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Dec 30

Price to be paid for retirement shortfalls

Posted by dbedell in Risk, retirement plans, Cash


In a follow-on from my blog yesterday on small business confidence and economic recovery, today I will take a look at the impact on retirement planning of continued tough conditions and a lack of external funding for businesses.

Retirement planning has taken a back burner for many small business owners since the crisis started. With small business confidence dropping in December for the first time in three months and many still reporting a dearth of outside funding sources, many owners expect to see their savings dwindle further in the coming six months, rather than grow.

Dec 29

Small businesses gloomy as New Year approaches

Posted by dbedell in Risk, economy, Cash


As spending soared above even optimistic predictions this holiday season, small business owners are still far from optimistic about economic recovery as a whole, according to a survey by Discover Small Business Watch.

Discover's monthly index of small business confidence fell for the first time in three months in December, even as consumer spending soared. The index fell to 81.6 from 87.2 in November, a drop of 5.6 points.

Dec 28

Use existing software to ease 1099 reporting burden

Posted by dbedell in Technology, Risk and Compliance, In compliance, Accounting


As companies come to terms with new 1099 reporting requirements, software firms are starting to build new solutions-or update their existing ones--to help make finance executives' lives a little easier.

The new 1099 reporting requirement that all vendors who supply more than $600 worth of goods or services within the tax year be sent a form 1099, which takes effect in 2012, could cause untold headaches for small, medium, and even large companies, given the vastly-increased reporting burden that it is likely to create.

Dec 27

Cook the books or hit the curb?

Posted by dbedell in Risk, In compliance, Careers/Management, accounting fraud, Accounting


CFOs who cook the books are often bullied into it by overbearing CEOs that are looking out for their own equity stakes, according to a new piece of research by a group of global academics.

The research looked at why and when CFOs become involved in material accounting manipulations, and what factors increased the likelihood that CFOs would knowingly become involved in accounting fraud.

Dec 21

Taking sustainability projects out of mothballs

Posted by dbedell in supply chain, Risk, corporate social responsibility, compliance


Although corporate social responsibility and sustainability are big buzzwords right now, and have been for some time, actual efforts to implement sustainable practices within the supply chain have not been a priority for many companies over the past few years.

This is, of course, hardly surprising. Given the vast array of changing regulations, increased compliance requirements, and the need to simply focus on basics as markets floundered through some of the toughest economic conditions of the past century, any projects not deemed either necessary for compliance purposes or able to show a very quick return on investment were understandably put on hold.

Dec 20

Data analytics: No need for data perfection

Posted by dbedell in Technology, data analytics


Many companies have considered, and rejected, the use of data analytics tools in their efforts to improve efficiency and reduce process costs. Often, CFOS and their CIOs may feel that the need for better data quality is too big of a hurdle to overcome. As the saying goes: garbage in, garbage out.

But John Lucker, Principal at Deloitte Consulting, says that CFOs should stop getting hung up on data quality. "All too often, CFOs and their CIO colleagues think that the quality of their data has to be perfect to be used for business analytics, and it does not."

Dec 17

One-two punch for Visa and Mastercard: big benefit for retailers

Posted by dbedell in Visa, Mastercard, Interchange fees, Cash


It is not looking like a happy holiday season for Visa and Mastercard, but their woes may be a positive thing for retailers in North America. New proposed rules for interchange fees in the US, and an "anti-competitiveness" investigation in Canada could change the landscape for retail businesses on both sides of the border.

The Federal Reserve Board has put forth two proposals for overhauling debit card interchange fees as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, which should vastly reduce the costs to merchants of processing card transactions for their customers.

Dec 16

SBA guarantees get easier

Posted by dbedell in Small Business AdminstrationSBA, Finance, Cash


Two new programs out from the Small Business Administration (SBA) promise easier loan access for US companies, which is good news for the many small firms that have struggled to get funding from banks over the past few years.

The first program is called Small Loan Advantage, and its main goal is to reduce the paperwork involved in getting loan approval and decrease the wait-time from application to money receipt.

Dec 15

Want to attract investors? Improve capital management reporting

Posted by dbedell in investors, financial reporting, compliance, Cash, capital management


A new study out by the UK's Accounting Standards Board (ASB) holds insights on analyzing and explaining internal corporate capital that could prove useful to US and global companies.

The study, which evaluated the quality of capital management disclosures at companies reporting to the ASB, found that although some firms offered thorough analysis of their capital resources, the majority of companies were missing some or most of the information that would "convey meaningfully how they assess capital and how they manage it over the medium to long term."

Dec 14

Electronic payments rule the roost

Posted by dbedell in payments, Federal Reserve, electronic payments, debit cards, Cash

With vastly-improving payments infrastructure leading the way, electronic payments have clearly taken hold for both business-to-business and consumer-to-business payments.

A new payments study out by the Federal Reserve--the fourth in a series that is released every three years-finds that big changes are afoot in the payments landscape. For instance, electronic payments now account for three quarters of all payments, by number of payments. In addition, since the last survey came out, not only have debit cards surpassed checks as the most-used non-cash instrument, but also prepaid card use has increased dramatically.

Plus, checks have declined at a faster rate than ever and the use of credit cards as a payment mechanism declined for the first time since the studies began.

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