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Corporate Financial Reporting is part of corporate reporting that consists of financial statements and accompanying notes that are prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The financial statements are summaries of business transactions during the financial year of the corporation. The business world has many forms of organizations ranging from the for profit sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporated businesses with limited liability to the not for profit organizations whose existence is not mainly driven by financial gain.

Regulations that govern the preparation of financial statements largely apply only to the incorporated entities. This has given rise to accounting standards setting bodies and legal provisions that form the frameworks used when preparing the financial statements. The process of preparing the reports in accordance with the GAAPs and legal requirements presents advantages and disadvantages to the organizations and to other interested groups. The International Financial Reporting Standards are increasingly being adopted by many national accounting standards setting bodies leading the way to a single set of accounting standards all over the world. It is therefore worthwhile to look at the advantages and disadvantages of financial reporting to create an awareness of the complexities that corporations and accounting professionals contend with.

THE ADVANTAGES

A number of advantages of corporate financial reporting can be enumerated and perhaps among the most important is that organizations are able to compare their individual performance with others in the same industry or line of business. This is because the established principles, standards and regulations ensure that there is a benchmark to be followed in the preparation of financial reports. Recognition of income, expense, assets and liabilities is standardized by the existing framework and any deviation can be countered with disciplinary or legal action. Organizations strive to prepare their financial statements to closely match the set frameworks as much as possible. In some countries for example Kenya, this has been translated into an annual competition (the fire award) where companies performance in this area is assessed by professional bodies including the national accounting professionals body with the aim of awarding the company with the best prepared financial statements. This in turn promotes staff and professional development which is a desirable aspect in the growth and wealth creation of the corporate organizations.

Investors and owners of companies in jurisdictions where corporate financial reporting follows strong established and clear frameworks can make the appropriate investment decisions. Corporate reporting in this case enhances the development of understanding of the activities of the companies and at the same time keeps the companies themselves on their toes as the wider society is well-informed of the expected reporting standards. This also acts as an incentive to managers to perform at their best and to institute control measures that aid the organization to comply with the frameworks.

Requirements of corporate financial reporting lead to timely preparation of financial reports. This is desirable to the stakeholders who may be more interested in the organizations immediate past rather than wait for a long time before the outcome of their input is known. When financial reports are prepared and published within the stipulated time, it is possible for necessary actions to be taken to correct any anomalies that may have led to undesirable outcomes. In a more serious case where a material error happens to be discovered, it can be corrected and the necessary measures taken to avoid a repeat of such occurrences.

IFRS give room for flexibility as they are based on principles rather than rules. As principles are based on value, corporations can adopt the standards that best suit their circumstances as long as fair value is adequately reported. This also encourages professional development as accounting standards setting requires qualified academics who can develop the required standards after lengthy and rigorous discussions and considerations to come to a consensus.

Overall, corporate financial reporting acts as a control measure as management, owners, employees, customers, creditors and the government are dependent on the reports in their decision-making. For instance the government in taxation of companies relies at the outset on the financial reports prepared and examined by qualified public or certified professionals. Trends on the growth of the companies can also be quickly determined by comparing sets of reports for different periods.

THE DISADVANTAGES

Corporate financial reporting does not bring desirable results only. There are some undesirable outcomes that should be mitigated against. The consideration of cost guides many companies in their operation. In preparing corporate financial reports in accordance with laid down standards and rules, expertise is required and the company has to engage highly qualified professionals for this task. The fee payments to qualified professionals can be prohibiting especially to small companies controlled closely by their owner managers. Compared to larger companies the small entities do not have adequate resources to implement adoption of the standards or even to train or employ qualified staff. In many instances such small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are tempted to forgo compliance with certain aspects of the standards or rules leading to problems with regulatory bodies including the government.

Freedom to adopt standards that suit the particular circumstances of the company leads to manipulation of reports. Disclosure of important information is in jeopardy as there is no legal enforcement for implementing the standards. Even where the government imposes legal obligations on what financial reports are to be prepared, there are still loopholes that can arise especially when the accounting standards and the legal stipulations are not in conformity in some areas.

For multinational companies, there are challenges in preparing their consolidated financial reports especially where operations are in countries with different accounting standards and legal regimes. There are also other challenges in dealing with for instance exchange rates, interest rates and transfer pricing where treatment of such aspects may be considered differently in different countries. Taxation and existence or non-existence of dual taxation treaties also poses another challenge.

CONCLUSION

It can be concluded that corporate financial reporting is essential and the gains from following accounting standards based on principles far outweigh the disadvantages as freedom to prepare reports in whatever way organizations deem appropriate may lead to financial chaos.

Hotels, restaurants and resorts always look to offer the best experience for their guests by following the latest trends. In the beginning of this year, you should consider modernizing your outdoors by building fashionable and inviting areas. So what are the hospitality outdoor furniture trends for 2017 that will make you look fresh to improve your business’s image?

Trend 1: Go green and/or blue

In the hospitality industry, colors have a psychological effect on people that can make their stay unforgettable… or not. So when planning your outdoor areas, be picky in choosing colors. According to the psychology of colors study, blue, green, yellow, red, and purple generate positive vibes. But which colors are trending in 2017? This year is the year of the blue and green derivatives like aqua, sea foam, drab green. These 2 main colors represent serenity and nature respectively. Therefore, having them part of your outdoor furniture sets, will improve the guests’ state of mind, and keep the garden or patio fresh.

Trend 2: Minimize maintenance efforts with aluminum

For outdoor spaces, one of the trends was and will probably always be to have maintenance-free furniture. Therefore, picking aluminum outdoor furniture will be the right choice to offer comfortable outdoor experience and have products that require minimum maintenance. In addition, aluminum is known to be a light material compared to what it offers in strength: it is weather and rust resistant, which means that your hospitality outdoor furniture sets will live longer.

Trend 3: Combine different materials & styles

Many hotels and restaurants stick with a single theme using only one outdoor furniture style, but 2017 suggests to mix and match designs and materials. For example, if you aren’t able to decide whether to have aluminum or rattan outdoor furniture, well just pick both. Also, for spacious areas, combine several outdoor furniture collections within the same space. However, for this tactic to be successful, the two collections must go well with each other. Customized garden and patio furniture can also be an option to ensure good harmony between the different sets.

Trend 4: Create unique ambiance with solar lighting

In 2017, get rid of wires and complicated installations with the use of outdoor solar lighting, which rely simply on solar energy to recharge their batteries. Outdoor solar lights save you the trouble of finding professionals who will create a mess to install wired lamps. In addition, placing outdoor solar lighting forms a unique ambiance in your outdoor space especially if you go creative by building innovative patterns.

Trend 5: Indoors and outdoors go together

Last but not least, outdoor furniture can be used on the inside just like on the outside. Therefore, removing the boundaries between outdoors and indoors to mix up the two spaces can be a great option, of course, if done in a smart way. Opening the indoors to the outdoors gives you additional space and creates total conformity.

In conclusion, applying these trends is a tricky task that requires professionals in order to optimize your outdoors. So contact a hospitality outdoor furniture supplier that will furnish your gardens and patios in the best way possible, according to your needs.

Using an assistant agreement is vital when hiring a real estate assistant. It should describe the working relationship between you and the assistant. The first thing you should consider is whether he or she is an employee or working as an independent contractor. If you choose to have an employee you have to deduct taxes, social security and unemployment insurance from their pay. This involves a lot of record keeping on your part plus the added expenses you incur by having an employee…

So after consideration most agents that hire assistants choose the independent contractor status. You do not have to do any of the withholding. You just have to provide a 1099 form. There is no salary only a commission or fee as payment or services rendered payment. This fee will also be deductible on your taxes as an expense.. It would be wise to check with your accountant to see how to handle the payment schedule.

You should hire an assistant that has an active real estate license because if they don’t have one it will limit them to doing only what an unlicensed person can do. This will make a very big difference because there are many tasks that need a licensed agent to perform. Some of the requirements you should consider when interviewing an assistant would be having computer skills in programs such as Microsoft word, excel or comparable programs. If they don’t have a laptop computer you may have to provide one. Although it’s an expense the investment will prove well worth it.

Let’s talk about what else an agreement should do.

  • Define the work hours
  • Define commission or payment services
  • Explain what duties you expect from an assistant
  • Assist with showings
  • Assist with market value reports
  • Go on market value report appointments with you
  • Set Appointments
  • Do open houses
  • Record keeping
  • Mailings
  • Hand out flyers
  • Place signs for open houses
  • Make phone calls on your behalf
  • Prospecting for new business
  • Review the daily updates on the MLS
  • Preview new listings
  • Meet all of your clients and customers
  • A team player attitude

You must determine a payment schedule of how much, when and how often the assistant should expect payment. Your business growth should have a direct effect on commission increases for the assistant. A confidentially clause is important to have in your agreement. The assistant must know that what goes on between both of you stays confidential. Having this all on paper will set the guidelines. Your assistant will know their job description and their duties.. A real estate assistant agreement should protect both parties.

As an “Abundant Life Coach” I get asked about the meaning of “financial abundance” very often. What this means to you can be the difference between living the lifestyle of your dreams, or settling for something less than your dreams. I want you to live the life of your dreams!

Here, then, are 5 Essential Factors of Financial Abundance:

“The Abundant Mindset”

Thousands upon thousands of books, articles, media, programs, and so much more have been produced that discuss the awesome power of our minds, and the influence of our thinking upon our lives. It is difficult to say enough or emphasize enough that truth. As I see it, we are exactly as we think.

In my work, I recommend the adoption of an “Abundant” mindset. This means so much more than finance or money, however, for the purposes of this article, I will discuss abundance only as it applies to the world of money and finance.

A financial abundance mindset means enjoying an abundant amount of money, and yet not allowing greed. Greed does not work (sorry, Gordon Gekko). Of course “financial abundance” will be a relative concept; it will probably mean something different to each person. Greed, however, is fairly obvious; it is almost like knowing (within your mid or heart) the difference between right and wrong.

Further, a financial abundance mindset means having the monetary means or resources to enjoy an abundant lifestyle, yet balancing your financial wealth with philanthropy and generous giving (see point 4). When one’s personal motives are clearly defined and one’s goals are aligned with those motives, then financial abundance becomes clear.

“Specialized Knowledge”

The largest difference between the rich and poor (or the “haves” and “have-nots”) is knowledge. Or, more specifically, the largest difference is a specialized knowledge; meaning that they have the “right” knowledge and also know how to use that knowledge to their advantage. In other words, specialized knowledge is the information or data itself, coupled with the wisdom to know how to use the information or data.

For many, specialized knowledge is an academic education such as medical or law school, while for others this might mean computer programming, aviation repair, or something. Further, many of those with a financial education know how to leverage their own money to make more money. Obviously the point is that specialized knowledge translates to earning ability.

“The Power of Compounding Interest and Investing”

For many people, diligent savings and investment of a consistent percentage of income over considerable lengths of time has lead to financial abundance. I would certainly add that economic factors always play a significant role with regard to risk in investments. Even so, living well within one’s means while investing and saving can very often lead to financial abundance.

“Generous Giving”

Generosity does not necessarily mean giving away or donating money. Mr. Zig Ziglar has said: “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

This is so very true. It must be an unwritten law of nature that over time, our generosity is paid back several times over. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and yet employing an attitude of generosity is always a safe bet for a great return. And, if nothing else, it is an illustration of excellence of character.

“What You Love Over Time”

We should seek ways to turn what we love to do into a good living. I am a firm believer that when we do what we love doing, money very often comes as a byproduct, because our focus is not so much on making money as it is on enjoyment and lifestyle. Over time, money tends to take care of itself in large part when we are doing what we enjoy, especially when it helps others.

In conclusion, the very first point – having an abundant mindset – sums up all of the points I have made in this article. When we do what we love to do; when we are generous and seek to help others; when we live within our means and save money; when we always seek a more specialized knowledge…we then have an abundant mindset, and are bound to realize financial abundance.

Small business owners tend to confuse marketing and advertising as the same thing. Advertising is a very important component of marketing but not the same. Marketing is the process of creating customer interest in products and services. Marketing generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication and business development. Marketing is the whole package and advertising is a component.

Advertising is an important element of the marketing strategy and probably the most expensive. Advertising is about sending messages about a company, its products and services. Advertising also includes putting together a series of methods to target viewers and interest them in becoming customers. Advertising includes placing ads, deciding what media to use, the frequency and the time the ad will run. Different types of media are used to distribute the ads. TV, direct mail, newspaper, Internet, emails, radio, magazines, text messages, flyers, billboards, etc. are among the different media used to distribute ads. Different media for different businesses, not all media is for everyone.

Advertising is simply a part of the marketing mix. The other parts include product research, product design, media planning, public relations, product pricing, customer satisfaction, customer support, and the list goes on and on. All these elements work independently but they all work towards achieving the goals and objectives set by the company, sell products or services and build market reputation. Advertising alone will not produce results and copying what others are doing will certainly fail. What works for some does not necessarily mean that it will work for others.

Advertising is not effective if proper research was not followed. Research is the understanding of needs and expectations of the clients. Designing of the product comes next and can be time consuming. Followed by advertising and sales. Marketing puts everything together as it creates strategies to succeed.

Advertising can become very expensive and worthless if not done properly and if important steps are not followed. Branding is important, but a logo does not guarantee sales, a logo represents the values and the reputation of a company and it takes time to build and to be recognized. Small business owners have to first invest time and money in knowing their clients, finding out their expectations and educating them. After getting to know their clients and building aggressively a database then they should engage in advertising and promoting their products and services. A complete marketing campaign will in this way be successful and generate sales.

Automotive equipment and tools are a very important part of the automobile industry. They can range from simple hand held devices to large structures that can even lift a heavy truck. The uses of these equipments in the world of automobiles cannot be undermined. For carrying out repairs, for changing a tire, for lubricating, for servicing, for charging up the battery, and for cleaning the vehicles, these equipments are very important.

Here Is A Brief Note On Some Of The Uses Of These Equipments.

Automobile Equipment Usage

* Automotive Lifts: Hydraulic lifts are very common in the industry and are used in showrooms, repair shops, and automobile factories. They generally come in the form of a platform fixed on a zigzag leg that can be raised or lowered as required. Heavy vehicles can be raised by the use of this equipment. These are how cars reach the first or second floor of a showroom or how the repairs to the lower part of vehicles are carried out in a mechanic’s shop. These lifts can be of different types like motorcycle lifts, runway lifts, drive on lifts, in-ground lifts, etc.

* Lubrication Equipments: As the name suggests, these are used to lubricate parts of the vehicle. There is a long list of lubrication equipments available and each is used for different lubrication purposes. Oil and grease reels, grease guns, oil drains, and oil and grease pumps are all examples of such commonly used equipment. Blacrank is a good brand when it comes to these equipments. Blacrank oil pumps are indisputable masters of the group.

* Compressors: Air compressors are used to do various works on automobiles. Generally, air compressors give additional pressure to drive in screws and give more power to tools like wrenches and nail guns. These are also used to remove dirt from the vehicle.

* Service Equipments: A vehicle needs to be serviced from time to time to ensure its proper running. This is where service equipments come in. These are battery chargers, fuel transfer device, brake fluid exchangers, coolant service equipment, tire changers, etc.

* Reels: These come in different shapes and sizes and are an important member of any automotive equipment list. Reels could be air reels, exhaust hose reels, grease reels, etc. Reels help to keep the pipes and hoses in place and also to extend its life. They can be easily reeled out to the required size and stored by reeling back.

* Jacks: Jacks are important not only in the shop but also for every vehicle owner. They enable the person to lift up the vehicle for the purpose of changing tires or doing some emergency repairs on the vehicle.

The list of automotive equipment is quite long and their uses quite large. Companies who sell such equipments also deal in car parts, thus making the store a one stop place for all things related to automobiles. Nowadays, there are thousands of online stores selling these equipments making them more accessible to all in need.

The term “cooking” includes a wide range of methods, tools and combination of ingredients to create the flavor and digestibility of food. Cooking technique, known as culinary art, generally requires the selection, measurement and combining of ingredients in a controlled procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the individual cooking. The diversity of cooking worldwide is a reflection of many nutritional, artistic, agricultural, economic, cultural and religious considerations that impact upon it. Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually chemically transforms it and changing its flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties. There is archaeological evidence that the primitive human being used to cook their food with fire that was the most important thing discovered by the primitive human being. Cooking food and cuisine culture vary from country to country and from one culture to another and each cuisine has its specific particularity. Nowadays, because of the modern life that changes everything around us and influence our life style and eating habits, people are less preparing their own food. Eating habits tend to unify people from different society. The food production and the process of eating obtain new characteristics. Food available around us seems to be very different from the one that we used to eat.

Eating habits and modern life

Everything is running in high speed, people do not have time for cooking, don`t has the desire and patience to stay longer in the kitchen, and they don`t have the willing to prepare their own food. Old generation still prefer to cook their own food unlike young people who prefer to eat fast food because they don’t want to spend long time cooking and the desire for the cooking. The modern life shapes our eating habits and makes us like slave following its speed. It`s not hard to find fast food restaurant they are everywhere and every corner. Fast food consumption cause damages to the social and economic life of the country and leads to many health problems such as obesity and heart diseases according to many studies. Also, many nutrition experts from different countries have already declared the epidemic character of fast food. The rapid process of globalization and modern life influence our eating’s habits and gives opportunity to fast food restaurants to grow and flourish. Fast food seems to become very common everywhere, though some positive aspect of the fast food in easy to prepare, available in many places, and it is a substantial meal. But in other hand, we can estimate that its negative aspects are more important and bigger. I think it is easy to understand that fast food is one of phenomenon that is going to be accepted by people. We are going to see the process of disappearance of the traditional culture with the development of fast food restaurants in all countries all over the world.

How to fight fast food addiction

The best example of the fast food success to change the modern life is the invasion of the world’s food market by the giant fast food company such as McDonald, KFC and others. According to McDonald`s web site, McDonald has about 29.000 restaurants in 120 countries all over the world, and serves nearly 54 million customers each day. As well as it indicates the fact of such changing in eating preferences and even in the way of life itself. There is no doubt that right now fast food changes the face of many nations and eating habits around the world. To sum up, unfortunately, it is hard to prevent these global changes that traditional food is going to be replaced by new foods that common for all people in all countries all over the world. But the good news is that, recently there are some people and some movements which try to contrast the process of modern life and ask people to go back to their traditional food. To solve this problem we need restaurants that offers traditional food, and able to attract large amount of faithful customers. Also parents must teach their children how to prepare and cook the traditional food. Many People figure out that traditional food is much better for our health, so they want to preserve and keep the cooking tradition from evaporating. There is enormous hope of people to preserve their food preparation customs and tradition. The major obstacles are the modern life style. Some people might say that it is difficult to preserve our traditional food because it takes a long time to prepare and people today can not spend a long time in cooking. Other people, especially older people might say that, it is unfortunate to destroy culture and tradition. Those people might be right.

Conclusion

In these days, people have more health problems that are related with the new eating habits and fast food consumption. Despite some advantages of fast food the harm caused by fast food does not outweigh its benefit. I think that people should consider the negative fact of fast food consumption and the benefits of preparing their own food at home. It`s unfair that the traditional food which arrive to us from generation to generation we are going to replace it with junk food that will harm us more than benefit us. It`s unfortunate to lose the cooking tradition and eating homemade food prepared by our mothers together around the table. I am sure that all of us must think over this problem and try to find the appropriate solution to save our cultures, our traditional foods, and more importantly our health. So we should take action immediately to preserve traditional food and encourage people to prepare their own dishes, so they can stay healthy and live longer. Even though fast food is cheap, convenient, yummy and available in every corner in our cities, but that does not mean that our health is cheaper than the fast food that we eat.

 

People often ask us the same question: “What’s the best way to advertise my Home Improvement business and gather leads?” We’ve compiled a handy list of the 10 most useful tools to advertise your business and see results.

1. Build a Good Online Presence

For what may seem like an obvious necessity for most, some companies still don’t value the importance of a good website. While most companies do have an online presence, it may not be attractive or user-experience optimized. A good website should convey the businesses’ goals, experience, qualities, and services in an easy to read way. There should be a blatant call to action, and sufficient information for the viewer. If the potential client can glance at your page and get all the important information needed, you are that much closer to reeling them in.

 

2. Search Engine Optimization

Many people think that SEO is solely related to building links and advertising your website link. A large part of search engine optimization is related to the way your page is set up. Are you taking advantage of meta keywords and titles? Are you using headers properly? Does your site have a large amount of unique content optimized for targeting certain keywords? These are all important things to consider.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is a great way to advertise your services. You can hire a designer to create a small ad for you to embed into your Craigslist post, or simply use HTML to format a nice, easy to read, eye-catching advertisement. Re-post as per Craigslist’s guidelines and keep your business’s name out there.

4. Adwords

Google provides a great PPC (pay-per-click) advertising system which will target related websites that use Google Adsense to display your ads. You can target your chosen demographic, choose how much you’d like to pay for every click, and modify the appearance of your ad. They offer text ads, image ads, and rich media ads (flash, animation).

5. Social Media

These days social media is becoming the leading the way for advertising and creating a “friendly” relationship with your clients and fans. Create a Fan page on Facebook, establish a Twitter account, or create a blog. these are all great methods to attract your customers.

6. Blog Commenting

Find blogs related to your industry. Search them out, and post meaningful, relevant comments in the comments section. Be sure to add a link to your website, with a keyword that you’d like to target in the search engines. Slow and steady is the key to seeing results; keep at it on a daily/weekly basis and in due time you’ll see results.

7. Local Advertising

If your business is based locally, an ad in a local magazine or newspaper is a great option. Some companies provide direct mail advertising, which allows you to localize your advertisement in a demographic of your choice.

8. Content is King

Creating and publishing unique content will provide your website visitors with an interesting read, a potential link-back, and will improve your chances at getting picked up by the search engines. Google is beginning to heavily penalize websites with unoriginal content, and content of poor quality. Don’t get cut by the search engines. Keep your content interesting, unique, and greatness will follow.

9. Word of Mouth

Sometimes in these technological days we forget the importance of word of mouth! Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good recommendation. Treat your customers with respect and handle their job with excellence and you just might get the good word passed on.

10. Physical Ads

Physical advertisements such as billboards, bus benches, and other sign-age are often expensive, but they are generally high-profile and attention-getting. If you have the marketing funds available, give it a shot and see how it works. Create a marketing campaign and if the results are lower than you expected or needed, try another route.

While there are many methods that businesses use to market themselves, these are the top 10 ways to achieve positive results in this ever-advancing technological age. Try these steps for yourself and watch your business rise to success!

In any Listing Agreement there is a point in time when the agency relationship ends.

A Listing Agreement, as it is widely known, is none other than a contract between the rightful titleholder of an interest in land (the ‘Principal’) and a duly licensed real estate firm (the ‘Agent’), whereby the firm stipulates and agrees to find a Buyer within a specified timeframe who is ready, willing and able to purchase the interest in land that is the subject matter of the contract while acting within the realm of the authority that the Principal confers onto the Agent, and wherein furthermore the titleholder stipulates and agrees to pay a commission should the licensee ever be successful in finding such Buyer.

As in all contracts, there is implied in a Listing Agreement an element which is commonly know at law as an ‘implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings’. This covenant is a general assumption of the law that the parties to the contract – in this case the titleholder and the licensed real estate firm – will deal fairly with each other and that they will not cause each other to suffer damages by either breaking their words or otherwise breach their respective and mutual contractual obligations, express and implied. A breach of this implied covenant gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Due to the particular nature of a Listing Agreement, the Courts have long since ruled that during the term of the agency relationship there is implied in the contract a second element that arises out of the many duties and responsibilities of the Agent towards the Principal: a duty of confidentiality, which obligates an Agent acting exclusively for a Seller or for a Buyer, or a Dual Agent acting for both parties under the provisions of a Limited Dual Agency Agreement, to keep confidential certain information provided by the Principal. Like for the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings, a breach of this duty of confidentiality gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Pursuant to a recent decision of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (http://www.recbc.ca/) , the regulatory body empowered with the mandate to protect the interest of the public in matters involving Real Estate, a question now arises as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends beyond the expiration or otherwise termination of the Listing Agreement.

In a recent case the Real Estate Council reprimanded two licensees and a real estate firm for breaching a continuing duty of confidentiality, which the Real Estate Council found was owing to the Seller of a property. In this case the subject property was listed for sale for over two years. During the term of the Listing Agreement the price of the property was reduced on two occasions. This notwithstanding, the property ultimately did not sell and the listing expired.

Following the expiration of the listing the Seller entered into three separate ‘fee agreements’ with the real estate firm. On all three occasions the Seller declined agency representation, and the firm was identified as ‘Buyer’s Agent’ in these fee agreements. A party commenced a lawsuit as against the Seller, which was related to the subject property.

The lawyer acting for the Plaintiff approached the real estate firm and requested that they provide Affidavits containing information about the listing of the property. This lawyer made it very clear that if the firm did not provide the Affidavits voluntarily, he would either subpoena the firm and the licensees as witnesses to give evidence before the Judge, or he would obtain a Court Order pursuant to the Rules Of Court compelling the firm to give such evidence. The real estate firm, believing there was no other choice in the matter, promptly complied by providing the requested Affidavits.

As a direct and proximate result, the Seller filed a complaint with the Real Estate Council maintaining that the information contained in the Affidavits was ‘confidential’ and that the firm had breached a duty of confidentiality owing to the Seller. As it turned out, the Affidavits were never used in the court proceedings.

The real estate brokerage, on the other hand, took the position that any duty of confidentiality arising from the agency relationship ended with the expiration of the Listing Agreement. The firm argued, moreover, that even if there was a duty of continuing confidentiality such duty would not preclude or otherwise limit the evidence that the real estate brokerage would be compelled to give under a subpoena or in a process under the Rules Of Court. And, finally, the realty company pointed out that there is no such thing as a realtor-client privilege, and that in the instant circumstances the Seller could not have prevented the firm from giving evidence in the lawsuit.

The Real Estate Council did not accept the line of defence and maintained that there exists a continuing duty of confidentiality, which extends after the expiration of the Listing Agreement. Council ruled that by providing the Affidavits both the brokerage and the two licensee had breached this duty.

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects communications between a client and the attorney and keeps those communications confidential. There are limitations to the attorney-client privilege, like for instance the fact that the privilege protects the confidential communication but not the underlying information. For instance, if a client has previously disclosed confidential information to a third party who is not an attorney, and then gives the same information to an attorney, the attorney-client privilege will still protect the communication to the attorney, but will not protect the information provided to the third party.

Because of this, an analogy can be drawn in the case of a realtor-client privilege during the existence of a Listing Agreement, whereby confidential information is disclosed to a third party such as a Real Estate Board for publication under the terms of a Multiple Listings Service agreement, but not before such information is disclosed to the real estate brokerage. In this instance the privilege theoretically would protect the confidential communication as well as the underlying information.

And as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends past the termination of a Listing Agreement is still a matter of open debate, again in the case of an attorney-client privilege there is ample legal authority to support the position that such privilege does in fact extend indefinitely, so that arguably an analogy can be inferred as well respecting the duration of the duty of confidentiality that the Agent owes the Seller, to the extent that such duty extends indefinitely.

This, in a synopsis, seems to be the position taken by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia in this matter.

Clearly, whether the duty of confidentiality that stems out of a Listing Agreement survives the termination of the contract is problematic to the Real Estate profession in terms of practical applications. If, for instance, a listing with Brokerage A expires and the Seller re-lists with Brokerage B, if there is a continuing duty of confidentiality on the part of Brokerage A, in the absence of express consent on the part of the Seller a Realtor of Brokerage A could not act as a Buyer’s Agent for the purchase of the Seller’s property, if this was re-listed by Brokerage B. All of which, therefore, would fly right in the face of all the rules of professional cooperation between real estate firms and their representatives. In fact, this process could potentially destabilize the entire foundation of the Multiple Listings Service system.

In the absence of specific guidelines, until this entire matter is clarified perhaps the best course of action for real estate firms and licensees when requested by a lawyer to provide information that is confidential, is to respond that the brokerage will seek to obtain the necessary consent from the client and, if that consent is not forthcoming, that the lawyer will have to take the necessary legal steps to compel the disclosure of such information.

Meet the Chontaduro or Palm Fruit

What’s that?” I asked staring at the plum-sized fruit the woman peeled in her hand.

These are chontaduros from the coast.” “How would you like yours?

How can I have them?” I queried back.

You can have them with salt or honey.

Then give me two of each.

The middle-aged Black woman sat on the top stair leading into the strip mall. Her clothing was well worn, reflecting a hard life and lower stratus. She set to work straightaway. After peeling four of the fruits she cut them in half lengthwise to pry out the single black seed in the center using a small paring knife. Then she dipped the fruit into a small bowl of salt coating half of the fruit. Repeating the procedure with two more chontaduros plucked from a plastic basin full on her lap, she dropped these into a narrow plastic bag while drizzling a stream of honey first over one then another dropped into the bag on top of the first. A separate bag held the two salted ones. With the thick, tough skin peeled off, the lone seed removed and the fruit quartered, there is no waste. I preferred the salted ones.

A Little Known Culinary Treasure

Scientifically named Bactris gasipaes, the Chontaduro or Palm fruit as it is sometimes called, is common in many of the Pacific Ocean coastal regions of Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador. Varieties also grow in parts of the West Indies. Some of its many other names include Cachipay, Pejibaye, Pijuayo and Pupunja. The skin (epicarp) of the fruit can range in color from red to orange or yellow depending on the variety of the palm. It has a firm texture, slightly starchy taste and its pulp is dry and a bit stringy, but its popularity is extensive nonetheless. In Colombia, for example, it is used in dozens of recipes but is principally eaten boiled in salted water, peeled then dipped in salt or drizzled with honey. To date, the chontaduro has limited popularity outside its locally grown regions. This is beginning to change however, as its use in gourmet fare increases and its availability expands. The Palm fruit though, is a little known culinary treasure working its way up the exotic food rankings.

Cooking with Chontaduro

In sauces, soups, stews and baked delicacies though, the Chontaduro has no equal. The Palm fruit can also be used to make flour, jellies or pressed to release its high cholesterol content oil. Most people eat the fruit after its boiled in salted water, then peeled and dipped in salt, marmalade or honey. When the boiled fruit is peeled and seeded, it can be shredded, grated, ground or processed into a puree base, then used in sauces, crèmes or bases. A particular favorite is a cooked Palm fruit sauce poured over or glazed onto fish and seafood. Its unique flavor makes an interesting base for soups and stews. The pulp can be pickled, fermented, jellied or dried and ground for use in a broad range of additional applications. So if you’re looking to spice up your own recipes, try cooking with chontaduros for a unique flavor twist.