Posts tagged: accounting

How Fintech is Transforming Finance

changing financeInnovation has caught up with the rigid and highly lucrative business models used by bankers and insurance companies worldwide for decades. Today these financial models are being challenged by a vast diversity of what is known as “fintech” innovations coming from all sides of the ballpark including, but not limited to, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, mobile payments, bitcoin, robo-advisers and more which offer a wide range of possibilities to consumers seeking credit card relief. .

However, the adoption of new financial technologies doesn’t necessarily mean that the business models of the financial industry will be disrupted, only that more options are available with which to create business transactions using new technologies. In the past, the financial institutions and their financial services have been unscathed by the evolution of technological innovations as was the case during the 90s with direct banks and digicash which never got off the ground. In part, this trend is due to the regulatory nature of traditional finance. Today, there are many options available to consumers looking for lower rates and debt relief.

The latest report published by the World Economic Forum may hold the key to the transformation of the financing industry after interviewing dozens of financial strategists and industry experts from international organizations who discussed the future of the financial sector with top fintech innovators. The results of this research suggest that the bigwigs of financial services might restructure their models and are looking into new ways of rethinking the fundamentals.

The following fintech effects may be the new game-changers in the financial sector:

1. Launching specialized products and services

In the past, innovators focused on replicating the entire banking system. However, these models could only be adopted by consumers who were high-flying new tech adopters or those high-efficiency conscious. This scenario has changed in recent times to allow customers’ needs and industry profitability to meet at a cross section where consumers from multiple devices can access the best and most valuable industry products by consumers from multiple devices. One perfect example of this shows how money transfers can be made across any boundaries in a matter of minutes, where it used to take several days and very high fees. The UK company Tansferwise, which has reached the US market as well, is an industry leader introducing an innovative network between banks that allows transfers to become more readily accessible and at a lower cost to consumers. Transferwise oversees the remittance of more than $600 million each month. In the US, the company Zelle is an example of a money remittance business model by which money transfers within the US can be made from any place using email accounts as its security exchange base through an app.

2. The automation process of commodities

Technical progress has made it possible to automate manual processes that have traditionally been very cost intensive and only available to industry magnate. New customer groups now have access to services once reserved for just a few. The automation of wealth management services has made this possible with robo-advisers for such companies as Wealthfront and Nutmeg who offer investment advice and strategies to reduce taxes through an online portal accessible to anyone who registers with the site. The outcome of this innovation has made it possible for the younger and less wealthy consumer to be informed and acquire knowledge about investment and tax minimization that was once only for the elite consumer with high stakes. Everyday regular consumers can receive the advice and support they need for credit relief and therefore increase their savings and credit efforts to an upper stratum eventually becoming eligible to enter the high-rollers’ game.

3. Big data strategies

Bankers and insurers make decisions based on consumers’ credit scores, driving records, and health conditions before lending money or opening a policy. However, mobile devices are now able to stream real-time data making it possible to access new data to support financial decision-making. For instance, the creditworthiness of a customer is now also based on the social media analyses made by companies like Friendly Score, which provide additional data about businesses and individuals. If a business receives much traffic, or visits to its website, likes on its FB page or has many great reviews, this is an indication that the company is well respected and perceived in the community and industry where it operates. This information may influence the decision-making process of lenders for customers seeking credit relief as they are deemed a lower risk by their outstanding social media presence.

To offer customers better prices and help policyholders make sound decisions, Oscar, a new type of health insurance provider offers its clients a free fitness tracker that rewards them for choosing a lower risk management lifestyle by choosing the treadmill over the couch with monetary incentives in the form of rebates for premium payments.

4. Low-capital-platform-based

By connecting buyers and sellers over a digital platform, companies like Uber and Airbnb have made exponential capital growth while their initial startup costs have been simply flat. Noticing this capital-efficient business model, financial innovators and top US marketplace lenders like the Lending Club and Prosper, have seen their consumer credit and loans originations more than double in the past two to three years. Impressively, the Lending Club alone issued $3.5 billion in loans in 2013, making it the fastest growing consumer lending platform in the marketplace. An estimated $1 trillion in consumer credit relief will be issued globally by 2015 according to Foundation Capital Analysts. What is more outstanding is that these companies have not put forth any of their capital to achieve this exponential growth. Their service provides a setting where lenders and consumers in search of better rates for credit relief meet with a wide range of financial institutions such as hedge funds looking to make investments.

A similar landscape is seen in the crowdfunding platforms that have topped the digital marketplace of possibilities for businesses looking for seed capital. In these platforms an array of investors and start-ups looking to match their goals allow the crowd to help them make the funding decisions that will, in turn, give investors a piece of the pie.

5. Collaboration between the old and new

Innovators are usually perceived as disruptors of an industry instead of complementary of it. However, this is not the case with fintech innovations. Fintech investors are seeing how they can compete with industry leaders in specific areas using different strategies while being backed up by the scale and infrastructure of traditional financial institutions. On their part, conventional financial institutions realize the advantage of collaborating with new technologies in their industry. New developments and research offer a broader perspective on how the two can work together for a better customer service experience and lower risks. An example of this synergistic relationship is ApplePay which became a top fintech innovation in recent times working with Visa and MasterCard through a payment network. Likewise, regional banks are joining forces with marketplace lenders to meet their customers’ needs when they can’t provide loans for them, and thus, lower the risk of losing customers to other financial institutions.

While fintech innovators are more than just industry disruptors, only time will tell how they will force the traditional banking and financial services industry to change. As a result, consumers will be the ones to benefit as their needs are met at a higher pace and their knowledge base and accessibility of services increases. However, the brand names we are accustomed to won’t necessarily disappear, especially when they embrace change and learn to collaborate with the intruders.

Making Passive Income From Running a Blog

earning from blogsA blog is a collection of written entries that are posted on a website. There are a variety of ways to keep a blog. Some use the medium like a personal diary to talk about their daily activities while others present information like a newspaper. The point of blogging is creating content for visitors to read.

Typically, blogging is a hobby, but it can also be used to make money.

Making Income from Blogging

The amount of money an individual can make from blogging varies widely. Many barely make enough money to cover the basic expenses of running the website, while others make $1 million or more. While there are no guarantees, there are numerous benefits to having a passive income stream.

The main factor to success is the amount of traffic coming into the website. If a person makes one to 10 cents per page view, it can add up to an extra $500 to $5,000 every 30 days. Results from a survey conducted by the Problogger site indicated that 10 percent of those with income blogs made no money at all, 53 percent made less than $100 monthly, 13 percent brought in $1,000, and four percent made five figures or more. This adds up to serious money.

Income Sources

Individuals can make a passive income directly by blogging and also by taking advantage of opportunities that come their way through the website. The following describes several approaches to setting up a steady money stream.

• Advertising. This is the most common method of making money from blogging. Display ads are used in the sidebar or as a banner at the top of the page to quickly catch the eyes of visitors. They can also be placed in emails and newsletters. Direct ads are paid for by companies that are seeking prominent placement on busy websites. Contextual ads are provided by a management company such as Adsense or Mediavine and are based on a cost-per-impression or a cost-per-click model.

• Brand partnerships. Bloggers with a large following are considered to be influencers, which companies and brands can associate with to their benefit. This association consists of mentions and referrals in blog posts along with clothing, gadgets and other promotional items.

• Sponsored posts. Also known as content marketing, this is a method of creating and sharing blog posts, videos and social media messages in order to improve a company’s influence and Google ranking. The businesses will often pay well to have their content posted on influential blogs. This can range from $50 to several thousand dollars.

• Affiliate marketing. This marketing approach involves the blogger recommending certain services and products on their site in exchange for a commission. Companies and brands know that popular bloggers have a loyal audience that trusts what they say and will check out products based on that alone. This costs the readers nothing and can be very lucrative for the business and the blogger.

• Selling products. One of the most straightforward ways to making money from a blog is through the sale of products. This can be for physical items such as clothing, books and jewelry or digital items like courses, premium content and memberships.

• Selling services. Being a blogger increases a person’s visibility and helps them to become an expert in their field or interest. This can lead to offering paid services like making speeches, being a coach or performing another skilled service. Being good at something will also encourage other people to make an investment in the blogger and the services being offered.

How to Start a Blog

Those with little to no experience running a blog should start with a hosted service like Blogger. Aside from being free, it also features beautiful templates and the ability to connect a custom domain. Setting up a self-hosted WordPress site is also an option. This requires buying hosting and a domain name, both of which are low cost to start out.

Making a Blog Successful

This is the hard part. A person cannot just put up random content on a blog and expect to be an overnight sensation, bringing in large amounts of money. It takes time and dedication to build readership, gain trust and to fully understand how to run a blog like a business. The following tips will help:

• Find a niche. Focusing on a specific passion will bring in the right audience and make it easier to target advertising later on. It is best to choose something that already has a strong interest to avoid getting lost in the crowd.

• Be consistent. Posting fresh content on a consistent basis will keep the readership and show that the blogger is dedicated to what they are doing. In addition, keeping content up to date improves the Google ranking for the blog.

• Promote content. A blogger can be the most amazing and interesting writer in the world, but it is a wasted effort if no one knows about the site. Networking with other bloggers and using social media to promote posts will quickly get the word out.

Is Blogging Worth the Effort?

The majority of blogs die before they are one year old. This happens mainly because the person did not want to put in the effort to build up readership and work toward passive income. Having a successful blog that makes money is hard work in the beginning that pays off well later on. It also depends on what the person is looking to get out of the experience. Whether it is to supplement an existing income or act as a standalone business, having a plan before starting out will help the blogger push past early discouragement and understand that it is all part of a process.

Another consideration is the relationships, both personal and professional, that are built through blogging. Someone with a family will gain the flexibility to spend more time with their spouse and children. These factors do not have a monetary value.

In today’s digital economy, a passive-income blog fits right in to most lifestyles and can provide a better quality of life for both the blogger and everyone around them.

Kelsey is the editor at LuxAuthority and is trying to balance both her budget and her credit card balance. She likes to live lavish and treat herself when the opportunity allows it. She loves the newest tech, old cars and the smell of rich mahogany and leather bound books as well!

IFRS Simplifies And Improves International Accounting

international accountingThe interesting thing about the prospects of a world government is that there are aspects of a world government already in place. In the realm of international accounting, many countries are on the same page. After all, if the rules of accounting are different in every country and countries cannot come to any sort of agreement, where would that leave trading and investors? It is possible that trading and accountancy would take on a more piratical form, if not completely influencing a country in the interests of a bigger country.

Much like the metric system (and the imperial system of measurement), it has been seen that international accounting standards would benefit businesses and countries around the world. This is why there are International Financial Reporting Standards. Standardization across the world for accounts was created to make company accounts understandable and comparable across international borders. The need for these standards is a consequence of growing international shareholding and trading. For companies that have dealings in more than one country, such standards are very important.

The IFRS Foundation is a non-profit accounting organization comprised of two bodies: the International Accounting Standards Board and the Trustees. Within the foundation, there is also the IFRS Advisory Council and the IFRS Interpretations Committee. The trustees appoint members of the IASB, advisory council and the interpretations committee as well as establishing operating procedures, exercise oversight and raise the funds needed for operating. The group that oversees the effectiveness of the trustees is the Trustees’ Due Process Oversight Committee. The trustees are also accountable to a monitoring board of public authorities. The IASB is independent from the IFRS Foundation and is responsible for creating the standards that international accounting run by.

113 countries around the world have adopted IFRS and 85 of those countries require IFRS reporting for all domestic, listed, companies. This worldwide standardization is beneficial for companies because it improves the quality of information and reduces the costs of comparing alternative investments. The increased comparability of a set accounting standard will help companies that are involved in foreign activities and investment. International Accounting is made easier by these standards because all participating countries and the businesses therein, are on the same page. Math is now the closest thing to a universal language there is.

Of course, not all countries adopt the complete framework of IFRS. For instance, Australia has received a little criticism for their “Australianising” of the IFRS. Even though Australia was one of the first countries to adopt IFRS for domestic purposes, The Australian Accounting Standards Board was merely creating equivalents to IFRS that reflect local terminology. Some of those changes have been reversed, along with reinstating some options and eliminating some Australian specific disclosure. Australia has been on the side of a standardized international accounting framework since the very beginning, but saw the need to create an Australian version, possibly to keep some of its identity from being confused on an international scale.

Canada was a late joiner to the IFRS where international accounting is concerned. In 2011, it was made mandatory that all Canadian, publicly accountable and profit-oriented enterprises adopt IFRS for financial periods beginning on or after January 1st, 2011.

Taiwan is the most recent to move their businesses into this realm of international accounting. The companies listed in Phase I (listed companies and financial institutions supervised by Taiwan’s Financial Standards Committee) are required, as of January 1st, 2013, to prepare financial statements in accordance with Taiwan-IFRS. Phase II companies, which are credit card companies, credit cooperatives and unlisted public companies, will be required to use Taiwan-IFRS starting from January 1st, 2019. Early adoption was permitted for Phase I companies and is now permitted for Phase II companies.

The IFRS Foundation is a non-profit accounting organization comprised of two bodies: the International Accounting Standards Board and the Trustees. Within the foundation, there is also the IFRS Advisory Council and the IFRS Interpretations Committee. The trustees appoint members of the IASB, advisory council and the interpretations committee as well as establishing operating procedures, exercise oversight and raise the funds needed for operating. The group that oversees the effectiveness of the trustees is the Trustees’ Due Process Oversight Committee. The trustees are also accountable to a monitoring board of public authorities. The IASB is independent from the IFRS Foundation and is responsible for creating the standards that international accounting runs by.

There are many U.S. based agencies that are experienced in international accounting and know well the rules and regulations the IASB sets forth. One of the most experienced would have to be RBZ, a firm that has the large firm technical experience combined with the client attentiveness of smaller firms.

RBZ is an international accounting firm. Our international tax services group provides tax consulting and compliance services to businesses that are based in the U.S. and currently have foreign operations, or are planning to expand internationally. We also assist non-U.S.-based companies that are entering or planning on entering the U.S. marketplace.