Accountants Are Even More Indispensible Than You Think

Some call this post-recession era a period of economic uncertainty. Others might call it a period of economic opportunity. Often the difference between the two is just how well advised you are, which is why accounting firms are experiencing rising demand for the consulting services they can provide, as well as traditional accounting services.

According to Smart Company, such is the demand that big accounting firms in Australia are choosing to market themselves as “services firms”, illustrating to clients that their functions go well beyond being simple number crunchers. Their depth of knowledge and experience in areas such as tax and asset management has been made invaluable by issues such as:

  • Carbon Tax: Implemented in July 2012, the law requires the 300 companies deemed Australia’s worst culprits in carbon emissions to pay taxes on every tonne of greenhouse gas produced (BBC news). Accounting firms are counted amongst those likely to benefit as Australia’s hard-hit mining, steel, energy and airline industries seek advice on dealing with carbon tax.
  • Foreign Investment: Increasing foreign investment, particularly from Chinese companies, changes the playing field in ways that no industry can afford to ignore. Many companies are seeking professional advice in devising strategies to benefit from foreign interest.

Smaller accounting firms may not possess the connections of larger organizations, but they can benefit from providing the same services to wealthy individuals and family enterprises.

Future Looks Bright for Australian Accounting Firms

This diversification of revenue streams is the reason the Australian accounting industry is receiving positive forecasts. In early 2012, accounting recruitment firm Robert Half did a survey of 300 financial officers and finance directors and found that 82% of them were confident of industry growth for the year, and at least a third of accounting and finance firms announced that they were undertaking extensive recruitment efforts.

Prominent investment banker John Wylie, the managing director of financial advisory firm Lazard, is amongst those predicting strong growth for the accounting and finance industries in 2013, due to increasing foreign investment. This growth is expected to continue over the next five years, with revenue predicted to increase 5.5% every year to reach a total of around $20.7 billion in 2016-17. (smartcompany.com.au)

What’s more, the Corporation Legislation Amendment (Audit Enhancement) Bill 2011 allows accounting firms to extend auditing contracts with clients from five to seven years, guaranteeing them an additional two years to benefit from this increasing revenue.

Overall, things look positive for the Australian accounting industry, but especially for those firms able to take advantage of change. Revenue may be increasing but the challenge will be maintaining high profit margins, as increased demand for accounting services means price competition amongst the firms. They will have to apply their knowledge and skills on themselves in order to ascertain a means of compensating for this.

Knowledge is Power

A key factor in success will be diversity. Who will be most adept at diversifying their revenue streams by diversifying the services they offer?

Many firms will be looking outside traditional accounting areas to find the answer to this. Staying ahead in technology and gaining as much knowledge as possible, particularly in niche areas, will put them in a better position to meet the rising need for services.

China’s increasing economic influence, amongst other factors, creates a shifting financial landscape, and the most prized commodity in such an uncertain environment is knowledge. Those firms well-placed to provide this will find themselves in high demand.

Written by Matthew Flax on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes a number of higher education opportunities, especially accounting courses, diplomas and degrees.

Bad Credit: An Overview

Can you avail a loan with a bad credit? The immediate reply would have been a firm ‘no’. However, it is a ‘yes’ since now there are bad credit personal loans available for you. Puzzled? Read on.

Bad Credit

Under normal circumstances, whenever a person applies for a loan, their credit history is checked to determine the ‘credit worthiness’ of the borrower. This means, that people with a bad credit history are not considered for loans since they tend to be unreliable. Commonly, this is because they tend to repeat their mistakes rather than learning from them and mending them. Therefore, a bad credit may play the devil’s role in getting your loan request cancelled.

 Bad Credit Personal Loan

Taking into account the number of people with a bad credit history and the unpredictable economy, lenders understand the fact that a bad credit score may not necessarily be the borrower’s mistake. Realizing this fact has given rise to bad credit personal loans. They are customized to suit those with a low credit score or a bad credit history. They are the perfect solutions to help you tide over when you are in need of funds for various needs.

 Types

There are two types of loans in this category:

1. Secured Bad Credit Personal Loan

2. Unsecured Bad Credit Personal Loan

Secured Loan

Secured loans for bad credit are the ones that have a collateral clause in them. In other words, the borrower must put a collateral against the loan such as car, house or a savings bank account. With this, the borrower can make use of the equity stored in their property. The amount secured usually varies from £5,000 to 75,000. Under special conditions, the lender may grant a loan up to 125% of the property value. Generally, the repayment term varies between five to twenty five years.

 Unsecured Loan

Unlike the secured ones, in this, the borrower need not put any security against the loan. It is meant for tenants since they do not own a property. However, house owners can also apply for an unsecured bad credit personal loan if they do not wish to put their property at risk. This form of loan is popular since it gets approved very quickly without too many hassles such as valuation of the borrower’s property equity. You can avail a loan upto £25,000 and repay them in a time period varying between six to ten years.

 Task Remains

No matter whichever loan you choose, you must choose the best lender who can match your expectations and needs. The most popular way of doing this is the Internet since it is easy, fast, comfortable and reliable. You can collect the quotes from different places, compare them and choose the best quote available.

Although bad credit personal loans can help you fulfill your wishes in the best possible way, it is mandatory that you use these loans wisely. One word of advise- use them to repay your old debts so that you improve your credit history. This will not only help you in availing better loan deals, but also paves the way for a debt-free life in future.

The writer, Howard Daniels, loves to blog about credits, loans and finance. He shares great insights about about bad credit personal loans

Know about the New Mortgage Rules to Protect Homeowners from foreclosure

Due to the financial and mortgage crisis, many families lost their homes to foreclosure. As a homeowner, it is important that you know about the new mortgage rules so that you can avoid foreclosure. The new rules amend the regulations that were implemented from 1974 through 2010. By January 2014, these rules will take effect.

The New Rules

The following are the new mortgage rules that you should know:

  1. Billing statements must be provided periodically. The statements should include transaction or payment histories, any delinquencies, the imposed fees, etc. As the situation may require.
  2. People with adjustable rate mortgage must be notified at least 210-240 days before the first payment using the new rate.
  3. Payoff statements and payment crediting must be provided promptly upon the request of the borrower.
  4. Servicers can’t charge force-placed insurance automatically.
  5. Servicers have five days to respond when a borrower requests for information especially regarding errors.
  6. All the policies and procedures created by servicers must be reasonable.
  7. Attempt a ‘live contact’ with the delinquent borrower within 36 days to avoid foreclosure. Personnel must be assigned to make sure that the borrower will no longer fail to pay the mortgage on time.
  8. There should be options for loan modification. Most borrowers would rather modify their loans than wait for foreclosure.

According to some experts, these new mortgage rules won’t make any difference because consumers will not see if such rules are enforced. This is hardly true since prudential regulators and the Bureau can supervise the servicers within their jurisdictions. It is also the responsibility of the borrower to know the new rules to protect them from foreclosure. With knowledge, a homeowner can determine if the servicer is not following the new rules and can demand action.

A New Light Shines for Borrowers

Dealing with mortgage servicers is a dreadful experience for most borrowers. Consumers are protected from the detrimental actions of these mortgage servicers, and they can demand for better information. Borrowers can now have direct access to employees or staff that will help them with their issues. All foreclosure alternatives must be considered once the borrower misses out for two successive payments. You will be entitled to receive a notice, and with it is information on the alternatives like loan modification and deferred payments. Servicers are usually after the options that are financially favorable to them. This time, the new rules imply that the option favorable to the borrower must be given priority.

Borrowers must not allow servicers to influence the system. Knowledge about these new rules is the only way to prevent foreclosure. You can sleep soundly at night even if you are on financial crisis because there will be no foreclosures sales until all alternatives are covered. Foreclosure proceedings are restricted while mortgage modification is still being considered. You will have enough time to save your home from foreclosure, so don’t waste your time. Though the new rules will take effect on 2014, many homeowners are now looking forward to the implementation of these rules and regulations.

Author Bio:

John Lewis is Marketing lead at Microbank.com.au, Microbank is Friendly and Professional lending company, provide bridging loans and bridging finance as fast as 24 hours. We offer different types of bridging loans and help people those are buying a new property or need investment for business.

 

 

Utility Payments And Credit Scores

Credit scores affect many elements of a person’s life, and not just the obvious financial aspects, such as interest rates and loans. Employers often look at job applicant credit scores, as do landlords assessing potential tenants. Credit scores can also affect auto, home, and life insurance insurance rates, among other seemingly unrelated things. That makes credit rating quite important, even if you are not actively seeking a loan, mortgage, or credit card. So, when a credit scoring change, like including utility payments, is being considered, it is a big deal.

Some See Advantages To Including Utility Payments

The economic turmoil the nation has experienced since the bursting of the housing bubble and the mortgage and lending meltdown that took place in 2006 and 2007 has contributed to many consumers seeing their credit scores take a serious hit. Another common credit score woe is simply not having a credit or borrowing history. It takes having and using credit to earn a higher credit score. These types of credit score issues – the desire to build or rebuild a credit score – have led to a call to include other types of information in standard credit reports, such as utility payments.

Utility payments are not typically reported to credit agencies, except in cases where the bill is not paid and goes to a collection agency. That information reaches the credit report via the collections, not from the utility companies themselves. Those in favor of including utility payments on credit reports see this as a way to increase the flow of positive information onto the credit report, something that would benefit people that are trying to build a credit history or those that are trying to repair a damaged credit score.

This type of change would have to come legislatively, through Congress. That is because it would require an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as explained in the New York Times on October 9, 2012. Decision would also have to be made about the specific type of utility payment information to be reported, such as whether or not it would be only on time payments reported to the credit reporting industry. Including late utility payment information to the credit reporting industry could reduce the potential credit score benefit of incorporating utility payment information in credit report data.

Caution Urged By Some Consumer Advocates

It is that potential negative impact that has some consumer advocate organizations urging caution and careful consideration before implementing such changes. According to those that focus on lower income consumers, including utility payment information on credit reports is likely to do more harm than good. That is because people on the lower economic tiers often struggle with utility bills, which consume a higher percentage of their income than those earning higher wages. And, when push comes to shove, as it often does during peak heat or cold, utility bills are paid late.

People get behind while using ready cash for day-to-day essentials, like food or fuel to get to work. They catch up, eventually, but if utility payments were a standard part of the credit report, it would be of little benefit to their credit scores. In fact, it would probably do more harm than good. People that don’t struggle periodically to pay utility bills on time are typically in a good enough financial position that they don’t need to have utility payments reported to improve their credit scores, according to some consumer advocate groups.

As It Stands Today

The policy debate is still on regarding the inclusion of utility payments as a standard part of the credit report. As it stands today, in all but a few states, utility payment information typically only makes it to the credit report in the case of nonpayment after transfer to a collection agency. Therefore, it is important to credit score health to avoid getting that far behind on utility bills or any other payment that can result in collection agency involvement. During times when it being late or behind is unavoidable, stay in communication with the company money is owed to. That can help prevent the debt from going to collections, mitigating potential credit score damage.

This article was contributed by Chase Sagum. You can read more of his contributed articles @ lexingtonlaw.com

What The Fiscal Cliff Means For Gold

As investors look towards the future, one impending event looms on the horizon: the fiscal cliff. With a $16 trillion national debt, U.S. lawmakers are scrambling to find a way to reduce it. Out of the myriad of options available, three main themes emerge, each with a different outcome for the gold market. The decision will determine future inflation levels, the strength of the dollar and the gold market, and the U.S.’s place in the world economy:

  • The first group of options involves coupling tax increases with spending cuts. Economists expect this option to impede growth in the economy and perhaps create a new recession. On the other hand, this option will dissolve about 50 percent of the deficit.
  • Also, lawmakers can toss out a handful of the scheduled tax increases and another handful of spending cuts. This option could cause the U.S. economy to follow the trend in Europe, while the deficit will continue to increase.
  • A third group of options leans towards limited tax increases and spending cuts, which would also create a smaller decline in economic growth.

What does this mean for gold investors and the gold market as a whole?

Investment markets across the board are reacting to the approach of the fiscal cliff differently. If the U.S. lawmakers fail to reach a sound solution, the nation will have to deal with a $600 billion explosion of spending cuts and tax increases, which could create an economic depression. This threat to the U.S. dollar causes many to believe that gold investments should spike. Although gold has historically acted as a safe house for investors, the gold market has not shown a positive reaction.

In the final week of November, Gold declined 1 percent. This was the second month in a row that gold has declined. By December 4th, gold had dropped to $1,686 from $1,700. Currently, gold has tumbled to $1,600 per ounce as a result of hedge fund liquidation. This is the lowest gold price for four months, which seems to suggest that the U.S. economy will improve.

Federal interest rates and monetary policies stand as enormous factors for the gold market. Although the current market suggests a dip in gold, the game may change shortly.

Gold coin and bullion investors are buying gold fast. American Eagle sold 131,000 units this year, compared to 41,000 units in 2011. The market trend indicates increases in both retail buying and industry selling, much in anticipation for the fiscal cliff.

Some firms expect gold to sell for $1,865 after the fiscal cliff, and decrease steadily to $1,780 in 2014. Their stance takes an optimisitic view of economic growth. This view maintains that Congress will reach a compromise and find a balanced method to reduce the deficit significantly by 2017. If this occurs, expect the strength of the dollar to increase, and the price of gold to decline.

However, not all viewpoints are so optimistic. If U.S. lawmakers fail to reach a successful compromise, the dollar will plummet. If this happens, the price of gold may double. Some hedge fund managers believe that it could reach $5,000 an ounce as a result of massive inflation.

The bottom line is this: if the U.S. economy improves, gold will fall. If the economy takes a plunge, gold prices will skyrocket.  The answers await us alongside the  December 31st  decision, which has now been postponed until the beginning of January. Some experts even believe lawmakers will push the date back until later in the month.

Plymouth Mau is an international trades stockbroker. He delivers ranging prices for precious metals to online blogs. Visit SBC Gold for gold news and up-to-date pricing.

Fast Cash Loans

If you are short of some money and that this kind of situation does not happen often, there is no shame in trying for instant cash loans. Of course, at first glance, the interests seem high and the fact that you have to repay all in one go might sound frightening. However, it is a solution that is worth exploring further when you really need money such as for additional bills this month, or unexpected expenses such as a birthday that you had forgotten.

The main reason why you should go for such fast cash loans is that, first of all, no other lender will give out loans that fast, plus the conditions are clear and everything is disclosed before you even access one dollar. Thus, when you apply for payday loans Australia, you know already how much you will have to pay back on your next payday; no hidden costs or fees that come later. Everything is spread right in front of you for you to decide whether it is for you or not.

Bad Credit Loans

Such cash loans are also sometimes called bad credit loans. Why? Well, simply put, these companies lend money on the terms that the borrower must repay all on his or her next payday. They get their repayment in full directly from your salary once it goes to your bank account. The repayment can be stretched over several days if you are paid, for instance, bimonthly or weekly. If your salary is deposited in your bank account once a month, the lender gets his money back in one go. The advantage of that is that you do not have to worry about forgetting to send the company its money and you do not have to drag the loan along for months.

Fast Application

The application for cash loans Australia is done online; in fact everything is done online, over the phone and by email or free fax. Thus, you do not have to go anywhere but instead do everything from the place of your choice, whether it is your home or your office. At the time of application, you provide some details about you and your situation. This is enough for the company to decide whether it is safe to grant you the loan or not. That being said, the money is not sent to your bank account instantly but instead, the lending company will proceed to the verification of your details to see if all is in order.

Mitch Connors is a writer and blogger.  He enjoys writing about a wide array of topics, including finance.  The above article, about fast cash loans, is meant to inform and help others.

Retire in Style … to Mexico

What’s it all About?

For US citizens, the choices involved in planning a retirement are often overwhelming and difficult to make. For some retirees, there is an added dimension that arises when they consider the option of retiring in another country. For many, Mexico is an obvious choice, since it’s out neighbor to the south, it’s got beautiful beaches, mountains, and towns, and it’s a lot cheaper than living in the United States. There are so many things to consider, like would you have enough to live on, what will you do for fun, where will you live, how will you learn Spanish, what is the infrastructure like, can you own property, and on and on. Here we give you some basic facts about retiring in Mexico, so you can begin to explore the idea yourself, and make a decision for your retirement lifestyle. One place we’ll begin is with the general nature of Mexican culture and people, since many North Americans know very little about their neighbor to the South. There is much more than palm-studded beaches on the coast and desert conditions on the interior, which are the stereotypes most people hold in their minds about Mexico.

What’s the Allure of Retiring in Mexico?

To begin with, Mexico is full of natural and constructed wonders: charming colonial villages with cboblestone streets, magnificent colonial architecture, quaint villages in the mountains with chalets and cabins overlooking breathtaking scenery, wide rivers, snowy mountain tops, large elegant coffee plantations, fantasy architecture dotting the countryside. In fact, there really are no other countries so close to each other, who share a border, that are as different from each other as the United States and Mexico. Mexicans see the world in a completely different light than do their neighbors to the north, and this is expressed in just about every facet of life, from the music to the architecture to the way they do business and celebrate their lives. Retiring in Mexico is an adventure in exploration, where you will discover a new world, a different point of view, and a refreshing new way of living. Of course it’s not for everyone, since a little bit of adventurous spirit is necessary for this lifestyle. You have to be able to imagine the possibilities and take some personal risks, like moving away from familiar surroundings and moving to a different culture. You will be leaving old friends and family behind, but also meeting new people and making new friends.

The major advantages of choosing Mexico as your new home for retirement, are location, lower costs, friendly culture, and beautiful countryside. It’s pretty easy to stay in touch with folks back home via the internet, telephone, or even visiting and taking advantage of airfare sales. Cost of living is about one-fourth of that in the United States, with everything from eggs to rent running at considerably lower prices in Mexico. If you want to live in a trendier area like Puerto Vallarta, rent will cost you much more than in the countryside or in smaller villages, but it’s your choice to make.

Of course there are some downsides to living in Mexico, as of course no culture is perfect. Mexico’s problems are generally related to poverty with enviromental degredation and crime standing out at the top of the list. Also, government isn’t as efficient as that in the United State, and anything inolving a governmental agency or paperwork will take time, patience, and what seems a forest’s worth of paper. Living in any new place takes adjustment, and liviing in a new country takes double amounts of adjustment. Mexico is no exception, and for those people who resist change and who are stuck in their ways, retiring here may be very challenging. If you are young at heart and up for new things and like a challenge, you’ll find a wonderful world to explore, full of great people and new ideas. You will make friends and learn more about the world, and perhaps even yourself.

Belinda Mills writes about a variety of subjects online, you can view her latest project at irsrefund.biz