The Next Financial Services

The ease of making financial transactions and financial services in general, had first been revolutionised when telegraph companies introduced wire transfers. But with the coming of new age financial services like Bitcoin and Ripple, it is the time we address the question of what the future holds for the financial services of the world.

Traditional Wire Transfers

Let us begin by first taking a look at how things have been going on for these past 150 years since wire transfers were first introduced. Transferring funds using a wire transfer method via a bank is not a single step process but a multi-step process. It is like this:

  • The sender approaches his or her bank and orders the transfer of funds to an account. Unique codes like BIC and IBAN codes are provided to the bank by the sender so that the bank knows exactly where the funds need to be transferred.
  • The sender’s bank contacts the receiver’s bank by sending a message through a security system, such as Fedwire or SWIFT, signalling it that a transfer needs to be made. The receiver’s bank receives this message, which includes settlement instructions as well, and then asks the sender’s bank to transfer the amount specified in the message.
  • The sender’s bank now transfers the amount. This is not done in one go but bit by bit, so it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for the entire sum to be transferred.
  • To make the transfer, the two banks must have a reciprocal account with one another. If that is not the case, the transfer is made through a correspondent bank that holds such an account.

As one can see, this form of transfer relies overly on a mediator, takes more time than it should, and can prove to be costly as the banks charge some fee for their service. Distributed currencies like Bitcoin provide a viable alternative to this process.

Decentralized Currencies

What sets services like Bitcoin apart from traditional services is that they do not rely on a central mediator but rather operate using cryptographic protocols. The process is therefore faster, simpler, and much more efficient. The system is quite transparent to both end users as well while traditional systems are susceptible to fraud due to the complex process involved.

However, there is a downside to this too. With services like Bitcoin, it is simple to trace a transaction back to each unit value’s creation.

Solution? A Common Ground

More and more people are opting for services like Bitcoin and peer-to-peer mobile transfers, where a network operator could help users transfer funds by simply sending an SMS. Although these are indeed more efficient, they are a long way from global acceptance because there are many who still do not have bank accounts, plus there is the issue of limited user identification in such services.

What would be ideal for everyone is if banks could tap into the potential of decentralized currencies and overlap the source code of services like Ripple on their existing system to form a hybrid of the two. It would kill two birds with one stone as:

  1. Decentralized currency systems provide more efficient transfers
  2. Bank systems ensure only registered users access the service, taking away the possibility of foul play.

Conclusion

The world has come a long way since the last time an indigenous financial service system was introduced. There is definitely a crying need to improve this traditional service and decentralized currencies like Bitcoin have shown them the way.

Although these are two different services and proper cyber security measures with their own shortcomings, if they were to be applied together, they could fit each other’s gaps perfectly, making for a system that revolutionizes the financial service system again.

How Commercial Printing Saves Businesses Money

Many businesses today opt to do their own printing in-house. Software programs are available to help design and create business cards, logos, brochures, letterhead, and flyers. Office supply stores carry perforated heavy paper sheets and pre-folded pages to easily print out business cards and folded advertising. Office printers that are capable of high-volume printing can be purchased, and ink cartridges can be ordered in bulk. Owners are under the impression that in-hose printing is more cost-effective than commercial Printing Services in Sugar Land.

There are a few factors that business owners fail to take into account. The first is the overall expenses of purchasing, operating, and maintaining large printers. Inks, toners, and different sizes of special paper add up quickly. High capacity printers take more energy to operate, which can spike electricity costs. They also produce a lot of heat, so proper ventilation is necessary in the room where the printer is kept. Repairs require professional technicians who may not be available to provide same day service. That leads to more downtime for the printer. Another factor is the staff time it takes to design printed materials and print them off. When all the time and costs are added up, there may not be much cost savings over commercial printing, and most often there is no savings at all.

Consistency is also an issue. Depending on who is operating the printer, settings can be altered, font can be changed, and the quality of the printing can be compromised. That will have an effect on the image and impression the business has on customers, clients, partners, and investors. Printed materials reflects on the business. If some business cards are darker or lighter than others, brochures are misaligned, or sales announcements do not look professional, the business image suffers. The desired outcomes are not realized, new customers are not attracted to the business, and revenues slip. Commercial printing is cost-effective, consistent, and fast. Many companies provide design services to help business material stand out from the competition. Creative business card options, such as scalloped edges and rounded corners can ensure cards will not get lost in a wallet. Discuss needs, preferences, design ideas, and budgets with printing company staff to determine if commercial printing is a more cost-effective option than in-house printing.

Consider This Before Choose a Financial Planner

Unlike someone calling himself a CPA or a physician, just about anyone can call himself a “financial planner” or a “financial advisor” regardless of their educational background and professional experience. Moreover, not all of them are unbiased in their advice and not all of them always act in their clients’ best interests.

To ensure your financial planner is well-qualified in personal finances and impartial in his advice, consider the following five things:

1. Planning Credentials: Having a highly-regarded credential in financial planning, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), confirms that the professional you intend to work with has acquired the education and experience necessary to serve as a financial planner. CFP and PFS credentials are awarded to only those individuals who have met the certification requirements of education and experience in planning for personal finances. In addition, they have to pass the certification examinations and agree adhere to the practice standards and continuing education requirements.

2. Subject Matter Expertise: Financial planners are planning professionals, not necessarily subject matter experts. For example, a financial planner will be skilled in tax analysis and planning,but unlike a Certified Public Account (CPA) or an IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) he might not necessarily be a subject matter expert when it comes to tax rules Similarly,a he could be skilled in chalking out an investment plan, but unlike a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) he may not be an authority in the subject of investments. Work with a financial planner who is also a subject matter expert in those areas of personal finance that are important in achieving your financial goals.

3. Client Specialization: Not all financial planners serve all types of clients. Most specialize in serving only certain types of clients with specific profiles. For example, a personal planner may build his expertise and customize his services to serve only those individuals and families who are in certain professions, or a particular stage of life with specific financial goals and net worth. Ask whether the planner specializes in serving only certain types of clients with specific profiles to determine whether he is the right fit for your situation and financial goals.

4. Fee structure: The fee structure largely determines whose interests he serves best – his client’s or his own. A Fee-Only professional charges only fees for their advice whereas a Fee-Based professional not only charges fees but also earns commissions, referral fees and other financial incentives on the products and solutions they recommend for you. Consequently, the advice from a fee-only one is more likely to be unbiased and in your best interests than the advice from a fee-based financial planner. Work with a professional whose fee structure is conflict-free and aligned to benefit you.

5. Availability: He or she should be regularly available, attentive, and accessible to you. Ask the planner how many clients he currently serves and the maximum number of clients he is planning to serve in the future regularly. This clients-to-planner ratio is one of the key factors in assessing your planner’s availability to you in the future. Also, ask which planning activities are typically performed by the planner and which ones are delegated to a para planner or other junior staff members. Lastly, make sure the planner is easily accessible via phone and email during normal business hours.

Once you have shortlisted a few well-qualified and unbiased financial planners in your local area, consult the ones who offer a FREE initial consultation first. During the initial consultation, assess the planner’s availability and any other professional attributes you are seeking in your financial planner.

Having a well-qualified and unbiased financial planner by your side is extremely important in your journey towards your financial goals. When searching for one, consider the planner’s professional credentials, client specialization, subject matter expertise, fee structure, and availability to select the right financial planner for your needs.

Tips Long Term Success

Why do so many businesses fail to make profits and achieve their financial goals? The answer is simple because many business owners simply ignore one or more of the 5 keys to financial success. Many businesses are making sales but are not profitable. Learn how to fortify your business model and set your company up for success. Developing a financial business model provides a clear picture of your company’s financial history as well as your company’s financial future. Working from a financial business model will help to prepare your company to make better decisions for the company in the future. And analyzing your finances on a regular basis will provide you with the financial success you are seeking to achieve. Get ready to gain more flexibility and financial freedom in your company with the keys to success.

Key #1) Don’t Go It Alone
Mismanagement of finances is not reserved for start-up companies but for all businesses. Many business owners are able to produce and sell their products and services but are not able to manage their finances. If you are not able to determine where you have been you will not know where you are going. Accountants and bookkeepers are able to assist your company with establishing a financial foundation and making predictions surrounding your financial future.

Key #2) Review Historical Data
By developing a financial history of your company’s finances provides you with valuable lessons for the present that will guide you into a more profitable future. Reviewing financial history helps you to know what to do and what not to do in your business. Compiling historical financial data can help your bookkeeper or accountant to assess the reasons for your success or failure.

Key #3) Project Sales and Costs
Once you have completed the second key it will set you on the trajectory to be able to project the sales and costs. Projecting sales and costs without historical data can be challenging but not impossible. Projections for your company are not a process that begins at the start-up phase, it is an on-going process to help determine areas of growth and change. Costs are always easier to project than sales. However, sales should not be your main focus but rather on the company being profitable!

Key #4) Develop Financial Statements
Financial statements are the framework for the accounting cycle. In other words, the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows provide a picture of how well your company is doing financially. Financial statements structure all financial data in a manner that is easy to understand and should be prepared with accuracy. These statements assist you with assessing financial performance and determining key business decisions.

Key #5) Assess and Implementation of Changes
This is the final piece in the financial business model. Once all of the first four keys have been established you will be able to assess your company’s financial position and implement changes where it is necessary to ensure financial growth and success. Tying it all together the financial statements will reflect your company’s historic information and decisions can be made about the future from that data.

The financial business model provides clear information to assist you in making sound financial decisions that can promote long-term success. Applying these five keys to your business will set your company on the path to achieving your goals and turning profits!

All About Capital Investment

It can be quite daunting to decode the jargon of financing businesses. In most cases, because of the similarity in the objectives of the different financing solutions, many have a tendency to exchange one for the other.

To simplify these very technical terminologies, most especially when you just have ventured into business and you do not have enough knowledge about it, here are some useful information regarding a fixed capital investment, which is one of the relevant business solutions businesses, either big or small, can opt for.

Facts About Fixed Capital Investment

First, they are often used to launch or perform businesses. Over a long period of time or about 20 years, they depreciate on the accounting statements of the company.

Second, though these investments can depreciate over time, they won’t depreciate the same way. Be reminded that there are investments that lose their value faster than the others. The perfect examples of those that devalue fast are communications equipment or devices since there is a rapid turnover of technology for these. Another excellent example is the company vehicles. Within the year of purchase, the value of a brand new company vehicle can depreciate by as much as 40%.

Third, fixed capital investments won’t devalue rapidly. There are actually cases where it can even increase in value. Real estate properties like the company’s office buildings and land are among the examples.

Fourth, these will include the acquisition of tools and equipment required for daily operations, along with the real estate properties where the goods are to be produced and stored. Remember though that the materials used in the production of goods are not included due to the fact that these aren’t retained by the company.

Sixth, the amount of fixed capital will be different from one industry to another. There are enterprises that would require higher fixed capital investment than the others. These will include oil companies, telecommunications providers, and the engineering and manufacturing firms. On the other hand, businesses that will just require limited fixed capital are those that within the service industry. And these will include the law and accounting firms since they require more compact devices, tools and regular office appliances.

Lastly, getting fixed capital often takes a considerable amount of time. Thus, it is crucial to work with a reliable, competent financing institution that can efficiently minimize the risk of financial losses through a wide variety of proven methods.