Axsesstoday rides the alternative finance boom

The increasing popularity of alternative lenders such as Axsesstoday comes as the Financial Services Royal Commission.

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Small business lender Axsesstoday’s half year results showed an increase in its profit after tax to $3.2 million as the alternative lending market grows in popularity.

Axsesstoday focuses on financing in the hospitality and transport sectors and increased its market share with receivables up by 53 per cent over 30 June 2017 to $265 million.

Founded in 2012, the specialist provider of equipment finance listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2016 after growing its loan receivables book from zero to over $52 million in four years.

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For businesses in the hospitality sector Axsesstoday typically offers financing for coffee machines, display units, cooking, refrigeration and dishwashing equipment.

For businesses in the transport sector it finances second-hand trucks, trailers, forklifts and other light trade vehicles.

Co-founder and chief executive Peter Ferizis, says Axsesstoday has built its business by offering an alternative for small businesses.

“We are moving away from finance being a commoditised product to offering a unique value proposition and a unique and proprietary IT core system,” he says.

The increasing popularity of alternative lenders such as Axsesstoday comes as the Financial Services Royal Commission (FSRC) began its public hearings on Monday with concerns about the major banks lending to small business on the agenda.

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“It’s very early at this stage to undersand what are the changes which might arise out of that,” Ferizis says. “What the Royal Commission means is that customers want to be heard and at the moment it is hard for SMEs to secure finance from the major lenders.”

Axsesstoday assesses small businesses by using algorithims and modelling specifically developed for the hospitality and transport sectors.

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Brexit: May to meet UK financial services chiefs

We should use the imagination and ingenuity that our two countries and the EU have shown in the past, to craft a bespoke solution.

The Prime Minister is set to meet with business leaders from the UK’s financial services industry as the government attempts to secure a Brexit deal that will include the sector.

Theresa May will talk with Barclays’ chief Jes Staley and Goldman Sachs International boss Richard Gnodde among others on Thursday.

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The Chancellor Philip Hammond will also attend after travelling to Berlin.

He described financial services as pivotal to a “bespoke” trade deal.

In a joint-article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper on Wednesday, Mr Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis said that “the economic partnership should cover the length and breadth of our economies including the service industries — and financial services”.

They said: “We should use the imagination and ingenuity that our two countries and the EU have shown in the past, to craft a bespoke solution.”

Bloomberg reports that Germany is considering a plan that would give UK financial services companies access to Europe in exchange for payments to the EU budget.

Asked in Berlin if the UK would pay in exchange for bank access, Mr Hammond said: “We will talk about all of these things.”

Juncker: Don’t believe Brexit won’t happen

UK’s no-deal Brexit worries ‘surprise’ EU

Reality Check: Breaking down the deal

Senior executives from the London Stock Exchange will attend the regular meeting at 10 Downing Street along with Mark Tucker, chief executive of insurance group Aviva.

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Ways of applying operational risk management in banks

Because of this, operational risk management in banks is the highest priority for banks.

The banking sector should rank foremost among the many sectors of the economy that have undergone drastic changes in the last couple of decades or so. The convergence of two colossal factors – globalization and the development of technology – has made inroads into the banking sector, impacting it with a force that was seldom seen earlier.

The number one area of the banking sector to be affected by these changes is operations. Many factors such as credit, software, etc. need to be regulated for their risks. However, the core of the banking sector is operations. Because of this, operational risk management in banks is the highest priority for banks.

The Basel Accords

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The primacy of operational risk management in banks can be understood from the fact that one of the most important regulations aimed at the banking sector, the Basel Accords, a series of plans to regulate the banking sectors around the world; has operational risk management in banks on top of its agenda. Operational risk management in banks is one of the four areas identified at the second of these conferences, Basel II, the others being regulations concerning capital allocation, disclosure requirements and regulatory arbitrage.

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Operational risk management in banks according to Basel

The Basel Accord takes a very comprehensive view of operational risk. It describes operational risk as loss that can occur from a variety of reasons, all of which are linked to the core banking structure. The Basel Accord sees risk as something that can happen from any of the operations concerning the bank. It requires operational risk management in banks to take all of these factors into consideration before arriving at solutions to prevent loss from these operations.

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From the Basel Accords perspective, operational risk management in banks need to take into consideration the following events and identify all of these in identifying frauds and losses:

Internal fraud

Any fraud from any of the bank’s employees, insider trading, false reporting of profits are among the kinds of activities listed by Basel as being part of internal fraud.

External fraud

External fraud can happen from a number of sources. It could be robbery, burglary, hacking of security systems or check bounce. These are part of operational risk management in banks.

Employee fraud

Employees can be a major source of bank fraud. Steps towards mitigating actions from employees that endanger the functioning of the bank constitute a major step in operational risk management in banks.

Other kinds of frauds

Operational risk management in banks has to also take other sources of fraud. These can be from wrong entry of accounts, improper documentation for credit or loans, etc.

Ways of applying operational risk management in banks

Basel II has suggested methods which banks can take to apply risk management in their sector. These include:

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HDFC Bank offers virtual accounts to PayZapp users

Fintech lending is the new kid on the block, which has brought a different way of sourcing customers for loans.

HDFC Bank will soon start offering digital savings bank accounts, credit cards and instant loans to users of its PayZapp app. The bank also plans to enrol additional merchants for acceptance of electronic payments to increase its present network of 1.2 million shops to 5 million in 18 months.

PayZapp, which was launched two years ago, has more than 14 million users. Over half of these are young users who do not have a bank account. “We are marrying a lot of our strategies by integrating changes that are happening in the market into our own business activity.

HDFC Bank is already a scale player in cards and loan assets. We will use our digital back-end strengths in these businesses to bring more scale into PayZapp,” said Parag Rao, group head for marketing, credit cards and payments business.

According to Rao, PayZapp has the potential to become a 50-million customer franchise with capability for instantly opening accounts and offering credit cards and loans.

HDFC Bank is already the market leader in credit cards with over 1 crore in circulation. It currently issues 2.5 lakh new cards every month. The PayZapp platform is expected to take this to 5 lakh a month. The offered savings account will be a completely digital product and the credit cards virtual, with an option to receive the plastic version. The instant loans would be powered by fintech (financial technology). “Fintech lending is the new kid on the block, which has brought a different way of  sourcing customers for loans,” said Rao.

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Ukraine Will Pursue Hard Reforms This Fall, Finance Minister Says

Ukraine’s macroeconomic indicators are good, and Danylyuk has become one of the more convincing reform voices within the government—and someone that Ukraine’s formidable civil society actually respects.

After a week of back-to-back meetings in Washington, Oleksandr Danylyuk is tired. He gladly downs a cup of coffee before we turn on our microphones to discuss Ukraine’s economy. The affable forty-two-year old finance minister is one of the few reformers left in Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers and has a reputation as a doer. He’s in town for the International Monetary Fund’s and World Bank’s annual meetings.

When Danylyuk took over after Natalie Jaresko stepped down in April 2016, expectations weren’t high, but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations. My colleague Anders Åslund captured it well: Danylyuk has “turned out to be the reform anchor in a government that has been less committed to reform than the previous government, and he has managed to keep the state finances in good order.”

The former investment banker managed to render elusive value-added tax refunds automatic, which pleases many foreign businesses, and has presided over a period of modest economic growth. In September, Ukraine returned to the international finance markets with the introduction of a $3 billion Eurobond, and analysts expect that there may be more offerings. Ukraine’s macroeconomic indicators are good, and Danylyuk has become one of the more convincing reform voices within the government—and someone that Ukraine’s formidable civil society actually respects.

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When SSARS does and does not Apply to Preparation Engagements

This section has been set out by the Clarity Project of the AICPA’s Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC).

The Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) is a section of the professional standards set out by The American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA), seeking to review earlier standards for reviewing and compiling financial statements and setting out the terms of engagement between the CPA’s and the parties. This section has been set out by the Clarity Project of the AICPA’s Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC). The terms of engagement constitute a principal element of Section 21 of the SSARS.

The AICPA’s Section 21 is a significant improvement over the earlier standard, Section 19. Having come into effect in December 2015; AICPA Section 21 overrides the earlier standards. On its part, Section 19 was considered an improvement over the existing standards that had been getting enacted from 1978. It stressed the importance of the independence of the CPA, in that they should not be part of the board or management of the company whose accounts they are auditing. It also required the CPA to obtain an engagement letter before proceeding to prepare and issue financial statements.

 

Supersedes Section 19

Where Section 21 goes beyond Section 19 is in setting out the clear terms for a new service, that of preparing financial statements. Also, it takes changes brought about by technologies such as the cloud into the accounting profession, into consideration. It sets out these requirements in its four sections, sections 60, 70, 80 and 90. Briefly, these are what these sections represent:

Section 60: Describes the General Principles for Engagements performed in accordance with Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services

Section 70: Preparation of Financial Statements

Section 80: Compilation Engagements

Section 90: Review of Financial Statements

The highlight of Section 21 of SSARS is that these sections are clearly demarcated. One prescribed action should follow the other, only after the one taken up is completed. It draws a distinction between, for instance, financial statement preparation and a compilation, which is something that CPA’s have to submit for any financial statement submitted to third parties. In this way, Section 21 is a comprehensive set of regulations.

Complete clarity on Section 21

Want to understand how this section relates to your profession? Want to gain clarity and insights into the ways of the workings of this section? A webinar from Compliance4All, a leading provider of professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance, has all the answers relating to the comprehension and implementation of Section 21 of the SSARS.

At this session, Candace Leuck, who owns Athena Finance Group, Inc., which specializes in strategic planning, distressed entity recovery, valuations, and educational programs; will be the speaker. To register for this highly interesting and valuable webinar, please visit Compilation and Review Updates

Understanding of all aspects of Section 21

The aim of this presentation is to familiarize participants with all the sections of SSARS 21. Participants will be able to understand general requirements for SSARS engagements and learn details of new financial statement preparation engagement requirements. Since Section 21 both supersedes Section 19 and differs from it in many ways, Candace will explain the details pertaining to understanding and implementing Section 21, which includes requirements for engagement letters, requirements for understanding of the client, industry and environment, when SSARS does and does not apply to preparation engagements, attest versus non-attest engagements, reporting requirements, and disclosure requirements.

She will cover the following areas at this webinar:

o  Understand general requirements for SSARS engagements

o  Learn details of new financial statement preparation engagement requirements

o  Review compilation and review engagement requirements

o  Discuss the elimination of “management use only” compilations

o  Understand new formats for compilation and review reports

o  Compare and contrast preparation, compilation and review engagements.

This webinar will be of high use to personnel whose work requires them to implement Section 21 of SSARS, such as Public Accountants, Managerial Accountants, and Financial Accountants.

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How to uncover fraud, and put a plan in place to prevent it going forward

A strong and comprehensive audit into which these aspects are taken into account constitutes a good first step towards detecting and preventing Accounts Payable fraud.

Internal fraud, by which people who work for an organization are themselves involved in fraud, is a serious issue for businesses. This kind of fraud is very insidious, as it is stealthy and is almost impossible to detect. Accounts Payable, a core component of most organizations, is one of the primary areas of fraud. This AP fraud is something organizations don’t seem to be precluded from, no matter what the nature of their business or its size.

Yet, learning to detect and prevent Accounts Payable fraud is of critical importance all organizations because as all the payment types present in the market today enable quick and at times seamless payments; they all carry the inherent risk of fraud. Although the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX), the most important legislation passed by the American Congress aimed at checking internal fraud was passed with good intentions and is considered the most comprehensive of such laws; completely rooting out and eliminating Accounts Payable fraud has not been possible. This explains why the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) found out that fraud accounts for as much as five percent of all revenues in an organization.

Detecting and plugging the loopholes

Tightening the systems and plugging the loopholes is the first step to detecting and preventing Accounts Payable fraud. For this to happen, the organization has to have a thorough and complete understanding all the possible ways by which AP offers scope for pilfering. A strong and comprehensive audit into which these aspects are taken into account constitutes a good first step towards detecting and preventing Accounts Payable fraud.

And then, there are other steps. It is an explanation of these steps that an in-depth webinar that is being organized by Compliance4All, a very popular provider of professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance, will offer.

At this webinar, the speaker is Ray Graber, a very senior payment industry professional. Ray brings deep and profound understanding of the way banking and finance partner with technology. Please register for this webinar by visiting Where your Payments are Going?

Learning on all aspects of the sources of AP fraud

This webinar is going to be a very interactive one, in which Ray will traverse the various issues concerning AP fraud. He will get into the finer aspects of AP. For instance, not many Finance professionals would be aware that a simple exercise such as a quarterly scan can reveal potential issues to check duplicate payments and can be an important means of detecting and preventing Accounts Payable fraud. He will help participants of this webinar to also identify some strategic areas that when reviewed, can help educate their staff on what to look for and to take a relook at some applications.

These applications could be either internal or vendor developed, and can be used to identify potential hazards. Implementing just these two steps can considerably augment the organization’s chances of detecting leakages that could otherwise go unnoticed. Ray will discuss other issues such as abnormal payment volumes, check/wire amounts, addresses, and related ones.

Combining different actions

A few important steps to detect and prevent Accounts Payable fraud that an organization can try to tighten up its Accounts Payable operations and perform an internal audit will be suggested. These will help the organization carry out its future audits and investigations. The speaker will explain these steps, which, while being important for detecting and preventing Accounts Payable fraud; can be supplemented with other exercises such as data gathering, procedural changes, and employee education. All of these are elements of a robust AP fraud detection and prevention mechanism, and can be carried out without causing the company any major financial overloads.

Ray will cover the following areas:

o  Data gathering-Where we are

o  Establishing the scope and objectives-Where we want to be

o  Assessing your risk and resources

o  Risk assessment for specific payment types

o  Specific incidences to research

o  Management approach

o  Summary

Personnel such as Accounts Payable Managers, Payments Professionals, Operations Managers, Cash Management Product and Sales Staff, Treasury Managers, Commercial Bankers, Corporate Treasury Professionals, Payments Network Providers, Payments Processors will find this webinar highly valuable.