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The SSAE 18 Reporting Standard SOC 1 SOC 2 SOC 3 Support and Guidance for SSAE18, SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 reporting standards

Some organizations have heard of SAS 70, SSAE 16. and soon to be SSAE 18. but, don t really know WHY they need to pay to have a bunch of auditors trounce through their company for a month or two during the year, especially right after their financial audit just finished.
The answer is simple: Many companies will not even think about using your company to perform services for them without a clean Type II Report in place.
Some benefits of having an SSAE 16 performed :

  • Ability to perform outsourcing services for Public Companies.
    • If performing financially significant duties for a Public Company, they are required to use a SSAE 16 qualified provider as it is the only way to give investors assurance over controls that are not performed by the Company in question.
  • Public and Private companies are more likely to trust your organization with their data.
    • If you were to trust a company with your data, you would want complete assurance it will be handled with the utmost care
  • A year round accessible knowledge source (your auditors).
    • As a service organization, large or small, you will always have questions regarding your business and having a set of auditors in place with access to a wide array of business knowledge, it will allow you to bounce your questions and concerns off of a group of trusted individuals.
  • A third party to review your controls and activities to ensure they are functioning appropriately, and give advice on how to improve upon them.
    • Sometimes your internal audit department is good, but, not always as stringent as they should be. This will help to serve as a check on their work, as well as your staff. Additionally, if there were any findings noted, your auditors are in a great position to give you some tricks and tips to improve to ensure everything functions well the following period.
  • Improving performance of the organization.
    • Just the knowledge that a review is being performed of an employee s work that can have far reaching consequences for the company as a whole. No more, Oh, I didn t realize that reviewing user access was THAT important to do this month, sorry , now, everyone knows that if it s not done, the success or failure of the organization could rest upon them.

Think of the SSAE 16 or SSAE-18 audit as an annual investment into your company, increasing potential new clients. productivity and accountability .

This tip is focused on designing controls that reflect the process being testing, if they don t, a headache of massive proportions will be created once testing begins.
What do you do to make sure you don t screw this up? Have as many meetings as it takes to get it right.
What you need to do is sit down with the auditors, the department lead, the main employees responsible for performing the process, and anyone else whom could either play a role in testing or modifying the control in the future. Once that is done, Management should discuss what they determined the control to be and how it should operate, that is then reviewed by the auditors, and then the employees performing the tasks should be reconsulted to verify that the control still reflects their process accurately.
Many times people try to speed this process up and half-ass it, leaving many open items which upon testing could easily blow up into a huge problem. When the control isn t 100% agreed upon prior to testing and a deviation is noted, it s a tough call between failing the control and the ability to adjust it to accurately reflect the process. The problem is modifying a control after testing has begun is not proper and needs to be avoided at all costs.
Locking the controls locked down early on could save weeks in wrapping up your new SSAE 16 Report.
We have seen issues like this cause delays in issuing of the report to the client and running additional fees, since adjusting controls isn t free. Coming from the perspective of the auditor, we can let you know the pitfalls, consequences and how to best navigate the audit process. If you have any comments or questions please leave them below!

A SOC 1 Report (System and Organization Controls Report ) is a report on Controls at a Service Organization which are relevant to user entities’ internal control over financial reporting. The SOC1 Report is what you would have previously considered to be the standard SAS70, complete with a Type I and Type II reports, but falls under the SSAE 16 guidance (and soon to be SSAE 18 ).

Please see the following articles discussing the SSAE 16 guidance and additional information related to the SOC 1 (Type I and Type II) Reports:

In addition to the SOC 1 report which is restricted to controls relevant to an audit of a user entity’s financial statements, the SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports have been created to address controls relevant to operations and compliance and will be discussed in further detail in the future.

Please see the SOC 1 Reporting Guide page for additional information.

SSAE 16 is an enhancement to the current standard for Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization, the SAS70. The changes made to the standard will bring your company, and the rest of the companies in the US, up to date with new international service organization reporting standards, the ISAE 3402. The adjustments made from SAS 70 to SSAE 16 will help you and your counterparts in the US compete on an international level; allowing companies around the world to give you their business with complete confidence .

SSAE16 is now effective as of June 15, 2011, and if you have not made the necessary adjustments required, now is the time to find a quality provider to discuss the proper steps. All organizations are now required to issue their Service Auditor Reports under the SSAE 16 standards in an SOC 1 Report.

The soon to be effective, SSAE-18. is expected to follow a similar reporting structure to the SSAE-16 within a SOC 1 report.

Who Needs an SSAE 16 (SOC 1 ) Audit?

If your Company (the Service Organization ) performs outsourced services that affect the financial statements of another Company (the User Organization ), you will more than likely be asked to provide an SSAE16 Type II Report, especially if the User Organization is publicly traded.
Some example industries include:

  • Payroll Processing
  • Loan Servicing
  • Data Center /Co-Location/Network Monitoring Services
  • Software as a Service (SaaS )
  • Medical Claims Processors

What you Need to Know:

Before starting the SSAE 16 process, there are a number of considerations one must take into account that can save considerable time, effort, and money in the long run. Use the following items as a mini checklist for yourself:

  • Does my Company need an SSAE16, or, are we doing it just because someone asked?
  • Reports on the low end can run at least $15,000 a year, will the business lost be less of a burden than the cost of the report itself?
  • Does your company have defined Business Process and IT controls in place, or, will you need assistance developing and implementing them (readiness assessment)?
  • Have you determined the controls in place which affect the outsourced services being provided?
  • Have key stakeholders been defined and included in discussions?

There are many other issues to consider before engaging a CPA firm to help with your SSAE 16, for a more detailed checklist please see The SSAE 16 Checklist

You may have heard SSAE-18 is on the horizon for reports issued as of May 1, 2017. There are some important updates discussed in here: SSAE-18 An Update to SSAE-16 .

As the standard is formalized and the date approaches we will continue to provide more information to help you prepare for these changes.

Threat Modeling Definition, Investopedia, advanced persistent threat definition.#Advanced #persistent #threat #definition


Threat Modeling

Advanced persistent threat definition

Advanced persistent threat definition

DEFINITION of ‘Threat Modeling’

In terms of computer security, threat modeling is evaluating what needs to be protected, from whom, the likelihood of an attack and the consequences of inadequate protection, then determining what steps you are willing to take to achieve sufficient protection. Threat modeling accounts for the fact that there are numerous different security risks inherent in using computers, and the risks can vary by user and by organization. As a result, there are many different security measures that individuals and organizations may need to implement, or that may not be worth implementing given their limited resources, depending on the specific threats they face.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Threat Modeling’

To understand threat modeling, think about your personal computer. What do you need to protect? You don’t want an intruder to gain access to the sensitive personal information such as your passwords, tax returns, and emails. You also wouldn’t want someone to steal the computer itself. To evaluate your risk, you would identify what sensitive data is stored on your computer, who has access to your computer and how you are currently protecting your files and your device. Next, you would consider who might want these things: perhaps criminal hackers and burglars. Who else do you need to protect your device and your information from? Maybe an ex-spouse who has ill will toward you or others who live in your household, such as your children.

If the wrong person accessed or stole your computer or your files, what could they do with it that would harm you? Criminal hackers would not only be able to potentially steal your identity with the information on your computer but also make your life difficult by taking away your access to all your files unless you had them backed up securely.

How you decide to defend yourself depends on how strong your potential attackers are and how much risk they pose. If your child is two years old, your computer might be at risk of getting knocked on the floor or having the keyboard damaged by spilled liquids, and your files might be at risk of accidental deletion. Keeping your computer in a locked room or locked cabinet might be sufficient to protect against that risk. Criminals gaining unauthorized access to your computer through the Internet are a much bigger threat that will require you to take measures like installing antivirus and firewall software.

Threat modeling is a personalized process that depends on the individual or organization’s priorities and risk tolerance. Threat modeling is always incomplete, however, because we can never know all the risks associated with computer use. Hackers are always developing new techniques and finding security flaws in developed software. Threat modeling does its best to identify risks, then prioritizes the order in which they should be addressed.

Threat modeling can help organizations understand their true risk of various threats so they can implement the security controls that best limit those risks rather than the security controls that are the most popular or well known. Common threat modeling techniques include Trike, PASTA (Process for Attack Simulation and Threat Analysis), CAPEC (Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification). and Microsoft STRIDE (STRIDE stands for spoofing identity, tampering with data, repudiation, information disclosure, denial of service, and elevation of privilege—all potential threats to a system and its data).

In an enterprise that wanted to evaluate the security risks to one of its systems, threat modeling would consist of gathering and reviewing any system documentation; bringing together a group of people who are experienced with using, designing, supporting and managing that system; discussing the system architecture and thinking strategically about what could go wrong; considering what can be done about it; and documenting the group’s discoveries and observations.

Threat modeling should always be performed in a systematic way, but different approaches may be used depending on the needs of the organization and the people performing it. Threat modeling is commonly performed by software developers, systems managers, and security professionals, but anyone can learn how to do at least some aspects of it. By being proactive, threat modeling can help software, computer services, and computer systems be more secure from the moment they are released, limiting damage to the company and its customers.

What is Chief Operating Officer (COO)? Definition from #service #company #definition


Chief Operating Officer (COO)

A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is the corporate executive who oversees ongoing business operations within the company. The COO reports to the CEO and is usually second-in-command within the company. Alternative titles for the COO include Chief Operations Officer, Operations Director and Director of Operations.

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Responsibilities and duties of the COO

The role of the COO varies greatly from one industry to another and even from one company to another, which makes it difficult to provide a succinct list of duties. The one constant is the COO’s close relationship with the CEO, who is often responsible for defining the role. The co-authors of Second in Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer liken the COO role to that of a U.S. vice presidential candidate: The best person for the job is highly dependent on his running mate.

Although not a complete list, here are several examples of COO responsibilities:

  • Overseeing day-to-day operations and keeping the CEO apprised of significant events;
  • Creating operations strategy and policies;
  • Communicating strategy and policy to employees ;
  • Fostering employee alignment with corporate goals ; and
  • Overseeing human resource management .

The COO and the CEO

The COO is often seen as the heir apparent. Tim Cook, for example, was COO at Apple before being named CEO in 2011; Pamela Nicholson was COO at Enterprise Holdings before being named CEO in 2013; and Steve Ballmer was named president of Microsoft and was considered second in command before being named CEO in 2000. The title of president is often considered a title similar to COO.

A COO’s success hinges on his relationship with the CEO, according to the co-authors of Second in Command. Absolute trust between the two executives is vital; without trust and respect, the relationship between the two chief executives can become dysfunctional.

The COO role adds complexity to a company’s reporting structure. As such, COOs tend to be employed by the largest organizations. essentially freeing up time for the CEO to focus efforts elsewhere. Smaller organizations and startups that introduce a COO into the reporting structure often create power struggles and confusion among employees.

The current state of the COO

The role of the COO is in a state of flux — and has been for some time. In the mid-2000s, several articles called COOs endangered species. More recently, the executive search firm Crist|Kolder Associates reported that only 30% of the S P and Fortune 500 companies have COOs, down from 48% in 2000.

The DNA of the COO.

One potential reason for this is another C-suite development. In the past, it was not unusual for a CEO to also serve as the chairman of the board of directors. but that has changed. Research out of PricewaterhouseCoopers found that only 11% of CEOs also served as chairman in 2014, down from 52% in 2001. Without the dual role, CEOs have more time on their hands and can pick up some of the duties normally given to their COOs.

PricewaterhouseCoopers provided additional reasons for the decline in COO position, all of which suggest the trend is directly linked to how CEOs and how they’re managing the company. The list includes the advent of digital communications technologies, the board’s demand for CEOs to work closely with the business, the push to flatten the organization and the shift in succession planning.

That said, the role of the COO is still valuable for many companies. Crist|Kolder Associates found that the existence of the role may depend on the industry — with services companies more likely to bring on a COO than technology and industrial companies. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that COOs are often in place when companies want to be transparent about succession planning or when CEOs are spending time on strategy rather than the day-to-day operations. COOs are also brought in to complement CEOs who have a strong leadership background but may lack an operational experience.

While the role appears to be in decline, there are some who suggest companies will see — and are seeing — a COO resurgence. The co-authors of Second in Command stated that companies are becoming more complex, which result in CEOs hiring a second in command. Ernst Young, a professional services firm, argued that compliance, business transformation and the pursuit of new markets are all reasons companies need operational leaders. Plus, research that appeared in the Strategic Management Journal found that COOs have a positive impact on company performance.

This was last updated in November 2016

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Related Terms

adulting Adulting is the assumption of tasks and behaviors associated with normal grown-up life, along with the implication that the. See complete definition paid time off (PTO) Paid time off (PTO) is a work policy that provides employees with a pool of bankable hours that can be used for all purposes. See complete definition threat hunter (cybersecurity threat analyst) A threat hunter, also called a cybersecurity threat analyst, is a security professional or security professional service provider. See complete definition

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Human Resource Management (HRM) – Definition and Concept #hrm, #human #resource #management, #what #is #human #resource #management, #human #resource #management #definition, #hr #management


MSG Management Study Guide

Human Resource Management (HRM) – Definition and Concept

We often hear the term Human Resource Management, Employee Relations and Personnel Management used in the popular press as well as by Industry experts. Whenever we hear these terms, we conjure images of efficient managers busily going about their work in glitzy offices.

In this article, we look at the question what is HRM ? by giving a broad overview of the topic and introducing the readers to the practice of HRM in contemporary organizations. Though as with all popular perceptions, the above imagery has some validity, the fact remains that there is much more to the field of HRM and despite popular depictions of the same, the art and science of HRM is indeed complex. We have chosen the term art and science as HRM is both the art of managing people by recourse to creative and innovative approaches; it is a science as well because of the precision and rigorous application of theory that is required.

As outlined above, the process of defining HRM leads us to two different definitions. The first definition of HRM is that it is the process of managing people in organizations in a structured and thorough manner. This covers the fields of staffing (hiring people), retention of people, pay and perks setting and management, performance management, change management and taking care of exits from the company to round off the activities. This is the traditional definition of HRM which leads some experts to define it as a modern version of the Personnel Management function that was used earlier.

The second definition of HRM encompasses the management of people in organizations from a macro perspective i.e. managing people in the form of a collective relationship between management and employees. This approach focuses on the objectives and outcomes of the HRM function. What this means is that the HR function in contemporary organizations is concerned with the notions of people enabling, people development and a focus on making the employment relationship fulfilling for both the management and employees.

These definitions emphasize the difference between Personnel Management as defined in the second paragraph and human resource management as described in the third paragraph. To put it in one sentence, personnel management is essentially workforce centered whereas human resource management is resource centered. The key difference is HRM in recent times is about fulfilling management objectives of providing and deploying people and a greater emphasis on planning, monitoring and control.

Whatever the definition we use the answer to the question as to what is HRM? is that it is all about people in organizations. No wonder that some MNC s (Multinationals) call the HR managers as People Managers, People Enablers and the practice as people management. In the 21st century organizations, the HR manager or the people manager is no longer seen as someone who takes care of the activities described in the traditional way. In fact, most organizations have different departments dealing with Staffing, Payroll, and Retention etc. Instead, the HR manager is responsible for managing employee expectations vis-�-vis the management objectives and reconciling both to ensure employee fulfillment and realization of management objectives.

In conclusion, this article has briefly touched upon the topic of HRM and served as an introduction to HRM. We shall touch upon the other topics that this field covers in other articles.

Following are the important concepts of Human Resource Management:

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7 Free Sales Receipt Templates – Word Excel Formats #sales #receipt #definition


Free Receipt Templates

7 Free Sales Receipt Templates

Do you want to have an elegantly designed sales receipt templates. We have few for you free of cost. A business document that generally portrays details like date and time of sales, kind of items sold, number of goods or items, price range, total amount, seller or vendor’s name and contact details and information about buyer is recognized as a sales receipt. In simple words a sales receipt is a printed or written piece of paper with comprehensive details about a sales transaction. Sales receipts help both parties in various ranges. Use of sales receipt is suggested by professionals to produce ingenious sales receipts in short time.

Basic purpose of sales receipts is to keep track of all sales transactions in a day or in particular period of time whereas customers can also use them to maintain record of their purchases as well as to replace or return purchased goods due to damages or lake of quality. Sales receipt is something that displays your professionals that’s why you should prepare them in professional format using sales receipt template. Sales receipt is a pre designed document prepared by experts that can be customized with your own business details in Microsoft excel.

Sales receipts can be manufactured for tracking business transaction from the template available here below the content. Sales receipts are commonly used business documents you have seen and receive thousand times when making sales transactions with individual person or company. Sales receipt is an official document to record a sales transaction in writing for future use. Sales receipts helps general accountant of the business to prepare major financial reports as well as sales reports. Thankfully Microsoft excel is equipped with number of useful templates that can be used to create and print sales receipts for free. You can also download a free sales receipt template over here to fulfill your business needs.

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What is VoIP telephone? Webopedia Definition #voip #telephone, #phone, #voice #over #ip, #define, #dictionary, #definition, #web #hosting #service, #define, #what #is, #webopaedia, #webopedia, #glossary, #dictionary, #encyclopedia, #tech #terms, #technology


VoIP telephone

Related Terms

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, telephone products connect to VoIP. or Internet telephony. systems, which use packet-switched telephony to transmit calls over the Internet as opposed to the circuit-switched telephony used by the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN ).

How it Works

VoIP telephones look and largely function like standard phones, but they have built-in IP technology and an RJ-45 Ethernet connector instead of the standard RJ-11 phone connector that enables the VoIP phone to connect directly to a router for making and receiving IP calls. A standard phone can also function as a VoIP telephone when used with an analog-to-digital converter called an ATA, or analog telephone adaptor. Another option is to bypass the phone entirely and simply use a VoIP-capable computer to make and receive IP calls.

VoIP service provider

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What is oscilloscope? Definition from #saving #rate #definition



An oscilloscope is a laboratory instrument commonly used to display and analyze the waveform of electronic signals. In effect, the device draws a graph of the instantaneous signal voltage as a function of time.

A typical oscilloscope can display alternating current (AC ) or pulsating direct current (DC) waveforms having a frequency as low as approximately 1 hertz (Hz ) or as high as several megahertz (MHz ). High-end oscilloscopes can display signals having frequencies up to several hundred gigahertz (GHz ). The display is broken up into so-called horizontal divisions (hor div) and vertical divisions (vert div). Time is displayed from left to right on the horizontal scale. Instantaneous voltage appears on the vertical scale, with positive values going upward and negative values going downward.

The oldest form of oscilloscope, still used in some labs today, is known as the cathode-ray oscilloscope. It produces an image by causing a focused electron beam to travel, or sweep, in patterns across the face of a cathode ray tube (CRT ). More modern oscilloscopes electronically replicate the action of the CRT using a liquid crystal display (liquid crystal display ) similar to those found on notebook computers. The most sophisticated oscilloscopes employ computers to process and display waveforms. These computers can use any type of display, including CRT, LCD, and gas plasma.

In any oscilloscope, the horizontal sweep is measured in seconds per division (s/div), milliseconds per division (ms/div), microseconds per division (s/div), or nanoseconds per division (ns/div). The vertical deflection is measured in volts per division (V/div), millivolts per division (mV/div), or microvolts per division (?V/div). Virtually all oscilloscopes have adjustable horizontal sweep and vertical deflection settings.

The illustration shows two common waveforms as they might appear when displayed on an oscilloscope screen. The signal on the top is a sine wave ; the signal on the bottom is a ramp wave. It is apparent from this display that both signals have the same, or nearly the same, frequency. They also have approximately the same peak-to-peak amplitude. Suppose the horizontal sweep rate in this instance is 1 s/div. Then these waves both complete a full cycle every 2 s, so their frequencies are both approximately 0.5 MHz or 500 kilohertz (kHz ). If the vertical deflection is set for, say, 0.5 mV/div, then these waves both have peak-to-peak amplitudes of approximately 2 mV.

These days, typical high-end oscilloscopes are digital devices. They connect to personal computers and use their displays. Although these machines no longer employ scanning electron beams to generate images of waveforms in the manner of the old cathode-ray scope, the basic principle is the same. Software controls the sweep rate, vertical deflection, and a host of other features which can include:

  • Storage of waveforms for future reference and comparison
  • Display of several waveforms simultaneously
  • Spectral analysis
  • Portability
  • Battery power option
  • Usability with all popular operating platforms
  • Zoom-in and zoom-out
  • Multi-color displays

This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About oscilloscope

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Risk-Return Tradeoff #definition #of #risk #assessment


Risk-Return Tradeoff

BREAKING DOWN ‘Risk-Return Tradeoff’

The appropriate risk-return tradeoff depends on a variety of factors including risk tolerance. years to retirement and the potential to replace lost funds. Time can also play an essential role in determining a portfolio with the appropriate levels of risk and reward. For example, the ability to invest in equities over the long-term provides the potential to recover from the risks of bear markets and participate in bull markets. while a short time frame makes equities a higher risk proposition.

For investors, the risk-return tradeoff is one of the essential components of each investment decision as well as in the assessment of portfolios as a whole. At the foundation of this assessment, the consideration of the risk as well as the reward of an investment can determine whether taking action makes sense or not. At the portfolio level, the risk-return tradeoff can include assessments on the concentration or the diversity of holdings and whether the mix presents too much risk or a lower than desired potential for returns.

Measuring Singular Risk in Context

Examples of high risk-high return investments include options, penny stocks and leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs). When these types of investments are being considered, the risk-return tradeoff can be applied to the vehicle on a singular basis as well as within the context of the portfolio as a whole. Generally speaking, a diversified portfolio reduces the risks presented by individual positions. For example, a penny stock position may be extremely high risk on a singular basis, but if it is the only position of its kind and represents a small percentage of the portfolio, the overall risk may be minimal.

Portfolio Level Risk

The risk-return tradeoff also exists at the portfolio level. For example, a portfolio composed of all equities presents both higher risk and the potential for higher returns. Within an all-equity portfolio, risk and reward can be increased by concentrations in specific sectors or single positions that represent a large percentage of holdings. Conversely, a portfolio holding short-term Treasury’s presents low risk levels combined with limited returns. For investors, assessing the cumulative risk-return tradeoff of all positions can provide insight on whether a portfolio has assumed enough risk to achieve long-term return objectives or that risk levels are too high with the existing mix of holdings.

Bond Yield Definition #definition #of #bond


Bond Yield


When investors buy bonds, they essentially lend bond issuers money. In return, bond issuers agree to pay investors interest on bonds throughout their lifetime and to repay the face value of bonds upon maturity. The money that investors earn is called yield. Investors do not have to hold bonds to maturity. Instead, they may sell them for a higher or lower price to other investors, and if an investor makes money on the sale of a bond, that is also part of its yield.

Bond Yield Versus Price

As bond prices increase, bond yields fall. For example, assume an investor purchases a bond with a 10% annual coupon rate and a par value of $1,000. Each year, the bond pays 10%, or $100, in interest. Its annual yield is the interest divided by its par value. As $100 divided by $1,000 is 10%, the bond’s nominal yield is 10%, the same as its coupon rate.

Eventually, the investor decides to sell the bond for $900. The new owner of the bond receives interest based on the face value of the bond, so he continues to receive $100 per year until the bond matures. However, because he only paid $900 for the bond, his rate of return is $100/$900 or 11.1%. If he sells the bond for a lower price, its yield increases again. However, if he sells for a higher price, its yield falls.

When Do Bond Yields Fall?

Generally, investors see bond yields fall when economic conditions push markets toward safer investments. Economic conditions that might decrease bond yields include high rates of unemployment and slow economic growth or recession. As interest rates increase, bond prices also tend to fall.

Interest Rates Versus Bond Prices

To examine the relationship between interest rates and bond prices, imagine an investor buys a bond from ABC Corporation with a 4% coupon rate and a $1,000 face value. Another investor waits a few weeks before buying a bond, and during that time, the issuer raises interest rates to 6%. At this point, the second investor can buy a $1,000 bond from ABC Corporation and receive $60 in interest per year.

Meanwhile, upset that he is only earning $40 per year, the original investor decides to sell, but to entice others to buy his bond instead of bonds directly from ABC Corporation, he lowers his price. For example, he lowers it to $650, making its effective annual yield $40/$650 or 6.15%. If the bond issuer had not increased its rates, the investor might not have had to sell his bond for less than its face value.

The legal definition of advertising #advertise #definition


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The term advertising generally refers to paid forms of communication that are distributed at the initiative of economic operators (by means of television, radio, newspapers, banners, mail, Internet, etc.) as part of an intentional and systematic effort to affect individual attitudes and choices in relation to the consumption of goods and services.

Legislative Decree no. 145/2007 defines advertising as “the making of a representation in any form in connection with a trade, business, craft or profession in order to promote the supply of goods or services, including immovable property, rights and obligations”.

This is clearly a very broad conception that encompasses all forms of promotional communication, regardless of the means or methods of distribution. What it does exclude is publicity that is non-commercial, in the sense that it makes no reference to economic activities, such as political propaganda and social publicity.

This advertising notion still includes, however, forms of communication that promote a business image as perceived by consumers, even when no immediate form of sales push for specific goods or services is involved.

As for advertising methods and means of distribution, a relentless process of innovation continues to be driven by the imagination of advertisers, technological developments and the development of new marketing techniques. New advertising vehicles like the Internet continue to emerge alongside traditional distribution methods, like television, dailies and periodicals, banners, direct marketing (mailings, phone calls and door-to-door sales), radio, cinema and product packaging itself. As should be readily apparent, the decree applies to all advertising regardless of the specific means of distribution.

Comparative advertising is an advertising method that businesses use to promote their goods and services by comparing them with the products of their competitors. The identification of actual competitors may be implicit or explicit. The former is known as indirect comparative advertising, and the latter is known as direct comparative advertising.