Connect with us
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Business

Is ‘cease to trade’ the real factor behind falling insolvency stats?

Published

on

tracy ewen

By Tracy Ewen, managing director, IGF

There is considerable dispute over insolvency figures at present, with some statistics suggesting that insolvency numbers are falling, whilst others finding the complete opposite. Regardless of how the statistics read, they do not reveal the entire insolvency picture. This is because many SMEs find the costs and complications that are associated with registering as insolvent too great and as such, choose the easier option of ‘ceasing to trade’. With many banks still reluctant to lend to SMEs, small companies who are struggling with their finances are simply choosing to shut up shop and walk away from their debts. At IGF, we are finding that ‘cease to trade’ is becoming more and more common amongst UK SMEs over the past few years. This is something that does not show up in any of the insolvency statistics and is bad news for both creditors and businesses alike.tracy ewen
Let’s look at the insolvency stats more closely. Conflicting evidence from various sources dispute the state of insolvencies in the UK. The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analysis into corporate insolvency numbers demonstrates that the decline in the level of insolvencies witnessed in 2010 has continued into the first quarter of 2011. In total, 3,657 companies were announced to be insolvent in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 3,829 in the last quarter of 2010 (a 4.5% decrease). Statistics show that the level of insolvencies fell by 14% compared to the first quarter of 2010. Other data suggests that corporate administrations in England and Wales have increased by 22% in the first quarter of 2011. According to the most recent figures by the Insolvency Service, in the three months to September, company liquidations rose to 4,242, up 6.5pc compared with a year ago and the highest number since the fourth quarter of 2009.
Whether the insolvency statistics are showing an increase or a decrease in the number of companies registering as insolvent, the numbers are masking the growing problem amongst small businesses of those who are simply closing down and abandoning their debts to avoid the associated costs of formal insolvency.
So what can be done about this problem? Firms should attempt to seek professional help before they get to this stage and while a non- viable business should not try to keep going, many genuinely good firms are not getting the second chance that they really deserve. In challenging economic times, companies need to manage their cashflow carefully and should consider other finance options to plain vanilla bank lending, such as invoice finance. This is effectively a cash advance on all invoices raised to enable SMEs to manage any potential cashflow problems that might be occurring.
The benefit of invoice finance over a bank overdraft or a loan is greater flexibility, as cashflow situations improve with every new customer signed. Invoice finance can make available funding of up to 90% of the gross value of unpaid sales invoices, including those outstanding when the facility commences. All too frequently, small businesses head straight for the high street banks when cashflow weakens, unaware that other finance options may be available to them. Difficulties in extending overdrafts or costly loans can mean that businesses choose to close down, when in fact they could be sustained through more suitable and flexible finance options such as invoice financing, which can be tailored for their business needs.
We are finding that the number of businesses who are choosing to shut up shop is on the increase.  Some of these are weak businesses that cannot survive, whatever the available financing – but many are struggling as a direct result of business managers being unaware of suitable cashflow options and failing to seek professional advice. A lack of tangible assets is also reducing the number of companies being bought back out of administration by company directors, compounding the problem.
Insolvency costs are an issue. The cost of insolvency for small businesses, (a minimum of £5,000 and often significantly more) is acting as a real deterrent for firms to seek help or enter insolvency proceedings. This can have substantial ramifications on other businesses that may find themselves suffering a financial loss if another business that owes them money does not wind up its affairs correctly. Some businesses may also wait until a creditor winds them up or the Government shuts them down as a result of not having filed accounts for several years – again, this is behaviour that could really be skewing the insolvency statistics.
Before ceasing to trade or entering insolvency proceedings, business owners should make sure that they really have exhausted every option available to them. If the bank won’t lend you money, or you don’t want to put personal assets up as collateral against a loan, do look at invoice and asset finance (and consider the independents as well as the high street banks) – it may be just the option you need to get your cashflow back on track.
Author: Tracy Ewen, managing director of IGF www.igfgroup.com

Business

How we as female entrepreneurs can inspire and educate the next generation of female leaders

Published

on

How we as female entrepreneurs can inspire and educate the next generation of female leaders 1

By Vaishali Shah, serial entrepreneur.

There is tremendous enthusiasm and aspiration amongst the next generation of women who are passionate about being successful in their chosen career, whether it’s running their own business or rising to the top in the company they choose to work in. It is up to those of us who are already in the shoes they want to fill to be the role models and help them along the way. They need our support and guidance and access to tools and resources.

The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship found that only 39% of women felt they had the capabilities to start a business compared to 55% of men because they did not fully believe in their entrepreneurial skills. The Review also found that only 30% of women said they already knew an entrepreneur compared to 38% of men.

Here are some ideas and suggestions of how those of us who are successful women in business can help and support the next generation of leaders:

Mentoring – connecting the leaders of the future with experienced and established entrepreneurs and leaders in their industry who know the steps and have already overcome the challenges. Meeting on a regular basis (in person or via video technology), answering questions, offering resources and helping them to define their vision clearly while pointing out opportunities would be extremely beneficial.

Female only networks – most events, especially in the financial and banking sector, are attended by a majority of men. This can be a bit daunting for women who tend to feel isolated. Unfortunately, there are very few female-only business networking groups. We need many more. Women have a different networking style than men. A female only network can give members a safe place to network, build confidence and relationships, while sharing some of the challenges they are facing and ask for guidance and support.

Panel discussions – invite successful female entrepreneurs and leaders from different industries to share their journeys to success. Their challenges, how they overcame them, what kept them going and any nuggets that could inspire the leaders-in-waiting. This could be run around International Women’s Day in March, for example.

Vaishali Shah

Vaishali Shah

Workshops/seminars – offer a seminar or workshop on topics that give valuable information on various aspects of running a business for entrepreneurs. In the workplace, have a system in place for ongoing training, development and engagement. Providing support, tools and resources will help to develop female talent. Make the workshops free or low cost so there is no barrier to entry. Help them to formulate a clear vision and a strong ‘why’ for their vision. This vision and ‘why’ will carry them through the tough times and be an important reminder and motivation to stay the course.

Recommendations – emphasise the importance and benefit of continual learning. Suggest podcasts, webinars or books to listen to or read. Being open to others’ experiences and ideas will help to educate and inspire them. People who achieve great success have a thirst for knowledge and are eager to learn from others.

Confidence and encouragement – give the next generation of leaders a sense of their own value and the value they bring to their market by the products and services they offer. They fill a need – they bring value. Help them understand that setbacks are a part of any business, but they should not be considered failures, rather, as gaining experience. Using setbacks as stepping stones towards their goal is what differentiates those who achieve great success from those who let setbacks define who they are, thus diminishing their chances of success.

Time for them – running or working in a fast-paced business can be all consuming, demanding and overwhelming at times, especially if they’re ambitious and want to get ahead. Teach women in business the importance of taking time out for themselves every day and to celebrate even the smallest success. Taking time out may seem counter intuitive, however it gives the mind time to relax and be open to inspiration and creativity and therefore being more productive.

Dame Karren Brady says – “If you have passion, drive and an entrepreneurial spirit, being female shouldn’t prevent you from getting where you want to be, and sometimes we must have the determination not to let it”.

Whether the next generation of female leaders are students about to embark on their business career, already running their own business or those in employment, we who have the experience and knowledge can play a crucial role in their climbing the ladder of success.

Continue Reading

Business

The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk   

Published

on

The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk    2

Research by Egress reveals organisations suffer outbound email data breaches approximately every 12 working hours 

Egressthe leading provider of human layer data security solutions, today released their 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report, which highlights the true scale of data security risks related to email use. 93% of IT leaders surveyed said that their organisation had suffered data breaches through outbound email in the last 12 months. On average, the survey found, an email data breach happens approximately every 12 working hours.* 

Rising outbound email volumes due to COVID-19-related remote working and the digitisation of manual processes are also contributing to escalating risk. 94% of respondents reported an increase in email traffic since the onset of COVID-19 and 70% believe that working remotely increases the risk of sensitive data being put at risk from outbound email data breaches. 

The study, independently conducted by Arlington Research on behalf of Egress, interviewed 538 senior managers responsible for IT security in the UK and US across vertical sectors including financial services, healthcare, banking and legal. 

Key insights from respondents include: 

·         93% had experienced data breaches via outbound email in the past 12 months 

·         Organisations reported at least an average of 180 incidents per year when sensitive data was put at risk, equating to approximately one every 12 working hours 

·         The most common breach types were replying to spear-phishing emails (80%); emails sent to the wrong recipients (80%); incorrect file attachments (80%) 

·         62% rely on people-led reporting to identify outbound email data breaches 

·         94% of surveyed organisations have seen outbound email volume increase during COVID-19. 68% say they have seen increases of between 26 and 75% 

·         70% believe that remote working raises the risk of sensitive data being put at risk from outbound email data breaches 

When asked to identify the root cause of their organisation’s most serious breach incident in the past year, the most common factor was “an employee being tired or stressed”. The second most cited factor was “remote working”. In terms of the impact of the most serious breach incident, on an individual-level, employees received a formal warning in 46% of incidents, were fired in 27% and legal action was brought against them in 28%. At an organisational-level, 33% said it had caused financial damage and more than one-quarter said it had led to an investigation by a regulatory body. 

Traditional email security tools are not solving this problem  

The research also found that 16% of those surveyed had no technology in place to protect data shared by outbound email. Where technology was deployed, its adoption was patchy: 38% have Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools in place, while 44% have message level encryption and 45% have password protection for sensitive documents. However, the study also found that, in one-third of the most serious breaches suffered, employees had not made use of the technology provided to prevent the breach. 

Egress CEO Tony Pepper comments: “Unfortunately, legacy email security tools and the native controls within email environments, such as Outlook for Microsoft 365, are unable to mitigate the outbound email security risks that modern organisations face today. They rely on static rules or user-led decisions and are unable to learn from individual employees’ behaviour patterns. This means they can’t detect any abnormal changes that put data at risk – such as Outlook autocomplete suggesting the wrong recipient and a tired employee adding them to an email.”  

“This problem is only going to get worse with increased remote working and higher email volumes creating prime conditions for outbound email data breaches of a type that traditional DLP tools simply cannot handle. Instead, organisations need intelligent technologies, like machine learning, to create a contextual understanding of individual users that spots errors such as wrong recipients, incorrect file attachments or responses to phishing emails, and alerts the user before they make a mistake.” 

Organisations still cannot paint a full picture of the risks, relying on people-led reporting to identify email breaches, despite severe repercussions 

When an outbound email data breach happens, IT leaders were most likely to find out about it from employees. 20% said they would be alerted by the email recipient, 18% felt another employee would report it, while 24% said the employee who sent the email would disclose their error. However, given the penalties that respondents said were in place for employees who cause a breach, it is not guaranteed that they will be keen to own up, especially if the incident is serious. 46% said that the employee who caused a breach was given a formal warning, while legal action was taken in 28% of cases. In 27% of serious breach cases, respondents said the employee responsible was fired. 

Tony Pepper comments: “Relying on tired, stressed employees to notice a mistake and then report themselves or a colleague when a breach happens is unrealistic, especially given the repercussions they will face. With all the factors at play in people-led data breach reporting, we often find organisations are experiencing 10 times the number of incidents than their aware of. It’s imperative that we build a culture where workers are supported and protected against outbound email breach risk with technology that adapts to the pressures they face and stops them from making simple mistakes in the first place. As workers get used to more regular remote working and reliance on email continues to grow, organisations need to step up to safeguard both employees and data from rising breach risk.” 

Continue Reading

Business

Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder

Published

on

Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder 3

By David Wharram, CEO of Coast Digital

With more than 280 billion emails sent every day, email marketing is a tried and tested marketing method with a multitude of benefits. In addition to resonating with those looking to save on their marketing spend, email marketing generates significant ROI for businesses. Statistics have shown that email marketing significantly outperforms social media when trying to reach customers, while also proving more cost-effective. Additionally, Mckinsey found that email marketing is 40 times more successful at gaining customers than Twitter and Facebook combined.

As business owners digest these facts – low cost, high return – it can be tempting to plan a barrage of untargeted marketing emails to both prospective and existing customers. Yet, this “spray and pray” approach may not generate as many sales leads as you’d hope. In fact, this method often tends to deter prospective customers and impact the relationship with existing clients, resulting in your emails consistently making their way into the junk folder. The key to a successful email marketing campaign is investing in the right tools to plan, automate, track, and analyse your outreach.

Effective planning

Like other marketing channels, email marketing takes effective planning and the right strategy to make it work. Rather than trying to sell a product or service from the outset, you need to engage with the customer and build trust with them first. To do this, you need to consider who the customer is, how to reach them and what information they are likely to want. For example, returning customers will be much more receptive to an email presenting discounts and timed offers. However, new or prospective customers would most likely prefer to familiarise themselves with your businesses first in order to understand how your product or service will benefit them.

Not only do you need to identify different audiences and identify how to engage them, but you should also consider the frequency of communication. Too often, and your emails could appear as spam. Too irregular and there’s a risk the customer might forget about you or turn to a competitor.

A crucial part of planning the overall strategy is considering the ideal outcome. Whether this is to attract new customers, send product or service updates, or retain customers through offers and discounts, the objective will determine the scope of the entire campaign.

The results of a well thought out email marketing strategy can drive brand awareness, boost lead generation and increase revenue. The results of a poorly planned strategy often lead to disgruntled recipients and a high number of unsubscribes.

Keep content relevant, personal and useful

In addition to planning the overall strategy of your campaign, you need to consider the content you will push out to your audience. From our experience, this will largely depend on which goals have been determined during the planning process.

It’s essential to ensure you’re providing something of value. While you want to make sure that your email marketing campaigns generate ROI, you also need to make the recipients feel that they’re not always being sold to. The key to this is by building a level of trust with the audience, which can be achieved by providing relevant advice and insights, or by asking for feedback.

Additionally, audiences are more receptive to content that is personal to them. It’s easy to spot a generic email that has been created to cover all bases for an entire mailing list. Therefore, making the emails more personalised to recipients tends to strengthen the overall campaign.

According to recent research by Econsultancy, personalisation remains a top priority for marketers as 67% of those asked said that was the main focus for improving their campaigns. Also, a study by Salesforce found that 84% of consumers prefer to be treated like a person not a number. That’s why taking the time to make content more relevant to the receiver could make or break the campaign.

Evaluate and evolve

Once your initial outreach has been complete, you need to take the time to reflect on your efforts. One aspect of the planning process should include setting clear metrics and KPIs so that you can be clear on whether these were met or not. There are several metrics that businesses should consider when it comes to the success of their campaign – including clickthrough rate, conversion rate, bounce rate and email forwarding rate. Each KPI will depend on the overall goal. Companies need to invest in the right tools and resources to evaluate email marketing campaigns, especially if this is new territory. Measuring the success of your outreach will enable you to determine what worked well, what needs refining or what needs to be completely overhauled. What’s more, if the initial campaign didn’t generate the outcome you were hoping, don’t be deterred from using email marketing altogether and instead use it as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Email marketing remains one of the most effective methods to engage with your audience on an ongoing basis. However, far too many businesses try to run before they walk and could be spamming their customers with irrelevant, uninteresting content. To ensure your outreach is successful, you need to effectively plan your outreach – considering your audience and delivering helpful and engaging content to them will help your emails avoid the dreaded junk folder.

Continue Reading

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

Hybrid Cloud Application Delivery in Financial Services 4 Hybrid Cloud Application Delivery in Financial Services 5
Technology16 mins ago

Hybrid Cloud Application Delivery in Financial Services

How are Financial Services Firms Addressing the Requirements of Digital Transformation, Security, and Compliance? By Adrian Taylor, Regional VP of...

How we as female entrepreneurs can inspire and educate the next generation of female leaders 6 How we as female entrepreneurs can inspire and educate the next generation of female leaders 7
Business28 mins ago

How we as female entrepreneurs can inspire and educate the next generation of female leaders

By Vaishali Shah, serial entrepreneur. There is tremendous enthusiasm and aspiration amongst the next generation of women who are passionate...

Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance 8 Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance 9
Top Stories22 hours ago

Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance

By Ryan Lester, Senior Director of Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn With heightened economic uncertainty and increased customer expectation becoming...

The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk    10 The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk    11
Business22 hours ago

The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk   

Research by Egress reveals organisations suffer outbound email data breaches approximately every 12 working hours  Egress, the leading provider of human layer data security solutions, today released their 2020 Outbound Email Data...

Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments 12 Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments 13
Finance23 hours ago

Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments

By Fady Abdel-Nour, Global Head of M&A and Investments, PayU Over the course of the last six months, the payments...

Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday 14 Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday 15
Investing23 hours ago

Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday

By Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment The journey back to economic normality will be strenuous. COVID-19 has imbued many...

Creating a culture of cybersecurity in Financial Services 16 Creating a culture of cybersecurity in Financial Services 17
Technology23 hours ago

Creating a culture of cybersecurity in Financial Services

By Martin Landless, Vice President for Europe at LogRhythm As the financial services sector increasingly moves online and reaps the...

How the financial sector can keep newly acquired customers returning time and time again 18 How the financial sector can keep newly acquired customers returning time and time again 19
Finance23 hours ago

How the financial sector can keep newly acquired customers returning time and time again

By Dicken Doe from Foolproof, a Zensar company Covid-19 has changed the financial lives of millions; what worked for people...

Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder 20 Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder 21
Business23 hours ago

Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder

By David Wharram, CEO of Coast Digital With more than 280 billion emails sent every day, email marketing is a...

Cloud in Banking: An Opportunity That Can’t be Ignored 22 Cloud in Banking: An Opportunity That Can’t be Ignored 23
Banking24 hours ago

Cloud in Banking: An Opportunity That Can’t be Ignored

By David Rimmer, Research Associate at Leading Edge Forum Originally offered as a better way to build IT systems, cloud...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now