Sunday, 26 February 2012 15:50

How to disrupt banking

Published in News and Views

In a credit-squeezed market, cash and liquidity rule - find out how to drive the effectiveness and efficiency of your company's and your own cash


Banks are running a zero tolerance policy towards your bank account. Go overdrawn, for whatever reason, and you’ll be punished financially. The banks are rebuilding their capital position, trying to cover years of questionable loan practices and to meet new global banking regulations. A source of cheap deposits and fee income is the SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) and the individual. In the past you may not have concerned yourself unduly with managing your cash, but today if you do not pay (pun intended) attention then the banker may take it all.

Be Your Own CFO: The Art of Cash Management for SMEs is a best-practice guide that makes liquidity understandable and demonstrates how better cash management can help you and your company weather the current financial storm.  

With greater insight into banking, payment and trade infrastructures, better decisions can be made to drive the efficiency and effectiveness of cash.

The book asks you to look at:
•    You direct debits – 1 in 10 are usually for something you don’t now need;
•    Earning money on money while staying liquid – take a look at currencies and gold;
•    Payments - get paid faster, ask for electronic transfer instead of paper;
•    Accounts receivable – figure out how much working capital you are lending out;
•    Accounts payable – how it is affecting your credit rating.

Written by John Bertrand, a veteran banker with 30 years' experience in banking, cash management, payments and technology at Citibank, IBOS, ALLTEL, Misys and Admertec/Ceptum in the US and the UK.



Be Your Own CFO is superb. For the first time there is a book that explains banking and finance in every day language. Easy and simple to read and understand. It is ideal for people needing a practical understanding of finance and how it affects them and their companies." Thomas E Jones, former Vice Chairman of the IASB


"Actually, it is very good, concise, and I wonder who you got to write it." Gerry English, past President of the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers


Publication date: October 2012
ISBN 978-1-907720-49-9

For full list of Contents, click here

To see sample pages, click here

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Each chapter starts with Key Questions for SME directors and a Key Points Summary



Chapter 1    Stages of Cash Management

Domestic Cash Management

International Cash Management


Chapter 2    Bank Accounts -  New Rules and Regulations


Know Your Customer (KYC)

Anti Money Laundering

Deposit Insurance

Value Dating

3rd Party Management


Chapter 3    Liquidity/Cash Cushion


Chapter 4    Savings

Bank Accounts

Interest Rates


Chapter 5    The Investment Pyramid


Appreciating cash investments

Bonds, equities and property



Chapter 6    The Credit Pyramid


Unsecured Credit

Secured credit

Credit Agencies

Credit Default Swaps


Chapter 7    Investment versus Credit

Net Interest Income


Chapter 8    Payments



Direct Debit

SEPA Direct Debit (SDD)



Warehouse Accounts

Correspondent Banking Payments

Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS)


Chapter 9    Foreign Exchange


Chapter 10  Supply Chain

Invoice Financing


Asset Based Finance

Personnel Guarantees


Chapter 11  Illiquid Management


Pre-pack Administration


Chapter 12  Case Studies




Wells Fargo/Wachovia



About John Bertrand

John's expertise in banking, cash management, payments and technology was gained over 30 years at Citibank, IBOS, ALLTEL, Misys and Admertec/Ceptum in the USA and UK.


In this time he created and implemented technology in front, middle and back offices of banks, in addition to developing electronic access options for the needs of corporations and retail customers.  This included redefining core banking for Misys  (300 banks), ensuring long-term revenue. He has provided and developed cash management consulting, netting schemes, third party cash management, pooling and foreign exchange.


John has been involved in mergers and acquisitions in more than 10 banking/software transactions that included cloud-based solutions. One transaction in the cloud now represents 9% of Misys profits.

John raised capital, added mezzanine financing, leasing and invoice factoring together to create Ceptum Limited, a potential bank, now with $10 million in profitable assets and with no debt.

He has worked with the UK (FSA) and Swedish (FI) banking and finance authorities to create a de nova bank.

Monday, 02 January 2012 11:37

Credit and usury through the ages

Credit has always been a very confusing thing.

Not just the mechanics of how it works but confusing to understand whether or not it is ''good''.

The image that credit evokes, through history, has only amplified this confusion.

While the image of credit in the ancient world, as told by philosophers, might bring up attitudes of “bans and shame,” as Rosa-Maria Gelpi and François Julien-Labruyère in their book The History of Consumer Credit Doctrines and Practices mention, it was the only means by which anybody could acquire goods and make purchases in the marketplace.

Within religious communities, with the sin of usury, it was with Thomas Aquinas that the Christian compromise on interest came about, as well as 'just' compensation that could be raised by a creditor.


However for every story there is about the perceptions of credit in times gone by, there is a counter-narrative. To say that there was a single way in which credit was viewed in the ancient world and through to the Middle Ages, is as erroneous as suggesting that credit itself is a recent development.

Though it is not coincidental that the image of credit, as well as lending, personal debt and profits raised on payments has a negative image, it is very interesting how we come by ideas of how such matters were generally perceived at the time. Popular histories and literary figures have done the most to raise our consciousnesses to how such things were considered, back in those days, and shape our opinions as to how far we have come.


We may well think of how negatively perceived the moneylenders were, how villainous Shylock was in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and how noble a demand it was to give to one's brother without the expectation of profiting personally from doing so. But it was never so black and white. The debates and discussions on matters of finance were very rich indeed, and we have a lot to learn from them. Further still - and whether we like it or not - with credit, history does tend to repeat itself. It is for this reason that I have chosen to contextualise my forthcoming book on loan sharks by looking back into financial history. Certainly to do so gives us a chance to reflect on some of the more contemporary debates we have around personal debt, and in doing so we often find that familiar truism rings true: first as tragedy, then as farce.


My point here is that so many of the debates we have today have been had before.

Notions of how much a person should reasonably be able to profit from lending, as well as the ethics of the business, are as old as financial transactions themselves. Issues concerning what measures to take when payments are deferred are no more unfamiliar to history than war and conflict are.


One cannot hope to properly critique the present-day operations of loan sharks and payday lenders without understanding history.

Carl Packman is the author of the forthcoming, Loan sharks. 

Published in News and Views
Friday, 30 December 2011 19:26

The fiscally responsible parent

Published in News and Views
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