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EOFY or the end of the financial year is the time when small businesses in Australia need to deal with their taxes. However, in 2020, this period posed numerous challenges thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and things look to be going on a similar course in 2021.
In this post, we’re going to take you through some handy tips that will help your Australian small business deal with the accounting and taxation challenges that lie ahead. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t only resulted in problems in healthcare and the economy – it’s also been the perfect breeding ground for a wide variety of cybersecurity attacks and email scams. Simply put, if you haven’t put measures in place to protect the data of your company, its customers, and its stakeholders, you should get to it without any further delays.
We recommend updating your software and using strong passwords for giving your system the protection it needs. You can also consider multi-factor authentication, which involves setting a combination of security checks. This ensures the prevention of unauthorized access to your business’ computer systems, online services, and applications. We recommend using MYOB or XERO, which are both online financial accounting software with a slew of helpful features.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has made things simpler for SMEs in light of the pandemic. For example, if you and/or your employees are working from home, you can claim 80 cents/hour to cover all your running expenses. This eliminates the need for going through complex calculations.
Both small businesses and employers can access helpful information that has been provided by the ATO. Some of the aspects that the ATO has focused on include:
The ATO has also provided a list of legitimate deductions for businessmen working from home, which includes:
Most Australian small businesses failed to meet their financial goals in 2020. Not much is going to be different in 2021, given that COVID-19 is still very much on the rampage around the world. In such a scenario, it’s important that you prioritize your mental health and don’t push yourself too hard to achieve the goals that you outlined in the budget 2021 for your business.
Apart from taking care of your own mental health, you should also encourage open and supportive communication among your employees, even if you are all working remotely. The Australian Government has put out some practical ways in which owners and employees of small businesses can access support for mental health issues.
According to the Government’s recommendations, mental health risks can be managed by identifying hazards, assessing and controlling risks, and continually reviewing control measures for ensuring effectiveness. You should also keep your stress levels in check and ask your employees to do the same by:
Simply put, today’s market is unprecedented, and this should be reflected in your forecasts and budgets. Take your financial advisor’s help and keep your financial statements updated, and don’t forget to reassess them periodically to keep track of accounts receivables.
Go into great detail regarding what the effects of the market are on your workforce and your business operations. If you feel you lack the intuition and foresight to predict the changes in this uncertain market, take the help of the COVID-19 Contingency Plan produced by CPA Australia. This plan is sure to give you a much clearer picture regarding the future of your small business in an uncertain market landscape.
Financial advisors are more important than ever before, and you should seek counsel from them to steer your business through this uncertain period. EOFY processes can be daunting, and if you want to tackle them yourself, it can impact your business’ productivity negatively.
That’s why if you don’t have a dedicated financial advisor for your business, it’s time you choose one. Thankfully, there are many experts out there who can help you out. While you will have to shell out more money to hire the services of a reputed financial advisor, you should consider it money that will be well spent in the long run.
Additional tips for EOFY for small businesses
So, now that we’ve taken you through the handiest tips for getting your SME prepared for EOFY, we hope that your business will be ready by the time June 30 comes around. To conclude this post, we’d like to wish your business and its entire workforce all the very best for the future.
There are three key drivers of growth in a business- product, sales, and cash collection; however, the third one rarely receives the attention it deserves. Businesses often focus on sales/marketing and product – while taking cash collection as a given. The success of many B2B companies depends on their ability to manage the receivables collection function efficiently. And this is a function that deserves more attention, investment, and, dare we say, credit than it usually gets.
When you sell a product or perform service on credit, you are also in the B2B accounts receivables collection business. The financial health of your company depends on how well your business can collect on sales. Unfortunately, it is often performed with inadequate forethought to the systems, staff, strategy, and tactics to deliver exceptional results. And businesses find that their customers are using them as a bank, with many overdue invoices impacting the cash flow and growth prospects of the company.
Here we will look at how it is possible to increase your company’s cash flow performance with better planning, execution, and technology
Credit, or rather the lack of credit-risk strategies, can often lead to bad B2B business debts. The problems can intensify with the lack of efficient operating models and insufficient management focus.
Many businesses do not implement a robust framework for credit-risk assessment. They do not follow the global best practices that reduce customer delinquency and debt collection. Not accounting for credit risk can lead to unhealthy business growth. It expands the customer base but depresses the profitability.
Companies with a credit risk framework often do not monitor pre-delinquency or follow the same approach for each bad debt. These companies seem to follow the same settlement strategies for all delinquents instead of adopting a customized approach for each such customer.
Most companies do not have a specialized debt collection team, and they mostly rely on external agencies for the same. Some outsource this job to call-center agents who lack proper training to assess a customer’s situation. These agents, thus, fail to provide the right settlement options to these customers.
When the responsibility for collections lies between multiple departments, it is difficult to establish clear ownership of credit risk. Often, such companies lack staff that specializes in credit and risk management.
Top executives seem to be more occupied by transformation, innovation, and digitization that accounts receivables & collection is usually not in the spotlight. Bad debt figures don’t often feature on the agenda, making it harder to improve the situation.
Bad debts are never good for a business. They affect company finances as well as the accounting process. Bad debts often complicate the accounting process making it difficult to comprehend when a sale was completed. Accounting for an unpaid sale requires a variety of collection and reporting procedures.
Preventing bad debts is essential not just for the company’s financial health but also to minimize reputation and relationship risks from the collection process.
Debt management is vital to a business as it ensures that the company has enough working capital to reinvest and grow. Effectively managing debt requires some thought and planning and can be controlled with these simple steps.
Most businesses have an informal arrangement for supplying goods and services. Not having clear, written terms of trade can lead to several disputes creating bad debts.
B2B companies require a firm credit policy to ensure their continued growth. Before offering credit to new customers, companies should conduct a thorough credit history and business reference check. Document the terms of business and the credit limits, and initiate business only when your customers understand, accept, and sign the business terms.
Implementing new payment terms and conditions is better done with new customers or those looking to extend their credit limit. Introducing new terms to existing customers could upset them and affect their loyalty.
Customers are more likely to pay you on time when you provide them with the right information on documents and invoices. Disputes can create bad debts that can significantly impact the business.
All your documents- quotations, invoices, contracts, purchase orders, and estimates should refer to your terms and credit policy. Make sure that the invoices and financial statements clearly show the amount due and the due date. The company’s billing address and bank account details should also be present on such documents.
It is a good idea to check with the customer if they need any additional information to expedite the payment. Indicating collection charges for overdue accounts on your invoices and statements can discourage late payments.
Well-maintained information is the key to good debt management. There are many credit management software solutions available in the market that can ease your company’s debt management process. These software solutions can closely monitor your debtors’ ledger and keep track of the outstanding payments. These solutions also offer regular reporting to help identify trends and patterns before they can impact your business’ cash flow.
One of the simplest hacks for getting paid outstanding invoices paid quickly is to add a multitude of payment options (credit card, bank transfer, cheques) – from a ‘Pay Now’ button on your invoice to enabling debt financing solutions – where you customers can get the outstanding invoices financed and pay you while they manage the repayments. The simple philosophy is to provide no excuses for your customers to not pay you – something which we adopt here at ezyCollect as well.
Accounts Receivables automation modernizes the accounts receivables process through automatic, electronic systems that decrease repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It frees up time for your accounts receivables team to chase payment and get the cash in to mitigate bad debts, rather than wasting time on printing and posting invoices.
AR automation improves the accuracy of invoicing details, leaving little to no room for an excuse for late payments. The AR team gets more time to chase payments and handle exceptions making collections fast with less delinquency.
Strengthen your delivery systems and implement the practice of keeping signed dockets as proof of delivery. When you automate the AR process, it becomes possible to send invoices ahead of time, discouraging customers from making late payments. It can also send automatic reminders when customers deviate from your trade terms.
Review the credit limits of your customers regularly. Look out for warning signals which could indicate that they may be facing financial problems. Check on all customers, even the long-standing ones, to monitor changes in buying habits or an increasing level of debt.
Wherever possible, refrain from doing business only with one substantial customer. Customer concentration risks outweigh the benefits. Be careful of customers who are expanding rapidly as their business growth can sometimes affect their ability to pay. Do exercise caution when handling requests for extending credit.
Stop supplying to customers who do not pay their accounts on time. Initiate a discussion about the situation and try and reach a settlement for payment of past supplies.
The core of a sound onboarding practice is to ensure that potential clients can pay for your goods or services. Implementing complete business credit checks allows you to access a client’s payment history, giving you useful information about their ability to pay, now and in the future. When you know a client’s potential payment pattern, you can make an informed decision if and how you would like to conduct business with that customer. The existing process of getting trade references and having your customers and sales teams fill out forms isn’t the most effective one – you might consider investing in a service or resource that can complete comprehensive business credit checks for you rapidly and help you transact with the right customers for your business
When you have insight into how a potential client manages financial responsibilities, you can make amendments to your payment terms and credit limits. Customizing payment terms for different customers helps safeguard your business from unreliable clients and cuts down the risk of bad debts. For instance, if a credit check indicates that a potential customer is a payment risk, you may front-load the payment terms or not offer credit at all.
Credit checks can be invaluable to mitigating risks and protecting your business from potentially expensive mistakes.
B2B businesses face several challenges when collecting outstanding payments from delinquent customers. Developing a well-structured process, leveraging digitization, and upgrading your teams’ resources and capabilities can maximize recoveries and prevent bad debts. With an increased focus on debt management, companies can reduce high costs and lost income and enhance customer focus, customer engagement, resilience, and profits.
Updated 22 March 2020:
The staged total economic relief package so far from the Australian Government and the Reserve Bank of Australia is valued at $189 billion.
Assistance to business to keep people in jobs include:
1. Wage subsidies of up to $100,000 (minimum payment of $20,000) for eligible SMEs and NFPs that have an annual turnover under $50 million and employ workers.
Read the Fact Sheet: Cash flow assistance for businesses
2. Temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 allowing debtors and company directors more time to respond to statutory demands from creditors. Extended thresholds and response times will apply for 6 months.
Read the Fact Sheet: Temporary relief for financially distresses businesses
3. Until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold for businesses with an annual turnover of up to $500 million increases from $30,000 to $150,000.
Read the Fact Sheet: Delivering support for business investment
4. Small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee as at 1 March 2020 can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 percent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. (Maximum of $7,000 per quarter per individual.)
Read the Fact Sheet: Cash flow assistance for businesses
5. Coronavirus-affected regions and sectors, including the airline sector, will benefit from recovery plans valued at $1 billion.
Read the Fact Sheet: Assistance for severely affected regions and sectors
6. The new Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will support SMEs to get access to working capital loans. The Government will guarantee 50 percent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs.
A third economic stimulus package may be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
On 12 March 2020, the Morrison Government announced its $17.6 billion economic response to the Coronavirus to keep the Australian economy out of recession in the wake of the pandemic.
The Prime Minister’s message: Keep businesses in business and people in jobs.
A large part of the economic stimulus package is intended to support small and medium businesses to keep the doors open even as businesses experience “a cashflow crunch”.
A summary of benefits available from the Australian Government:
The message to Australian businesses and workers from the Prime Minister:
On releasing the economic response package, Scott Morrisson was quick to establish his confidence that the Australian economy is solid enough to withstand the economic impact of the Coronavirus. By keeping the engine room of business running with people in jobs, he’s assured the public that Australia will “bounce back strongly on the other side.”
Earlier, in anticipation of the economic stimulus package, Tim Reed, President of the Business Council of Australia, said on morning television show Sunrise, that the economic boost needed to “go big and go early.” He pre-empted that if the economy needed further stimulus down the track, “the government would have capacity to come back and do more later on.”
The Economic Response package will go before the Parliament in the final Autumn sitting week in March 2020. Following that, the Government will announce any supporting instruments for businesses to access the stimulus package.
In times of cashflow stress, businesses should focus on measures that build business resilience now and for the future.
Every business wants cash to keep flowing through the coffers. Everything becomes negotiable. Whether you’re buying or selling, be prepared to negotiate on price, service and payment terms.
Your current customers could be hurting, too. Reward loyalty through tough times with a one-off discount, deals on stock or service, or extended payment terms (within reason and your own budget).
Your customers will remember your kindness, empathy and flexibility and that’s what you want as you emerge from the downturn and get back to business as usual.
Your business should always be monitoring stock levels. Now more than ever, your chances of selling slow-moving stock could decrease. Look at innovative ways to clear this stock: bundle with other items, bulk discounts, or giveaways with purchase.
Your staff may be absent from the office during a virus pandemic. Consider how you will still get the job done as people work from home or take sick leave. Technology could be a saviour here, particularly automation technology and online services that keep working whether your office is open or closed.
With ezyCollect, for example, all your accounts receivable communications to customers will still be generated, and you can still accept payments via an online payment portal.
Spend more time on your budget and cashflow forecasts. Do more financial modelling. Think about the worst case and the best case scenarios so you can clearly understand your financial parameters and work within them.
For more strategies, read our blog 10 Strategies to Protect Your Business In an Economic Downturn
For more information on the Australian Government Economic Response to the Coronavirus:
Click here for a Fact Sheet on the Economic Response to the Coronavirus.
For more information on the Australian Government’s response to the Coronavirus:
To get your business started with ezyCollect today:
What do a Mexican fast food restaurant chain and a home loan lender have in common?
NetSuite, it seems. SuiteConnect Sydney 2020 was a fabulous showcase of great Australian companies that have used NetSuite’s infrastructure as a foundation for business growth. We heard from Steven Marks, Co-Founder and CEO of Guzman y Gomez; Mark Bouris, Chairman of Yellow Brick Road; Danielle Allen, Co-Owner of Two Birds Brewing, and many others. All of them great examples of the collective call to action to fly higher and go further.
NetSuite’s Sydney 2020 event was ezyCollect’s first time attending as a SuiteApp partner and NetSuite conference sponsor. Our day was jam-packed with meeting customers, demonstrating our accounts receivable solution for NetSuite and soaking in the buzz.
We started with a breakfast seminar for customers, co-hosted with JCurve Solutions. Tom Griffith from Emma and Tom’s and Mike Brabant from Single O, both from the food and beverage industry, reminded us all that people are central to business growth. From hiring the right people to join your journey , to training your people to achieve more, to respecting the people who buy your products—people matter.
At Single O, their launch into the Japan market was spearheaded by the guy who was washing the dishes eight years previously. Believe in your people, and give them the tools to go further with you.
Couldn’t make it to SuiteConnect Sydney 2020? No problem. Here are our top 10 takeaways from an action-packed day:
Key takeaways from NetSuite SuiteConnect 2020
1. You can’t grow any faster than your ability to execute
2. Focus on what you do best
3. Get out of the spreadsheet
4. Build your base first
5. Bankruptcy is not an option
6. Your technology has to enable the outcome
7. Data-driven businesses make better decisions
8. Growth makes everything more complex
9. Simplify and automate
10. Pivot or perish
Every business plans to grow, right? Or do they want to grow, but fail to plan? Mark Bouris says “growth on its own is a misnomer.” Successful businesses grow because they execute all the basic elements:
If you don’t have all the elements in place, then be prepared to be patient with your growth.
Don’t lose sight of your North Star, advised KK Pan, GM of Oracle NetSuite Asia Pacific and Japan. Your North Star is where you’re headed and why you choose your business every day. Find the systems that will help you get there and eliminate the distractions that take you off course. Systematise processes so you create the time you need to focus on the things that matter.
We heard this time and again, even from spreadsheet wizards like CFOs. Spreadsheets are great, but if your business relies on one or two people to prepare the spreadsheet, your business is vulnerable. You’re slower to get real-time data, you’re slower to react, and you’re probably not looking at the whole picture on a spreadsheet. And what happens when your spreadsheet wizard leaves? Everyone needs to have easy access to high quality data that’s current and meaningful. Spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore.
Your business might be the equivalent of a 2-bedroom house now, but if you’re planning on taking over the neighbourhood, build your foundation now. In ERP world, that means think about where you’re headed and get the right infrastructure in place before you arrive. It’s harder to reverse engineer a solution when your growth has made everything more complex. And that’s what growth does: it’s more sales, more billing, more customers, more locations.
As Danielle Allen from Two Birds Brewing explained, your five-year plan for growth can happen faster than you think (Two Birds got there in half the predicted time). Is your infrastructure going to let you down when it counts or propel you further?
Steven Marks started Mexican restaurant chain, Guzman y Gomez with zero food industry experience. He’s an ex-hedge fund manager from New York. His mother called his early days establishing the restaurants in Australia “the race to bankruptcy.”
“But I was relentless,” explains Marks. Relentless about the menu. Relentless about his people. Relentless about revenue. If you’ve got no revenue, you’ve got no product. “You can’t be delusional about what you’re building…it’s about revenue…it has to sell.”
The relentless pursuit of success has seen Marks innovate systems to drive the business forward faster, even if the ride is painful. “I love pain. I like being uncomfortable at all times,” he says.
Don’t be bedazzled by the next best shiny piece of technology that comes your way. Leave that to the the CTOs. As a financial leader, you want to know that any technology you introduce serves you well because it enables your outcomes. Sabine Bye, Head of Finance at Hahn Healthcare suggests asking lots of question in the procurement phase. “Make sure you get the solution that’s configured to your needs.”
NetSuite says visibility and control are two key elements to unlock growth. Real-time data gives you both: the visibility to see what happened, what’s happening now and what’s predictable about the future; and the control to keep the business on course.
For example, data driven businesses analyse factors like customer churn, inefficient business processes and creeping costs to identify and address blind spots that could otherwise derail a business. They turn data into guide posts that highlight high performing regions, the highest margin projects and the top sales reps. Potentially destablising factors like fraud or human error are uncovered early. The result? Faster, better decisions.
With the good comes the bad. Growth is great. But along with growth comes the added complexity of global distribution, multi-location offices, multi-currency transactions, complicated tax compliance and so on.
Martin York, Head of Financial Operations at IRESS, modernised the business with a unified business management solution from NetSuite to support the business through its growth phase. He said: “Our business isn’t standing still, so our systems can’t stand still.” The right business management solution takes the complex and makes it easy.
What every business operator wants is to do more with less. Business process efficiency is the cornerstone of productivity gains and that’s where automation applications shine.
if you’re not sure where to start automating, look for the routine tasks that sap staff of time, lead to delays, errors and unnecessary expenses. Release your people from the boring and mundane tasks and give them back more time for the things that matter. More customer care, more innovation, more revenue.
Growing businesses that stay agile are quick to take advantage of new opportunities, said Paul Farrell, Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle NetSuite. The challenge for growing businesses is to hang on to the entrepreneurial spirit that made them great. Be able to spot the opportunities and sidestep the obstacles that can destabilise a one-track business.
Customer demands are changing rapidly and there are plenty of startups waiting in the wings to disrupt the status quo.
Thinking about streamlining your accounts receivable process to unlock your growth? See how ezyCollect can help.
Published in The Australian on February 4, 2020
SYDNEY, Australia – February 4, 2020 – ezyCollect, an Australian-owned end-to-end order-to-cash platform, has raised $7.1 million to help any business collect payments faster from its customers – an endorsement of the fast-growth company.
ezyCollect raised capital in two rounds over the last 15 months, with investors including Tankstream, Artesian, Macdoch Ventures, Sydney Angels and the family office of Adrian Di Marco, founder of Technology One.
“My investment in ezyCollect is an opportunity to make a real and significant impact on one of the most draining and costly aspects that small to medium businesses face – recovering payments from debtors in a timely fashion. ezyCollect is a powerful and innovative global SaaS solution that automates and streamlines the recovery of debt making life incredibly simple for business.” said Mr Di Marco.
“I believe the strong foundation ezyCollect has built since their very successful capital raising will allow them to deliver their platform internationally to become a hugely successful global SaaS company.”
The platform was built from the ground up by founding partners, AJ Singh and Raj Kuckreja in 2015, who recognised the world of collecting cash was not being facilitated by the traditional means of collecting payments and recovering debts.
“At the time, I was managing a family medical supplies wholesale business. Raj was working with me as an accountant in that business,” said Mr Singh. “The business grew, but cash collection became an increasingly large problem to manage. We hired people, took out loans, and were struggling under the costs of these traditional tactics to make cashflow work.”
“The cashflow conversations were getting more painful as the business grew,” said Mr Kuckreja. “The real issue was a lack of a systematic collections process that incorporated existing accounts staff and
technology to enable automation. Even though the company was listed on BRW’s Fast 100, customers were paying late and there was not much we could do apart from follow up invoices – which became a mess because the business couldn’t afford to keep hiring staff to chase up payments.”
Together, Mr Singh and Mr Kuckreja started their ‘ultimate wishlist’ for a dream software platform that would solve the pain of late payments.
Jane Evio, Head of Customer Success, joined the business in 2016 to support the business in its accelerated growth phase. “The business underwent incredible growth as early customers saw the difference in cashflow was like night and day,” said Ms Evio. “We welcomed our first paying customers
in 2015, and today we help more than 1,000 businesses across 24 countries to collect cash faster using ezyCollect.”
To ensure rapid uptake in a customer base saturated with accounting platforms, the co-founders knew they would need to build a platform that allows small businesses to systemise and customise their payment collection processes via an add-on, rather than a separate system to existing software packages.
ezyCollect succeeds by being easy to set up. Within two minutes a customer can connect their existing accounts software to the cloud-based app and receive immediate assistance from ezyCollect customer service to help setup so data flows immediately to the payments collection process. The company now has the depth of credit and trade data to help predict customer risk, thereby reducing the chance of late payment and bad debt.
“In this way, we provide SMEs a way to automate everything through the system, creating consistency across their entire collection book – from sending SMSs and having an employee make calls at the right
time, to cutting off recalcitrant debtors – while ensuring the right information is at their fingertips throughout the entire process. Small businesses were previously unable to do this at scale,” said Mr
ezyCollect simplifies debtor management so businesses simply get paid f aster. ezyCollect automates the order-to-cash process and creates a complete ecosystem for disciplined credit control. After seamlessly integrating with accounting or ERP software, ezyCollect simply gets to work:
● Automates a sequence of personalised payment reminders sent via SMS, email, post.
● Provides real-time credit scores and predictive risk analysis of debtors so suppliers can make informed credit decisions
● Maps all debtors’ invoices for high visibility and a single view of overdue accounts.
● Tracks and chases every invoice to payment.
● Offers debtors easy pay options, including online credit card payments.
● Provides quick access to credit check reports, pre-legal demand letters and debt collection agents.
ezyCollect gets businesses paid faster, gets them paid more often, all while reducing the actual time and effort invested into the process. To learn more, visit www.ezycollect.com.au or follow on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
T: +61 2 8016 2200