Get a Copy of Warrant of Arrest Through Public Records

People nowadays are finding ways to get an access to public records that shows and holds warrants that are given by the local government. Usually warrants are issued when a person failed to show up in court for several times. The court or justice will summon the accused and issue a warrant to that person. Even if these warrants are part of the public records that are made available to the general public, locating an arrest warrant could be hard to locate. This is because warrants are personal and confidential information. Even then acquiring a copy of warrants are hard to get, this is due to the fact that this files are stored in files and folders and are archived. So if you want to have this kind of information you have to go to the local courthouses or local county unit to get a copy of this piece of paper. This procedure usually takes sometime to be handed over due to the fact that the clerk will have to search tons of paper to find the one you are requesting.

Thankfully, public records nowadays are stored and databases and are now available in a click of a mouse. There are websites that has a wide range of public records information that you can go to and this are pay per search sites. Paid websites can locate every state where the warrant is issued and served. These online sites can also give you a comprehensive account of information including detention details, criminal records, and warrant of arrest, criminal violations and offense, DUI arrests to name some.

Make note that when looking for paid website it is advisable to do a little research regarding the company you want to do your search. In doing some background research on the company you will be assured that you will be going to a reputable and dependable search company that will provide you guaranteed results.

For more information about this article try to visit Public Records

Secrets to Passing the California Insurance License Exam

Like most States, California requires that you pass a government administered license exam before you can hang your shingle to sell insurance. In addition, you must take up to 52 hours of pre-license training, which thankfully, can now be done online. Separate license exams and training courses are required to sell property and casualty insurance versus life and health policies. And, there is mandatory continuing education required every two year renewal period as well as additional, special training classes needed to sell specific insurance products like flood insurance, long term care insurance and/or annuity investment policies.

If your plan is to thoroughly study the State handbooks, read and read again all the materials from your license course and take a cram course on test-taking, I can almost guarantee you still won’t pass the California Insurance Exam. These exams can be tough, since they are riddled with confusing and convoluted questions . . . the trademark of most government or quasi-government license exams. So what does it take to pass? Well, that’s what we cover in this article. And, there is a method to the madness.

First Off, Be Wary of Advice and Crazy Tips

Here is just some of the “buzz” around taking the State Exam. For the most part, ignore these rants and tips:

“Taking a cram class is all you need to pass” (Not true. See cram courses below)

“I was told to skip every question on the state exam. That way, these same questions are locked in and the computer will not spit out more difficult ones.” (A crazy conspiracy theory).

“A live teacher is the only way to pass. They pinpoint the “buzz” words you need to pass. They tell you things that can’t be put in writing” (Bunk . . . classes are monitored by the State. And, you need more than buzz words to pass).

“Use common sense to answer the exam questions.” (It won’t work).

“By process of elimination, you can get to the right answer.” (Works sometimes, but you would have to know the subject to eliminate the wrong answers).

“I earned 90% on my online practice exams . . . I’m ready”. (A lot of these 90 percenters still fail. There are practice exams and there are practice exams. See below).

“People who take online courses always fail”. (Bunk . . . our online school has a very high passing ratio . . . it’s what you do with the material that counts).

“Study the course materials . . . you will pass” (There is a lot more to it. It may be a variation the material you learned that is being asked).

“Just look for certain “buzz” words for the answer.” (The State knows all the buzz words . . . you’ won’t beat them this way).

California Specific

It may seem obvious to many, but be sure that the courses and exam prep materials you are studying are California specific. There are a lot of generic practice exams and courses available online that won’t prepare you for the State Exam or won’t allow you to even sit for the exam. Sign up with an approved California provider and make sure you are taking the right course for the license you want.

The State Exam

The State requires that you complete specific pre-license training BEFORE you can sit for the State Exam. The Certificates you earn from these courses are your “ticket” into the State Exam which are currently given at state office locations in San Diego, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

On the day of the exam, you need to bring proper identification including a current valid driver’s License, passport, military ID, etc. The State Exam is computer-based. There are 75 questions for the Life Only License; 75 for Accident & Health and 150 for Fire & Casualty.

You must score 70% or better to pass. If you fail, you can retake the exam 3 consecutive times for a fee of $41 each. Your 4th try requires a 30 day waiting period. Of course, if you follow the advice of this article you won’t need to worry about failing.

You can schedule the State Exam online at any time . . . just fill out the required license application. But, you must complete the required pre-license training courses needed for the license you want BEFORE taking the exam. And, you need additional time to tackle the remaining procedures we recommend to prepare yourself. Bottom line? Leave at least three weeks before scheduling an exam date.

Test Taking

There are some universal rules to taking any license exam. Basically, you need to become familiar with the testing mentality.

· Make sure to read every single word in both the questions themselves and the provided answers! There are people who fail simply because they didn’t read the question properly!

· Make sure that you understand the gist of the question itself…what are they getting at in the question? In order to answer a question properly, you must understand the idea behind the question!

· Be familiar with the format of the exam. The State Exam is taken on computer. See a sample of how it works on the State’s website here . . . http://www.insurance.ca.gov/sample-test/Sample_Questions-General.htm

· Don’t rush the exam. You have up to 3 hours for the Casualty or Life/Health Exam. Answer all the questions you know. Flag questions you are unsure of or skip them until later. Watch for words like except or not.

Studying Books, Course Content & State Publications

The State Exam is very broad in coverage. There will be many questions on codes, ethics and other insurance topics that you may never need or experience throughout your insurance career. Nonetheless, you have to know them to pass.

Then there are hundreds of pages of pre-license course materials (your 20, 40 and 52-hour training courses). In fact, the State dictates what needs to be covered in all pre-license courses and they publish “Educational Objectives” for each. Now, you would think that if you studied these courses and the “objectives” real hard you would be prepared for the exam. . .right? NOT. Don’t spend a lot of time here.. Sure, you need to read the materials to earn your Pre-License Certificate(s) and there are basics you can learn from these courses, but it is highly doubtful they will play a major role in helping you pass the State Exam.

Cram Courses

There are also dozens of generic guides and cram courses which say they are designed specifically to help you pass the State Exam. Save your money and time. Sure, some may provide some guidance, mostly on test-taking techniques I discussed above, but you still have to know specific learning points to pass. That cannot be condensed into a small book or even an 8 hour cram course. I know, I have taken these classes and wish I had spent the time studying instead.

An Exam Prep Workbook Is KEY!

OK, we’re down to the key to passing the State Exam. Find a proven Exam Prep Workbook. We cannot emphasize how important this is to passing. It’s almost too simple, yet license candidates tend to dismiss the effectiveness of practices exams. DON’T.

A typical exam prep workbook is jammed with up to 1,000 questions and answers, i.e.practice exams. Of course, there are practice exams, and there are practice exams. As I said, find a proven system and ALLOW UP TO TWO WEEKS TO FULLY COMPREHEND AND RECALL THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN THEIR WORBOOK. Simply reading the workbook one or two times is NOT ENOUGH. Study and recall EVERY QUESTION at least 10 times or more. If you are getting the same questions wrong, highlight them and study them even more.

Don’t Schedule The Exam Early

Don’t schedule the State Exam until you have time to study your Exam Prep Workbook Practice Exams. Your boss and others may be pressuring you to take the State Exam ASAP after your online training, but until you can recall the questions and answers, your chances of passing are slim

Well, that’s it . . you now know how to pass the Insurance License Exam. But, I have a warning: If your mental focus is just to pass the exam, you need to re-focus. Plenty of people pass their exam only to lose their license or get sued making stupid mistakes. Knowing the answers to a bunch of exam questions is not enough . . . you have to know what you are doing with that license and you need to acquire a sense of responsibility and ethics to win customers and stay out of trouble. While these are not the subject covered here, know that they are as much a part of your career as getting your license. So, refer to your pre-license course materials for basic knowledge and use them for reference often. Always expand your knowledge and keep up on current events in the industry.

I wish you the best of luck in a very rewarding field.

Legal Aid Society – What It Is

This organization offers low-cost or free legal services to residents who have low income. The cases legal aid society handles and the guidelines for qualifying for any legal services differ by jurisdiction. The funding for this organization can come from national, regional, or local services. Legal aid society is usually a not-for-profit organization. The organization will generally have a board of directors that will determine what type of cases will be handled as well as who will qualify to receive their services. There are full-time staff attorneys that work for legal aid society. Some licensed attorneys that may offer their services. They may take a limited number of cases pro bono each year.

Some of the typical civil cases that legal aid society handles include but are not limited to:

• Landlord-tenant disputes

• Domestic abuse protective orders

• Bankruptcy

• Family law-divorce, domestic violence, and child support

• Immigration-securing the appropriate documents in order to remain in the United States, contest deportation

• Elder law-preparing wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, helping them apply for public benefits

The cases they do not handle are criminal cases. The services offered by legal aid society range from advice and information to representation throughout the entire case. Sometimes seminars are offered to help inform the local residents about their legal rights. They will also answer basic legal questions at seminars.

Although the process to determine eligibility varies by jurisdiction, there are general steps that have to be taken in each case. The main step is to do an evaluation of the client’s assets and income. The reason is that in order to qualify for a pro bono attorney their total household income has to fall below a threshold that has been pre-determined. In the case of domestic violence or divorce situations, legal aid society may consider the spouse’s income to determine the household income. This can happen if it appears that the client does not have access to the spouse’s income. The one exception to meeting low-income requirements is victims of domestic violence, as legal aid society does not usually verify their income. The reason is that a victim of domestic violence may need urgent legal assistance like getting a protective order against the abuser.

If the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements, the services they receive from legal aid society will be free of cost in most cases. A client may still have to pay the mandatory filing fees but there may be a fee waiver. This waiver is a request that is filed by the client requesting that the court waives the filing fee for their case. The court will generally waive the fee if they determine that the client is unable to afford the filing fee.

Freelance Bookkeeping Rates – How to Charge For Your Bookkeeping Services

New to the bookkeeping business?

Then you are probably uncertain about how much to charge for your services. This is business advice for Bookkeepers and other consultants as well.

When I began my bookkeeping business in 1999, so was I. Here are some tips on what to charge.

One lesson I learned quickly is that EVERYBODY wants a deal and they think that you should give them one, but the minute you do, they will undervalue your services and consider it to be a permanent discount.

Don’t make the mistake of charging too little – Use reward incentives and bonuses for new client referrals instead of lowering your price for any customer. Even once can be the “Kiss of Death” to your rate sheet.

Do not guess at how much to charge, either. When you begin you need to seek out other professionals in your field and simply ask them what the rates are that they are charging in that area. Ask them if there is a sliding scale and if so, what criteria they use to determine those variables.

Here is what I figure –

Small business clients would rather pay a flat fee than an hourly rate. Most bookkeepers charge an hourly rate, but will charge a flat fee based on the number of transactions that need to be entered, plus $5-10 (if they don’t know the client in advance). You must also calculate these costs into your calculations – Workers Compensation, self-employment tax (10% for USA), and business insurance.

For a basic bank and credit card reconciliation, data entry and set of monthly financials you will work approximately 2.5 minutes per entry. Each data entry transaction counts as “2.5.” So, if you have an average small business with 200 entries per month, you need to charge 2.5 minutes per entry minimum.

Experience tells me that some entries will take more time and some entries will take less time, but from start to finish all entries made will balance out to 2.5 minutes apiece. At the rate I charge that means that a monthly flat fee for this customer equals 2.5 times number of entries divided by 60 total minutes times hourly rate (2.5 x 200 / 60 x $45 = $360 per month flat fee).

Not all bookkeepers are willing to share their fee structure with others, so do not be afraid to ask several bookkeepers what they charge for a beginning point of reference. You will find that there are ranges of rates from $16-60 + per hour. Pick one of those rates that feels like it covers your costs and still holds you accountable as an expert in your field. If you charge $16 an hour then you really need to get more experience and/or education to be taken seriously. Bookkeeping Accreditation is one way to do that. Check with your local chapter of American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers for accreditation.

If your customer seems apprehensive about your fee then ask them if they would imagine a set of records presented to their accountant at the end of the year with no problems, and if that would be an equitable way to think of your fee. If they still hesitate then you are best advised to help them find someone else.

The benefits of hiring a bookkeeper also include the fact that a full-time employee and payroll costs are eliminated, computer hardware and software and extra office space and storage for bookkeeping purposes aren’t necessary.

$25-45 is the average cost per hour for a good bookkeeper who knows the business. For higher hourly rates you are paying for a bookkeeper who works with an accountant. Those rates reflect the fact that they work with professionals who oversee their work and the higher rate is symbolic of the review by a tax professional of the records of a business before they go out the door to the IRS or CRA. It is worth the extra cost for a lot of clients. For others it is not and those people probably don’t make the best clients for experienced bookkeepers.

When you are creating your invoices for your own customer billings, briefly rewrite the work you did for them (client) in the body of your invoice to them. There is really no need to add all the items on your list of the services you provided for them. You just want to include a 2-5 sentence outline for your client so that they understand what they are paying for.

TIP: If you have a large amount on your invoice to present to them then try to break it up into 2-3 separate invoices in the course of a month. Your clients may need you to do their work, but nobody appreciates a huge bill at the end of the month without any warning. Those situations lead to ill-will and short-term clients. Longevity is the key to owning and operating a reputable and long-standing bookkeeping business.

Invoice Descriptions Include:

“Bookkeeping services rendered for November, included but were not limited to, the following: Bank and credit card reconciliation and reports for October statements, cash receipts journal, cash disbursements journal, general journal entries (for those on an accrual method of accounting. General journal and accruals, trial balance, general ledger postings. If you performed payroll services then add “payroll preparation,” “quarterly payroll tax returns,” etc.

The big picture and a few details help your client understand why you bill the way you do. And why you are worth it!

If you performed additional services that you choose to leave as un-billed go ahead and add it to your invoice as a note on the bottom listing that service – For example: IRS phone calls for payroll issue 3 hours at no charge. ALWAYS say, “Thank you.” NEVER ask a client to call with questions on your invoice.

Charge for telephone consultations and training sessions at reduced rates – Unless you want to be training your clients for free and that just takes away valuable time you can be spending getting other jobs and clients. Time is Money-Use yours wisely to grow your business. Do not nickel and dime clients – faxing and copies should not be billed out unless they exceed $20.00 in your time and costs.

Always invoice your clients regularly – the same time every single month. Create professional invoices even if it’s on an Excel spreadsheet. Use the last day of the month as a guideline in billing dates.

Still looking for clients?

– Look through the want ads for people who are interested in hiring a 10-15 hour person a week. Generally these people are less interested in hiring an employee. Give them a call or send your business card and resume and cover letter explaining why your service is good for them – outline the benefits for them and request a phone call to discuss it.

– Join a local networking group. I found that Business Networking International (BNI) not only helped me professionally with public speaking, and self confidence, but they also gave me a steady and solid stream of references every single week that grew my business and kept me busy. The cost of membership paid for itself in only one week.

Good luck!

Things That Can Motivate Someone To Become A Lawyer

Lots of people try to be a lawyer for a few different factors. Some people look at it as being a respectable practise defending the law and maintaining justice whilst some see that becoming a lawyer is seen as a stunning and amazingly well paid work. Herein I will state a number of the reasons behind why one could love to be a lawyer.

Earnings

Primarily is going to be considerable wage which will lures in individuals to turn out to be lawyers. One of the better pluses to becoming a lawyer is considered the earnings. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for a lawyer was $110,590 in 2008. Even as you start out in your employment, you are likely to acquire somewhere around $68,500 just in nine months of finishing your studies. Few other careers provide such great getting started earnings.

Career diverseness

There are many different sections of the law, with quite a number of career paths working with many parts of the law. Potential legal work comprise of being lawyers or legal professionals to law enforcement, court personnel and legal aid and administrative staff members. Consequently by having a law degree an array of legal career options will likely be created to you. In addition, even just an one niche, an individual’s daily responsibilities can vary appreciably, which will keep your life in the workplace remarkable.

Discovering much more Know-how

Becoming lawyer, you are likely to frequently be acquiring knowledge, even though you may not get back to university for formalized advanced training. By way of engaged on cases, you’ll research past cases, discover more about imprecise laws and get to be familiar with the particulars of your area of focus. You also have an opportunity to resume college for further learning, and if you’re employed for a law organization, some might even compensate your college tuition to persuade employees to consider obtaining one other degree or diploma.

An understanding of the law

Being knowledgeable of the law may come to your advantage in your everyday life, when acquiring housing, getting through a motor vehicle accident, preparing a will or making any type of buying. This is simply not unequivocally an in depth list of when familiarity of the law may help in your day to day life, and that you will usually realize that relatives and friends will oftentimes come to you for unofficial ideas with regards to legal or business troubles.

Uncomplicated to attain Degree

During the past, it was very tedious to obtain a law degree. You were required to give up a long period of your life to earn a degree at a law university or college full time thereafter being employed an extra several years as a pupil or aid to senior lawyers just before being a full-fledged lawyer on your own.

Having said that, now it is far more easy to get yourself a law degree with all the creation of the online world. It is because of the accessibility to online law degree programs which is available from licensed universities and colleges rendering it less difficult and less laborious to get yourself a law degree. Especially for people with an existing employment or family commitment, this is very good news. Law scholars can certainly study on the net at their very own time and in their own home to acquire their law degree to secure an occupation or improve their career prospects in the legal field.

Work delight, growing and security

Lawyers actually have the opportunity to really make a difference in both the lives of their clients and in addition the lives of people in every location, as a single case can possibly set in place precedence for countless cases in the future. This sort of occupation, ones own perseverance is normally honored not simply in income, but additionally offer a feeling of joy as part of your work.

When you finally have a degree and certificate to practice law, it is possible to pursue advanced line of work possibilities as well. Lawyers with knowledge of their career path can work their way up in the ranks at a private practice, to become a partner in the firm. Also you can become a judge or teacher within your field.

Career development in the legal sector is most likely to be at close to thirteen percent between 2008 and 2018, which is standard when considering any employment growth across all industrial sectors. If you are employed by a law firm, your work could be very safe in the event that you are always a good employee, which is not a thing that can be stated for lots of markets, particularly if the economy is detrimental. Individuals will always demand lawyers, and occupation progression can be perhaps even more rapidly than regular in a few legal areas, for instance healthcare and ecological law.

Adaptability

Lawyers are definitely not centred in one region of a country. They’re also not ever centred just in urban centers; countryside lawyers are needed, too. Which indicate that you’re able to choose location you yearn to reside as a lawyer. So long as you receive a permit to be hired in your decided on location, you are able to go on to any location of your nation and practice law.

Rich sociable way of life

Lawyers interact with individuals from all walks of life. As you do the job with clients, you’ll start off to network, which in turn not just grows your corporation, but will also contributes to incentives in other aspects of your life. When you need an honest service provider, a client could certainly advise someone.

Capability to Run a Firm

You just aren’t tied to doing work for other firms as a lawyer. When you first earn knowledge of your career, you possibly can open up your individual law company, and when you have your very own company, there is the possible opportunity to set your own hours, take the cases that get your interest a lot and try to make different most important decisions relating to your practice. In the event you work for yourself, you are able to play by your principles, and whilst being a business proprietor is pretty a lot of efforts, it is actually worthwhile to know that you’ll be inserting money directly onto your own bank account, not the wallets of those that own the law business where you work.

Inshoring: What It Means and How Different Is It?

The meaning of outsourcing/ offshoring has been drilled into us for over a decade now, but the increasing usage of yet another term ‘inshoring’ has also gained prominence. The online encyclopedia defines inshoring “as Term used occasionally as an opposite to offshoring, when a foreign firm relocates a part of its productive activity into the domestic economy. “But is it just that? Or is it much more? Inshoring also means

* Better proximity with the enterprise and also customers

* Better usage of integration and collaboration tools for enhanced product development cycles

* Easy management dealings and enhanced IT infrastructure services

* Faster application development services and cost effective product development.

Therefore its no wonder then that with such advantages many mid sized and large IT enterprises that were outsourcing their software process work to countries in Europe, India and China are now choosing to shift focus to the US heartland and get their process requirements fulfilled inland’s rather than heading overseas.

So how effective is inshoring?

Firstly let’s figure out how Inshoring actually works. So say for instance there is an enterprise which functions out of New York or LA and it instead of choosing to go overseas, it opts to give their core-operations process work to a team of professionals who are situated somewhere in the mid-west, say Wisconsin or Michigan. Thus it becomes their inshoring delivery center. Mid-west has increasingly become a wise choice for inshoring opportunities is because these mid-west states have some of the top engineering and technical schools in the country. Inshoring ensures the use of local talent and potential ensuring faster and cost-effective work as compared to offshoring the same to places like Bangalore, Krakow or St. Petersburg.

Benefits of Inshoring

There are different benefits of inshoring and they include

* Leveraging best business practice in your heartland

* Discarding inefficiencies in the product development cycle

* Getting definite value-addition because of proximity of the delivery center

* Extending complete control over business processes

* Maximizing cost effective operational benefits

* Removing any kind of cultural and time-zone differences

* Uplifting local talent/potential

Domestic inshoring uses local processes, resources and technologies and adds value not just to your own business but also ensures economic and social gains for the country. From alleviating those standard risks of offshoring, inshoring can surely add power to your own enterprise and also give that much necessary boost to the local industry/talent within the country.

Build Your Startup Business Infrastructure on a Budget

There are quite a few steps to take when building a business from the ground up. This article assumes you have already gained a basic knowledge of these steps and are at a point where you have some funding and you are ready to put the building blocks of your business in place. If you are not familiar with the basic steps to build a business, I encourage you to go check out the multitude of publications you can find on the web and then come back and revisit this article.

In most cases, it is paramount to build your business in steps, being very careful how you spend the precious funds that are available to you, regardless of the source of your capital. By now you should have a list of components that need to be put in place, such as the IT infrastructure, including but not limited to email accounts, a website, internal software systems (both “canned” packages as well as custom software) and more. On the creative side, you will need to decide on your branding (logo and color theme). Then most likely you will need business cards, brochures, letterhead, fliers, signage and the like.

Building a business in steps (or increments) can be done, but you need to look for the right talent. At the beginning, you will be much better off finding individuals that are competent in several different areas. The less resources you have to employ, in most cases, the lower your spending outlay will be. If one individual can perform the duties of six or eight people, your budgetary savings should be significant. Later on, when things are taking off, you can replace these multi-talented individuals with dedicated resources, as each duty will likely become a full-time job. Over-staffing too soon can put you out of business in a hurry or put undue pressure on your business to perform sooner than it is capable of.

Let turn the clock forward and assume your business is gaining traction. Let’s say your multi-talented individuals just helped you get your business off the ground and now you are going to replace them with employees dedicated to specific business segments, or departments. It will be painless to replace them because they will be expecting it. Why? Because you brought them in as contractors. You have a lot of flexibility with contractors. If it’s in your interest, and the contractor’s interest, you can propose a contract to hire arrangement. Then if things work out well, you could bring them in as part of your senior staff since they will have such a good understanding of your business. Or, they could simply move on. There are many advantages to using contractors in a case like this. If things are not moving as fast as you hoped, you can reduce the contractor’s hours to stay within your budget. You can cut them loose if they are not performing as expected. You will also save money because you will not be providing benefits, and in many cases, not providing a work-space for them.

Another smart move may be to secure certain essential services on an outsourced basis. These days, you can even outsource your human resource department. Outside services are becoming more popular these days. Such services take the worry out of keeping up with ever-changing legal requirements, minimizing the exposure to your brand new, fragile business. The cost is normally a lot less than in-house staffing for comparable services. A good service company will come with a guarantee (they will have an insurance policy) that protects your company should the service company fail to keep up with current legal requirements, unintentionally creating a liability for your company. It is not practical for in-house personnel to make such a guarantee. In that case your business is assuming the risks for your hired employees.

So What Makes Mexican Food Culture So Specially Unique?

Like all countries, there are Mexican food traditions, which are unique to the country. Food, after all, is an important part of any country’s culture and Mexico is certainly no exception. There are Mexican food customs, which are attached to certain holidays and other occasions, with special dishes being cooked on these days.

Mexican Holidays Recipes and Typical Mexican Food

Perhaps the best known of Mexican holidays is Cinco de Mayo. This celebration on May 5th every year is commonly thought to be Mexico’s Independence Day holiday. As it happens, the holiday was declared not to celebrate Mexican independence from Spain, but the victory of the Mexican army over the French in 1862 at Puebla.

Outside of the state of Puebla, the holiday is a minor one – though there are some special Cinco de Mayo dishes, which are served on this day, especially in Puebla. This state is the region of Mexico where mole, an important ingredient in many traditional Mexican recipes was developed; and this is a popular sauce nationwide.

One traditional Cinco de Mayo recipe often made in Puebla for this holiday is turkey cooked in a mole sauce. This would be mole poblano in particular (the name means “Puebla-style mole”), a rich, nutty and spicy sauce which is worth every bit of the considerable time and effort needed to make it. Turkey is a popular food in Puebla and in fact, in much of the country. Turkey shows up not only here, but also in many Mexican recipes, even some of Mexico’s other special holiday dishes.

Religious Holidays Including Christmas And Others

As a largely Catholic nation, Mexico celebrates Christmas and other religious holidays with aplomb; and when it comes to celebrating with food, Mexican food traditions are second to none! On Christmas morning in Mexico, families and friends hold “posadas,” a traditional Christmas morning party.

On this occasion, you will often find traditional dishes served such as mashed potatoes with cranberry and chili relish, rather than the gravy you would find at the table in the US. Punch is also traditionally served at a posada, as are other dishes including turkey soup and codfish. A piata is also a traditional (and very festive) addition to the Christmas day festivities in Mexico.

The feast of Epiphany is another holiday with its own special Mexican food traditions. The traditional Spanish ring cake has been enthusiastically adopted into Mexican Epiphany celebrations, along with the new world treat of hot chocolate as an addition.

Naturally, we cannot talk about Mexican food culture without a few words about Dia de los Muertos. This is how Mexico celebrates All Saints Day. On “the day of the dead,” there are special holiday sweets which are eaten. These include dulce de calabasa, a candy made from pumpkin and pan de muerto. Pan de muerto is a bread, which is glazed and decorated with colored sugar, and smaller pieces of bread shaped like bones.

However, sugar skulls are without a doubt the best known of Mexico’s food traditions surrounding the day of the dead. These are skull shaped candies, which are made by pressing sugar into a mold. These candies are often decorated with great care, making for a holiday treat, which is so beautifully decorated that you may not want to eat them!

The food traditions of every nation reflect their unique culture, something which Mexican food traditions certainly do. The country’s amalgam of new world and old world ingredients, recipes and cooking methods have resulted in a culture – and a set of traditional foods which are an integral part of Mexican life and culture.

Modern Financial Management Theories & Small Businesses

The following are some examples of modern financial management theories formulated on principles considered as ‘a set of fundamental tenets that form the basis for financial theory and decision-making in finance’ (Emery et al.1991). An attempt would be made to relate the principles behind these concepts to small businesses’ financial management.

Agency Theory

Agency theory deals with the people who own a business enterprise and all others who have interests in it, for example managers, banks, creditors, family members, and employees. The agency theory postulates that the day to day running of a business enterprise is carried out by managers as agents who have been engaged by the owners of the business as principals who are also known as shareholders. The theory is on the notion of the principle of ‘two-sided transactions’ which holds that any financial transactions involve two parties, both acting in their own best interests, but with different expectations.

Problems usually identified with agency theory may include:

i. Information asymmetry- a situation in which agents have information on the financial circumstances and prospects of the enterprise that is not known to principals (Emery et al.1991). For example ‘The Business Roundtable’ emphasised that in planning communications with shareholders and investors, companies should consider never misleading or misinforming stockholders about the corporation’s operations or financial condition. In spite of this principle, there was lack of transparency from Enron’s management leading to its collapse;

ii. Moral hazard-a situation in which agents deliberately take advantage of information asymmetry to redistribute wealth to themselves in an unseen manner which is ultimately to the detriment of principals. A case in point is the failure of the Board of directors of Enron’s compensation committee to ask any question about the award of salaries, perks, annuities, life insurance and rewards to the executive members at a critical point in the life of Enron; with one executive on record to have received a share of ownership of a corporate jet as a reward and also a loan of $77m to the CEO even though the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US bans loans by companies to their executives; and

iii. Adverse selection-this concerns a situation in which agents misrepresent the skills or abilities they bring to an enterprise. As a result of that the principal’s wealth is not maximised (Emery et al.1991).

In response to the inherent risk posed by agents’ quest to make the most of their interests to the disadvantage of principals (i.e. all stakeholders), each stakeholder tries to increase the reward expected in return for participation in the enterprise. Creditors may increase the interest rates they get from the enterprise. Other responses are monitoring and bonding to improve principal’s access to reliable information and devising means to find a common ground for agents and principals respectively.

Emanating from the risks faced in agency theory, researchers on small business financial management contend that in many small enterprises the agency relationship between owners and managers may be absent because the owners are also managers; and that the predominantly nature of SMEs make the usual solutions to agency problems such as monitoring and bonding costly thereby increasing the cost of transactions between various stakeholders (Emery et al.1991).

Nevertheless, the theory provides useful knowledge into many matters in SMEs financial management and shows considerable avenues as to how SMEs financial management should be practiced and perceived. It also enables academic and practitioners to pursue strategies that could help sustain the growth of SMEs.

Signaling Theory

Signaling theory rests on the transfer and interpretation of information at hand about a business enterprise to the capital market, and the impounding of the resulting perceptions into the terms on which finance is made available to the enterprise. In other words, flows of funds between an enterprise and the capital market are dependent on the flow of information between them. (Emery et al, 1991). For example management’s decision to make an acquisition or divest; repurchase outstanding shares; as well as decisions by outsiders like for example an institutional investor deciding to withhold a certain amount of equity or debt finance. The emerging evidence on the relevance of signaling theory to small enterprise financial management is mixed. Until recently, there has been no substantial and reliable empirical evidence that signaling theory accurately represents particular situations in SME financial management, or that it adds insights that are not provided by modern theory (Emery et al.1991).

Keasey et al(1992) writes that of the ability of small enterprises to signal their value to potential investors, only the signal of the disclosure of an earnings forecast were found to be positively and significantly related to enterprise value amongst the following: percentage of equity retained by owners, the net proceeds raised by an equity issue, the choice of financial advisor to an issue (presuming that a more reputable accountant, banker or auditor may cause greater faith to be placed in the prospectus for the float), and the level of under pricing of an issue. Signaling theory is now considered to be more insightful for some aspects of small enterprise financial management than others (Emery et al 1991).

The Pecking-Order Theory or Framework (POF)

This is another financial theory, which is to be considered in relation to SMEs financial management. It is a finance theory which suggests that management prefers to finance first from retained earnings, then with debt, followed by hybrid forms of finance such as convertible loans, and last of all by using externally issued equity; with bankruptcy costs, agency costs, and information asymmetries playing little role in affecting the capital structure policy. A research study carried out by Norton (1991b) found out that 75% of the small enterprises used seemed to make financial structure decisions within a hierarchical or pecking order framework .Holmes et al. (1991) admitted that POF is consistent with small business sectors because they are owner-managed and do not want to dilute their ownership. Owner-managed businesses usually prefer retained profits because they want to maintain the control of assets and business operations.

This is not strange considering the fact that in Ghana, according to empirical evidence, SMEs funding is made up of about 86% of own equity as well as loans from family and friends(See Table 1). Losing this money is like losing one’s own reputation which is considered very serious customarily in Ghana.

Access to capital

The 1971 Bolton report on small firms outlined issues underlying the concept of ‘finance gap’ (this has two components-knowledge gap-debt is restricted due to lack of awareness of appropriate sources, advantages and disadvantages of finance; and supply gap-unavailability of funds or cost of debt to small enterprises exceeds the cost of debt for larger enterprises.) that: there are a set of difficulties which face a small company. Small companies are hit harder by taxation, face higher investigation costs for loans, are generally less well informed of sources of finance and are less able to satisfy loan requirements. Small firms have limited access to the capital and money markets and therefore suffer from chronic undercapitalization. As a result; they are likely to have excessive recourse to expensive funds which act as a brake on their economic development.

Leverage

This is the term used to describe the converse of gearing which is the proportion of total assets financed by equity and may be called equity to assets ratio. The studies under review in this section on leverage are focused on total debt as a percentage of equity or total assets. There are however, some studies on the relative proportions of different types of debt held by small and large enterprises.

Equity Funds

Equity is also known as owners’ equity, capital, or net worth.

Costand et al (1990) suggests that ‘larger firms will use greater levels of debt financing than small firms. This implies that larger firms will rely relatively less on equity financing than do smaller firms.’ According to the pecking order framework, the small enterprises have two problems when it comes to equity funding [McMahon et al. (1993, pp153)]:

1) Small enterprises usually do not have the option of issuing additional equity to the public.

2) Owner-managers are strongly averse to any dilution of their ownership interest and control. This way they are unlike the managers of large concerns who usually have only a limited degree of control and limited, if any, ownership interest, and are therefore prepared to recognise a broader range of funding options.

Financial Management in SME

With high spate of financial problems contributing to the high rate of failures in small medium enterprises, what do the literature on small business say on financial management in small businesses to combat such failures?

Osteryoung et al (1997) writes that “while financial management is a critical element of the management of a business as a whole, within this function the management of its assets is perhaps the most important. In the long term, the purchase of assets directs the course that the business will take during the life of these assets, but the business will never see the long term if it cannot plan an appropriate policy to effectively manage its working capital.” In effect the poor financial management of owner-managers or lack of financial management altogether is the main cause underlying the problems in SME financial management.

Hall and Young(1991) in a study in the UK of 3 samples of 100 small enterprises that were subject to involuntary liquidation in 1973,1978,and 1983 found out that the reasons given for failure,49.8% were of financial nature. On the perceptions of official receivers interviewed for the same small enterprises, 86.6% of the 247 reasons given were of a financial nature. The positive correlation between poor or nil financial management (including basic accounting) and business failure has well been documented in western countries according to Peacock (1985a).

It is gainsaying the fact that despite the need to manage every aspect of their small enterprises with very little internal and external support, it is often the case that owner-managers only have experience or training in some functional areas.

There is a school of thought that believes “a well-run business enterprise should be as unconscious of its finances as healthy a fit person is of his or her breathing”. It must be possible to undertake production, marketing, distribution and the like, without repeatedly causing, or being hindered by, financial pressures and strains. It does not mean, however, that financial management can be ignored by a small enterprise owner-manager; or as is often done, given to an accountant to take care of. Whether it is obvious or not to the casual observer, in prosperous small enterprises the owner-managers themselves have a firm grasp of the principles of financial management and are actively involved in applying them to their own situation.” McMahon et al. (1993).

Some researchers tried to predict small enterprise failure to mitigate the collapse of small businesses. McNamara et al (1988) developed a model to predict small enterprise failures giving the following four reasons:

– To enable management to respond quickly to changing conditions

– To train lenders in recognising the important factors involved in determining an enterprise’s likelihood of failing

– To assist lending organisations in their marketing by identifying their customer’s financial needs more effectively

– To act as a filter in the credit evaluation process.

They went on to argue that small enterprises are very different from large ones in the area of borrowing by small enterprises, lack of long-term debt finance and different taxation provisions.

For small private companies, these measures are unreliable and textbook methods for judging investment opportunities are not always useful in organisations that are privately owned to give a true and fair view of events taking place in the company.

Thus,modern financial management is not the ultimate answer to every business problem including both large and small businesses.However,it could be argued that there is some food for thought for SMEs concerning every concept considered in this study. For example it could be seen (from the literature reviewed )that, financial records are meant to examine and analyse corporate operations. Return on equity, return on assets, return on investment, and debt to equity ratios are useful yardsticks for measuring the performance of big business and SMEs as well.

Types Of Oil Skimmers

A skimmer is a machine that is utilized for separating a liquid from particles floating in it or from another liquid. The most common usage of skimmer is in the form of oil skimmer which is used to separate oil floating on water. This technology is used for oil spill remediation but is also commonly found in industrial applications such as removing oil from machine tool coolant and removing oil from aqueous part washers.

There are mainly three types of oil skimmers such as weir and oleophilic and non-oleophilic (disc, drum, belt, tube, brush, mop, grooved disc, and grooved drum). Weir skimmers allow the oil floating on the surface of the water to flow over a weir. The height of the weir is adjustable. This device will collect water when oil is no longer present. These are also available in floating, self-adjustable variations. And they are very efficient as they can be used in changing water levels as well. With the help of the adjustable feature, it is able to efficiently remove thin or thick layers of oil or pollutant. These are suitable for permanent installation or emergency oil spill response situation, due to their light weight and ease of transportation. Also, it only requires a person to monitor its functioning. Hence, it’s easy to use.

The oleophilic skimmers function by using a rotating element such as a drum, to which the oil adheres. The oil is wiped from the surface of the drum and collected. They are very efficient and do not pick up any appreciable quantum of water even when oil is not present. These are distinguished by the component that they use to collect the oil. Ropes, discs, or drums are treated with a substance or otherwise manufactured to adhere to the oil. These are suitable for permanent or temporary installation.

The last is the Non-oleophilic skimmers which also do the same job as the above two, i.e., to separate oil from water. But its distinguishing point is again the component that it uses to carry out the separation. A metal disc, belt or drum is used in cases where an oleophilic material is inappropriate, such as in a hot alkaline aqueous parts washer. It is generally turned off whenever there is no oil to skim thus, minimizing the amount of water collected. Metal skimming elements are nearly as efficient as oleophilic skimmers when the oil is present.

Another type is the hand held oil skimmer. It is used to recover oil and pollutants where access is severely restricted, such as drains, manholes and sumps. The best benefit of this is that it is really light weight. That is also the reason which makes them ideal for emergency response in case of oil spill situations. These are suitable to use with a self priming pump. It is a suction machine which has incredible performance. It can run without harm during dry suction, is self compensating for wear and is simplistic in its design.