How Sampling and Estimation will help you get accurate results to fill in the missing blanks

The concepts of elementary sampling theory and estimation theories introduced here will provide the basis for a more detailed study of inspection, control and quality control techniques used in industry. Such theories can be quite complicated; in this chapter a full treatment of the theories and the derivation of formulae have been omitted for clarity–basic concepts only have been developed. I only study very basic, less than 1 month so that I can achieve my goals, with the ability to create multiple views and scenerios, I already get fantastic results, those who goes in-depth will definitely be better than me. I can easily find missing details in accounting by comparing and very accurately sample with estimation and other creative methods which I will not reveal everything to find in any black box, hitting inputs and verifying the outputs, comparing the difference and multiple levels of processing.

Introduction To Sampling Methods
http://www.textbooksonline.tn.nic.in/books/11/std11-stat-em.pdf
Sampling and Estimation
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/roudou/pdf/3.pdf
Sampling and Estimation Theories
http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/eresources/9780080965628/Ch_66_Sampling_and_estimation_theories.pdf 

– Contributed by Oogle.

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Garden by the Bay costs S$53million a year to maintain, where is the money from???

By Natasha Ann Zachariah,  The Straits Times  |  Tue, Oct 9 2012
THE Gardens by the Bay has scored an architectural coup by winning the World Building of the Year award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival last Friday.
It also won for best display building for its two conservatories, the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome.
The three-day festival at Marina Bay Sands, which started on Wednesday, is considered the Oscars of the architectural world. Now into its fifth year, this is the first time it has been held outside of Barcelona, Spain.
Past winners of the World Building of the Year include MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects, and Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa by Peter Rich Architects.
Four other Singapore projects also won awards. The Kallang River-Bishan Park designed by German firm Atelier Dreiseitl won for best urban landscape project, while condo Martin No. 38 by Kerry Hill Architects won for best housing building.
The Marina Bay MRT station by local firm Aedas received the prize for best transport building, and the Herman Miller shop-in-shop at furniture store Xtra at Park Mall by P.A.C won for best shopping building.
Winners were chosen by a jury that included celebrated architects and architecture professionals such as Dutch architect Ben van Berkel; Israeli-born Moshe Safdie, who was behind the Marina Bay Sands design; and Mr Wong Mun Summ, co-founder director of Singapore-based practice Woha.
Gardens by the Bay chief executive Tan Wee Kiat said the team was “pleased as punch” at the wins. “This award is quite special because of its status and what it means globally.”
Led by British firm Grant Associates, the team included architectural firm Wilkinson Eyre, which picked up the award for the conservatories, environmental design consultancy Atelier
Ten, structural engineering firm Atelier One, design firm Land Design Studio, and communication design firm Thomas Matthews.
Mr Paul Baker, director of London-based Wilkinson Eyre, said: “It was an amazing project to work on and showed the foresight of the Government. It was the project of a lifetime with new opportunities.”
Festival director Paul Finch said the event will return to Singapore for another year, from Oct 2 to 4 next year.
He said: “It wasn’t a surprise that many Singapore projects won. With projects like Gardens by the Bay and Kallang River-Bishan Park, it shows the city is taking design seriously.”
natashaz@sph.com.sg

Do you believe it???It’s just information warfare

The CIA paid an al Qaeda spy $250,000 to help find a bride for American-born terrorist Anwar al Awlaki in a plot to locate and kill him, according to a report in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
The CIA declined to comment when asked about the published account. But if true, it provides a revealing look at the lengths to which the CIA went to find and eliminate al Awlaki, who was among the most wanted terrorists in the world after the death of Osama bin Laden. Al Awlaki was linked by US authorities to a number of terror plots, including the failed effort by the underwear bomber to blow up a US jetliner over Detroit and the attack at Fort Hood in which 13 people died and dozens were injured.
WATCH Awlaki and his bride talk by video.
In the case of the terrorist bride, the purported CIA double agent, Morten Storm, a Danish convert to Islam, provided the newspaper with “proposal” videos and e-mail texts he says al Awlaki exchanged with the woman, a 32-year old Croatian named Aminah who said she was an admirer of al Awlaki.
“I am 32 years old and am ready for dangerous things,” she wrote, according to texts posted by the paper. “I am ready to die for the sake of Allah.”
WATCH Jyllands-Posten’s English-language video on the alleged Awlaki ‘terror bride’ plot
The report says the plot failed when the woman reached Yemen but was told by al Awlaki’s aides to abandon her suitcase which had been bugged with tracking devices by the CIA without her knowledge.
Storm told the newspaper, “both of them would be killed in an American drone strike” if the CIA plan had succeeded.
Al Awlaki was killed in a CIA drone strike in September, 2011. The CIA also declined to comment last week when the claims by the purported Danish spy first surfaced in the Danish newspaper.
The account of his alleged role with the CIA and recruitment by Danish intelligence touched off a public firestorm in Denmark over the involvement of the Danish service in the attack that killed al Awlaki. Danish authorities denied any involvement in the attack and said its efforts were aimed only at protecting Denmark from possible al Qaeda attacks.
In this latest report, Storm says he was asked by al Awlaki in 2009 to help him find a European Muslim to be his third wife.
In 2010, he said, he found Aminah through a Facebook page that had been set up for sympathizers of al Awlaki and proceeded to play the role of matchmaker with the CIA’s money and resources.
In her “proposal” video posted on-line by Jyllands-Posten, Aminah, a resident of Zagreb, says, “I feel nervous, this is very awkward for me. I just taped this so you can see how I look.”
In his tape, al Awlaki says he is sending a video message “specifically for sister Aminah.” In an apparent reference to Storm, the alleged CIA spy, al Awlaki says, “The brother who is carrying this video is a trustworthy brother.”
Storm says al Awlaki wrote his prospective Facebook bride to accept her proposal for marriage, “If you can live in difficult conditions, don’t mind loneliness, and can live with restrictions on your communications with others, that is great.”
Storm also provided the newspaper with a still photograph of a suitcase packed with $100 U.S. bills that he says was his quarter-million dollar payment from the CIA.
Storm says even though the CIA plot failed, the marriage was a success.
Following al Awlaki’s killing last year, Storm says the young woman wrote him to say she wanted to go on a suicide mission to avenge her husband’s death but that al Qaeda leaders had decided against it.
The report says she now works with the al Qaeda on-line magazine “Inspire,” which frequently featured the musings of her late husband, al Awlaki. 
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P/S : I also have 100 wives who are my secret agents, do you know who are they???
Never sell out for Fool’s Gold, where MacDonald’s shares are worth 4x the present value when McCafe is listed. If you are greedy, you will fall for scams like below.
– Contributed by Oogle. 
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S’poreans Flock To RWS For ‘Money Miracle’!

(Over 1000 & growing) Singaporeans expected to show up at RWS to learn how 2 homeless dudes generated $15 million USD in under 9 months!????

Crossing the Bridge, if you cannot get pass, you will never reach the next

By Saumu Jumanne

This is how to attain your business goals
As a human being develops in different spheres, dreams for a worthwhile future are part of living. And those dreams are attained by setting up goals and working towards their fulfillment.
One almost universal dream is financial independence, the subtle spirit that lives in the hearts of entrepreneurs.
The difference
 A dream is something you hope for, something you see, but presently it is intangible while a goal means setting up a path to walk in and putting your mind into it in terms of planning.
 The dreams of an entrepreneur fires one to set up business goals. This calls for planning ahead with a clear objective on what to achieve.  Business goals are usually two pronged- financial and non-financial. A good dreamer will set targets which with some inspiration are realizable or attainable.

Financial goals
As an entrepreneur you expect to be in a positive financial situation in the future. In order to reach there, you make your targets. How much do I want to earn? How much do I want my business to be worth? Where do I want my enterprise to be in two, five or ten years? Those are some of the question that crops up.  And it calls for setting up good strategies to attain those goals. In business language we are talking about financial planning.
Financial planning
In order to achieve your financial goals, you need to have good financial planning which can be reviewed every now and then as per the reality on ground and future projections. Financial goals acts as a way of gaining control over your money.
 To succeed you must identify and list all your financial goals. Then you need to estimate the time (set deadline) to be taken to achieve each goal. For instance, identify the goals that might be attained within a period of less than 1 year, medium-term (1 to 3 years) and long-term (5 years or more). This means that, the short term and medium term goals focuses  much on how to attaining long term goals.
 It is also important to estimate the cost of each goal (how much money is required to attain each goal).  Then determine how much to save on a  weekly or monthly basis to be able to attain your goals. Remember you need to proceed with the normal daily life while making some savings.
 Without a budget for your goals, they will hit a cropper.  You must have a plausible budget that will help you identify priority areas.
In other words, all what we are looking at today, is PLANNING what you want to achieve in the future and IDENTIFYING resources needed to make your dreams come true.
As an entrepreneur it is unforgivable sin not to know exactly what are your financial goals and how you plan to make them good.

Along the way, it is always advisable to keep on evaluating progress made. This can be at any interval which is convenient. It can be monthly, quarterly, semi annually or  annually. Leaving that element is suicidal to your enterprise.
Evaluations helps to review progress and take measures to redress shortcomings and move into the future at a point of strength. If you find that you are not making satisfactory progress on a particular goal, it is time to re-evaluate your approach and make necessary changes.
It is very satisfying for an entrepreneur to achieving planned goals thus making your dreams come true.
To attain your financial goals is much like finding a unique place that you had never been before. Finding your way there is a challenge but following the steps I have shared here will let you taking less time.  Human beings, more entrepreneurs do not plan to fail but rather fail to plan.
What hammering home is that good financial planning is a way forward towards achieving your business goals. The more detailed your plan is, the better the chance of reaching your determined destination in the least amount of time.
After all planning in business is the core of successful which shows you exactly where you want to be now and in future financially. But my friends remember achieving financial goals requires not only planning but some sacrifices as well…. Next week, best wishes. ( saumu.j@gmail.com )
*The columnist teaches at Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE).

There should not be any Tax haven, companies should audit their accounts according to their country of business


By Tom BerginLONDON | Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:48am EDT
(Reuters) – Starbucks’ coffee menu famously baffles some people. In Britain, it’s their accounts that are confusing. Starbucks has been telling investors the business was profitable, even as it consistently reported losses.
This apparent contradiction arises from tax avoidance, and sheds light on perfectly legal tactics used by multinationals the world over. Starbucks stands out because it has told investors one thing and the taxman another.
The Seattle-based group, with a market capitalization of $40 billion, is the second-largest restaurant or cafe chain globally after McDonald’s. Accounts filed by its UK subsidiary show that since it opened in the UK in 1998 the company has racked up over 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) in coffee sales, and opened 735 outlets but paid only 8.6 million pounds in income taxes, largely due because the taxman disallowed some deductions.
Over the past three years, Starbucks has reported no profit, and paid no income tax, on sales of 1.2 billion pounds in the UK. McDonald’s, by comparison, had a tax bill of over 80 million pounds on 3.6 billion pounds of UK sales. Kentucky Fried Chicken, part of Yum Brands Inc., the no. 3 global restaurant or cafe chain by market capitalization, incurred taxes of 36 million pounds on 1.1 billion pounds in UK sales, according to the accounts of their UK units.
Yet transcripts of investor and analyst calls over 12 years show Starbucks officials regularly talked about the UK business as “profitable”, said they were very pleased with it, or even cited it as an example to follow for operations back home in the United States.
Troy Alstead, Starbucks’ Chief Financial Officer and one of the company officials quoted in the transcripts of calls Reuters reviewed, defended his past comments, saying the company strictly follows international accounting rules and pays the appropriate level of tax in all the countries where it operates. A spokeswoman said by email that: “We seek to be good taxpayers and to pay our fair share of taxes … We don’t write this tax code; we are obligated to comply with it. And we do.”
When presented with Reuters’ findings, Michael Meacher, a member of parliament for the Labour Party who is campaigning against tax avoidance, said Starbucks’ practice “is certainly profoundly against the interests of the countries where they operate and is extremely unfair … they are trying to play the taxman, game him. It is disgraceful.”
There is no suggestion Starbucks has broken any laws. Indeed, the group’s overall tax rate – including deferred taxes which may or may not be paid in the future – was 31 percent last year, much higher than the 18.5 percent average rate that campaign group Citizens for Tax Justice says large U.S. corporations paid in recent years.
But on overseas income, Starbucks paid an average tax rate of 13 percent, one of the lowest in the consumer goods sector.
The UK tax authorities and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said confidentiality rules prevented them from commenting.
A LOSSMAKER WITH FAT MARGINS
You could think of Starbucks’ differing versions of its experience in the UK as two different coffees. To its investors, it sells an espresso – strong and vibrant. The UK taxman gets a watered-down Americano.
The contradiction between the two stories becomes evident from scrutiny of its group reports and the transcripts of 46 conference calls with investors and analysts.
Like most big corporations, Starbucks’ group earnings statements do not break down its profits and tax payments by country, although on calls it occasionally shares details about larger markets such as the UK. But companies operating in the UK are obliged to lodge accounts at the company register, Companies House, to give a picture of the unit’s financial performance.
In the 2007 financial year to end-September, Starbucks’ UK unit’s accounts showed its tenth consecutive annual loss. Yet that November, Chief Operating Officer Martin Coles told analysts on the fourth-quarter earnings call that the UK unit’s profits were funding Starbucks’ expansion in other overseas markets. Then-Chief Financial Officer Peter Bocian said the unit had enjoyed operating profit margins of almost 15 percent that year – equivalent to a profit of almost 50 million pounds.
For 2008, Starbucks filed a 26 million pounds loss in the UK. Yet CEO Schultz told an analysts’ call that the UK business had been so successful he planned to take the lessons he had learnt there and apply them to the company’s largest market – the United States. He also promoted Cliff Burrows, former head of the UK and Europe, to head the U.S. business.
Schultz said he looked forward to Burrows “now applying that same drive and business acumen to leading our U.S. business.”
In 2009, accounts filed in London claimed a record loss of 52 million pounds for the financial year to September 27, while CFO Alstead told investors on a call that the UK unit was “profitable.”
For 2010, the UK unit reported a 34 million pounds loss, and Starbucks told investors that sales continued to grow.
Starbucks UK unit’s accounts for the year to September 2011 showed a 33 million pounds loss. Yet John Culver, President of Starbucks’ International division, told analysts on a call earlier that year that “we are very pleased with the performance in the UK.”
When Reuters asked Starbucks’ CFO Alstead which version was accurate – Starbucks’ accounts for the UK taxman, or its comments to investors, he said: “The UK is very troubled, unfortunately. Historically it has performed a little bit better than it does now.”
He did not explain why the UK business was so disappointing, but said Starbucks was “taking very aggressive actions” to improve its performance, including changing its cost structure.
Meacher, the politician, said Starbucks’ experience reflects broader problems in the UK system, which allows companies to pay less tax than they morally should. Tax campaigners say that failure is partly policy: successive governments have urged the tax authority to take a pro-business stance. The UK is one of the few rich countries not to have general anti-avoidance legislation, which the government is preparing now.
A LICENCE TO LOSE MONEY
Presented with the contradiction between Starbucks’ UK accounts and its comments to investors, Starbucks’ CFO Alstead identified two factors at play, both related to payments between companies within the group.
The first is royalties on intellectual property. Starbucks, like other consumer goods businesses, has taken a leaf out of the book of tech companies such as Google and Microsoft. Such firms were identified by Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in a September hearing on how U.S. companies shield billions from tax authorities. He said they were engaged in “gimmickry” by housing intellectual property units in tax havens, and then charging their subsidiaries fat royalties for using it.
Like those tech firms, Starbucks makes its UK unit and other overseas operations pay a royalty fee – at Starbucks, of six percent of total sales – for the use of its ‘intellectual property’ such as its brand and business processes. These payments reduce taxable income in the UK.
McDonald’s also charges its UK subsidiary a royalty for ‘intellectual property’, although at a lower rate of 4-5 percent.
The fees from Starbucks’ European units are paid to Amsterdam-based Starbucks Coffee EMEA BV, described by the company as its European headquarters, although Michelle Gass, the firm’s president in Europe, is actually based in London.
It’s unclear where the money paid to Starbucks Coffee EMEA BV ends up, or what tax is paid on it. The firm had revenues of 73 million euros in 2011 but declared a profit of only 507,000 euros. When asked how it burnt up all its revenue, Alstead pointed to staff costs and rent. The HQ has 97 employees.
Alstead said some of the unit’s revenue was also paid to other Starbucks units, including one in Switzerland. He declined to say if fees paid for the use of the brand, which originated in the United States, are sent back to be taxed.
Professor Michael McIntyre at the Wayne State University Law School said it was rare for such fees to be repatriated to the United States, where corporate profits are taxed at up to 39 percent. In contrast in Switzerland, lawyers say, earnings from royalties can be taxed at rates as low as 2 percent.
Starbucks declined to comment when asked if it used offshore jurisdictions in this way.
ARM’S LENGTH
The UK tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), allows companies to deduct intellectual property fees if firms can show the charges were made at “arm’s length” – that is, if companies can show they would have agreed on the terms even if they were not connected.
One way to prove this is to show that a license for which a royalty is paid is key to the subsidiary’s profitability, said Stella Amiss, international tax partner with accountancy firm PwC. After all, if you are paying for an asset that never generates a profit, you are probably paying too much. “You would need to show a track record of profitability,” she said.
Starbucks says it abides by the ‘arm’s length’ principle, even if the company has not been profitable in the UK.
Accounts for McDonald’s UK unit show it also pays trademark fees to associated companies, but these have generated profit. A spokeswoman for KFC said its UK unit did not pay such fees.
Accounting firm Deloitte, which audits both Starbucks’ group accounts and those of the UK unit, declined to comment.
BEAN COUNTER
The second factor for the contradiction between Starbucks’ local accounts and its comments to investors is a requirement to allocate some funds generated in the UK to other subsidiaries in its supply chain. “The profit sits where the value is created. That is a principle we subscribe to,” Starbucks CFO Alstead said.
Starbucks buys coffee beans for the UK through a Lausanne, Switzerland-based firm, Starbucks Coffee Trading Co. Before the beans reach the UK they are roasted at a subsidiary which is based in Amsterdam but separate from the European HQ.
Alstead said that tax authorities in the Netherlands and Switzerland require Starbucks to allocate some profits from its UK sales to its Dutch roasting and Swiss trading units. This is a common requirement, which multinationals meet by setting prices, known as a “transfer prices”, for goods that pass between different group entities. Experts say transfer prices are also a way for a company to minimize its tax bill.
It’s not clear how Starbucks allocates such costs. What is clear is that while its UK subsidiary is making a loss, its Dutch roasting operation has only a small profit. In the past three years, the Amsterdam unit has had an average annual turnover of 154 million euros but recorded average profit of 1.6 million euros, or 1 percent of that, according to its accounts.
On average, 84 percent of the Amsterdam unit’s annual revenue has gone on buying goods such as raw coffee beans, the electricity to roast them, and packaging.
Starbucks declined to give details, or comment on what the charges indicate about the price its roaster paid its Swiss unit for coffee beans. It also declined to say what profit the Swiss coffee-buying unit makes, although Alstead said it was “moderately” profitable. Swiss law does not require the unit to publish accounts.
Corporate profits are taxed at 24 percent in the UK and 25 percent in the Netherlands, whereas profits tied to international trade in commodities like coffee are taxed at rates as low as 5 percent in Switzerland, lawyers there say.
Starbucks was the subject of a UK customs inquiry in 2009 and 2010 into the company’s transfer pricing practices. This was “resolved without recourse to any further action or penalty”, a Starbucks spokesman said. HMRC declined to comment on the probe.
A CASH-RICH BORROWER
Starbucks’ UK accounts show a third way it cuts its tax: inter-company loans. These are a common tactic for shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions, according to a guidance manual used by the UK tax authorities, who try to limit the technique.
Such loans bring a double tax benefit to multinationals: the borrower can set any interest paid against taxable income, and the creditor can be based in a place that doesn’t tax interest.
An examination of its accounts shows that Starbucks’ UK unit is entirely funded by debt, and paid group companies 2 million pounds in interest last year. For comparison, McDonald’s UK – which has 465 more branches than Starbucks – paid only 1 million pounds in interest to its group companies last year.
Starbucks hardly cuts its UK subsidiary a good deal. Its group bonds carry a coupon of Libor plus 1.3 percent. Libor, the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, is an international interest rate benchmark frequently used in commercial lending. Starbucks charges its UK unit interest at Libor plus 4 percentage points. For comparison, KFC charges its subsidiaries around Libor plus 2 percentage points and the UK units of McDonald’s pay affiliates interest at or below the Libor rate.
(Additional reporting by Cezary Podkul in New York Edited by Sara Ledwith, Richard Woods and Simon Robinson)
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Starbucks is not losing money in UK, it is just it’s profits is lower compared to US, Europe and Asia, so by lumping everything together without breaking up into countries, nobody can read their accounts, this is against transparency and I for one is not confident to invest if companies adopt such practices, money flows to countries and corporations with the most transparent accounting practices.
– Contributed by Oogle.