Time to call ‘time’ on late payment culture

On 6th March, Addidi launched its ‘Change the Culture of Wealth’ manifesto. Calling upon three key audiences; government, business and individuals; our aim is to encourage positive steps that will redress the imbalance of wealth we see at every level of business. Borne out Addidi CEO Anna Sofat’s years of experience in business, and driven by the continuing poor statistics around diversity and equality, particularly in the financial services industry, Addidi’s manifesto aims to tackle the root causes that have led to today’s business culture – which is simply not fit for the future.

One of the messages to the government and business community contained within the Change the Culture of Wealth manifesto is around late payment; a damaging practice that seems to have become more commonplace over recent years. Our message is clear:

Stop using SME’s to finance cashflow, pay your bills on time and reduce overdue invoice / payments by 50% within 2 years.

Cashflow is absolutely fundamental to the ability for businesses to be able to function and for SME’s to be able to invest and grow in their own development. Without the ability to invest and grow, bigger organisations will simply get bigger; being able to exert more pressure and power, and the gap between big and small will be allowed to become even more disparate.

Just seven days following our manifesto launch, on 13th March, the Chancellor delivered his Spring Statement and within this, chose to highlight the issue of late payments, declaring: “the end of late payments could finally be in sight.” Mr Hammond then went on to talk about tougher accountability measures to end the late payment crisis, although the finer details of these are yet to be announced.

The statistics surrounding the impact of late payments on small businesses paint a particularly bleak picture.

  • 50,000 small businesses fold every year due to late payments.
  • Almost 40 % of Small & Medium Businesses experience direct negative impacts from late payments. – Sage Report, 2017.
  • 58% of FSB members are owed up to £10,000 in late payments from their clients. 15% are owed between £10,000 and £20,000, and 27% are owed over £20,000 from their late paying clients.- FSB
  • Over a quarter of UK’s SMEs struggle monthly because of delayed payment from big business customers. – Aldermore, research conducted by Opinium Research, November 2018 reveals.
  • The UK’s largest firms – those inside the FTSE 350 index – were found to have payment records exceeding the average, paying suppliers 16 days later than agreed terms. – Xero

We believe that everyone deserves to be paid on time for the work they do. For too long, many big corporates have been using SME’s and self-employed individuals to finance cashflow, creating an uneven balance and disrupting the fair distribution of wealth.  We need to change the culture around this; ensuring that large organisations play fair – paying bills on time and rewarding loyalty. Essentially, what we are asking for is a level playing field.

So what next? We believe that change must come at a policy level, so our manifesto calls upon the government to require companies to report any payments overdue by 50 days or more. Furthermore, we believe that making it easier for SMEs to take companies to court for late payment would help to lessen the impact of the damaging culture of late payment.

Let’s not forget that SMEs are absolutely fundamental to the British economy; employing 60% of the UK private sector workforce (FSB). Let’s hope that the government sticks by its pledge to tackle this issue head on, with new legislation that will force changes in poor practices and result in this imbalance being redressed.

Gender pay gap – beyond the corporate world

We’re all too aware of the effect that years of inequality has had – and still continues to have – on women in the world of business. Last week (5th April) saw the deadline for large companies to file their latest figures on gender pay, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Overall, 78% of companies showed a pay gap in favour of men, with 14% favouring women and the rest reporting no difference – a clear demonstration that the gender pay gap remains a significant issue in the corporate world. In fact, since the introduction of legislation forcing larger businesses to publish data about their gender pay differences, several organisations seem to have taken a backward step; with 45% of firms now having a larger discrepancy between pay in favour of men compared to the previous year. There are too many to call out here, but some of the biggest offenders include HSBC, Npower and Virgin Atlantic.

But what about when women step out of the corporate environment? What happens then?

You might think that starting a small business or working as a freelance consultant would give women the ability to set their own rates, therefore giving the opportunity to redress the imbalance and allowing women to position themselves equally against their male counterparts.

However, there are a number of statistics that call this assumption into question…

The number of self-employed women has grown significantly over the last few years – and there’s a rapid increase in particular of the number of self-employed mothers. Figures released this week by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the number of women in self-employment rose by 31,000 in the last quarter of 2018. A separate analysis published earlier this month by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) revealed a 57 per cent increase in the number of women turning to self-employment since 2008.

Self-employed mothers in particular now account for around one in eight of the self-employed population.

Yet despite women representing a large and growing proportion of the freelancing and self-employed community, statistics suggest they’re getting paid less than men.

Data from 2016 shows that the median weekly earnings for self-employed men stood at £363 per week, compared with £243 for their female counterparts. – ONS

The ProCopywriters Survey 2018 showed a 21% pay gap between men and women freelance copywriters. As a comparison, the gender pay gap across UK businesses with 250 employees or more is 18.4%.

A report from FreshBooks found self-employed women earn 28% less than their male counterparts. Another study from YunoJunoshows it’s a similar story for creative freelancers – for example, art directors and creative directors – with women earning an average of £308 a day, compared to men who make £350 a day on average.

Perhaps one of the issues here is that stepping out of the corporate world into that of self-employment isn’t always a deliberate choice for women, but can come as a forced decision where the right working arrangements cannot be secured. Research shows that the age at which most British women choose to leave corporate life, regardless of whether or not they have children, is 38.

If women are being forced into making a decision to leave their job and set up shop on their own, it’s only natural they will find themselves on the back foot.  Having to make an abrupt decision allows far less opportunity to take the steps to plan for successful business growth – such as branding a business with a logo and website, forging networks and building a potential pipeline of clients in advance. Furthermore, where starting a business is planned, it allows time to plan financially – building a safety net to fall back on during those first few months and years. Being thrust into self-employment makes the need to secure clients much more urgent – perhaps therefore forcing the need to compete more aggressively on price.

Even outside of this, women have a more natural tendency to downplay their own abilities. We recently blogged about ‘imposter syndrome’ and its potential contribution to the issues faced by women in the corporate world. The statistics above would suggest that this is playing at least a small part.

You might ask whether the statistics matter. If each individual is making a decent living, and charging the rates they feel able and comfortable to, perhaps this shouldn’t be regarded as an issue at all. Then you re-read the stats and the question comes up – ‘why’?

Surely women that are in the position to be able to control their own rates of pay should be able to receive the same payment as men? And if they can’t, why can’t they?

Let’s not forget that being self-employed or running a small company means all of the benefits that come with working for a larger organisation – such as holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions – are all forgone. We already know that the gender pay gap is translating into a pensions pay gap – with analysis of official data on UK household incomes suggesting the gap between men and women’s pension income is 39.5 per cent lower, or around £7,000 per year.

With so many women heading into self-employment or operating their own businesses, this issue really has to be highlighted or we could risk even further perpetuation of the pension gap.

 

Adviser Zoe Named Amongst UK’s Top ‘Next Generation Advisers’

One of Addidi’s financial planners has been named amongst the UK’s leading young advisers in an annual report. The annual 35 under 35 list, compiled by leading industry publication New Model Adviser (NMA), ranks Zoe as a leading ‘Next Generation Adviser’.

Zoe, who joined Addidi in 2014 as a Paraplanner, showed early spark and determination. Addidi began supporting Zoe through the process of becoming Chartered in 2014; and after successfully undergoing her training and qualifications alongside working full time, Zoe became a fully-fledged Chartered IFA in 2016.
Now as a member of Addidi’s Senior Management Team, Zoe not only has her own client bank, she also plays a key role in planning the firm’s activities and direction. The past 12 months has also seen Zoe deliver presentations at a couple of high profile events aimed at women.

Zoe is one of only 5 female advisers to be featured on the NMA list of 35 individuals.
Zoe commented:

“The past 12 months has been particularly enjoyable one so far as my career to date is concerned. Having achieved Chartered status two years ago, I am now able to devote more of my time to clients, both in terms of seeing my existing clients get the five star treatment and also working on developing relationships with new clients. Being one of only 5 female advisers named in this year’s list of Next Generation Advisers, I am even more determined to stand up and make it count for female clients. The statistics in the real world of the UK advice market are very similar – with New Model Adviser reporting less than 5,000 females make up the UK’s 31,000 Financial Advisers. Although on the whole, women have a greater opportunity to earn money than ever before, they are not necessarily maximising on this. We find that men and women have very different approaches when it comes to their finances – yes, our clients want their investments to perform, but they also want this to be done in a stable, ethical and sustainable way.”

Zoe is one of two Chartered Financial Advisers at Addidi. Zoe has also been named in NMA’s ‘Fresh Faces’ features, and was recognised as one of Citywire’s top 35 young advisers in 2016.

https://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/news/the-top-35-next-generation-advisers-2018/a1177350#i=9

How Addidi inspires change

‘Inspiring change’ has been our theme for 2018. So many initiatives, campaigns and collectives are being formed with the aim of promoting women’s advancement worldwide, and it’s a cause we at Addidi fully applaud. But while we often think that challenging the status quo and fighting oppression is something more essential in countries where woman are less well represented, it would appear the UK is still behind the times too.

Although the gender pay gap is narrowing year on year, women working full-time can expect to be paid 9.1% less than their male counterparts – according to a 2017 study from the Office of National Statistics. That equates to an average of £100 a week, and as a result calls for companies to publish their gender pay gaps are growing louder.

While equal pay legislation has gone some way to narrowing the gap, it has failed to totally eradicate this embarrassing issue. In this day and age, why should women receive less pay for equal work?

Discrimination remains present in the workplace – and it is unfortunately true that the higher you climb, the fewer women you will find there. A recent study published by the Economic Journal confirms this kind of gender bias in the workplace. The research found that the UK’s biggest companies were only likely to appoint a female director if the post was just left by another woman.

The percentage of female directors on the boards of FTSE 350 companies increased from 2% in 1996 to 8% in 2010. Although progress has been made since then (mostly thanks to the efforts of women making a difference through organisations such as the 30 Percent Club and Women on Board), we still have to contend with the fact that whereas women had a 20% chance of obtaining a position that was left open by a woman, this fell to 10% when the post had previously been held by a man.

The EU has set itself the ambitious target of achieving 40% female representation on listed companies’ board of directors by 2020 – this is something that we believe must happen. In addition to the benefits it would have on the economy (many studies have shown that gender-diverse boards outperform male-only boards), boards at the top level could benefit greatly from the diversification, unique skill sets and refreshing leadership styles that women bring with them.

By their very nature, women are natural opportunity experts, able to breathe life into their ideas and inspire others to do the same. Women are great at cultivating strong relationships and thrive on facilitating connections between people. Women are also natural givers, with twice as many women running social enterprises as opposed to leading small businesses.

Now is the perfect time to think about how we – the government, business leaders, and women – can help unlock the full potential of women and ensure we put an end to an unfair state of inequality that does us all a disservice.

 

‘Harnessing the Power of the Purse’ research – what women want from their financial adviser

We were approached by the Centre of Innovation (http://www.talentinnovation.org/) a few months ago who were conducting some fascinating research into what women wanted from their financial advisers – titled ‘Harnessing the Power of the Purse’ and presented in parliament in May.

As a female-focused financial advisory business, they were interested in our extensive experience of advising women on wealth. And of course being the collaborative, open business we are – we were happy to help. Before the launch, we were asked if we would connect the researcher with a couple of our clients, as the research seemed to be highlighting that the Addidi way of doing business met many of the key needs of the female consumer as identified by the research. We were more than happy to do so.

It was truly heart-warming to have one of our clients quoted and featured at the research launch event at the Houses of Parliament on 22ndMay. So what are the key findings of this report, and what is it that Addidi doing that is so cutting-edge?

Key UK findings:

  • Much female wealth is unmanaged; 56% of those surveyed did not have a financial adviser.
  • Many women do not feel their adviser either understands them or is interested in them; 73% did not feel their adviser understands them, whilst 87% felt their adviser was not interested in them.

 

Women define wealth differently to men. Whilst investment performance is also important for women, 77% of women across the globe say “making a positive impact on society” is important to them too.

So what are women looking for from their advisers, and what is Addidi providing along those lines? They want advisers who:

  1. understand them
  2. create a safe space for them
  3. educate them
  4. help them align their investment and life goals

 

Addidi is quoted as creating the following for women: “a room of their own to manage their wealth and feed their soul”.

Whilst we may talk numbers (after all we wouldn’t be great financial advisers if we didn’t!), our position will always be centred round mutuality, inclusiveness, inspiration, and a nurturing disposition. We add value where it matters, and in the process feed our own soul too.

Check out the findings for yourself at: http://www.talentinnovation.org/assets/HarnessingThePowerOfThePurse_Infographic-CTI.pdf

Like to know more about how we work? We’d love to hear from you.