Winning a big new customer is exciting and has many obvious benefits for a small business. But an over-reliance on one or a few big customers also comes with risks that business owners need to be aware of and manage accordingly.
According to the recent Xero Small Business Insights report, only 56% of Australian small businesses were cash flow positive in December 2019. February is the tightest month of the year for cash flow though, with just 47% of Australian small businesses having positive cash flow, on average, over the past five years. February is a tough month as invoices tend to be paid later than in other months, and it’s also a time when payments for stock to top up last year's sales are falling due.
More and more Australian small businesses are sold on the benefits of cloud accounting software and are making the move. Easy-to-use platforms like Xero save small business owners time and effort with bookkeeping and provide useful information to help with better decision making. Cloud accounting software has been a game changer for millions of business owners in how they run their business, and a lesser known benefit is that it can help Australian small businesses access business finance more simply than in the past.
You may have heard of invoice finance and how it can be a great option for businesses looking for some extra cash flow to support growth. In this blog we answer the two big questions: What is invoice finance and how does invoice finance work?
The use of cloud accounting software by small businesses is skyrocketing. On 30 September 2019, Xero had 1.2 million subscribers in Australia and New Zealand alone, which was a 28% increase on the previous year. MYOB, Quickbooks and other accounting software businesses are also quickly improving their online products and growing fast.
We’re picking up from where we left off in Part 1 of this series. Here are some more ideas on how to best prepare yourself and your business for 2020 so you can start the new year strongly.
The end of 2019 is almost here but before starting to wind down too much, it’s worth putting some thought into what your business will look like in 2020.
Running a successful business starts with the fundamentals and getting those little things right makes all the difference. Focus on these and you’ll build a strong foundation for the coming year. So if you’re a small business owner, here’s our to do list to prepare for 2020.
Conditions have never been more favourable for FinTech businesses to challenge the incumbent financial service providers. Here are a few of the tailwinds supporting the rapid growth of FinTechs in Australia and around the world.
According to a study conducted by Deloitte, 200,000 Australian SMEs leaders have difficulty accessing capital in order to grow and expand their business. And, as we discussed last time, when small business owners are faced with the daunting task of borrowing money from banks, it can be a stressful and time-consuming process – particularly if they’re newly established. And if businesses don’t have any real estate assets to borrow against, the odds really aren’t sitting in their favour.
Running a business isn’t easy. It’s all consuming, ever-changing and with the wave of digitisation, means modern businesses are practically running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many people will remember the 'Crackberry' almost 20 years ago as an early catalyst. It was one of the first mainstream personal devices that allowed people to send work emails from home which was not great for work-life balance, but fantastic for showing your boss that you're still beavering away at midnight!
Fast forward to today. With the proliferation of smartphones and the heightened need for instant gratification, most goods and services can be bought, sold or shared in just a few clicks. And just like the modern 24 hour news cycle, the business environment has become much more dynamic and fast-changing. It's become necessary for business owners to keep up or be overtaken by more agile competitors. A lot of aspects of running a business have kept pace with the changing world and cloud accounting is a great example of this. However, until recently, accessing business finance has been lagging developments in other areas.
Traditionally, your local bank – most likely the one you have banked with since you were a kid – would be your first port of call for some funding for your business. They would have asked for a business plan, reams of supporting documents, probably a mortgage on your home, and with a little luck you might have received an approval two months later.
These days, the process for applying for business finance from a bank is pretty much the same and they take just as long to give you an answer. The main difference for small businesses is that the outcome is commonly a 'no'.
Now, that’s not to say banks won’t lend to you. They're generally very happy to lend to large businesses and are more comfortable if you put your house up against it as collateral. Outside of this it can be a drawn out, frustrating and ultimately disappointing experience for many small businesses.
Managing cash flow is an ongoing task for any business owner and can be challenging at times. Cash flow stress can be due to a range of factors including extended invoice payment terms, clients slow-paying their invoices or simply the need for a short-term cash boost to take advantage of an attractive business opportunity. Even the most established and successful businesses can be confronted with cash flow issues, creating stress for the business owner, impacting growth and sometimes even the viability of a business. With this in mind, there is a good chance that you may one day need to access funds to keep your business sailing smoothly and this week's blog aims to help you better understand the difference between invoice finance and unsecured business loans.
Akansh Prasai, Director of Talent Crowd, has always had a deep passion for technology. As a curious child, he’d take apart his Nintendo console and put it back together to understand how it worked.
Akansh has enjoyed a diverse career in the IT space from managing technology support teams right through to developing a niche skillset in the area of technology recruitment. It was in 2014 that he founded his first business: a technology recruitment firm built on the principles of integrity, transparency and trust. “I found this area of IT to be deeply rewarding, but eventually felt restricted by traditional recruitment firms, who valued profits over building long-term relationships with clients,” Akansh says.
The timely payment of income from our employers keeps us going; it helps to pay for our day-to-day expenses – the mortgage, electricity, water, phone bill, loans and groceries.
You could say that mastering the art of business cash flow can be compared to mastering the art of balance and equilibrium. It’s all about knowing what’s coming in, whilst managing what’s going out. Whether you’re an established small business or right in the start-up phase, having a clear understanding of cash flow is imperative and is the key to long-term growth.
Even if your business model is second-to-none, you’re showing signs of profitability and you have investors knocking on your door, you simply won’t survive if you can’t manage your business’s cash flow. Cash is the lifeblood for any business, keeping it afloat. If you don't have cash in the bank to support this, there’s a good chance your business will sink very quickly.
Kate Chalker is the type of person you want in charge of a growing business. Intelligent, enthusiastic, and articulate, she has the air of someone who while juggling multiple balls at once is always in control.
As we discussed in part-one, while delayed payment on accounts payable is often accepted among the business community as a fact of life, it can have serious ramifications on small businesses.
Managing working capital and ensuring that you have access to cash when you need it is a critical part of being a business owner. However, according to Xero Small Business Insights, only 56 per cent of Australian small businesses were cash flow positive in December 2019.
Every business faces the typical challenges of getting paid by customers, paying taxes, paying suppliers and accessing finance. Simple processes in theory but unfortunately tiresome and unexciting to the extent that they are often neglected or totally forgotten about until it is too late.
Skippr has been listening and learning about these challenges to develop technology manage these processes proactively to save time and instill confidence within a business owner and their finance team that they have the cash to achieve growth, prosperity and balance.
The Skippr team is super excited about this product update as it is another step closer to our core mission - giving a business cash flow confidence.
Christmas in Australia is a joyous time of year hallmarked by great weather, school holidays and family time. Many small businesses see their sales skyrocket at the end of the calendar year, but for some the festive season is marred by huge disruptions to your businesses cash flow.
What do you need to do prepare your business for the festive season?
Hear from business gurus - Andrew Van De Beek from Illumin8 Accounting, Sam Musgrave from Nine Advisory, David Boyar from Sequel CFO and Troy Townley from HTA Advisory - who have shared their 12 merry tips that will get your small business ready for christmas.
"Approximately $16 billion is currently owed by small businesses to the ATO. "
Managing all the different facets of a business is a challenge. One area that is often neglected and in turn costly, is compliance and reporting with the government organisations like the ATO and ASIC.
In this new era of accounting where cloud technology is driving automation, accountants and bookkeepers need to re-align their revenue models to what the customer is willing to pay. Value-based pricing is simple in theory but challenging in practice as lens of value is shifted from the practitioner to the customer.
Tune in to another episode of Future Of Business and hear from Sophie Hossack, Country Manager of Receipt Bank, as she reveals some of the key benefits to value-based pricing but also tackles the challenges many practitioners face in adopting and delivering value-based pricing in their firm and to their customers. Some fantastic takeways in here for any accountant and bookkeeper building a practice for the future.
On this episode of Future Of Business we are tackling invoice collections and scourge of long payment terms. Poor collection process and long payment terms crush a businesses cash flow and their ability to grow.
Did you know:
"1 in 5 invoices to ASX200 companies are outstanding longer than 30 days!"
"A one day reduction in debtor days was worth an additional $18,000 in the bank for your average SME!"
We are excited to have on the show business guru - Rachel White, CEO of CFO For Rent - to help us understand the impact of poor collections on a businesses cash flow, but more importantly discuss simple tips and technology to get your small business paid faster. Have the notepad at the ready, this episode is full of some super useful information!
Here we go... a new financial year! We hope you have set some ambitious goals for FY 2018. We can help you achieve them.
One of our goals for this financial year is to align people, process and technology with effective cash flow management. Reporting is the critical final step in this process. Whether you are the finance manager, the external bookkeeper or even the CEO, reporting is critical to highlight problems, and more importantly, map out the best course of action to reach the most optimal solution.
This week on the Future of Business we are excited to have Guy Pearson, co-founder of Practice Ignition and Chairman of Interactive Accounting, on the show to share his experience and insights on how to best deliver business advisory in your firm.
The Skippr team has been hard at work testing, learning and developing over the past few months following invaluable feedback from our users. Thanks for all that have contributed. We couldn't have done it without you!
Budget 2017 was in short, inoffensive. The crux was stimulus through infrastructure spending and big bank levies. There was a mention of improving accountability and transparency with welfare benefits. The Australian homeowner gained most of the attention with an array of housing affordability measures.
But what did the 2017 budget bring for the Australian small business?
"Be proactive, never assume anything, always test and keep learning."
Staying on top of cash flow is often a tedious task of checking your bank account, skimming over your receivables ledger and checking when you have to pay the bills. Many small business owners struggle to keep a clear understanding of the liquidity of their own business. Remember just because you are driving new business sales, if you don't have cash in the bank to support the ever increasing capital demands of a growing business, your business can capsize without warning. There are many Australian small businesses who have adopted simple cash management techniques to guarantee their liquidity and growth.
Forget the days of whiskey-swilling Mad Men. Agencies these days have demands Don Draper would never have dreamed of. The current climate sees the old world of marketing - television and print - overlapping with the breakneck speed of digital, and advertising agencies are scrambling to keep up.
Forget the days of whiskey-swilling Mad Men - agencies these days have demands Don Draper would never have dreamed of. The current climate sees the old world of marketing (television and print) overlapping with the fast paced world of digital, and advertising agencies need to change to keep up.
This article was originally published in the The Land.
Oh, to be a kid again. It might be the only time in your life free money existed. Sure, you might have to do some household chores for your pocket money, but occasionally, someone – grandparents, aunts, uncles – would give you money just for being you. A nice concept, but when you’re a grown-up managing the cash-flow of a media agency (i.e real responsibilities), hand-outs don’t exist. Unless, of course, you ask the government.
How many banks are operating in Australia? You’re probably thinking there are at most 20 banks. You would be very wrong. There are actually thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of banks in Australia. ‘How is this so?’ I hear you ask. Well, every time your customer makes you wait for an invoice payment, you have effectively become a banker - presumably without the six-figure bonus or Ferrari.
Richard Adamson is a true entrepreneur who is passionate about beer, his local Newtown community and its thriving music scene. Co-founding Young Henrys, an award winning boutique brewer, they have established a strong brand built on quality and personality. Hear how they are keeping their independence by staying true to their roots in the ever-competitive beverage industry. Enjoy the podcast!
The cloud is redefining how we live and do business. It is now being recognised as a global economic engine underpinning new innovations, new business models and even entirely new industries. Now data can be created, stored, disseminated and accessed real-time from anywhere in the world that is connected to the internet. This has created a data explosion with 90% of the world's data being created in the last 2 years!
[WHY TIMES FIVE PODCAST] with Sophie Hossack from Receipt Bank - best in class bookkeeping automation technology
WTF had the privilege to meet Sophie Hossack, Country Manager of Receipt Bank. We hear about the humble beginnings of Sophie and the RB team, born from the hatred of life admin and the love of automation technology. Today their technology is now helping bookkeepers, accountants and SMEs save up to 2.5 minute per transaction!
[WHY TIMES FIVE PODCAST] with Will Rogers - CEO of Kent & Lime - Online mens fashion stylist delivering your image in a box.
Welcome to the 1st episode of the Why Times Five Podcast hosted by Skippr Cash Flow. We have Will Rogers on the show to hear how Kent & Lime is taking the online retail market by storm. Any man with fashion sense listen in to hear how you can look good with out the pain of shopping. A truly disruptive business redefining how we can shop for clothing.
"Oh yeah, we're gonna bring in some entry-level graduates, farm some work out to Singapore, that's the usual deal" - Bob Slydell - OfficeSpace (1999)
Not sure if you have watched the comedy cult classic called OfficeSpace, which was set at the turn of the century when technology was disrupting the employability of man-kind. Using dark and awkward comedy we got a taste of what was to come in the 21st century - Automation & Outsourcing!
It is all to common to hear the traditional Australian banks preaching their support for small businesses but falling short on delivery. Why? It is to costly for them lend to a small business. That is why there is a renaissance in small business lending!
A new wave of non-bank alternative finance startups (aka Fintechs) are listening to the cries of the capital constrained businesses and addressing a $60bn funding gap forged by the big banks. Fintechs are capitalising on a fresh canvas and building technology to not only understand risk better but also deliver a better customer experience.
So what are the alternatives available to a small business today?
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” - Mike Tyson
Have you ever noticed how your budgeted projections don't look anything like your historical numbers? Projections tend to resemble a calm blue ocean however historical numbers look more like a tumultuous pot of troubled energy. The world is a volatile place, especially for small businesses. Despite this, we have a tendency to create smooth forecasts that rarely reflect reality. This is partly why SMEs frequently get blindsided by cash flow problems.
“Show me the money!!!” - Jerry Maguire
"I have enough money” - said no business ever
A journalist recently told me that if he made a dollar for every pitch he heard on “the next Xero” or “the next disruptive technology that is going to disrupt business forever” he would be a rich man. It’s no secret that business processes are being “disrupted” (excuse the cliché) by technology and capital is pouring into the space at a rapid clip - if you dont believe me just ask your Uber driver where he is investing his money.
Guest content courtesy of Thomas Taylor @ T2 Consulting
You have your cash flow engine purring but now you want to optimise its power. What does optimising really mean? Well let’s break it down. Optimising by definition is making “the best of” or “most effective use of”, so to reword this metaphor - how do we most effectively manage flows of cash through your business to optimise its performance?
Having foresight over your monthly cash flow statement is critical to the survival and success of your business. Every business owner should be asking the following questions to best understand how to do a cash flow forecast for their small business:
"Can we pay our employees at the end of month?"
"Do we have the cash to pay PAYG and GST at the end of the month?"
"Can we afford to take on this big new customer?"
"Can we get prices if we pay suppliers earlier?"
“The good part, William, is that no matter whether our clients make money or lose money, Duke & Duke get the commissions”
Randolf Duke, Trading Places
Factoring has experienced somewhat of a renaissance in the last decade. Since 2006 annual factoring volume has increased from A$3.4 billion to A$5.3 billion. Growth in volume of factoring in Australia was driven to a large extent by three of the major banks scaling back their invoice discounting divisions during the 2008-2010 period, which provided factoring companies with a once in a lifetime opportunity. In our view the traditional factoring model has benefitted from being in the right place at the right time.
Transparency is an effective tool to combat corruption and fraud but the main overarching goal is to create trust, accountability, good governance and efficient information flow.
The most common reason for cash flow pressure in an agency is long-dated invoice payment terms enforced by the end-customer. In Australia, there is on average over $19m worth of invoices outstanding longer than 30 days, while 44% of invoices are being paid late. This is typical throughout the marketing, media and advertising industries. Publishers, app developers, production, modelling and creative companies all suffer from slow invoice payments which crushes their cash flow.
It doesn’t matter how big your business is, every company is susceptible to a lack of cash flow. We need not look further than Tropfest that happened earlier this year. The world’s largest short film festival was cancelled last year to financial negligence and was only saved from the same fate in 2016 at the eleventh hour through a financial lifeline from new sponsors.
Unless you’re a huge, international conglomerate, chances are you have problems with cash flow. And even if you are an international conglomerate, with a little bit of word play, you have upgraded to “liquidity crises,” and now find the need to lay off 100 unfortunate employees whenever you’re in trouble.
For the final chapter of the "Show Me The Money" series we are going to focus on the tale end of the buyer journey - conversion and payment.
Great the deal is done! Your sales team has negotiated terms that maximise margin and minimise the length of payment. Or have they? Well, either way the most important thing now is to ensure you get paid. This part of the customer journey is one that is often overlooked and poorly managed, which in turn can be detrimental to the customer relationship you have just invested in prior. To make sure you get paid and maintain strong cash flow, the following simple steps can be taken:
There are 2.1 million small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Australia which generate over a trillion dollars in output and employ 70% of the Australian workforce. A pivotal part of any economy, SMEs are a key source of innovation and development with almost 100% of innovative business spending nearly $6bn each year on research and development. One key issue that inhibits an SME is finance. A recent update of the SME Growth Index, found that 62% of business saw 'access to credit' as a key barrier to growth with SMEs now preferring unsecured lending as they are more reticent to provide personal security.
There are two types of people in the world. Those who make your life easier — and those who make it harder.
A thriving business' biggest challenge is sourcing a reliable line of working capital finance. This can be the difference between making life easier or harder as finance traditionally requires personal security and is bound by restrictive covenants and conditions. Whether it be covering monthly overheads, funding acquisitions, purchasing inventory or tendering for larger projects, it is imperative this working capital finance solution empowers the business owner to be ambitious and doesn't act as a hindrance. The funding tool needs to give you control, limit liability and of course be cost effective. The following sources are traditionally relied upon in the stated order:
- Extending payments terms to suppliers (also known as dynamic discounting)
- Credit Card
- Director loans
- Equity funding or
- Invoice finance
Failure to effectively collect on your invoices can crush cash flow and lead to the demise of your business. Dun & Bradstreet Trade Payments Analysis shows the average invoice payment period is currently 50.4 days, whilst 41% of companies that went insolvent in 2013 had money owed to them by their customers.
In the first part of the "Show Me The Money" series, we looked at some resources you can use to qualify leads quickly and easily to ensure you don't deal with customers that potentially won't pay you for your hard earned work.
This chapter, we look at a market leading sales methodology for how to improve cash flow that will not only ensure you convert customers but increase your chances of negotiating fair and just terms.
As the 1st part of the 'Show Me The Money' blog series, we are going to focus on understanding on 'which customers are good for business and cash flow'.
Too often businesses trade themselves into insolvency as they don’t manage the most important part of the trade cycle - getting paid. 60% of Australian SMEs are unlikely to get paid after 30 days. Failure to effectively collect on your invoices can crush cash flow and lead to the demise of your business.
Dedicating more time and labour into invoice collection will always yield results by decreasing days outstanding. This may be best managed by employing a collections officer, outsourcing to a bookkeeper or, if you are factoring, passing the responsibility to them to collect on your behalf. When deciding which option to go with, the most important factor to consider is the customer relationship. It is imperative that your relationship with your customer is never impacted by the actions of invoice collection.
Ever had an idea for a business but just been too afraid to start? Prior to this year, you would have probably been forgiven for not taking the plunge in the Australian market. You probably thought that your only way of getting the help you need was by featuring on the next episode of Shark Tank.
Australia is catching the fintech bug and key figure heads are leading from the front. Tyro Payments, Joss Stollman is calling for a 1000 fintech startups in the next two years so we can leverage off the already booming global market being driven by the US, EU and UK. Global investment into the space has quadrupled to $12bn in 2014.
What if I were to tell you that many of the roles performed by the CFO and their team could largely be automated. Is that something you might be interested in? Imagine if monotonous tasks like accounts payable processing, chasing customers for payment and paying tax were automated. Well imagine no more.