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In anticipation of a significant increase in the number of small businesses being put into external administration following the end or temporary measures extended until 31st December, the Australian Government has today announced major changes to come into effect 1st January 2020.
The reforms will allow businesses with liabilities of less than $1 million to restructure their debt, similar to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy model in the United States.
The previous “creditor in possession” model will be replaced with the “debtor in possession” model, where businesses can restructure their debts without giving up control to appointed administrators.
Click here to read the Aust Govt. Fact Sheet released today.
Credit risk management is important in good times, in slow and uncertain times with less protection it is even more critical for businesses.
Businesses need to consider:
Credit risk management is all about good processes, systems, and data. But it does not need to be difficult, or time-consuming. To see how you can implement an effective system by COB today watch the demo.
After what has already been a torrid year for Australia with bushfires and Covid 19, October 2020 looms with:
Make it easier for your customers to buy, and more importantly for your customers to pay, with ezyCollect’s Pay by Instalments, available now.
We all know that no matter what we go through, the economy always bounces back. It’s a matter of staying afloat during the storm, and then capitalising on the recovery.
We’ve seen the success of companies such as Sydney’s Afterpay, with a current market value of $21 billion (as at 14/9/2020) after only 6 years. People will still buy, if it’s easy for them to buy.
Your customers do still want to buy from you, and indeed need to keep buying from you to keep their business turning. It’s about making it as easy as possible for them to buy, especially in difficult times. And where they have choices in suppliers, they will obviously turn to the supplier who makes it easiest.
It’s about helping your customers through the tough times, whilst ensuring your own business does not suffer. And history shows us time and time again, that companies who survive the tough times, generally do very well when the market recovers.
How we do business has changed. Physical distance from co-workers and customers has transformed how we communicate and connect. Supply chains once buoyed by cash flowing through them are hurting. Your accounts receivable process, which counts on both communication and cash flow, has probably been tested in a COVID-19 world.
The question is, did it pass? And how will you transform your accounts receivable (AR) process for now and a post-pandemic future?
Here are some of the pivot points every accounts receivable manager needs to know and the next steps to take in the current B2B environment.
What accounts receivable managers need to know:
Your high costs of accounts receivable management can be directly attributed to the cost of doing labour-intensive manual tasks. Accounts receivable tasks such as sending email reminders, preparing monthly statements and sifting through spreadsheets are eating up time your staff could be investing in other revenue-generating activities. Unsuccessful collection attempts due to a leaky process have a zero return on investment.
That’s just your story. What about your customers? They don’t want to be wasting their labour on dealing with your complicated order-to-payment process. They’ll simply move on to the supplier that’s easy to deal with.
Automated accounts receivable solutions like ezyCollect do the groundwork for you: identifying when invoices become overdue, funneling invoices into a reminder schedule, taking care of your monthly statement run, accepting payments online and even thanking your customers for payment.
With the routine tasks running in the background, your team has more time to further reduce accounts receivable costs. Spend more time analysing your books for the debts at risk of being written-off; pick up the phone and save those unrealised sales before they slip into the land of the lost.
An accounts team working remotely is separated from each other and their usual work practices. It is now harder to share tasks and get visibility on day-by-day accounts receivable task management. Who is making the collection calls today? What did the customer promise to pay? How will you accept customer payments over the phone when you’re not in the office?
Just as your sales team is using your ERP or CRM solution to track the sales funnel, your accounts receivable team can keep close tabs on the payments funnel with a cloud-based debtor CRM.
To avoid the mess of spreadsheets and silos of information, your team can work from anywhere and check in with one shared accounts receivable data source. It eliminates confusion as it is the single source of truth for all overdues, customer communications, promises to pay, payment history, and tasks that are due.
Of course you should be concerned with your own cash flow. But now is the time to also express empathy and be your collaborative best with the rest of your supply chain. ‘We’re all in this together’, right? As your customers come under financial pressure, will you keep communicating as if nothing has happened, or will you shift your message and tone to directly address their current cash flow crisis? Will you be the thorn in their side demanding payment or the guide who helps them to continue to trade with you?
Businesses that emerge from COVID-19 with their customers intact will recover faster. You may now need to consider accepting part payments, offering buy now pay later, or accepting credit card payments as your customers look for responsible ways to extend their line of credit. If your customers want to continue to trade with you but need more options, how can your accounts service adapt to support your customer service?
What accounts receivable managers need to know:
A new customer who never pays you is literally more trouble than they’re worth. While it’s tempting to get more customers onto your books, if their cash doesn’t follow, it’s a useless exercise. Trade references have their place but they are time consuming and often biased. Your prospective customers arrive with an audit trail of past credit events and current credit activity.
Do you have eyes on every customer’s credit behaviour?
Add a step in your customer onboarding process to thoroughly assess a prospective customer’s credit rating before you issue a cent of credit. For minimal effort and as little as $5, you can get a basic credit report from ezyCollect’s Credit Insights service.
With your credit risk assessments done, adjust your payment terms to minimise your credit risk exposure. Some customers should be on cash on delivery terms. For good payers, you could consider extending more credit to foster more business.
You can even go deeper with day-by-day analysis of how promptly your customers are paying you and others. For example, ezyCollect’s automated credit insights service will track every customer’s payment time and send you risk management considerations.
Supply and demand has changed. The multi-billion dollar uptake in the JobKeeper and cash flow boost payments from the Australian Government proves that business revenue has taken a sizeable hit. However, not everyone is in the negative. Some of your customers will be innovating, even thriving. How is your team quickly adapting to the fluctuating volume of invoices and payment reminders per customer? Can you track who has got money to spend and are you actively nurturing them for more business?
Solidify valuable relationships by talking to customers and asking them how they are adapting their business now and for the future. Ask them what would make their payables experience with you better, then tell them how you intend to break down the barriers to paying you. Solving your busy customers’ problems makes you a valued supplier. Your permanent improvements will keep customers returning to do business with you.
In the April-June 2020 business quarter, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge. At ezyCollect we saw an interesting pattern in payment behaviour: an uptake in credit card payments and an increase in after-hours online payments. One in five payments were closed after normal business hours.
Do your payment methods support your customers to pay when and how they can?
To never miss a payment, you have to think digital. Every aspect of how we communicate, connect and transact each day has moved online. Have your payment methods followed? Have you adapted your payment methods to give your customers cashless convenience, access to credit, and the flexibility to pay you even if your business is closed for the day?
Working conditions and the market have changed rapidly. The Coronavirus pandemic isn’t over and even when it is, its legacy will remain. Both you and your customers are already adapting to a forced new reality. It may not be easy or even desirable to go back to the way things were.
In fact, accounts receivable managers who fought the tidal wave of uncertainty with robust cash recovery processes, careful and consistent communications with customers and insightful risk management will not want to go backwards. It’s onwards and upwards from here.
For more ideas on how to transform your accounts receivable process, ezyCollect offers no-obligation daily product tours.