“Companies Vs Climate Change Announces 2017 event: October in Brussels.”

Source http://www.greenawards.com/green-awards-news/companies-vs-climate-change-announces-2017-event-october-in-brussels?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=companies-vs-climate-change-announces-2017-event-october-in-brussels

Save the Date: Companies Vs Climate Change conference, 4-6 October 2017 in Brussels         The Dates have been set, so mark your calendars!  Following a very well received Florida event in November 2016, Companies Vs Climate Change (CvCC) will be held on 4-6 October 2017 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Brussels  www.solveclimatechange.com This … Read more…

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IIRC Newsletter

Source http://integratedreporting.org/news/iirc-newsletter-9/

The latest news and developments. In this newsletter published in February 2017:

You can read the newsletter here

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Growth in the construction industry

Source http://www.platformblack.com/growth-construction-industry/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=growth-construction-industry

The construction industry is showing signs of good growth, and after attending ‘Meet the Buyer’ in Birmingham just recently, it’s clear to see how local councils are helping to increase workload for local companies.

Birmingham City Council and Sandwell MBC have recently approved the construction of Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick, a new ‘super hospital’ for the area after a decade of delays caused by controversy on the private finance initiative.

The main contractor for the build will be Carillion PLC for a total of £430 million. For the project, the approving councils have insisted that a fixed percentage of the supply chain and sub-contractors should come from the local areas. This will see a vast growth in the construction industry for the Midlands whilst the hospital is being built, with plans for work to start early 2016, finishing mid-2018 and opening later in the year.

This council support for local labour is being replicated nationwide, and is a good testament of the authorities’ commitment to growth in specific areas. This support extends to government as well, with increases in apprenticeship opportunities designed to help the smaller SMEs upskill local labour.

This boost to the industry is fantastic for the area, but it will inevitably bring the need for finance to the forefront of the local SME construction sector. Working capital is paramount to any business, and construction companies are renowned for having difficulty in getting the finance they need, due to issues with credit notes, retentions and deductions.

Many are turning to the alternative finance industry to help with this challenge. Specialist construction supply chain finance products can assist SMEs, by working with main contractors and tier one sub-contractors to help finance their supply chain. Some alternative finance providers are also looking at how the normal negatives associated with construction finance can be put aside in order to help SMEs.

It’s an exciting time in the construction industry, with expected continued growth. The introduction of new alternative finance products ensure that the SMEs within the industry will be well catered for in finding the funding they need. This is also supported by local councils, encouraging local workforces and in turn, the industry as a whole.

To find out more about how the construction industry can release cashflow download our free white paper.



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Love, Disruption And The $18 Billion Celebration Of Romance

Source http://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2017/love-disruption-valentines-day-shopping/

Though Valentine’s Day will not technically be spreading its feathered wings until Tuesday of next week, the majority of Americans will be celebrating this weekend because Tuesday is just about the least romantic day of the week.

It’s why we hold elections on Tuesdays.

Friday through Sunday, however, are the most romantic days of the week, particularly now that football season is over. So that means millions of Americans will find some way to say, “I love you” this weekend to a special someone.

Which means Americans will also be spending some money.

Not that money can buy love — of course. Although the team over at Ava (the Tinder of escort services) would probably like us to remind you that you can transact for a reasonably good facsimile of that on their platform, the real deal is not for sale but is a gift that can be given — but not bought. Love truly has no price tag.

“Thank you,” on the other hand, does. Love may or may not mean never having to say you’re sorry — but it surely requires saying thank you an awful lot, and sometimes thank you is better expressed with gifts.

“Thank you for putting up with me,” “Thank you for taking care of me when I’m sick and grumpy,” “Thank you for killing all the spiders” and “Thank you for calling the fire department when my smartphone spontaneously combusted and I was too soundly asleep to notice the house filling with smoke” — these are all thoughts that can be expressed with words. However, all of those thanks-yous are somewhat better expressed with diamonds, flowers, chocolate and dinner in a restaurant without a children’s menu.

And so we come to our annual Valentine’s Day celebration — where we remember to thank the ones we love for continuing to love us, even if we don’t know how to load or unload the dishwasher and are probably never going to learn.

So how are we celebrating the annual celebration of love and affection in the U.S. this year? The usual — flowers, chocolate, attempts at vertical disruption.

OK, well, maybe it’s not all that usual …

The $18B Celebration Of Affection

As always, jewelry, flowers and candy will be the staples that define the holiday. The latest data from the National Retail Foundation indicates that U.S. consumers will spend $18.2 billion in 2017 splurging on their loved ones. And while that is certainly not a trivial sum, it is worth noting that that figure is actually a pretty short drop-off from 2016 — when consumers spent $19.7 billion. On an individual basis, consumers on average are spending $136.57 on their Valentine this year — down from the $146.84 they shelled out last year.

Jewelry is, as usual, the winning category here — with an estimated $4 billion about to change hands. Engagement rings made a particularly good showing in 2016, according to a poll of independent jewelers, though the same data did note that most of these jewelers don’t consider an engagement ring sale final until at least a week after the holiday has come and gone.

Flowers are the second favorite of Valentine’s spending — with $2 billion expected to sold this year. The remaining approximately $12 billion will be spent on cards, clothes, lingerie and dining out for the holiday.

And for those not looking for a major commerce experience this holiday season — there is good news. The gift most people want is chocolate or candy — 94 percent of consumers named it as their preference.

Single? Thinking about buying your dog a gift? Or married and still thinking about buying your dog a gift — because, frankly, no one loves or understands you like they do? Don’t let anyone shame you — 21 percent of all consumers will buy gifts for their pets.

What Is Love — Without Disruption?

One might argue that by its very nature, love is disruptive, an observation backed up by the plot of Romeo and Juliet, the Twilight series and the lyrics to just about every country song ever written — though we don’t tend to think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday that is all about disruptive innovation.

Which is probably why most of us don’t work at Amazon, where they think every day and every physical object is just waiting to be disrupted. Right down to one’s lingerie.

Yes, just in time for Valentine’s Day this year, Amazon has decided to try its hand at bringing sexy back — for a reasonable price — by offering its own line of bras, for about $10 apiece.

Lingerie has not generally been an eCommerce hit thus far because fit can be an issue for intimate apparel that consumers are not willing to fudge on. But free returns, better fit surveys and shifting preferences toward more simply sized sports bras and bralettes has changed the market and made shoppers a bit more amenable to buying their bra online.

Amazon has noticed — and is moving in for the kill with a price point well below its competitors. Long-term industry players like PVH Corp, Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret have built their businesses on bras that retail at around $40. Selling bras as $10 is likely a loss leader, according to experts, since it currently costs Victoria Secret about $10 to get a bra from the production line to its showroom floor.

But it’s a loss leader with a purpose — one that is probably designed to quickly move in an eaten-up market share.

The good news — or goodish news? For this Valentine’s Day, America’s intimate apparel retailers are safe, since Amazon lingerie is for sale only in Europe under the name Iris and Lilly.

Less good? The American launch is predicted over the next few weeks.

Also at least eye-catching in this story? The less-than-enamored grumblings about Amazon’s new move into another niche area of apparel — particularly with respect to how it uses the consumer data it gathers from its online listings. Amazon does not sell its own bras in the U.S., but it certainly sells many brands worth of bras on its marketplace, and some are pointing to this latest expansion as the underlying trouble with starting a romance with the Amazon marketplace: No matter how swept off their feet they are with logistics, Amazon will always benefit more from the relationship.

Will it be enough for brands to break up with Amazon? Hard to say — its logistics are dreamy, and its customer base is hard to argue with. Which means many of those merchants’ marriages may carry on — even if they are more out of convenience than love.

But then, love is a complicated thing, which is why you can’t buy it, as it’s far too complex to manufactured in a lab. But saying thank you to the one you love? Well, that is only a trip to the jeweler, a stop by Amazon or a conversation with a 1-800-Flowers chatbot on Facebook messenger away from being completed, with your payment card of choice in hand (or registered inside your wallet of choice)!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Want to solve problems in a fantastic digital culture??

Source https://hmrcdigital.blog.gov.uk/2017/02/06/want-to-solve-problems-in-a-fantastic-digital-culture/


Working as a Product Manager for HMRC has meant getting to work on some of the largest digital transformation projects anywhere in Government. And we’re recruiting for more PM’s right now.

I lead a multidisciplinary agile scrum team in the design, research and delivery of Personal Tax products within the Digital Delivery Centre in Newcastle.

The emphasis on digital products represents a transformation in the way organisations are supporting digital and was a key motivating factor in working here.  We’re creating products based around user needs and providing meaningful value to citizens and businesses.

This is the best part of being a Product Manager at HMRC as I’m able to act as a champion for users and their needs, whilst considering other variables such as technology and business goals.

I’m currently supporting the delivery of products as part of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital programme, working on a tax calculation service that allows users to claim a tax refund or make a tax payment.

HMRC digitalIn the two years I’ve worked at HMRC I’ve seen a continual transformation towards personal accounts that allow people to manage their portfolio of taxes in one place.  The need for innovation, deep discovery and collaboration to meet these challenges is what makes HMRC a great place to work.

If having new and interesting problems to solve within a fantastic digital culture sounds like something that would interest you, then we’re recruiting for Product Managers to work in our Digital Centres across the country. You’ll get to work with smart and dedicated people doing some of the most interesting work in digital Government.

As well as…

  • lead and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team
  • get under the skin of complex problems
  • continually innovate and shape digital services that support every UK taxpayer
  • deliver products through agile principles, iterating quickly from user feedback

The closing date is 15 February 2017.

Best of luck with your application, we look forward to hearing from you.


Take a look at some of our other blog posts that showcase what a fantastic place HMRC is to work and how we’re at the forefront of digital delivery in Government. And sign up for email alerts too.

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Unfair contract terms costing small businesses billions

Source http://www.companybug.com/unfair-contract-terms-costing-small-businesses-billions/

New research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests 52% of small firms have been stung by unfair contract terms with suppliers, costing nearly £4 billion in the last three years.

Suppliers are failing to make auto-rollover clauses clear up front, tying businesses into lengthy notice periods, charging high early termination fees and concealing details in small print.

40% of respondents said they felt powerless to do anything about unfair contract terms because the supplier was too important or powerful to challenge. This highlights that small firms can be just as vulnerable as consumers when buying goods and services, and they need better protections.

Results from a recent Hiscox survey, supported by YouGov, also found that as many as 750,000 million UK small and medium-sized businesses are in need of guidance on contracts, in particular 74% of IT and tech business owners admit needing more support and advice when it comes to working their way through contracts.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “Small firms on the bad end of a deal are losing out to the tune of £1.3 billion each year. We have identified persistent problems with suppliers, across sectors, treating small firms unfairly. This suggests the market is failing to deliver value for money products and services for small business customers.

“Small businesses don’t have the time, expertise or purchasing power to scour the market to find and negotiate the best deals. Small business owners behave in a similar ways to consumers, but they don’t have the same guarantees of quality or legal redress in an unfair situation.”

The FSB research sheds light on the scale of the problem, suggesting 2.8 million small firms have suffered because of unfair contract terms. Most of those affected had been stung twice or more in the past three years.

One in ten small businesses affected by unfair terms were set back by more than £5000 dealing with a single problem, and two in five lost more than £1000 through an unfair agreement with a supplier.

To drive change in this area, Government and regulators of energy, financial services and telecoms should more routinely and explicitly focus on small business vulnerabilities. Trading Standards should also be given the power to take action against suppliers imposing unfair terms.

Mike Cherry concluded: “If small firms were better protected when entering a contract with a supplier, they would have more confidence and trust in the market. Suppliers would be more accountable and businesses would spend less time and money dealing with the fallout. Tackling unfair contract terms would lead to a more efficient and competitive economy.”

In response to the demands from small business owners calling for more advice on contracts, Hiscox has produced a three-part guide which tackles some of the major issues faced by IT and tech businesses in particular.

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Louw Barnardt on the One Young World Summit

Source http://charteredaccountantsworldwide.com/louw-barnardt-on-the-one-young-world-summit/

By Louw Barnardt, SAICA, South Africa.

One Young World – inspiring change around the world

October month saw the global leadership summit One Young World hosted in Ottawa, Canada. I was lucky enough to be chosen by Chartered Accountants Worldwide to represent SAICA and South Africa at the summit.


Louw Barnardt, SAICA

With beautiful Capitol Hill in the background, the stage began to fill with the superstar world leaders that would address the summit over the coming days. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former UN secretary general Kofi Anan, equality advocate and film star Emma Watson, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Microloan guru Professor Mohammad Yunus, South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and many more. Flags were flown by one delegate from each country represented, signalling the start of the inspirational event in Olympic fashion.

1,300 young leaders represented almost every country in the world over four days of impactful discussion on topics like countering violent extremism, climate justice, ethics in a world of hyper-speed technology, global development goals and the like.

We heard from an Olympic Gold medallist, Nobel peace prize winners, Global CEO’s, current and former heads of state, Oscar-winners, former child soldiers and famous tech company founders. The four days were packed with incredible content presented by some of the most inspirational people in the world.

Some of the moments that really stood out to me were:

Professor Mohammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winning founder of Grameen Bank, author of Banker to the Poor.

Professor Yunus started the first micro-finance bank focused on uplifting people from poverty through entrepreneurship. Launching with only the $27 in his own pocket, he has helped fund millions of entrepreneurial dreams with more than US$13bn to date. For someone who believes that entrepreneurship can change the world, he is the ultimate inspiration! You can watch his full speech at the summit by following this link.

His key points were:

On people: “People have unlimited creativity. Never forget that you are the biggest creation on earth.”

On unemployment: “No person was meant to be unemployed. We were meant to sweat for our purpose.”

On entrepreneurship: “Do not simply take a job. There is no longer security in that. Create jobs and create opportunities.”

On poverty: “Poverty is like a Bonzai, where a beautiful big tree is put in a small flower pot. Nothing is wrong with the seed, but with the space/environment that it was planted in.”

His message to young leaders: “Lay the foundation for a new civilisation. Create the world that you want!”

Professor Yunus is working towards a world with zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emmissions – goals worth laying your life down for.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, South African Public Protector

Advocate Madonsela has just finished a seven year term as the South African Public Protector. In this time, she exposed some of the worst corruption in our government entities and has ensured that many powerful people have been removed from positions of power – power that they abused.  It was wonderful to see such a powerful and brave South African woman speak on a global stage.

Her key message was that our troubled world is calling out for EPIC (ethical, purposeful, impactful, committed) leadership. Speaking from a depth of experience, she instructed delegates to lead and create impact beyond title. She finished off by quoting the words of Nelson Mandela: “There is no passion to be found in playing small.”

UN sustainability goals session with Chairman of communications giant Rogers, Alan Horn

As internal breakout session, the seven representatives of Chartered Accountants Worldwide all took part in a session by fellow CA Alan Horn, focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We were introduced to these 17 ambitious, game-changing goals set for our world by global leaders. Launched in 2015, as a collective society we aim to achieve the following by 2030:

Zero extreme poverty, zero hunger, good healthcare and well-being, quality education, equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable clean energy, decent work and economic growth and more. These goals are by no means easy to achieve, but with closely-knit cooperation from governments, private sector and passionate individuals, being the first generation to achieve these global goals is not outside of our reach. To learn more about the goals and the role each of us can play, have a look at www.undp.org.

One Young World creates an amazing platform for young leaders to learn from some of the biggest leaders of our time and to build lasting bridges between countries. It has been an inspiration that I hope will keep inspiring all over the world.

The team at Outsourced CFO will certainly be striving towards the goals and ideals set in the light of this amazing event. Entrepreneurship has a massive role to play in creating a united, prosperous global community. And with Chartered Accountants having influence across sectors, we find ourselves with a big opportunity to influence the roll-out of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other for-good agenda items discussed at the conference.

To next year’s Team CAW representing the Chartered Accountant designation at One Young World – soak in the amazing learnings from each session, build lasting relationships with peers from all over the world, be inspired by the unbelievable things that young people can achieve in the world and go back home and take action.

Louw Barnardt

SAICA, South Africa

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Complementary finance for the UK’s SMEs

Source http://www.platformblack.com/complementary-finance-uks-smes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=complementary-finance-uks-smes

There is a widespread perception in the market that alternative finance is disruptive thanks to its burst onto the scene around 2011. But the industry has matured since its infancy, experiencing rapid growth, and many now consider it no longer to be ‘alternative’. Smart organisations are placing the SME at the heart of the decisions they make and positioning themselves as part of the wider invoice finance market.

The reality is that selective invoice financing provides a complementary solution to the working capital needs of SMEs who aren’t getting all they need from their current financiers. Top-up finance can support businesses who are unable to maximise funding due to limitations within their current facilities. Users don’t have to change providers, they can dip in and out of services as required.

Traditional invoice financiers can provide a whole ledger service to SMEs, but this can come with issues. Concentration limits mean that a financier won’t pay out for more than a set percentage of a ledger to one debtor, meaning companies need a wide customer base. Financiers are also often adverse to contractual debt, as well as the construction industry, where risks of non-payment are deemed much higher. The export market also holds a red flag, with funding generally being considerably more expensive, if available at all. All these factors mean businesses struggle to obtain satisfactory finance facilities.

Platform Black prides itself on providing solutions in conjunction with existing finance providers, ensuring an SME’s fund availability is maximised. As an example, we recently co-funded a car part manufacturer who had both domestic and international debtors. We were able to fund all export invoices, whilst the other financier financed the domestic debt. This was done by way of a security sharing arrangement, and with the co-operation of all parties involved. As a result the client was able to raise significantly more finance than in their previous facility.

In a second case in point, Platform Black provides repayment of a trade financier’s exposure at the point the invoice is raised, by paying the financier directly, something most financiers would avoid.

Working with other financiers, we can also provide funding for SMEs where their current financier won’t fund specific debtors. The financer can waive the security on the debtor, or even specific invoices if they’d prefer, allowing Platform Black to provide the funding where they can’t.

These examples show the flexibility of our invoice trading model and the misconception of the disruptive nature of alternative finance. The willingness of all financiers to work together, alternative or not, is paramount to the successful funding of UK SMEs.






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