Businesses fail and close down everyday. Statistics show that globally, about 20% of small businesses fail within their first year. There are many reasons why these businesses fail. In Nigeria, however, some businesses fail due to bad financial decisions. And that’s why every entrepreneur needs a good finance lawyer to offer the right fiscal advice.
There are many successful companies in Nigeria that hire finance lawyers to help them deal with legal issues relating to their finances. Some businesses even have robot lawyers that analyze data and make accurate financial predictions for them.
Finance lawyers have special knowledge representing their clients in financial matters like securities, banking, and bankruptcy. They are also involved in company registration, tax compliances, raising capital, and drafting agreements for their clients.
For example, the Finance Act of 2020 has amended the tax laws in Nigeria, and businesses are required to comply with the provisions. A good finance lawyer will help your business to act in accordance with all the tax legislations.
Hiring the wrong lawyer may result in grave consequences for your business including fines, liquidation, and lawsuits.
A large percentage of lawsuits in Nigerian courts are financial disputes involving many businesses.
Below are some tips on how you can get the best from your finance lawyer:
Be prepared to share important financial records
Lawyers work with facts and are therefore more effective when you provide them with all the information concerning your business.
Before you hire a finance lawyer, be prepared to share all necessary financial records. Don’t hide any records. Being open with your lawyers will enable them to give you the best financial advice for your business.
Your finance lawyer can protect your interest if you grant him/her access to all your financial information.
Do some research to find the most qualified Finance Lawyer
Most people assume that all lawyers have the same level of knowledge and expertise. But law practice is a vast field and every lawyer has a favorite area of specialization.
While most lawyers are into general practice, some focus only on one or a couple of areas.
Researching before hiring a lawyer means locating one with the right knowledge and skill set. Researching will help you to hire the best hand for your kind of business.
A finance lawyer who understands your business can assist you to lay a proper foundation and help you avoid problems that may crop up in the future.
Ask for a referral
One of the best ways to find the right kind of finance lawyer for your business is to ask for a referral from reputable lawyers.
Lawyers know the strength and capabilities of their colleagues and are always willing to refer you to only the best in their field.
Another great way to ask for a referral is to consult a fellow business owner to recommend an experienced finance lawyer.
Investigate the Finance Lawyer you intend to hire
With time, every lawyer tends to develop a reputation. While some of them are good, others are not so good.
Take into consideration feedback about the finance lawyer you intend to hire. Reviews and feedback will help you to decide if the lawyer will make a good employee or not.
You don’t want to get involved with a finance lawyer who is in court with most of his/her clients.
One good way of investigating a lawyer is to make inquiries at places where the lawyer practices.
Court workers see lawyers work every day and have a good knowledge of their practice and personalities
Focus on the Finance Lawyer’s experience
Experience is a huge asset in law practice. Experienced lawyers not only make your job easier, but they make fewer mistakes.
An inexperienced finance lawyer is bound to leave you exposed to financial elements that will harm your business.
Business owners should therefore consult only finance lawyers with vast experience in their business area.
For example, if your business involves an international transaction, it would be a bad idea to consult a lawyer with no knowledge of international businesses.
Don’t forget: size matters
Many business owners are sometimes torn between hiring big law firms or small law firms for their financial issues.
The kind of law firm you should hire for your business depends on the type of service you want.
If your business involves complicated financial transactions then your best bet is to hire a large law firm.
Big law firms have wide networks and resources to push through and get your job done in good time.
Small law firms, on the other hand, can provide prompt and personalized services whenever you need them.
Get a lawyer you can afford
As a business owner, your primary objective is to make money. Law firms are also run as businesses and set up to make money.
Although the cost of legal services does not come cheap, they are however negotiable.
Some business owners have made the mistake of engaging lawyers without determining the cost of those services.
Failure to find out the cost of the legal service of a lawyer or law firm will expose you to paying whatever is presented as lawyer’s fees at the end of the day.
Take note that our courts do not joke with lawyer’s fees as they believe a lawyer deserves his/her wages.
Have a written agreement
After discussing and agreeing with the lawyer on the fees and the mode of payment, insist on having the terms written down.
Go through the agreement and if you do not understand any clause or provision, seek a third party interpretation before endorsing it.
With a written agreement, you will have a pretty good idea of how much you are paying for the legal services.
Wrap up on hiring the best Finance Lawyer for your business
In business, anything can happen. Business owners should therefore take every step possible to minimize their financial risks.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your business interests is to hire a good financial lawyer. However, the onus is on you to hire top finance lawyers that have the right experience and skills to help your business thrive.
Don’t forget: it is better to hire a good lawyer now than spend money in the future trying to extricate yourself from trouble.
Up for a raise? Use these 5 strategies to make it happen
To avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise.
Requesting a raise is an important conversation that you should have with your employer, particularly if you believe your salary does not measure up with the value you bring to the company or the duties for which you are assigned.
In a bid to avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, many people shy away from this. They continue to expect the day the company will announce a raise or promotion for the employees. Although in some workplaces this sometimes plays out as expected, many other businesses seldom revisit the salary specifics and performance evaluation document of their employee to evaluate and conduct a correlation in order to make recommendations for a raise to those who merit it.
Demanding a raise does not entail asking for a favor from the company, it simply means asking for suitable market value for your job roles and responsibilities. In as much as this might be the right of an employee, it is necessary to know how to go about it appropriately in order to achieve a favorable outcome.
Here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise:
1. Evaluate your contributions and performance
To ask for a raise, you need to have a well-grounded knowledge of the positive contributions you have made to the company. Create a list or record of your discharge obligations or duties, as well as significant achievements that you made on the job. This will give you insight as to the value you bring to the company and what you get in return. Evaluating your results will provide you with a sound understanding of your efforts, achievements, and will also increase your confidence to demand a pay raise. This will help your boss realize that you know your worth.
2. Boost your negotiation power
Negotiation is the process of reaching a fair agreement for the parties involved by means of meaningful conversations. Most employees cower in the face of salary negotiation because of the impression this may create about them to their employers. Others who are brave enough to take the step lack the skillfulness to achieve or reach a handy result.
Negotiation is an art that should be learnt. Employees should improve on their negotiation skills if they intend to get a fair bargain for their efforts. One of the negotiation techniques that can be incorporated when asking for a raise in pay is to layout specific options from which the employer is to choose. This will offer both parties substantial choices to make a decision from.
3. Right timing matters
There is a time for everything. As cliché as this may sound, it is a fact you should accept and work with. You have to assess the company’s financial position to ascertain if asking for a raise will be feasible. When this is done, you can proceed to arrange a meeting to discuss it with your employer. Find out from your employer when it is convenient to discuss issues of concern that you have.
4. Present cogent reasons
When demanding a raise, one of the strategies to achieve this is to tender reports or proof of your achievements or efforts that have contributed to the development of the company in some way. You can request for a raise on the grounds of the length of service, duties, or performance. Your motives should reflect the principles of the company and they should be objectively stated.
5. Express gratitude
Appreciate the employer for the ability to work for the company and show a sense of appreciation for their service. Let the employer know that your demand for a raise does not mean that you are dissatisfied with the employer or the work, but rather that it is a request for what suits the specified roles you play.
For a variety of reasons, many organizations give an employee a raise based on different factors that range from efficiency, motivation, length of service, promotion, and a few other factors. If you are assured that you have fulfilled the requirements for a raise, the methods mentioned can be used to improve the chances of having a raise.
Personal Finance Culture: The 4 Cs of Financial Success
To achieve financial success, the 4Cs will be of great help.
Many Nigerians who had a pseudo-confidence in their financial stability, were rocked by the storms of the economic hardship that followed the COVID-19 pandemic. Some did not survive it, while those who did, now seek ways to be better financially equipped for future eventualities.
It’s six (6) months since the COVID-19 outbreak was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11th, 2020. With the full enormity of the pandemic in mind, we cannot come out of this without noting its attendant life lessons. Interestingly, some of those lessons correlate with principles that can enhance your personal finance, on your journey to financial freedom.
Financial freedom does not happen overnight, as it results from self-discipline and good money habits practised consistently over time.
To help you on your journey, I have come up with the 4C’s. To achieve financial success, you must be;
- Creative – Find creative ways to earn more money. Having more than one source of income is a good way to increase your financial security. I’m sure the people who lost their jobs or took a pay cut during the pandemic will agree with me.
- Conservative – Be conservative with your expenses, and make sure to spend less than you earn. You can actually save more if you stick to a budget. It is okay to occasionally reward yourself, and enjoy the finer things of life. But that should also be on a budget.
- Consistent – Form the habit of saving and investing a part of your income. As far as savings go, you need to have at least 3 months’ worth of living expenses, stashed away in liquid assets – Emergency funding, to cushion the impact of job loss, unplanned medical expenses, and other emergencies. It also applies to small businesses – many SMEs without any financial buffer felt the impact of the lockdown from Day 1. Investing, on the other hand, is the only way you can grow your money. You should take it seriously; develop the right mindset, become financially intelligent, and seek expert advice before taking a step.
- Careful – Be careful who you listen to. Not every investment advice is good for you, and you should do your due diligence before releasing your money.
So, will you be making any changes to your money management style? What did you wish you learnt about money pre-COVID-19?
Importantly, we are not out of the woods yet. The virus is still out there, and you should stay safe, as Health is Wealth.
Temitope Busari, CFA
Temitope is an Investment Professional, with over 11 years of cognate experience spanning regional financial markets across Sub-Saharan Africa. Her technical skills cut across Treasury, Risk management, Fintech solutions, and Strategy. With a passion for positive social impact, she leverages multiple media platforms to advance financial literacy efforts, helping individuals and small businesses make better money decisions.
Budgeting apps that help you manage your personal finance
In today’s world, these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.
In our fast-paced lives and rapidly evolving world, technology makes it possible to get things done in a more convenient manner, saving time, energy, and other resources. Personal budgeting should be a daily routine and somewhat a habit in our lives, unfortunately, not many people pay attention to this.
The tech world has taken notice and provided us with ways to manage our finances with convenience and ease through mobile apps development.
Life is good when you are on top of your money and ahead of your expenses; these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.
1. GoodBudget: This budgeting app uses the shared envelope-budgeting principle. With its virtual tracking program, it makes it possible to not only, keep up with friends and family by syncing shares and budget, but also lets you save for big expenses and pay off debt. With a friendly user interface, the app makes it easy to categorically differentiate your regular monthly expenses from annual savings goals and irregular expenses. It is important to note that this particular app doesn’t sync transactions with your financial institutions, so for every amount that comes in or goes out, you’d have to manually enter the transactions. Another incentive this app offers is that it provides customisable reports for you to keep track of budget trends, offers helpful tips on how to create a budget and get ahead of your expenses. Works on android and iOS devices.
2. Piggyvest uses the traditional, simple saving idea of a piggybank, also locally known as ‘kolo ’. It presents you with the opportunity to use the ‘piggybank’ feature to reach personal savings goals more quickly. There are several other features for various purposes such as ‘Target Savings’ which helps you save for multiple goals like holidays, fees, and special events, ‘SafeLock’ which secures your funds by locking it until your pre-selected, this helps avoid impulsive spending. There is also the opportunity to partake in investments by investing in little bits that one can afford whilst still enjoying the same rate of return as a well co-investment option. Every option is vetted and secured by Piggyvest and you can easily monitor the progress of your investments. This is a Nigerian based app and accepts all Nigerian debit cards.
3. YNAB short for, You Need a Budget, is a personal finance help app that teaches you how to manage your money. The general principle is to ‘give every dollar a job’. For a dollar saved, it is saved for a particular purpose which could be long term or short term. It strives to eliminate the common trap of living paycheck-to-paycheck. One of the pros of this software is that it displays the user’s financial reports and syncs transactions so that users can seamlessly categorise their finances at a glance. It has a more proactive rather than reactive approach to budgeting. For every dollar you’re expected to earn, work is assigned to it, that is, to either spend or save. With over a million downloads, it’s gained popularity with its educational and philosophical approach to financial management.
Works for both android and iOS devices.
4. Carbon: If you have ever been caught in a predicament where you needed just a small amount of cash to solve an emergency, but you probably thought it was not possible to access loans in such a short period of time, you’ll really love this bit of good news. There’s a mobile app that you can use to get that ‘small cash’ without stress and have the money deposited directly to your account in 24hours or less. That app is called Carbon. Formerly known as Paylater, this is a personal finance and loan service app that helps you make all sorts of bill payments and money transfer with ease. It is built to help users understand their spending habits and learn how to categorise income and expenses to have full control over their finances. With this app, you can get a short-term loan amount as low as #10,000 and as high as #500,000. In addition to making it easy to recharge your phone, transfer money and have access to short-term loans, it also provides users with the option to invest using Payvest and earn up to 16% per annum. Available on Google Playstore.
5. Expensify: This mobile and web-based application is developed from the world-leading expense management company of the same name. It was originally developed to make it bearable for anyone to analyse expense reports. It is a software that allows individuals and businesses to track and file expenses such as fuel, travels, etc. Just by snapping receipts of transactions, the software uses artificial intelligence to identify the details of the transaction and automatically categorise and save the expense. It also allows users to download these reports based on user transactions. The product offers two payment options for individuals and organisations; for either annual subscriptions or pay per use charge. One of the pros of this particular app is that you can easily convert currencies for international travel. It is compatible with android and iOS devices.
6. PocketGuard: This is a personal finance help tool that makes for a more simplified budgeting snapshot. It helps you manage your disposable income, bills, and subscriptions. While some other personal finance apps try to provide you with tools to discipline your saving and spending habit, PocketGuard simply shows you what you have available for daily spending. The software is built to help you manage your everyday spending after your regular bills and subscriptions have been paid. Upon sign up, the app syncs with your financial accounts and helps you keep track of your account portfolio. Using it to pay for services helps you stay ahead and negotiate better rates. With AutoSave you can automatically grow your savings to the desired amount.
7. Financial Calculator: This app is handy for calculating the future value and present value of your financial assets. Some of its features help you to; perform financial calculations with ease and on the go, compare interest rates, compare lease and auto loans, determine how much time is needed for you to pay off debts, and to calculate the exact tip you should give for services rendered.
8. Unsplurge: We’ve all been there at one point or another, where we felt the need to splurge sometimes on impulse and give in to personal cravings. But then when the utility has declined you start regretting your impulsive spending and berate yourself for not being disciplined enough. Well, with Unsplurge, you have an opportunity to discipline yourself. It is built to encourage you to save money by working on your goals. There is no limit to the number of goals you can decide to save money for. You just log savings and monitor your progress. You can also get inspiration and encouragement from family and friends as they cheer you on and share their success stories as well. This app is built only for iPhones.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
9. Personal capital: This self-help tool basically offers two primary functionalities; a free personal money manager and a paid investment management service. The free function allows you to monitor your income, assets, expenses, and investments from a single portal, get investment advice on how to optimise and make more money, whereas the paid version which is also known as the Wealth Management program offers a more personalised portfolio management.
10. Mint: This is one of the most popular personal finance apps of all time. This app has been hailed for its easy-to-use programs and friendly user interface. With a sort of colour-coded system, it gives a more graphical display which helps users navigate the app seamlessly.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
Also known as intuit mint and formerly mint.com. This personal finance management app allows users to track bank, credit card, investment, loan balances, and a number of other transactions through a single user interface. One of the pros of this app is that it automatically syncs with your financial institutions to track user bills and gives constant alerts to ensure you keep up with payments. Based on financial data and transactions, its features allow users to create categories, track budgets, and set financial goals. It promotes savings by recommending credit card deals and insurance. The software is said to be securely protected, using a number of financial institution level security and high-level encryption. It was originally designed for iOS but an android version has been made available in recent years.