Sunday, March 1, 2015

Trouble in Paradise: Inside Canadian banks’ billion-dollar Caribbean struggle - The Globe and Mail

Trouble in Paradise: Inside Canadian banks’ billion-dollar Caribbean struggle - The Globe and Mail: "They arrived in droves starting at 5:30 a.m., desperate to secure a steady pay cheque. By midmorning, the anxious mob totalled 5,000 people.

Sandals, a Caribbean hotel chain, was hosting a job fair in Barbados to hire staff for a brand new resort. Because thousands of people showed up for 600 jobs on the October morning last year, scores of applicants were forced to wait outside under the blistering sun. Things went from testy to unruly as the temperature neared 32 degrees; Sandals had no choice but to call the cops."

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Brand Your Business

Attaching an identifiable brand to your business is very important to ensure success for your business. The term Branding is a conglomeration of numerous functions that must be undertaken to ensure success for the business. Branding initiates subsequent actions in diverse zones, like: 

  1. Increasing perception and visibility of business name and logo.

  1. Formulating a company name that can immediately inspire public faith.

  1. Identifying and carefully nurturing the potential consumer profile. 

Branding, including the company name and logo, is not a tangible asset of a business, unlike physical assets like resources and institutions, and is only useful in increasing the goodwill of the business, and accentuating the reputation and identity of the business. 

Careful and cautious planning must go into branding, before it is implemented for profit maximizing. Identifying and isolating attracting consumer base with specific incentives & comprehension of their requirements are to be ensured before branding is undertaken. 

Some very essential steps to secure and devise a successful Brand for the business : 

Consistency in Advertisements: Advertising your brand involves showcasing and emphasizing the unique points of the brand, which the competitors lack. These points are to be repeatedly stressed and advertised, so that it creates a recall value within its customer base. The public is to be absolutely showered with these advertisements so that they are reminded of these brands regularly. 

Consumer service: Human resource is a very vital ingredient for the success of any business, and so, proper recruitment of sales staff is essential. They are to be certain about their position in the process of brand building.

Every customer needs to be respected and understood, and being inattentive or unmindful of even a single customer can mean massive losses for the business. Uncooperative staff should be sacked, because favorable response from a customer helps attract ten more
Public perception: The treatment of a single customer can spread very fast on word of the mouth, and negative publicity jeopardizes your business. While brand promotion, illegitimate and false promises are not to be made. The purchasing and billing process is to be simplified to ensure customer convenience. Prior commitments are to be respected, punctually, to increase goodwill of the brand. 

Usage of technological advancements: The denial of the impact of internet in business promotion and marketing would be improper. Internet queries from customers must be satisfactorily answered. The business must also be regularly updated and implemented with advanced technologies. 

Getting Investment Funding For Your Business

Successful businessmen and women wanting to invest their capital in struggling businesses or startup franchises are called Business Angels. In return for the investment, they usually want convertible debt or ownership equity. In order to get a good return on their investment, they plan to use their expertise to turn the businesses into successes.

Because of their experience, Business Angels are very careful about who they invest in. Their plan of action involves investing when the shares are cheap, working with the company, building it up and then selling the mature company after a few years to other stockbrokers or to the original owner. 

Dragons Den is a popular program that has investors waiting to invest in a business. As the owner of a business, it is important to have a great sales pitch and to prepare in advance. It helps to have a clear business strategy. The dragons are usually good at noticing if the target audience and market has not been researched adequately.

In order to impress the dragons, it is important to have accurate sales projections – they want facts as answers to their questions, not lies. They will usually not invest in a high-risk business if they believe it won’t work. They are experts in their field, so their advice about business ideas is very valuable, and should be heeded. 

Confidence is very important. Voice, posture and attitude are dead giveaways when it comes to confidence, so it helps to have these areas covered when convincing potential investors. Questions should be prepared for: thinking about what the investors might ask is a good strategy.

Questions about potential profits and company income are natural, so they key is to think differently. Areas of the business that make it unique and different from others should be highlighted in order to eliminate competition. 

Commitment is another vital factor. Business angels like to see committed workers. They are usually impressed if the business venture includes some of the starter’s own capital. However, if thousands of pounds have already been invested in the business and it’s still not making any money, they will be wary.

Business Angels nowadays are very easy to find, thanks to the Internet. There are hundreds of sites dedicated to finding the right investor for a business. Angel groups or angel networks also exist. Therefore, starting a business has never been easier – investment is a hand’s throw away!

Estimate Your Start up Cost

Start up costs pose problems for all of us. They are instrumental into getting one into a fix and so measuring your stakes is very important. So here are ten beneficial tips on how to estimate your business start up costs.

  1. First and foremost you need to think carefully and include the costs of all the various things you need in the estimated start up costs for your business. Always remember, that this amount is different from the basic amount cost required for your of the company to survive for the year. Beside this, there are various other things that need money and that include advertisements, chairs and office supplies, inventory, cash registers, and service supplies. The start up cost must also have provision for any other item that you may have forgotten.

  1. Don't take bank loans unless it is absolutely necessary. And even if you do ensure that you can afford the interest that the bank is going to charge. Also enquire after the interest rates, you wouldn’t want it to be too high.

  1. Take into account your household expenses during the period that is the starting time for your business. Make sure you have adequate cash to cover the amount or the credentials to acquire a loan that’ll cover the amount.

  1. You must be able to judge the amount of money that is required for your business to survive its first year. You also need to be prepared for any other sporadic expenses that might occur once in a while during that year.

  1. Organize yourself so that you are ready for any extra additional costs that might come up intermittently through out the year.

  1. You need to take into consideration the expenses on food for the entire year. Your budget should leave sufficient money for food and other basic expenses. This will cushion you from risks during the first year of business.

  1. Your company requires that credentials that’ll secure a loan in case your money runs out sometime during the year. It is advisable that you get a loan only if you can generate enough sales to pay the loan back. If your business is not doing very well during the first year then you might want to shut it down.

  1. The salary that you have to pay to your employees, that is, if you have employees, is another thing that has to be kept in mind. That includes business insurance, any health insurance, and of course workers’ payments. You also have to pay an extra fee to the city for any part time and full time employees you have working for your company.

  1. You may have to take tests to get certified depending on the nature of the business that you are starting. These tests cost money. Moreover you have to be aware of any other rules and regulations that your type of business entails.

  1. You can always sell some personal belongings to get some extra money incase you don’t have enough. But ensure that your business offers sufficient security for selling these items. The last thing you want is end up broke having lost your company and also all your expensive belongings because you sold them to have enough money to start the company. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The role and function of external auditors | UHY Dawgen Chartered Accountants Blog

The role and function of external auditors | UHY Dawgen Chartered Accountants Blog:

Financial statements are used for a variety of purposes and decisions. For example, financial statements are used by owners to evaluate management’s stewardship, by investors for making decisions about whether to buy or sell securities, by credit rating services for making decisions about credit worthiness of entities, and by bankers for making decisions about whether to lend money. Effective use of financial statements requires that the reader understand the roles of those responsible for preparing and auditing financial statements.
Financial statements are the representations of management. When using management’s statements,the reader must recognize that the preparation of these statements requires management to make significant accounting estimates and judgments, as well as to determine from among several alternative accounting principles and methods those that are most appropriate within the framework of generally accepted accounting standards.
In contrast, the auditor’s responsibility is to express an opinion on whether management has fairly.
presented the information in the financial statements. In an audit, the financial statements are evaluated by the auditor, who is objective and knowledgeable about auditing, accounting, and financial reporting matters.
During the audit, the auditor collects evidence to obtain reasonable assurance that the amounts and.
disclosures in the financial statements are free of material misstatement. However, the characteristics of evaluating evidence on a test basis, the fact that accounting estimates are inherently imprecise, and the difficulties associated with detecting misstatements hidden by collusion and careful forgery, prevent the auditor from finding every error or irregularity that may affect a user’s decision.
The auditor also evaluates whether audit evidence raises doubt about the ability of the client to continue as a going concern in the foreseeable future. However, readers should recognize that future business performance is uncertain, and an auditor can not guarantee business success.
Through the audit process, the auditor adds credibility to management’s financial statements, which allows owners, investors, bankers, and other creditors to use them with greater confidence.
The auditor expresses his assurance on the financial statements in an auditor’s report. The report, which contains standard words and phrases that have a specific meaning, conveys the auditor’s opinion related to whether the financial statements fairly present the entity’s financial position and results of operations. If the auditor has reservations about amounts or disclosures in the statements, he modifies the report to describe the reservations.
The auditor’s report and management’s financial statements are only useful to those who make the effort to understand them.

Introduction to Audits and Financial Reporting.
In today’s economy, information and accountability have assumed a larger role in our society. As a result, the independent audit of an entity’s financial statements is a vital service to investors, creditors, and other participants in economic exchanges.
The auditor communicates audit results in a standard report. The auditor’s is based on rigorous work.
performed by highly trained professionals.
Need for Financial Statements.
Regardless of the type of entity– whether in the public or private sector, or whether for profit or not– all entities use economic resources to pursue their goals. Financial statements enable an entity’s management to provide useful information about its financial position at a particular point in time and the results of its operations and its changes in financial position for a particular period of time. External financial reporting for these entities is directed toward the common interest of various users. Financial statements provide owners with information about the stewardship of management. They also provide a basis for investors’ decisions about whether to buy or sell securities; for credit rating services’ decisions about the credit worthiness of entities; for bankers’ decisions about whether to lend money, and for decisions of other creditors, regulators, and others outside of the entity.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to Create a Successful Marketing Plan

When you have a business, it is important to be able control the narrative of your product.  You
will want the product to have a positive image in the minds of consumers.  It is up to you and
your company to come up with a message that will convey what you feel the product is all about.
Doing this is not an easy task.  You will have to conduct research, either by yourself or you can
hire another company to do it for you.  From this research, you will be able to identify a group of
consumers that you will target through the marketing campaign and it is this is the group of
consumers that the marketing plan will be designed to.  Research will also have to be conducted
on your industry and any companies that you identify as your competition.  

By being diligent with your research and getting the whole company involved you will be able to
ensure that the marketing plan that is agreed upon will have the best chance of succeeding
because the entire company will feel some ownership of the plan and will work to see its proper
implementation.  However, perhaps the most important part of coming up with a marketing plan
is knowing your product inside and out.  You will have to know how it is going to be used by
consumers.  If there are many uses for the product, if there is only one, or does it work in
conjunction with another product or does it stand by itself.  Having a clear understanding of the
product will help you streamline your marketing campaign and make it that much more effective.

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