Category Archives: finance


4 Trade Finance Tools to Consider When Engaging in International Trade

Trade Finance Tools for International Trade
Businesses engaging in international trade are well-acquainted with the added financial risks of importing or exporting goods and services from other countries.

From the increased pressure of the global supply chain to fluctuating currencies to the difficulty of figuring out the creditworthiness of a foreign partner – the trade industry involves a lot of risks. Good thing trade finance offers several ways to mitigate these risks.

Here are four of the most common forms of trade finance tools to choose from if you want to engage in international trade and manage your business risks accordingly.

1. Letter of Credit

A letter of credit can serve importers and exporters in various ways. This is a guarantee of payment by the bank of the importer to the exporter. The guarantee depends on the exporter meeting all the terms and conditions mentioned in the letter of credit.

Oftentimes, the conditions will require the exporter to provide some documents like a bill of lading. This document serves as a proof that the right products were delivered, or that the correct services were performed.

A letter of credit is an invaluable tool if you export goods and services to foreign customers, especially in determining the creditworthiness of such clients, and their ability to pay you on time.

Due to the fact that a letter of credit is provided by a financial institution that is local to the importer, such a bank is in a better position to figure out if the importer is creditworthy. Typically, there is no question about the bank’s ability to pay.

It is a good idea for you to require an importer to get the right type of letter of credit each time you are working with new trade partners. This can be obtained for ongoing trade deals or for single transactions.

2. Accounts Receivable Factoring

Accounts receivable factoring is among the most common trade finance options your business can use. This is otherwise known as invoice factoring and debt factoring. This is a short-term asset-based financing available to B2G and B2B businesses.

Accounts receivable factoring involves selling an invoice that will be due at a later time (usually in 30, 60 or 90 days) to a factoring company that pays you a certain percentage of that invoice in advance. If the customer pays the invoice, the remaining balance of the invoice less the factor rate will be given to you by the factoring company.

Invoice factoring is an excellent form of trade finance since it will solve two common problems experienced by exporters – competitiveness and cash flow. It allows you to give more generous credit terms to your customers since you can turn an invoice into cash immediately. Also, it helps you pay for the costs related to producing and delivering your services or products. You don’t have to wait for months for your clients to pay the bill.

3. Forfaiting

Forfaiting is a trade finance form that is quite the same with invoice factoring. It allows your exporting business to sell your account receivables at a discount in exchange for cash. The only difference is that forfaiting is a non-recourse financing option for medium-term receivables instead of short-term receivables.

Forfaiting reduces the risk of non-payment by foreign customers whilst giving you a solution to near-term cash flow concerns. It turns a credit-based transaction into a cash deal. Aside from guaranteeing your customer’s creditworthiness, forfaiting also pays a medium or long-term contract instantly, thereby improving your cash flow.

4. Open Account

Open account is a convenient payment method in an international transaction, allowing you to get the most of import and export finance without the need for a documentary credit.

This arrangement can be satisfactory when the buyer is creditworthy, well-established or has demonstrated an excellent payment record. It allows you to bill your customer who will pay the agreed terms on a specific date. But before issuing a pro forma invoice to the buyer, you need to examine the political, commercial, and economic risks involved.

If you want to engage in international trade, it is crucial for you to familiarize yourself with the different trade finance solutions you can use.

From accounts receivables factoring to letters of credit and forfaiting to open account terms, there are a lot of tools available for businesses dealing with foreign customers. These trade finance options will help ensure that you get the full payment of your products and services on time. They also balance out the risks and make cash more readily available.


Can You be a Stay-at-Home Mum and Build a Decent Pension?

How to be a mum and still get a decent pension
The findings of a childcare survey conducted recently made pretty bleak reading for most of the families all across UK.

As per the research that took place, most of the parents shell out more than £6000 per year on childcare-this is double the money that they tend to spend on food and drink-with some of the families spending around 45% of their disposable wages on childcare expenses.

As a result, most of the parents, specifically mums halt their career in order to take care of their kids. This can in turn have huge financial repercussions on them, especially when it comes down to pension.

Also, savings cannot just be on the agenda, because they aren’t really getting any income. So, if you’ve lately quit a job and become a “stay-at-home” mum, then you need to ask yourself this: “How will I build up a decent pension, whilst being a stay-at-home mum?”

Of course, the outcome of quitting a job would come with a lot of fear regarding you and your kids’ future, yet you should not give up your hopes so easily.

If you are a stay-at-home mum who is reading this article, then we must tell you that you have landed in the right place. Here we have mentioned our top tips through which you can build a better retirement.

Protect your State Pension

The full state pension enables you to £8,296 every year and whilst this alone is not likely to be enough for you to live on, it could certainly be a better foundation for your retirement.

However, in order to receive this entire amount you will have to have paid National Insurance (NI) contributions at least for a minimum of 35 years.

Now, you may perhaps associate the National Insurance contributions with working (let us tell you that in a workplace if the contributions are not paid, then auto-enrolment penalty is issued on the employer), but do you even know that all the years spent away from your workplace could still meet the criteria towards the state pension? All you need is to be registered for Child Benefit.

Basically, Child Benefit is a type of payment that you can claim, especially if you are looking after a kid below 16 to 20 years of age, who is presently undergoing education or training. Even though if you or your spouse’s individual salary is more than £50,000, you might have to pay a certain amount of tax charge.
If this is the case and you do not really want to claim Child Benefit as a result, you can fill in the form anyway as it would protect your National Insurance credits.

Not to mention, you will also receive your National Insurance credits when you’ll make a claim for Child Benefit until your youngest child has turned 12. Although it might not solve everything, but protecting your state pension could be one of the best places to start with.

Look for any Lost Pots

It has been estimated that in excess of £400m has been “lost” in pension pots, which most of the individuals have forgotten about. So, it’s better to think back to where all you have worked in the past and start contacting those old employers or pension lenders.

Through some of the surveys that were conducted in the last year, it was revealed that approximately £40,000 was found in dormant workplace pensions.

So, why don’t you start tracking down all your old pensions too? You may be taken aback at what you’ll possibly discover. This way, it will also help you when it comes down to the next step.

Set a Savings Goal

Once you know what you actually want, it is time to begin with your future planning. There are a lot of pension figures bandied about- plenty of them might possibly give you cause for panic. Yet, if you are simply going after a comfortable retirement, then the numbers may not be that bad as to what you think of it.

As per some of the expert’s survey, an average of retired couple requires around £18,000 per year in order to cover their household expenses, such as utilities, food, housing expenses and transport. All these expenses have been increasing to £26,000, thereby allowing for additional stuff, like holiday and leisure activities.

Per person this is not too massive; it’s just £13,000 per year. So, if you are eligible to a full new state pension of £8,296 a year, then as per the research conducted you only require supplementing it with roughly £5,000 every year. Of course, that is not at all a small figure, but you can certainly reach it.

Combine and Contribute whenever You Can

The research that was conducted by some of the experts is done on the basis of attaining a cash pot of £210,000 so as to sit besides your state pension. Also, they have handily broken down how couples can reach this, on the basis of which age they begin with their savings. Some of the figures are mentioned below:

  • £131 per month from the age of 20
  • £198 per month from the age of 30
  • £338 per month from the age of 40
  • £633 per month from the age of 50

You need to bear in mind that all the above mentioned figures are on the basis of starting right from scratch. So, of you have got a lot of old pension pots, then these figures could be way too small for you. But, you can still try doing a few sums and find out how you can reach that £210,000 figure.

Other thing that is worth taking into consideration is getting all the old pensions together, in one “easy to access” personal plan. In this way, you get the liberty to contribute whenever it is affordable for you, not only that, it can even spare you from these hefty fees. Surprisingly, some of the lenders still entail all sorts of expenses even on dormant pensions.

Whenever it comes down to contributing, you ought to try seeing where you can trim down the expenses, as you maybe surprised to see what certain small sacrifices could do. In addition to this, if you ever come across some money-via legacy, perhaps- you can consider putting some of it towards your pension. Also, explore what kind of work you can do around your kids too, as you may be astounded with what is possible.

Above all else, do not panic; simply keep on saving whatever you can, because as it is said “something is better than nothing”. Additionally, bear in mind that every basic rate taxpayer has their own contribution into a pension boosted by 25%, thanks to tax relief. Put simply, it means that for every £100 that you contribute you will receive another £25 from your taxman.

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