When it comes to talking about liability with an accounting firm, the word has a widely different meaning than that of which most are used to. Whereas most are familiar with liability in the sense of someone being liable if something goes wrong, such as the health and safety officer being liable if a workplace accident occurs, accountants have a different meaning. For those in the financial sectors, liability means an obligation to be reported on a balance sheet, such as payment for services rendered.

Liabilities are used most commonly in asset calculation by accountants, where the total asset value (in GBP) is the liabilities + the stockholders equity. With this number it is possible to see the total estimated value of a company, and is often used in future financial predictions. Within this classification there are three distinct types of liability; contingent, certain and estimated liabilities.

Certain liability is, as the name would suggest, liability in which a true value can be used. For instance if a company has electricity supplied by the landlord for a set fee, that set fee would not change from month to month and would be a fixed, certain liability. These types of obligations are the simplest for any financial services worker to account for, but there are relatively few certain obligations every month. Some other examples of this would be the monthly expenditure on staff, insurance, and rental fees.

Estimated liability is considerably more common for many accountants, with most obligations falling under this category. Estimated liability is the predicted amount that is owed, weather month to month or day to day, and requires calculations to estimate properly. Using the same example as earlier, a business which rents property but has to pay for its own electricity will judge the amount used, and estimate the monthly value as a liability. Due to the nature of these numbers as estimates, the final value may differ slightly and have to be accounted for, but these figures can give an estimate of the total profitability per month of a business.

The final liability is slightly more complicated, and is much harder to predict accurately without a full data set. Contingent liability is an obligation which depends upon an outcome occurring or not occurring. So any potential cost or gain which has a variable outcome, such as a high yield/risk investment. An easy way of thinking of contingent liabilities would be someone filing a lawsuit against an accountant; the accountant will have to research and evaluate the potential loss, and count it as a contingent liability. In this scenario, the liability is not an estimated one (though being an estimate) because it’s not certain which party will win the suit. This could be shown as a potential loss of £X if the suit is lost, or potential gain of £X if the suit is won and countersuit occurs.

Everyone loves to get a deal. It’s a fact of life. But what’s the best way to capitalise on this, as a marketer? Offers can be a double edged sword for any business, with an increase in sales or traffic but a lowering in individual revenue; it’s critical to find a balance to keep your company profitable.

There are a few different key ways to capitalise on this aspect of human nature, with their own pros and cons. Firstly is the one seen most often; discounted prices for a certain timeframe. Now this can be a given holiday, such as Christmas or Black Friday sales , or simply ‘next two weeks’, but the result is the same. These offers are best suited to physical stores rather than online, as the aim is to get people into the store. Once they are in, they’re more likely to purchase ‘accessory products’, which is where the main earnings come with offers. If you go to a store to buy a half price jumper, and you see a nice scarf, you are more likely to buy both as you have already saved money. These offers can also be a great way to get rid of excess stock, such as leftover seasonal stock such as summer shorts in autumn.

Another way to capitalise on exclusivity is through offers and coupons, as loyalty rewards or in other media such as newspaper offers. These have to be carefully planned, as though it does increase traffic, they also run a risk of losing money. For example, say you are selling a scarf for £10, and your total costs are £5 for the item (store space, manufacturing, shipping etc.) then you can potentially run a 50% off or buy-one-get-one-free offer, without losing money. But what about when the customer has another 10% off as a part of another offer, or with uniformed services discount or similar, then you will operate at a loss. In the UK at least, most companies get around this by including an adage to the coupon such as ‘cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer’. This is not the place in places such as America, where coupon use is much more prevalent.

Having an offer which is exclusive to a certain group of people adds urgency to the offer, meaning people are much more likely to shop there. People love to feel special, and individual tailored offers are a great way to use this mentality to increase sales.

Price matching is a relatively recent addition to the offer repertoire, with certain companies claiming to sell a certain item cheaper than anywhere else, or they’ll match the price. Now obviously this can go extremely wrong in certain cases, but a small loss can sometimes mean a large gain. For instance, if a company is selling a TV with price matching on Amazon, then there is nothing to stop someone creating an Amazon account and selling one of that TV for a lower price, and cheating the system by getting the TVs at a lower price. This can cost companies alot of money, but fortunately there are a few ways around this. Many companies manufacture certain models exclusively for a certain store, meaning the model number does not match between companies. The customer may feel cheated if this happens, but at least you do not lose money, and the person is still in the store. The other way around this can create a small loss; pricing lower than the competition, but only getting a few models in. It’s easy to understand that an amazing offer like this has sold out, and in the end the customer is still shopping in your store. Exclusivity is the key to event marketing, and can increase sales year round if used correctly.