Thursday, 29 September 2011

Big Four defections helping mid tier to prepare for bigger slice of the auditing pie?

Draft plans recently announced by the European Commission aimed at curbing the power of the Big 4 accounting practices could lead to a hiring spree among the mid-tier firms as they prepare to compete in what may be a far more level playing field. That’s according to Jon Newcombe, Director of the Professional Services Division at of Twenty Recruitment.

“Historically, companies have rarely changed their auditors which has resulted in very few FTSE 250 audits for mid tier firms. The draft EU plans include forcing companies to change auditor at least once every nine years and from a hiring perspective we are already seeing mid tier firms ramping up their audit teams in the hope that if the directive is introduced they will be in a strong position to tender for big ticket work.

"Also, companies are constantly looking at ways in which to improve shareholder value and so mid tier firms, if they have the right staff, could be a viable – and more cost effective alternative - to a Big 4 audit firm.”

Newcombe says that many of the mid tier firms are managing to attract ex Big 4 partners to help build out teams to win larger client audits – and larger fees.

“Another contributing factor to mid tier firms wanting to woo larger clients is the recent changes in the financial services industry. Record revenues from PwC and Deloitte recently (largely as a result of their Financial Services Advisory Practices) have led mid tier firms to look at building their own financial services practices – mainly by recruiting ex Big 4 staff. The recent announcement around the ringfencing of retail banks from their investment banking arms may mean separate audit, tax and consulting advice. The European Commission proposals would mean that many of the Big 4 will be conflicted out of tax or advisory work opening up further opportunities for the mid tier.”

However, Newcombe adds a word of caution. “A FTSE 250 company or large financial institution will only appoint a mid-tier firm if it feels that they are adequately resourced – firms need to act now to recruit top quality people if they are to be ahead of the curve when the changes are enforced.”

Northern Rock maintains healthy interest rates for Fixed Rate Cash ISA savers

Northern Rock is launching three new issues of its fixed rate cash ISA, offering savers the chance to take advantage of tax-free interest rates.

The new accounts, which are fixed over one, three and five years, are available now with a minimum initial deposit of £500.

A strictly limited issue, the fixed rate cash ISAs (issue 174-176) allow transfers from other providers and Northern Rock has increased the interest rates it pays for savers who are happy to lock their tax-free savings away, whether for the short or long term.

The product can be opened either by post or through Northern Rock's branches and additional deposits (£250 minimum) can be made to the cash ISA, within HM Revenue and Customs limits (£5,340 per tax-year). This issue may be withdrawn without notice once fully subscribed.

To ensure funds are accepted they must be received within 30 days from account opening. Any deposits received after 30 days may be returned. This includes any funds transferred in from existing cash ISAs. Subscriptions are not allowed to any other Cash ISAs in the same tax year(s) that customers subscribe to this Cash ISA, even if they have not used their full annual allowance(s).

Interest, which can be added to the account or paid into another account, is paid annually on 30 November. Minimum withdrawals of £250 can be made from the account, subject to a charge equivalent to 60 days' loss of interest on the amount withdrawn (Issue 174), 120 days' loss of interest on the amount withdrawn (Issue 175) and 180 days' loss of interest on the amount withdrawn (Issue 176). If balances fall below £500, our current basic rate of interest will be paid (0.10% tax-free pa /AER).

(EDITOR: Check with Northern Rock and/or your independent advisor before making any decisions regarding investments)  

Is the pension protection scheme weathering the storm?

Apparently so, according to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), which is also responsible for the Financial Assistance Scheme. Good news for troubled pension schemes and their members, independent trustees who must  undertake PPF assessment & FAS assessment and other pension-industry watchers.

Although PPF chief executive Alan Rubenstein describes the economic climate of the past couple of years as “challenging”, the PPF had sailed through troubled waters relatively smoothly.

Figures published for the financial year 2009/2010 show the PPF with a surplus of £400m as a result of strong investment returns and a reduction in claims by pension schemes eligible for PPF. Results for the last financial year, which have yet to be published, are expected to show further improvements.

In an upbeat, state-of-play assessment, Mr Rubenstein says, “The past two years have seen challenging times for the economy at large, as well as for the pensions industry more specifically. Financial crises, subdued growth, turmoil in the bond markets - we are all familiar with the story and the underlying causes.“But far from being tossed about on stormy financial seas and at risk of foundering on the rocks of rising insolvencies, the Pension Protection Fund has sailed through these troubled waters relatively smoothly.”

But Mr Rubenstein did sound a note of caution. He warned that the PPF's strong funding position was not something that could be taken for granted.

He said, “In an ever changing world, we need to understand our risks and plan our future funding, so that we can give everyone - members, levy payers and government - confidence that we will be around to pay the vital compensation we provide, not just for next year, or even the next ten years, but as long as we are needed.

That is why the funding strategy that we published last year is so important. This strategy charts a course over the next 19 years, as the risks we face evolve, toward a future in which the PPF can expect to be self-sufficient. That will mean a future in which the levy ceases to be a significant source of income for the fund, with our success or failure increasingly depending on our ability to manage our investments and risks together.”

In the meantime, said Mr Rubenstein, the levy would continue to be an important component of PPF resources. It was right that the way it was raised should be consistent with the PPF's approach to its funding strategy. However, the design of the levy also needed to be a better match with the expectations of stakeholders.

Mr Rubenstein added, “Our changes to the levy from 2012/13 aim to combine these two requirements and the responses that we received to our consultation on our proposals indicated we were on the right track. There was strong support for the broad thrust of our proposals, with stakeholders viewing them as a significant improvement on the current levy framework.

A key change from 2012/13 will be that we will aim to set the rules for the levy for a three year period, rather than changing the way the levy is calculated every year. A scheme’s levy will still vary depending on movements in its risk, which is appropriate, although we are also making changes to smooth the assessment of risks which should help make bills more stable and predictable. Together with the stronger emphasis on scheme funding in the new formula, we believe this gives schemes more control over the levers that influence their levy.”

The PPF raises some of its funding through the pension protection levy. The levy helps towards the compensation payable to members of schemes that transfer to the PPF. All UK defined benefit (final salary) pension schemes eligible for PPF compensation pay the pension protection levy.

That's Technology: Eurostar awards on-board Wi-Fi connectivity and in...

That's Technology: Eurostar awards on-board Wi-Fi connectivity and in...: Eurostar, the high speed rail service between UK and mainland Europe, has awarded NOMAD Digital...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

That's Health: Intellicig USA to star at NACS

That's Health: Intellicig USA to star at NACS: Intellicig, a world famous pioneer of Smoking Harm Reduction technologies, will be starring at the NACS 2011 Exposition. Executives from...

That's Technology: SEO Specialist Launches Unique SEO Review Tool

That's Technology: SEO Specialist Launches Unique SEO Review Tool: Most businesses want to be found in Bing, Google and Yahoo, but many don't know if their website is targeting the desired keywords, proper...

Apprentices “learn and construct” with Sanicubic

installation by pupils.........
Trade Training Associates (TTA) was established in August 2008 to offer industry specific training and assessment in the gas, water, oil and renewable energy sectors as well as funded apprentice training and assessment.

Following their success two new training divisions - Construction and Hair & Beauty have recently been converted from a commercial building on the North Tyne Trading estate, Newcastle upon Tyne.
The addition of this faculty required extra toilet and washing facilities along with the disposal of waste water from the hairdressing department.

Due to the location a small bore drainage system was required. Saniflo the leading experts in this field recommended a Sanicubic twin motored macerator with remote alarm system.

As Saniflo systems are on the NVQ curriculum for apprentice studies so it was decided by the course tutors to install the unit as part of a “learn and construct” programme.

A “Hands on” situation for everyone!

Sanicubic is a high performing macerator pump that can discharge waste and water from multiple WCs and other waste water producing appliances. It pumps waste away through small-bore pipework up to 11m vertically, 100m horizontally or a lesser combination of vertical x horizontal.

For further information please visit

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

That's Travel: British Airways adds First and business class to M...

That's Travel: British Airways adds First and business class to M...: For the first time, customers on British Airways' London Heathrow to Moscow service will be abl...

Hays suggests fix for employment problem

Hays has reported that employers should start considering employing people from other energy and engineering sectors if they are to successfully fill the increasing number of jobs being generated in the oil and gas industry in Scotland.

The comments come as the sector continues a steady recovery, generating a number of new technical and engineering posts. However, there is currently a shortage of people with the necessary skills and experience to fill the posts, caused partly by the lure of better paid positions overseas, combined with a lack of new engineering graduates.

According to Graeme Fyfe, director of Hays' Oil and Gas division in Scotland, employers will need to compromise on non-essential aspects, take a much broader view of their skills requirements and also ensure they have a long-term strategy to address the issue with an investment in training and development.

"The good news is that energy projects that were previously on hold are now being reinstated and offshore fields which reduced production are coming back online," said Fyfe.

"But there is currently a serious shortage of people with the rights skills and experience to fill the posts that are being generated. This applies across the board, but the pinch point is in mechanical and project management roles. Almost without exception, our clients are looking for skilled project engineers who tend to be at the heart of any manufacturing process - but they simply aren't available.

"There isn't time to train them or wait for the next influx of graduates, so in the meantime employers should take a more strategic approach and consider if people from other industry sectors could fulfil these jobs, albeit with some additional learning. For example, we have recently placed a project manager from construction into a manufacturing role in subsea systems and equipment. Another candidate with experience in a heavy forged products environment has relocated to Aberdeen and is now working for a company that manufactures offshore equipment.”

According to Fyfe, people who work in construction, defence, automotive and other large complex engineering industries are often already working to the high standards that are required in the oil and gas sector. So possess many transferable technical and project management skills. This is more cost-effective in the longer term, he believes, than offering higher salaries or delaying projects.

"There needs to be a balance between encouraging more people into science and engineering and employers being much more strategic in their forward planning. Not only is there a shortage of new talent but a ‘brain drain’ is causing many of our skilled engineers to relocate overseas at a critical time when we need the right people in place to grow the industry.”

For further information and to access jobs visit

Monday, 26 September 2011

BT offers small businesses a 'Kickstart'

BT Business has launched a finance scheme offering start-ups the chance to lease up to £15,000 worth of technology and telecommunications solutions. Under the 'Kick Start Scheme', in conjunction with Shire Leasing, new businesses trading for under three years will be eligible for funding subject to credit vetting.

BT's 'KickStart Scheme', available through BT Local Business, aims to help small businesses raise funds in a challenging economic climate and to avoid having to rely on bank loans, overdrafts or credit cards.

'KickStart' offers start-ups the opportunity to purchase a range of technology and communications products and services including business telephone systems, business mobiles, handsets, connection charges, software licences and IT equipment such as laptops, as well as small business IT support. The scheme is open to all industry types and has very flexible underwriting, aimed at delivering higher acceptance levels for new-start companies. An average £3,000 loan will cost less than £20 per week and can be added to as the business grows.

Declan McGlone, general manager of BT Finance, BT Business said: "The UK has an average of 270,000 start-up businesses every year. In light of the current economic climate we want to help these businesses access the products and services they need to get their new venture up and running. Our 'KickStart Scheme' offers finance over a fixed term, at a fixed rate, making it easier for customers to budget."

One business that has already benefitted from a similar scheme with Shire Leasing is A.I. Global Media Ltd. The publishing company, established in November 2010, needed funding to purchase a technology and communications solution for its eight staff working on a new corporate finance publication.

Jane Peter, director, A.I. Global Media Ltd, said: "When starting out, it was crucial to launch the business in the most cost effective way possible. We needed to install a BT Versatility phone and broadband system, so that staff could work on the magazine straight away, but couldn’t afford any major spend. The leasing scheme allowed us to get the equipment we needed at a fixed rate and also meant we keep what capital we had in the bank to ensure we had some cash flow. This scheme really helped us get our business off the ground and we now have over 53,000 subscribers to our magazine."

Karina Knudsen, Head of Business Development at the British Chambers of Commerce also welcomed the launch: "The BCC has long called for more support for small businesses. Financing that specifically helps start and grow new ventures will considerably reduce the current credit difficulties that owners face."

New and existing BT Business customers will be able to take up the 'KickStart Scheme' offers as long as they have been trading for under three years, subject to a credit check. For more information about 'KickStart' and other BT products and services, interested parties can contact BT Local Business at

Emirates SkyCargo celebrates new freight service

Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates Airline, yesterday celebrated the inaugural service on its new Far East and Australasia freighter route.

The weekly air cargo service, operated by its new Boeing 777 freighter, will fly Dubai-Singapore-Sydney-Hong Kong-Dubai, providing the key trading points with additional connectivity to Emirates' Dubai hub, which can link businesses to the 114 destinations on the carrier’s network.

The Boeing 777F - which touched down for the first time in Sydney on 12th September - has the capability to carry up to 103 tonnes of freight.

"This new route not only bolsters capacity, it provides our customers with more options and increased trade opportunities," said Hiran Perera, Emirates' SVP Cargo Planning & Freighters.

"We currently transport cargo in the belly-hold of 126 passenger flights a week between Dubai and Australia, as well 28 Hong Kong flights and 42 Singapore flights, and the freighter - with a wide main deck door - will increase our ability to carry oversized shipments," added Perera.

"This takes our import capacity to Australia to 1370 tonnes per week and, in these uncertain economic conditions, is further testament of our commitment to facilitating international trade for businesses in the region."

The inaugural fligh - which carried 100 tonnes of cargo, including medical equipment, diagnostics, spare parts, textiles and clothing - was met by Greg Johnson, Emirates' Cargo Manager Australia, and Alex Barkway, Emirates' Cargo Manager, New South Wales.

"The addition of a dedicated freighter service is a major milestone in Emirates SkyCargo's growth in Australia, and offers new possibilities for expansion into other areas of air cargo transport," said Johnson. "With the high Australian dollar driving up imports, this new flight will also provide us with much needed additional capacity into the market."

EK9920 will depart Dubai every Sunday at 20:35 and touch down in Singapore at 07:55 the following day. The B777F will then depart at 09:00 and complete its outbound journey at 18:30 when it touches down at Sydney International Airport.

The return service, EK 9921, will depart Sydney every Monday at 21:30 and land in Hong Kong at 04:35 on Tuesday. Departing Hong Kong at 07:35 as EK 9865, the service will then terminate in Dubai at 10:35.

With a long-range flying capacity and technologically advanced General Electric (GE) engines, the Boeing 777F provides greater flexibility than any other freighter aircraft currently in operation. It maintains the lowest fuel burn of any comparable sized aircraft, consuming nearly 18 per cent less fuel than today’s freighters.

Emirates SkyCargo introduced its first Boeing 777F in March 2009. In December 2010, it operated its longest ever non-stop flight on the Boeing 777F; 17.5 hours from Sydney to New York. Emirates is the largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft in the world, with 91 in its fleet currently.

Freestyle Interactive opens Paris office as part of European expansion

Suzanne Linton
Digital agency Freestyle Interactive is to open its first European office in Paris, France.

One of the largest independent digital agencies in the UK, the move by Midland-based Freestyle follows a strong period of continuous growth in the value of its overseas business.

Managing Director Suzanne Linton said: “In the last two years we have become a net exporter of our digital marketing and digital asset management services. We have a strong client portfolio in France and we also work with companies in other parts of Europe including Sweden and Germany.

“The strong strategic, creative & technical relationships Freestyle has developed with French companies means we have relevant expertise and valuable insight into working with International organisations. This understanding enables us to provide a highly relevant strategic and tactical digital communications skill-set to French businesses operating at a global level. The new office in Paris is a natural and logical commercial progression for Freestyle. We’ll be able to service our French clients better as well as generate growth in new clients."

In establishing the Paris office Freestyle Interactive worked closely with UK Government agency UKTI both in the UK and in Paris.

Alan Cooper, founder and head of business development at Freestyle believes that the network of support and practical advice provided by UKTI has made establishing a French foothold much smoother and quicker than it might otherwise have been.

Alan explained: “We were able to access a range of business support and services such as the Passport to Export scheme – the network of contacts and advice has been invaluable. Undoubtedly it has saved us time, money and effort allowing us to focus energy on core aspects of running a growing business in some pretty challenging times. We’re really excited about the opportunities this gives us to extend our business into Europe.”

British Ambassador is VIP at Digital Strategy Breakfast

To mark the occasion Freestyle is hosting a Digital Strategy Breakfast event at the British Embassy in Paris on Wednesday 28 September 2011.

British Ambassador to France Sir Peter Westmacott is the VIP guest speaker and he is joined by other speakers coming from the European Association of Communication Directors and from leading French legal firm Alain Bensoussan Associates.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Franchising bucks the trend

The franchising sector is bucking the trend in British business with record numbers of companies successfully franchising their businesses and individuals buying these business opportunities.

At a reception in Norwich on Friday (23 September), MPs, officials from UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), as well as representatives from major banks heard about how many more people want to be their own bosses and that banks have funds readily available for this sector.

National Franchise Week starts today, Monday, 26 September and culminates with the National Franchise Exhibition on Friday, 30 September and Saturday, 1 October at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Professor Roy Seaman, CFE, Managing Director of Franchise Development Services(FDS), a Norwich-based leader of the field, says that there are currently more than 1,500 franchisors trading in the UK and 2,500 businesses looking at expanding their business this way.

“Over 95,000 people own and operate a franchise and FDS has a further 105,000, who have registered an interest with FDS in owning a franchise,” he added. “The sector had an estimated turnover of £12.4 billion in 2010 and employs over 500,000 people.

“HSBC has already lent 150 per cent of the whole figure for last year on the back of a record figure for 2010 and has told us that there is no limit on the amount of capital available it can lend to the franchising sector.

Mark Scott, Director, Franchise Development at NatWest said: “The launch of our £100 million fund earlier in the year demonstrates our commitment to the franchise sector in our 30th year. It has been exceptionally well received by franchisors and franchisees alike, with over half the fund drawn or allocated in just a little over six months. With the last quarter of the year approaching, this is traditionally the busiest time for franchise lending and we look forward to the coming months.”

Lloyds TSB Commercial has 50 trained franchise managers across the UK who are available to support people looking to invest in franchise opportunities.

Richard Holden, Head of Franchising at Lloyds banking Group, added: “There is no limitation on the finance available from the bank to assist people set up their franchise business. Demand for franchising finance is high and Lloyds TSB Commercial views franchising as a key market.”

FDS has also announced that it has commissioned MBA students at the UEA to carry out a major research on the impact and benefit of franchising to the economy, as well as co-hosting an Export By Franchising seminar with UKTI at IWM Duxford on 13 October.

Established in 1981, Franchise Development Services (FDS) is an international franchise consultancy and publishing group dedicated to providing a portfolio of services to franchisors and franchise owners.

Some Franchise Facts

£12.4 billion – The franchise industry’s estimated total economic contribution to the UK economy in 2010-2011
540,400 – The amount of people working in the UK franchise industry
95,000 – The total number of franchise units in the UK
15% - The increase in UK jobs created by new franchise start-ups in the last 12 months
1,511 – The number of franchisors trading in the UK
2,490 – The number of potential franchisors in the UK
100,628 – Number of potential franchisees in the UK
£335,000 – Average franchise owner annual turnover
78% of UK franchise systems are owned by an organisation based in the UK
31% of franchisors award master franchise rights outside the UK, as well as their domestic operations
5% – The current annual increase in franchisor’s contribution to the UK economy since 2009-2010
£81,900 – Average investment cost paid by franchise owners to acquire a franchise.
£100 million – The amount NatWest set aside for franchises for this year
22% – The rise people expressing a wish to own a franchise, according to HSBC
15% - The rise in companies wanting to expand their business by franchising, according to HSBC

Information taken from the NatWest/British Franchise Association Survey 2011 & FDS database

Jobs Detective half way to 1 million CV uploads

Jobs Detective are giving away £10,000 to one lucky person when they reach 1 Million CV uploads. They have reached the halfway mark just two months after the site launched.

In order to enter the £10,000 giveaway users must upload their CV, register and fill out their profile. One winner will be picked at random once there have been 1 million CV uploads.

Once a user has uploaded their CV they will be shown jobs that match their skills and experience. Jobs are ranked according to "JD score" to help users and recruiters to see who is a good fit for the position. When a job is applied for, the application and the JD Score goes to the recruiter. This enables the recruiter to see how well a candidate’s CV matches the job. Following registration to the site, users will have a 'Jobs4me' section which they can visit and see the jobs that are scored to their CV.

The Jobs Detective site offers a number of unique technologies and resources exclusive to the UK based online job search site which is aimed at both those looking for jobs as well as recruiters including the Multiapply Cart which allows users to add as many jobs as they wish to their cart while browsing the site and then apply for them simultaneously and submit a covering letter for each individual job.

Sonum Tailor, Marketing said: "We are delighted to introduce to the industry. Our creative efforts reflect just how dedicated is in providing recruitment solutions within today’s jobs market. We have whole heartedly taken today’s recruitment needs into consideration and transformed the process, it making application and selection process it  the most easiest and stress free method in selecting the right candidate(s)."

The site launched on the 19th of July and has already seen over 500,000 CV uploads. It currently has over 13,000 jobs and 417 recruiters on the site.

See for current total.

Jobs Detective is the latest addition to the Detective Group company. Jobs Detective is a multi-specialist online job board soon to be attracting millions of job seekers and thousands of recruiters/employers on a monthly basis. It also offers a range of advice on all aspects of job seeking including writing CVs and {cover letters|].

Due to its infinite amounts of inspired innovation and advanced features, Job Detective are working towards becoming the most technologically advanced job board and becoming the fastest growing job board in the UK.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sesame Goes Live With New Compliance System From Redland

George Higginson, Sesame Bankhall Group
Sesame has gone live with a new compliance system for its network of financial advisers. The new “Insight” platform, from Redland Business Solutions (, was chosen after an extensive review of the market and provides Sesame with a transparent and efficient means of managing both current and future regulatory risks.

Insight is an innovative Training and Competence (T&C) system that provides a single integrated platform enabling critical business applications for financial services organisations to be developed and deployed, ensuring that business efficiencies and productivity improvements can be realised in a shorter timeframe. At Sesame, the specially customised version of the Insight system supports a range of business applications that enable advisers to boost productivity by gaining easier access to essential management information and operational data. In addition, by moving to a single compliance platform Sesame will be more responsive to the incoming demands of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) regulatory structure due in 2013.

As well as improving the efficiency and transparency of reporting, the system enables users to see management information at a dashboard level and then ‘drill down’ into the underlying data to provide views that are appropriate and valuable at all levels within the organisation. It is also an auditable solution providing evidence to the firms in the network, Sesame management, and the regulator that the latest regulatory and compliance processes are in place.

Sesame Bankhall Group’s Chief Operating Officer George Higginson said; “This significant investment in our compliance infrastructure will deliver tangible benefits to our members. Redland's Insight T&C solution enhances both our service levels to our Sesame Network members and the way in which our compliance team and members work together.

“With the regulatory climate more intrusive and demanding than ever before, this new solution gives our members a single view of their firm’s exposure to regulatory risks and their performance in managing them. It also delivers far greater flexibility in data access terms. Looking forwards, our move to a single compliance system ensures that we will be able to respond more quickly to the new regulatory demands being posed by the RDR.”

Joel Turland, Managing Director of Redland Business Solutions commented: “Redland is firmly committed to meeting the challenges of the RDR and the new regulatory regime. Companies need to be able to demonstrate their compliance to the new regulations with ease and Insight T&C can help achieve this. In addition, the system will allow advisers to prioritise their work and to focus on developing the most important asset in their business, their people.

“Sesame’s decision to choose Redland to deliver this platform is a significant endorsement, not only of the need for fully integrated T&C solutions, but of our position as market leader.”

That's Technology: Telecom infrastructure investment strategies asses...

That's Technology: Telecom infrastructure investment strategies asses...: Telecom operators, financiers and advisers from across Asia will be meeting in Hong Kong on November 1 to assess new infrastructure inves...

D&B Launches 200-Day Digital Tribute to Mark Reaching 200 Million Businesses

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B UK), the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight, has reached a significant milestone: 200 million businesses covered in its global database. To celebrate, D&B will take the next 200 days to say “thank you” through a digital tribute to businesses around the world. Businesses can submit their own stories and join D&B’s celebration at

“Providing insight on more than 200 million businesses matters because in today’s world of exploding information, businesses need information they can trust,” said Sara Mathew, Chairman and CEO of D&B. “I’d like to say thank you to all 200 million businesses, and look forward to hearing their stories of achievement and innovation.”

D&B is one of the original business information leaders and has been providing insight into businesses since 1841, counting four U.S. presidents (including Abraham Lincoln) among its early data reporters. 170 years later, the company’s global business collection, the largest of its kind, is growing exponentially. The number of businesses D&B covers has doubled in the last six years, with the majority of growth being driven by small business.

“D&B’s mission is to fuel global commerce,” said Josh Peirez, President, Global Product, Marketing and Innovation. “We know our customers count on us for the best business information, when and where they need it. That’s why we worked so hard to reach 200 million businesses, and will work even harder for the 200 million to come.”

Other notable facts about D&B and its global database:

- D&B updates its database 1.5 million times per day, tracking changes in the rapidly evolving global economy
- D&B covers businesses in more than 200 countries and adds more than 2,000 businesses to the database every hour —one every two seconds
- More than 18,741 industry categories are represented today, up from only 30 in 1940
- In the U.S. alone, D&B’s database will register the following in the next 60 minutes:
- 64 business telephone numbers will change or be disconnected
- 47 business addresses will change
- 131 directorship (CEO, CFO, etc.) changes will occur
- 110 new businesses will open their doors (including micro-businesses)
- 3 companies will change their names
- 11 businesses will file for bankruptcy

The celebration started yesterday, September 22, and will continue for 200 days. Follow the campaign and submit stories by visiting

Aldermore and Hitachi Capital extend a further helping hand to hard-pressed house buyers

New British bank Aldermore is once again extending a helping hand to hard-pressed house buyers via the launch of a new scheme which requires borrowers to raise only a 5% cash deposit.

The scheme, initially marketed via Barratt Homes (including David Wilson Homes and Ward Homes), combines an Aldermore 80% LTV two-year fixed rate mortgage with up to a 15% LTV unsecured loan provided by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC to cover part of the required deposit. House buyers therefore only have to raise a 5% cash deposit of their own. Further product details are provided in the notes to editors.

Charles Haresnape, Managing Director of Aldermore Residential Mortgages, said: “We are committed to helping struggling home-buyers find solutions to problems which continue to prevent them from owning property of their own.

“The single biggest issue holding back perfectly creditworthy house buyers is their inability to raise a sufficiently large deposit. Aldermore’s recently launched Family Guarantee Mortgage provides an option for borrowers seeking a 100% loan and this scheme gives those who can raise a 5% cash deposit yet another route to home ownership.

“We are providing would-be homeowners with choices, in a market where the options for those with less than a 25% deposit are few and far between.”

Gerald Grimes, Managing Director, Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, said: “Would-be home buyers have become disheartened with the current housing market because of the large deposits demanded by a lot of lenders. Last year we teamed up with Barratt Homes to offer parents the opportunity to help their children onto the ladder; this year we are opening up this innovative product to the buyers directly. Initially this will be with Barratt Homes but we will be rolling it out through other house builders, such as Linden Homes, part of Galliford Try plc and Keepmoat Homes.

“If the housing market is to fully recover, the issue of deposits needs to be tackled head on. In light of this, I am delighted to be working with Barratt Homes as well as Aldermore to bring a pioneering new product to help stimulate the UK property market”

Earlier this month Aldermore became the first national lender since the onset of the credit crunch to offer a 100% LTV mortgage underpinned by a parental guarantee. Aldermore markets a range of residential and buy-to-let mortgages via regulated intermediaries. Unlike most other lenders, Aldermore’s decision-making is not dependent on credit scoring but is based on sensible underwriting rules and criteria applied by experienced staff.

Full information about Aldermore’s products including rates, criteria and a downloadable product guide, are available at: or brokers can contact Aldermore on 0333 3211000.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Custom-built Furniture in Business Premises is more Functional, Beautiful and Cost-effective, points out Lima Europe

Furniture that has been designed and custom-built for a specific business space, for example for a reception or open plan office is not only more practical and cost-efficient in the long run, but can uniquely transform a room and make a striking impression with clients and staff, says London interior designers, Lima Europe.

Plain, common furniture, such as that purchased from large retailers helps inspire commercial interior designers, Zoltán Madosfalvi and Alíz Ördög from Lima, to push boundaries and create innovative new pieces, bespoke to each client. Customised creations can reflect a brand’s personality in a way that mass market furniture never can and many businesses understand the importance of displaying exclusivity and style through the look and feel of their premises.

In a similar way to the fashion industry, trends often dominate the retail space, meaning it can be difficult for a business to find furniture that meets its conceptual and practical needs as well as it fitting precisely in the available space. The layout of furniture, in an office for example, can alter the entire feeling of a room as well as the team dynamics of those that work within it. What’s more, space can often be utilised better when the furniture is custom-built, especially when it comes to awkwardly shaped areas; this can mean avoiding a move to a bigger premises or leasing a second location, which could save a company thousands.

Co-founder of Lima, Zoltán Madosfalvi, has designed furniture for a number of commercial and private clients and oversees the manufacturing process, which is undertaken at Lima’s facility in Budapest. He said: “Businesses who invest in customised furniture, from a branded hotel bar to a sofa in a surgery reception or office cupboards, want to set themselves apart from competitors and offer their customers or clients something extra beautiful and special when they walk into the premises. Staff also benefit from a carefully planned environment, in a subtle psychological manner and in very practical ways on a day to day basis.

“When the fixtures, fittings and furnishings work with the dimensions and needs of a room, saving space becomes almost effortless; designing a space and its furniture around current functional needs as well as future requirements is a business investment that can help save moving site in the long run.”

For more information about Lima Europe, please visit or for an initial discussion about the interior design needs of your home or business, telephone Lima’s UK interior designers on 0207 884 0504.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

National Business Awards Finalists Announced 2011

Value Added Reseller, Trustmarque Solutions, announced today that it has been shortlisted for the National Business Awards 2011 in the Transformational Change category.

Over 150 of Britain’s most innovative and sustainable public and private sector businesses have been announced as finalists of the National Business Awards in partnership with Orange. Organisations shortlisted this year range from the well-known Debenhams, JD Wetherspoon,, BSkyB, Majestic Wine and Supergroup – through to the rising stars of Ovo Energy, Door-Stop, ShortList Media and HeartSine Technologies.

Martin Stiven, Vice President of Business at Orange, part of Everything Everywhere, said:  “The National Business Awards, now in their tenth year, embody the core principles of business excellence, innovation and ethics, all of which are central to Orange’s company values. Reaching the finals of the National Business Awards is no mean feat and I am delighted that the calibre of entrants keep on improving.

"All finalists have demonstrated exceptional drive, resilience and innovation during challenging economic conditions. Many congratulations to all finalists and best of luck with the next stage of the competition, I very much look forward to the live judging in September and October.”

Trustmarque has been shortlisted for the Transformational Change Category along with; Business Stream, Delmergate Ltd, London Early Years Foundation, Postcode Anywhere (Europe) Ltd, RCUK Shared Services Centre, RESPONSE (Building Rewarding Relationships), ServicePower Technologies PLC, Ten Group, Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. This new award has been designed to recognise the organisation operating in the public or private sector that has successfully refocused, restructured or strategically re-aligned to deliver more for less, become more competitive and achieve more sustainable growth.

Angelo Di Ventura, Group Sales and Marketing Director, Trustmarque Solutions comments on this recognition: “We are delighted to have been selected as a finalist for the National Business Awards; this is a fantastic recognition of the significant changes that Trustmarque has undergone throughout the last two years. Introducing a new management team in February 2009 and responding to prevailing market conditions, Trustmarque embarked on a bold strategy to further strengthen its capabilities to help organisations drive significant cost out of their technology expenditure.The transformation has proved a great success – Trustmarque is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading Value Added Resellers and has achieved impressive results over the past 12 months.”

Finalists will now prepare to make their presentations in person before an independent, expert judging panel in September and October at the offices of Coutts & Co at 30 St Mary Axe. The judging panel for this category include: Mr Colin Cram, Director, Marc1 Ltd, Ms Jackie Keeley Director, Harthill Mr Phil Smith, CEO, Cisco Systems Limited and Mr Charles Ward, Chief Operating Officer, Intellect. Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, Chair of Judges, the National Business Awards comments:

“The economic climate continues to present UK businesses with an unprecedented challenge: it is therefore particularly encouraging that the entries in this year’s National Business Awards have shown no drop in quality or performance. Congratulations to all finalists for demonstrating tremendous strength in their ability to adapt and innovate which no doubt reflects the resilience and optimism that are the hallmarks of UK enterprise.”

Organised by UBM plc, winners will be honoured at the National Business Awards gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, Tuesday 8th November, where George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver this year’s welcome address. Visit for a full list of all 2011 finalists.

That's Technology: Central theme is Analytics

That's Technology: Central theme is Analytics: To meet growing customer and market demand for analytics, TIBCO Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TIBX) will feat...

That's Travel: New title for site

That's Travel: New title for site: You will notice that this site has a new title. The new title, That's Travel (incorporating That's Holiday) has been chosen after much thoug...

Monday, 19 September 2011

Crunch accounting named Smarta top 100 business

Crunch accounting has been named a top Smarta 100 business - one of the ‘brightest, smartest and most inspirational businesses from across the UK’, according to the judges. To vote for your favourite business, which could receive the top Smarta 100 Business of the Year Award, visit here before 6pm on 20 September.

The Smarta 100 awards is supported by O2 and is a celebration of the most resourceful, original, exciting and disruptive small businesses in the UK, across all business sectors.

The Smarta 100 business, Crunch accounting, offers a unique, streamlined method for small businesses and freelancers to deal with all their accounting requirements. The service combines a team of expert accountants who are available for advice over the phone, with easy-to-use and automated online accounting software.

As well as a £10,000 first prize for the Smarta 100 Business of the Year, there are also special cash and product prizes in key categories including innovation, technology, people, resources, marketing and social impact. All winners will attend an awards event at London’s Indigo2 on 21 September when the overall winner will be announced.

Entrepreneur and Crunch founder said Darren Fell: “It’s great to have received the recognition from Smarta as a top 100 business. This award scheme truly reflects our entrepreneurial spirit and our aim to improve, streamline and disrupt the often slow and costly accounting procedures that UK small businesses face.”

Smarta 100 judges include TV property expert Sarah Beeny, head of Smarta Sháá Wasmund, founder of King of Shaves Will King, PR supremo and founder of B.Hive Lynne Franks and O2 general manager Simon Devonshire.

For more information about the awards, go to

Crunch Accounting combines a team of expert accountants available over the phone with easy-to-use online accounting software. Designed specifically for freelancers, contractors and small businesses, Crunch Accounting is more than just accounting – it’s a business tool.

The accountant and software service is available for a fixed monthly fee of £59.50. For this, users can invoice, add expenses, have their annual accounts and returns prepared and see the exact health of their businesses instantly with a fun, innovative and simple-to-use website with banking grade security.

Crunch is founded by online entrepreneur Darren Fell, with investment from Bebo’s co-founder Paul Birch and former Skype Chairman Michael van Swaaij.

That's Technology: Security Lessons Learned From Californian Power Ou...

That's Technology: Security Lessons Learned From Californian Power Ou...: By Professor John Walker FBCS CITP CISM CRISC ITPC That's Technology received the following letter from Professor Walker and decided to re...

That's Food and Drink: Reinventing The Takeaway?

That's Food and Drink: Reinventing The Takeaway?: Serial entrepreneur Simon Prockter is hoping his latest venture will help change the way we look at takeaway food, for good. He's about to...

That's Technology: Is YOUR mobile phone a security risk?

That's Technology: Is YOUR mobile phone a security risk?: New research from The Carphone Warehouse has revealed the risks many mobile phone users are taking by not securing their handsets. Over half...

That's Education: World Of Learning Conference & Exhibition 2011

That's Education: World Of Learning Conference & Exhibition 2011: Registration is open for the highly important World of Learning Conference & Exhibition, rightly dubbed the premier event for business learn...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

That's Holiday: Be prepared for a long haul flight

That's Holiday: Be prepared for a long haul flight: Last week for business reasons I made a flight from the UK to California. The flights were booked as economy flights and I have some important tips...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

That's Home and Household: Top Hungarian Interior Design House, Lima Europe, ...

That's Home and Household: Top Hungarian Interior Design House, Lima Europe, ...: Domestic and commercial interior designers , Zoltán Madosfalvi and Alíz Ördög, behind award winning design house, Lima Europe, are now bri...

That's Education: Trade Skills 4U & JTL partner to deliver quality e...

That's Education: Trade Skills 4U & JTL partner to deliver quality e...: National Electrical Provision enhanced by New Training Partnership Trade Skills 4U and JTL have...

The Chartered Institute of Marketing celebrates the 2nd Annual Women in Marketing Awards with a panel of high-profile judges

The Greater London Region (GLR) of The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) are pleased to announce the forthcoming Women in Marketing Awards, aimed at celebrating the achievements of women in the marketing profession on the 3 November 2011 at The Mayfair Hotel.

The inaugural Women in Marketing Awards in 2010 generated much interest amongst the marketing community. Now in its second year, it has attracted involvement from the likes of Gail Gallie, CEO of Fallon London; Anna Bateson, Marketing Director EMEA YouTube; Helen Kellie, CMO BBC Worldwide and Daryl Fielding, VP of Marketing Europe Kraft Foods.

Created in 2004, Ade Onilude, a CIM Central London Committee member, identified a need for women in marketing to be recognised and celebrated. This led to her conceiving and launching the first Women in Marketing event on the theme Work-Life Balance. Since then, the annual Women in Marketing event has tackled topics such as Ethical Marketing, The Creatives, Branding and Diversity in Marketing, with the purpose of provoking discussion and inspiring women in marketing and the wider business community.

The popularity of the events prompted Ade to introduce this first-ever industry awards last year; celebrating the achievements of women – and men who market to women – in the industry.

“We were extremely pleased with the overall response and the calibre of the candidates that entered the first Awards”, says Ade Onilude, the awards creator. “This year the Awards have stepped up a notch and expectations are high.”

2010’s overall winner was Catriona Kempston of Europcar UK Group who was awarded Best Female Marketer of the Year.

“Winning an award at the inaugural Women in Marketing Awards was an amazing experience for me, my team and Europcar,” stated Catriona. “It was fantastic to be recognised by the marketing industry, CIM, the esteemed judges, and with the added bonus of celebrating, recognising and encouraging women in particular”.

Winner of the Best Male Marketer category in 2010 was Tom Savigar of The Future Laboratory.

“When I heard I was nominated for a Women in Marketing Award, I wasn’t sure what to think. Had there been a mistake? And when I heard it was for Best Male Marketer, I really started to think what had I done to deserve this! However, when I realised who my peers were upon arriving at the ceremony, I felt delighted to receive this award and be recognised for the work The Future Laboratory has done to help brands better understand and resonate with women. As we enter the Female Age, getting this right is crucial, and I am glad that the Women in Marketing Awards is championing this agenda.”

The 2011 CIM Women In Marketing Awards will take place on the 3 November 2011 at The May Fair Hotel. Deadline for award entry submission is midnight 22 September 2011. For more information on the awards visit

That's Technology: Meru Expands Security Capabilities with Acquisitio...

That's Technology: Meru Expands Security Capabilities with Acquisitio...: Identity-based solution delivers secure, scalable wireless LAN for guests, employees and their mobile devices Meru Networks, Inc., a pio...

Windmill Leasing opens a new office in Sheffield

Windmill Leasing has just opened a new office in Sheffield to provide a base in the North of England for the business car leasing company.

The new office, which officially opened its doors on 1st August 2011, will enable the company car leasing specialists to complement its existing supplier and client database by better utilising local dealers in the North of England.

Centrally located in The Gateway, Broad Street, Sheffield, the office will be staffed by business development managers who will source the best company car leasing deals to the organisation's Northern based consumers.

Complementing the recent launch of the company's new website, which showcases a range of contract hire deals, the opening of the new Sheffield office marks a continued positive expansion for the business car lease specialists. Further expansion has also come in the form of the company’s recently achieved status as an official finance broker of vehicle management service providers, Arval PHH.

Jason Marshall, Sales Executive, Windmill Leasing pointed out: "We are pleased to announce the opening of our new sales office in Sheffield. The Sheffield office will serve as a satellite office to provide a local base to support clients in the North of England and complements our strategic plan to become a truly national provider with a local presence.

"We have also recently signed to become a finance broker of Arval PHH and this new office will work alongside this to complete the services we already offer our customers."

Marshall added: "We have always prided ourselves on a quick and efficient response to our customers and the ability to meet our new and existing customers' needs. The presence that this new office will give us in the North of England will mean that we can build on the business model that has proved to be a great success for the business from our Head Office in Bromsgrove, Midlands. Here, we work alongside dealers local to the area who receive a wide range of support services from the staff."

The expansion will provide Windmill Leasing with further exposure across the UK for its range of company car leasing and contract hire services as the company looks to build upon its established presence in the UK business car leasing market.

Windmill Leasing is now considering further expansion into the South of England planned for later this year to complement the new Sheffield office and the company’s Head Office in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Any future announcements will be syndicated through the company's official website, as well as its Twitter and Facebook news feeds.

Windmill Leasing is an award-winning provider of company car leasing and contract hire services to businesses throughout the UK. Formed in 2004, the company employs a range of experts in the car leasing field located in its Head Office, Bromsgrove and Sheffield satellite office, from which it offers initial advice and ongoing account management services to its clients. From Audi car leasing deals to GAP insurance, the company prides itself on its holistic approach to contract hire for the UK business car leasing market.

That's Holiday: Mint Hotel Tower of London Launches In-Room Spa Tr...

That's Holiday: Mint Hotel Tower of London Launches In-Room Spa Tr...: Guests at Mint Hotel Tower of London can enjoy spa treatments without having to step foot outside their door, following the launch of i...

Top Changes at Ventilation Ductwork Experts Hargreaves

The managing director at ductwork specialist Senior Hargreaves, Kevin White, has retired after 40 years with the business. “I have seen some huge changes in the business over the years,” he says, citing the emergence of the trade counter business, Ductshops, the development of Hargreaves HFD fire resistant ductwork and the creation of a new a division devoted to new products and innovations.

Kevin joined the company as an estimator in 1971 and became contracts manager in 1984, contracts director in 1991, deputy managing director in 1998 and managing director in 2003. “In my time with the company, Hargreaves has endured difficult times but has emerged a stronger organisation that is much respected within the heating and ventilation industry.

Working with internationally famous engineers and architects we have provided vital services that contribute to improved safety, comfort and welfare for building occupants in facilities for research, advanced manufacturing, offices, transport hubs and infrastructure as well as conference and entertainment venues,” he noted.

During his time in contracts, Kevin supervised the installation of the highly polished stainless steel ductwork on the world famous Lloyd’s building. Architect Richard Rogers famously located all the ductwork and other building services on the outside of the building to maximise the available space inside. He created an iconic building that, 25 years on, still looks fresh and original. Other notable projects that Kevin managed included the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Sizewell B nuclear power station and the Glaxo laboratories at Stevenage. Kevin has also played a considerable part in supporting the industry through his involvement with the HVCA (Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association) and other trade bodies

Kevin has overseen major changes during his term as managing director. Encouraged by parent company, Senior Plc, and fully supported by the Hargreaves board he has driven through significant modernisation. This has seen a focus on special contracts, the introduction of lean manufacturing, enhanced quality systems and environmental standards. “We are now a more focussed, cost aware, profitable and sustainable business that is able to rise to current market challenges and face the future with confidence,” Kevin concluded.

Hargreaves is one of the oldest companies in Bury having been established by in the 1870s. The company remains one of Bury’s largest private sector employers. Factory buildings have been extensively redeveloped and modernised over the last five years as part of the introduction of lean manufacturing and to improve environmental performance and sustainability.

Kevin has handed over responsibilities to Tim Hopkinson the new chief executive and will remain as a consultant to the company over coming months. In his retirement he aims to improve his golf handicap, work on the garden and has plans for international travel.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

That's Green: UK Solar Energy Website Guarantees Low Prices With...

That's Green: UK Solar Energy Website Guarantees Low Prices With...: Total Solar Energy, a top UK solar power information website, has just added a nationwide solar installation service to it's list of servic...

Thursford Collection family theme park invests in Eurostop retail systems

Thursford Collection visitor centre in Thursford near Norfolk has chosen Eurostop systems to manage stock and sales in its five stores. The centre has five themed shops, The Corner Shop selling a range of ladies and children’s fashion and toiletries, The Christmas Shop with toys and decorations, The Stable Shop selling cards, books and pictures, The Pantry, a sweet shop and Fantasyland stocking a range of items. Thursford have selected Eurostop’s e rmis and e-pos systems to enable its managers to oversee the wide range of stock and for its easy to use Windows-based interface.

According to Geraldine Rye, General Manager at Thursford; “The success of our Thursford Collection retail outlets over the last few years has meant a huge increase in the number of stock items that we sell. We chose Eurostop as the best supplier to meet our needs now and to be flexible enough to develop in the future - the e-commerce feature is something that we may consider for our website.

“We have seen an increase in demand for our Christmas range in particular and {{using Eurostop’s systems will enable us to improve management of our stock and consequently improving our profit margins}}.”

Thursford is planning to use the e-rmis head office system to handle its wide stock inventory, enabling it to manage and re-order both the continuity and seasonal merchandise required across the different shops.

Phillip Moylan, Sales and Marketing Manager at Eurostop Ltd said; “Thursford Collection is an amazing business that is very customer focused. Our retail systems will aid the management team with making commercial decisions for the business. I am delighted to have them as a customer.”


Thursford Collection is a family visitor centre hosting the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs. Visitors to the centre can ride on fairground carousels and the gondola, enjoy 'Behind-the-Scenes' tours and watch silent movies.

The months of November and December are when Thursford see nearly 5,000 visitors per day. 3,000 visit the Christmas Spectacular stage show and families with younger children have an animated winter wonderland and the chance to meet Father Christmas in the aptly named Fantasyland building.

The centre also has five themed shops selling a variety of items and souvenirs including clothes, toys, sweets, cards and books.

For more information please visit:

About Eurostop

Founded in 1990, with operations in London, Singapore and Shanghai, Eurostop provides complete solutions for Retail Management for the Fashion, Footwear and General Merchandise sectors encompassing both hardware and software.

Eurostop’s flagship products consist of:

e-rmis: A suite of head office management applications.

e-pos: EPOS system for standalone shops, concessions and franchises that can be easily integrated with e-rmis for larger users.

e-commerce: Custom e commerce solutions for Independent retailers that provides a hosted and fully integrated service.

e-data: The collection of tenants’ data from Shopping Malls for multi-purpose use.

e-cubes: Data Mining. A bespoke reporting tool which allows the slicing and dicing of data as well as selective publication of results and graphical representation.

e-time: The capture of staff working hours which aids in monitoring both stores’ and staff performances and productivity.

e-pos manager: Integrating Eurostop’s solutions with other management and business systems, and all major ERP systems.

All Eurostop’s solutions can be fully integrated with other management and business systems, and all major ERP systems.

As well as advising on and supplying suitable hardware, Eurostop also undertakes training, support and custom development. Its systems are available in several different languages including Chinese.

Eurostop has accreditation for Chip and PIN solutions, and together with partner Anderson Zaks provides a Chip and PIN managed service.

High profile customers include: Ann Summers, Ben Sherman, Cult Clothing, Daks, Firetrap, Full Circle, Ghost, Joseph, Joy, Long Tall Sally, Matches, Oliver Sweeney, Paul & Joe, Pavers Shoes, Pentland Brands Plc, Punkyfish, Sonneti, Speedo, Trespass and many more.

For more information visit: 

Global engineering needs translation teamwork

Few technical or engineering projects can survive unless they operate internationally and in sectors like Aerospace, Advanced Engineering, Technology and Manufacturing, global standards and operations are almost universal. Translating and interpreting skills play a critical role in ensuring that team members can communicate and in providing both partners and equipment users with manuals, instructions, operating software and other materials in their own language.

Translation requirements are too often left until the last minute, putting time pressure on those required to get to grips with a raft of documentation and complex technical terms. While imprecise statements and even ambiguities can sometimes pass muster in the original language, the process of translation can bring them to light. Without adequate time or prior knowledge of the subject, translators often struggle to provide precise and accurate materials on time.

The key to success, according to Dominick Kelly, Business Development Manager with translation company RWS, is to treat the translator as part of the team early in the project. Having worked with major international clients, Kelly believes that clients gets more accurate and user-friendly materials in the chosen languages, as well as more effective teamwork between international partners or offices if this principle is followed.

He explained: “Many people writing in their own language will rely on assumptions and terms recognised within peer or company groups. Even those skilled in producing precise software commands and references may use terms that are unclear in another language. The translator can pick up and help clarify these points early on, which can save time and misunderstandings during product or systems development.

Translators often help engineers to explain and accurately identify in their native language concepts used in software and referred to in user guides. If these points can be raised early in the project, it helps to clarify and establish consistent translations for international project teams.

As many projects involve new and advanced technologies, the translation team is far more likely to do the product or system justice if they have worked as part of the client’s project team – which can include Software Development and Technical Publications departments or companies - helping understand the concepts and technology involved.”

Larger projects that may involve several teams run an additional risk of inconsistency, particularly where the translation task is carried out late, with a number of translators. Each may provide a correct translation but may use different words or phrases. An example of this could be a simple term such as “eject” which is used both in the software and the user manual. It’s important that the word “eject” is consistent so that the machine operator is not confused by reading the manual but finding a different word in the software interface.

Similarly acronyms, so beloved in technical circles, can generate confusion and errors. During a project involving software listings for document production, the company faced a series of acronyms to translate. Kelly added: “At this stage the work requires interpretation and not just translation, both to understand what lies behind the acronym, which is often a highly condensed description of a process: then to render it into English in a way that accurately represents the concept and acronym and can be easily understood”.

Any translation team involved early in the process will build a translation memory and verified glossaries for both document and Human Machine Interface (HMI) content. Not only does this ensure consistency but also offers the advantage that knowledge from previous projects can be analysed and re-used, reducing duplication of workloads and increasing overall translation value.

One RWS client - a major optical equipment manufacturer - produces high volumes of technical manuals and a range of HMI software. Their expanding international presence required this material to be published in an increasing number of native languages.

They needed to identify and improve terminology across their materials, and reduce the time spent error fixing or completing repetitive tasks. To resolve these issues they looked to RWS to deliver consistency across all documents and software, and at the same time increase translation quality.

RWS created an in-house team of qualified, specialist, industry-specific translators, linguist reviewers, as well as localisation and DTP engineers, all co-ordinated by a dedicated project manager.

At the start of the project there was approximately 12% reuse of previously translated material. By the end it had risen to an average 48% with the benefit of producing a 35% cost reduction compared to previous projects. Furthermore, streamlining production of material in additional languages has reduced the company’s time-to-market of new products.

Kelly summed up: “Most larger manufacturing, engineering and technical companies understand that they should employ translators skilled and qualified in the subject, who will work into their native language. With the increase in international multi-language projects, there is every reason to make translation and interpreting an essential early component in any new venture.”

Expert calls on more to be done about fraud

Bill Trueman CEO
A survey by of anti-fraud specialists in the banking, insurance, retail, IT and public sectors has questioned the impact of the government funded National Fraud Authority (NFA) to date and highlighted key areas where survey respondents felt it could do more.

Significantly, the survey highlighted that 92% of those surveyed felt that the NFA could provide greater industry leadership and strategic involvement than it does currently. It was also felt, by 86% of those questioned, that the NFA should encourage the criminal justice system to move towards a greater emphasis on fraud prevention.

Furthermore, when respondents were asked to review perceived progress of the NFA since its inception, 71% of those questioned believed  the NFA had made little or no ‘overall impact’ in supporting the work of those surveyed. Only 29% of respondents felt that they had made ‘some impact’. None of those questioned felt that the NFA had made ‘a major impact’.

But on a more positive note, the survey revealed the majority of respondents felt the NFA had been responsible for ‘improved awareness of key industry issues’ and also that it is seen as a ‘valuable resource for useful information’. There was a feeling too amongst some respondents that the NFA is seen as a valid force in driving best practice.

Amongst the areas where respondents felt the NFA could improve were the need to ‘share data between public and private sectors’ (89%), ‘supporting victims’ of fraud (86%) and ‘developing further best practice standards beyond current levels’ (63%).

Commenting on the survey, Paul Rogers, Chairman of the cards and payments community organisation Vendorcom, emphasized the need for stronger engagement with stakeholders in the fraud prevention ecosystem. 

In his view; “The output from the NFA does not reflect the contribution of its existing partners or the considerably greater impact that the NFA could make if it were to reach out more proactively to the wider cards and payments industry and those on the front line of fraud prevention.”

For his part Bill Trueman CEO of UKFraud called for the debate to widen, “There are positives to note here but there is also a great deal of the UK industry’s frustration visible in these results. Many feel that the NFA could do more and I feel that this would be easier to achieve if there was a more inclusive dialogue. This would allow the NFA to take more of a lead in developing direction and strategy, and to drive forward with action and initiatives, without being inhibited by its political public sector masters.”

FACTFILE: is a UK-based consultancy, with an impressive international track record of eliminating the risk of fraud. Its founder Bill Trueman is widely accepted as one of Europe’s leading fraud experts and a frequent commentator and writer on the issues involved. Trueman has extensive experience of the banking, insurance and the financial services sectors and is a thought leader at the forefront of many industry wide and international debates. (

When putting barriers up is a good idea, you need quality assurances!

Now they’re ISO 9001 certified, Barriers Direct is looking forward more than ever to working with more local authorities and public sector organisations, who can add the company to their buying lists with total confidence!

A company that has been successfully bucking the downward trend in the building industry over the last year, Barriers Direct saw a 43% increase in online sales year on year in August, and will definitely be building upon this in the coming months!

It’s not going to mean much changing for the company, a leading online supplier of quality Barriers, Bollards, Cycle Stands and Shelters, to name but a few. What the ISO certification does do though, is to give their customers a seal of approval and proof of Barriers Direct’s dedication to providing the highest quality products, and a fast, efficient service; online on time and on budget.

Upon receiving the certification, Janine Carhart, Managing Director of Barriers Direct (J9 Limited) said: “We are very proud and excited about achieving ISO 9001:2008 certification. It displays our commitment to our customers and the quality management principles which form and has driven forward our business.”

With service this good, and such a commitment to quality and rock bottom prices, we can see Barriers Direct being added to many a buying list!

To see how Barriers Direct can help you, visit them online at, or call the dedicated Trade helpline to find out more: 02081 444 344.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Opus Energy signs Virgin Media as customer as impressive growth continues

 Energy Logo Independent energy supplier to UK businesses, Opus Energy, has announced the signature of its 100,000th business site, Virgin Media. The business joins a portfolio of market-leading brands which includes Paperchase, Allied Irish Bank (GB), University of Cambridge, Halfords and KPMG, amongst others.

Opus’ success comes at a time when the energy regulator, Ofgem, is looking for ways to decrease the dominance of the ‘Big Six’ energy providers and demonstrates that independent suppliers can thrive. The company’s Corporate division, experienced 28% growth from this time last year and continues to expand rapidly.

This impressive performance is due to Opus’ market-leading solution for larger corporates, Opus Evolution, which has seen a 122% increase in customers. Opus’ corporate customers are making the switch away from traditional fixed price contracts, displaying a growing appetite for flexible purchasing solutions which enable them to take advantage of fluctuating electricity prices. Opus expects the growth to continue into 2012, as demand for Opus Extra, which gives the smaller corporate customer access to flexible purchasing on the wholesale market, grows.

Steve James, Commercial Director, responsible for the Corporate division said: "We are delighted to have hit the 100,000 mark, and welcome Virgin Media to our roster of customers, the latest in a long line of flagship brands to join us. Our growth demonstrates that there is an alternative to the Big Six suppliers and is a result of our commitment to developing innovative and flexible products driven by our customers’ needs.”

“We work with our customers to provide individual billing solutions, contract types and reporting functions tailored to their requirements, rather than by trying to squeeze them into a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.”

Opus Energy's growth has also been driven by the rapid expansion of its gas supply business. Launched in October 2009 the service now has over 8,000 live sites, an uptake or more than 75% over the business’ initial target. Designed to offer customers an affordable and reliable alternative to existing suppliers, the service allows them to access competitively priced, fixed-term contracts, shielding them from price fluctuations.

Charlie Crossley Cooke, Opus Energy's Managing Director commented: “The last 12 months have been very exciting for Opus Energy. Our continued growth and investment in our customers is reflected in not only the successful introduction of new products, services and partners but also in the increased employment of customer facing staff to help deliver the services we provide our business customers. We now look forward to continuing to expand over the next twelve months.”

As The Agency Workers Regulations Implementation Date Closes In, UK Umbrella Company Tarpon Encourages All Recruitment Agencies and Employers To Be Ready

With the implementation date of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) on the 1st of October, UK umbrella company Tarpon is encouraging all contractors to be ready.

The AWR, also known as the Agency Workers Directive (AWD), is a piece of legislation which, once in force, will entitle an agency worker to the same basic working and employment conditions as would have been received if directly employed by the company, therefore enforcing equal treatment and day one rights for all agency workers.

However, according to the recent survey undertaken by The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), a shocking number of employers are still unaware of the new regulations. As high as 23% are unaware of the new regulations, 44% remain undecided, and only 14% of employers said they will definitely make changes for the implementation date of the AWR. Of those who have committed to making changes there has been an increase to 13%, previously 8% in July.

A positive note from the survey is the increase in 3% of employers, now at 83%, who plan on maintaining or increasing their use of agency workers throughout the next year, compared to 80% last month.

A spokesperson for Tarpon commented on the recent findings:  “This survey has established that more notice and clarity must be made to help influence the current approach chosen by organisations. We at Tarpon take employment responsibility seriously and are happy to back the new changes that the AWR will be implementing As a company we are proud to offer 100% protection against any potential employment law and tax challenges related to employees working with us.”

The REC's Director of Policy and Professional Services has also commented on the findings: “With nearly a quarter of employers still unaware of the changes the Regulations will bring, and a further 44 percent still unsure of what measures to take, there is scope for one final concerted push to raise awareness and address common misconceptions...”


Tarpon is an umbrella company specialising in contractor payroll, enabling contractors to maximise their income and streamline their admin processes.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

That's Food and Drink: My Secret Kitchen, the UK's first food tasting com...

That's Food and Drink: My Secret Kitchen, the UK's first food tasting com...: The new range of foods with a twist from My Secret Kitchen have now been launched and they are a...

Outsource magazine becomes first in Outsourcing sector to achieve ABC audit

Outsource magazine, published by EMP Media, is delighted to announce it has become the first magazine in the outsourcing sector, serving professional outsourcing decision-makers, to successfully complete and achieve an ABC audit of its printed magazine distribution. The certificate is available to view here.

The value of achieving ABC audit is long and well established with those seeking to invest time and money in reaching their audience via publisher channels. Outsource is delighted to reaffirm the confidence shown in the magazine to its existing commercial partners and equally delighted to give new confidence to those considering partnership.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to achieved this distinction,” said Outsource editor Jamie Liddell. “We’ve invested a great deal of time and care into creating a powerful and relevant circulation amongst the professional outsourcing space’s movers and shakers; the ABC’s stamp of approval is the ultimate endorsement of our efforts, and yet another differentiator setting us apart from the crowd.”

“The entire team behind Outsource magazine have worked tirelessly to reinvent it into the beacon it has become” commented Al Tepper, Head of Digital & Marketing for EMP Media. “From the editorial values instilled by Jamie and his team, through the fantastic internal designs, our cherished and intellectually stimulating covers, to the circulation management and the cross-channel experiences online, via email and beyond, our goal has been to create a magazine that the readers don't just need to read, but want to read. We have achieved much but this ABC audit marks just one more stage in a long program of evolution and growth designed to continue delivering value to our readers and partners. You ain’t seen nothing yet!”


Outsource magazine has been an indispensable resource providing news, views, analysis and thought-leadership for the global outsourcing community since 2005. Building on the successful renewal of its position as the official quarterly magazine of the National Outsourcing Association, in 2010 Outsource magazine also recruited a new editor and proceeded to relaunch the publication across print, web, email and digital channels. The resulting publication sets new design, circulation and editorial standards for publishers engaging the outsourcing industry.

Outsource magazine enjoys a variety of other national and international print, online and event partnerships with major organisations and industry associations including HfS Research (their analyst partner), SSON, Gartner, UBM, Great Ideas of China, and more, giving superb reach into key established and emerging markets.

Through its flagship print title, its weekly OutsourceXpress email, its website with a daily piece from one of its 40+ thought-leading industry columnists, its social media engagement, including LinkedIn (User & Advisory / Vendors) and Twitter via @outsourcemag, Outsource delivers unrivalled content direct to the movers, shakers and decision-makers at the heart of the outsourcing space. Its in-depth coverage of important events and trends, interviews with both high-profile industry figures and unsung heroes, and commentary from the Outsource network worldwide gives the brand an unparalleled perspective on outsourcing across sectors, verticals and geographies.

In addition to the print and online offerings, Outsource has also pursued a best practice solution offering platform neutral access across Windows, iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. View the latest issue of Outsource in digital format

Thursday, 1 September 2011

UK SME Online Retailers Experience Slowdown in Sales

But Actinic research reports ecommerce still better than High Street retail

The fifth quarterly UK online sales survey conducted by ecommerce specialist Actinic shows a continued slowdown in online retail growth for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

The research reports both an average 7% increase in sales revenue as well as a 7% increase in the numbers of orders processed in the three months to 30 June 2011, when compared to the same quarter in 2010.

In contrast, in Q2 2010 growth was running at over double this rate (15%), and with the Q1 2011 figures showing an average 9% increase, the trend is downwards. However, these latest results still compare very favourably with high street retailers where June gave only 1.5% growth, which was better than expected.

The average order value has remained virtually unchanged at £72.08 for Q2 2011 compared to £72.16 for Q2 2010. The survey does highlight that there are still e-retailers experiencing strong growth. For example, many specialist web stores in the arts and crafts sector are thriving.

“Our Actinic ecommerce site has been running for over 7 years and we are still experiencing strong growth with a 13% increase in revenue and 6% increase in order quantity for our Q2 2011 figures over the same time last year,” says owner Michael Calvert.

He adds, “The knitting marketing has seen a resurgence with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz, combined with more people wanting to take up a new, inexpensive, but rewarding pastime. The cold winter last year also helped, with scarves becoming fashionable again which attracted younger knitters.”

Monica Hardman, managing director of English Yarns comments: “In April our 2011 turnover for the year was down 23% compared with 2010. So we implemented a discount programme with coupon codes to increase traffic to our site and incentivise visitors to purchase, firstly to those in the UK and EU and then customers in the rest of the world. Within a month we were into positive figures again with an increase of 3% in May and 12% in June for the year to date.”

Nick Kington, managing director at Actinic Online comments, “These figures are not a big surprise. Consumer spending is clearly being hit hard and online retailers are not immune to tough times. However, some web merchants are thriving, highlighting that a combination of good merchandising, marketing and customer service can bring success even in the current climate.”

That's Green: 6th INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ extends entry dead...

That's Green: 6th INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ extends entry dead...: The INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™, a global programme recognising inspiring, innovative and creative approaches to sustainability, is extend...