Bacs payments and the problem of transaction reversibility

Bacs, or Bankers Automated Clearing Software, has been around a long time. Essentially, though, bacs payments simply mean transferring money directly from one bank account into another. FPS or Faster Payments Service is essentially the same, but it generally happens almost immediately, whereas Bacs takes up to three working days. Bacs software is therefore different to credit or debit card payments, and has advantages and disadvantages in comparison.

Since bacs payments are made directly from one bank account into another, they are effectively irreversible. With credit cards, the transaction can be cancelled and the money returned to you if there is good reason (such as fraud, or the goods you ordered turned out not to be as advertised, or never turned up at all). With bacs, this is far harder. That is a good thing for merchants, since you won’t have to worry about customers making unjustified chargebacks if they change their minds. For buyers, though, it means transactions cannot be undone. In most cases, this will not be a problem because bacs tends to be used for paying suppliers and for employees’ wages, and so on. These are generally predictable and are paid in arrears. However, if a mistake (such as a typo) occurs, it is not a simple matter to reclaim the money. Without the goodwill of the recipient, it can be extremely time-consuming. If you are making monthly payments, it might simply be easier to adjust the next one rather than rectify the last one.

Bacs software can be integrated into your accounting package to ensure that mistakes don’t routinely happen due to human error, but it’s impossible to eliminate them altogether. That bacs payments are made in their millions every day proves that this need not be a fatal flaw for bacs, and that there’s no reason your organisation should not use it too. Indeed, the advantages far outweigh any minor problems that might arise from its use. Bacs is more secure, faster and easier than paying by cash or cheque. It’s also the standard, now – or, at least, FPS is – which means that if you’re still paying by more traditional methods then you will naturally find yourself at a competitive disadvantage. There is really no good reason to hold large amounts of cash on the premises or to use time-consuming and inefficient cheques when instant and straightforward transfers are possible at minimal cost.

Please visit http://www.bottomline.co.uk/ for further information about this topic.

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Invoice processing -speed, efficiency and a better brand

Not so long ago, every document in every office took paper form. Documents were always paper, and had been for around 2,000 years. Then, just a few decades back, desktop computers really started to become popular. Now, documents could be created on the screen and printed to be a hard copy – like everything else in the office. But as computers grew even more common and with the spread of the internet, there came a point when documents no longer had to be printed to be sent around – they could be saved online or on a network, in the office’s document management system. Now, there were two distinct systems: paper and virtual, and the difficulties this entailed – and still entails – could be significant. It can be messy, wasteful and inefficient. People trained in one system may not be quite familiar with the other. Documents can get lost in the paper system, perhaps getting piled up on one person’s desk, or taken out of the office and never seen again. Document processing aims to bring the two systems together, bridging the considerable gap between a paper-based office and a paper-less office. Invoice processing does the same for the accounts department – an important asset in an age where some invoices are sent through the mail and some are raised electronically, by bacs.

The technology used to achieve this has come a long way in the last few years. At one point, the best you could hope for was a scanned image – a picture file of a memo that could not be edited, and certainly not using a word processor. More recently, optical character recognition has enabled printed documents to be turned back into editable computer files. Further developments mean that even handwritten letters can be converted into Word or other documents. The technology generally takes a while to ‘learn’ to read handwriting reasonably, but boasts accuracy rates of greater than 97 percent.

This means that document processing is now very reliable and effective, and when combined with a good document management system can make for a much more efficient office. Everyone can access the documents they should have – and the documents will always be accessible to those who have permission to read them. Similarly, invoice processing means that your accounts department is less likely to miss a payment – something that always undermines a business’s reputation with suppliers and clients.

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Brise soleil -€“ the simple option for reducing bills

A brise soleil typically takes the form of a slatted design attached to a building to moderate the amount of sunlight that enters it at different times. They may be mounted vertically, like a wall, or horizontally, like a kind of awning. In each case, the position of the slats allows sunlight to enter a building at lower intensities – for example, during the early morning and late afternoon, or during the winter months. At these points, the light comes from a lower angle, closer to the horizon. In the summer and at hotter times of day, the slats bar the light from the windows. Glass louvres and other external louvres are similar solutions that can be retrofitted to buildings, or alternatively form part of a building’s fundamental design.

The advantages of all of these systems are numerous. The chief benefit is that the buildings to which they are attached are made more comfortable, specifically in terms of temperature. The louvres limit the amount of high-intensity sunlight hitting the windows, whilst allowing passive solar heating at cooler times. This means that they make the buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. That has benefits to both your comfort and your energy bills. Although you may not do away with the need for heating or air-conditioning entirely, brise soleil and louvres make best use of the available sunlight. Better working conditions make for happier employees, too.

Glare is similarly reduced, also making for an environment more conducive to working. For some industries (such as designers and artists) this is important for the preservation of their working materials, too. In other cases glare from the sun is simply an inconvenience which is only uncomfortable but nevertheless highly distracting.

Finally, brise soleil and glass louvres can constitute a key part of the architectural design. External louvres in some cases are a highly attractive feature, and have been built in to make maximum visual impact as well as any benefits in terms of solar heating and cooling. One of the best-known examples of this is the enormous, wing-shaped brise soleil on the Milwaukee Art Museum. This has the additional distinction of being closed at dusk every day, and opened the next day – a celebrated piece of functional art itself. The 217-foot wingspan has become so iconic since its installation in 2001 that it has been adopted as a symbol of the city.

Please visit http://www.maplesunscreening.co.uk/ for further information about this topic.

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School uniforms online, the easy way to shop

A good London schoolwear supplier doesn’t just sell school clothes. They sell peace of mind and the knowledge that purchasing school uniforms doesn’t have to entail days of traipsing the high street for every last item your child needs – usually with the child in tow.

Shopping for clothes online has various benefits. For starters, when you buy online – anything, whether it’s clothes, books or computer hardware – you tend to get better prices. That’s because if you buy from a store you’re also paying for their overheads: rent, heating, staffing costs and so on. Not only that but they’re likely to be situated somewhere costly, on the high street where footfall is higher and shops are more competitive. With an online schoolwear supplier, it doesn’t matter where they are operating from. You place your order and it’s posted to your door.

Convenience is another obvious plus. It’s much simpler and less effort to do your shopping over the internet than it is to find the time to travel to the shops and physically search for what you require. You can buy what you want in your lunch hour at work or in the evenings, rather than take a day to get your child kitted out for next term. It also doesn’t matter when you shop – the internet doesn’t have opening hours.

One caveat is sizing, though this doesn’t have to be an insurmountable problem. Take careful measurements and use existing clothes to gauge what you need and you should be able to order school clothes that fit properly without any trouble. On the off-chance that there is a problem, you can always return them and have them exchanged for a different size. Once you have used the same supplier once, you will have a much better idea of how their clothes fit, so it will get easier and easier as time goes on.

A decent London schoolwear supplier will have more than just school clothes. You can treat it like a one stop shop, picking up everything that your child needs – stationary and calculators, equipment for clubs and sports as well as school uniforms. Some will even offer a school delivery service, so even if you leave things until the very last minute you can still make sure the right items will be waiting for them when they arrive at the school gates.

Please visit http://www.uniform4kids.com/ for further information about this topic.

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Next generation access is the key to poor web coverage

The UK’s ICT infrastructure is better than much of the rest of the continent’s, but connectivity is poorly distributed throughout the country. Whilst London and the southeast mostly enjoy fast internet access, some of the outlying regions and rural areas are still using the old telephone network’s copper cables for their infrastructure. Consequently speeds can be down to the ‘dial up’ rates of a decade or more back. next generation access involves improving these phone networks – which were never supposed to support high-bandwidth internet traffic – to fibre-optic cables which are capable of transmitting huge volumes of data very quickly. The problem is that such upgrades are pricey, and companies are not always ready to make the investment. However, this means that whole villages can be stuck with slow internet access. Given the role of the web for business, personal communication and life in general now, this is problematic. One solution is community broadband.

Community broadband is a way of bringing groups of people together and sharing connections between them. These are locally-organised programmes aimed at addressing ‘not spots’ – those areas that presently have little or no connectivity. They are often administrated by social enterprises or not-for-profit groups and are therefore cost-effective. There have already been some great success stories, with tens or hundreds of thousands of people in some towns connected to the high-speed web. This obviously comes with many benefits, not least that e-commerce now accounts for a sizeable proportion of GDP; good internet access is viewed as a prerequisite for the economic recovery which is currently elusive.

Communications technology is fast-moving. Only a few years ago it was almost unimaginable to browse the internet on a smartphone – the mobile phone revolution is itself less than 20 years old. Whilst this makes some businesses (and individuals) wary about upgrading – the new technology may soon become obsolete itself – it also means that those without next generation access are being left behind, reliant on phone cables that were never intended to handle the load that is currently demanded of them. The UK’s ICT infrastructure is patchy, and large areas – particularly remote places – have very slow access. Community broadband is a way of addressing this and bringing equality of speed to the country. This will be fundamental both to economic recovery and addressing the north/south divide in terms of web access.

Please visit http://www.broadbandvantage.co.uk/ for further information about this topic.

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Bacs or SWIFT? What are the advantages?

bacs software is now a well-established tool that enables you to pay customers and suppliers quickly, securely and easily by means of electronic transfer. Bacs payments are a far better option than paying by cheque or cash, since you don’t have to worry about keeping big quantities of cash on the premises – a potential security issue – or cash-flow problems brought about by people cashing their cheques at unexpected points in your financial month. Bacs, the acronym for for bankers’ automated clearing standard, is a well-tried and tested method of payment that can save you a lot of time and money, as well as having other advantages.

Bacs usually takes three days to clear as standard, although depending on the sending and receiving banks it can be virtually instant. If you are concerned or there is cause to make a fast transfer, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is guaranteed same-day. However, this means an additional cost, so for small payments it is rarely worth it. For larger sums or urgent orders and payments, SWIFT may be a good choice and the costs will be proportionately smaller if the transfer is large.

One of the great things about Bacs software is that it can be integrated with your other accounting systems and databases. If you haven’t done this, it can be a real headache and a drain on resources, because different transactions have to be logged and entered into different systems. If you take the time to set up your systems correctly, however, you can save a significant amount of time (and potentially expensive errors) and streamline your accounts in a way that is simply impossible if you are using several applications or processes.

bacs software consultants will be able to advise you on the best programmes for your accounts, and whether your present systems can be used in conjunction with Bacs payments. Migrating your accounts can be a formidable task, though the benefits are exceptional. Once you have completed the process, you can use Bacs automatically – paying workers on time, every time; ensuring that suppliers are paid and that customers are respecting their commitments to you; and logging every transaction to make sure that there are no surprises hiding in your accounts to cause problems at the end of the tax or accounting year. Moreover, auditing processes can be started to identify and fix past accounting errors – something which can cost businesses a significant proportion of turnover.

Please visit http://www.bottomline.co.uk/ for further information about this topic.

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Commercial property London helps build strong communities.

As east London loses its youthful desirability due to the increased prices commercial property london, the north retains much of its long-established charm. While areas like Islington are clearly chic and costly, many of the local neighbourhoods are more down to earth and able to attract a diverse set of residents and clientèle. Therefore, shops to rent in north London offer exhilarating opportunities for those who are planning to grow their businesses. Camden and Holloway Road are two north London locales that could do with having some new life breathed into them. And new shops and other businesses setting up here have the ability to do just that. Many people think that the best business opportunities exist in the online realm these days. In fact, this thinking is misguided: with so much competition on the internet it is really difficult to establish customer loyalty. Fast and often short-term solutions are sought online whereas a shop for sale in London can exist as a community hub offering a whole lot more than an affordable product.

Indeed, in an era where many of us work in relative separation, beavering away in an office with our computer screens for company and little communal space available even during lunch breaks, it is physical social space that we long for more and more. The commercial properties available in London can of course be used as office spaces to let or as internet cafés, perhaps only furthering 21st century alienation at the hands of technology. However, traditional cafés, film rental shops, commercial art studios, restaurants and independent shops offer spaces to reflect, talk with the owners and fellow customers, and to receive a personally tailored service that suits your needs. The Film Shop, existing in three different London locations is just one sort of a business that is really encouraging community feeling. These small premises, painted in stylish black and white, contain staff members to whom the term film buff almost does them an injustice. Because the staff here have a wealth, nay a mine of film-based knowledge and can recommend you something you’re sure to like just by asking you a few simple questions about your interests.

Specialists like these film experts are the types of people that north London requires on its high streets. And if they have long term vision and financial encouragement, a shop for sale in London can offer the sticking power that shops to rent in north London do not. Whatever the entrepreneurial project, commercial property london provides what the web simply does not.

Please visit http://www.claridges-commercial.co.uk for further information about this topic.

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Recovery audit software cuts time, expense and errors

Most small and medium-sized firms deal with a large range of customers, suppliers and employees. What this means is that many thousands of transactions could be processed every month, with funds coming in and going out as invoices are paid and obligations met. Each one of those is a source of potential error, which is why an accounts payable audit can dig up some surprising results. There are more than a dozen different kinds of overpayment or mistaken payment than can happen, one of the most routine of which are duplicate payments – put simply, when an invoice is paid twice. This, and other kinds of overpayment, can occur through accident or fraud. If an audit turns up a significant amount of expenditure due to these unnecessary payments – as it almost certainly will – then recovery audit software enables you to claw back the lost money.

It is only natural that glitches will occur with such a complicated and wide-ranging accounting system. Human error explains most of it: assuming that your payments are processed manually, your accounts department can easily process an invoice twice, or make other mistakes. This is almost unavoidable. Even if it could be fixed, you are not responsible for the invoices submitted by your suppliers. They may not be as scrupulous, and some may even be dishonest, realising that they can get errors past your accounts department that work in their favour.

This may seem like an infrequent occurrence, but the fact is that the average SME could be processing thousands of payments or more every single month. Even if a small percentage of these are false, the result is cumulative and can be huge. Remember, turnover is not the same as profit. Some estimates suggest that between 0.1 and 0.5 percent of turnover is given up due to duplicate payments and other mistakes. If your business is already struggling then this could make all the difference between sinking and swimming. That’s where the accounts payable audit comes in, finding all of those instances in which overpayments have been made, this month and in the past. Then recovery audit software allows you to chase up those suppliers and other parties who have received more than their due from you. In most cases the explanation will simply be that it was a mistake. In a small minority, though, it could be down to fraud, in which case you may want to take legal action, or at least end doing business with them.

Please visit http://www.fiscaltechnologies.com/ for further information about this topic.

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Centralised document processing turns your data into assets

In a century where technological advancements are (almost) breaking the speed of light, inventing intelligent robots and making world wide connectivity a reality, it makes no sense to still be scrabbling around in filing cabinets looking for that important document placed there many years ago. If space travel is now a possibility, document processing should be a breeze. Document management systems gather all significant information into a central pool which can be made accessible to all your employees. It’s not rocket science, but using a DMS to optimise all operations from customer service to invoice processing will not only save you money but make it go further, and send your business soaring.

All too often, information is trapped in separate email exchanges or even in individuals’ heads. By altering your processes, all of this useful data can be utilised and consequently becomes an asset to your company. Once this data is collated into an electronic library, employees can use indexing, archiving and full text search functions to access thousands of files. Daily internal operations will be made more effective, and the ability of your company to provide a high level of customer service will be increased. This is thanks to the electronically collected material from which target audience data can be quickly and accurately pulled. All of your operations will gain in promptness and professionalism.

More than this, DMS systems can produce very tangible improvements to your company’s financial processes. As already mentioned, centralising your resources makes the most of its asset value. Dependable invoice processing makes the most of your working capital, helps to prevent against duplicate or overdue payments, and improves cash flow. Finally, the costs of paper storage facilities are eradicated as digitising information hugely reduces the space needed to store all this data.

Security improvements are another advantage. On-paper vulnerability to fire, flood, theft and vandalism and over-handling are a thing of the past, thanks to data retrieval facilities. Regulatory compliance is another positive of increased security and centralised control as DMS files are extremely trackable and the chances of withdrawn licenses or legal action are correspondingly reduced.

To implement document management systems within your organisation, look for an expert provider to advise you on how best to optimise routine but necessary tasks. Enabling shareability and integration across your business, document processing systems increase professionalism and value, simplify security and control, and save money. Leave your competitors to labour over manual, non-electronic invoice processing. Installing DMS will bring your business up to date, make significant savings, and raise your level of professionalism.

Please visit http://www.bottomline.co.uk/ for further information about this topic.

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Look out for kickboxing London classes near you

Ever feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything? Does staying fit keep getting rammed further and further back on the to-do list? Are children or arduous London working hours preventing you from taking time out to look after yourself? If you answered yes to any of these, then kickboxing may be the answer for you. A kickboxing club is more motivating than a gym, and more adaptable to your lifestyle than you may think. Anyone can take up kickboxing London classes are available throughout the day, so you can fit one in whatever your timetable.

Why kickboxing? Why not pilates, karate, or football? For the simple reason that kickboxing is more than a way to keep fit. Firstly, this fun form of exercise is as advantageous for your mental and spiritual health as for your physical well-being. It is an extremely sociable sport, and once you’ve acquired some skills, your confidence levels will rise exponentially.

This is allied to the second reason why kickboxing is more than just another form of exercise. It teaches you self-defence, allowing you to successfully defend yourself in real-life threatening situations. This covers the initial circumvention of a threatening situation, and, if conflict becomes unavoidable, you will have the right skills to deal with aggressive behaviour and defend yourself, your children and your property. In this way, kickboxing can greatly improve your general self-assurance. More and more women are signing up for this very reason – kickboxing is the perfect way to protect your independence.

And kickboxing is a great work-out, too. It is an active aerobic activity which improves flexibility, co-ordination and speed. You are encouraged to seek your limitations, and develop beyond them. Thanks to its interactive element, this is a sport that will never get tedious. You always have to be alert and ready for your combatant’s next move.

All these benefits are on offer to you regardless of the demands upon your time, or your level of fitness. Classes are available to all ages, abilities and genders, and available all day. Kickboxing is also the ultimate extra-curricular activity for children, teaching them useful skills as well as backing up self-discipline and positive behaviour. This means that you won’t have to worry about the kids while you go to your class – you can bring them along, and they can attend a class relevant to their age and ability.

Personal classes, more specialised classes such as sparring classes, and technical theory lessons will also be on a good kickboxing club’s roster for the hard-core among you. So whatever you want to get out of an exercise class, kickboxing will be able to cater for you. What’s more, you can learn more about the discipline, for there is a fascinating history to kickboxing London-based clubs mean there’ll always be classes happening near you, so that you can stay fit, healthy, have fun and stay safe on the streets.

Please visit http://www.zendokickboxing.com/ for further information about this topic.

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