A NOTE FROM OUR MANAGING DIRECTOR
A good friend of mine recently made a comment that she is so busy running her business that she doesn’t have time to work on her business. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this – as small business people we wear many hats and are becoming more and more time poor as we try and ‘do it all’.
Consider this: your time is valuable. Sure, you could clean the office yourself, but your time is probably better spent doing the ‘tricky’ stuff rather than cleaning floors (plus, a professional cleaner would probably do a better job, let’s be honest!)
The same can be said for debt management – how hard can it be to keep your cash flow in check or chase up an overdue invoice? The truth is, it can be very difficult and time-consuming which is why companies like Optimum Recoveries exist. Skills aside, we’re fully licensed, we know the rules inside-out and most importantly, we get results for our clients (however, we’re terrible cleaners).
So, how’s your bottom line looking so far this financial year?
In this issue, we reveal which industries are the slowest when it comes to paying their invoices.
We’ll also tell you about some places where you can find cash in your businessthanks to our friends at Business Depot (hint: it’s not under the couch cushion).
We’ve included a short update from our legal eaglesStreten Masons Lawyers about giving your terms and conditions a ‘tune-up’
Don’t miss our article about payment trends (did you know a Brisbane café has become cash-less?).
Did you know an injured employee could cost your business anywhere upwards of $7,000? We give you some tips about injury prevention in this issue.
Finally, I’m proud to announce that we have been announced as the 2016 Queensland state winners of the Australian Achiever Awards in the finance and insurance services category. This award is a demonstration of our commitment to providing our customers with outstanding customer service.
Thanks to our fantastic team!
Until next time,
REVEALED: THE WORST PAYING INDUSTRIES IN AUSTRALIA
Here’s a bit of good news: according to new research, Australian businesses are getting faster at paying their invoices. Compared to this time last year, when the average invoice payment time was over 50 days, the average is now under 44 days. This is the fourth consecutive quarter where we have seen the number of days drop. At the peak of the GFC, the average number of days was above 56.
But the facts remain, Australian businesses are amongst the slowest in the world when it comes to paying invoices. Unsurprisingly, there is some disparity across industry and business size.
Small businesses with between 6 and 19 staff are the fastest players at 40.2 days and companies with more than 500 employees are the slowest at over 52 days (doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?).
Eight percent of invoices are waiting over 61 days to be paid, which is about the time when it starts to put a dent in your cash flow and about the same time when most unpaid invoices are referred to us.
The slowest paying industries are mining and utilities which are both sitting above 50 days. You might have read about Rio Tinto’s controversial decision to extend payment terms from 30 to 45 days earlier this year. They even briefly considered extending out to 90 days but sensibly backflipped on that decision as after a backlash from suppliers. The fastest paying industry in Australia is fishing.
Businesses in ACT are the slowest payers at an average of 50 days while our friends in Tassie are the fastest at 41.5 days.
The Council of Small Business argues that Australian businesses need to ‘pull up their socks’ and implement a national payment protocol: a voluntary industry standard where signatories agree to abide by the rules of the protocol and are publicly recognised for doing so.
We agree. And we suggest that the big end of town should lead by example!
To increase your chances of payment in full, unpaid invoices should be referred to us sooner rather than later – As the number of days increases, so does your chance of not getting paid.
WHERE TO FIND CASH IN YOUR BUSINESS
Cash is the lifeblood of any business, but can also be one of its rarest commodities. But you can find cash in any business, you just have to know where to look:
- Review your stock; if it’s not moving, get rid of it
- Compare stock levels with how often it turns over every year. The higher the turnover, or the less stock held, the more you save on interest and holding costs
- Use the full term for the payment of creditors to free up cash for the business
- If your suppliers invoice on a monthly basis, buy early in the month to give you the longest period of credit
- Review your supply chain to see if you can get better prices elsewhere, [blind loyalty is not good business practice]
- Chase slow-paying and overdue debts to bring that cash into the business
- Make sure all your invoices are being sent out in a timely manner, [i.e. NOW!]
- Prepare a cash flow projection so you understand when you need cash and how long you have to get it.
Story re-produced with permission from our friends at Business Depot
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: TIME FOR A TUNE-UP?
Getting the terms and conditions of your contracts right is a bit like getting your car serviced: it ends up in the ‘too hard basket’ even though you know deep down it’s essential.
Most businesses have terms and conditions that govern transactions they enter into with a customer. However, when conducting collections work we often find that our clients’ terms and conditions could do with a tune-up.
Terms and conditions generally include details about the scope of the good or service, how and when payment is to be made, and clauses about cancellations.
Your terms and conditions should also define what a default is under the agreement (not just payment outside terms) and what the consequences of default are.
We recommend including default clauses that allow you to charge an administration fee for late payments, charge interest on late payments, and recover any collection costs should you be required to take the matter further.
An agreement that does not include these clauses could leave you be out of pocket should you be required to take further action against a debtor.
To arrange for a review of your current documents so you are protected going forward, contact us today.
Article courtesy of our legal eagle, Craig Mason from Streten Masons Lawyers
PAYMENT METHODS: WHAT’S TRENDING?
The way your customers pay you matters. The statement ‘cash is king’ might ring true to some, but even cash has a costs and risks associated with it. It has to be manually banked, there are safety, theft, and counterfeit risks.
Did you hear about the Brisbane café that has declared itself ‘cashless’? Payment by card only if you want a caffeine fix. Ten years ago we would have spat out our skinny cappuccinos in disbelief at this concept but in 2016 when ‘tap and go’ touchless technology is so easy and accessible, and people generally carry a limited amount of cash, it makes sense.
Pablo & Rusty’s owner Saxon Wright told the ABC when looking at the problems with running a café, “cash came up as the biggest headache”. So Wright just took the problem away, and hasn’t looked back. “You don’t have errors at the till, you don’t have cashing off at the end of the day, no risk of theft,” Wright said. “The time to pack up at the end is much less.”
“With insurance, because we don’t have cash on the premises, it’s probably 15 to 20 per cent off.”
The other big payment trend that is taking off, particularly for mobile businesses and tradies is Square. This clever device plugs into the standard 3.5-mm headphone jack of a smartphone or tablet and allows instant payment by card (via the chip or magnetic strip on the card.)
Square also allows sellers to create, customise and issue invoices directly from the Square Register app on a smartphone or tablet, or from Dashboard on their desktop.
At 1.9%, the fee is quite competitive. But the best thing about the technology is that ‘cash-less’ customers don’t walk away, and the administrative burden of paying an invoice is removed. Technology like Square makes life easier for your customers (and means you get paid ASAP).
PHYSICAL INJURY PREVENTION:
IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE A PAIN IN
The costs of an injured employee are real. When an employee has a physical issue or injury, the hard cost to your business will likely be a minimum of $7,000 according to WorkCover Queensland. That’s before the costs of disruption to work flow/schedules or litigation are added in.
In Queensland, companies are required to have a safe system of work for manual tasks.
Here’s a tip: Investing in your team’s knowledge on how to best look after themselves at and away from work, is pro-active, ethical, and assists in WHS compliance.
Total Injury Prevention Specialists (TIPS) can provide tailored advice about and practical skills supported by years of experience in Physio, Safety and Work Rehab to mitigate risk in your office and or worksite, and it’s extremely cost effective.
Optimum Recoveries regularly works closely with Paul Knotts from TIPS to ensure the comfort and safety of our team. To find out more, email Paul firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0411 244 909.
OPEN YOUR MIND TO NEW IDEAS (FOR FREE!) AT DEPOT[x]!
We’re proud series sponsors of DEPOT[x]! These free events are brought to you by our friends at businessDEPOT. There’s always a great line up of empowering speakers (and it’s also an excellent networking opportunity).
At the event in July, attendees heard all about the benefits of collaborative workspace design, found out how to train their brains to manage stress, and the discovered the merits of private equity. Sound interesting? It was!
We hope to see you at the next event. To find out more and register to be notified as soon as the details of the next event are announced, click here.