Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Impact Of Computers On The Economy

The advent of computers has markedly improved our economy and standards of daily living as business, commerce and global trade has flourished at unprecedented rate over the past decades. Furthermore, it has significantly increased the utilization of resources which in turn resulted to a big deluge of output in many business establishments. Despite the brief periods of recession, the economy’s sudden downward dive did not leave a devastating impact as predicted as it readily bounced back after a period of adjustments.

The computers served as a tool for global communication where the export and import of manufactured goods between and among countries’ businesses are being arranged as communication through electronic mails or emails travel as fast as the speed of light. With the entry of imported products in the local market, consumers nowadays need not go abroad only to sample some of the world’s finest food, clothing and apparel and grooming products.

As trade among nations allowed the phasing-out of some barriers, imported goods freely enter the market of a given country with a markedly reduced tax imposed on such goods thereby lowering the selling price of the manufacture. As the economic rule proves true that abundance in the supply lowers the price of a commodity. Because of the stiff competition, international manufacturers and suppliers are given no other alternatives except to mark down the price of their commodities to be able to stay on the business ladder.

Because of computers, Business Process Outsourcing or BPO has provided countries such as India, the Philippines and South Africa a kick to their economy by providing thousands of jobs to its workforce. Countries providing for outsourcing on the other hand, receive the biggest boost to their economy as they are relieved of paying for the manpower costs in their own country as cheaper labor cost in other countries allow them to cut-back expenses. Records show that India alone has revenues of US$10.9 billion from offshore BPO and US$30 billion from IT and total BPO in 2008 giving the country 5-6% share of the total BPO Industry.

The computers and the internet has provided for an avenue where scientists and researchers of pharmaceutical companies for example, to conduct modifications on certain medications, develop drugs of superior quality than other existing drugs and discover new ones that promise immense financial rewards for the sole production and distribution for a period of time.

Indeed, the invention of computers and the internet has become the most effective catalyst for competition to grow not in increments but in big deluge giving businesses the scare of their lives. As competition gets stronger, manufacturing companies employ various marketing strategies to increase sales which ultimately end up to benefit the consumers in general.

Calculating Airplane Ownership Cost

Over the years, calculating the cost to own an airplane is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive. There are a lot of different cost factors that go into owning an airplane. The purchase price is just one piece of the entire cost of the airplane ownership pie. Other pieces include taxes, hangar or tie down costs, fuel, oil, insurance, ramp fees, engine reserves, routine maintenance, inspection items and subscriptions to name a few. The following article will help you determine what costs are involved in owning an airplane and how to plan your finances accordingly. Keep in mind the following article offers a generic estimate on how to calculate the ownership costs of most piston airplanes.

First, we will divide the total cost of ownership into two sections; the first section will be the indirect cost, and second section direct cost.

INDIRECT COSTS

Indirect costs are the costs that you will pay whether or not the airplane flies. These expenses include the purchase price of the airplane (or monthly payments), insurance, tie down or hangar fees, subscription fees, taxes, and tax benefits.

Let’s start with the first indirect cost I mentioned, purchase price or capital cost. This is one of easiest expenses to calculate. If you finance the airplane, get a quote from the bank on the down payment required and interest rate. Currently, rates are approximately 6% with a minimum of 15% down and 20 year financing. As an example, if you put 20% down on a new DA40XLS priced at $350,000, your monthly payment would be just over $2,000 a month over 20 years.

To calculate insurance fees, call your insurance agent and obtain a quote for the airplane you are considering purchasing with your experience level.

Hangar fees and tie downs are self explanatory. Call the airport or FBO where you want to base your airplane and ask what options are available. Usually there are about four choices: tie down (leaving your airplane outside in the elements), covered (airplane is outside in the elements but has a shade covering), hangar in common (airplane is constantly moved around in a large hangar shared with several other airplanes), and finally an individual or T hangar. At many airports hangar space is scarce so don’t be surprised if you end up on a waiting list. Hangar prices vary according to your location. My T hangar in Concord, NC costs just north of $300/month while that same hangar in Fort Lauderdale would cost well over $1,000/month. If you keep your airplane outside, please be sure to at least cover it. It will protect the interior and the avionics. Also, keep in mind that some insurance companies will lower your premium if you can hangar your airplane rather than keep it on tie downs.

Subscription services may not apply to you. If you own a J-3 cub, you can skip to the next paragraph. Almost all aircraft manufactured after the early 1990s offer an IFR GPS. If you have an IFR GPS, you will need to subscribe to a monthly update to keep your database legal to navigate solely by GPS and shoot GPS approaches. If you have XM weather, you will pay around $30/month for the basic subscription or $50/month for the full package. The winds aloft feature on the full package is more than worth the additional cost to get it. XM radio is additional. If you own a glass panel airplane, you may opt for Garmin’s safe taxi charts and/or approach plate services. Visit http://www.mygarmin.com for cost information. Jeppesen also offers approach plates for glass cockpit airplanes. This service requires an initial upfront cost to install and a higher monthly payment, compared to Garmin’s approach plate services.

Unfortunately taxes do not disappear with airplanes, with the exception of tax exempt corporations (see an aviation tax consultant for more information to see if you qualify). Taxes vary from state to state. In Florida, it is 6% of the purchase price. In North Carolina it is a flat tax of $1,500. North Carolina, however, charges property tax which varies by county and by city. Where I live in North Carolina, the airplane property tax rate is around 63 cents per 100 dollars, and I have a city tax of 42 cents per 100 dollars. If you use the airplane for business, you may be able to depreciate the use and cost of the airplane which benefits your estimated cost of ownership. Please consult with an airplane tax specialist to determine your individual situation.

DIRECT OPERATING COSTS

Calculating the direct operating costs is a little trickier. There are different ways of calculating what it will cost you each hour to fly. My method is just one method, but it works. Here you need to decide on how many hours you plan on flying a year to establish an annual base budget.

Let’s start with the basics. Most pistons engines will require an oil change every 50 hours. Depending on where you live, a standard oil change will cost between $150 to $300. Call the local mechanic on the field and find out what he charges. If you plan on flying 100 hours a year, the math is simple.

Fuel consumption varies according to different aircraft. You can usually visit a manufacturer’s website or consult the POH to get the cruise fuel burn. If you are flying an aircraft with a worn out engine, consider the published fuel burn to be the best case scenario (which often is not the case). Find out what avgas costs at your local airport and do the math. Keep in mind avgas prices vary

Engine and propeller reserves are calculated into the equation even if you own a low time or new airplane that you plan on selling long before overhaul. You can usually get a quote from a local FAA engine repair station on the cost of overhauling your engine or on the cost of installing a factory remanufactured engine. Take that price and divide it by the hours remaining till TBO and you will get an idea of how much you need to put away each hour. If you plan on buying a twin, double the fuel, engine and propeller costs.

Scheduled maintenance is another cost worth planning for. Every year your airplane will be due for an inspection. Again, prices will vary depending on where you do your inspection. Shop rates in South Florida average $95/hour, while in North Carolina they are around $70/hour. Call a service center familiar with your airplane and see what they charge for a standard annual inspection. Keep in mind that the price they quote you doesn’t include squawk items, airworthiness directives, service bulletins or regulatory replacement items. These are extra costs. If your airplane is still under warranty, then you shouldn’t expect any surprise repair bills when you pick your airplane up. A safe bet for budgeting additional expenses for an airplane out of warranty is to double the price of the annual inspection fee; this budgeting will cover almost any unexpected surprises that may occur during the year. You may also consider a reserve for paint, interior, and avionics upgrades in which case you will want to put away a little extra.

Finally, you will need to determine what your airplane will be worth if and when it comes time to sell it. Airplanes typically stop depreciating after 5 years. Like cars, their depreciation rates vary. Companies such as Vref and Aircraft Bluebook offer retail pricing and trade-in pricing.

Accounting Finance – The Heart of Any Successful Business

At the core of any successful business is a well organized management. Financial accounting is a very important tool for business. Aside from knowing strategies such as bookkeeping, marketing, advertising and production, a good and stable business must also have a competent system for accounting finance.

Whether you like it or not, accounting finance is one thing you cannot dispense with in the world of business. It is a very important tool in determining where and how exactly your money is being spent. Also, it is most important in terms of taxes and other pecuniary obligations.

Good Accounting Means Good Business

Accounting ensures you how much you have, how much you owe, and helpful in assessing the value of your business. Are you generating any profit or operating at a lost? Accounting records will answer your questions. Accounting serves as the proper recording tool of the financial status of any business. Fiscal dealings are best kept right on track with an effective accounting department.

A good accounting system within one’s business is a great help in making business decisions. This also shows how credible you are with other companies. Accounting does not only place you in a very knowledgeable stance, but it gives you that confidence by being armed with the facts and figures revolving around your business. Knowledge is power.

Professional Accountants

It is to your advantage if you are an accountant by profession. But if not, you can still do your own accounting if you are operating a small-scale business. However, if you have a big company it is advisable to hire a professional accountant especially if you do not have the time and the skill for it. You must realize that there are various strategies in keeping various kinds of accounts in a business.

It is also best to check the accounting firm’s competence, credibility and confidentiality issues. It is very important that in any business, you would be able to trust your accountant with sensitive information, including profits and sources of income your business is accumulating.

Accounting standards you should know

To the untrained and unsuspecting eye, accounting principles might seem hard, intimidating and complicated, but it is in reality very simple if you get past all those figures. All you have to know in accounting are these: Accounts are always divided into three types, namely assets, liabilities and equity. Each account is unique and simple yet forms part of the very foundation your business is operating on.

“T” accounts can be managed by drawing a T like figure with a left and right section divided by a vertical line. On the left side, you can place all your debits or the so called assets. On the other side, you can list down all your liabilities or what we call credits.

The general rule is that for every liability, there must also be a corresponding asset so that a balance will be achieved. If the credit is more than your debit then perhaps you are already generating a loss in your business.

Mastering these simple accounting principles will help you in determining where your business stands. You will also be more confident in presenting these financial records even if federal agents pay you a visit for an audit. GP

The Global Economic Crisis’ Effects on Business

The global recession prompted due to several causes is a ghastly piece of news for each and every business in every country throughout the world. The tendency adopted in this recession by companies in their pursuit to survive during the chaotic time would be to enter into reviewing the headcount, as well as freezing the budget along with numerous cost reducing measures.

Nonetheless, it is possible that the growth of the company will be stunted in case you continue with the practice or overreact to the whole situation. It is seen with recession hitting the economy many of the internationally based business were enforced to reorganize their operations. This was mainly done by ceasing the functioning of the facilities of production. Millions of working people were required to quit their jobs due to the ongoing crisis. The course of action adopted by the company should be to come in the forefront and re-invent the proceeding of your company and at the same time think of procedures for global recovery.

The crisis is faced by the business is of great magnitude. Businesses around the globe were hit so hard by the economic crisis that several businesses had to seek monetary assistance from the government in order to survive. Several industries were in jeopardy and the others were facing the threat of bankruptcy. Practically for many monetary institutions it was like floor has been swept off under their feet. And as a conclusion the power if acquiring things by the public became feeble. The consumers were once again were very conscious about the budget.

Almost all people were forced to make their decisions carefully when it came to buying something as everyone was clueless about when the recovery from recession will take place. The trends in the market place began to fluctuate along with the demand of various products. Almost every business was affected by this global economic crisis but the companies that were hard hit were the companies having large scale operation along with those who provide their services at high prices. The consumers are now turning to the businesses which render similar services at comparatively cheap prices.

Businesses that can survive this economic recession in a better way are basically small as well as medium scale industries. Nonetheless, it does not suggest that they are not hit by economic crisis. The difference primarily lies in the fact that small as well as medium scale enterprises have comparatively undersized operations and have the ability to maintain the operation with fewer revenues. Such business usually has streamline way of operation which minimizes the total effect of the global crisis for survival.

The time span required by the international economy to recover is long as the magnitude of the crisis is large. Nations will have to strive hard to restructure their economy. What is further in store for us is hazy and the lucid picture is still to emerge. However, it is hoped that businesses will retain their normal position once again.

Corporate Governance and Small Businesses

Let’s start with some review of what types of companies primarily drive the US economy.   We know that there are about 16,000 publicly traded companies represented on the NASDAQ, NYSE and the AMEX.  The key economic driver in the US is the 27 million small businesses.  The Small Business Administration 2008 Presidential Report on The Small Business Economy clearly communicated “the economy generated 1.1 million net new jobs in 2007. In the first quarter of 2007, 74 percent of the net new jobs were in small firms with fewer than 500 employees and 22 percent were in firms with fewer than 20 employees.”   Yet, the gross amount of attention in the media and the federal bureaucracy is around what is happening in the Markets.  This is understandable with the volumes of dollars transitioning in this public environment. The economic recovery program is not addressing the core of the economy, small businesses.   More than ever the public market environment is being questioned about corporate governance.  The new legislation being considered for public companies has sections that may very well trickle down and require the small businesses to adhere to similar if not exact rules on Corporate Governance.

A simple definition of Corporate Governance for the small business:  

Corporate governance simply refers to the set of internal policies, rules, and procedures that a company follows on a regular basis to ensure that it operates in a fair, equitable, and appropriate manner for the benefit of the company, its management and its shareholders. A corporation usually has a board of directors and a senior “C” level management team.   Most small businesses do not have these organizational entities clearly defined and functional.  For private companies that are registered as a corporation and have investors, the various states require these entities to have a governing board.  Yet many small businesses incorporate for tax issues and do not necessarily pay attention to the concepts of corporate governance. 

How does Corporate Governance apply to small businesses?  

All businesses should look at their organizational structure and continually assess what will allow the company to perform in an optimal way.  The simplest way to implement this is to have an advisory board.  The advisory board is non-paid individuals that have business or industry specific backgrounds that can contribute ideas or mentor management.  In more formal and traditional cases a small corporation has a board of directors comprised of the founders, a spouse, an employee and maybe – just maybe an outside director.  The focal point of corporate governance within small businesses is that all businesses need to set company strategic goals, provide the leadership to put them into effect, supervise the management of the business, and if the company has stockholders, report to the stockholders on their stewardship.  For those small businesses that do not have the hierarchical structure in place to implement formal corporate governance plans, it is recommended that regular self assessment of the company will be the starting place for accountability, to enhance performance, grow the company and be a greater contributing force in the economy.  At the end of the day, if you follow some set of policies and procedures and are reporting your stewardship of the company to someone even if it is your dog, then you have accountability that is key to corporate governance practices.

Will the government impose its will and definition of Corporate Governance from the public markets into the small business environment?

This imposition of government from the public market companies to privately held companies is making its way through the halls of congress.  One idea being tagged onto present legislation is to extend Sarbanes-Oxley down to privately held companies.  Anyone that knows anything about SOX is aware of the high cost to implement the documentation processes and the reporting.   Pushing this down to the small business environment would be cost prohibitive and stunt economic growth.  The general politics of mandated corporate governance is to wait and see how new legislation will affect the small businesses driving the US economy.

As a final note, every company, no matter what size it is, will see the positive effects of implementing the principles of corporate governance.  The facts remain that there are 27 million plus small businesses in the US who are the job creators and the drivers of the economy.  The greatness of US business is that it performs the best when individuals come together in a free market environment to meet the needs of the economy and society.  In the end, best practices of corporate governance can be freely implemented to benefit the company or corporate governance can be instituted by the government, which can cost more in resources, planning and profit.  Take the time to assess how your small business views corporate governance and how this will enhance your growth in the market place.

Financial Statements – Business Owner’s Friend Or Foe?

Financial Statements are a set of statistics and scores not unlike the statistics and scores that show up after a sports game. For a sports team owner or manager, the statistics, replays, opinions, and ultimately the score, are a vital part of analyzing, tweaking and improving the game. They would never ignore them. It is their way of increasing the win rate. In contrast, business owners and managers, more often than not, it seems, view their financial statements as a necessary evil to satisfy the I.R.S. They either are completely unaware of the power of these reports, or they just choose to discount them. Many business owners are happy to turn the reports over to a bookkeeper or accountant to analyze.

So, what is wrong with that? Well, for starters, when the business owner does not use the financial reports as a tool, profitability is based more on luck than strategy.

Take forecasting the profitability of the business for example. Without knowledge of past performance, how do you come up with reasonable budget numbers? When done properly, there will be at least two components, historical performance and growth projection. However, if you do not clearly understand what is going on in your company, what minor or major changes will you make? Do you have the right mix of staff? Are there product lines that are not profitable? Is your pricing correct? How about your overhead, can that be improved or is it already in line with industry standards? How exactly can you improve your score? Do you know when there is a black hole draining your profits?

Then, there is the control issue. Who is controlling your business? Do you have controls in place? From experience, I can tell you that when the owner does not know what is going on with the finances of the business, there is ample room for corruption. Would you know if someone was stealing from you? Sometimes it is small seemingly insignificant skimming and other times it is more like grand theft. It happens all the time and the business owner is often completely unaware.

The solution is for the business owner to become educated in the financial aspects of the business. This does not mean they have to become an accountant. But, it is critical that they become knowledgeable of the accounting model in place. They need to understand the language. Business finance is no more difficult to understand than most other aspects of running a business. It is probably less difficult than some aspects.

The three most important financial reports are The Balance Sheet, The Income Statement and The Cash Flow Statement. The most important Key Performance Indicators are within these three reports. It is a cake walk!

Are financial statements your friend or foe? Friend, definitely friend! Take the luck out of profitability.

What To Do With An Economics Degree

Economics deals with the production and distribution of wealth, goods, and other services. Many students who obtain a degree in economics find jobs as economist, while others pursue similar careers in other relevant fields in business, academia, private sectors, and government. Students who wish to pursue a degree in economics will study topics such as forecasting, macroeconomics, global and emerging markets, economic development, microeconomics, economic reporting and analysis, managerial economics, and calculus.

While at their college or university, students should explore different concentrations that align with their desired career. Those who hold economics degrees can work in businesses such as banks, petroleum companies, universities, credit card companies, medical associations, and many others. Some specific jobs include economist, financial advisor, accountant, financial analyst, stock broker, personal banker, investment advisor, and actuaries. Individuals will most likely be working with finances, so both liking and understanding simple and complex math foundations is a plus.

If individuals are interested in the business sector, they will be finding jobs in transportation, health, labor, industry, and private firms. Employees in these fields typically have advanced statistics, writing, verbal communication, and computer skills. For those who are learning more towards government, the most likely departments in which to be employed include finance, business, labor, agriculture, international trade, transportation, and urban economics. In order to submit an effective resume to these departments, students should try to involve themselves in student government, find an internship in a government agency, and consider graduate school to be eligible for a wider variety of careers.

Many individuals who hold an economics degree go into the economic and market research field. These typically include business firms, consulting firms, consumer goods manufacturing firms, and market research firms. An accompanying business minor is also a great support when finding a job in this field. Students should also try to involve themselves in the campus newspaper, work for a political campaign, and take a business research practicum.

Another available field is in banking and finance. Graduates may work at regional and commercial banks, or Savings & Loan associations doing work such as trusts, operations, systems, and credit lending. In order to be successful in this career, students should have advanced computer and analytical skills, and have some experience as a cashier, teller, or have worked as a financial officer or treasurer.

The majority of people who pursue this degree are interested in becoming economists. These professionals will analyze and conduct research about how resources are distributed and used in order to produce services and goods. Most individuals will have specialized knowledge in a certain concentration in this field, such as industrial economics, organizational economics, and microeconomics.

Legal Protection for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Nigeria

For healthy and continuous in flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to Nigeria, the country has over the years put in place friendly legal framework for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) protection.

In this Foreign Investors’ Guidelines for Doing Business in Nigeria Series, we shall be examining the legal mechanisms put in place for the purpose of encouraging an increasing FDIs inflow and ensuring foreign investors’ confidence in the country.

We shall be discussing foreign investors’ protections ranging from certainty of arbitral proceedings and other dispute resolution mechanisms in the country.

The fact with modern economic systems is that no country can be an island economically; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) protection is very essential to the successful attainment of foreign investors’ business objective(s) and economic development of any economy.

There are steps that host countries can lawfully take in the exercise of their sovereignty and power can lead to depriving foreign investors of reaping the fruits of their investments.

Host government actions that can affect foreign investment adversely includes nationalization; the act of a government taking control of a private enterprise and converting it to state or public ownership.

Expropriation; the act of a government taking possession of or otherwise meddling with privately held assets or property for the use and benefit of the public, or in the public interest.

The legislative and administrative acts of the government as government action can also have adverse effects on foreign investors’ businesses in Nigeria.

This is the indirect or creeping form of expropriation. The only difference is that, it mode of operation shifted attention from the physical and actual taking-over of an investor’s assets to the legislative and administrative acts of the government.

While not depriving a foreign investor of the ownership of an asset in this type of government control, it is capable of significantly reducing the value of properties and investments of the foreign owner.

Foreign investors don’t like investing in country’s with risk such as arbitrary revocation of a license; permit or a concession after the investor has made the requisite investments.

The advancement and expansion of international business relationships and the importance of foreign direct investment to the economic development of Nigeria has made the country to put in place some foreign business protection laws for the purpose of encouraging foreign investors.

Nigeria has performed greatly in providing protections to potential foreign investors.

Investment Treaties

In spite of the provisions of Section 12 of the Nigerian Constitution, investment treaties entered by the country are binding on, and enforceable against Nigeria upon ratification under the principle of ‘pacta sunt servanda’.

Also, by a literal application of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which provides that a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in agreement with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty.

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs): Nigeria entered into its first Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Germany in 1979 which came into force in 1986.

According to finding from my investigation Nigeria has entered into 28 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between 1986 and November, 2015.

Of the total number, 13 are currently in force, 14 are signed and 1 repealed. The Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) currently in force are the ones entered into with Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

The 14 BITs which have been signed by Nigeria but are yet to enter into operation were signed as far as back as 1996.

In addition to the usual investment protection standards, these BITs provide that a contracting state shall not damage by irrational or unfair means the maintenance, management, disposal of investment in its territory of nationals or companies of the other Contracting Party.

And the same recompense for losses suffered due to a safety event made to a domestic investor shall be allowed to the investor from the other contracting state.

These BITs also provide for the right of subrogation allowing foreign investors to obtain suitable investment insurance and for these investment insurance providers to seek remedy on their behalf from Nigeria.

The BITs that are presently in force have also made satisfactory requirements for the standard investment protection. These include fair and equitable treatment, umbrella clauses, most favoured nation status, national treatment, obligations against arbitrary and discriminatory measures and security.

Multi-lateral Investment Treaties (MITs): Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) treaty is one of the famous MITs Nigeria have entered. The ECOWAS treaty was signed on 28th May 1975; it came in into force on the 20th June, 1975.

The treaty currently has 15 signatories who are member states of ECOWAS.

Article 2 of the Treaty gives ‘Community Enterprise’ status to businesses whose equity capital is owned by two or more member states, and citizens or institutions of the Community.

Article 16 of the Treaty provides that Community Enterprise shall be accorded favourable treatment with regards to incentives and advantages, and shall not be nationalised or expropriated by the government of any member state except for valid reasons of public interest, and subject to the payment of prompt and adequate compensation.

Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) investment treaty is another MIT Nigeria has entered into in relation with providing favourable conditions for foreign investments in the country.

OIC is a treaty with an Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which came into force in September, 1986.

Chapter 2 of the Treaty mandates all member states of the Organization of Islamic Countries to provide adequate security and protection to the invested capital of an investor who is a national of another contracting member state.

The terms of protection specifically include the enjoyment of equal treatment, undertaking not to adopt measures that may directly or indirectly affect the ownership of the investor’s capital or investment and not to expropriate any investment except it is in the public interest and on prompt payment of adequate compensation.

Host states are further obligated to guarantee free repatriation of any capital and returns due to an investor.

Conventions to which Nigeria is a Signatory:

The country is signatory to a number of Conventions which have been entered into for the purposes of protecting foreign direct investment.

The most significant convention in this regard is the Convention for the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention).

International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) as an arbitral institution under the World Bank Group is a fully integrated, self-contained arbitration institution that provides standard arbitration clauses, arbitration proceedings rules, arrangements for venues, financial arrangements and administrative supporting including the appointment of arbitrators to parties.

Convention for the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID) primarily provides for the settlement of investment disputes between investors and sovereign host states.

It has also taken the necessary legislative measures to make the Convention’s resolution effective in Nigeria by enacting it as a domestic legislature in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Enforcement of Awards) Decree No. 49 of 1967.

Another significant investment protection convention Nigeria has entered into is the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

New York Convention was adopted by the United Nations in June, 1958 and it mandates domestic courts in signatory countries to give effect to arbitration agreements, and to also recognise and enforce valid arbitral awards given in other signatory states.

The New York Convention in other words is particularly significant for the enforcement of arbitral awards resulting from non-ICSID investment arbitration proceedings.

In an attempt to bring into conscious awareness the legal guidelines to undertaking business in Nigeria to intended foreign investors, we shall specifically be reviewing domestic legislations and investment treaties which collectively make up the legal framework for foreign investment protection in the country.

The Domestic Legal Framework:

The notable investment legislation in Nigeria is the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act, CAP N117 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (“NIPC Act”).

The NIPC Act provides the fundamental and suitable legal framework for the protection of foreign investors in the country. Part 5 of the NIPC Act provides that foreigners may invest and participate in any enterprise in Nigeria.

They are assured unrestricted transfer of funds attributable to the investment such as profits, dividends, payments in respect of loan servicing, and the remittance of proceeds obtained from the sale or liquidation of assets or any interest in the venture through an approved dealer in freely convertible currency.

Section 25 of the NIPC Act clearly provides that no enterprise shall be expropriated or nationalised without prompt payment of compensation; the same section also provides a protection clause to an investor to claim “creeping” expropriation by establishing that the acts complained of indirectly results to expropriation or have expropriatory tendency.

Lastly, the NIPC Act provides that disputes between a foreign investor and any government in Nigeria arising from an investment shall be submitted to arbitration within the framework of any investment treaty entered into between the government of Nigeria and any state of which the foreign investor is a national.

It further provides that where there is a disagreement between the Nigerian government and the foreign investor on the mode of dispute settlement, the dispute shall be submitted to ICSID for arbitration.

Foreign investor is thus at liberty in Nigeria to institute arbitration proceedings against a government even after bringing a claim or counterclaim against the government in a court or domestic arbitration.

Another domestic legislation that provides protection to foreign investors is the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions Act) CAP F34.

Section 15 of this Act provides that any person may invest in any business venture with foreign currency or capital imported into Nigeria through an authorized dealer who will issue a Certificate of Capital Importation to the foreign investor.

Sub-section (4) of the same section in addition guarantees unconditional transferability of funds in freely convertible currency of any such monies arising from an investment made in Nigeria with foreign currency, including dividends and profits, payments in respect of loan servicing, and remittances of the proceeds of sale or liquidation of assets.

A similar provision on repatriation is also found in Section 18 of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act, CAPN107 (“NEPZA Act”).

Section 18 of the NEPZA Act provides that foreign investors who invest in outlined businesses within an export zone shall be eligible to remit profits and dividends earned in the zone and repatriate foreign capital investment at any time with capital appreciation of the investments.

Other foreign investors’ protection laws are the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The act gives foreign investors the opportunity to determine the mode of settling disputes that may arise out of their investments without resort to litigation in domestic (Nigeria) courts.

With the anticipation that such settlement will unfailingly and efficiently protect and enforce the rights of foreign investors and their investments provides a framework for domestic arbitration it also makes provisions for international commercial arbitration which is more preferable by foreign investors.

Section 56(2) (d) defines ‘international arbitration’ to include any arbitration that the parties have expressly agreed in the arbitration agreement to treat as international arbitration. The Act provides that every arbitration award is capable of enforcement under the New York Convention.

Nigeria’s entries into these investment treaties and its enactment of the Conventions into domestic legislation have made the protection mechanism part of Nigeria’s legal framework for protection of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) friendly and convenient to actual and potential foreign investors.

The Emerging Role (Future) Of Accounting

1. INTRODUCTION

Accounting has evolved as human beings have evolved and as the concepts of the accounting subject are directly coined out from its most fundamental principle of conservatism, it is not difficult to see why the style of accounting at every point in time has a direct link with the age. As man has developed from a primitive age to a modern interdependence age, living has advanced from being subsistent as a hunter-gatherer to a knowledge driven globalised world concept of ‘effectiveness turning to greatness’ and all along with this evolution, self accounting with the abacus has developed through stewardship accounting to financial accounting and now managerial accounting; which has a focus on decision making.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of the US which generally standardised and strengthened the globally adopted Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) took significant strides in the year 2012 to come together with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in a manner termed as ‘International Convergence’. Such a convergence is expected to gradually harmonise the GAAPs and the IFRS until they become one and the same in a bid to stream line corporate/company reports into a uniform process globally.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

There is no absolute certainty as to what the future holds for the Accounting Profession. It thus seems however, that the future age which definitely would be one of scientific advancement, would move man from greatness to something worthier for the time. Spiritualism, Environmentalism and Developmentalism could be key factors in the future age. This paper is to find out if Accounting itself would be more of a reality providing accurate solutions to financial problems where man’s ability to value natural capital fairly would give rise to a significant asset on the balance sheet in contrast to the industrial age when even man himself was regarded as labour and not being considered as important as the machines he operated.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

This paper was approached from a content analysis view point – both conceptual and relational. A content analysis is “a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of manifest content of communications” – (Berelson, 52). The conceptual analysis was simply to examine the presence of the problem, i.e. whether there is a stronger presence of positive or negative words used with respect to the specific argument while the relational analysis built on the conceptual analysis by examining the relationships among concepts. As with other sorts of inquiry, initial choices with regard to what is being studied determined the possibility of this particular paper.

2.1 Evolution of Accounting Theory

According to investopedia.com, Accounting Theory in the light of its evolution can be defined as the review of both historical foundations of accounting practice as well as the way in which accounting practices are verified and added to the study and application of financial principles. Accounting as a discipline is believed to have existed since the 15th Century. From that time to now businesses and economies have continued to evolve greatly. Accounting theory must adapt to new ways of doing business, new technological standards and gaps that are discovered in reporting mechanisms hence, it is a continuously evolving subject. As professional accounting organisations help companies interpret and use accounting standards, so do the Accounting Standards Board help continually create more efficient practical applications of accounting theory. Accounting is the foundation of efficient and effective business management and intelligent managerial decision making, without which businesses and trade world-wide would operate blindly and fatally. It is therefore necessary to link how it has evolved to its future role.

2.2 The Origin of Accounting

Luca Pacioli wrote a Maths book in 1494 (ehow) that consisted of a chapter on the mathematics of business. As this book is thought to be first official book on accounting, Luca Pacioli has severally been regarded as ‘the father of accounting’. In his Maths book, Pacioli explained that the successful merchant needed 3 things: sufficient cash or credit; an accounting system that can tell him how he is doing; and a good book keeper to operate it. Pacioli’s theory still holds today, it included both journals and ledgers and it is believed to have popularised the use of the double entry accounting that had been in place since the late 1300s.

2.2.1 The First Change in Accounting

During the depression of 1772, the Accounting profession went beyond book keeping to cost accounting. The theory and the idea were transformed into a method determining whether a business is operating efficiently or using an excess of labour and resources. The new theory of cost accounting allowed a trained book-keeper or an accountant to use the book kept to extract financial reports to show the efficiency represented by such data. This new idea led to the survival of businesses during the depression; business that would otherwise have failed without an intelligent management decision making informed by a cost accounting breakthrough.

2.2.2 The American Revolution/ British Courts Influence

The end of the American Revolution saw the first United States (US) governmental accounting system being created in 1789 and it was established to account for and manage the treasury of the US. The double entry practice and theory were adopted. The British courts ruled that they needed professional accountants to make financial information in relation to court cases. Chartered accounting bodies/ concepts were introduced in Britain (and in the US in particular, the Certified Public Accountant – CPA). In 1887, the first standardised exam emerged with Frank Broaker becoming US’s first CPA.

2.3 Modern Cost Accounting

This was first established by General Motors (GM) Company in 1923 and it developed methods that helped cut its costs and streamlined operations and this remained relevant for over 50 years. The new accounting techniques developed included return on investment, return on equity and GM’s flexible/adjustable budget concept.

2.4 Accounting Concepts and Conventions

This was established in US between 1936 and 1938 by the Committee on Accounting Procedure (CAP) thereby standardising Accounting practices for all companies throughout the US. In 1953, the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) was updated to new standards, CAP became Accounting Principles Board (APB) in 1959 and later in 1973, APB (having suffered from poor management) was replaced by Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) with greater powers and opinion for its professional stance.

2.5 International Financial Reporting Standards

FASB issued almost 200 pronouncements between 1973 and 2009 thereby establishing the foundation of Accounting Standards in use presently and is now making current moves to harmonise all accounting principles of GAAP with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It is widely believed that development of accounting profession in any nation and around the globe is a mixed effort of both accounting theoreticians and practicing accountants. Thus, the framework of accounting is a harmony of efforts whereby professional accounting bodies are usually in the lead of a path to regulation and standardisation of issues relating to accounting.

2.6 The Nigerian Scenario

In Nigeria, the case is not different from what has already been discussed. Most of the country’s accounting standards (concepts and conventions) were inherited from the British colonial masters. And because the world has indeed become a large global village with globalised accounting bodies supervising and making sure that all member countries are abreast with current Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Nigeria has also tagged along making several public sector and private sector reforms the most recent and famous of which include the approval by the Federal Government in July 2010 to adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) for the public sector and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for the private sector as a conscious effort to ensure a uniform chart of reporting system throughout the country by both the public sector and private sector.

2.7 International Convergence of Accounting Standards

This concept is both a goal and a path taken to reach such a goal. The FASB believed that the ultimate goal of convergence is a single set of high-quality, international accounting standards that, companies world-wide would use for both domestic and cross-border financial reporting. To this end, conscious efforts are being made by the FASB and the IASB to jointly eliminate the differences between the ‘GAAP’ and the ‘IFRS’. One such conscious effort was made on the April 5th 2012 when an update report was submitted to the Financial Stability Board Plenary on Accounting Convergence. The ever increasing demand by global capital markets driven by investors’ desire for high-quality internationally comparable financial information is as a result of the usefulness it is expected to immediately provide for decision making and thereafter accurate solutions to problem solving. The IASB was established 1st April 2001 as successor to International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) and on March 1st 2001 the IASB, which is an independent accounting standard-setter based in London, England assumed the responsibilities for Accounting Standardisation. The IASB is responsible for issuing many accounting standards and pronouncements known as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

3. PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS

To give a pictorial view to this paper, two (2) illustrations are used to make presentations (interpretations) of the findings. Illustration.1 traces the Evolution of Accounting; its principles, roles, concepts, professionalism, standardisation and internationalisation. Illustration.2 on the one hand relates Accounting evolution with Human evolution and on the other hand it broadens the understanding of the reader with regards to the subject matter. The reader (user) of this paper easily discovers a past-present-future view of the Role of Accounting and it purports to postulate finally what the future of Accounting could (or should) be. Self Accounting is not a terminology found in the literature of Accounting but is used here to depict any primitive Accounting system which was maintained by traders long before double-entry. Self Accounting, thus, was the past of Accounting when the role of Accounting was merely to have records of Incomes and Expenses, show Liabilities and not necessarily showing Assets and profits as distinguished from the personal or private earnings/estates of a trader. Assets at times might have been recorded as expenses. These are assumable because most businesses operated (and still operate) as sole-ownerships. The Present role of Accounting encompasses; stewardship, financial reporting and managerial decision making. These three provide the nexus of what Accounting is today. The stewardship aspect is so referred to because rich merchants in Europe and the Americas at that time trained their slaves to render book-keeping services. So the merchants themselves did not have to do the tasks. Financial Accounting was developed to give standard to financial reporting especially for the users of such reports who are largely to the businesses concerned. Managerial Accounting evolved to provide records that would aid the decision making process of the managers and owners of businesses. Generally all three roles of accounting as at present assist stakeholders to make good judgments regarding their dealings with businesses. These stakeholders may or ‘may not’ have rights to receive the reports so discussed. The stakeholders include; creditors and government (having rights to receive only financial reports); the shareholders, investors and management (who make use of both the financial reports and the managerial reports); the employee and the management team (who are the users of all the reports: book-keeping, financial reports and managerial reports); and the competitors, resident community and customers – who do not have rights to receive such reports but are able to retrieve financial reports (annual reports) to aid their decisions with regards any business of interest to them.

Having accurate records (reports) support good decision making but sometimes bad interpretation and judgment of the reports and their recorded results may lead to bad decisions taken. The three roles of accounting presently have been the bed-rock with which accounting standardisation of principles and procedures have evolved to date. The Emerging Role (Future) of Accounting then must be anticipated with keen readiness with regards to what should be probable. Illustration.2 would do justice to this concept.

Illustration.1- The Evolution of Accounting in the US (1300 – 2014)

Stewardship (prior 1300)

-Slaves trained to render basic book-keeping

Double Entry (1300)

-Introduction of Double Entry principles

Book-keeping improved (1494)

-Financial Reporting begins

Cost Accounting (1772)

-Managerial Accounting for Decision Making begins

Double Entry (1789)

-Principle of Conservatism fully adopted

Professionalism (1850)

-Concepts/Chartered bodies introduced

AICPA formed in US (1887)

-Providing standards and operational guidelines

-Certification process begins

Qualifying Exams (1897)

-First standardised exams introduced

Cost Accounting Revamped (1923)

-Modern cost accounting methods developed by General Motors Company and remained relevant beyond 1973

Concepts and Conventions (1936)

-Conservatism expanded into other concepts and conventions

-US Committee on Accounting Procedure (CAP) establishes standard accounting practices

CAP Evolves (1953)

-New standards of GAAP fully established

CAP further evolves (1959)

-CAP becomes APB (Accounting Principles Board)

APB evolves (1973)

-Due to poor management and inability to Accounting theory as desired, APB is replaced by FASB

FASB established (1973)

-Financial Accounting Standards Board replaces APB and makes over 200 pronouncements up to 2009

-The foundation of accounting Standards all over the world further strengthened

Influence from the England (2001)

-IASB established as an independent ‘International Accounting Standards-Setter’ based in London, England

-IASB assumes responsibilities from IASC on March 1st 2001

FASB and the International Convergence (2012-2014)

-GAAP (established by the FASB) is being considered for merger into the IFRS (established by the IASB)

3.1 Reality Accounting versus the Future Role of Accounting?

What is Reality Accounting and what then should Reality Accounting encompass? Wikipedia.com defines reality as the totality of all things, structures (actual and conceptual), events (past or present) and phenomena whether observable or not. Reality is thus seen as a term that links ideologies to world views or part of them (conceptual frameworks). Reality Accounting is close to ‘Fair Value Accounting’, which is both a basis and theory of accounting. And it seems to be transforming into the Future Role of Accounting. In Financial Accounting, it is easily seen that accounting reflects corporate and economic realities as they are, though it is common sense to know that accounting cannot adequately reflect reality particularly in relation to the technical limitation of double-entry bookkeeping and Fair Value Accounting. As part of the changes emanating from Reality Accounting, a new concept of ‘Natural Capital’ has surfaced. At the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development organised by the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD), which took place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012. At the Conference, a Natural Capital declaration was made such that Natural capital is now understood to be comprising of all Earth’s natural assets (soil, air, water, flora and fauna) and the ecosystem services resulting from them, which make human life possible. It estimated that ecosystem goods and services from natural capital are worth trillions of US dollars per year and constitute food, fibre, water, health, energy, climate security and other essential services for everyone.

3.2 The Concept of Natural Capital

Neither the services, nor the stock of Natural Capital that provides them, are adequately valued compared to social and financial capital despite being fundamental to all that exists. The daily use of Natural Capital remains grossly undetected within our financial system. There is therefore the need to use Natural Capital in a manner that is sustainable. All stakeholders, including the private sector and governments must begin to appreciate and account for the use of Natural Capital and recognise the true cost of its economic growth as well as sustaining human wellbeing now and in the future.

3.3 Natural Capital Framework

Natural Capital though treated as a free good but must be seen as part of a global pool of wealth for which governments must act now and wisely to create a framework that shall regulate, reward or tax the private sector for its use. Reliable policy frameworks that can report the value, use and depletion of natural capital must be the intent of any government desirous of making a good start with this new accounting phenomenon. Deeper economic influence is given to accounting under Reality Accounting since all that are regarded as real are only truly real in their consequence and not in their physical. Therefore the value of Natural Capital for instance would be the value ascertained after considering various factors that give rise to such valuation. These factors include the size, presence of mineral resources, location, other natural resources, presence of plant and animal life etc.

Illustration.2- The Emerging Role (Future) of Accounting

HUMAN AGE………….HUMAN EVOLUTION…………………………….ACCOUNTING EVOLUTION

Primitive age………..Hunter – gatherer……………………………..Self Accounting

(Independence)……(Subsistent living)……………………………..(Abacus)



Colonial age…………Colonialisation…………………………………Stewardship Accounting

(Dependent age)…..(Being efficient)……………………………….(Book-keeping)



Modern Age………….Technology driven by Industrialisation…….Financial Accounting

(Independence)…….(Being effective)………………………………(Financial Reporting)



Modern Age………….Technology driven by Knowledge…………..Management Accounting

(Interdependence)…(From effectiveness to greatness)…………(Decision making)

?↓

The Future Age………Technology driven by advancements……..Reality Accounting?

(Efficiency…………….Environmentalism?…………………………..(Not as a tool for decision

based on……………..Developmentalism?………………………….making but providing

Interdependence……Spiritualism?…………………………………..accurate solutions to

…………………………(From greatness to what?)………………….financial problems)

4.0 CONCLUSION

As man seeks greater heights in a modern world full of scientific and research discoveries, Accountants must ponder what the emerging role of their profession must be. From merely providing information on the wellbeing of a business to financial reporting as a corporate responsibility and now decision making managerial approach for future forecasts, what then does that future hold for accounting or how is accounting expected to remain professional and relevant in that future which seems would be molded by environmental and developmental challenges all over the globe. As accurate records and reports have supported good decision making though sometimes bad interpretation and judgment of the reports and their recorded results have led to bad decisions taken, the present roles of accounting, which have formed the bed-rock with which accounting standardisation of principles and procedures have evolved are now facing evident changes.

Under the scope of Reality Accounting, it is clearly observed that concepts such as International Convergence, Natural Capital, Environmentalism, Developmentalism and Fair Value Accounting will sooner than latter set the path for the future of accounting.

This paper is to stimulate academic arguments for or against the subject matter in order to bring to the awareness of accountants about a subconscious change that is already taking place. It is recommended therefore that seasoned researchers should come forth with further ideas, summaries and reviews that can boost a clear pathway for the future of accounting.

REFERENCES

1. http://www.investopedia.com (Accounting Theory)

2. http://www.eHow.com (The History of Accounting Theory)

3. Berelson, Bernard. Content Analysis in Communication Research. New York: Free Press, 1952

Leadership Qualities – Great Leaders Are Flexible

Consider any manufactured product. When something is flexible, it can withstand certain levels of influence and not break, shatter or become inoperable. Flexibility allows it to last longer, endure, and continue to work well into the future. Rather than resist the forces coming at it, it engages with that energy and absorbs or deflects it in a non-harmful way. The longevity of products is built upon the physical engineering of flexibility.

Strong leaders are flexible, too. Today’s society is complex. Technology and social networking is blurring the line between our personal and professional lives. Everyone is taking more interest in societal issues and in creating change, not only for society, but also for the larger global community as a whole.

Today’s problems are more complex and the consequences of our actions more influential. We can barely predict what will happen in our lives a mere 24 hours from now. The only thing we can be certain of is change – and a lot of it. This is the normal, everyday operating environment of today’s leader.

He or she must be quick-thinking, open-minded, and most important, flexible to all that is happening around them. Leaders must be able to understand and assess situations in minutes, not months. They must be able to modify plans, rally their teams, and change a course of action on a moment’s notice. The ability to do this, and to do it well, depends on their ability to be flexible.

Equally important is the ability to be flexible when it comes to thinking or being open-minded to adopting new attitudes, ideas, or points of view. Flexibility allows one to go with the flow, to keep stress levels manageable, and to maintain relationships with others that are critical for overall success.

If you want to be a leader, you need to learn how to be flexible. If you want to be a successful leader, it’s mandatory.

In what ways are you flexible when it comes to your leadership style? Are there any areas where you could institute a more flexible approach? What are the benefits of being more flexible for you and the organization you lead? What’s one thing you can do this week to take you leadership to the next level?

“The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate.”
–Harry A. Overstreet