As we come to the end of 2021, there are many people who are in a worse position than they were at the beginning of 2020. This year there have been continuing natural disasters and death of loved ones, plus many people are at a loss because of the pandemic.
This blog is therefore almost the same as for December last Christmas as most people are still in the same state this year.
Please note, I am no expert qualified to help with all the specifics of your situation. I can only make suggestions based on my own experiences. As always, if you are still troubled, please seek professional help.Read More
Valid terms and conditions are more important than ever these days. Too many businesses however, are still relying on outdated and incomplete documentation which are not fit for purpose.
In today’s complex business environment, having the right trading arrangements and terms and conditions may mean the difference between survival and the demise of your business.Read More
We live in a world where the message is to go digital because there are so many benefits. If you go purely digital however, how will you sell to your cash strapped business and poor consumer customers? After all, if they cannot afford to go digital or use the latest technology, how will they pay you?Read More
It is said that once the world has managed to move on from the COVID pandemic, there will be a new normal. In reality, no one actually has any idea of what the new normal will look like.
In this blog, I have focused on a few suggestions which most businesses will have to deal with when we find the new normal has stabilised to some degree.Read More
It is said that once the world has managed to move on from the COVID pandemic, there will be a new normal. In reality, no one has actually any idea of what the new normal will look like.
There have been many suggestions made based on what we know and have done in the past. The world is in a constant state of change however. This means many of the suggestions to date may be completely invalid because the actual business environment at that time is so different to what we saw pre-pandemic.
In this blog, there is a brief review of the main factors currently affecting our business community.Read More
Any business which has debt it owes, or is owed to it, will find it is continually affected by a variety of potentially negative factors. In other words, although your business may not operate 24 hours a day, your business’s debt is subject to change 24 hours a day.
Consequently, there should be no let up on ensuring your business’s affairs are always up to date so that if the status of your business’s debt changes for the worse, any damage is minimised.Read More
Historically, there have always three or five Cs of credit: capacity, capital, conditions, character and collateral. In more modern times, three more Cs were added in some circles, country, currency and cultural risk.
As time passes by, it occurs to me there are four more Cs which are worth considering, credit management, cash, communication and customers. These four Cs are aimed at reviewing the overall business viability when selling on B2B credit.Read More
It is essential that all businesspeople understand the financial and operational viability of their business in today’s chaotic world.
Unfortunately, too many businesspeople seem unable, or unwilling, to periodically stress test or review the viability of their business. As a result, they steam full ahead into danger, just like the Titanic did into that iceberg.Read More
There are times in business when there is nowhere to hide and we are now in one of those times. The two major factors which create this situation, which will affect all businesses, irrespective of how well they trading at the moment, are (i) there are no secrets anymore and (ii) the recession.
The business which does not prepare properly, or acknowledge these factors, is in for some worrying times in the coming years.Read More
To paraphrase an old saying “Life is too short to drink bad wine!”, the same can be said for bad customers.
The fact is that bad customers often destroy many of the benefits of why we go into business.Read More
It was said that when government support ended, many businesses, the zombies and other cash strapped businesses, would become insolvent. There is a lot of noise in the media that this has not happened because of the previous government support and wily businesspeople who have been able to manage their business better.
Is this situation true or is the flood of insolvencies about to happen?Read More
Recently I saw the following proposition; “Should a business consolidate or expand in times like these?” Not once in any article I have seen on this subject, or suggestions about improving your business, have I sighted the suggestion of reviewing and evaluating your business’s existing records and data.Read More
The global community is fragmentating due to the pressures of the COVID pandemic. Today, due to this fragmentation, efficient business transactions and cooperation are becoming more difficult between countries and even between jurisdictions within the one country.
A business is no different. When fragmentation occurs, often in the name of efficiency and cost allocations, the business usually also becomes less efficient.Read More
Currently we operate in a business world of powerful changes. The cause of much of the changes are due to people not being prepared to accept being ignored is acceptable, or are seeking revenge, or the thrill of challenging the status of the established businesses in their respective marketplaces.
It is those businesses which ignore this reactionary factor who suffer the most because they forgot about how people react to what has happened to them personally. Those people caught out may be naïve, or have become arrogant through previous successes, or perceive they have a position of strength in the marketplace.Read More
All businesspeople and managers must learn to understand the reality of the saying “If you don’t manage risk, the risk manages you!”
Today, we see that managing risk is changing management’s view of their business world and business management strategies. For instance, is your business an “ethical business”, or “climate denier or advocate”, or does it look after its employees, or is it “a socially compliant business”, etc.
In addition, in the face of all the above factors, do you still have a profitable business with positive cashflow from customers?Read More
This year has been one of the years that most people just want to be over as so much has happened, and most of it not has not been good.
It would also be fair to say, many people are running on empty emotionally and /or financially from the strain of trying to exist in the face of natural disasters and lost work, or business due to the pandemic.Read More
Never has it been so important to raise valid invoices promptly and get paid as quickly and effortlessly as possible. This blog provides a number of reasons and ideas to help you get paid as quickly as possible; and to keep the funds.Read More
In the previous blog, I reviewed what we have seen as a result of the COVID-19 virus and the commencement of the current recession proper.
In this blog, I will discuss what might have been done to help your business survive and grow during the recession. The fact is, there will still be business opportunities available during the recession, you just have to be in business to take advantage of them.Read More
In this blog, I will briefly review what we have seen as a result of the COVID-19 virus and the commencement of the current recession proper.
In truth, we have all been under the threat of a pending recession for some time. The COVD-19 virus was only the final straw which “broke the camel’s back” as they say. The current recession was not created by the virus, it just created the environment that forced people into admitting there was no escaping the recession.Read More
“Key Factors for Surviving the Recession”
This is the complete mini-series in one blog, in case the reader would rather review all the contents at the one time.
Let us not beat around the bush, the recession has started. Nothing will be the same for anybody, business people included, once the first stage of the recession is completed. By that I mean, the isolation period caused by the COVID-19 virus is deemed to be over, or manageable. You must be prepared to change and adept to a new order where such things as protecting your cash, reputation and paying your debts in a timely fashion are paramount. These three objectives apply both to your personal and business lives.
At Credit Matters, we are reinvesting in a new tagline to better describe what we actually do. Our new tagline is
Credit Matters – “Your cashflow defence against profit robbers.”
The world has become far more complex since we first started in 2001. Over the years the task of getting paid quicker, with less cost to increase your profits, has also become more complex. As a consequence, our focus has increased on the importance of Total Financial Risk Management.
As we have increasingly articulated over the years, Financial Risk Management is so much more than good accounting and debt collection practices. Financial Risk Management also encompasses: Fraud Protection, Cyber Crime, Avoiding Sales & Marketing Blunders, Legal Tax Advantages, Identifying Risk Factors – and so much more.
Our objective to eliminate Profit Robbers is therefore to benefit your company with improved cash flow and profitability while reducing your risk and associated stress. Hence our new tagline.Read More
I have encountered many negative factors over the years when working in credit management and account receivable roles. Furthermore, I suspect your own employees have seen many of the same factors which have also affected your business negatively. These factors are expected to become increasingly prevalent this year as the business downturn gets worse.
This blog will briefly present a list of factors which I expect to see and which I expect your own employees will see in 2020 as we work in our respective roles.Read More
A business improvement specialist recently suggested that a good source of new business was from within the business itself. By contacting former customers which had stopped buying, it was possible to re-establish a positive trading relationship and gain new sales.
Another advantage of reviewing your existing customer lists, is the opportunity to upgrade your trading agreements that will be appropriate for today’s business environment. You can also deactivate those accounts which will cause future problems if reopened indiscriminately.Read More
We often hear that “the numbers do not lie.” There is a great deal of truth in this saying. The problem is however in understanding the numbers. The fact is, numbers don’t lie, they also do not necessarily tell the truth.
So how do you tell the difference?Read More
It is not unusual when times are difficult, to see that a number of countries have initiated a strategy of good and bad banks. These banking formats allow the good bank to continue to operate unhindered by large bad debts, and hopefully, in a profitable manner. Meanwhile the debts in the bad banks can be dealt with, also hopefully, in an orderly and professional manner.
It seems to me, in these trouble times, there is some merit in business organisations, especially the larger ones, in creating both good and bad Debtor Ledgers.Read More
The law of unintended consequences is a useful explanation of what happens when we make the wrong business decisions which subsequently affect our businesses negatively. Nowhere do we see this situation affect businesses more than in business downturns or recessions.Read More
It is amazing how so many businesspeople focus on raising invoices as though this is the only pathway to success. The truth is, many of these same businesspeople end up raising so many invoices, that it leads to the demise of their business.Read More
How long will criminals exist and why? There are numerous reasons why criminals exist and why good people become criminals.
No business person knows all the strategies and methods used by criminals and their strategies and methods continue to evolve over time. Both career and first-time criminals are ready to take advantage of any weakness offered by business people. As a consequence, business people need to be constantly vigilant and have the best resources available to protect their businesses.Read More
A good way of looking at the integrity and resilience of a business and businessperson is to review their business history. When you are about to enter a business relationship with a business, or a businessperson, it would be useful to know something about how they managed their successes and setbacks.
The problem is that success without also surviving setbacks means businesses and businesspeople may not be prepared for a Minsky moment. A Minsky situation is where continual success without any setbacks or crisis inevitably leads to a much bigger failure.Read More
A potential customer makes contact for a B2B credit facility, or your sales people arrive at your desk with a new credit or trading agreement. As the evaluation proceeds, it becomes obvious that there are potential problems with establishing an ongoing relationship with the customer.
What normally happens then within your business is a form of combative arguments and statements as to whether the credit facility should be opened or declined.
What rarely occurs as part of the evaluation process is asking the customer, “Why should we extend credit to your business?”Read More
What is the value of characterising your customers into different groupings?
Characterising your customers by region, purchasing power, sales group, type of business, or product and services purchased makes sense.
However, when we characterise any group of people in real life, prejudices can build up. Managing a business is no different. When customers are characterised in any particular manner, profitable opportunities can be missed because of a perceived prejudice.Read More
Does the fragmentation of work aid or hinder the efficient business operation in credit and accounts receivable? The answer as always, it is not the fragmentation of the work, rather, it is how the fragmented work processes are managed and reviewed for improvement if required.Read More
Almost everywhere you look today, somebody, somewhere in the business environment will use the word “innovation” to suggest if a business does not keep innovating, it will fail. In many cases this may be true.
The main area where businesses fail to innovate is in the area of cash and asset protection. All too often, innovation is only forced on the business after it has lost something. Meanwhile, the successful fraudsters are still innovating to see if they can steal even more.Read More
Increasingly we are noticing more people are telling us that the recession is coming. There are some people who believe there are signs that the next recession has already started.
If you are in business, what do you do? Perhaps you can sell your business, or reduce expenses and hope to hang on. Otherwise you can always look at ways to move forward and make more money.
The fact is, whilst many business people will lose money in a recession, others will make a great deal more than in the good times.Read More
Understanding your business’s reputational capital is an issue many directors and managers need to face up to today. Creating a positive reputation in all aspects of your business is another way to maximise your business endeavours.
In this blog, I will discuss the importance of reputational capital in relation to your Payables and Receivable departments.Read More
Customer fraud in the B2B world has always been an issue. In today's business environment however, it is on the rise as reported in an article by Patrick Durkin of PwC.
Credit managers have for years seen the rise of customer fraud. Disappointingly, their messages to management on how to minimise customer fraud have often gone unheeded.
We can all look to the business to consumer (B2C) world to see the impact of customer fraud on business. These days, many businesses often refuse to provide any credit to consumers.
If the level of customer fraud continues within the business to business (B2B) environment, then I foresee the situation where many businesses will also be refused credit.Read More
It is fascinating to see how many business people somehow believe a technology tool buys their products and services. I always thought it was people. There may be a time in the future where AI based software can be used more often within the business setting to purchase goods and services. The plain fact of the matter is; it is people which have the money. The best business organisations will always realise this and make buying the best possible social experience.Read More
I thought it worth explaining the reasoning behind the title of this month’s blog.
The “Eyes Wide Shut” comment comes from the title of the movie of the same with Tom Cruise and Nicol Kidman. In this film, Tom’s character enters a world of which he had no knowledge and of the problems he will experience.
“The mice which come out to play” refers to the old saying “While the cat’s away, the mice will play” is from the English dictionary and is often used to indicate, when the person who is in charge of a place is not there, and the people who are there, can behave badly.
As I review and interact with the world around me, I see situations where management teams appear to have no idea of what is happening in their business or the ramifications of their actions or inaction.
Consequently, I believe we can all learn from those situations where managers fail to act because they appear to have their eyes wide shut and therefore fail to comprehend what happens when they do not create appropriate controls.Read More
The problem with focusing on cheap and unqualified employees is that it costs money. Too many business people today seem to focus on operating their business cheaper rather than effectively. These business people look to eliminate tasks, cheaper inputs, cheaper employees, or cheap technology tools rather than employ the best IT work tools and qualified employees. The upfront costs of this strategy is without doubt cheaper in the short term.
The long term cost of these strategies however, is more expensive and causes all sorts of unforeseen problems.
This blog will explore why cheapest upfront philosophy is not always the best business strategy.Read More
If you want to be paid according to your terms and maximise cashflow and profits, all employees must be motivated to achieve these goals.
Many businesses fail to adequately educate all their employees on the importance of getting paid. As a result, uncollectable invoices are raised, customer enquiries are not handled properly and follow up contacts for outstanding invoices are not completed in a timely manner. It is these actions which tell your customers that getting paid is not a priority for your business.
This blog focuses on the actions which impact directly on whether your customers are educated to pay you in a timely manner.
B2B credit is one of the tools most businesses use to grow their sales and business. The proviso is of course, when extending credit, it must lead to profitable sales.
Currently, there are many business people who believe credit is a right, rather than a privilege. Furthermore, they often treat the creditor supplier with contempt when signing credit applications because they have no intention of honouring the terms agreed.
As with every right, when it is abused, it is often withdrawn. Likewise, if creditors can no longer make a profit by selling on credit, it would not be surprising to see B2B credit being withdrawn as a general sales tool and restricted only to the most trustworthy customers.Read More
Managing accounts payable and accounts receivable operations properly is critical to the success of your business. The problem within many businesses is that people who have never operated for any length of time in these functions, seem to have undue influence on how these functions operate. The end result in these situations, is an overall decrease in operational efficiency, lost sales, increased fraud and financial viability.
This blog will very briefly cover why these situations have come about.
What is the best use of your business's surplus cash?
Too often, when a business is deemed to have a large cash surplus which cannot be deployed profitably, the answer seems to be to buy a competitor, expand or return the cash to shareholders. However, are these solutions really the best use of the surplus funds in the long term?
Rarely for instance, do you see suggestions such as paying creditors, clearing any borrowings or ensuring the business has the best professional accounts payable and finance resources available put forward.
In this blog, I will put forward suggestions why paying shareholders surplus cash, expanding or taking over a competitor, may not be the best long term solutions for your business.Read More
When we first enter business, one of the first things we learn is that business is a numbers game. Inevitably the focus of this comment is on sales where the more contacts you make, the greater chances you have of attracting a potential buyer and of making a sale.
Rarely is the focus on the numbers which reflect the risks associated with operating a business. For instance, the number of dollars it takes to pay borrowings, the numbers of invoices raised and paid within terms or the number of enquiries or credit claims relating to invoices raised etc.
In this blog, the focus is on numbers relating to risks which are equally important to know to help protect the financial welfare of the business.Read More
The genesis of this blog was a request from Adam Wood from GCS-Credit, email@example.com I thank him for his question and contribution to this blog.
Whenever a business extends B2B credit, it is lending its own cash to its customers. This fact seems to be forgotten all too often in the hurly burly of business, finding customers and selling product.
As a result, many organisations may have a credit department, terms and conditions of trade, policies etc. which are substandard and no longer suitable for today’s business environment.
This blog presents 10 key principles of sound credit management which are globally recognised and assist with business survival and growth.Read More
The Spring Racing season is in full swing here in Melbourne, Australia. I thought it timely therefore, to mention the other great race at this time. This race is; "The Great Cashflow And Profit Verses Debt Race".
One of the greatest problems facing governments, individuals or business is the current size of the outstanding global debt today. Almost no one or business is immune from this Race in some way. Debt always cripples our efforts to grow and prepare for the future with a level of comfort. The amount of global debt today is crippling our future in the same manner.Read More
The word grooming is generally associated with the sexual exploitation of children and young people by paedophiles.
This word can also be used to describe how criminals and fraudsters manage to steal your business funds and assets. The process of grooming is essentially the same, whether it be for sexual exploitation or business loss manipulation. The reasons why you lose in each situation are also remarkedly similar.
I work and interact with many different types of businesses across the world. A disturbing and increasing feature of these interactions, leads me to suspect, many Debtor and Creditor Ledgers are no longer managed properly. As a consequence, if I am right, these Ledgers do not reflect accurately the current assets and liabilities of the respective businesses.
There are several reasons Debtors and Creditor Ledgers might no longer be an accurate guide of the current liabilities of a business and are therefore, a risk to your business's financial stability and reputation. A number of these factors will be discussed in this blog on how and why creating clean Debtor and Creditor ledgers adds value to your business.Read More
There is increasing talk by politicians, bureaucrats, accountants, academics and business people with vested interests on the benefits of the cashless society. I can see where these advocates are coming from and why they believe in the cashless society.
There are also many people in the street who see the benefits of avoiding the need for cash in their day to day life. Again, there is some merit in having the option of going cashless if you that is your choice.
However, nothing is ever as simple as first it is claimed. The fact is, in a cashless society, all of us, Governments included, are going to find the idyllic world will not be as predicted. we will have simply swapped one set of problems for another set of problems. The old saying "Be careful of what you wish for ..." will come to haunt us all, even for the cashless society advocates.Read More
Periodically, it is wise to review the state of your business. The simple truth is if you don't know the state of your business today, you cannot plan to achieve your objectives for the future with any factual confidence.
Whether you start your planning exercise before the end of a specified period or once you know the results for the previous period; is immaterial.
What is important is to complete your plan honestly and without hiding the problems of your business or by being overly optimistic in the hope of satisfying other business stakeholders. Too often business owners and their managers seek to provide an overly optimistic picture for the future. The problem with this objective is, if the objectives are not met, it will be the people who undertook the review that suffer the most.Read More
It is my experience, management does not always understand the basic nature and costs of liabilities incurred by their business. I would also respectively suggest, in many situations, management cannot adequately calculate the financial cost of their business's liabilities.
In this third blog, I will briefly outline how this situation has occurred due to changing social norms and behaviour.Read More
It is my experience, management does not always understand the basic nature and costs of liabilities incurred by their business. I would also respectively suggest, in many situations, management cannot adequately calculate the financial cost of their business's liabilities.
In this our second blog, I will briefly outline how this situation has occurred due to technology.Read More
It is my experience, management does not always understand the basic nature and costs of liabilities incurred by their business. I would also respectively suggest, in many cases, management cannot adequately calculate the financial cost of their business's liabilities.
The main causes of business liabilities will be covered in a series of blogs over the coming months.
In this blog, I will briefly outline how this situation has occurred from a management perspective.Read More
No business is without risk. Regretfully, risk factors in business are all too regularly ignored or marginalised. There are specific seminars, workshops and conferences on financial risk management issues. However, very few other events seem to offer any substantial risk information relating to the subject matter being presented.
In this blog, I will explain why a focus on risk management issues is regarded so poorly. Usually, any discussion on risk factors is thought of as a distraction to doing business and a waste of time and resources. Discussing risk, is not about hindering a positive forward review on possibilities. It is about the proper preparation for any risk which may eventuate and impact negatively on your potential for success.Read More
Fraudsters operate successfully where opportunities present themselves due to poor management controls. Two critical areas of any business are the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable departments. If management controls, resources and imposed operating disciplines are inadequate in these departments, fraudsters will soon access your cash.
It is increasingly obvious today, many business people and their senior management teams seem to have their eyes on objectives other than managing the business's cash properly.
In this blog, I will briefly discuss the factors required to protect your business's cash.Read More
As the Bank Doctor continually stresses, the Banks are not your friends. At best, they offer a finance facility which may be of value in growing your business.
Today, with interest rates at an all-time low, is it time to consider to consider moving your finance needs away from the banks? After all, there are other more secure and rewarding forms of finance?Read More
People in business talk about the importance of numbers in business. In truth, there is only one number which is important. The only number which really counts in business is dollar figure in your bank balance.
If there is no money in the bank to keep your business to pay the bills, then all other numbers are immaterial. As an old accountant once said, "A business without cash is not a business!"Read More
Last month I discussed the concept of how business models can lead to unforeseen problems when management from is unwilling to adapt their business to meet changing circumstances. The fact is, a business model is a useful starting platform for any start-up business. The success or otherwise of the model, depends on how firmly the management and investors are welded to the original model.
In this blog, the discussion is focuses on different models of business verses the reality of running a successful business.Read More
All too often, in the conversations between financiers or consultants and business owners or entrepreneurs, you hear the words "Business Model". Within these conversations, the theme is on the creation of your business, the purpose of your business and how the business processes are going to create a profitable business.
The use to the words "Business Model" somehow is designed to impart the impression, that the business is being built to specific circumstances, and all being well, the dollars will flow.
In this blog, I will review the concept of using the words " Business Model" in business discussions.Read More
A statement which advocates "... all customers are equal", is horrifying for the average sales management team. The fundamental reason for this reaction because the statement does not fit comfortably with their strategies or early training experiences.
Of course, like all such bold statements, there are elements of both truth and impracticality which are relevant.
This blog puts forward a brief discussion on these elements.Read More
We are told that all our future business technology services will be completed via the Cloud? This may be the case, but nothing in life is simple, and doing business via the Cloud will not be simple either.
If all our business technology and transactions are based in the Cloud, what are the real risks? Amongst the risks I see, are the potential loss of access to our business records and data, privacy and equally important, control over our business lives.
In this article, I will briefly highlight the risks from a risk management prospective.Read More
Technology can either provide efficiency and cost saving benefits for your business, or create inefficiencies and additional costs.
So, what goes wrong when technology tools are introduced and more problems are created than solved? In my view and based on my experiences, these four factors standout.
(i) The way technology is implemented and interacts with existing business processes.
(ii) The human support offered to ensure the technology operates and achieves the efficiencies sought.
(iii) The introduction of the generic employee rather than a dedicated employee.
(iv) Whether the technology is implemented for the benefit of the business or the vested interests of management.
This blog will briefly discuss how the introduction of technology tools inappropriately alongside the generic employee, is often counter-productive and leads to greater costs rather than efficiencies.Read More
History shows us that prohibition by legislation and taxes do not work. In fact, at every level, poorly designed laws and taxes always provide future opportunities for criminals and fraudsters.
So why are the negative effects of legislative and tax changes never properly considered by Legislators and Governments when framing their legislation and tax rules?
This blog will briefly look at the main issues.Read More
To para-phrase an old saying, "Manners maketh the person" is as true today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow.
When your business is looking for that marketing edge over your competitors, good manners is one factor which will help place your business at the head of the queue. Good manners are essential right across the whole business enterprise. It applies irrespective of whether you are selling, buying or chasing that unpaid invoice.
The good manners displayed in the way your business operates cannot just be left to the work practices of a few individual employees. Good manners which must apply in even the most adverse of circumstances, must be management driven to be effective.Read More
There are always trends in business which we need to be on the lookout for in order to understand where we can add value to our own business. Irrespective of your part in the business process; you can always learn something of benefit if you keep your eyes open for opportunities due to the latest trend.
Today, one of the most important trends noticed, and not just by myself, is an almost complete lack of any embarrassment regarding personal or business incompetence.
Occasionally there will be short-term business problems which are caused by unforeseen circumstances. In the long-term, when problems persist and become endemic, one of the main culprits can be traced to one major trend such as personal or organisational incompetence. Basically, nobody within the business seems to have become embarrassed by their own exposed incompetence or that of their business interacts with its customers and suppliers.Read More
Recently there has been a number of articles in the press discussing the theme of robot workers in the workplace. It seems no workplace or industry is exempt. Of course these articles are talking about machine robots empowered by artificial intelligence.
Unfortunately, in many corporate enterprises, robots of the human kind are already working. In the blog below, I will discuss, very briefly, the following concepts of cost, the level of artificial intelligence required, efficiency and social implications for the business community.
When the micro and SME business person takes the time study the latest business news, they may be inclined to dismiss much of what they see and read. Their thought processes about such matters as global liquidity might be, "Well that will not affect my business!" Unfortunately, this simple exclamation will not protect them from the effects of a lack of global liquidity in these turbulence times.
All commerce over the years has involved a community of parties interacting with each other. That is way the term used by many creditors to their slow paying customers "Please pay us, so we can pay them and they can pay" has so much meaning.
The problem for all business owners and professionals today is the business community is no longer restricted to local borders. We now live and operate in a global community where what affects one business in one country, may affect another business many countries away.Read More
Keeping secrets today is almost impossible. In the past, many potential whistleblowers were reluctant to come forward because of the negative consequences. I suggest if whistleblowers are now to be paid for exposing secrets, they will be more likely to come forward than in the past?
If whistleblowers are to be paid, it would seem prudent, if suitable procedures are not yet in place, to initiate the establishment of such procedures and practices. There is no guarantee of course that this will completely protect you. However, I suggest your actions may well mitigate any negatives if the secrets in your business are exposed.Read More
People often talk about Karma and how it affects their personal lives. The use of this expression indicates the person believes that good things will happen to them because they have lived a good life. If bad things have happened, then it was because they have not lived a good life.
We don't use the word "Karma" to explain what happens to us in business. Instead we will probably say something like "What goes around, comes around". Our thinking via the use of this saying is meant to convey what happens to you in business is usually dictated by your previous behaviour.
It would now appear there are turbulent business times ahead for all of us. Consequently, it may be timely to re-evaluate your current status and behaviour within the business community. For instance, if you have a poor relationship with your business stakeholders, it may now be a good time to see if you can reverse any accrued bad behaviour. After all, if the future is going to be as turbulent as expected, then you will want to try and ensure what comes around helps your business to survive, not speeds up its demise.Read More
Whether you like it or not, one of the most valuable assets of the business, is a trusted employee. These employees complete their work in an efficient and proper manner. Furthermore, if they are shown trust and supported properly, they often go the "extra mile" to try and add value for the business which employs them.
Unfortunately, not all "trusted employees" can be trusted. Too often we see in the media about another business disaster brought about by the criminal actions of the trusted employee.
This blog will review a number of issues relating to the significance of calling anybody a "trusted employee".Read More
Business models and plans are essential even within today's evolutionary environment, and perhaps more so then ever before. These documents provide a guide which helps us in our day-to-day business operations to meet our strategic plans. Business models and plans are also required by finance providers and investors if finance or a capital investment is needed.
Unfortunately owners and managers can become too dependent on their old business models and plans. Therefore when modifications are required because of changing circumstances, the business owner and manager may be reluctant to change. After all, challenging old concepts can be confronting which many people cannot always manage effectively.
Notwithstanding all the aforementioned issues, upgrading your business models and plans occasionally is as essential an exercise as it has always been.Read More
Today, many people are in business or a job, for the short-term. Make no mistake, money often drives away common sense and therefore, many people are only focused on the short-term and the money they can make today. Thinking through and having strategies for the long-term is not on these peoples' agendas.
The good news is you can soon spot the people who are in for the short-term or the long-term. The important aspect of your business is to recognise this difference and use it to your advantage.Read More
Whenever you make a decision to take or not to take a particular action, there are always ramifications. Hopefully the ramifications of your decision making are positive, and not negative.
Unfortunately too often these days, we see people caught up in negative repercussions because of their decisions. Why does this occur?
I suggest negative ramifications occur due to a lack of respect to (i) due diligence, (ii) a failure to stand up for themselves, (iii) the belief they could not be caught out doing the wrong thing, (iv) making a hasty decision, (v) ignoring common-sense issues, (vi) failing to learn from their mistakes and (vii) living primarily for the day, not the future.
The resultant damage because of a lack of respect for these factors often results in lost reputations, money, future sales opportunities and possibly the business as well.Read More
You would think, knowing who you do business with and who works within your business, would be key objectives for any person owning or managing a business. Unfortunately, too often as we are starting to realise, the truth is far different. Many business owners and managers have little knowledge of the stakeholders involved with their business.
As we continue to see in the media, the penalties of not knowing your business stakeholders considerable.
Perhaps if you have been lax in the past, now would be a good time to get to know your stakeholders.Read More
There a number of different payment methodologies available these days. Furthermore the numbers of different types of these payment methodologies and vendors are increasing.
However each payment method has its own advantages and disadvantages. We are also note a number of buyers are using these payment methodologies for fraudulent purposes. In turn, the organisations offering these methodologies are also changing the rules of engagement, which can disadvantage the supplier.
It is a wise business person or manager which regularly reviews the operating conditions of the payment options they offer to ascertain if any of these payment methodologies are still of value to their business.Read More
Too many business enterprises seem to operate in a fashion where half their efforts are full on and the other half is almost in a state of suspended animation and asleep. For instance, the major focus for many business enterprises is directed at attracting new sales from new customers or upselling to preferred customers. Meanwhile many other important business matters are put aside.
The focus on new sales from new or preferred customers is important. However there are other factors which need ongoing attention if the business is to succeed. When there is no balance, it usually takes the equivalent of an alarm-clock going off, to suddenly find a potential disaster is about to occur, or has occurred.
The managers and employees of a fully awake business enterprise are always aware of potential dangers or new opportunities within their existing customer list. As a consequence, they are always reviewing the business behaviour of ALL customers, not just the new or preferred customer.Read More
One of the core aims of business is, or should be, to create the best possible and most efficient customer-supplier relationship experience. How is the implementation of any changes to the facilities your business offers to enhance these relationships pan out? Too often the changes do not work out as intended. When changes do not work, you have disgruntled stakeholders plus the expense of unforeseen costs to rectify these matters.
Why is this so?
Creating the best possible and efficient system is the stated reason for the changes. However the changes implemented, were generally based on the three greatest modern day influences behind the latest statements of most management teams. These influences are (i) doing more with less, (iii) working people harder and/or (iii) cutting business costs.
No wonder the newly created virtual business relationship fails to deliver the expected results. The changes were made with other objectives in mind, not that of improving the customer-supplier relationship.Read More
Telling a potential or existing customer you are no longer prepared to offer credit on their terms, can be one of the most profitable strategies in business. The caveat to using no in your conversations; is to understand why, when and how to say no.
No does not mean you will not trade with a customer. Saying No just means you are not prepared to give the customer carte-blanche authority over the business relationship. Good business is based on two basic business understandings.
1 There is mutual respect towards the other party and creating a straightforward business relationship.
2 The completion of a business transaction or series of transactions between the buyer and seller, where both parties make a reasonable profit.
When these two basic understandings are not present, No is a very profitable word.Read More
About this time of the year, I usually write something about preparing for Christmas. One of the key aspects of our working year is looking forward to having a great Christmas and New Year break with our family and friends.
One of the greatest inhibitors on enjoying your Christmas and New Year break will be the worry about a lack of cash, and/or the failure of your customers to pay.
In order to achieve the best possible cashflow and payment result for your Christmas, it is time to step up your efforts now. It is only by starting this early will you have all possible outstanding invoices paid before the Christmas break.Read More
When managing a business, the possible use of our funds is endless. Unfortunately, the pot of money available is usually limited. How then do we decide how to spend our limited funds?
In a changing world where business and human interactions are constantly changing, finding the right balance of spending on assertive business tools verses defensive business tools is an on-going battle. The right balance is not always obvious and there are always demands for funds depending on whether an opportunity presents itself or a crisis emerges unexpectedly.
The information in this blog reviews the case for spending on defensive business tools why "Financial Risk Management Is Good Management."Read More
No matter how experienced you are in making telephone calls, every now and then you hear an unexpected excuse for not paying that sounds really stupid to you. Consequently you have no proper reply at hand. It is because the excuse seems so stupid, which helps to explain why you might hesitate whilst looking for a suitable reply.
As in all aspects of your life, you can only know what you have been exposed to or taught in the past. Therefore when you hear an excuse which has been used many times before, you will have a suitable response to the excuse. For instance;
"... the cheque is in the mail." That is good you reply. "What is the cheque number and what day did you post it?"
If your contact can not provide these details you know they have probably told a lie to fob you off.
However when you hear an answer like "I have been so busy I haven't authorised the payment of any invoices for two months" how would you deal with this answer?
If you did not have a ready answer which sounded professional and to the point, that is okay the first time. I am sure you will say something reasonable to get through the conversation.
In addition, you should also consider the excuse may have been said without thought or it seemed perfectly reasonable to your contact at the time. Not every excuse which sounds stupid to you is necessarily said in an effort to avoid the issue.
What you need to do with any unusual reply is to write the reply down for later review. Then at your leisure, you can work through the meaning and the reason for non-payment to provide a suitable reply in the future.Read More
May be it is an old person thing when we say "... doing business is not like it use to be". Or maybe it is just that we notice what use to work for a business doesn't seem valid anymore. There are times when we wonder if the modern business person even knows how to run a business these days.
Perhaps to some extent it is a grumpy old person trait. However, the other side of the coin could be, as we gain experience, we get a greater understanding of what works and doesn't work in business.
In this blog, I will discuss 10 business principles which made business successful in the past and which are equally valid today.Read More
Billing and sales budgets are essential components of any performance criteria for any business organisation. These performance criteria help measure employee performance as we endeavour create a profitable long-term to business.
When prepared correctly, these performance criteria guide us to a better business and the best of business outcomes. When prepared badly or inappropriately, these performance criteria can lead to losses in efficiency, profitability and employee performance.
Furthermore, we need to understand identify the factors which help us calculate our budget targets. As we live in an ever changing business environment, we should be periodically re-evaluating the factors and components of these budgets to ensure they are still relevant in today's business environment.Read More
Recently I was made aware of a video on YouTube called Look UP.
The core message behind this video was about how many people are missing out on social and life opportunities. The problem is we see so many people spend so much time today with their face down in their IT devices. Consequently they do not see what they are missing in the world around them or with other people.
This fixation with their IT devices is causing a number of issues with how people interact with other people in the modern world. Here are two examples of such consequences.
1 Increasingly it is being reported how many people are almost inarticulate in social settings today and they have almost no idea of how to talk with other people.
2 Stories are appearing in the media and in conversations where people are saying they have never been so lonely, despite all this interconnectivity.
It appears to me; this same situation is becoming increasingly evident in the modern business world. Too often communication is via facsimile, email or twitter and not by telephone or a face to face meeting. It almost seems as though people are afraid to talk with one another about their business relationships.
Perhaps if IT interconnectivity is causing problems in our social interactions, IT may be also causing the same communication problems in the business world. Often for instance, when you do get to talk to people now, it seems they have lost the art of speaking in a business-like manner.
If you have not yet seen the video on YouTube, click on to the link below. It is a sobering look at the social world of today and the missed social opportunities which occur when we are looking down and immersed in our IT devices.Read More
If we look at the changing landscape of human behaviour, we see what was considered to be good behaviour in our parent's time does not necessarily apply today.
There are so many examples of such behaviour which we could talk about. For instance, saying please and thank you are such rare commodities in our conversations these days. It is as though courtesy and manners do not apply anymore. However we know the simple act of saying please and thank you is often the difference between winning the deal and in achieving positive business relationships.
Likewise, paying people for their work or product on time and having a good payment record were once deemed the high mark of your business reputation.
Today unfortunately, paying your suppliers and maintaining a good financial reputation in business does not seem to be so important. It seems playing games with other peoples' money, creating processes which hinders prompt payment, or not paying at all, is deemed more appropriate business-like behaviour.
In a recent article on anti-doping and John Fahey, we see how sporting bodies constantly struggle with the ramifications when doping is exposed in their particular sport.
Fraud in business often provides management with the same headaches on "How do we deal with this fraud in our business?" when it is discovered.
Unfortunately instead of taking a firm stance against the perpetrators and their behaviour on every occasion, senior management often attempts a "soft solution". When the soft solution option is taken to avoid confrontation by accepting a compromise, a deal is the result. When a deal is accepted, effectively the perpetrator(s) get away with their crime with a minimum sentence.
The loser in either case is the sporting organisation and the business involved which accepts the deal.
Article: Anti-doping still in the blood for John Fahey, Samantha Lane, The Saturday Age, 15ty of March 2014.
Time is a critical factor affecting your chances of being paid promptly and is one of the essential factors which should be directing your accounts receivable operations. An example of a time critical factor is to know the payment run date of each customer. Without this information, you not may be paid as quickly as possible.
Knowing the time of month for your customer's payment run is important. With this information you will be able to concentrate your resources on ensuring you can supply all outstanding invoice copies to the customer in time to be approved for the next payment run date. After all, if you miss your customer's payment run by one day, you may wait another 30 days to get paid, if your customer only has one payment run date per month.Read More
The Christmas period continues to provide us with wonderful opportunities to improve our businesses, if we care to view what is happening with our suppliers, competitors and other business enterprises.
One source of business stories, are media articles, and one that captured my attention over the Christmas and New Year period. was:
Gift of giving falls short as online deliveries miss Christmas deadline, by Mary Schlanenstein in The Age on the 28th of December.
Let us review some of the business lessons in this article.Read More
In a glass half empty world, a customer missing a payment is often considered the precussor of cashflow problems and of their impending delinquency.
In a glass half full world, a customer missing a payment is considered a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the customer and increase sales.
What is your world?Read More
Recently Dean Jones wrote in The Age (12/10/2013) about Test batsmen needing to develop a defensive technique in order to succeed at Test cricket.
Business is very much the same as Test cricket. To succeed and grow a commercial enterprise to the highest level, you need both offensive and defensive skills and strategies.
There is one factor which stands out in many business failures. Where a business was focused on sales and the natural exuberance of its owners and managers, what ultimately let them down, was the lack of respect to due diligence and credit /accounts issues.
Sometimes to extract the best commercial return for your business, you need to take a calculated risk, and on that level, a Test batsman is no different. Therefore, developing and respecting defensive skills in sport and business, is just part of the overall game of winning in either arena.
The media has been full of stories lately highlighting the sins of every type of organisation or person. It appears nobody is safe, irrespective of whether they be 'secretive organisations', politicians, bureaucrats, or businesspeople. Even the 'man in the street' is not exempt, and film stars and entertainers; well they are just fair game! It appears no organisation or anybody is exempt.
We have seen all sorts of collateral damage and formerly 'respectable organisations and people' that have had their characters trashed.
So why don't people learn - there are no secrets anymore?Read More
Christmas is a time to enjoy the fruits of all your hard work over the previous 12 months. You will spend money on presents and good times, sometimes more than you should, take a break with family and friends and finally, recharge your batteries and prepare for the year ahead.
Unfortunately, many business owners and managers will not enjoy their Christmas because of a lack of money or wondering why they haven't got the money they should have had to enjoy themselves.
Why or how did this occur?
For business owners and managers, a lack of cash at Christmas usually occurs because they did not concentrate their efforts on being paid in a timely fashion.
Sales leading up to Christmas may have looked good; however this was not reflected in the cash available in the bank account. Furthermore, the last minute efforts on the telephone in December, failed to bring in the money expected.Read More
Criminologists often quote the term "Broken Window Theory" when talking about urban decay. The theory is that when property is left neglected through a broken window which is not repaired, rubbish which is allowed to accumulate etc. criminals, drug pushers and vandals move in to the neighbourhood.
Whilst the theory is aimed at urban situations, I suggest that there is evidence when certain business situations are not managed properly, the broken window theory also applies.
In the business version of the broken window theory, slow payers learn prompt payment is not important, employees learn sales and purchase fraud is not followed up and slack business processes are tolerated.Read More
Recently Kurt Johansen The Email Marketing Guy, wrote a newsletter titled "People Buy From Friends". Kurt's email inspired me to ask him to resubmit his email as a blog for our Associates Blog. I had two reasons for asking Kurt to participate with his blog.
1 To discuss the complete business relationship i.e. getting paid verses selling, when dealing with friends.
2 Kurt's very useful definition of what a friend is in a business setting.
I also believe treating everybody in business as a friend because this attitude in my opinion brings real benefits for your business. However, you also need to be wary of friends when money is involved.
You can read Kurt's blog in full at http://www.kurtjohansen.com/email-marketing/questions-relate/Read More
The problem for many entrepreneurs starting business is that they often lack business skills. These entrepreneurs are usually very good at what the they do such as being an artist, software developer, film maker, widget developer etc.
What they are usually bad at, is being good at being a business person. Furthermore they have problems relating to the people with the money. In fact, many entrepreneurs by nature, find "... all that money stuff" boring and a hindrance to what they want to do.
So what to do? In this blog we will discuss a number of basic business concepts and objectives for the entrepreneur .Read More
Risk management warnings are often ignored, and none more so when it comes to thinking about what we write and say. As a consequence, and unfortunately, too often people write and say things which are said in frustration or without foresight as to any future ramifications.
Today for example, risk managers and parents are imploring young people to be careful of what they write and say during their online social interactions.
However in the business environment, we too must be extremely careful of what we write and say. Too often we have seen people expose themselves to ridicule, legal action, reputational damage and consequently, business because of their undisciplined behaviour.
Taking notes and speaking with customers and suppliers is an important function of business. However care must always be taken when taking notes, writing emails or when speaking because of potentially negative ramifications.Read More
Today with all the pressures around us, it is not surprising fatigue sets in from time to time. There are many different types of fatigue, e.g. from over work, constant change, feeling there is nothing more we can do, etc.
However there are two types of business operations where fatigue must not be allowed to takeover. Those are the operations which focus on selling your products and making sure we get paid. Without sales and cashflow, you do not have a business.
There are business professionals which deem sales and accounts receivable operations are separate functions which can operate in isolation from one another. Nothing is further from the truth. Both sales and accounts receivable are forever intertwined.
Therefore the business which operates otherwise, will always fail to maximise sales and cashflow opportunities.Read More
Management has just signed off on the purchase of a new business to help grow your existing business.
There is a combination of relief and happiness as the victory is celebrated. On another level, management is thinking, "... now the hard work is completed we can just get on with our normal business."
Unfortunately, such thinking is usually misguided as the real work is just about to begin as you create one business from two.Read More
Most business people concentrate on the big things in business. Getting paid for your goods and services is similar.
What business people often fail to do is to focus on the little things that prevent them from being paid as quickly as possible.
Here are 7 hints which will assist you with getting payment.Read More
Wouldn't it be good if your customers paid you earlier rather than later? I believe so because the sooner you get paid, the sooner you have your money available to reuse to grow your business.
You will note I conclude all these blogs with the statement and message, "May You Be Paid Today Rather Than Tomorrow" for a specific reason.
Today's business environment is riddled with fragile economic conditions and business enterprises, i.e. with cashflow and slow sales issues, in many sectors. In addition, there is an increasing focus on short-term thinking by business managers.
These environmental conditions, suggest to me, it is always better to be paid today, because come tomorrow, your customer may be out of business.Read More
Salespeople are often inadequately trained to sell the concept; your business needs to be paid for its goods and services, AND within agreed terms and conditions. As a consequence, your salespeople may cause an invoice to be raised that causes more problems than profits.
Smart and sustainable selling is all about selling your product AND getting paid as arranged. It is not about raising an invoice which causes unnecessary work and expenses.
So what type of invoices do your salespeople cause to be raised?Read More
Knowledge is the start for everything we seek, whether it be in our personal or business lives. How and how do we source knowledge for our business?
As businesses of all sizes are discovering, the knowledge that comes from their own business data is very rewarding. Data mining is a well-recognised strategy in the pursuit of knowing what is happening in and to your business.
Data mining the accounts receivable operations is another source of invaluable business information which can be used to enhance your next profit drive. The secret is to know what can be found and then acting on the results produced.Read More
Most business consultants advise all business owners and managers, at some stage, they need to take time out of working in their business, and to work ON it. In other words, taking the time away from day to day affairs to review and evaluate the business's needs.
Reviewing the way your business offers credit facilities and manages the accounts receivable operation is no different.
I will present a number of options on how this might be managed and what you might seek to achieve through this process.Read More
Do we make good decisions under pressure? There are those people who believe they work best when under pressure. It is true; we often make a number of good decisions because of the pressure of the moment.
However the alternate is also true. We make some truly bad decisions when put under pressure.
In this bog, I will concentrate on granting credit to the wrong people when under pressure and why we make these decisions. The relevance of this topic is particularly appropriate because of the current economic situation, in Australia and internationally.Read More
Recently we have seen stories in the press where retailers are blaming their customers for a slow-down in sales. In another story a retailer blamed their suppliers for a lack of quality and their prices.
In Europe, countries are blaming other countries for not helping them pay their bills.
If you are a parent, then you are in real trouble. Your children will blame you for ALL their problems.
Likewise, many business owners and managers like to blame their customers for not paying their invoices.
So what do we make of all these examples of where others are to blame for our troubles?
Perhaps the fault for many of our problems is not with others. Rather it might just be that the fault is with us!Read More
Salespeople generally receive adequate training on how to sell and on their employer's products or services. Too often however, salespeople are not provided with any commercial training or given adequate management support.
Purchase fraud is part of the commercial landscape. However rarely does management assist their salespeople understand purchase fraud. Furthermore, the possibility of purchase fraud is ignored altogether in the rush to produce ever more sales.
Consequently salespeople can be easy prey for purchase fraudsters.
With every successful purchase fraud, there is an equal distraction from making real sales. In addition, there is an additional loss of time and money as you attempt to rectify the effects of the fraud.Read More
There is so much focus on making a sale and raising an invoice these days, that often a customer is lost rather than a sale made.
How can this be?
The reason this happens is because of this over emphasis on sales, not enough effort is placed on customer service issues and getting paid once the invoice has been raised.Read More
Your Accounts Receivable department is your customer payment information resource centre.
If you need to know about whether you will be paid for the outstanding invoices, all you need to do is ask your accounts receivable employees.
Why is this so?
Easy, these employees deal with your customers on a regular basis and through these contacts, come to understand the nature of each customer.
It is a pity that in many business organisations, this valuable knowledge goes unutilised.
Offering settlement discount for prompt payment is considered a sales benefit and often attracts more sales. There is no doubt; settlement discount achieves this objective.
Equally important however, settlement discount is a vital cashflow strategy for two reasons.
The first is obvious; settlement discount does work as a prompt payment tool for getting paid quickly as possible. What is less obvious is that settlement discount is a vital tool in detecting your customers' liquidity.
On this second basis, settlement discount is your equivalent of the canary in the coal mine. Like the canary keeping guard in case bad gases creep in to the coal mine, settlement discount operates as a test on your customer's liquidity and ability to pay you within agreed trading terms.Read More
Customer complaints are just not complaints; they are wonderful sources of commercial advantage and cashflow initiatives.
My experience suggests, sadly, most business people do not hear the messages their customers are sending with their complaints.
So how does your business deal with customer complaints? Are customer complaints a nuisance or an opportunity to grow your sales and cashflow?
Headlines about noisy customers complaining about a business are commonplace these days. When reading stories with such headlines, we inadvertently think about those customers being noisy physically in front of our staff (and perhaps other customers) or via emails, blogs or on an independent customer service site.
To some extent, we can turn these customers around and often use the situation to a marketing advantage.
However, it is the silent customer which is far more deadly because they do their damage without making any noise.Read More
In many business professions and industries, there are best practice guidelines to help a business operate efficiently and effectively.
These guidelines are designed by professional and industry experts to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for the business.
In the case of Accounts Receivable, we see an exception to this ethos of efficiency and effectiveness. I suggest that it will be unusual to find a recognised best practice policy, which has been created by an accounts receivable expert, and accepted by management.Read More
As I write this blog, it is early May and the 1st of July is just a few weeks away. This date is critical if you want to change your terms of trade for the new financial year and make your business more profitable.
The start of the new financial year is for example, when new price lists are sent out with increased prices that will be charged for the new year.
This time period is also critically important if you want to change your business's payment terms to improve your cashflow for the financial year.Read More
One of the reasons many business people loath taking legal action is because of the upfront costs. To many people, all they see is the negative expenses of time and money to try and recover the monies owed.
That is why you often hear the comment repeated when legal action is advocated, "We are not throwing good money after bad!"
Unfortunately, this narrow minded thinking allows crooks and fraudsters to continue to target your business.
The truth is; legal action is an investment in protecting your company's assets and in creating a good business community where everybody does more profitable business.Read More
Offering credit terms at one time was only for special customers with a good payment history. In other words, a credit facility was a privilege earned not just given
Then somewhere in modern times, it was decided that credit was a necessary sales tool and your business would not survive without granting credit to your customers.
Therefore a credit facility went from being a privilege earned - to right demanded.
However, does this same situation still apply today? Is it time we reviewed whether credit is now a priviledge and not a right? Furthermore, with the world of commerce being what it is, should you be even extending credit to your customers?Read More
Professional business advisors keep saying to business owners and managers, they need to work ON their business not just IN the business.
What they mean is that it no longer good enough to just do the selling and marketing they also need to work on the structures and the way the business operates.
Working on the credit and accounts receivable operations should be part of this process of working On the business.Read More
We live in a world where technology can assist us be more efficient. There are some truly fantastic applications and IT tools out there for us to use.
One of the key problems of the technology tools used is how often these tools do not interface adequately with other business processes and the needs of our customers. However these tools are still used because they are deemed to be a cheaper way of doing business than using people for the same function.
When used indiscriminately or improperly, the use of technology can restrict your cashflow, and can therefore can be very expensive.Read More
The business commentators and consultants who report on tough times and changes in Legislation and say your business needs to act now to protect itself, are often ignored or ridiculed.
These business professionals are generally deemed to be just doom and gloom merchants who only supply bad news. Apparently, the people warning of risk issues, only see risks, not potential for profit.
As some business consultants or marketers say; the customer is sick of bad news and just wants simple solutions.
However nothing in business is simple. The minute you take your eye of the main game, you start to go backwards.
Therefore, when negative and lazy business people say, all we offer is bad news, I say. "No we don't. We offer the good news that makes your business more competitive and profitable."Read More
Too often business people procrastinate about serious matters and find in time, their business has been left behind.
Whether the procrastination be through a lack of direction, confidence or the pain of change is not yet great enough to force the change, is immaterial.
In the world or credit and accounts receivable, we see any form of procrastination cause reduced cashflow, allow mistakes to increase and cause increased expenses.
I would encourage all business people to seize the day and act as soon as possble when they see issues which are affecting their cashflow.Read More
Completing customer and supplier account reconciliations protect the cash assets of your business.
Properly completed customer and supplier account reconciliations also provide invaluable information which can be used to reduce expenses and increase cashflow.
Finally, as many business organisations are finding today, sales and purchase frauds increase when customer and supplier reconciliations are not completed regularly.Read More
Every time you follow up a slow paying customer, your business incurrs a cost.
When thinking costs, we normally think of an expense incurred such as the cost of telephone calls, letters, account reviews etc. These are the costs which involve an outlay of money.
What is rarely thought of,or measured, is the opportunity cost when following up slow paying customers. This is the cost of lost opportunities because time is spent following up the slow paying customer rather than selling to good paying customers, researching products and services and even, enjoying a bit of time off.Read More
Credit and accounts receivable employees play a role as the guardians of the sales cashflow of your business.
I define sales cashflow as the cashflow your business expects to receive from credit sales.
Credit and accounts receivable employees are the guardians of sales cashflow because essentially, this is what they do. They guard the cashflow your business expects to obtain from sales to your customers.Read More
If a sale is not a sale until the cash is in the bank, any other sale must be a liability.
A sale is not an invoice raised and sent. An invoice is only an indication that a business transaction has taken place. What sort of business transaction it was, is only decided in hindsight.
A sale only takes place when the invoice is actually paid.
What sort of invoices does your business raise - cashflow or liabilities?Read More
"They are a good customer" claims the salesperson when the Credit Manager places the customer on stop supply.
"Are they?" says the Credit Manager? "Not from my point of view they aren't!"
This dispute rages when there is no organisational definition of a "Good Customer".
How then to define the "Good Customer"?
This is the real question all organisations which they need to define if they wish to have strong sales and positive cashflow.Read More
Does your business extend credit to its customers? If so, the news about the banks in Australia cutting sales and finance staff, is most significant.
There is a great deal of noise and media talk about credit and sales risk in our current business environment. This can make it difficult for business people to discern what is a "red flag" warning which may be applicable for their business.
Picking which red flag warning maybe applicable for your business, is a blog for another day.
However, the news last week that banks are cutting staff from their sales and finance departments, is such a red flag issue. In my view, this red flag warning is applicable for every business person, irrespective of the size of their business.Read More
In some professions and industries, there is a practice where the business placing an order with a supplier, only pays the supplier, when they themselves are paid by their customer.
Unfortunately for the supplier, they often do not know about this payment practice, until they ask the business which placed the order for payment.
So while the supplier's terms may be 30 days, if their customer does not get paid for 45 days, they may not receive payment for 60 days.
This practice has always seemed to me to be one that carries a lot or risk for everybody involved. It is as though no one has thought through the issues of what happens, if the original customer does not pay.
With the GFC still very much with us, this practice seems even more fraught with danger for all concerned.Read More
You have returned from the Christmas and New Year holidays.
It is now the second week of January. You have banked the cheques received in the post, cleaned up and allocated all the outstanding payments and prepared a new Debtors Ledger.
So what does the Debtors Ledger show and are you truly pleased at what you see? More imprtantly, will your banker's be happy at what they see?
Even if you are happy with the new Debtors Ledger, what are you going to do to make it an even better picture for the same time next year?
To do the same as in 2011, is doomed to go backwards with the business world changing, even as you review the current figures and contemplate the year ahead.Read More
We hope you enjoy this Christmas with a full bank account and start 2012 refreshed after your holiday break.
In the business world, this means having your outstanding invoices down to a minimum and Your cash in Your bank account.
The task of following up outstanding accounts is a never ending year long task. However, from October each year, you would be wise to make even more efforts to ensure all possible outstanding invoices are paid.
Concentrate on this task and your Christmas and holiday will be so much more enjoyable.Read More
Business is always a series of social interactions, and not just a set of cold blooded transactions. Therefore, whilst other forms of contact media are of value, nothing beats picking up the telephone and talking with your customer.
However, with the current focus of using other technology, it seems the telephone is almost out of favour when it comes to doing business with your customer.
This attitude is surprising when you consider, apart from face to face interactions, the telephone is the only other true method of providing your customers with a truely social experience. No other form of contact technology allows two people to interact so effectively.Read More
Change is all around us. In the business environment, changes are happening because consumers have decreased their spending, government intervention, directors have increased responsibilities whch impact on them personally, and business prospects vary from industry to industry etc.
If all these changes are happening, it stands to reason, the way we sell on credit and our accounts receivable processes and strategies should also change.
However has there been any real change in how businesses have sold their products on credit or colleced their outstanding accounts? If my interation with the business community is anything to go by, I suspect not.Read More
It is said in both the sporting and business worlds, "A champion team will beat a team of champions."
However in business, we often see a team of sales champions reduce a business's potential results to very ordinary sales and profits. This occurs because the other employees in the "rest of the team" are marginalised in some manner.
Often in these situations, the Credit and Accounts Receivable part of the team, are treated with less respect than the customer. When this occurs, the customer is empowered by management and sales to only buy, and NOT to pay.Read More
In the modern world we rarely see any acknowledgement from business on how important the Credit or Accounts Receivable Department is in growing their sales.
In the post GFC world, we can no longer rely on the old ways of doing busines and must change if the business is to survive and grow.
Therefore it would be wise for management to recognise, one of the core roles of any Credit or Accounts Receivable Department, is to assist in the growth of sales.Read More
If you review most business websites, the two hardest contacts to find and make contact with, are - Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable.
Why do you think this is so?
Accounts Payable, is perhaps understandable.
Accounts Receivable, well I see no logic in that.
The previous blog was about Accounts Payable.
This blog is all about Accounts Receivable.Read More
If you go to most business websites, the two hardest contacts to find and make contact with, are - Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable.
Why is this so?
Accounts Payable, perhaps to some extent, is understandable.
Accounts Recievable, I see no logic in that.
I will discuss why Accounts Payable and Accounts Recievable contacts should be on your business websites in two blogs.
In this blog, it is all about Accounts Payable. The next blog will be on Accounts Receivable.Read More
In my last blog, I talked about the ATO and how it was acting harshly against people in business with tax liabilities.
The reason for this harshness, is explained in part, because early in the GFC, the ATO made arrangements with business people to pay their outstanding tax liabilities. Unfortunately, many of these same business people did not honour their arrangements.
In this story we see another situation which is; what happens when suppliers are greated with cashflow hardship stories from their customers.
Often, when suppliers are greated with hardship stories from their customers in tough economic times like the ATO, they tend to be a bit more lenient in enforcing credit terms.
However, to add the GFC and cashflow difficulties together, and assume all customers who claim to have cashflow problems, are making legitimate claims, is not wise. Just ask the ATO.Read More
In 2010, I heard somebody at a network meeting, describe the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) as the Government's debt collector!
Many business people have acknowledged this fact over the years. We just haven't seen it stated stated so simply and clearly.
As a consequence, very few business people have paid due respect to the ATO's power to influence the business community's cashflow decisions. It would now be wise to do so, if you haven't done so previously.
Without doubt, your customers will always fear the ATO before you - the supplier. This fear will then dictate they pay the ATO before their supplier - every time.Read More
One of the methods of encouraging our customers to pay us in the past was to stamp our invoices with this statement.
PLEASE PAY US SO WE CAN PAY THEM SO THEY CAN PAY YOU
This statement highlights the relationship which exists between all businesses within the business community, whether that be local, state or national.
Whilst we can understand the statement in this context, very few business people accept the following statement.
IF YOU DO NOT PAY US WE CAN NOT PAY THEM AND THEY CAN NOT PAY YOU.Read More
Contacting the customer for the unpaid invoice is one of the most difficult tasks, even for experienced business people.
Why is this so?
I believe there are two reasons.
1 The old marketing/sales adage "The customer is always right!" and
2 No one explained to the person entering the business world that some of their customers would not pay them.
Let us look at how we manage these two handicaps which cause such fear in the business person and delays the making of an effective telephone call.Read More
The reason organisations have induction programs for new employees, is to show the employee quickly how the work is done within the organisation.
History shows employee induction programs lead to greater efficiencies for new employees. Rather than have the employee flounder around and develop bad habits, they quickly learn how to work efficiently.
The same principle applies when you engage with new customers. The sooner the customer knows about your payment expectations, the sooner they pay you.
Therefore, if your cashflow is not to your expectations or sufficient for your needs, it maybe because you do not have a customer induction program at your business.Read More
When I look at your Debtors Ledger, I often see your money sitting in your customer's bank account.
Apart from the money, I may also see a large number of invoices which will hopefully be paid within trading terms; a smaller number of invoices which will be paid outside normal trading terms and invoices which are a liability to the business.
What do you see?Read More
The reality of being business is that we operate in a rutherless environment and I make no apologies for stating this attitude.
If I was to take the path of “near enough is good enough” and the world isn’t “all that bad” as many business people do, then I would not be doing my job.
Despite my gloomy perception on the business world, operating and managing a business can be enjoyable and rewarding. To reduce the gloom, and to make business less stressful, there are a number practical steps you can take to enhance your survival and grow a profitable business.Read More
When selling our goods and services, saying thank you just comes naturally and we say thank you in so many ways.
However, when we review the accounts receivable side of our business operations, thanking our customers for their payments is almost non-existant.
From my experience, most businesses say thank you grudgingly at best, and rarely in a demonstrative manner which lets the customer know their payments are appreciated.Read More
Why did you do it?
This is the question often asked when we find that our invoice is not going to be paid.
I suggest one of the prime reasons you do not get paid was because you did not identify the customer's details properly.
If you wish to be paid for what you sell, then you must identify the customer so you can contact them and seek redress if they do not pay.Read More
Credit Matters - is about Credit Matters.
Our purpose is to help business owners get paid when they sell on credit.
We write about, and work with, credit management and accounts receivable principles, fraud, credit claims, cash flow strategies, handling difficult customers and debt collection.
We never forget - it's all about the cash.Read More
From time to time you may read an advertisement for a workshop “Monitoring the Credit or Accounts Receivable Department.” Have you ever thought about what actually occurs at these workshops?
I suspect the workshop is more focused on how to reduce costs and motivate credit and accounts receivable employees into doing more with less.
One objective I rarely see mentioned, based on the material offered, is the objective of how credit and accounts receivable departments can add extra value to the business.Read More
All debt collection firms are run by ruthless business owners and their debt collector employees are mean and heartless people. All they are interested in is the money.
The truth is, not that media and legislaters are interested, is often the exact opposit.
Debt collection firms are just like any other business enterprise and operate within the same legal and commercial boundaries as other businesses. In addition, debt collection firms have to operate within strict government guidelines.
The majority of debt collection firms employ good people who work and operate within the law.
Furthermore, without debt collectors, many people operating a business would not get paid
Now that is the truth!Read More
If you are a specialist supplier of financial risk management products and services, then you need to be listed in Credit Matters Better Business Club.Read More