Business Financial Services

Banks provide their financial services to clients through personal online banking, making banking more convenient for individuals who may not have the time to go to banks. However, these services are not only offered to clients’ personal accounts but are also available to owners of small businesses and to corporations as well. In the same way that personal banking is made easier, everyday banking is made simple, cost effective, and fast so that business owners can devote more time in running their businesses.

The services that banks provide for business-owners range from simple bookkeeping to sophisticated cash-management services; tailor-fit money-management tools are also provided to help you increase the efficiency of your cash flow. Some of the services that banks provide to business-owners include providing checking accounts, savings accounts, payment processing, and cash management. These are aimed to help you have easy access to your funds, earn interest, and manage and grow your money, which is very important in running a business.

For corporate and institutional clients, banks have also lined up a number of services that can help you with your banking needs. These services include asset management, which can help you supervise and keep track of your assets and their performance. Benefits and retirement services are also provided to you so that the bank can manage the salaries and benefits that your corporation provides to employees. Other services include access to capital markets, cash management and deposit services, domestic correspondent banking, insurance and international banking for your export needs, lending and financing, risk management, sales and trading, and trust services.

In the same way that banks offer security to personal bank accounts, your business and corporate accounts are also assured of the utmost security. Access codes and passwords are also given, and encryption technology is used to assure you of the confidentiality of your transactions, which businesses take measures at protecting.

In the same way that online banking has helped clients maintain personal accounts, the same convenience and security is now extended to businesses and corporations for their very demanding banking needs.

Protecting Your Personal Financial Information (PFI)

Individuals and SMBs (Small/Medium Businesses) look to the Financial Services Industry to help them invest in their economic futures. Managing funds and controlling monetary risk are what these financial professionals do, yet sharing your information with a financial specialist has an amount of risk itself.

What types of information are shared? When accounts are opened or transferred as an individual or SMB, personal identifying information is inevitably transmitted between you and your financial services representative (and sometimes their support staff). This information includes and is not limited to:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Numbers (e.g. when doing a rollover or transferring banks or credit cards)
  • Date of Birth
  • Employment History and Income
  • Current Assets and Portfolio information

Much of this information is done in person or online via a secured website, but often SMBs and individual clients look to their brokers, account representatives and customer service personnel to answer specific questions to their accounts. More and more, these information transactions take place electronically.

How can client information be at risk if the paperwork is taken care of safely in person or via a secured web process? Personal financial information (PFI) can be compromised as a one-on-one relationship with your financial services professional grows and builds. Sometimes connecting with a financial services firm is done on the phone, other times via email. It’s the security of email communication between client and firm/organization where your PFI is put at risk.

A quick question or message sent off to a financial services organization appears to instantaneously pass from your computer to the recipient’s inbox. In reality, email messages make transitory stops along the way. As emails are directed by proprietary servers to their final destination, messages which arrive at each of these stops are often stored, and sometimes copied or even scanned before being sent on to their final destination. Email security goes beyond being aware of the current phishing scheme, where unscrupulous data thieves pose as someone from your trusted financial institution. Information interception isn’t just about who forwards your message on, but is also about who may seize that message when it’s en route.

Financial firms though guided by government acts, restrictions and guidelines sometimes don’t appear to have concrete policies when dealing with email between client and the firm’s employee. Compliance and risk officers to who manage the firm’s policies must deal with nuances outlined by Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. Each of these governmental mandated policies dictate how your personal financial information (PFI) is handled digitally, but don’t delineate the best method of PFI protection.

Andy Purdy, acting director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security in a February 2006 interview with CNet/News.com identifies the importance in protecting PFI and other important digital assets:


“I think consumers and small businesses and large enterprises and the government are all important when trying to reduce the cyber-risk. We’re trying to raise awareness with partners of the responsibility and techniques consumers can use to help secure their systems.” (1)

A client’s PFI is a commodity which can be bought and sold on black market data warehouses. Digital thugs look to harvesting email information in a variety of means. What can individual clients and SMBs do to ameliorate the situation while staying connected to their financial services firm? Data encryption easily facilitated process of securing sensitive information like PFI. If one of these black market digital thugs happens to intercept an encrypted message (unless they have somehow gotten the encryption keys) they will not be able to decipher the message. If the email thug attempts to break any one of the commonly used encryption algorithms, they likely wouldn’t be able to do so within their lifetime.

Business owners and individual investors can work a lifetime to become financially successful and stable. Having sensitive information like one’s PFI at risk via email can shatter that financial stability.

Risk in communicating with these services can be contained through being aware of email risks, phishing scams and using encryption tools to secure financial communiqué. Though quite broad in nature, Financial Services in each of its facets as lender, investment manager or funding arm can take an additional step in their client’s economic success. Using encryption tools enables the individual client or SMB to stay in close contact with these stewards of their financial future.

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End Notes:

1.) Joris Evers, “Newsmaker: Locking down America’s Net defenses” 16 February 2006, CNet New.com – http://news.com.com

3 Basics of Personal Financial Planning – The Entrepreneur’s Success Formula

The Perfect Equation

Right out of the gate every consultant knows that personal financial planning begins by ensuring the amount of money coming in exceeds the amount being spent. When developing a wealth strategy or a success formula, this ratio becomes the benchmark.

Although this article is based upon personal financial management, entrepreneurs know that these principles can be applied to their businesses as well.

1. Increase cash flow
2. Debt elimination
3. Build wealth

The Growth Concept

Why did corporate America decide somewhere in the last decade that they could fix the cash flow ratio by cutting expenses as opposed to increasing revenue? Growth in business allows for more employees. Stripping the workforce makes expansion impossible and increases the workload on the remaining employees.

From the perspective of home economics, if I increase the flow of cash into the equation, budget items like entertainment and vacations become features of a more exciting lifestyle. The increase in cash flow can be used to leverage more free time by hiring domestic services.

Entrepreneurs use this personal financial education to grow their businesses by hiring people. Higher profits allow business owners to outsource or directly hire people. As more of the day to day activity is offloaded, more time becomes available to pursue other interests; they discover lifestyle by design.

Muck and Mire

Many personal financial services companies exist to help people reduce debt. When we think of debt as a necessary component of our plan we have to ask ourselves, ‘Will this debt produce an asset or a liability?’

Every dollar and every day spent in debt affects how much longer we have to grow before we decide to retire. Debt reduction is like bandaging a bigger problem.

Wealthy people don’t incur losses by paying interest on debts that negatively impact personal financial planning. They give money away because it does help by reducing their taxes and reinforcing the economy in which they live.

Debt reduction is not the same as debt elimination. By eliminating debt, the increase of cash flow allows people to build wealth.

Gathering, Building and Maintaining

It’s possible to increase cash flow, eliminate all your debts and still have nothing to show for it at the end of your days.

Building wealth that endures serves our descendants as well as our world. Great men and women who leave a legacy do so because their vision, or mission in life was greater than the attainment of wealth and prosperity.

This is simply another financial principle. Although the objective is to become wealthy, there is always a reason, a purpose behind it.

That reason can be as shallow as wanting to live poolside in the lap of luxury for the rest of our lives, or deeply involved in alleviating world hunger.

An individual’s personal mission usually includes what they want to leave behind for their family. We know as finite beings that we can’t “Take it with us” which is why personal financial planning also touches the lives of those closest to us.