Sunday, 28 October 2012

New fix for Corporate Compliance

Compliance challenges for organisations are now one giant step closer to being greatly reduced, due to the latest version of an enterprise wide solution that’s ticking all the boxes for organisations of all types and all sizes.

RuleSafe® v4.0 uses a potent combination of personalised and targeted communication, special benchmarked measuring and enforcement to maximise awareness of and conformance with company policies among all employees.

Companies using this latest version of the RuleSafe® policy management and awareness solution can expect to make great strides in the management and improvement of critical GRC hotspots such as protecting data assets, corporate governance, health and safety, risk management, incident management, quality management and document management.

The RuleSafe® v4.0 framework uses up to the minute technological features and management thinking that are designed to genuinely improve real understanding and awareness of all of the main GRC matters all employees.

Each individual user has a personalised dashboard which shows their performance and what needs to be done to improve that performance in areas like acceptance of applicable policies, passing company GRC quizzes and knowledge tests and keeping in touch with new developments. Employees are also measured on how often they pick up and keep up to date on messages sent to their dashboard and keep up to date on required tasks.

Secoda Risk Management’s Charlie Fairbairn says “I believe this to be the most powerful policy management and awareness solution in its class. The benchmarking aspect of it is a very powerful motivator. For example managers can view the performance of managers and units below them, managers of business units or divisions can see the compliance status and progress of all their direct reports, and all employees can measure their own performance ratings against the averaged ratings of peers, or across the organisation as a whole”.

“Real up to date learning and understanding can take place with RuleSafe® and this system even features quiz editors and libraries to enable fast creation of fixed or randomised knowledge tests. These are a great way to verify employee understanding of your requirements. Companies tell me that they also really appreciate the flexibility, agility and configurability of this system” says Charlie.

The RuleSafe® Governance Risk & Compliance solution has of course proven to be a very good investment for organisations operating in challenging and heavily regulated industries such as banking and finance, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, utilities and energy, transportation and the public sector.

Secoda develops, sells and maintains the RuleSafe® suite of GRC software applications, and provides support and consulting services on which many thousands of corporate users depend for their employee GRC programmes.

For more information call 08456 4 27001 or visit

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Win for Vin

Vin Murria, the CEO of AIM-listed Advanced Computer Software Group plc (Advanced), has been named Entrepreneur of the Year at the AIM Awards 2012. Vin was presented with the award at the AIM Awards dinner on 11 October 2012 at Old Billingsgate, London.

Sponsored by PwC, the AIM Awards identify and reward the quoted companies and entrepreneurs who have harnessed AIM - the London Stock Exchange’s international market for smaller growing companies - to help them fulfil their ambition and growth potential over the last twelve months.

Vin was named Entrepreneur of the Year by a distinguished judging panel from the UK financial investment community. To win the accolade, Vin had to demonstrate that her vision, flair, drive and business acumen is driving AIM-quoted Advanced Computer Software Group forward at a pace impossible without access to AIM’s investor funding base. The award also acknowledged the supportive management team behind Vin’s success.

Vin Murria, CEO of Advanced Computer Software Group, says, “It is an honour to be named AIM’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Advanced has grown from zero to close to £110 million revenue in just a few years with a market cap of £230 million. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and drive of the Advanced team.”

David Snell PwC’s head of AIM and chair of the voting panel says, “This was a particularly fiercely fought award and the competition was extremely high. Vin was a very worthy winner having shown the entrepreneurial spirit that encapsulates what AIM is about.”

Advanced Computer Software Group plc is a supplier of software and IT services to both public and private sectors, which help organisations to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.

Duttons appointed offline design agency by Friends Life

Duttons Design logo
Duttons has been appointed to the Friends Life agency roster, following a rigorous and competitive selection process. The company will be one of two agencies overseeing offline design across Friends Life, a leading provider of pensions, life insurance and investments to over five million customers.

Duttons has a strong track record in financial services and won the fiercely contested position as part of a three stage competitive pitch process, which included a written response, face to face chemistry meeting and strategic pitch presentation.

Commenting on the appointment, Emma Van-Heusen, Account Director at Duttons, said, "This is fantastic news for Duttons. We’re delighted to be working with Friends Life at what is a dynamic time for the financial services market, especially pensions, and we’re looking forward to working closely with the Friends Life team to build the brand’s offline communications."

Commenting for Friends Life, Karen Burrell, Head of Marketing Services said, “We are delighted to be welcoming Duttons aboard. They impressed us throughout the pitch process and we’re looking forward to a long, beneficial relationship with this energetic and insightful agency.”

Face-to-Face nets more business, study finds

MOO Logo
Dealing with contacts in person, rather than via email or social networking, is helping the UK's successful entrepreneurs and business owners generate a potential £9.45bn revenue a year, says new research from

Small businessmen and women may use a variety of online and offline ways to deal with clients, customers and suppliers, but many feel they do better when they can 'see the whites of their eyes', the study shows.

In particular, they are better able to judge a person by how they look or dress or the firmness of a handshake than anything they provide via Facebook or Twitter, according to business card experts MOO.

The firm interviewed 152 owners of small businesses in the UK about how they networked to help their ventures grow They found 42% believe if they were to hand out 100 business cards, it would generate £5,000 a year or more in revenue.

Spread across the UK's 4.5 million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) it adds up to a staggering £9.45 billion a year netted through personal contact in business.

Modern business leaders do however combine this with social networking on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in touch with a wider audience, and use these tools and others, like Twitter, to maintain a business presence online.

But when it comes to marketing, old fashioned methods work best. While one in four (25 per cent) consider their website to be their most important tool, 32% say word of mouth/referrals and 21% believe their business cards are their most important marketing tool.

Out of the 152 small business owners, good places to network show that some traditions remain unchanged with 47 per cent naming the pub and 61 per cent suggesting conferences. For those looking after their figures, 29 per cent said they network at the gym, according to the survey.

Richard Moross Founder & CEO of MOO, said: “Physical contact works better because it can often reveal more about the person they are dealing with than anything revealed on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

"Social media and other technology is incredibly helpful for keeping in touch, building relationships and just reminding people you are around and what you are up to. But if you want to win business and develop new contacts then nothing quite beats a face-to-face meeting it seems. Judging by the number of business owners who do business over a drink, at a social function or even on the daily commute, the informal atmosphere seems to encourage better networking."

Coinciding with the findings, MOO has recently launched a new facility on its website offering event organisers free business cards for their attendees/delegates (excluding shipping). Business card orders are sent to organisers to distribute at their event registration. With many organisers already taking advantage of the new service at high-profile events like SXSW and Startup Weekend, it reinforces the importance of face-to-face networking and business cards as the definitive personal marketing tool.

Additional MOO survey statistics:
• Reasons for networking include developing new contacts (74 per cent), getting new business (72 per cent), and keeping in touch with current trends and developments (66 per cent)
• Just over half (53 per cent) admit it also helps them when they come to look for a new job
• Almost half (49 per cent) say networking has brought ‘a lot of new business’ for their company
• When it comes to having a strong business identity, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) said their business card made an important impact when networking, and 72 per cent said it was important to have a presence on social media sites
• Seven in ten (72 per cent) admitted they were influenced by what a person looks like and 72 per cent by a firm handshake; while others admitted they were put off by a person’s bad breath or unkempt physical appearance.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos Observer between 30 July and 8 August 2012 on behalf of MOO. A sample of 152 small business owners out of 510 UK respondents was interviewed online.

Turbine cuts through your paperwork

Turbine® responds to the needs of small and medium-size companies with a sleeker, more responsive version of its bureaucracy-busting online application.

“We’re taking the work out of paperwork,” says Matthew Stibbe, founder and CEO of Turbine ( as he announced the official launch of Turbine Version 8.

The new version of the web-based application makes it even easier for growing businesses to manage purchase orders, expense claims, time-off requests, HR records and staff feedback and performance reviews.

Turbine lets companies manage their staff more efficiently, save time, take control of spending and give employees convenient online self-service for routine paperwork chores. No more paper forms or misfiled requests!

Driven by customer feedback, Version 8 improves the look and feel of the site as well as its usability. New features include:

• A responsive interface. Turbine resizes automatically to fit the screen you are using, whether you are requesting time off on your smartphone, or submitting a purchase request on your laptop.

• Beautiful design. Subtle animations, elegant graphics and other grace notes make the new version look great. For example, it automatically takes advantage of the Retina display on the latest iPads and iPhones.

• Split-screen displays. The new list view mimics email clients and other popular web-based applications by letting you see a list of requests on the left in chronological order and the details of a selected request on the right.

• Faster, better. Version 8 adds powerful technology behind the scenes, such as client-side caching which makes the site snappier to use, as well as improved localisation settings and the ability to comment on requests.

The new version will make it easier and faster for employees and managers to take care of their admin so they can spend more time on their job and less time on necessary but unproductive tasks.

“It’s an all-in-one, Swiss Army Knife to cut through red tape at a fraction of the price of bespoke or big-company systems,” says Matthew Stibbe. Prices start at just $8 a month for up to five users and there’s a 30-day free trial.

“We love the paperwork you hate,” says Matthew Stibbe, “and Version 8 is a big step towards the paper-free, hassle-free office.”

Fellowes Shredders at Robert Dyas

This week is National Identity Fraud Prevention Week where a number of organisations from the public and private sector highlight the fact that identity fraud is on the rise in the UK and could affect anyone of us.

During this week Action Fraud is reminding us how to keep our identity safe with some simple tips:

• Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.

• Be careful about what information you share on social networking sites, and check your privacy settings.

• Monitor your credit status by getting regular copies of your credit report from a credit reference agency.

As part of this campaign, from this week, Robert Dyas is offering a wide range of Fellowes Shredders products in their shops across the UK. The company believes that Fellowes products will be a valuable addition to their own exclusive products and famous brand names such as Brita, Energizer, Karcher, Kenwood, Morphy Richards, Tefal, Durcell, Brabantia and Vax, to name just a few.

Fellowes and other entities including Action Fraud, Cifas, Equifax, Symantec Norton, Get Safe Online are the organisers behind the annual campaign ‘Don’t let it be You’ which highlights the actions that can be taken to protect against identity fraud.

The scale of the fraud in the UK is alarming; according to Members of CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service identity fraud increased by 30% during the first quarter of 2012.

Suppliers should offer business best deals too, argues Energy Advice Line

ENERGY suppliers should be forced to offer businesses as well as domestic customers the cheapest business gas and business electricity tariffs, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the UK’s leading business electricity price comparison and switching service for business, called on Ofgem to extend its reforms to small and medium-sized firms as well as householders.

Ofgem has just unveiled proposals to force suppliers to inform customers about the cheapest tariffs and to ban complex, multi-tier tariffs that make it difficult to understand bills and compare prices.

The proposed changes only apply to domestic consumers, but Mr Morgan said it was essential the reforms were extended to protect non-domestic energy users, particularly SMEs.

“We have long been calling on Ofgem to force suppliers to offer businesses their best prices when fixed-term contracts come up for renewal, because under current arrangements they often do the exact opposite,” Mr Morgan said.

“It is common practice for suppliers to automatically roll over unwitting businesses onto very expensive out-of-contract tariffs when their fixed-term contracts expire, and these tariffs can be 50% more, or even higher, than their cheapest deal.

“Suppliers have refused to stop this unfair practice and many, many businesses have been forced to pay exorbitant tariffs as a result.

“It’s way overdue for Ofgem to step in and extend the kind of protection they are offering to householders, to businesses.

“Ofgem’s stated aim is to reform the energy market to make it ‘simpler, clearer, fairer and more competitive’ for all consumers. If this is true then the non-domestic sector must be included.”

Ofgem is proposing to limit each energy supplier to no more than four core tariffs for each fuel when billing householders. Dual fuel discounts will be presented separately to increase clarity.

Mr Morgan said many businesses did not actually realize they were on the wrong deal and paying too much as business energy prices and bills were also exceedingly complex.

The Energy Advice Line has previously called on suppliers to offer clearer and more detailed information on bills in order to stop the confusion and to enable businesses to more easily search for the best available deals on the market.

It has also called on suppliers to print contract-end dates on bills, and to clearly explain to customers how to terminate their contracts so they can switch suppliers more readily.

An Ofgem spokesman said the government was committed to helping businesses as well as householders get a better deal from energy suppliers. Reforms to help firms would be included in Ofgem’s sweeping review of the non-domestic sector, which would be unveiled soon.

The Energy Advice Line is a consumer champion and the UK’s only independent business electricity price comparison and switching services exclusively for small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables firms to quickly and simply compare business energy and business gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.

The Energy Advice Line has produced The Business Energy Best Practice and Advice Guide to help firms combat unfair pricing tactics employed by utility companies.

To obtain a copy of the guide, for further information or a free quotation, visit

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Pru reveals almost half of UK business owners have no pension savings

Almost half (46 per cent) of UK business owners - or 1.3 million people - have no private pension savings to support them in retirement, according to new independent research from Prudential.

Of those who have failed to make any private pension provision, more than half (54 per cent) said this was because they simply could not afford to set money aside. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) say they don’t have a pension because they will never retire, and 9 per cent claim they have sufficient funds in a company pension from previous employment.

Nearly one third (29 per cent) of business owners, or 792,000 people, say they will be entirely reliant on the State Pension when they come to retire, compared with just 16 per cent of people across all employment types retiring this year in the UK.

Other self-employed workers will supplement their retirement incomes with money from a mix of alternative sources: 48 per cent will draw on other savings and investments, 25 per cent will use equity from their properties, 25 per cent plan to use their partners' pensions, and 19 per cent plan to use funds from the eventual sale of their businesses.

Prudential asked those business owners who don't have a personal pension whether they plan to start one in the future and the majority of respondents (63 per cent) said no. Only 13 per cent said they were planning to start a pension and just under a quarter (24 per cent) were undecided.

Stan Russell, retirement expert at Prudential, said: "It's sometimes hard for self-employed workers to distinguish between their business and personal finances. Often, investing in the business takes priority over saving for retirement - an issue that is particularly prevalent now, given the tough economic conditions facing UK businesses.

"Unfortunately, the long-term implications of not saving for retirement are that many retirees will have a real income shock and reduced living standards when they finally retire. And while a number of business owners say they don't need a pension because they'll never stop working, this optimistic approach won't always be realistic - for example because of health issues later in life.

"Although some business owners plan to supplement their retirement incomes with alternative sources of finances, a large proportion will be entirely reliant upon the State Pension - which should actually be a safety net, not a default source of income."

Saving into a pension has become a lower priority for those business owners who do have some dedicated retirement savings. The survey found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of entrepreneurs with pension savings had put their personal contributions on hold since the start of the economic downturn.

Payday lending site in attack on own industry

Exclusive Video Series Takes Unusual Approach To Educating Consumers

Cash-strapped consumers may express hatred for payday loans, but you’ve never seen the industry itself partake in self-loathing—until now.

In a strange twist, a series of exclusive videos launched by payday lending site 100 Day Loans UK confronts the stigmas plaguing these short-term loans.

A Unite union survey reveals that around 4 million consumers rely on payday loans, borrowing approximately £327 per month to get by, while losing more wages to pay off interest.

100 Day Loans UK recognizes the road to borrowing is paved with risks. While competitors tend to gloss over harsh borrowing realities, 100 Day Loans UK attempts to shine a light on the darker side of payday lending.

Unfortunately, payday loan misinformation may be all too accessible to potential borrowers. According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Wonga received 82 complaints after one of their recent puppet adverts allegedly made misleading statements regarding loan terms.

Other lenders also attempt to appeal to consumer’s impulsive spending habits. The BBC revealed that Payday Bank promoted loans for celebrating May’s Diamond Jubilee.

100 Day Loans UK’s videos illustrate the dangers while managing to link desperate borrowers to the resources they need.

The videos with four consecutive weekly releases in October will address multiple real-world stigmas through dramatic sketches:
• “I Hate You Payday Loans – The Relationship”: a silent but powerful illustration of the danger of rolling over a loan.
• “I Hate You Payday Loans – The Rap”: one payday loan borrower vents his frustrations through an entertaining song.
• “I Hate You Payday Loans – The Ripple Effect”: one woman reveals a tragic, unexpected consequence of battling sky-high APRs.
• “I Hate You Payday Loans – Getting Dumped”: When romance and money don’t mix, a woman reveals how her little white finance lie cost her a shot at love.

In addition to videos, 100 Day Loans UK connects consumers to a bounty of resources, including a consumer survey, informative blog post series, infographic and e-Book.

100DayLoansUK is a licensed credit brokerage business which connects borrowers and lenders for the purposes of entering into short-term unsecured loan agreements. In an industry crippled by bad press, an unpopular product and irresponsible marketing tactics, 100 Day Loans UK is attempting to bring clarity to how these loans should be handled. For more information, view our videos at and please visit to get an education before you fill out an application.

LEA Wins Top Flight Award

 London Executive Aviation (LEA), one of Europe’s largest business jet charter operators, is today celebrating being named ‘Best General Aviation Operator’ in the Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) Excellence Awards.

LEA was honoured at a ceremony held at the Guildhall in London. This is the third time the company has scooped the ‘Best General Aviation Operator’ award in the BACA Excellence Awards.

The award was decided by BACA members, who were asked to nominate the organisations they consider best in class. BACA is a premier industry association, which since 1949 has represented the interests of commercial aviation companies, particularly air charter providers. It represents over 125 UK and international companies, including air brokers, charter airlines, airports, business aircraft operators, consultants and others involved in air charter, scheduled flying and air cargo.

LEA’s managing director George Galanopoulos says: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this recognition from our respected industry colleagues, the most demanding group of judges one could imagine. Despite the toughest industry recession ever, LEA has continued to invest right across our business – in our fleet, our service provision and in training and technology. Today’s award is a welcome vindication of our commitment to excellence.”

Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, LEA chief executive, adds: “The award reflects the extremely hard work of our entire team, who we would like to thank and applaud for this tremendous achievement. Winning this honour for the third time confirms the enduring strength of our organisation. Our absolute commitment to safety and customer service underpins everything we do and it is hugely rewarding to have these values recognised.”

Punch talks on new B2B opportunities with LinkedIn

LinkedIn's latest update - which encourages individuals and brands alike to build and engage with a network in a manner similar to Facebook - offers a major new opportunity for brand marketers that are keen to capitalise on the professional nature of the network, according to integrated social, search and PR company Punch Communications.

Since its launch in May 2003, LinkedIn has become associated with creating and managing professional connections – whilst being the backdrop for an online résumé.

The latest refresh arguably capitalises on the successes of other services – such as Facebook, amongst other sites – which are used as the basis for social brand building.

Pete Goold, the Managing Director of Punch, which also offers social search services, commented: “As a long-standing LinkedIn user, I think these latest changes really activate the potential of having an established professional network. From a brand marketing perspective, companies are able to not only create points of interest for their customers – whether business-related or consumers – but also to utilise employees' own networks, many of which will be well established given the ubiquity of LinkedIn as a career-enhancing tool."

The site's revised features include sections within the Careers Page, along with a new insights dashboard, a wider cover photo and targeted status updates with performance metrics for Company Pages. Recognising the growing importance of mobile applications in business, the new Company Pages can now be accessed via the LinkedIn mobile app.

Stemming from the successful Company Follow Feature, an ‘influencers to follow’ tool was developed in the beginning of October, which allows users to receive updates and the latest news from a select group of movers and shakers. The prominent individuals chosen as influencers, including Sir Richard Branson and President Obama, were nominated to help promote engagement across the platform, encouraging people to connect and interact with brands over relevant business and world news.

Pete added: “With these changes, LinkedIn is now an indispensable part of a company’s social marketing plan – particularly if targeting a B2B audience, although of course it's worth remembering that LinkedIn users are consumers too.”

With a team of experienced public relations consultants, Punch offers a wide variety of PR, search and social services. For more information about the how Punch could benefit your company or view our Infographic on the latest changes to LinkedIn, please visit Or call the Punch team on +44 (0) 1858 411 600.