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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Data Visualization

The beauty of data visualization - David McCandless (TED-Ed)
"David McCandless turns complex data sets, like worldwide military spending, media buzz, and Facebook status updates, into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world."


David and his team try to distill the word's data, information and knowledge into beautiful and useful graphics and diagrams. 

Their graphics and diagrams are based on facts and data, and illustrate multiple perspectives to help everyone make better, clearer and more informed decisions.

  
Image result for hans roslingThe best stats you've ever seen - Hans Rosling (TED-Ed)

"You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world.""







Monday, 26 December 2016

Electronified


MiFID II: Get ready for a much more digitized marketplace - Bloomberg

"As the January 2018 deadline to comply with MiFID II closes in, trading businesses of all types are scrambling to overhaul their operations—and becoming much more “electronified” in the process.

Although the transition will be a big lift, according to a panel of experts at Bloomberg’s recent MiFID II: The Market Practitioner’s View conference in London, the changes will provide a significant competitive boost for those that manage them well."


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Articles about Big Data Analytics


Big Data Analytics - HBR
"What big data and analytics really mean — and how they can help your business."

Business Intelligence and Analytics: FROM BIG DATA TO BIG IMPACT - 

MIS Quarterly

"The excitement surrounding BI&A and Big Data has arguably been generated primarily from the web and e-commerce communities." 

Big Data Analytics - TDWI.org

"Big data used to be a technical problem. Now it’s a business opportunity."












XVA Explained

Here is an interesting article related to Valuation Adjustments I thought I would share with you.

XVA Explained (From PWC)

"Valuation adjustments and their impact on the banking sector 


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Done and Dusted... :-)

Hi Everyone,

I know it has been a while since my last post. I do apologize, but I was trying to focus on my studies for my final year at university. I have already started looking for a job and have had a couple of interviews, on which I am waiting for their final response, so fingers crossed.

Looking for something to write about in my next post, I came across a very interesting video from www.onlinemba.com and I thought I should share it with you.

Enjoy!!
Ellie

Created by OnlineMBA.com

Friday, 8 November 2013

Factoring...continued

This is just a quick post. I continue to look into the area of Factoring/Invoice Trading. One of my favourite web-based invoice auction site is MarketInvoice. I took the liberty to link a few of their blog posts onto my website. Please take a look, I am sure you will find them very interesting.

Breaking Down Barriers to Finance

How To Call a Bank Manager's Bluff

London's Startups show the way in Remaking Finance

Lending Club shares surge in US stock market

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Factoring...A new twist to an old idea.

During this summer, I spent time as an Intern in a finance department, where I was processing a large number of invoices. That gave me the chance to become more familiar with the issues of factoring, which I had been introduced to during my studies.

Just for the record, the definition of factoring, as stated on the internet is as follows:

“Factoring is a financial transaction in which a business sells its accounts receivable/ invoices to a third party, the factor, at a discount.
In "advance" factoring, the business owner sells his receivables in the form of invoice to the factor, who makes an advance of 70-85% of the purchase price of the receivable amount. The factor collects the full amount from the customer in due course and pays the balance amount due to the business owner after deducting his commission and other charges”.

The latest development is that various investors can now become factors and can bypass the traditional role of the banks in the factoring process. The invoice holders are now provided with increased liquidity and lower financing costs. Even the government is trying to induce this type of factoring by participating in the process as an investor/factor.

 “As part of the Government’s Business Finance Partnership, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (‘BIS’) is committing £5m as an Investor Member on MarketInvoice, with expected yearly returns of approximately 10-12%. With funds on MarketInvoice recycled every 45 days, this £5m commitment will equate to approximately £40m in investment to SMEs over the next year.

I am attaching some links to websites that allow individuals to participate in the process of factoring as investors.

The following link gives a few reasons why this type of funding of working capital is becoming more popular.

There will be more on this subject on my next blog at the Accountant Magazine (The Accountant Blog)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Dragons' Den Series 11

Yet another series of Dragons' Den returns to our TV sets once again! 
5 of Britain's most influential business icons come together and give the chance to entrepreneurs to explain why they should invest in their business.

Who are the Dragons?
Deborah Meaden - Leisure and Marketing Expert
Peter Jones - Telecommunications 
Duncan Bannatyne - Hotel and Club owner
Kelly Hoppen - Interior Design
Piers Linney - Cloud Computer Pioneer
BBC - The Dragons

Every week, I will be posting a new episode so make sure you tune back to my blog to see who is successful in the den.

BBC iPlayer - Dragons' Den Episode 1
BBC iPlayer - Dragons' Den Episode 2
BBC iPlayer - Dragons' Den Episode 3
BBC iPlayer - Dragons' Den Episode 4
BBC iPlayer - Dragons' Den Episode 5
BBC iPlayer - Dragons' Den Episode 6


Ellie Fanis
BPP University

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Working Holiday - Part 2


In my previous blog post, 'A Working Holiday', I discussed how important it has become, for us students, to try and get a form of international work experience as early in our careers as possible.

I am sure you agree with me that working in a foreign country can be scary, but it is definitely worth the effort. During these past two months, I had been working in the accounting department of a multinational organization in Greece, and I thought I would let you know how I got on. 


The main problem is "logistics", e.g. where do you stay for how long and how difficult it is to make all these arrangements. Being able to "work around" the logistics problem demonstrates the motivation one should have, in order to arrange an international internship. Employers are usually "attracted" to potential employees who have the ability to find solutions to everyday problems quickly and accurately. Regarding my "logistics" problem, I was lucky enough to have friends and relatives in Greece and it was possible to stay with them during my internship.


Another big problem was, of course, the language. In the beginning I was afraid that my communication skills (in Greek) are going to be a problem. Being bilingual, the extent of me speaking Greek was at home, and with friends and family. You can imagine my frustration when I was trying to understand (as fast as possible) what my colleagues where talking about, and of course my embarrassment, when I thought I said the wrong thing and I was waiting for confirmation that they understood what I said. After the first couple of days, everyone got used to my Greek accent and with a lot of goodwill from my colleagues that problem sorted itself out.


Although two months are not long enough, I believe that I got a good understanding of the culture and methodologies of the organization. 
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the company, even though based in Greece, was organized in a typical Anglo-Saxon way with a lot of clearly defined/standardized procedures and clear separation of tasks. As this was the first time I was working in a finance department, I found it very interesting and exciting, even though sometimes the tasks were very repetitive. I spent a lot of time processing invoices from suppliers and made sure that the database was always up-to-date. The biggest challenge was to locate the occasional missing invoice, which as usual, was either misfiled or on the floor behind the recycling bin, which is the most dangerous place for an invoice to be.


Now that my internship has drawn to a close, I can say that it has been a very enjoyable and educational experience. Not only did I get the hands-on experience I needed but also, and more importantly for me, this experience has boosted my confidence. 


As students, in the early stages of our careers, we rely a lot on the "goodwill" shown to us by our potential employers, in order to get some hands-on training. In the current business environment, being able to get some experience has become a real challenge. 


Regarding this summer's internship I can only say that I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me and I am hoping that they will continue to do so for other students.

Ellie Fanis
BPP University

This post first appeared in The Accountant blog (August 2013)

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Working Holiday

Recently I came across an article in the Independent discussing the need for international exposure at an early stage in the students' careers. According to the article, "61% of recruiters have problems recruiting candidates for graduate positions, as they do not possess the soft skills, work experience and business acumen required by international organisations". Apparently, very few UK students are participating in programmes that help them gain valuable experience in the international marketplace, or look for opportunities as part of their studies via international exchange programmes like Erasmus runs, for example.


For many of us, graduation is just around the corner and we need to give some thought to our future careers. Many universities are encouraging their students to apply for international internships in order to develop these crucial soft skills like cross-cultural communications and adapting to foreign working cultures. However, it is challenging trying to arrange these international internships but if you can, they are a great addition to your CV, and make navigating an international career easier.



Working in a foreign country, means you have to prove to yourself, and others, you have the ability to work in a different culture and therefore under different pressures, and perhaps out of your comfort zone.
If you are interested in working for a multinational corporation once you graduate then working as an international intern you can get a deeper understanding of how those organisations operate.
Given the fact that globalisation is here to stay, it is essential to be able to adapt to an ever-changing market place. The employees of a multinational organisation have to be able to understand the business culture across multiple locations and be able to establish working relationships with colleagues across worldwide.
A truly sustainable global business model takes time and effort to develop, but once developed, it has to be preserved and utilised. For that reason, those corporations are looking for what they call "global graduates" - someone who is able to add value across the company's network.
Over the past few years, I have come across quite a few global graduates who had participated in the Erasmus Student Exchange Program. Some of them studied and worked in countries such as Holland, Greece and Belgium and are now working for large multinational corporations, based across Europe. They believe these types of exchange programmes have helped them mature as individuals while exposing them to new educational systems, enabling them to meet a variety of individuals and employers and to think about various cross-border opportunities.
Thinking about the variety of countries these individuals came from and what they achieved made me realise that distance and location are only geographical terms, and the bigger the scale, the shorter the distance on the world map.
With this in mind, my internship this summer will be with a multinational corporation based in Europe. I am confident this international experience will be very rewarding and I am looking forward to this challenge and will keep you posted on my activities.

I leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein: "The only source of knowledge is experience".

Ellie Fanis
BPP University

This post first appeared in The Accountant blog (May 2013)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Future Workforce


In March, I attended the Preparing the 2025 Workforce - Attracting and Developing Talent Conference where the speakers included former US secretary of education Margaret Spellings; Manpower Group UK managing director Mark Cahill; and, Barclays head of employability Tessa Oversby. 

The main focus of the conference was to discuss Britain's evolving position in the global economic arena and to provide the audience with a pathway to career success. Two topics addressed were whether the UK government is doing enough to create apprenticeship schemes for school leavers and how students and graduates can make the most of their future careers.


At the end of the discussion, I was left with the impression that if universities do not create academic programmes to better suit employers' needs, there is going to be a shortage in certain skills that will be in demand in the near future. Take ownership in preparing the current and future workforce with the skills they need to ensure productivity and add value to the future economy.


In my previous blog, The Expectation Gap, I spoke of the issue that us students feel we are not adequately prepared to supply our prospective employers with the skills they require from us.


It seems there are still questions as to what the ideal skill set a chosen profession requires one should have, depending on their chosen profession, and at the same time to take into account the "manpower mix" that the economy will need in the next decade.


For example, there is the expectation (according to Bill Gates) that there will be a shortage of programmers in the second half of the decade. If this assumption is true, the education system will have to provide the necessary infrastructure and know-how in order to train people in this profession. Hopefully, as the demand for these skills increases, students will pay back the investment through taxes and adding value to the economy. 


Here are some of the most important statistics to come out of the conference:

  • 62% of the employers feel there is a national skills shortage;
  • If the government is able to divert the 1.03 million unemployed youth back into the workforce, it is possible taxpayers will save £13bn ($19.7bn) in welfare, healthcare and other benefits that would be otherwise be paid over their lifetimes; and,
  • The expected cost of university education can exceed £100,000 (due to accumulated interest charges).
In the past, the government was willing to pay for the cost of university education because it was almost guaranteed a person with a university degree would earn more money and pay more taxes throughout their working lives than the average person. 

However, with the introduction of university fees, a considerable amount of that cost is passed down to the student who has to choose the right degree and "educational profile" to guarantee on-going success in his/her professional careers. 


One final point made at the conference was that all employment growth in the next fifteen years will be on the back of those people who continue to develop their "educational profile" with further and higher education.


I leave you with a quote from Greek philosopher Plato: "The direction in which education starts a man, will determine his future in life".

This post first appeared in The Accountant (April 2013)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Expectation Gap

My plan since I started this blog more than a year ago has always been to cover issues related to preparing for the next step - a professional career - which, I hope will begin after graduation.

In my first blog, I looked back to being a child and talked about my childhood career dream, which at the tender age of five was to become a "cashier because they get all the money."


Now, being halfway through my accounting degree studies, it has become obvious that I am going to need a lot more skills, as well as my academic qualifications, to ensure I'm employable. However, it seems there is a gap between what we students think we need to know and what the employers are actually looking for.

I would like to think employers are looking for well-rounded individuals who have invested in their personal and professional development and have a variety of skills to offer.

Of course this expectation gap varies from student to student and person to person but it does need to be bridged. In order to do that, we need to take extra steps towards meeting the expectations of our future employers because a very strong academic record does not always guarantee an easy passage towards employment. An individual's character and their personality also play a significant role in getting a good job offer.

I would recommend that all us students do our own research on this issue in order to try and bridge that gap and ensure we are not at the back of the queue at the job centre after graduation has been and gone!

If we can show our potential employers we have made some steps towards easing the transition from academia to a professional career as easy as possible this is likely to work in our favour.

Thankfully, it seems a lot of universities are on the same wave length and are trying to address the issue. Many are now offering Employability Awards, which is a form of extra credit given to students who have taken additional steps in order to make themselves more "attractive" to potential employers.

As a student at BPP, I am participating in the university's Employability Scheme. The scheme assigns me to a careers consultant who then helps me develop a more professional image, which is close to what employers are looking for. My mentor will collaborate with me to identify my strengths and weaknesses in relation to my career goals and agree to what actions to take in order to achieve them.




On the back of the global financial crisis and an abundance of redundancies the job market has been saturated with highly qualified job seekers making competition fierce. This makes it even more important we take advantage of the opportunities offered through these types of university schemes to increase our chances of finding a job.

There is a lot of online information about the various employability schemes on offer, which I'm sure you will find useful. So with no more excuses, I recommend you go out and increase your chances like I'm trying to do. Good luck!

Ellie Fanis 
BPP University

This post first appeared in The Accountant (February 2013)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Employability Skills


You may have noticed that I have created a new page called Employability Awards, which refers to a scheme provided by careers services across universities in order to help students kick start their careers.

As a student at BPP, I will be participating in my university's scheme and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with you.
In my opinion, every student (or non student) should have access to such  a scheme and for that reason I will try to collect and publish as much information related to this subject as possible.

From the moment I started researching the "Employability" subject, I have come across a lot of useful material.  

A very good resource may be the BBC SkillsWise  website, which offers a quick guide to the different skill-sets needed to survive in today's working environment.

For example, you will find short (two minute) videos about skills related to IT, English and Maths which we utilize in our everyday working life, without even noticing it.

I hope you find this useful.

Ellie Fanis
BPP University College

Thursday, 24 January 2013

New Updates


Page 4: Youtube...if you want to


Page 5: Employability Awards
Universities all around England are now offering Employability Awards Schemes which aim to  make students aware of the competitive nature of the job market and improve their employability prospects. Click on the link above to find out what are the benefits of participating in schemes like this.  

Friday, 18 January 2013

Virtual Classrooms

During recent years we consumers have been bombarded with the development of the 'next' electronic device or gadget designed to make our lives easier. Many of these devices help us to keep in touch with friends, family, classmates and colleagues as well as stay up-to-date with current affairs more easily and while on the move. In fact, there is a good chance you are reading my blog on the latest tablet or smartphone from anywhere in the world.

Given the popularity and technological innovation behind these devices, a new trend has begun to emerge in the higher education industry - the introduction of online courses that lead towards traditional degrees.

Many universities globally, through the use of sophisticated technology, are now able to offer "classroom-like" teaching to thousands of students simultaneously, without them being in a traditional classroom. 

Universities like Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have introduced a new platform, edX, which delivers various courses online aiming to "revolutionise education around the world". Recently, UK universities such as King's College, Warwick, BPP University and the Open University have also announced they will be offering online courses to their students during 2013. 

Not long ago, I was asked by my lecturers at BPP University to participate in a user's acceptance test of a new online interactive platform designed to work on an iPad. For a week, along with a few other students, I had the responsibility of testing the functionality of the platform. The goal was to evaluate the experience a student will have while accessing various activity sheets, watching webinars and complete/submit assignments for each module. At the end of the test drive we all felt the technology had come a long way and teaching had taken a whole new meaning. 

After testing this online learning platform, I had the opportunity to experience online learning for real. I watched a few BPP webinars, where the lecturers and the students were spread all over the country. The webinars were arranged for specific dates and times and we all logged on into our "virtual classroom". We had the chance to participate in the webinars, ask questions individually or as a group, and work on problems given by the professors. 

The use of the technology certainly made the distance shorter than it actually was, the classroom bigger than physically possible and the communication more relaxed because the majority of the attendees were at home and the distractions were minimised. I really enjoyed this experience as it exposed me to a new way of participating in a lecture.

Of course, some people prefer the traditional way of learning with face-to-face interaction amongst students and teachers, but, in my opinion, times have changed and we have to do our best to adapt. We now have the opportunity to attend lectures where one teacher is able to reach thousands of students at once and spread knowledge as efficiently as possible.

I am really looking forward to participate in my next online learning experience.

This post first appeared in The Accountant (Januanry 2013)
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