Many U.S. companies continue to actively seek ways to increase energy efficiency.
Researchers have found companies with high environmental, social and governance ratings tend to outperform the market in the mid- and long-term ranges. As many boards and corporate executives are finding, sustainability initiatives can be very good for business.
Blockchain is a technology platform that promises to revolutionize financial transactions.
Distributed ledger technologies record transactions in a decentralized network, which means that the record of each transaction is shared across a network of computers, as opposed to at a single entity (e.g., a bank or clearinghouse).
A recent study found strong evidence of the ubiquity of business aviation at America’s leading firms. More than 90% of firms recognized for excellence used corporate aviation assets.
Business aircraft allow organizations to better leverage what is almost always their most important assets: their people. They do this by saving employee time and creating productive environments in transit, two things that are nearly impossible leveraging other forms of transportation.
While interest rates have been low for years, rising interest rates bode well for overall economic health — and may even hold good news for businesses.
Understanding and capitalizing on the opportunities that exist in rising rate environments can make businesses stronger. Focusing on the next best moves for your business, both in terms of borrowing and strategic investment, can help you stay ahead of the competition and make the best decisions for the future of your organization.
Global economic highlights as of February 20th
Insight into international trends for February 5th
Economic statistics including jobs, consumer sentiment and Fed funds rates for February 16
Economic statistics including jobs, consumer sentiment and Fed funds rates for January 22
RFID is viewed as a functional way to connect tangible items to the digital world.
Wide area RFID systems are new applications using base readers mounted overhead to monitor the movement and location of inventory. The expansion of low-energy Bluetooth beacons and readers enables companies to track inventory as it moves through an individual site or supply chain. BLE also can be used to help navigate people or objects through a location.
People are living longer, presenting a number of financial opportunities and challenges. Find out how to plan for the long term.
People are living longer and more dynamic lives than ever before. While planning for a robust second act, so too must you build out your financial plans to allow you to have the resources to do all the things you want to do in retirement. Providing for what are likely to be much longer twilight years also means providing for the challenges of reaching old age.
Any company looking to do business in China needs to understand the differences and nuances of banking in China in order to structure banking relationships for success.
This whitepaper focuses on the Top 10 concepts and common banking practices that are applicable to companies conducting business in China. While this is not an exhaustive list, the aim is to provide an overview and some of the essential knowledge to get started as a treasury practitioner.
Many U.S. companies with operations based in Britain wonder how Brexit will affect them.
With Brexit, seamless free trade access through Britain will end, and U.S. companies will need to establish new operations and offices in other EU countries. What’s more, as U.S. companies follow the Brexit process, many find they have new exposure to risks brought on by the upcoming separation.
Insight into national and regional trends for November
Insight into national and regional trends for January
Strategists examine challenges and opportunities for January
Economic reports and exchange rate forecasts for the current quarter
Economic reports and exchange rate forecasts from the previous quarter
There are seven common principles a business owner family can use to successfully transition to a financial family. These principles are outlined in this paper.
After the sale of a family business, the business owner family must transition to a financial family. An important element of a family’s successful transition is an understanding that the business purpose that drove and united the family. Without a common purpose, the family does not have a common goal or focus.
Accounts receivable remains the lifeblood of most companies. Here are some of the latest techniques and technologies for improving working capital performance.
New technologies allow companies to better integrate payment streams. This allows the business to benefit from controls visibility and technology not only with traditional paper receipts through a traditional lockbox but also electronic payments through a virtual lockbox or an electronic bill presentment and payment system.
The price of gold rings and lords a leapin’ increased this year as did the pear tree – but not the partridge. Visit pncchristmaspriceindex.com for fun and educational features.
The PNC Christmas Price Index predicts True Loves will be on their merry way to a more robust and satisfying holiday shopping season this year. To purchase the gifts included in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” it will only cost 0.6 percent more than in 2016, according to the 34th annual holiday economic analysis.
Health savings accounts can help fund medical expenses in retirement. If you wish to retire early, they can help cover health care expenses before you are eligible for Medicare.
If you wish to retire before age 65, a major roadblock may be the ability to pay for medical expenses before you are eligible for Medicare. While premiums for health insurance other than Medicare are generally not qualified expenses, you can use HSA money for deductibles associated with the health insurance plan you do obtain as well as co-pays and prescription drug costs.
AI promises greater efficiencies, reduced costs, higher profit margins and other benefits.
Most early investment in AI is being made by large technology companies, such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, that have invested heavily in digitization. The United States, China, South Korea and the United Kingdom lead in AI development and have created national strategic plans with substantial AI aspects.
Is it better to reward star performers on a team, or the entire team’s efforts?
Companies want their work teams to be effective and achievement-oriented. Well-functioning teams can lead to faster completion of goals and successful wins, as well as foster company loyalty, positive morale and higher productivity.
Strategists examine challenges and opportunities for February
You can’t afford to wait for clarity around Brexit. Learn about potential impacts on your business.
The ability to remain flexible and quickly implement changes based on potential Brexit outcomes will be an advantage in this time of uncertainty. This white paper is a resource to assist you in analyzing and planning for business after Brexit.
Ransomware uses encryption to prevent company users from accessing their own files.
Once a company is the victim of a ransomware attack, it may become the target of a repeat attack. Sometimes attackers threaten to publicly release sensitive company data or customer information online, a practice known as “doxing.” Ransom demands related to doxing can run much higher than those in initial attacks.
Whether your goal is to diversify while staying actively involved in the business or to execute on a complete sale of the business, an ESOP can accomplish either.
ESOPs provide owners with the ability to attain liquidity and address transition objectives in a tax advantaged manner. ESOPs provide flexibility and intangible benefits that are difficult or impossible to achieve with alternative exit strategies.
Many studies corroborate the notion that employee ownership yields positive outcomes for the company and benefits that employees can readily recognize.
ESOPs provide owners with the ability to attain liquidity and address transition objectives in a tax advantaged manner. ESOPs provide flexibility and intangible benefits that are difficult or impossible to achieve with alternative exit strategies.
Companies with lower engagement scores tend to have a sizable engagement gender gap.
As they take on more responsibility and have more direct interaction with senior executives, employees tend to develop a greater emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. But researchers have found companies with lower overall engagement scores tend to have a sizable engagement gender gap among employees in senior positions.
There’s still time to address year-end tax and financial planning. Here are nine possible tax-saving actions you can implement now.
Sometimes you don’t get to your financial planning as early as you would have liked. The good news is, it’s not too late to take some action. Here we provide a quick review of a few valuable income tax and estate planning strategies you might still use before year end.
More than $8.72 trillion has been invested in the United States in Responsible Investing strategies. Learn best practices.
The PNC Institutional Advisory Solutions® Investment Strategy Team has formalized its views on responsible investing for institutional investors. This summary discusses those views and key considerations for asset owners as they evaluate integrating responsible investing into the management of their portfolios.
The convergence of mobile technology and digital commerce is leading to real time payment innovation around the world.
Fight back against threats from employees, third-party contractors and consultants.
Insider attacks appear to be increasing. According to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 25% of cybersecurity breaches involved inside personnel. Kaspersky Lab found 34% of cybersecurity incidents involved insiders, including employees as well as trusted third parties.
The internal experience can help you find and retain qualified candidates.
The U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2000, and the shortage of skilled workers has seldom been so severe. As baby boomers continue to retire, companies are struggling to find workers to replace them. ManpowerGroup found that 40% of global companies report having difficulty finding qualified candidates.
Cash balances continue to remain high; there’s a large investment in bank products and organizations have no plans to invest in prime money market funds. Could that change?
While much of the talk around money funds asks why corporates left, AFP’s survey attempted to dig a little deeper. We asked practitioners what might entice them to come back. Would it be a stable NAV? Is it a certain number of basis points? Is it the uncertainty around it?
Insight into the Indian economy
It’s important to review your plans so they reflect your current status and wishes. Use our checklist to identify documents you might easily assess on your own.
Your advisors can help you map out the provisions of your will and any trust(s) and compare them with the beneficiary designations of any retirement plans, life insurance, and any other resources that might pass by any form of contract. Compare the results to confirm that, in total, they accomplish what you want.
Changes to the NACHA Operating Rules, which govern the use of ACH, now enable ACH participants to speed delivery of more time-sensitive ACH transactions.
Same Day ACH has been especially beneficial when businesses experienced a delay in creating their direct deposit payroll files. Activating Same Day ACH allowed the files to be processed immediately and their employees were paid on time.
The 60% stock and 40% bond portfolio may no longer be sufficient to generate the returns required to meet the long-term goals of institutions and individuals.
As interest rates have decreased, investors have had to assume greater portfolio risk and asset class diversification to keep pace with their objectives. In 1995, an investor could earn a 7.5% return with a simple 100% fixed income portfolio. By 2015, investors needed a drastically more diversified portfolio, with fixed income shrinking to 12% of the total portfolio.
The U.S. dollar has been experiencing increased volatility. Find out how to manage the impact of the changing value of the dollar and other currencies.
What is the best way to develop a risk management plan for your business? What resources are available for assistance with the financial and market variables that will impact a risk management plan? What is the best way to identify the appropriate hedging instruments to use? What are the outcomes of an effectively implemented risk management plan?
Manufacturing with the integration of automation and digitization
Industry 4.0 seamlessly integrates the physical and virtual worlds. It enables companies from different countries to share technologies through an interoperable global value chain. Manufacturers, suppliers, business partners, distributors and customers are becoming members of a fully interconnected, digitally integrated technology ecosystem.
Make targeted hires who are recognized leaders in their discipline or industry.
Digital transformation requires technical staff with more advanced skills and multidisciplinary experience to understand the digital needs of the business at a deeper level. Technical staff must know and understand legacy IT systems and be able to creatively undertake the challenges inherent in digital conversion.
Insight into the Canadian economy
Canada is back on track. After real GDP growth of less than 2% in 2015 and 2016, it looks set to pick up to around 2.5% this year and next. A Bank of Canada survey showed the share of businesses planning to increase capital spending was nearly the largest in a decade.
The trend toward wind, solar and other renewables has taken hold.
Despite potential obstacles, the renewable energy industry has gained significant momentum, to the point where it has eroded coal’s share of the electricity-generation market. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the share of U.S. electricity generated by renewable energy sources, not including hydropower, steadily grew to 15% in 2016 from 10% in 2010.
We believe buy-sell funding has a “Goldilocks zone” of sorts in that parties to a buy-sell agreement will seek to find an optimal funding level.
Acquiring an appropriate amount of life insurance coverage, properly structuring ownership and beneficiary designations, and aligning the type of life insurance policy with the terms of the buy-sell agreement are critical to implementing a successful funding strategy.
A key to effective wealth management and family wealth transfer is recognizing the risks that threaten you and your family’s wealth and developing strategies to minimize them.
Recognize the risks that threaten you and your family’s wealth and develop strategies to minimize them. Disability, divorce and predators are just a few of the risks families face. A well-designed and well-administered trust is one of the most effective tools for managing life’s risks and achieving wealth goals.
Criminals are stealing employee credentials to access a company’s network and data.
Stolen credentials enable attackers to masquerade as legitimate employees and maneuver undetected through a company’s networks. Cybercriminals engage in “credential abuse,” the malicious use of compromised passwords to access and authenticate corporate applications. Attackers steal data, plant malware or conduct other harmful actions.
When you plan for the cost of new equipment, don’t forget to plan for the significant portion of the total equipment expense called “soft costs.”
Finding a lender with a strong specialty in equipment financing and who understands more than just the invoice amount is key. As long as soft costs stay within certain parameters of the total investment, you can fold them into your affordable monthly equipment payment, preserving your cash for more important needs.
Insight into the Brazilian economy
Hackers are finding new ways to steal proprietary company and customer information.
Consumer-facing companies were the first to purchase cyber insurance to protect against customer data theft. Manufacturing companies now are purchasing cyber insurance as vulnerability concerns arise over integrated factory systems and hacking risks associated with digital and cloud-connected products.
This year, more workers may be tempted to explore other career opportunities.
Many workers, especially millennials, don’t want to be managed in a traditional way. They want coaches who help them develop professionally and leaders who challenge and engage them. They want the flexibility to work from home and determine their schedules. Many want opportunities to pursue their passions and engage their creativity.
Insight into the Australian economy
Payments fraud attempts are widespread across all industry types. Understand how these fraud schemes are designed to infiltrate/compromise your business and takeaction to prevent them.
Seventy-five percent of organizations were targets of payments fraud in 2016 and half of respondents in a recent survey reported that incidents of fraud attempts increased. Cybercriminals often initiate fraudulent requests from email accounts that appear to be from a company executive or a known external partner. Employees need to recognize the characteristics of a fraudulent payment or change request.
Hedging allows treasurers to protect profits and cash flow by locking in revenues, costs and global intercompany transactions, but accounting treatment can be uncertain.
Equity markets are highly volatile. Global currency markets have also been experiencing larger than normal swings. Fortunately foreign exchange hedging products such as forwards and options are available to protect against the potentially adverse impact of currency fluctuations.
Companies must implement secure and efficient payment processes in the face of a complex and an evolving web of customs, laws and regulations that varies from country to country.
Best practices cover payment instructions, understanding local rules, tax implications, using local currency, and collaborating with your bank.
Organizations need to identify the potential exposures, quantify costs and consider additional investments.
PNC Healthcare has worked with a number of large healthcare delivery systems over the last several years, assisting them in grappling with the dramatically changing healthcare environment. The insight we have developed through these relationships can be helpful to any business that offers healthcare insurance to employees or is concerned about rising costs.
Even cross-border payments sent via SWIFT will land in a local payment system where unique banking practices may delay funds’ availability and result in fees to the beneficiary.
Companies need to implement secure and efficient payment practices in the face of customs, processes and regulations that vary from country to country. To avoid delays and extra costs, understand payment rules, regulations and networks.
Check fraud tops the list of fraud methods criminals use, according to the latest AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey. Why is this latest survey especially worrying?
75% of organizations experienced check fraud in 2016. 74% reported that their organizations were exposed to business email compromise. Nearly half of survey respondents reported that the incidents of fraud attempts increased in 2016.
RPA software programs mimic the keystrokes humans make to complete rote processes.
RPA software sits on top of legacy information technology systems or more complex intelligent automation applications. Because it’s less complex, RPA is easy to implement for fast returns in efficiency and cost savings. It can be integrated smoothly with legacy systems for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and business process management.
The Internet of Things links devices and people, often without human intervention.
The Internet of Things generates data to improve operations and anticipate actions. Sensors, software, the cloud, computers and other devices can seamlessly merge physical and digital technology for greater efficiency, improved service and better process management.
Is your suppliers’ reluctance or refusal to accept electronic payments a barrier to increased usage? Here are some tips for driving increased commercial card acceptance.
Integrate supplier calls into your Accounts Payable (AP) department to introduce commercial card as a payment option that creates benefits for both parties. Incorporate commercial card payment information into standard communications (e.g., emails, check communications) with suppliers. Contact suppliers regularly to engage them directly on commercial card acceptance.
Between 2009 and 2015, commercial card volume almost doubled, as more companies switched from checks to electronic payments.
However, the rate of growth in commercial card volume has been slowing in recent years and fell to just 8% in 2015. This slowdown can be attributed to a number of factors, including organizational inertia, reluctance to overhaul legacy payment systems, or the belief that suppliers will not accept electronic payments.
Savvy companies understand that employees arecustomers too.
Researchers have learned it is profitable to view the overall employee experience in relation to the overall customer experience. Consulting firm Aon Hewitt found organizations ranking high on employee engagement realize a 4% increase in sales growth and a 2% increase in operating margin.
Pension plan sponsors are faced with a volatile political and macro landscape that presents significant opportunities and risks.
There is uncertainty around the timing and potential size of Federal Reserve rate hikes, the potential impact on the longer end of the curve, the policies of a new administration, and the ability of the economy to maintain the positive momentum of the last eight years.
One of the operational areas that offer considerable potential for technology-based transformation is the payments system.
Your financial institution should support you in recruiting suppliers to accept electronic payments, continually monitor the effectiveness of optimization efforts, identify issues with supplier recruitment, and activation of suppliers who have agreed to accept electronic payments.
Even though the Liquidity Coverage Ratio is targeted at banks, your banking relationship — and therefore your business — may be affected.
The Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) was created by banking regulators to enhance the banking industry’s ability to absorb shocks resulting from financial and economic stress and to strengthen the industry’s processes for monitoring and managing liquidity. Over the long term, the LCR rule will benefit your business by increasing the strength of the banking industry.
Pension plan sponsors face a volatile landscape that presents significant opportunities and risks, especially if they have a legacy defined benefit plan, or are considering a merger.
Healthcare systems are complicated organizations, managing their liabilities to maintain credit ratings in a competitive environment. Pension risk is a liability many systems face and several strategies available are highlighted in this article.
Today’s rising interest rate environment may make it possible to improve your return on short-term cash.
Investment policies should include formalized forecasting and contingency plans to prepare key decision-makers for unexpected events. Contingency plans should include a scenario analysis that details events of varying risk or magnitude and how the company will react. For example — divest, stay the course or become more conservative.
Healthcare systems should examine their current strategies, the adequacy of their information systems and the revenue and cost assumptions under which they are operating.
The uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act, cyber security, value-based payment models, mergers and consolidations, monetization of data, transformation of the care continuum and blockchain solutions are among the issues that successful healthcare systems have addressed. Find out what has worked.
Stealing IP can be quicker and cheaper than investing in innovation and research.
Stolen IP gives cyberthieves and their customers an unfair competitive advantage, and as a result security experts say corporate cyber espionage is on the rise. IP cybertheft is affecting every industry. The sectors expecting the greatest threat increases include utilities and power, telecommunications, industrial products and services, and automotive.
Noncompete agreements can dissuade employees from going to work for a competitor.
Proprietary knowledge is critical to business success and companies go to great lengths to protect intellectual property and trade secrets. For instance, many companies require employees to sign noncompete agreements upon their hiring to protect intellectual property from exiting the firm if the employee decides to leave.
Consolidation is a key growth strategy. A robust agriculture equipment sector includes the financing tools and mechanisms farmers need to access state-of-the-art equipment.
Agriculture has been central to Canada’s economy for its entire existence as a country. From the fruit orchards in the West, to the grain and wheat of the Prairie provinces, to the wine regions in Ontario and British Columbia; from the world-class honey and maple syrup, to the dairy and meat producers across the nation, Canada is a significant food and crop producer.
U.S. businesses today may need foreign exchange services if they buy product from overseas suppliers or if they sell product internationally and have foreign currency receivables.
U.S. businesses with a global footprint need an efficient, low-cost method to make and receive payments in currency other than U.S. dollars. Whether a business has foreign currency needs on an ongoing or ad hoc basis, PNC can help manage the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on future cash flows and profitability.
Energy is largely an export industry in Canada. More than a third of the oil, gas and coal production and more than 10% of hydroelectric power exported to the United States.
The energy industry in Canada comprises oil and gas, mining, renewables, and power production and distribution. Each has unique features, including regulatory controls, and the level of involvement by government. They also differ from province to province, with various controls and incentives in place to encourage or discourage investment and foreign involvement.
Opportunities abound for creative financial institutions with the tools needed to partner with government because much infrastructure activity will be funded by deficit budgets.
Infrastructure spending will be roughly aligned with the size of the provinces and the current infrastructure deficit.Key provinces to watch include Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. These four provinces account for 85% of the population and are therefore most likely to get the vast majority of the spending.
Cost structures may allow for increased margins.Time zone alignments and ease of transport can be a significant advantage for U.S. firms with Canadian manufacturing centers.
The most significant and sophisticated hubs for manufacturing are in Ontario and Quebec. Primarily developed to support the automotive, aerospace, telecom and pharmaceutical industries, these hubs boast clean and safe facilities, and many of the manufacturing companies employ world class sophisticated and/or large-scale equipment in their processes and facilities.
Companies that can add value to wood products and have access to markets in place to sell the end products have good opportunities in this market.
The forestry industry in Canada is growing due to increased trade with, and demands from, China. As a result of recent disputes between Canada and the United States, Canada has developed new market channels, which are increasing the demand for softwood and specialty wood products. The industry has been slow to develop value-added wood products.
PNC’s economists are predicting increases in 2017 and 2018. A new administration in Washington and political changes in Europe may also affect interest rates.
What does the future hold for interest rates? How will the new interest rate environment affect your borrowing strategies and how can you mitigate the risks? We asked Tina Hwang from PNC’s Capital Markets group to weigh in.
“3-D printing,” is being adopted by many industries, from aerospace to chocolate.
Some economists view the rise of 3-D printing as a new industrial revolution. It can significantly cut the time to test and develop new products, speed delivery of custom parts and components, allow a higher degree of customization, and aid in refining prototypes for new, more complex products and designs.
Three key areas of focus emanating from the new Administration and Congress are positive for the economy and growth: cutting taxes, infrastructure investment and less regulation.
As was revealed in the just-released 2017 AFP Risk Survey, one of the top three risk factors having the greatest impact on organizations’ earnings in the next three years was “U.S. political and regulatory uncertainty.”
Despite the prospect of a higher interest rate environment, access and availability in the debt capital markets remain open and attractive in both floating and fixed-rate segments.
Banks maintain a solid appetite for new loans as we enter 2017; however, it remains to be seen if banks begin to become more selective in their investment decisions in the overall context of a rising rate environment coupled (potentially) with a less rigid regulatory environment.
Companies like Amazon and Google set the tone for customer experience standards.
This customer-centric approach is driven in large part by digital technology and social media that have empowered customers and changed the rules for purchasing goods and services. For example, researchers have found 75% of online customers expect service within five minutes of making contact with any vendor or supplier.
The corporate treasurer needs to be looking forward, even trying to peer around the corner to see what risks and opportunities exist ahead of them.
Treasurers are helping to fight cyber risk issues, dealing with high-impact regulatory challenges, TWS/ERP integration, and FinTech challenges and opportunities. At the same time, the convergence of finance and technology is increasingly giving treasurers an advantage in attracting the best and brightest professionals as the field becomes more compelling and exciting.
Uncertainty regarding U.S. economic strength, global considerations and unanticipated events will likely result in continued market volatility over the near term.
We follow a consistent and disciplined approach to investing, seeking diversified sources of return. In our opinion, investors are best served if they work with their advisor to focus on their long-term goals, with an asset allocation that is appropriate for the risk profile and return objectives of their unique circumstances.
Employers must merge full-time, part-time and contingent workers into a cohesive team.
Growing ranks of contingent workers include consultants, freelancers, independent contractors, agency temps, day laborers and the self employed. individuals. These workers are not regular employees of a business but are engaged on an interim basis. They do not qualify for full-time work schedules, regular wages or company benefits.
Customers are open to using electronic and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.
Chatbots are increasingly being used to augment customer service. These technology applications use AI to process language, enabling them to understand human speech. They can decipher verbal or written questions and provide responses with appropriate information or direction. Many customers first experienced chatbots through dialogue boxes on company websites.
The team needs to be clear about the objectives and their roles in creating success.
To ensure the success of an innovation team, it’s best to go beyond professional credentials alone and consider drawing from a wide mix of personalities, experiences and skills. With roles and responsibilities clearly defined, innovation teams can bring about changes that profit their organizations.
Many employees and managers agree that annual reviews don’t fit today’s workplace.
Some analysts estimate that more than one-third of U.S. companies have thrown out the traditional annual performance review altogether. These businesses are experimenting with dropping traditional employee rating systems and replacing annual reviews with other ways to evaluate and reward performance.
Cyber criminals are finding new and subtler ways to infiltrate legitimate businesses to conceal or advance their objectives.
As a financial institution that is focused on creating long-term, collaborative relationships with its customers, PNC believes strongly that the USA PATRIOT Act requirement to know our customers, their ownership, business purpose, suppliers and customers benefits our national security — and your security as well.
Technological advancements have led to shortened product development times, faster products to market, better distribution systems and streamlined purchasing.
While banks and FinTech providers can at one level be seen as competitors, there is increasing recognition by both sides of the strengths and limitations each possesses. This mutual recognition of their relative strengths and limitations is leading to increased collaboration between the two.
FinTech’s significance is underscored by the exponential growth in venture capital investing in the sector in recent years.
Going forward, FinTech is expected to impact a broad mix of financial service categories, including payments. Many financial service providers are preparing for this new reality by making strategic investments in and partnering with FinTech firms, as well as developing their own solutions.
Distributed ledger technologies record transactions in a decentralized network. The record of each transaction is shared across a network of computers.
While FinTech firms are helping to accelerate the pace of technological advancement within the industry, banks are investing in new technologies to provide better/faster/cheaper and more secure services to their client base.
Along with consistent growth, U.S. insurance firms are facing pressure on their bottom lines due to increased competition, low interest rates and regulatory changes.
By automating claims payments, insurance firms can reduce their reliance on checks and add disbursement options including ACH, prepaid cards and even same-day or real-time mobile solutions. Insurance firms can also improve receivables processing as well by accepting premium payments and contributions to annuities or other investment accounts in a variety of formats.
Large companies and municipalities are utilizing these bonds.
A CAT bond is a high-yield debt instrument intended to provide funds in case of a specified natural disaster. These insurance-linked securities can be used to distribute risk from natural events across a wider scope. Pricing is based on CAT modeling that analyzes potential exposure to weather and other catastrophes.
Long a trusted resource for financial institutions, SWIFT also supports corporate treasurers as they face expanding roles and shrinking resources.
SWIFT provides messaging standards that define a common means of structuring data for a broad range of financial purposes, from cash management and foreign exchange to trade finance. Additionally, SWIFT provides a highly secure proprietary communication platform and products such as SWIFT FileAct, which supports the exchange of bulk files between corporates and banks.
Operations and supply chains can be disrupted any time from anywhere in the world.
Business continuity and disaster recovery plans can serve as the first response in the wake of a disruptive event. A well-documented business continuity plan can help organizations anticipate likely scenarios, outline response actions and react rapidly, thus increasing the likelihood of resuming normal operations quickly and with the least interruption.
Stocks and bonds are expensive relative to history, growth remains sluggish, and corporate earnings have been unable to gather sustainable momentum.
We remain in a difficult market to forecast, particularly regarding the complex interactions between what we see as the weak fundamental backdrop and how current monetary policy might affect the dollar, interest rates, and investor risk preferences.
Some of the considerations for U.S. companies doing business in Canada and the industries with the most potential; manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, infrastructure and energy.
Although Canada offers opportunity in most industries, there are some that have unique and specific potential today. Similarities between industries across the border, foreign exchange advantages and simply the growth potential of each sector within Canada are among them.
Intruders use stolen or compromised credentials to steal sensitive data.
Many companies are beginning to use an automated threat detection and analysis approach that monitors all cyber activity holistically and provides detection alerts in real time. These systems enable security analysts to step out of the role of “cyber cop” and to instead focus their attention on ways to proactively improve their organizations’ security position.
As e-commerce moves towards 10% share of total retail sales, mobile commerce is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
Widespread consumer adoption of payment technologies can lead to demand in the commercial space. For these reasons, trends in consumer payment innovation can be early indicators for changes in commercial payments.
Seven trends are altering the $3.2 trillion healthcare sector in new ways.
Projections show positive signs of economic stability, yet a degree of uncertainty lingers with some corporate executives. Additional interest rate hikes are widely expected in 2016, and the U.S. dollar continues to be strong against major world currencies, both of which could increase borrowing costs and reduce revenues.
Gender bias exists in hiring, performance reviews and opportunities for advancement.
Although both women and men struggle to balance work and family commitments, the majority of childcare, caregiving and household responsibilities fall to women. Pulled in two directions, many women are at a disadvantage in the workplace compared to their male peers.
The controls that come with the latest commercial payment methods enable CFOs, controllers and program administrators to exercise greater control over payment systems and practices.
The potential benefits associated with strong controls can be significant in terms of cost savings and peace of mind. Conversely, failure to implement appropriate payment controls can subject an organization to unnecessary financial risk.
States target unclaimed property to gain revenue to address their budget shortfalls.
Unclaimed property held by a company may include unclaimed payroll checks, outstanding vendor checks, supplier credits, accounts receivable credits, gift cards, rebates and customer deposits. It also may include abandoned bank accounts or stock trading accounts, unpaid insurance claim payouts, unclaimed pension benefits, and real property.
A sound security plan can protect access, safeguard company data and mitigate risks.
IT security experts note that cloud servers face many of the same threats as in-house servers, as well as some additional risks. These include data breaches, shared vulnerability attacks, malicious insider threats, denial of service (DoS) attacks and data loss.
Outsourcing enables company executives to remain focused on their core businesses.
Outsourcing remains attractive for many companies because it offers several advantages in addition to cost savings, particularly in addressing talent gaps and shortages, exploiting Big Data capabilities and implementing new technology quickly. Yet many companies struggle to transition their IT and noncore operations effectively to an outsourcing model.
It’s getting easier to digitally market products and services to customers.
To remain competitive in today’s market, companies need to provide customers with mobile access to their products and services. Apps can simplify online and mobile purchases and help consumers find useful product information. An app that is easy to use can increase order quantities and improve customer loyalty and engagement.
It's clear that corporations and individuals need to understand the risks and opportunities as an uncertain situation evolves.
Britain's Brexit vote upended expectations with 51.9 % of voters backing the "leave" campaign versus 48.1% backing "remain." The result sent shock waves through the markets and created an unstable political environment in the United Kingdom in the weeks following.
The final fiduciary rule issued by the Department of Labor carves out a fiduciary-free zone that allows the delivery of investment education to retirement plan participants.
Those who are perceived to have deep pockets present attractive litigation targets. Professionals and business owners are well aware of their risks. Many of these professionals can face malpractice claims, breach of contract claims, and personal injury claims, but there are a multitude of additional risks that professionals and employers confront.
When planning for risk, start with the easiest and least expensive measures and work through the options, weighing whether each measure can address each risk appropriately.
Those who are perceived to have deep pockets present attractive litigation targets. Professionals and business owners are well aware of their risks. Many of these professionals can face malpractice claims, breach of contract claims, and personal injury claims, but there are a multitude of additional risks that professionals and employers confront.
Longer duration debt may cost more, but it can help you
weather an economic downturn.
External factors impacting companies’ businesses and balance sheets can create a mismatch of assets and liabilities, if the latter come due too quickly. So the extra time provided by longer maturities can help companies through rough patches.
Choices about caring for your elderly loved one have to be made in context of what they could mean to your long-term future.
The conflict of caregiving duties with work activities is intense: Six in 10 caregivers who worked full-time in 2015 also reported having to reduce hours or take a leave of absence. Some workers find they are able to better manage when they take advantage of workplace accommodations such as telecommuting, flexible hours and paid sick days.
Chart provides detailed information on Money Market Fund regulation considerations at a glance.
Intended to preserve the benefits of money market funds while increasing transparency and strengthening investor confidence, new regulations effective in October 2016 will require a re-evaluation of your cash management strategy.
The federal election will affect policy and conditions for business and investing for at least the next four years. This uncertainty may not be helpful for upward market momentum.
It’s too soon to make predictions about what’s in store for investors during the next presidential term. However, review of current conditions and past patterns makes it likely that investors could see quite a bit of market volatility for the near term.
Industries face digital disruption due to fast adoption of mobile devices and apps.
Companies in the media, telecommunications, consumer financial services, retail and technology industries are the first being affected by digital disruption. But nearly every other industry will soon be impacted by new digital technologies that challenge their business strategies and how they interact with their customers.
59% of HR professionals find succession planning is harder than ever.
Succession planning supports effective governance and management practices in a company. Once the succession plan is developed, the board should keep it up to date and review it frequently. Preparing in advance for the inevitable will help the company achieve a smoother leadership transition.
Cyberattacks have been weaponized by terrorists, crime syndicates and rogue nations.
The Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center will act as a secure, central nexus for cyber-threat information to assist U.S. businesses in protecting themselves more effectively against cyberattacks and sharing information on proven means of defense.
New SaaS companies are relying on expensive financing around such as venture capital.
SaaS companies can lack the key measuring sticks that banks use to determine creditworthiness, namely inventory and receivables. Their inventory tends to be cloud-based and therefore a nontangible asset, and receivables are subscription-based and often amortized.
Honesty and transparency between lender and the borrower can deliver good outcomes.
Sometimes unflattering information such as shareholder lawsuits, past criminal activity, asset impairment, etc. are held back. This approach can affect your credibility and that of your management team.
Insight into the Japanese economy
Intrinsic rewards motivate knowledge workers' creative thinking and risk taking.
It seems logical to pay incentives to employees for innovation in product development and research. However, behavioral economists have found that the opposite is true with knowledge workers such as software engineers, product developers, data analysts and consultants whose jobs are to develop original ideas and applications.
Technological innovation can improve the match of skilled workers to labor needs.
As more companies turn to digital labor platforms, global labor markets will draw in more workers and begin to optimize human resources processes and efficiencies. By 2025, $2.7 trillion could be added to global gross domestic product from digital labor platforms and employment could potentially increase by 72 million full-time equivalent positions.
When outside capital is needed, good cash flow and working capital management will make it easier to find and less expensive no matter what the economic cycle.
Companies that make working capital efficiency part of their organization’s culture have the opportunity to generate more of their working capital internally, thereby lowering costs, improving their performance and boosting their competitive position.
Create an education program that incorporates both financial and physical wellness for your employees.Communicate with your employees to identify key topics of concern.
Employers can play a significant role in helping their employees achieve a financially secure retirement by addressing the least understood threat to their retirement dreams — the cost of healthcare. The failure to plan adequately for the increase in demand for healthcare in retirement and their projected costs may upend even the best-laid plans.
If you are one of the growing number of companies doing business in China, recent moves to liberalize its currency can have substantial
bottom-line benefits for you.
Although U.S. companies have historically believed that negotiating international agreements in USD insulates them from exposure to currency volatility, it also puts them at a competitive disadvantage compared to companies that transact in local currency.
Blockchain is a decentralized electronic ledger that grows as data is added.
Blockchain uses cryptography to enable each user to add to the ledger in a secure way. As a new transaction occurs, both parties must verify its authenticity by consensus before it is recorded in a block. This eliminates the need for a central authority to monitor and validate transactions, instead relying on the consensus of the participants.
The buying habits of the world’s population are undergoing a major shift.
Companies may need to rethink their business models. Future success will be built on an approach, where growth is based on per capita spending rather than on increasing the number of customers, and products and services appeal more to the needs of urban populations and new age groups.Companies also need to consider how they can add or expand services.
Changes to the NACHA Operating Rules will allow ACH participants to speed delivery of transactions that are more time sensitive than traditional ACH transactions.
Employers who want more flexibility in timing payroll, insurance carriers committed to fast payout of claims and reimbursements, individuals who need to get money to family members quickly, and billers wanting to offer a same day bill payment option are just a few of the groups looking forward to Same Day ACH.
China’s dramatic growth in international trade has made it the second largest economy in the world. The Chinese Renminbi is now the fifth most common currency in world trade.
The Chinese government has undertaken a process to liberalize and internationalize its currency, relaxing rules to become more equal trading partners with other developed countries. This includes expanding the use of the Chinese Renminbi (RMB) for global trade settlement, encouraging a robust offshore RMB environment and liberalizing access to on-shore RMB accounts.
Around the world, the momentum behind the move to real-time payments (RTP) — or “Immediate Payments,” as they’re often termed — is unstoppable and growing.
The U.S. has been conspicuous in its absence from the list of countries embracing RTP. That’s changing fast, with a surge of activity and initiatives under way to bring payments in the U.S. up to speed with the rest of the world. These moves involve a broad range of players, and an approach specifically geared to the unique needs and requirements of the U.S. market.
The Department of Labor has issued a final rule that expands the definition of fiduciary “investment advice” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended.
The Final Rule confirms that individuals who provide investment advice to owners of Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Health Savings Account (HSA) and similar individual arrangements will be considered fiduciaries. In addition, the Final Rule expands fiduciary advice to include rollover recommendations.
Successful innovators share certain traits that make success more likely.
This in-depth research found that inventive companies tend to possess eight essential qualities in varying degrees that form an “operating system” for successful, sustainable innovation. Here’s a summary of those traits.
In September 2015, the 10-year swap spread turned negative, and today, all swap spreads with a tenor of 5 years and greater are negative.
Current negative swap spreads present an opportunity for market participants favoring fixed rate debt. The bank markets traditionally price over LIBOR, and the bond markets price over Treasuries. By electing to pay a fixed swap rate, a market participant enjoys the benefit of negative swap spreads through a lower swap rate paid for the life of the contract.
Insight into the Mexican economy
Insight into the Chinese economy
Many companies have found growth opportunities elusive and are focused on maintaining operational efficiency.
The increasing speed of doing business, the rise of globalization, the continued drive to identify and capture efficiencies, and the need to optimize relationships with suppliers and customers are driving companies to incorporate new technologies into their business processes.
A variety of changes and challenges are affecting the ability and willingness of middle-market companies to finance new initiatives.
One of the troubling uncertainties is whether the Federal Reserve will continue to increase short- term interest rates throughout 2016. Rising rates will affect borrowers’ cost of capital and likely reduce their demand for funding.
Rapid advancements in technology have fueled faster change.
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen describes disruption as the process in which a smaller company with limited resources successfully challenges more established and larger industry leaders. He notes that disruption “displaces an existing market, industry or technology and produces something new, more efficient and worthwhile
Millennials need the right work environment to become a high-performing generation.
Millennials want to be challenged as they progress through their careers, and that usually plays out in mobility — the average tenure of Millennials is two years. Many are not willing to hang around if they feel their job offers little personal growth or career benefit. Instead, they are unafraid to strike out for better opportunities.
Whether you have made the decision to sell your business or are just exploring your options for the future, understanding the road ahead can mean the difference between success and disappointment.
Business sales are complex transactions that are influenced by many variables. Planning ahead can increase the likelihood of success and potentially enable you to navigate tax considerations. An experienced investment banker who is familiar with your industry can ensure that your business is positioned to achieve maximum value and that the sale process is managed properly.
An RFP allows your organization to describe its objectives, priorities and expectations for bidding potential service providers.
An RFP helps you identify the best provider for your needs.It also plays a critical role in fulfilling the fiduciary responsibility of acting prudently and for the exclusive benefit of plan participants and beneficiaries, and serves as a written record of the systematic process behind the selection of your plan service provider.
Insight into European zone trends
You could deploy more and/or better revenue-producing equipment in service this year?
The Section 179 deduction can allow businesses of certain sizes (subject to specific limitations) to deduct up front, rather than depreciate over a number of years, the cost of equipment such as computers, vehicles, manufacturing equipment, farm machinery, office furniture, etc. Combined with the benefits of bonus depreciation and the incentive to acquire equipment and stay on the cutting edge of technology by continuing to buy equipment, this deduction can have a positive impact on your flexibility and growth.
Participation in the syndicated loan market was down 6% in 2015 compared to 2014.
Thomson Reuters reports that most of the new money supported M&A transactions, reaching an all-time record of $546 billion. Corporates borrowed $211 billion, and private-equity sponsors borrowed $120 billion. Investment-grade lending increased by 4%. Factors include high acquisition prices that took private-equity sponsors out of the market.
Data integrity can be compromised through cyber threats that manipulate data.
Quiet, insidious attacks may come in the form of planted malware or selective hacks that seize, modify or delete data or transactions in ways that benefit the perpetrators. For example, an attack could change a bank account’s direct deposit setting to channel deposits to another account.
2016 revenues are expected to increase in 16 manufacturing industries.
Projections show positive signs of economic stability, yet a degree of uncertainty lingers with some corporate executives. Additional interest rate hikes are widely expected in 2016, and the U.S. dollar continues to be strong against major world currencies, both of which could increase borrowing costs and reduce revenues
Workplace wellness programs: What's the real ROI?
Employee wellness programs are a $6 billion industry in the United States. These programs have been touted for helping employees improve their health and prevent disease while lowering healthcare costs. Approximately 50% of all companies with 50 or more employees now offer wellness programs.
Indirect taxes are based on trade flows and transactions.
Because each country uses a unique mix of indirect taxes, companies are challenged to stay on top of tax requirements and liabilities. Government tax administrators may change their policies and rates very quickly in response to economic needs, and they expect international companies to respond immediately or face penalties.
Mobile wallet is a consumer-to-business payment technology that has become better known since the release of Apple’s iPhone 6/6 Plus and the Apple Pay™ mobile wallet.
A combination of the desire to reduce card fraud and the popularity of smartphones has led to the emergence of “mobile wallet” solutions for point-of-sale (POS) payments. However, the payments industry remains in the midst of the “mobile wallet wars,” as market entrants battle it out to see which technology approach and provider or providers will carry the day.
Challenges need to be addressed as the Internet of Things transforms our world.
We are in the early stages of transforming into an interconnected world of people and machines. Yet growth has been rapid, fed by the availability of broadband technology and the decreasing cost of connecting devices through the Internet. More equipment and devices are being designed and built with sensors and Wi-Fi capabilities and smartphone use continues to surge.
Many American workers are not prepared to retire, no matter what age.
A study by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System found only about 25% of individuals they surveyed were actively saving for retirement. The Fed study noted that the shift from defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans has placed greater personal responsibility on employees to plan and save for their own retirement.
Corporate leaders are now viewing machines as talent to be fostered.
Human-machine collaboration allows humans and machines to combine their strengths and compensate for each other’s limitations, leading to better outcomes. Intelligent machines can be partners that learn and improve their skills and abilities as they work alongside human workers. Meanwhile, advanced technology is extending human capabilities.
A shift to a circular supply chain can keep limited materials in use longer.
Most manufacturers use a linear supply chain that extracts raw materials, manufactures products and distributes them to customers. At the end of the products’ service life, little is done to recycle and re-use materials. However, as commodity prices continue to rise, many companies are beginning to re-think this traditional linear model.
It's no longer science fiction to use your palm or retina to verify your identity.
The use of biometric authentication is being accepted internationally, largely due to the adoption of smartphones. Technology research firm Gartner estimates that 50% of consumers in established markets will use smartphones or wearables for mobile payments by 2018, and analysts have forecasted that by 2024 biometric methods will be used to verify all online transactions.
Companies are evaluating the impact of increased interest rates on global trade.
The U.S. dollar strengthened throughout 2015 in anticipation of higher interest rates and stronger economic growth. Advanced and stable economies such as Europe, Japan and India welcomed the Fed’s move, but many emerging markets are struggling with the impact of the rate hike.
Millennials may lack the skills needed to meet today's global challenges.
The demand for advanced knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is projected to explode in the next few years. At the same time, 38% of global manufacturers report difficulties in filling vacancies for skilled trades. Even college-educated Millennials often lack the technical and soft skills required for 21st-century careers.
Back to the Future: Global market unease
Global markets have had a tumultuous start thus far in the first few trading days of 2016, with a number of factors affecting market sentiment, triggering global equity markets to sell off. In the United States, the S&P 500® had its sixth - worst first trading day of the new year performance on Monday since 1928 (-1.53%).
Insight into the British economy
Companies can fail to recognize internal risks from employees and business partners.
One of the most common tactics used by cyber criminals is to find privileged users in an organization, gain access to their accounts, and then use their credentials to move freely throughout the system. This enables the criminals to avoid firewalls and other security controls as they map out the network and gain intelligence.
The TPP trade deal is the largest in history and covers 40% of the world economy.
TPP nations pose stiff tariffs and export barriers on U.S. goods and services. Passage of the TPP would phase out these barriers for more than 11,000 categories. Critics fear increased outsourcing of U.S. jobs and threats to legal protections. The hope is that passage of the TPP will improve U.S. competitiveness and help develop new markets.
Integrated teams of in-house staff and freelancers can work well together.
Many employers were initially suspicious of workers’ requests for greater flexibility, but the bet has paid off. A recent study found that some form of telework is offered by 88% of surveyed organizations, 82% offer flexible work hours, and 81% support part-time schedules.
Recent worldwide sluggish growth has tempered enthusiasm for global connectivity.
As an after-effect of the global recession, world trade is expected to increase only 3.3% in 2015 and 4.0% in 2016, still below the annual average growth of 5.1% since 1990. Prolonged sluggish growth in GDP, especially in the high-income countries, has been cited as the main reason for this slow recovery in trade.
The goal is to create “smart factories” that improve productivity and profitability.
Manufacturers of all sizes, all over the world, are being affected by this paradigm shift. Myriad stakeholders — manufacturers, suppliers, technology companies, universities, government agencies and laboratories — are working to seamlessly link intelligent machines, advanced analytics and workers in the next generation of manufacturing processes.
Companies must do their part in maintaining the integrity of the trade supply chain.
About 80 percent of illicit financial flows from developing countries are now channeled through trade-based money laundering (TBML), according to Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a research and advocacy organization.
Using a multi-track educational approach can teach participants the value of retirement plan participation and keys to staying on track.
Research suggests that plan sponsors are grappling with a conflict between the belief that they provide valuable participant education and the recognition that too many employees are not making informed decisions about their retirement. A deeper understanding behind this disconnect may be the first step in developing a more effective participant education approach.
From soaring market volatility to an increasingly complex regulatory environment, the challenges confronting institutional asset owners have never been greater.
It comes as no surprise that many pension plans, endowments, foundations and other investors are searching for new ways to achieve their investment objectives while controlling risk and keeping costs down.
Whether you use EFT or Virtual Cards, electronic payments can get funds to providers quicker, at a lower cost and with less risk than paper checks.
Like many other sectors, the healthcare industry is continually looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Electronic payments can support these goals by reducing costs, improving payments accuracy (resulting in fewer disputes) and optimizing working capital.
Business leaders must be flexible and responsive in navigating increased volatility while remaining focused on their organizations’ long-term
With change accelerating faster than ever before in human history, four major global disruptions are occurring that will have significant impact on businesses. Although these trends have been well-documented, what is not well-understood is the full extent of their impact or the collective effect of these trends as they collide and merge.
The explosion of the Internet, social media, technology devices and apps is creating a tsunami of data. The challenge for businesses is how to make the best use of the information.
Big data is being used to better understand consumer habits, target marketing campaigns, improve operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduce risk. International Data Corporation (IDC), a global provider of market intelligence and information technology advisory services, estimates that the global big data and analytics market will reach $125 billion in 2015.
With the growing adoption of electronic payments and emergence of new payment methods, the payments landscape will continue in its evolution over the next few years.
New technologies will play an increasingly important role in the management of payments. Trends include the continued decline of paperbased payments, the emergence of new payment methods, and the growth of corporate financial management technology.
An estate plan should be dynamic with changes being made as your life changes. This article may offer some guidance as to when you should review your estate plan.
With greater wealth comes a greater potential need to plan. Estate taxes may now be an issue and you may want to explore various estate planning strategies to reduce your taxes or minimize the impact of those taxes. You may also want to establish trusts for children and grandchildren to better plan for their future.
Private equity firms have capital and corporate buyers have access to low-cost funding. It’s a sellers’ market for middle-market companies as baby boomer owners get ready to retire.
The market for middle-market acquisitions remains hot by historical measures, although it’s showing signs of cooling. The Lead Left, a capital markets newsletter focused on the middle-market space, reports that private equity funding fell in 2014 from the year before. Assuming the critical issues around monetizing a business have been addressed, why wait any longer?
The discipline that guided companies through leaner times should remain central to prudent T&E expense control as business travel picks up in response to increased sales.
With business activity increasing, it can be easy to let cost containment policies slacken. This is especially true for travel and entertainment expense policies, as business travel picks up in response to increased sales, hiring and training activities.
Integrated payables or “payables outsourcing” enables a business to send instructions for initiating multiple payment types to its bank in a single, consolidated file.
Integrated payables allows for end-to-end automation of the payables process. You can receive back from your bank acknowledgments, confirmations and information reporting online or via secure file transmission. Integrated payables also facilitate migration from paper check disbursements to electronic payment alternatives.
Company growth often hinges on having the right talent in place and building bench strength. Many companies have found it smart to develop leaders at all levels of the organization.
Millennials are much more likely to job hop than Baby Boomers, who changed jobs infrequently throughout their careers. On average, Millennials change jobs every two years. As a result, moving forward, a human capital strategy that engages, recognizes, develops and retains talented employees will be critical to business success.
U.S. employers are having a hard time finding qualified workers. Many jobs now require technical knowledge and specialized skills that prospective employees simply don’t have.
Unfilled positions can be costly. The impact ripples through to lost production, poor customer service, delivery time delays, inferior work quality, low morale and higher turnover among those carrying heavier workloads. Business leaders and academics are rallying to address the skills gap with government program and a renewed focus on workplace development.
The business model for healthcare is reflecting changes driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), emphasis on cost containment, value, increased innovation and new technologies.
New care delivery options, robotics, remote monitoring, the use of big data, value-based models, the rise of health consumerism and an evolving healthcare workforce will transform the face of healthcare in the next 10 to 15 years.
Now that economic conditions appear to be stabilizing, many are re-focusing on improving their chances for a comfortable retirement. Some are taking a fresh look at their 401(k) plans.
Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has plunged to a record low. But these may mean a more realistic appraisal of the savings needed for retirement. Influenced in part by the recession and turmoil in the financial and housing markets, many are redefining retirement—including retiring later or crafting a “working retirement.
Over the past eight years, we’ve seen more than a doubling in U.S. commercial card usage, which includes purchasing and corporate cards, along with small business card spending.
Growing business confidence and the improved outlook for the economy has led to increased travel and entertainment budgets to support traveling employees and sales executives. As these budgets grow, companies such as yours need to closely control their increased spending — another one of the many reasons for implementing comprehensive corporate card platforms.
Many companies are interested in realizing the potential bottom-line benefits of payables automation but are unsure of how to introduce it. These 10 steps can help.
Among the steps companies can take toward payables automation are reaching out to their bank's treasury management officer, crafting a strategy, obtaining active buy-in from senior management, designating an executive sponsor and forming a payables auotmation project team with representation from various units.
Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has granted PNC Bank Canada Branch (“PNC Canada”) a full-service branch license.
Canada is the United States' largest export market and the second largest source of imports after China. Companies doing business in Canada face a number of challenges as they deal with customs documentation and adapt their operations for sales tax accounting, procurement procedures and even packaging and labeling. PNC can help.
In navigating through the sluggish growth environment of recent years, U.S. companies have increasingly focused on improving efficiency throughout their organizations.
Many companies have found significant opportunities for efficiency gains by introducing automation into their accounts payable opertaions. In addition to helping with efficiency, automation can offer a number of other benefits, including reduced costs and greater visibility into their pending financial obligations.
One of the legacies of the financial crisis is that companies are increasingly focused on managing working capital. Supply chain finance programs can boost working capital metrics.
With supply chain finance, a buyer can enable its supplier to get paid faster while receiving financing from the buyer’s bank at the buyer’s lower cost of funding. In turn, the buyer can negotiate extended terms or a discount on the invoice. The buyer’s ability to extend terms with the supplier can help drive working capital metrics to new heights.
Exchange rate volatility exists between most currencies. By transacting in the local currency, companies are able to manage exchange rate risk, effectively reducing potential premiums.
Over the past two decades, the U.S. economy has become increasingly linked to global markets, both for sourcing and sales. Historically, U.S. companies tended to prefer to negotiate all international agreements in U.S. dollars. However, they may increasingly placed themselves at a competitive disadvantage by doing so.
More and more companies are exploring the benefits of an asset-based solution. It works especially well in industries with tighter operating margins.
With liquidity at a premium, asset-based lending can be a particularly attractive alternative to a traditional bank loan or, to having to raise equity, which could dilute ownership. It can help middle-market companies move their business forward.
Plan sponsors are in a unique position to help their employees become more retirement-ready by considering plan design changes as well as consistent, effective employee education.
With retirement savings taking a back seat to more immediate financial concerns, and the percentage of workers confident that they’ll have enough money for a comfortable retirement at low levels, it’s more important than ever for plan sponsors to consider retirement readiness as a key — if not the key issue — their employees are facing.
With interest rates on the rise, do income-producing stocks still belong in the average investor's portfolio? The answer is, probably — but it depends.
Dividend stocks are enticing to investors during periods of volatility because in such a market they tend to perform well relative to more growth-oriented or higher-risk equities. Companies with a long track record of offering dividends tend to be slow growing; it’s their income potential that appeals to shareholders.
As international business grows more important to U.S. companies, it's vital to recognize that import and export activities are heavily regulated by the U.S. Government.
If you are conducting international business, if you are engaging in new types of transactions, if you are doing business with new entities or in new geographic regions, you may receive questions from government entities or your financial institution. Everyone involved is responsible for compliance and could face penalties or fines for noncompliance.
Risk can be defined as the possibility that your retirement assets will not provide for your essential living expenses. The retirement goal for most is to provide the cash necessary.
It seems more Americans are taking responsibility for managing their own retirement assets instead of relying solely on a pension. Many are also wondering how to fund the period after the traditional retirement age. Given these factors, we believe thinking about a retirement goal has never been more crucial.
In addition to expanded opportunity, international investing helps reduce portfolio risk through diversification. Allocations to non-U.S. stocks can reduce portfolio volatility.
International equity plays a critical role in a well-balanced portfolio. International stocks are a large and growing share of the global investment universe and offer investors the potential to capitalize on faster long-term growth trends abroad. There are also investment opportunities in industry segments that are dominated by non-U.S. companies.
The primary benefit of auto enrollment is that it works to overcome inertia for individuals who procrastinate or do nothing about 401(k) plan participation.
Automatic enrollment has been particularly effective in raising 401(k) plan participation levels of groups with the lowest contribution rates — younger and lower-wage workers, but some questions remain. As a plan sponsor, you should understand both the potential benefits and the limitations.
Professionals such as physicians, attorneys and business owners are at risk for liability and litigation. Those who are assumed to have deep pockets can become high profile targets.
Asset protection planning is an important part of a comprehensive estate and financial plan addressing an individual’s risks now and in the future. Proper asset protection planning requires time, consideration and knowledge to fully integrate the planning holistically and effectively.
Your financial well-being, like your health, can benefit from regular checkups — but where to start? Here is a step-by-step plan to improve your financial fitness.
Pay yourself first. Create a budget. Pay down credit card debt. Prepare a personal net worth statement. Review your estate planning documents. Rebalance your investment portfolio. Review your insurance and your tax plan and seek guidance from a qualified wealth management professional to improve your financial wel being.
Companies of all sizes are increasingly looking for growth beyond borders. In order to succeed in the international marketplace, you need control and flexibility in your cash flow.
Multicurrency accounts, multibank reporting capabilities and multibank transfers should be available through a robust online portal that makes transactions easy, transparent and accurate. Introductions and support with international financial institutions and trading partners are also essential element of a successful international cash flow strategy.
Most businesses need both disaster planning and business resiliency strategies, but resilency can come into play almost every day.
Business resiliency plans ensure uninterrupted processing for essential functions. Most business interruptions fall into one or more of these 5 categories: hardware, facilities, network/telecom, software and people. With a strong business resiliency plan, you can be prepared and avoid the difficulties of recovery without one.
The first step in developing a solid 401(k) benefit plan is to create a request for proposal (RFP) that clearly describes a company's objectives and expectations.
The value of an RFP lies in the process and thinking that is invested in it. It should be designed to detail requirements for potential vendors. This exercise lays the foundation that creates the framework of a solid 401(k) employee benefit plan and helps identify an effective provider.
Whether you are establishing a new retirement plan or improving an existing one, setting goals is a critical first step in achieving a plan that is effective for the company and its employees.
Real success springs from a belief that the employer is in a partnership with its employees in a shared mission to help them achieve financial security in retirement. This partnership may take many forms, including matching contributions, auto-enrollment, continuing education and planning assistance.
Fiduciaries have important responsibilities and are subject to strict standards of conduct. However, plan sponsors may not know who the fiduciaries to the plan are.
If you are involved in the administration of your company's retirement plan, it is important to understand what your role as a plan sponsor entails, as well as how to delegate parts of your fiduciary responsibility if you choose to do so. Even unintentional mistakes can lead to a breach of fiduciary duty that can have significant consequences.
Doing business with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa can be challenging for companies accustomed to the certainties of mainstream currencies.
Although the BRICS proactively promote international business, their governments remain concerned that any sudden inflow or outflow of money could de-stabilize their economies. As a result, they have implemented restrictions on international transactions. Trade and capital payments are regulated and certain hedging practices are prohibited.
Business owners and corporate treasurers are reviewing their projections for funded debt levels over the next several years to manage their mix of fixed and floating rate debt.
A hedging solution called the yield curve efficient interest rate swap closely follows the expected future path of interest rates. The frequency and timing of the increases can be tailored to meet specific cash flow needs.
Companies are beginning to recognize the importance of having an investment policy that provides clear direction on how investments will be managed and how much risk is acceptable.
A solid investment policy include formalized forecasting and contingency plans to prepare key decision-makers for unexpected events. Contingency plans should include a scenario analysis that details events of varying risk or magnitude and how the company will react. For example — divest, stay the course, or become more conservative.
Too many of our nation's businesses have been hit by cybercrime. Yours doesn't have to be one of them. Find out how to fight the latest ploys.
Just as the financial marketplace is driving to faster and more anonymous transactions, fraudsters are increasingly using old-fashioned methods to collect financial information that can enable them to compromise your accounts. Corporations, both large and small, as well as government entities, school districts and individuals, are vulnerable.
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly malicious and sophisticated, using a combination of tactics to gain your trust. Find out how to thwart them.
Dozens of botnets have helped thieves heist more than $100 million from the accounts of businesses around the world. Hackers stole more than $1 million from the payroll accounts of a Washington State hospital. Cyber thieves operating out of Ukraine are believed to be responsible for massive ebanking losses over the past few years.
Companies are continually looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition. And yet many of them overlook the benefits of regular interaction with their banking team.
It's a good idea to meet with your banker and talk through upcoming expenditures, including capital expenses. Get to know your bank and the people on your banking team. Regular meetings can help your banker capture a more accurate picture of your business and respond more quickly when needs and opportunities arise.
Many companies that had previously elected to hedge with an interest rate swap will be faced with early termination or make whole of their current interest rate swap.
In the face of moderate economic growth in the United States and overseas, short and long-term interest rates remain at historically low levels. There are many flexible and creative hedging solutions available. You should review the expected duration of your debt portfolio and consult with your capital markets profession to discuss your options.
Canada is a vitally important market for U.S. companies. The United States sells more goods to Canada than to all 27 countries of the European Union combined.
The ease and longevity of our relationship with Canada can make us forget that the enormous territory to the north is not just an extension of the United States. Like any other global market, Canada has its own customs, laws, rules, and regulations that require just as much attention and insight as those of our more distant trading partners.
Does your company have a well-thought-out investment policy? Does your policy have clear, measurable objectives? Has it been written down and shared with the appropriate team?
Putting your investment policy in writing is the foundation of effective investing. Your policy should provide benchmarks to help you evaluate how well it is working and what changes may be needed to make it more effective. While every company is different several elements should be part of every policy.
A retirement plan's design, carefully constructed, monitored and maintained, forms the foundation of any successful plan to provide a more stable and secure retirement for participants.
A well-designed plan serves as a magnet to attract and retain key employees; communicates to all participants that this is not simply an ordinary benefit at an ordinary company; and represents an opportunity for employers to illustrate their commitment to participants’ individual retirement plans and for participants to optimize their personal financial security.
Healthcare costs are forcing a new calculus on traditional retirement planning. They are rising faster than inflation and will consume a growing percentage of our spending as we grow older.
Individuals appear to be significantly underestimating what health care in retirement will cost them. According to a report issued by the Stanford Center on Longevity, “43% of middle-income Americans are paying more for healthcare with Medicare than they expected they would.” One reason for this may be that many are overlooking the prospect of long-term care.
When you contemplate the sale of your business, market timing, economic considerations, competitive trends, tax strategies and future capital requirements should be taken into account.
Merger and acquisition ("M&A") transactions can raise a series of important considerations that significantly impact business owners. When is the right time for an M&A transaction? What steps are required? When selling a company, how can business owners achieve liquidity and maximize value while still looking after the best interests of their company?
There are five threats to retirement that investors should be aware of. This article discusses those risks and how investors can seek to mitigate them.
Thinking about retirement is no longer a future event for many Americans; most recognize the need for careful planning throughout their working years. While it is a positive that Americans are expected to live longer, this can add to the already daunting challenges of funding a comfortable retirement.
Fiduciary responsibility is very important to 401(k) plan sponsors.Confirming that plan fees and expenses are reasonable part of their role.
Benchmarking against comparable organizations’ plans is often the most cost-effective and least disruptive method to determine whether fees are reasonable. It involves comparing your plan to plans of a group of organizations that resemble your own. A thorough benchmarking process will balance fee components and value components.
The ability to offer your customers and prospects financing for the purchases they make from you at competitive rates can help you meeting important business goals.
Using financing as a core sales strategy can help you sell more of your product to more people and keep your customers longer. You can close deals faster, include more product in the sale and get paid faster. Vendor finance programs also deliver significant benefits to your customers. They can get financing more quickly at favorable rates.
The wrong strategy, the wrong partner and poor management can knock you off track in China. Learn about challenges in the operating environment.
Often companies initially focus their strategy for China on the basic how to’s: How do I start a company? How do I find an agent? How do I open a bank account? These are important questions. But these are not the issues that can inhibit your success in China.
Biases are the basis for cognitive and emotional errors when we apply them in financial markets and they often result in financial losses.
Humans have an amazing capacity for reasoning, memory, action, feelings and emotions. But capacity alone does not ensure that we will develop the proper biases to employ every day in predictive scenarios. In some cases, these biases come hardwired in our brains and work against us when it comes to predicting market movements.
As an owner of a privately-held company or an executive in a publicly traded corporation, you may be spending more time addressing economic issues and less on your own financial planning.
In order to be successful, your plan must be documented. For corporate executives looking to buy or sell their stock, this could include filings with regulatory agencies. A business owner may need to work with his or her legal advisors regarding a variety of structures to support the plan, such as buy-sell agreements, business entities and trusts.
Equipment is just as important to the success of your company as intellectual capital and management strength. Are you leveraging its value to deliver maximum benefits?
Many companies have minimized or frozen spending and investments. However, the pressure to stay competitive in the global marketplace makes it unrealistic to hold off on technology and operations improvements for the long term. It's time to determine what initial investments make the most sense and how to finance them. We take a look at some creative approaches.
Securitization allows a company to monetize its trade receivables by legally isolating the assets from the bankruptcy estate of the company originating them.
As attractive revolvers mature over the next four years, there can be a liquidity gap that could hamper a company’s ability to finance working capital needs and pursue growth opportunities. Securitization can close that gap. It has enabled many companies to increase liquidity, lower financing costs and diversify their overall capital structure.
Industrial Revenue Bonds
Public sector financing can support private development projects that will fuel economic growth in communities. The lower interest rates and longer payment terms characteristic of programs such as tax-exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) can be used to finance growth.
Syndicating your bank credit facility can enhance your access to liquidity so that you can deal with day-to-day challenges and opportunities more effectively.
Syndicated loans can deliver capital in a timely manner and on more favorable market terms compared to conventional loans. By working with a group of banks rather than a single provider, you can also mitigate the risks that might arise from dealing with only one bank in an unpredictable environment.
Many companies are finding that an asset-based structure provides the liquidity necessary to quickly execute a buyout or facilitate a turnaround plan.
In the past, asset-based financing was viewed as the best option for companies with high risk profiles. Today, the rules about what type of company can benefit from this strategy are changing. And more and more are embracing the flexibility that asset-based financing can offer.
Given the many reasons that companies may need an escrow account, it's important to screen escrow service providers to make sure they meet the needs of all parties.
When companies engage in mergers, acquisitions or real estate transactions, all eyes are on closing the deal. However, choosing an escrow agent — often a mandatory step in the process — is frequently low on the priority list, even though a successful close may rely on it.
Smart managers are sweetening their employee benefits package with additional perks to help their company stay competitive in the market for good employees.
Essentially, a workplace banking program is a package of discounted financial services and special benefits your company can offer to employees as part of your overall benefits package. Typically, there is no cost to participate, only rewards for both your company and your employees.
While banks today still consider traditional criteria like cash flow, leverage, equity and collateral, the experience and integrity of the management team is growing in importance.
Some managers who find themselves in challenging circumstances may be reluctant to talk with their bankers, fearing that relaying bad news might close off credit options. Successful companies are open and transparent with their banks, through good times and bad.