Bennett Stewart is an expert in shareholder value and corporate performance management, and CEO of EVA Dimensions, a financial technology firm that provides software tools, databases and training and support packages that help companies to test and automate Best-Practice EVA, and investors to earn excess returns. This article was excerpted with permission from the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, from “Best-Practice EVA” (March 2013).
Every business leader needs a way to amplify his or her business instincts and galvanize a team of players to win. The bad news is, conventional financial metrics will inevitably mislead business leaders and their teams into making suboptimal decisions that leave a lot of value on the table because all the measures have blind spots — they hide the truth or tell half-truths.
Earnings, for instance, can easily be inflated with balance sheet investments that don’t earn a decent return, and ROI-fixated companies will limit investments to the highest returns and forfeit lots of profitable growth opportunities that would increase the firm’s value. (read more…)
For many Americans, April 15 — Tax Day — is their least favorite day of the year. In 2009, Americans paid $866 billion in taxes to the federal government. The top 1% of earners — those making more than $343,927 — paid 36.7% of that figure. The bottom 50%, those who earned less than $32,396, paid $19 billion in taxes. Regardless, taxes affect people of all income levels.
Where people live can greatly affect their tax bill. States — and even counties and cities — levy taxes differently. In addition to the federal tax, 41 states and the District of Columbia also collect taxes on income. Cities and/or counties may add their own income tax on top of the state rate. Counties collect property taxes at rates that vary immensely across the U.S.
Many people who have complicated investments and assets will hire a good CPA to prepare their taxes for them. (read more…)
As the year ends, many people make their annual contributions to their favorite charities. The average American donates $298 in cash each year to charities, according to Esri, world’s leader in geographic information systems (GIS). Types of charities include animal welfare, disease cures and post-disaster assistance. Educational charities receive $100, on average, from Americans who donate. Religious charities benefit the most, receiving $915 annually, on average. What types of Americans are most likely to contribute to each charity type? Who are these Americans, and where do they live?
Charitable cash contributions
Charitable contributions are received from all over the country and from all types of Americans. Esri provides Consumer Spending data that details, by geography, the likely average amount spent on a product or service per adult or household. As noted above, Esri estimates that an average American gives $298 per year in cash to a charity.
The people that give the most live along the Eastern Seaboard and in and around large cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver. (read more…)
Small businesses face a number of challenges, with security at the top of the list. Yet many small-business owners don’t even realize the substantial risk they face while banking online. Let’s take a look at some of the bone-chilling events happening in the small-business payments world today — cyberattacks that can devastate your business.
- Experi-Metal lost $550,000 through phishing attacks
- Sanford School District lost $117,000 to bogus payroll disbursements
- Hillary Machinery lost $800,000 through ACH and wire transfers
The list goes on. A recent report by Symantec found that targeted attacks against companies with 250 or fewer employees jumped to 36% in the six months that ended in June 2012, from 18% in December 2011.
And here’s the REALLY scary part — most SMB owners are unaware that unlike personal bank accounts that give you 60 days to report unauthorized transactions, commercial account holder only have 24 hours. Banks are not liable after that and most SMBs just don’t have the resources needed for litigation after a cyberattack. (read more…)
The U.S. is on the right track with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s expected-loss model, Tim Bush of Pensions and Investment Research Consultants writes in Financial News: “It is time for the [International Accounting Standards Board] to match the lead taken by the US and deliver accounting rules which help, not hinder, the accurate reflection of the recoverable amount of loans. The IASB has described its introduction of the incurred loss standard as ‘too little, too late.’ It is, indeed, a master of understatement.”
Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer writes in the Financial Times that allegations over dealings with Iran that hit Standard Chartered this week are an example of a situation that poses a threat for other banks, as well: “Sanctions are a lot less eye-catching than air strikes or a blockade but it is now clearer than ever that they are the primary market risk to watch. (read more…)