risk, and the reward too.

 

  • Review often

Review the portfolio often and take action accordingly. This might include withdrawing from certain investments and ‘cashing in’, or perhaps deciding to take a loss. The prudent investors frequently review their portfolio (often multiple times a day using real time apps).

 

  • Minimize fees

There will be many small fees across the portfolio for various types of transactions – buying stock, selling stock etc. These add up, particularly with a complex portfolio. These costs should be kept track off and streamlined where possible.

 

The prudent investor is mindful of the tips above, and also takes advice from a professionally qualified Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) when they need some extra support and/or information.

 

4 Bad Small Business Money Habits

4 Bad Small Business Money Habits

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Money is the lifeblood of all businesses – without it – a business will not be trading for long. Therefore robust financial management is imperative for a business to be successful. Yet all too often it is evident that organizations are not doing fairly basic money related tasks. These over time can cumulatively be extremely damaging. Unfortunately it is often small businesses that are the worst offenders.

 

  • Not looking after the small change

It can be tempting to not keep track of small purchases or sales. The administrative burden of tracking a dollar out of the door can feel too time consuming – particularly for a small new business who is trying to sell, sell, sell. However, the small amounts add up very quickly and it is important that they are tracked.

 

  • Not saving

Some businesses are continuously on the edge from a liquidity perspective, and saving can be impossible or difficult depending on income versus expenditure. However for business with positive cash flow, it is important to have a savings plan, and to not reinvest everything. Savings are the safety net to get businesses out of unexpected financial issues.

 

  • Not reinvesting

I have just said not to reinvest everything, but a level of reinvestment is critical. The level of this against savings will depend on a number of factors. However a business must be investing strategically to grow and be successful.

 

  • Not reducing debt

Businesses often have loans, credit cards, and other types of debt. When interest rates are zero on a debt, it can be tempting to not have a plan to pay it off. However, these deals always have an end date, and the consideration of how to pay it off should not happen once the high interest rates kick in.

 

As a small business, there is a lot to do, and sometimes administrative tasks are deprioritized. Yet when they relate to income and expenditure, them being ignored is dangerous and potentially business ending. Many small business owners find it useful to take a short course in finance, or to hire the services of a qualified accountant to advise them.

How to manage your investment portfolio (2)

How to manage your investment portfolio

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Would you put all of your eggs in one basket? It is an old saying, but it is a good one – one that is used so often in our personal and working lives. It is talking about gain versus risk. This is a concept spoken of frequently in investment management, and specifically in the context of portfolio management. What investments are made, and how risky are each of those investments? Typically the riskier the investment, the greater the swing on the gain/loss. There are two basic portfolio management approaches; Active Portfolio Management Strategy and Passive Portfolio Management Strategy.

Active Portfolio Management Strategy

Active portfolio management assumes that the market is not efficient and therefore analysis and management by those trading can create greater than average market returns. In essence market inefficiencies can be exploited to the advantage of the person trading. This approach is typically higher risk, faster, and has a higher risk/reward profile.

 

Within this management strategy there are two different approaches to selecting stocks – top down and bottom up. In the top down approach, portfolio managers look at the market holistically and identify industries and sectors they expect to perform well. Stocks are selected on this basis. In the bottom up approach, market conditions and anticipated trends are ignored, with evaluations of the companies being based on criteria such as financial statements and product roadmaps. It assumes that a company’s performance is not governed primarily by economic conditions, i.e. the best and strongest companies will perform well even if economic conditions are poor.

 

Passive Portfolio Management Strategy

Passive portfolio management works on the assumption that the markets are efficient and it is therefore impossible to regularly beat market returns over times. Therefore it assumes the best returns are made from low cost investments that are kept long term. There are many more stock selection styles within the Passive Portfolio Management Strategy. For example the patient portfolio involves investing in well-known stocks that historically have had stable growth and generated higher than average growth regardless of market conditions. Whereas aggressive portfolio management involves making investments in expensive stocks that provide strong returns but do carry big risks. In this type of portfolio you will see stocks of companies that are of different sizes but are growing rapidly and are expected to create a fast return.

 

In summary, portfolio management and investment strategies are both complex areas. It is always advisable to seek advice from a professionally qualified Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) when seeking to make investments or indeed review a current portfolio.