Avoid Tragic Losses With Personal Financial Records Software

Some families suffer tragic losses because they lose track of assets. Your hard earned wealth can languish in limbo if no one knows where it is, or that it even exists. It’s not enough for you to know. Your family, your caregivers, your advisors and your estate also need to know.

You would be amazed at the amount of money sitting in state treasuries and trusts because families don’t know it exists. One quarter of all life insurance benefits go unclaimed. According to the SEC, as many as 3 million stockholders are entitled to unclaimed stock worth $10 billion. Government agencies are holding $60 billion in unclaimed property and missing money. $500 million in Social Security benefit checks go unclaimed every year and less than 1% of U.S. Savings Bond holders are successfully notified when the bonds reach maturity.

Somebody is entitled to that money.

Ensure your estate knows what you have and where it is. Create a personal financial record of all your assets and property. List them to establish proof of ownership. Identify the location of their physical whereabouts. Create authority for at least one other person to gain access if you can’t.

The most useful tool for that purpose is personal record keeping software. Paper records are easily lost, damaged or destroyed. Digital records are secure from prying eyes. You can back up digital records and keep protection copies in safe locations. Record keeping software runs on your own computer, at home, without connection to the internet. Several layers of encryption guard against intrusion. Your records are password protected so only you can access them. But, you can create access for other authorized parties through passwords that you control.

Record keeping software has other advantages. Namely, it provides an organizing framework to help you know what information to keep track of. All you have to do is fill in the blanks. Software makes easy work of what can otherwise be an agonizing, stressful task. Other benefits include additional categories beside Financial Records where you can enter, store, organize and maintain other information important to your family’s well-being. Medical and health records, for example or insurance and retirement records, or emergency contact numbers and living and last wishes.

A complete PFR will ensure nothing gets lost or forgotten and that transitions are smooth and hassle-free. You don’t want to leave your estate in such a condition as to delay or obfuscate transfer of assets. Personal record keeping software is a program that helps you get organized and gather the details of your financial records all in one place.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7125464

Financial Records Management: Are Your Bank’s Records Safe?

Banks face an unprecedented challenge when it comes to avoiding data breaches and identity theft. Thanks to poor economic conditions over the past decade, the past few years have seen an astoundingly high increase in fraud and identity theft attempts. To counteract this threat, banks need to create a more effective financial records management program to protect themselves from potential data breaches, financial losses, and public relations nightmares.

The Downsize Dilemma
The state of the economy has forced numerous banks to cut down on their staff. During these downsizes, many banks have reduced operational spending by cutting costs on the management of financial records and compliance team members. By doing so, tellers and other entry-level personnel members have easier access to client files, critical information, and records that contain financial data, thus making banks more vulnerable to identity theft and fraudulent activity from within their own company.

Financial Records Management – Not a Good Area to Cut Corners
An effective program is critical for all banks, regardless of their size or annual transaction volume. Banks have numerous fraud-related risks that include financial and account statements, debit and credit card numbers, electronic data that contains account numbers, names, Social Security numbers, and other personal information.

Poor control of these records leaves them highly vulnerable to both physical and electronic theft. Once in the hands of thieves, this private financial data can be used to empty bank accounts, destroy credit, and make enormous purchases-just to name a few of the many disastrous effects of not having a secure management plan in place.

The Solution
Banks cannot escape the fact that they need to cut back on monthly expenditures, but there are options for storing records without increasing vulnerability. Banks can store information in a cost-effective way by enlisting the help of specialized financial records management to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing confidential financial records. This is especially helpful in preventing disgruntled employees from stealing credit card information or even lifting money right out of customer accounts.

Careful planning provided by trained experts is imperative to protect a bank’s clients. They can create a customized system and store physical records in a safe but accessible way.

Outsourcing Benefits
In-house records management and security is often not a financially viable option for many banks. Dealing with the threat of fraud and identity theft is easier and more affordable when they outsource this area to an expert that can handle all areas of financial records management, including organizing, storing, moving, and shredding sensitive data.

One of the biggest advantages to outsourcing is that banks no longer have to waste valuable capital on creating a secure, in-house storage system. This eases the financial burden on the bank, which gives it the additional resources to invest in financial records management and protect itself from additional liability costs down the road.

Additional benefits of outsourcing include:
• Being able to trust a professional that can offer expert consultation and advice for safe and effective records management
• Reducing storage and regulation burdens
• Decreasing the amount of time it takes to recover records
• Reducing the amount of downtime in a natural disaster when in-house records are lost
• Decreasing legal repercussions associated with identity theft and fraud
• Secure shredding services to eliminate old or unnecessary records
• Hiring a company with a strong records moving background as well to relocate financial records with a secure chain-of-custody procedure

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7515033

UJ obtains court order to prevent violence, anarchy

The High Court has granted the University of Johannesburg (UJ) a court order, binding until 31 May 2016, when respondents will have an opportunity to show cause why the interim relief should not be made final.
UJ obtains court order to prevent violence, anarchy
© Evgenyi Lastochkin – 123RF.com
The university obtained the order to ensure the safety and security of all its stakeholders and property, in the wake of recent acts of arson and wanton behaviour on its campuses.

The interdict applies to everyone, including students and staff, participating in, inciting, encouraging or facilitating protest action or demonstrations on its campuses – with the property covered by the order encompassing all UJ premises, residences, libraries, lecture venues, laboratories and any other buildings operated, owned or managed by the university, including off-campus accommodation.

Tumi Mketi, senior executive director in the office of the vice-chancellor, said, “Recent events at UJ, including Monday morning’s callous arson attack on the Sanlam Auditorium at the Auckland Campus – which caused damage estimated at R100 million – has necessitated the move.

“Irrespective of anyone’s ideological or political orientation, students’ rights to initiate, organise and participate in lawful activities of any academic, political, religious and social student organisations are promoted and shall be protected at the university, and the court order recognises this.

“Indeed, it remains possible for students to participate in public protests, demonstrations and meetings as long as they do so in terms of the university’s student regulations.

“However, protests or demonstrations, which are not conducted in terms of the University’s student’s regulations, may not be held on the university’s campuses or within 100 metres of the entrance to, or boundary of the university’s property, and neither may meetings for the purpose of inciting, encouraging or instigating any protest action or demonstration at or on university premises.”

Prohibited conduct

The following conduct is expressly prohibited by the court order:

Obstructing or preventing students, staff and visitors from entering and exiting the university;
Interfering with access control to any of the entrances to the university, or its security systems and installations;
Disrupting or interfering in any way with the normal activities of the university at any of its campuses – including examinations and tests being written, lectures and tutorials, and the work of the libraries and laboratories;
Carrying out acts or threats of violence against, or causing damage to UJ property, as well as intimidating, threatening, harassing or harming university employees, students and service providers;
Interfering in any way with other people’s freedom of movement while on the university campuses;
Carrying firearms, dangerous weapons, petrol bombs or other incendiary devices or materials; or sjamboks, knobkerries, golf clubs, hammers, assegais, knives or other sharp objects, sticks of any kind at, or within 100 metres of the university property;
Vandalising, damaging property or illegally occupying any buildings or vehicles at the university; and
Interfering with the disciplinary hearings of the twelve (12) students currently on suspension.

Environment behind nearly quarter of global deaths: WHO

ENEVA: One in four deaths worldwide is due to environmental factors like air, water and soil pollution, as well as unsafe roads and workplace stress, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, 15 March.
Environment behind nearly quarter of global deaths: WHO
© Michael Borgers – 123RF.com
An estimated 12.6-million people died in 2012 as a result of living and working in unhealthy environments, 23% of all deaths reported globally, according to the new study.

“If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young,” warned WHO chief Margaret Chan in a statement.

The report defines environmental causes broadly, drawing links between a long line of environmental risk factors like pollution, chemical exposure, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, as well as access to firearms and more than 100 diseases and injuries.

As many as 8.2-million of the deaths could be blamed on air pollution, including exposure to second-hand smoke, which is responsible for heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, the report said.

Among the deaths attributed to environmental factors were 1.7-million caused by “unintentional injuries”, including road accidents.

The report also counted 846,000 diarrhoeal disease deaths among environmental mortalities, adding that many were linked to pollution and unsafe drinking water.

The WHO reported 246,000 deaths due to intentional injuries, including suicides, which it linked to the unsafe storage and access to firearms, as well as to pesticides – used in a full third of the world’s suicides – among other factors.

The report found that most environmentally-linked deaths happened in Southeast Asia, which accounted for 3.8-million such deaths in 2012, followed by the Western Pacific region with 3.5-million.

The least affected region was the Americas, with 847,000 deaths blamed on environmental conditions.

Europe had 1.4-million environmentally-linked deaths while Africa reported 2.2-million.

The WHO said that better environmental management could prevent the deaths of 1.7-million children under five, who are especially prone to serious illnesses arising from respiratory infections and diarrhoea.

“There’s an urgent need for investment in strategies to reduce environmental risks in our cities, homes and workplaces,” said Maria Neira, WHO’s public health chief.

“Such investments can significantly reduce the rising worldwide burden of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, injuries and cancers, and lead to immediate savings in healthcare costs,” she said.

How to determine if your business systems are working – before they go wrong

The importance of reliable systems in a business cannot be underestimated, something I was reminded of the day I lost a week of work and three years’ worth of financial records, after a hard drive failed – something I’m still recovering from, to this day. If only I had appropriate business systems in place to mitigate that.
Business systems are methodical procedures or processes that ensure goods and services are delivered to customers, and that a business continues to run day-to-day without crisis. In my case, it would have been a regular backup of important business data to an on premise server or the cloud. That’s all good and well, to put systems in place to ensure a business’s continuity, but how do you know the systems you’ve implemented are reliable, or even working?

Put simply: when a business is properly systematised, there is a sense of calmness in the business. If you have to continuously put out fires, address customer complaints or dip into your cash flow for unexpected expenses, then something is likely going wrong. At that point, you need to promptly address the system at play, rather than patching up the problems.

©Dmytro Sukharevskyy via 123RF

Fixing problems as things fail is a basic problem-solving endeavour every company engages in, but businesses that get stuck in a continual fix-as-fail loop will not grow, nor will they be profitable in the long run. To avoid that, unpack the system in place and establish what it’s supposed to achieve. What is its intended goal?

When diagnosing a problem, your best bet would be to ask those whose job it is to manage the system. Of course, there’s the possibility that your employees are not doing what they’re meant to – perhaps, utilising a shortcut to save time, at the expense of other departments – but you hired them for their expertise and experience, so leverage it.

The ultimate goal of a system is to iron out the root cause for problems before they ever occur – prevention being better than cure – but that’s not always possible. A good system, however, should give you lead time, so that you can see a problem as it unfolds, way in advance. But always keep a close eye on your systems.

You need a reliable testing and monitoring system if you are to ensure your other systems are working as intended. That might mean making sure that you’re paying creditors on time, there is always cash available to pay staff and product returns are within an acceptable threshold of those total sold. Keep a record of important indexes, like product returns, unhappy customers/complaints, and missed deadlines for staff and so on, as part of your business’s KPIs. Should numbers breach a particular threshold, you need to act accordingly, and promptly.

You need to then ask yourself what went wrong. How do we solve the problem? That’s how you develop systems in lieu of a second, or even third, crisis. But passivity alone is not the entire solution. There also needs to be an aspect of active engagement with systems, to have a group of people sit down on occasion to review the systems in place, and figure out if they’re running optimally – could they work quicker, better or be made more cost effective. Identify potential pain points down the line, as the business continues to grow, and address them before they ever take root. The term I like to use is “no surprise management”; it’s the idea that a system, if running correctly, should never surprise you – in an ideal world of course; but yes, there are always exceptions.

That’s why I always encourage a culture of innovation, not just for things like better productivity and enhanced collaboration across business units, but to solve or identify potential problems before they arise. New technologies can do that, but you need to actively engage with your systems to make it happen.