Are the best-known charities missing out on £0.25m a year in interest?

Recent research by Third Sector has indicated that the most prominent charities in the UK keep on average (mean) reserves of £23.3m. The research, carried out among 157 charities, suggests that this equates to almost four months’ of expenditure sitting in their bank account. Keeping reserves is very important for a healthily run charity – but how do you make the most of this money?

Our experience, from speaking to many charities over the past six months, is that they do very little to maximise income from their reserves – largely because of the hassle of selecting and changing banks. On the whole, money stays in accounts where the return is at best 0.1% but mostly 0%.

This was the exact problem that Akoni founder, Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, encountered when she was Finance Director in the insurance industry.

“We became frustrated that UK banks weren’t rewarding the cash held in accounts. So we tapped into the power of technology to generate better returns on cash holdings.”

And so Akoni was born. With the Akoni platform you can access and open multiple accounts just by opening one hub account. And with market leading interest rates on offer, from a number of partner banks, it’s simple to manage multiple accounts and increase returns without the usual hassle.

Our research shows that on average charities can make 11x more interest by creating a cash portfolio with Akoni. Assuming the 157 charities in the Third Sector research received 0.1% interest rate (on an average reserve of £23.3m), using Akoni could see their cash returns grow from £23,300 to £256,300 – a significant amount for any size of charity.

Please feel free to get in touch with me at Stephen.harvey@akonihub.com if you’d like to find out how Akoni Hub can help your nonprofit to maximise your cash.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter

Why is Akoni different? How we set ourself apart from the crowd

SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and yet they are chronically underserved by the banking sector. For many people this might be an unfortunate yet passing fact but for business owners across the UK, it’s an everyday reality.

At Akoni, we know how critical change in the business banking sector is for SMEs because we’ve experienced the challenges first hand.  Our founder, Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, first conceived of Akoni while she was the frustrated financial director of an SME herself. Despite holding up to £50m in cash, she found that there were few market options available to help the company maximize their returns and little interest from banks whose business services were designed around serving larger clients.

We believe that it’s absurd that £50m has become an insufficient sum to attract any engagement from the banks and we are driven to provide all UK businesses, regardless of size, with the resources they need to thrive and grow.  We know that it’s much easier for a company to focus on what they do best when they’re given the tools they need to streamline their finances and efficiently increase their returns. It was this passion for equal access to an efficient and fair business banking system that first inspired Felicia to found Akoni Hub and these values remain key to Akoni’s future.

With hundreds of financial products available to small businesses it is alarming to think that so few of them have been designed and conceived by people with real experience of what a small business requires. All to often banks reserve their most powerful tools and offerings for the large corporates before presenting a much reduced selection to smaller businesses – a selection that rarely, if ever, is specifically tailored to meet the differing requirements of an SME. Akoni co-founded by a CEO with real, endlessly frustrating, experience of seeking out financial products for the SME market are different.

Financial services have traditionally been plagued by a lack of diversity that has deprived the sector of the innovation and growth that a multi-cultural environment can provide. While many companies now acknowledge how important it is for their team to reflect the broader community they serve, few have created a culture that doesn’t just tolerate diversity but actively seeks it out.

For Akoni, however, equality isn’t a choice but is integral to who we are. Our team draws from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and is led by a female founder with experience in finance. It’s disappointing that having a female founder is still of note in 2018 and that last year only 9% of funding for UK start-ups went to companies with a female founder. Yet for us, embracing diversity is a natural extension of our commitment to the values that first inspired our platform.

UK SMEs should have access to the same services that larger corporates have long enjoyed. When these services are denied to smaller businesses they miss out on valuable opportunities to access extra income. This disparity is not only unfair but is also damaging to the UK economy as the success of SMEs is critical to maximizing growth.

It’s clear that the banking sector itself must learn to embrace whatever innovation is required to give all their clients the tools needed to achieve their best results.  Akoni believes that our platform will play an important role in modelling this change and we are deeply passionate about leading the way to a future where efficient and responsive business banking is equally accessible to all.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

 

 

 

How SMEs can attract, nurture and retain talent

Akoni had the privilege of being part of London and Partners Business Programme’s recent report Access to Talent.

The findings are based on feedback from London’s tech community and reveals the ongoing issues of attracting, nurturing and retaining the talent that drives company growth.

These are problems faced by firms big and small – but the latter is the most affected. Trying to compete for talent alongside tech giants and financial firms is a challenge that most SMEs struggle to overcome.  They simply can’t afford to match the salaries of the big boys looking for the same people.

There are also fewer qualified workers to pick from these days, thanks to worries over Brexit.

So what’s the answer to the bottleneck? And how can we create a workforce that is not only talented but also as unique and diverse as the customers we aim to serve?

Government must do more to create a better image of the UK as a place that is still open for business. London is a global city that is driven by the world – our population comes from everywhere and so does our talent. We need to reflect this reality more clearly.  Campaigns that highlight success stories and what makes the UK so great for a new generation of workers are good places to start.  They need to know that we want and need them to drive our booming sector. Making it easier for skilled workers to come into Britain through fast track VISA schemes is also vital.

Businesses also have to play a part to woo staff. If an SME can’t compete in salary, then they have to make their work environments more appealing. Flexible hours, mentoring for staff, equity in the company and parental leave are excellent policies that should be a primary focus for any business that wants to stay competitive. This can also help to create a more diverse workforce, which can foster greater employee loyalty. If people feel comfortable in their workspace, and have an opportunity to express their unique perspectives in a nurturing environment, then they are more likely to stay.

Innovations for business have made it easier to do more with fewer staff – especially FinTech technology that helps simplify payments, invoices, and managing loans and savings. But nothing beats human contact and engagement. This is what sets us apart, the unique selling point for SMEs the world over: our people.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at panel.akonihub.com and follow us on Twitter