How to cut energy bills at home for Christmas

From switching to LED Christmas lights to turning off radiators in an unused room, Michael Foot at Quote Goat offers some of the best tips on saving energy for the holiday season

According to government approval, the “three household bubble” could last five days over Christmas and many people were prepared to receive family and friends.
In some cases, they do this for the first time during the year – which comes with charges for gas and electricity.
While it’s easy to absorb the joys of getting together to safely celebrate the holiday season together, keeping track of your energy bills for Christmas could save you important money that you could invest elsewhere in 2021.
Here are three tips on how to keep your account manageable this Christmas without sacrificing fun and celebration.
Prices of Christmas lights

As a hallmark of lively entertainment, Christmas lights are often the first sign that we are ready to celebrate.
As many households choose to have it turned on in late November or early December this can result in about a month of extra energy use.
If you take the time to search for and find lighting that’s more energy efficient, you can still show off your holiday excitement while lowering your bill.
LED bulbs can be at least 75% more energy efficient than traditional bulbs, saving you tons of money without losing how long you leave them on.
If you want something more manageable, consider investing in smart lighting for your Christmas decorations.
Choosing Christmas lights that turn on and off automatically at certain times will reduce the extra cost of forgetting to turn off the lights.
Understand your warm up

As you spend more time at home throughout the year, many households see their energy bills go up considerably.
However, the fee will only increase when time runs out and family and friends can party between 23 and 27 December.
For your heating system, there are a few quick and easy steps you can take to learn how your home works and reduce your consumption.
For example, if you know how long it will take your house to cool down, you may be able to turn off the heater sooner than you think.
Knowing how fast your house is heating up, you may be able to use less radiators if there are enough in the next room.
Learning how your home uses heat can greatly reduce the cost of your bills over time.
If you’re expecting more people, you can prepare hot water bottles to give them an instant warm boost without turning on the heater.
Or, you can tactically choose which radiator works best when everyone’s partying together.
Consider switching

Many would not think about how changing energy providers could drastically reduce costs.
Once you’ve made sure that you don’t charge a check-out fee before your contract expires, or it costs less than you might have saved, you can take advantage of the comparison website to see how much the new provider can give you. Save.
Once you’ve decided to switch, you will need to take some time to determine how much you will need for the month on average compared to what you are paying with your current provider.
You will often find many vendors offering new customer deals that can save you a lot of what you would have saved by switching anyway.
Once you’ve found a cheaper deal, calculate how much you will save and check how much it will cost to leave your current contract. It’s a good idea to let your vendor know you want to go and see what you might be tempted to do.
This often happens when they make a better deal to keep you as a customer.
Change habits

For many people, Christmas is not only a happy time, it can be financially terrifying too. Therefore, it is always a good idea to estimate your expenses before the holiday season starts.
Changing your current habits and adjusting your expenses is a quick and easy way to celebrate normally while saving money towards 2021.

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A Guide To Getting On The Property Ladder

In today’s climate, buying your first home and getting onto the property ladder is tougher than ever. Yet, there is no need to lose hope, as there are a few things you can do that will make the process much easier. Buying a house is a major milestone in anyone’s life, so don’t feel discouraged when you see people buying homes in their 20’s, as it is very rare these days! So, here are a few tips to help you achieve your goal. 

  1. Consider Savings As Essential Outgoings

When people’s wages come into their account, often people will think about what their essential outgoings are and then see the rest as disposable income. People don’t often consider savings as essential outgoings, so the amount put away can be neglected. If from the very beginning of the month you budget a set amount of money to go into a savings account, you will be surprised at how much you can save. 

Yes, you might find yourself slightly short of cash at the end of the month, however this is a positive thing as you will learn to spend your money more sensibly. When you commit to a set amount, you will be able to reach your financial goals much quicker. If you do have anything else left at the end of the month, that’s a bonus! 

  1. Make Use of Government Schemes

There are lifelines available that you should utilise to get some help when it comes to buying your first home. One of the best schemes available in the UK is the Help To Buy Scheme. Whatever you are able to save in the account, when you withdraw the money to go towards a deposit for a house, the government will contribute 25% on top of your savings. The maximum government contribution is £3,000, so after you have saved £12,000 you cannot benefit from the 25%. Yet, £3,000 for free is not a bad deal, at all!

In the USA, there are plenty of different government schemes available such as Homeownership Vouchers, FHA Loans, Programs for Service Members and Rural Residents. It is always worth looking into what your government is offering and taking any help you are entitled to. 

  1. Look Past Cosmetic Features

Although you may think you need a huge deposit in order to buy a house that’s ready to move into, it is worth looking past the cosmetic elements of a home and considering whether it is structurally what you are looking for, as that is more difficult to change. When viewing homes, you may not like the kitchen cupboards, the wallpaper might be outdated and the bathroom might need a refresh, yet you are likely to get a much better deal on a slightly outdated home that you can easily renovate for next to nothing. 

You can paint cupboards, strip wallpaper and change tiles relatively easily and investing some time and a small amount of money to make a few changes will help you to create a home that is perfect for you whilst also saving money. Brand new houses come with a premium price due to their convenience, yet you might be able to move into your own home much quicker thanks to a smaller price that comes with properties in need of a bit of TLC. 

  1. Property Auctions

Another great way to get a good deal on a home is to buy a property through an auction. Residential property auctions allow participants to bid on properties they are interested in, often resulting in a below-market selling price. Auction companies will advertise the properties in advance, meaning you can arrange viewings and have surveys completed. 

Then, you can attend the auction and start bidding. It is important to ask for a professional opinion about the value of the house and make sure you don’t go above this as you are likely to end up losing money when you eventually go on to sell it. Many auctions are now online which makes the process far easier so it is definitely worth looking at whether there are properties you are interested in. This could help you to get onto the property ladder far quicker and with less upfront savings thanks to the cheaper overall cost. 

Summary

Saving for a house is hard work and can take years. Be patient and work hard to save as much as you can and these few tips should help you to reach your goal quicker.

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Simple Ways To Save Money To Master Personal Finance

Feeling worried about money is extremely common and it can have a huge impact on our lives and happiness. Yet, there are a few extremely simple things you can do to reduce your outgoings, save more money and feel in control of your finances. You won’t notice much of a difference in your everyday life, but you should be able to save a lot of money. 

Cut Down on Weekly Food Costs

One essential outgoing is your weekly food shop, however there are some handy ways to reduce the cost. Firstly, you must go with a list. Sit down in advance and plan your meals for the week and only buy the ingredients you need. Not only will this reduce the cost of your shop, but less food will go to waste and you’re less likely to need to pop to the shops in the week for extra bits and pieces. 

Next, buy a few treats to satisfy any cravings you might have for takeaways. If you buy a couple of frozen pizzas and Chinese takeaway meals, you should be less likely to order a takeaway which will save you so much money over the course of the month. 

Finally, try to cut down on non-essential products where possible. For example, rather than buying fresh mangos and bananas for smoothies, buy a frozen smoothie mix which is far better value for money and it will last far longer! For those of you who are health conscious, rather than buying five or six different vitamins and minerals, buy one pot of multivitamins. These small, simple changes will soon become a habit!

Look For Price Comparisons on Everything

You don’t need to assume that the cost of some of your ‘fixed’ outgoings such as bills, insurance or phone can’t be reduced. Go onto a price comparison website and input your requirements and you will be faced with so many different options. You might end up getting far more for your money by investing just a bit of your time. 

Another tip is to call your existing provider and tell them the other deals you have found online. They might offer you reduced prices and you won’t have the hassle of changing providers! 

Consider Savings as Essential Outgoing 

When creating your budget, one way to easily save money is to assign some of your disposable income straight to your savings account. Often savings are considered as a bonus if they can be afforded, yet the money almost always will get spent on other things. 

At the beginning of the month, set up a direct debit to send a specific amount of money into your savings. You will notice that you reach your savings goals so much quicker than if you just put money in the savings account when you can. You may think you will miss the money each month, however you are more likely to spend your money on things you really need and reach your financial goals quicker with your increased amount of savings. 

Summary

Without making major changes to your lifestyle, it can be simple to save significant amounts of money when you are careful with your spending. Taking a bit of time to plan and research alternative services will give you the opportunity to reach your goals quicker and invest your savings sensibly.

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A Guide To Setting Up A Successful Clothing Business

The internet is saturated with new businesses, all with the common goal of wanting to become a success. Start-up businesses are difficult to get right, especially in an industry as dominant as fashion. If you’re wanting to start a clothing business and make it a success, there are a few important things that you need to consider. Without a detailed plan, an ethical supply chain, a unique brand and a consistent social media presence, you will find it difficult to succeed! 

Create a Detailed Plan

Your first step will be to create a detailed plan. Your initial plan should discuss in detail what your product or business is, why you think it is in high demand, who your target audience will be and how you will market it. It should also contain realistic financial goals for the next five years, taking into account all of your startup costs as well as your outgoings from insurance and bills to staff costs and packaging. Before investing any money, you need to invest a significant amount of time to figure out if your business is really going to work. Be honest with yourself, as now is the best time to identify any potential issues in order to rethink your ideas. 

Have an Ethical Supply Chain

When planning how your business is going to function, something that will help your business to be a success is to have an ethical supply chain. Not only is this vital when it comes to looking after everyone involved in your business, making the team more productive and much happier, but it is also important to customers. 

So many people prioritise ethics when it comes to buying clothes, as people’s awareness of the issues surrounding fast fashion are increasing. With an ethical supply chain, your clothing will be a much better quality, thus drawing in more customers. Although it might cost more to invest initially, highlighting that your business is ethical in your marketing campaigns will help your profits to soar. 

Make Your Brand Unique

Offering a unique product that your customers can’t access anywhere else is a great way to make your business a success. Unless you have a well-known brand, releasing t-shirts that are completely plain with a small logo won’t interest people. It would be best to focus on something like mens graphic t-shirts, working with independent artists to create exciting and diverse prints for your t-shirts. This will create clothing that is a talking point, rather than just replicating something you like that you’ve seen elsewhere. Whatever your focus is, it is essential to offer something to your target audience that they won’t be able to access anywhere else. 

Be Consistent on Social Media

Once you have an ethical supply chain and a completely unique idea, it is time to show it off on social media. This is the best place to start when it comes to marketing, as you don’t need to spend anything at all to begin with. Perhaps start by sending your clothing out to some relevant influencers who might share it on their social media, which will bring traffic to your page and hopefully website. From there, you can start to offer competitions, give discounts to loyal followers, engage with customers and generally build up your brand. 

If you want to, you can then start to pay for advertisements through social media channels in order to carefully target your desired audience. Your options really are endless when it comes to social media, so it is the best place to start. The most important thing to remember here is to highlight some of the things you have worked hard on, such as your unique branding and ethical industry practices. 

Summary

Setting up your own business requires substantial investments in terms of time and money, so you must be prepared for that. However, having your own business can also come with fantastic benefits, so just take some time to plan properly and make your business as appealing as possible and it has every chance of being a success. Lastly, be flexible and prepare to adapt to industry changes to maintain success over a long period! 

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There is a lot more to financing than loans and overdrafts

Whether you are looking for finances to ensure the continuity or growth of your business, it is important that you explore all avenues early on.

“Plan, plan, plan,” suggested Paul Leith, founder of digital.accuthant, in a recent webinar on Swoop financing. “It’s too late when companies need financing tomorrow. So you have to think ahead and plan for months, if not years.”

Whether you are a business manager or a consultant, part of this planning process is identifying the types of financial needs and requirements that will affect borrower solvency. Clear loans for commercial banks with low interest rates can come into the account. But the way funding works today is likely to be better if you take the time to adapt it to your business needs.

Business Support Loans

In 2020, most businesses are likely to consider the various programs the government has undertaken to help SMEs during the coronavirus pandemic, including CBILS and BBLS. Applications for interest payments on these loans are coming soon, so borrowers may need to consider refinancing options while their business is still recovering.

What are the other financing options besides loans? Here are a few options to consider in different situations.

Asset-based financing

If you are looking to purchase equipment, consider renting rather than buying the product. This form of wealth finance is especially useful for startups or large companies looking to replace old equipment.

You must choose a finance lease or an operating lease. An operating lease is a better choice when you are looking to lease assets for the short term. You also don’t have to pay for maintenance and insurance of the assets you pay for financial leases.

Although renting can be more expensive than buying outright, both types of leases result in an asset that is shown as a rental expense, which can then be compensated for by profit when calculating corporate income tax.

Invoice financing

If you use bills to make a lot of payments, collection financing is very helpful. Some customers may take time to pay for jobs or purchases, which can slow down business cash flow and expansion plans.

However, in the case of invoice financing, the lender can advance up to 95% of the invoice value and the remaining 5% can be paid at a later date. In other words, you can unlock the value of your bill faster at the cost of the lender’s fees.

Note that there are discounts for invoicing and invoice factoring. The main difference is whether the customer knows that invoice finance is being used. In the case of a discount on an invoice, it cannot be disclosed that it is.

Trade finance

Various trade finance options are offered to importers and exporters. For companies facing cash flow problems, perhaps due to their seasonal nature, revolving loans would be a sensible option. This flexible and open loan allows the recipient to borrow money from a pile of money. All you have to do is pay monthly interest on the amount drawn from the pile before drawing more if necessary, not on the entire lot at once.

Funding R&D claims

To illustrate the dynamism of the financial world, an increase in tax credits for research and development has resulted in tax credits that allow businesses to gain early access to payments. Eligibility for this type of loan depends on the company’s real investment in the research and development type being eligible for the research and development tax credit.

In this case, the company can claim money within a week after talking to the lender, not in the month or year that HMRC can process the claim. This expedited route could be the ideal cash injection in this endeavor.

Unsecured finance

Some of the options listed are based on assets in the company, such as: B. unpaid sales invoices or tax breaks. Broader needs may be needed for broader needs – if the company’s trade history and credit rating deserve it. While the pressure to repay secured loans is more obvious, neglecting unsecured finances is a common way for businesses to get into debt.

The disruption due to Covid-19 is forcing companies and consultants to take a closer look at financial markets in 2020. Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it is unlikely that these requirements will drop in the next year or two.

To ensure that the business stays afloat, apply the financial mantra that a clear understanding of the company’s goals, structure and financial condition will help you determine the right type of funding to be successful.

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Profitable Investments To Make During A Pandemic

If you’ve found yourself in a strong financial position during the pandemic, you may be looking to make a profitable and relatively safe investment. The economy is in a state of uncertainty, so making any investment can be risky, yet there are a few areas that have been consistently strong throughout the pandemic which gives you the best opportunity for a high return on investment. 

E-Commerce Stocks

As shoppers were forced to retreat during lockdown, consumer habits are likely to have changed drastically. Everyone turned to e-commerce for all of their basic needs and will have enjoyed the benefits that come with shopping at home, making them more likely to shop online for things they would usually buy in shopping centres or on high streets. More discount vouchers, no parking fees and free delivery options are just a few of the conveniences associated with e-commerce. So, with consumer shopping behaviour being likely to change for good, investing in e-commerce stocks will give you a great chance at making some decent profit. Sites like Shopify and Wayfair have thrived during the pandemic, so take a look and see if their stocks are something that you’d be interested in.

Residential or Commercial Real Estate

The demand for housing never ceased throughout the pandemic. The residential real estate market remained fairly consistent all year, meaning it will be quite a safe investment to make. If you’re looking to buy a property and are wanting to take out a mortgage, just bear in mind that many mortgage providers are still not offering mortgages without a 20% deposit. For cash buyers, this puts you in a fantastic position. Many people who had been looking to buy a home are now unable to as a result of economic uncertainty, so providing a fantastic rental property for people who aren’t in a position to buy looks like the way forward. 

Whilst the commercial property market still looks unstable, there are a few avenues to explore that have the potential to offer substantial profits. If you’re wanting to go into commercial property management, investing in flexible office spaces is the way forward. People have gotten so used to working from home that the future of working life is likely to change forever. Staff are likely to want the option to be office based some days of the week, and home based others. Flexible office spaces offer a solution to this, as they allow staff from multiple companies to dip in and out when they need. This is also a benefit for the owners of companies as they don’t need to commit to long leases that cost extortionate amounts. So, investing in the future of working life with flexible offices has the potential for great returns. 

Any ISA (Individual Savings Account)

Largely, interest that is built in your savings account would be tax deductible, with a few exceptions. However, any ISA, such as the Help To Buy ISA, Lifetime ISA and other Cash ISAs are completely tax free. Although providers can vary their ISA deals in relation to the interest they pay, you know that any contributions from the government will not be tax deductible, helping you to get more out of your money. With a very uncertain financial future overall when it comes to taxable earnings, having money in an account that is protected is a sensible step to take. There is a limit to the amount of money that can be put into an ISA each month or year, dependent on the type, yet it is still a great option to have. 

Summary

So, there are a few of the most sensible and potentially profitable investments you can make in this current climate. It may feel like you are taking a risk, yet as long as you have researched the market and understand the implications of your investment, you will be in a strong position to assess any risks and remedy them when needed. 

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11 Must-Know Accounting Tips for Digital Marketing Agencies

Your digital marketing agency’s lack of reliable accounting support can lead to a failure on financial and legal grounds. Fortunately, accounting tips for digital marketing agencies can make it easier than you might think. 

We will discuss 11 must-know accounting tips for digital marketing agencies in this article. 

Not many business owners like to dedicate their precious time recording financial reports, allocating bills, or reconciling numbers. However, this is crucial for the smooth working of your business. The past financial records for marketing agencies control their success or failure for the current periods and determine the future course’s sales and marketing strategies. 

Keeping your accounting books sorted is mandatory on legal grounds for any business. Keeping track of accounting tips for digital marketers while creating records can be very helpful, especially for new business people. 

Successful business owners realized the significance of maintaining proper financial records and accounting systems from the very start. 

A digital marketing agency has a creative work culture built on the back of advertising experts, and digital marketers spend a lot of time and hard work over strategies and client pitches. Still, a creative agency like digital marketing or ad agencies needs someone to look after the accounts, which may not be the most creative part of the entire organization; it still depends on it on financial ground.

Especially for startup owners, accounting knowledge is vital. One can always gain essential accounting tips for startups for better understanding.

The financial status of a company is more than just knowing the total capital. Many business owners make the mistake of relying upon the total asset for calculating the current status of their business, which can turn into a disaster.  

It’s not the assets, but the most vital aspect is the financial records’ liabilities segment. Many experience a setback because of focusing solely on the result willingly than on the reduction of liabilities. 

Guide to top accounting tips for digital marketing agencies will help you run your marketing business successfully without any financial shortfalls. 

  1. In-House or Outsource

Startup owners can easily manage bookkeeping with accounting software programs. As more human resources come in as the business starts to take off with new clients coming on board and campaigns working out successfully, accounting becomes complex. Taxations and accounting seem confusing, especially for new business owners. 

It’s the time to decide whether to keep financing and account for your digital marketing agency by yourself or willing to outsource. 

As per the accounting tips for the digital marketer guide to outsourcing in such a situation, the outsourcing accounting system can save a lot of time on the agency’s core purpose, and outsourced systems can handle accounting. 

  1. Use programs appropriate for your sector

Whether it’s an ad agency or a digital marketing agency, creative marketing space is not the same as that of companies in other sectors, and so do their accounting requirements. However, accounting is all about numbers and figures; basically, it is still best to use a computer-based program used by others in your industry.

Every new business owner can get the best advice from accounting tips for entrepreneurs; it can showcase some right ways of accounting. However, it is best to stick to the methods that should support your offered services and products. 

  1. Be more cautious with international clients.

Your business is dealing with international clients too! Then you need to take special care of transactions. Working across the national borders involves different taxation, import, and export charges. 

To avoid paying more or getting stuck into any legalities, you must have to be a little more careful while working with international clients. Accounting concepts vary from place to place, which may put you in a difficult position.

It is best to hire an experienced accountant who holds expertise in this area, saving time and chaos. 

  1. Use your data to plan your client outreach.

One of the essential accounting tips for an online marketing agency is to know your assets and liabilities to establish strong relations with clients. This leads to a focus on bringing profitable clients on board suits to your business capacity and requirement. Knowing your financial status helps you to figure out where to spend, what your clients reach, how to cut off on expenses, and on whom to focus on generating more or invest the capital. 

  1. Proper accounting leads to get an investment.

Running a business or agency requires proper investments. Investors will eventually look into your accounting books to request a loan from a bank or an investment for the marketing agency. These records are your portfolio for the investors to see your financial status and eligibility to repay the same. Take note if you need the investment for your business, take a keen look at local aid for your such companies or mortgage company’s assets. 

  1. Keep on top of the invoices.

In case your team is traveling for work, travel expenses are on the company including transportation, accommodation, and food. These expenses need to appear in financial records in detail. Keep your invoices track on top, even better if you use the billing program. These accounting tips for startups help to save a lot of time and give storage space for reports and invoices.

  1. Separate your personal and professional expenses

The most basic accounting tips for digital marketing agencies involve the advice not to merge your personal and professional expenses. Be cautious before any card transaction. Even small expenses can add up, so take care about your expenses.

In case on a regular basis you mix your personal and business expenses, you may end up being caught up in overspending or deduction. At times, business owners either end up losing money or violating the taxes; both ways, it is not good for business’s financial health. 

It’s best to maintain an exclusive account for the company’s transaction. That way, it is easy to track the transactions more conveniently without any hassle and manage the funds.

  1. Make proper backup for your files

Either, you are maintaining files in hard copy or digitally, make sure to maintain the proper backup. In case of any mishappenings without backup can result in untracked losses to the business. It’s significant to create digital copies of your physical records. 

As per the accounting tips for entrepreneurs, it is best to save it on local drives along with a cloud backup for double assurance. Cloud services save the data in case of any mishaps, which results in the storage of multiple copies on different servers. Moreover, it is easy to use due to the access get from any internet secured devices. 

  1. Avoid unnecessary cost 

A significant side of any business’s basic accounting is to read every transaction, update them at the very time of the transaction, record income and expenses, all in proper detail. But contrary to this, it’s important to know how to manage your spendings and vary the same on the basis of its nature. The expenses which are not necessary for the profit making should be avoided as much as possible. 

Outsourcing accounting systems leads to extra costs. It is better to figure out what activities you need to outsource for the betterment of your business and spend on those very tasks. This is a significant accounting tip for digital marketing agencies monitoring cost as well as taking the required measures for success. 

  1. Digital focus

Although, mostly all the banks offer mobile applications and websites to track your transactions; still, receipts are important. However, Paper receipts are not needed. 

As technology is evolving, a huge portion of creative firms are focusing on being digital. Digital marketing agencies and digital accounting, both complement well each other. It is the platform which lets both of them get a better understanding of each other’s job nature and its requirements. 

In such cases, it becomes much more convenient for business to collect data and make decisions. Working on a digital front leads to easier interpretation upon the information which is profitable for the company. It even helps to markissues that are distinctive to the marketing range. 

  1. Create frequent bank reconciliation 

The method of organizing your accounting histories with your bank statement is associated with bank reconciliation. Most of the course, marketing proprietors prefer to do it in every other period, but one can do it still on more frequent intervals. 

The purpose is to ensure the divergence between the financial reports that can reckon for it. These can befall amid dismissed or uncleared cheques and pending salaries. Nevertheless, this could appear amid errors, defalcation, and duplicity. If you fall little on your bank reconciliation, there is a contingency of letting the issues develop. Online accounting serviceslet you retain the reconciliation sorted. 

The regions of accounting and finance are necessary for a creative agency including digital marketing and ad agencies. Lots of business players yield to failure and are forced out of the market after they lose to streamline their tax policies and direct incorrect business accounting. 

Furthermore, if your books are complete and well maintained, you will conceal a surpassing deal of avoidable feud and develop good will in the whole business industry. 

These above mentioned accounting tips for digital marketing agencies are ideal especially for people who are new to the industry and still at developing stage. 

Author Bio: 

My name is Vivek Gururani. I am a Digital Marketing professional and Content Strategist at eBetterBooks – A leading bookkeeping, accounting, taxation, financial reporting service provider in the USA.

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The volume of the new consumer car financing business increased

According to the Finance and Leasing Association, the consumer finance market saw new business growth of 7 percent in September 2020 compared to the same month last year.

However, the volume of new business in the first nine months of 2020 was 22% lower than the same period in 2019.

In the consumer new car financing market, the volume of new business increased by five percent in September 2020 compared to September 2019, while new business in the nine months to September 2020 decreased 27 percent.

However, FLA member-funded private new car sales in the twelve months ended September 2020 stood at 94.5% – the second highest annual penetration rate in history.

The new business volume for the consumer car market increased 9 percent in September 2020 compared to the same month a year earlier, while it was down 19 percent in the year to September 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier.

Geraldine Kilkeley, chief researcher and chief economist of the FLA, said: “The latest FLA data show that the consumer auto finance market has played a key role in Britain’s economic recovery since the deadlock’s first restrictions were eased in June.

“As the UK enters a new phase of national impasse, it is important for the government and the Bank of England to provide direct access to finance to all lenders, including non-bank lenders.

“This will allow the auto industry to meet the demand for patience and sustainable new credit.”

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The Future of Fintech

Nowadays, we are living in an era of advanced technology, where we are becoming increasingly reliant on our devices to simplify the daily grind. Whether using a smartphone to organise meetings, or relying on home assistants to reel off shopping lists, we are looking to technological solutions more and more to ease the burden of mundane tasks.

And the personal finance sector has been no exception. Indeed, 57% of consumers now prefer to use online banking tools and interact digitally with their finances in the wake of the pandemic; to compare, less than half (49%) of consumers relied on such technology prior to the pandemic.

The growth of comparison websites

It’s safe to say that the personal finance sector has seen a great deal of change over the previous 20 years, thanks to the rise of financial technology (fintech). Put simply, the rise of fintech has made it easier than ever for consumers to research, compare, invest and manage their finances than ever before.

One of the most popular offerings for people looking to save money has been the emergence – and increasing popularity of – comparison websites. When it comes to considering options and searching the market for the best deals on everything from home insurance to energy suppliers, comparison websites are a failsafe route. Indeed, recent research from the Competition and Markets Authority has revealed that a staggering 85% of UK adults have used price comparison websites at some point in their lives when making financial decisions.

As comparison websites greatly reduce the amount of time consumers spend researching financial products, gathering the necessary data and displaying all the options in a clear, easy-to-digest format, they have remained popular over the years.

However, the technology used by such websites is in a constant state of change. Indeed, complex algorithms are now commonplace with these sites in order to collect more detailed information and consequently offer a more personalised service. For example, comparison websites can now help consumers find important information regarding an individual’s credit score or make snapshot assessments of financial risk; this in turn helps to better inform consumers of their most suitable financial options.

Simplifying finances with online banking

Possibly the most significant change for consumers in recent years has come in the form of digital banking. Even discounting the pandemic altogether, consumers have increasingly turned to online and mobile platforms to manage their accounts.

And given the ease of these applications, this is unsurprising. As both challenger and established high street banks alike utilise this technology, consumers can benefit from the streamlined services that these apps have to offer, such as real-time payments, which simplify the often-tiresome task of monitoring spending.

Digital banking tools can display these insights in easy to read charts, and also allow consumers to search for specific transactions without having to sift through reams of bank statements. Not only does this allow consumers to keep a careful eye on their spending habits, but this instant access to transactions also offers an additional level of security, making it easier to identify fraudulent activity.

It is likely that technology will continue to drive progress within the financial services sector, providing consumers with more and more choices when it comes to their financial management.

So, the question is: what next for fintech and financial services?

A tailor-made experience

When customers think of financial advisers, they might imagine having to take a trip to their local branch to discuss all of their options and receive a personalised service. But if technological advancements continue at their current pace, consumers can expect to obtain a made-to-measure service from digital chatbots without ever having to leave their house.

Although this technology already exists and consumers can already ask more general questions about their finances, it is still early days. But the future is automated, and when such technology is bolstered by AI, consumers will be able to ask specific questions and receive detailed answers about their personal situation, as if they were talking to a human adviser.

At the present time it is unclear when these new advances will come into play, but with so much disruption in the industry, it is becoming increasingly clear that personal finance sector is primed for further personalisation and consumer empowerment. Indeed, one in two consumers already expect a personalised experience when they receive financial guidance, in addition they expect not just a wide range of products which can be customised to their specific needs. And with such rapid developments in technology, such advancements are undoubtedly just on the horizon.

Long gone are the days where one-size-fits-all advice is the industry standard. With consumers becoming more empowered with easy access to a plethora of personalised financial options, the future certainly looks bright for the personal finance sector.

Hard times and risky retirement

Even the biggest fish on the advisory market cannot escape the fragile environment of investor confidence. St James’s Place releases third quarter results this morning, which show that gross and net inflows are down from the same period last year.

As always, SJP has seen enviable results in holding funds, and a rebound in the market has helped assets under management to a new record £ 119 billion.

CEO Andrew Croft Doesn’t Draw a Punch: Times are tough, yes, but the company still believes the demand for one-on-one advice will continue to grow to keep PGS models growing for years to come.

PGS reported decreased inflows in a “challenging” trading environment.

Results released this morning show that gross inflows stood at £ 3.05 billion for the third quarter of 2020, compared with £ 3.74 billion for the same period last year.

The net inflows were £ 1.44 billion after £ 2.11 billion in 2019.

An inspection of the PGS business breakdowns showed that there was indeed a net outflow of the £ 10 million investment product.

However, the annuities represented a net inflow of £ 1.19 billion with the equity trust / ISA and discretionary fund management business adding a further £ 0.26 billion.

As CEO Andrew Croft noted, the total outflow for the quarter was lower than for the same period last year.

The fund retention rate was 96.4% for the quarter, up from 95.9% for the same period in 2019.

Managed funds continued to end the quarter with a record £ 118.7 billion, up 5% from £ 112.82 billion.

Croft said, “In a challenging environment, our consultants, their employees and our entire community continued to demonstrate tremendous flexibility during this period, building and maintaining close relationships with customers and with each other.

“I am encouraged that the increase in activity levels will continue towards the end of the quarter in October and activity for this month will be at the same level as the same month last year. Going forward, increased uncertainty related to Covid-19 will affect investment confidence. customers and subsequent decision making.

“Our mid-term and long-term confidence in our business remains unchanged. We are seeing an increasing demand for solid and highly personalized financial planning advice and, given the broad geographic scope and quality of the partnership, we remain in an excellent position to capitalize on this. these opportunities and in To stimulate further growth over time. “

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