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We are committed to raising a financially sound generation by bringing to our esteem users information on how to handle their personal and corporate finance.

Sound Corporate Governance

Growing a formidable organisation requires the implementation of sound corporate governance.

Investment Opportunities

Do you want to build a sound financial Life? Portfolio diversification is critical. Spread out your investments.

Monitoring of Investments

Investment in profitable ventures is not the end. You need constant monitoring of your investments because the environment is dynamic.

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Smile to the bank. Enjoy your wealth, go for that vacation,spend time with your loved ones, give back to the community.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Anti- Money Laundering war in the Digital Currency Age

 Winning the Anti- Money Laundering war in the Digital Currency age.
Money laundering is the act of making an illegitimate money looks legitimate through the collective process of placement, layering and integration.
According to IMF reports, between 2% and 5% of world GDP is laundered annually. That is about $1- 2Trillion annually.

Understanding these statistics:

1. The total money laundered annually is $400 Billion more than the combine GDP of the 54 African countries by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
2. This is the combine market value of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook as at 2015.
In financial terms, there are some criminal groups that are more wealthy and powerful than some countries. For example, Solntsevskaya Bratva group was valued at $8.5Billion that is equivalent to the combine GDP of 24 African countries ( Guinea, Niger, Eritrea, Congo etc).

The Nexus of Money laundering and Digital Currency
With the current Advent of Digital Currency, it is much easier to carry out transactions---local and international at the comfort of ones home. Also, it's innovative method of preventing the counterfeiting of these currencies through unique digital signature is commendable.

But despite these numerous advantages, we cannot shy away from the security threat it's poses in the campaign against money laundering.
Digital currency is an emerging money laundering issue which requires urgent attention. Currently, we have 1,386 digital currencies in circulation with Total Market Capitalization of $713.57 Billion worldwide which is not tied or backed by any country or government.

Since it is difficult to monitor digital currency transactions due to its complex mathematical set up, then it means the Anti-Money Laundering campaign would suffer a great setback in this digital currency age.Therefore, funding of Terrorism, Tax Evasion, Drug Trafficking , Money laundering etc would be complex to tackle

For example, the Anti- Money laundering legislation requires banks and other institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report for any transaction of $10,000 and above.
But with digital currency such legislation is easily maneuvered and as such illegitimate funds can be easily integrated into the Economy. How???
Mr. Fraud who earned $15,000 from drug trafficking could easily integrate such money into the system by simply buying 1 Bitcoin and keep it in his wallet.

How can the war against Money Laundering be won in the Digital Currency age while still maintaining the innovative idea behind the development of this currency?
Experts Contributions needed.

Photo credit: www.pwc.com

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Massive Job Vacancy at ECOWAS

ECOWAS Parliament was established by the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993 as one of the Institutions of the Community. The Parliament is the Assembly of the peoples of the Community.

The Administrative Secretariat of the Parliament is headed by a Secretary-General, and consists of two Directorates: the Directorate of Administration and Finance, and the Directorate of Parliamentary Affairs and Research. A number of job vacancies exist at the ECOWAS Parliament for which applications are hereby invited.

Application is on-line, and application forms as well as guidelines for application are all available on the websites. Click on the vacant position to see all details concerning it.  The deadline for application is 22 June 2017.

Candidates wishing to be considered for the post should download (JOB APPLICATION FORM), fill it and send it as an attachment to the following email address: gstaffparlrecruit@ecowas.int with their CVs.

01. Three (3) Accounting Assistants, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
02. Security Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
03. Reproduction/Documentation Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
04. Bilingual Nurse, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
05. Bilingual Communication Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
06. Bilingual Secretary, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
07. Two (2) Administrative Assistants, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
08. Conference Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
09. Research Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
10. Protocol Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Lagos
11. Library Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
12. Language Assistant, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
13. Two (2) Technical Assistants, G4 22 June 2017 Abuja
14. Human Resource Clerk, G2 22 June 2017 Abuja
15. Registry Clerk, G2 22 June 2017 Abuja
16. Receptionist, G2 22 June 2017 Abuja
17. Three (3) Drivers, G1 22 June 2017 Abuja (2) - Lagos (1)
18. Three (3) Office Aides, G1 22 June 2017 Abuja


To apply, candidates should download the (JOB APPLICATION FORM), fill it and send it as an e-mail attachment to pstaffparlrecruit@ecowas.int with their CV.

01. Committee Clerk, P4 22 June 2017 Abuja
02. Facility Management & Transport Officer, P4 22 June 2017 Abuja
03. Medical Officer, P4 22 June 2017 Abuja
04. Webmaster, P2 22 June 2017 Abuja
05. Communication Officer, P2 22 June 2017 Abuja
06. Information Technology Officer, P2 22 June 2017 Abuja

For more http://parl.ecowas.int/en/careers/

Saturday, 22 April 2017

19 Interesting Facts About Bill Gates' $123 Million Mansion

With a net worth of $81.5 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the richest man in America.

It shouldn't be too surprising that one of the wealthiest people in the world also has an insanely extravagant home.

It took Gates seven years and $63 million to build his Medina, Washington estate, named Xanadu 2.0 after the fictional home of "Citizen Kane"'s Charles Foster Kane.

At 66,000 square feet, the home is absolutely massive, and it's filled with high-tech details.

We've rounded up some of Xanadu 2.0's most over-the-top features here.

1. It's worth at least $123 million.

According to the King County public assessor's office, the property is worth $123.54 million as of this year. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.

He reportedly pays around $1 million in property taxes each year.

2. Half a million board-feet of lumber was needed to complete the project.

The house was built with 500-year-old Douglas fir trees. 300 construction workers labored on the home - 100 of whom were electricians.

3. A high-tech sensor system helps guests monitor a room's climate and lighting.

When guests arrive, they're given a pin that interacts with sensors located all over the house. Guests enter their temperature and lighting preferences so that the settings change as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allows music to follow you from room to room.

4. The house uses its natural surroundings to reduce heat loss.

Xanadu 2.0 is an "earth-sheltered" house, meaning that it's built into its surroundings to regulate temperature more efficiently.

5. You can change the artwork on the walls with just the touch of a button.

$80,000 worth of computer screens are situated around the house. Anyone can make the screens display their favorite paintings or photographs, which are stored on storage devices worth $150,000.

6. The pool also has its own underwater music system.

The 60-foot pool is located in its own separate, 3,900-square-foot building. People in the pool could swim underneath a glass wall to come up to a terrace area on the outside.

There's also a locker room with four showers and two baths.

7. There's a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.

No word on how big the trampoline itself is, but we can imagine it would be a fun alternative to your standard exercise routine.

The exercise facilities total 2,500 square feet and also include a sauna, steam room, and separate men's and women's locker rooms.

8. An enormous reception hall could accommodate up to 200 guests.

The 2,300-square-foot hall could seat up to 150 people for a dinner party, or 200 people standing up at a cocktail event. A six-foot-wide limestone fireplace dominates one wall, while another wall has a 22-foot-wide video screen.

9. The house has 24 bathrooms, 10 of which are full baths.

Those bathrooms would definitely be useful if Gates were throwing such a big party. Otherwise, it seems a little over-the-top.

10. There's a total of six kitchens.

They're situated at different parts of the house so staff can be ready for any event.

11. An enormous library houses a manuscript Gates paid more than $30 million for.

The 2,100-square-foot library has a domed roof and two secret bookcases, including one that reveals a hidden bar. On the ceiling you'll find a quote from "The Great Gatsby" that reads: "He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it."

The library is home to the Codex Leicester, a 16-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30.8 million in 1994.

12. The home theatre can accommodate 20 guests in plush seats.

It's designed in an Art Deco style, with comfortable arm chairs, couches, and even a popcorn machine for snacking.

13. An existing home was removed by barge to make room for a separate activities building.

The 900-square-foot building sits next to Gates' sport court, putting green, and boat docks.

14. The guest house is just as high-tech as the main house.

According to US News, the 1,900-square-foot guest house was the first building to be completed on the property. The house - which has its own bedroom and bathroom - was meant to be a test of the technology that would eventually be used in the main house.

Gates wrote much of "The Road Ahead" here.

15. All together, Gates' garages can accommodate up to 23 cars.

There are several different garages located at different points around the property. The most interesting one, however, is an underground cave made out of concrete and stainless steel. That garage alone can park 10 cars. Some of the concrete was purposely broken to give it a rough, "deconstructivist" look.

16. Gates has a favorite tree, and it's monitored electronically 24 hours a day.

He reportedly became fond of a 40-year-old maple tree that grew close to the home's driveway. It's monitored by computer, and if at any point it becomes too dry, water is automatically pumped into it.

17. An artificial stream is kept stocked with fish.

The stream and wetland estuary were created to solve any problems with runoff that the property's large walls might have created. The water is kept stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.

18. The sand on Gates' beach is imported from the Caribbean.

The lakefront shore contains sand that's delivered in large quantities by a barge from St. Lucia each year.

19. Someone once paid $35,000 just to tour it.

Microsoft holds an auction each year, where employees donate products and services to be bid on. Proceeds go to the company's charitable fund.

Gates has donated private tours of Xanadu 2.0 in the past. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a Microsoft employee once won the tour with a bid of $35,000.


Friday, 21 April 2017

How These 3 Top CEO’s Use Social Media To Build Their Brand

When it comes to social media most top executives in companies prefer to remain in the background. In fact, a study from CEO.com showed that 61% of CEOs in the Fortune 500 still have no presence on social media. Of the ones that have a presence most of them only have a LinkedIn account which they use infrequently if at all.
Instead, they let their marketing team use the company accounts to share stories and deliver the brand message.
However, research shows consumers today have a strong desire to create deeper connections with the brands they use and promote. A small percentage of CEOs have figured out a way to integrate their personal and business brands via social media and leverage it in a big way to market their companies.
beBee, Co-Founder and CEO, Javier Camara, is very active on the platform he created and regularly engages with his user base. Many of them have told me over and over how much they love seeing a top executive from the company drop by their posts to comment and engage with them on a personal level
Another example of an executive that is leading this trend is the way T-Mobile CEO, John Legere interacts on Twitter. Legere’s edgy tweets have become legendary. And with over 3-million followers he has a presence that is four times larger than the T-Mobile official company Twitter account. Legere’s Twitter account is a massive traffic producing marketing arm for his company.
Hootsuite CEO and LinkedIn Influencer, Ryan Holmes, recently wrote about why it is important for CEOs to have a personal brand on social media:
“The greatest motivator for CEOs to get on social media may be simple necessity. Social media represents a cultural shift, not just a technological one, and it’s already made the leap into the workplace. In the end, it’s very difficult for a CEO to guide this transformation without ‘getting’ social media on some level—ideally a personal one.”
In addition to being a LinkedIn Influencer, Ryan is a prolific blogger. His blogs appear on multiple platforms which keeps his company top of mind and in front of millions of potential readers every month. Here’s a recent piece he did on Medium.
These three CEOs realize that engagement with their community online is contributing to consumers falling in love with their products. CEO interaction with customers on social makes them feel special and creates a strong emotional attachment to the brand.

Friday, 14 April 2017

A Founder-CEO's Secret to Success: First Get Started, Then Get Smarter

Jeff Lawson is the latest guest on the Fortt Knox Podcast: rich ideas, powerful people. 
 Among the many business lessons Jeff Lawson has learned, there's this: Don't expect to get things done if you wait until you're perfectly prepared. 
Lawson is co-founder and CEO of Twilio, a company that makes it easy for apps to contact you. (Ever wonder how you can send a text to your Uber driver in the app, or get one in OpenTable when your seat is ready? Twilio does that.) 
Twilio went public last summer at the New York Stock Exchange, and is now worth about $2.5 billion. As it pushes to make apps communicate better, the scrappy San Francisco company has developed a culture that favors boldness and taking initiative, and frowns on perfectionism.  
I caught up with Twilio's CEO at a tech conference in Barcelona, Spain to talk about his journey from curious kid in the Detroit suburbs to CEO of a public tech company. Among the things I love about Lawson's story? It's about the setbacks as much as the successes, and learning along the way. 
Here's some of what I gathered: 

Ask for the Keys 

Lawson likes to tell a story about his grandfather, who worked in a factory and needed to earn more money. 
"He went to the owner and he said, 'I need to make more money, how do I do that.' The guy said 'I don’t have any other jobs. The only job I have is driving the truck. Do you know how to drive the truck?' My grandfather's answer was, 'Give me the keys.'" 
What his grandfather didn't mention was that he'd never driven a truck before in his life. But he got the job, figured it out, made more money. 
Chalk it up to genetics or coincidence, but in middle school Lawson started a company shooting video footage of weddings, and he used the proceeds to buy more sophisticated equipment. 
"The best way to learn something new," he says, "is to commit yourself to doing it." 

You've Got to Love It 

There were some false starts. In college during the dotcom boom, Lawson learned software development and started a company that sold for millions of dollars … in stock. He thought he'd made it big, but when the bubble popped, his windfall vanished.  
Later, he got the opportunity to be founding chief technology officer of StubHub, a ticket sales company that would later sell to eBay for $310 million. But Lawson didn't stick around for the payoff.  
"It was a fine business, but I wasn't the customer and I didn't feel passionately that the world needed the product we were building." He wasn't a concert goer, so he didn't feel inspired to keep working on it. "As an entrepreneur, I think you need that." 
Hindsight being what it is, it's easy to fault Lawson for missing his share of a nine-figure payday. But remember, he's got a share of a 10-figure payday in Twilio. 

Knowledge and Reputation 

So how did Lawson do it? How did he rebound from a missed nine-figure payday cleanly enough to do himself one better? First he made another valuable mistake or two, which you’ll learn about listening to the podcast. More important though, he was able to focus on the two most important assets he was building in each of these experiences. 
"The best thing that we have as we go through our careers is our knowledge and our word – our reputation," Lawson says. "If you're constantly building those two things, I think generally speaking, good things end up happening to people."
Fortt Knox is a weekly podcast from CNBC anchor Jon Fortt.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

7 Essential Steps to Take When Starting A Business.

Yes, there are thousands of businesses you could start, with more emerging daily thanks to new technology and good old-fashioned ingenuity. Yet despite the vast universe of possibilities, there are a few essential steps you need to take before starting a business, any business.
  1. Do your market research: Just because you build it or sell it doesn't necessarily mean anyone will buy it. The first essential step is to research your potential market. Who needs what you are offering? Is there space for your product or service in the market or is the market saturated? Is the market national? Is it a niche? Can you define your ideal customers? These are all questions that need to be answered before you even consider starting a business. Too many entrepreneurs have found out the hard way that there was not enough market share for them to capture. Others have realized that their target market audience was far too limited to make their business work.
  2. Show yourself the money: You can't start a business without capital. Determine what you have, what you will need and how you will go about getting it. If you plan to seek investor funding or financing, start writing a business plan and practice your pitch. Research the costs associated with your business. Know how much money you'll need and decide where it could come from.
  3. Hire a good business attorney:You don't necessarily need to have an attorney on a retainer, but you'll want to hire an attorney experienced with new businesses to help you get started. Your attorney can advise you about such things as drafting contracts, reviewing your lease and determining the right business structure. "A good attorney will know what it is that you are trying to do and help you structure your business in a way that will be beneficial to you," says Chris Talis, senior partner at Hedgerow Mergers Acquisitions in Teaneck, N.J. The best way to find a good attorney is by referral or through networking.
  4. Hire a good accountant: An accountant will work in conjunction with your attorney and be instrumental in determining the best form of ownership. He can also help you establish bookkeeping and other record keeping procedures that can keep you on track for years. Most important, a good accountant will help with tax planning. "You will also want an accountant who understands the state laws, since every state has its own little intricacies, such as sales tax issues," Talis says, adding that it's important for your accountant to be familiar with startup ventures.
  5. Decide on a business structure: Your choices include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, "S" corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC). Personal liability, taxes, paperwork and regulations vary greatly among the different legal business structures. Your attorney and accountant will play a key role in assisting you in this important decision.
  6. Decide on a business name: It may seem obvious and simple, but the name is how your business will be known to the world. The right name says a lot about your company. Make a list of potential names and narrow the list down to the one that best describes your company in a few words, while being catchy, easy to remember, easy to pronounce and easy to spell. You should also consider how it will translate to a web domain name. You'll also need to do research to see if there are a) similar business names and b) similar domain names.
  7. Get all necessary licenses and permits: Along with a business license, you may need to get additional licenses depending on the type of business and local laws. Many professionals, such as contractors and real estate agents, need to be licensed in the states in which they work. Additionally, you may need licenses to manufacture and/or sell specific products such as liquor, firearms or even lottery tickets. Research all licenses applicable in your county and your state. It's also extremely important to know the zoning laws before you open a business. Don't assume the zoning laws don't apply to you. You can get information on zoning from your local county clerk's office.
There are definitely other important steps to getting a business off the ground, such as finding a technical expert and launching a website (a must in today's competitive market). However, if you've taken the seven steps above, you will find yourself in a confident, business-ready position.
Source: www.entrepreneur.com

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

From waiter to CFO

Stefan Payne, Chief Financial Officer at Titan Airways, studied AAT with Gareth John, Director and tutor at First Intuition.
Gareth recently met with Stefan and asked him a few questions about how his successful career in finance started.

What attracted you to a career in accountancy?

I was looking for a career with opportunities, a career that could satisfy my ambitious nature and that paid well too. I chose accountancy as it provides all of those things whilst perfectly suiting my analytical, logical nature and my desire to be involved in the heart of a business.

How did you get started?

My route into accounting was not a typical one. After my A levels I worked in the hotel and retail industries for six years in an operational capacity. I started as a waiter working my way up to management level, before deciding on a change of career. In 2005 I joined the accounting firm Price Bailey as a trainee auditor.

How long did it take you to move from that position to your current role as CFO?

Eight and a half years.

What qualifications do you have?

I didn’t do a degree, which surprises a lot of people. When I was in full-time employment I studied and completed my AAT assessments before going on to complete the ICAEW qualification.
I chose to start with the AAT qualification because it seemed to be the logical choice for me. AAT provided me with all of the fundamental knowledge and core skills I needed to become a good accountant and it also perfectly complemented my workplace learning. This combination of technical and practical skills turned out to be the ideal preparation for the ICAEW studies that followed.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

The variety and being at the heart of an interesting, fun, dynamic business. Yes, I’m a qualified accountant, but the role of CFO becomes so much more than this. For me, becoming an accountant was always the route to open the doors to business leadership. However being an accountant at heart, I still enjoy rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck into the accountancy work, especially on the technical and tax side.

What is unique about working for an airline as an accountant?

Personally I love the aviation industry – it’s so interesting and varied, and with such complexities you only truly appreciate once you’re in it. The airline industry means that my role has to cover so much that may not exist in other business of similar size. Items such as aircraft purchase agreements with Singapore, regular cross-border transactions, with their tax and legislative complexities, managing business financial risks from significant but fluid foreign currency and fuel price movements, large debt funding for aircraft purchases.

What are some of the surprising elements of your role?

I get involved in a wide variety of areas, in fact probably spending more of my time on the non-typical finance functions. These would include, legal, HR, IT, recruitment, resource planning and commercial. Recent examples include being project sponsor and mentor for our new cabin crew uniform. This involved everything from being involved in the supplier selection process, uniform design and selection of final design as well as pricing and contract negotiations. Alongside this I work closely with our legal team, on anything from aircraft purchase agreements, loan documentation, commercial agreements, premise leases and complex aviation specific insurance policy documents.

What advice would you give to someone who aspired to a similar role?

Have goals and aspirations, both short and long term, but ensure you regularly review these and don’t be afraid to revise them as and when necessary. There will be multiple paths to your goal, and you should keep your options open.
Grab opportunities to develop and learn with both hands. Every day, and every task should be seen as an opportunity to learn. This especially includes those days and tasks that didn’t go to plan. The old adage that you learn most from your mistakes is true.
Seek a mentor and learn from your peers and bosses, both the good and the bad – you will have both. You can then develop an understanding of what you like and what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t neglect the soft non-technical skills. As your career progresses these become far more important, especially if you move into a business. Communication skills and team/people management skills become paramount. Find opportunities to develop these, whether it is a part time job grafting in a restaurant teaching you valuable life lessons or volunteering at a local club or charity. Do something that tests you and puts you outside your comfort zone. As painful as it may seem on day one, it won’t take long and you’ll be developing new valuable skills you didn’t know you could.
Be confident and believe in yourself. If at first you don’t succeed. Life is a series of small decisions over a long period of time. Most days will not be obviously pivotal in the grand scheme of it, but the accumulation of each of those small decisions becomes important, as these are what drive you along your chosen path.
And don’t forget, good old fashioned hard work, be a master of your own destiny.

You now send your staff to courses at First Intuition. How do they find it?

The feedback that I get from my team members about their studies at First Intuition is always excellent. The tutors are always willing to go the extra mile if a student needs that little extra help. The brilliant tutors are what makes First Intuition an excellent place to study, which is backed up with first class exam success rates. As an employer, the support I receive from First Intuition is fantastic.

What benefit do you see to your business when your employees have a qualification?

It goes without saying that employees studying for, or that already have, qualifications can add significant value to the team and business. Part of this benefit comes from the motivational aspect, but only when matched with the right attitudes, which is why recruitment is critical to success. Beyond just the motivational aspect, the core skills and technical knowledge gained from studying for AAT (and latterly ACA/CIMA/ACCA) has a direct benefit in their ability to perform in their role.
With a finance team of nine in a complex business, we all have to get involved in so much, so having a team with a good qualification level is essential. It allows us to perform collectively to a much higher standard, delivering a far superior output to the business to support the critical business decisions being made all the time.

How do you motivate and inspire your employees?

Motivation comes in many forms. I have been managing teams now for 17 years. One thing you learn is we are all individuals, unique in many ways, but also alike in many others. Any good team is built with a good blend of personalities, which can thrive off each other, drive and inspire each other, but ultimately get along too. With motivation being very personal to each individual, you have to understand and respect what their drives, want and needs are. Then if possible you can work to fulfilling these in some way.
Inspiration comes from my motto, to lead by example with passion and belief in what we do, striving to be the best we can, wanting to be successful (however you define success). Having common combined goals and objectives that as a collective you are part of is hugely inspirational. It can be small short term tasks or large long term aims, in fact a mix of most is best.
Working hard is essential, but so also is having fun. We all spend enough of our lives at work, that we should try enjoy it too, know when to take a situation very seriously and equally when to have a laugh.
Photo: Gareth John director of First Intuition (left) and Stefan Payne, CFO of Titan Airways. 
Gareth John is a qualified chartered accountant and tutor at First Intuition.