Contributing to our position as Australia’s premium Financial Risk Management resource, our management globally explores and surveys relevant and valuable articles published by respected professionals, academics and organisation. The articles offered here are suggested reading for any Business Owner and Financial Risk Management professional.
13 Dec 2018
The author Patrick Coghlan has prepared a brief introduction on five warning signs that indicate you may be dealing with a potential bad debt.
One of the key issues in business is to understand the signs which indicate a potential or existing customer may leave your business with a bad debt.
If you are unfamiliar with the indicators of a bad debt, or just need a refresher on the indicators of the causes of a bad debt, this article may worth reading.
9 Nov 2018
Nancy Seivers is an experienced debt collector from the US who has written an article focused on helping business people understand the importance of sales and credit people working together. Irrespective of which country you operate in, building a business team that works together is essential. Building a business team, is like building a sporting team where everybody understands their role in helping the organisation achieve its maximum potential and "win the game."
Equally important, as Ms Seivers points out, is the role of management in developing cooperation between different groups within the business. Likewise, effective credit management and sales cooperation starts with support from senior management. Without such support and endorsement, a team-like relationship is unlikely to develop.
This article may be of value for those managers and team leaders wishing to create cooperation between credit and sales employees to assist their business to maximise sales, cashlfow and profits. After all, that is the end game of operating and managing a business.
29 Aug 2018
The author of this article is unknown, however the message advocating credit and salespeople working together is as important today as it has always been.
There is considerable evidence, when the two departments work together, sales increase and additional benefits accrue to the business.
There will be always a level conflict at times between the two departments. It is encumbered on management to ensure that these conflicts do not develop in to adversarial exchanges. It is in such circumstances, which creates a toxic culture which causes negative consequences for the business as a whole.
To assist in avoiding the development of a toxic culture, nine (9) strategies are suggested which can assist in reducing adversarial contacts between the two departments.
If you wish to create a more collegial working environment in your business, this article maybe of value in helping you to achieve this objective in your business.
2 Mar 2018
We have seen a number of announcements lately about major businesses which have entered in to insolvency administration. Tim White's article is a timely reminder therefore, not every one of your customers or suppliers could be in a good operational state. If your customer or supplier is no longer operating effectively, there is likely to be negative consequences for the well-being of your own business.
Mr White provides seven indicators which help to identify whether your customer or supplier is in good operational health. On sighting any indicators of poor health, it would be wise to consider further due diligence or to re-evaluate your business dealings with that business.
If you have noticed that your trading relationship with any customer or supplier has recently become troublesome, this article could be of value in helping you understand why this has happened. Once you have identified the issues, you can proceed to take action and to protect your business.
9 Feb 2018
Julian Friedland's article is a timely reminder that maintaining your personal and business reputation is always important. In fact, it is worth dollars in the bank. Maintaining your good reputation in today's hectic business environment requires strong discipline and vigilance on what you do and say.
This article also a good follow up on a previous article highlighted recently on Credit Matters on why arrogance is a corporate sin. The link to this article is https://www.creditmatters.com.au/invaluable-reading-risk-management/#112
The loss of reputation affects the individual or their business across a whole range of different aspects, including cashflow, access to finance, sales, customer respect and referrals etc.
I suggest there are a number of useful reminders in this article of how easy it is to lose your reputation. As such, it may be of value in helping you protect your reputation.
24 Nov 2017
Consumer debt is on the rise globally and this situation has potentially negative implications for all businesses.
Alister Kay's article, originating in the UK, could well be written by an author from any country today as the basics are similar.
The focus of the article is about a change in lending practices of the banks and finance companies which offer consumer finance products. However, this article is also a sign that organisations offering B2B credit to their customers, would be wise to rethink their own lending practices. Yesterday's lending practices in both the consumer and B2B worlds, are often no longer applicable or practical.
This article may be of value therefore, if you are looking for the clues that would encourage you to review your own lending practices to meet the future business environment.
21 Oct 2017
Many business people are encouraged to consider exporting as a way of increasing their sales. This is a fine thought. Unfortunately, whilst being encouraged to consider the positives of exporting, rarely are business people properly cautioned about the associated risks.
Austeja Kibildyte's article introduces a number of risks which a potential exporter would be wise to consider.
If you are interested in exporting, now would be would be a good time to explore both the positive and negative aspects of exporting. It is very easy to spend a lot of time, energy and money and wish you knew what was involved if your exporting ventures turn nasty. This article may be of value to help you come to grips with a number of the issues when exporting and help you minimise any adverse consequences.
26 Sep 2017
Too often, business people only think about marketing their business when selling goods and services. If you only market one part of your business and not the business as a whole, it is similar to somebody dressing professionally from the waist up and if they are on holiday from the waist down. It is not a good image.
The marketing of your credit, accounts receivable and payable management as professionally operated and an asset to your business is worth dollars in the bank. Too many business people however, fail to see the importance of these areas to also reflect a positive holistic image of their business.
Paul MCCarthy's article is worth reading from too perspectives. The first is to create a test to verify the image perceived by suppliers and customers of your business. Every business needs suppliers and customers to survive and grow. Second, if your test suggests your business could do better, this article is a useful guide on how to improve your business's image.
27 Jun 2017
David Gustin has highlighted an article which appeared in the Age newspaper from Australia. We can take two important messages from David's article.
The first is, although David is based in the US, he has thought the value of this article from Australia is important for all businesses, no matter which country they operate.
Secondly, he has reinforced the issue which smaller businesses have when supplying large corporate enterprises. All too often, the smaller business is attracted by the prospect of supplying a corporate client. Once the relationship commences, the smaller business soon finds it can be at a disadvantage when it comes to enforcing their payment terms and conditions if the larger corporate "suddenly" changes those terms and conditions.
These messages are of importance to all business people and professionals irrespective of what country they operate. I suggest therefore, this article is worth reading if you intend to supply large corporate enterprises.
20 Feb 2017
Understanding and managing your costs is essential if you are to make a profit in business. Despite the mantra that the "Customer is King", not all customers act like a good king. There are those customers which do a great detail deal of damage to you and your business.
As Steve Cartwright illustrates in this article, there are always costs to dealing with customers. The cost however, in dealing with unprofitable and difficult customers often grows exponentially above any potential benefit. Furthermore, as Mr Cartwright points out, the costs are just not financial. There are other costs involved including, emotional, respect and lost time which could be better spend on other projects.
If you are having problems with difficult customers, Steve Wright's article may be of value in addressing some of the issues you currently face and help you decide on how best to deal with your worst customers.
19 Oct 2016
Colm Healy and Karen Niven discuss a recent research project they conducted which tested the goal setting process for organisations. The ethos behind the goal setting within any business, is of extreme importance. In addition, the part culture plays within the organisation is another essential factor in the success or otherwise of the goal setting process.
The subject and of impact goal setting has on employee behaviour, is especially in today's business environment. All too often we see yet another well-known business or government organisation being caught out due to the unethical behaviour of its employees.
Goal setting is a valid and valuable part of the business process, it completed properly. If you get the process right, you can motivate your employees to achieve their targets which benefits all stakeholders. Get the process wrong, and there are big penalties which come in to that will impact on your business negatively.
If you are unsure of the importance in goal setting within your business, this article could be of value in helping you understand the process.
23 Sep 2016
Michael Griffith's article is focused on the value happy customers add to your business, particularly in the area of referrals and in providing positive comments on your business.
When you read Michael's strategies on how to keep your customers happy, you start to realise that these strategies are also important for your business in other ways.
Happy customers don't just refer others to your business. They are also more likely to pay on time, forgive occasional mistakes, and continue to make enquiries which you can utilise to improve your business processes. Equally important, they do not go online to berate your business for inefficiencies which damage your business's reputation.
If you have lost your way or had not realised the value of happy customers to your business, this article may be a good start to reinvigorating how you deal with your customers.
16 Sep 2016
Daniel Burrus has written about the increasing use of new payment methodologies in the coming years. He is probably right when he advises digital payment systems are going to be the norm for the future.
There are an immense number of issues which business people need to get their heads around, because as we know in life, nothing is simple. Whilst the use of digital transaction methodologies is attractive in theory, they do have associated risks. Accordingly, it is a wise business person who takes the time to understand the issues before blindly accepting digital payment policies are right for their business.
Daniel Burrus's article may be a good place to start if you are going down the digital payment path to try and ensure you understand all the benefits and pitfalls of modern digital payment methodologies.
27 May 2016
Kim Niemi writes about one of the major disruptors in business, the customer experience. What are customers really looking for? We know one factor is the cheapest price. However, are there other factors which influence their decision making which you can use to influence their decision making positively?
Kim writes about what she considers to be the five most important factors. By focusing on these issues, she believes you are likely to attract more customers. Furthermore, I respectively suggest, by considering these issues properly with an open mind, you will also have a much better business organisation.
The five same issues which Kim writes about not only attract customers, they are also applicable when it comes to running a profitable business.
If you are failing to attract or keep your customers, this article may be a good place to start in rethinking how you do business.
7 Oct 2015
Imbedded in Professor Graycar's article is a brief insight in to Australia's history of corruption in Australia. As he mentions, many people do not see any purpose in wasting time talking about corruption "... because it has always been there and always will be."
However, as Professor Graycar points out, the facts demonstrate when corruption is tackled, positive outcomes are possible. The Professor also highlights some of the issues ahead in fighting corruption as a result of today's volatile world.
"While Australia is very highly regarded, it would be foolish indeed to become complacent. In the face of economic turbulence, demographic change, environmental threats, and knowledge and communications revolutions among other things, the public policy challenges will be formidable. Good governance and unimpeachable integrity will have to be the bedrock of our policy and delivery apparatus. We can deal with corruption, maladministration and misconduct at the coal face if we have good principles, good practices and good data."
This statement presents guidelines and principles to help business owners and managers identify and operate their businesses to avoid being caught up in corruption matters.
As a starting point in your own efforts to understand and avoid the pitfalls associated with corruption, this article may be worth reading.
16 Jun 2015
Shep Hyken presents a blog discussing the concept "that all customers are right!"
As a credit management professional, I know the problem caused by customers which are not right. I see such issues through the blatant changing of payment terms, constantly raising invalid credit claims and the reasons used to justify their slow payment behaviour.
Mr Hyken raises two more important aspects of dealing with the wrong type of customer. His view is that bad customers (i) suck the energy out of your employees and therefore this can lead to (ii) the destruction of your organisation's culture.
You probably know the feeling you have when dealing bad customers. There are some customers who seem to believe they have the right to use your goods and services and not pay for them on agreed terms. In addition these customers try to blame your employees for any issues which are clearly the fault of the customer and not of your business.
As Mr Hyken advises, bad customers destroy value and it is perfectly okay to "sack" them.
If ever you need support in dealing with bad customers and wonder if they are worth keeping, perhaps you should have a quick read of this article. It just may help you say "not every customer is right all the time!"
7 Jun 2015
Thank you is so easy to say and the effect lingers long after it is expressed in gratitude. However many people forget to say thank you.
We live in a fast paced world, crowded with people, noise, and information. Therefore how do we stand out in such a world so that people want to do business with you? Saying thank you is one of the few actions we can take and costs so little.
Jeffrey Slater provides a nice story on the value of saying thank you through his story.
If you have forgotten how to say thank you, why not read Jeffrey's article and try it yourself?
20 Apr 2015
How many times do we receive a poorly framed sales call, which is nothing more than a prospecting contact which annoys the hell out of you? Unfortunately it happens far too often.
The problem in business today, is that sales people are often employed for their willingness to try anything to get a sale, rather than for their sales professionalism.
Regretfully we also see this practice currently occurring in other work professions. However I transgress.
Returning back to Greg's article, regrettably many non-professional salespeople and other salespeople who are desperate for work, no longer seem to understand the difference between the two types of contact. Therefore it may be interesting to ask a salesperson, "Are you prospecting or are you making a noise in the hope of making a sale?" I respectfully suggest, many salespeople would be unable to answer this question with confidence.
You may have salespeople within your firm who can fill one of these roles successfully at the moment, but not both. To add value to your existing salesforce therefore, assisting them to be successful in both roles would seem to be advantageous. If you are looking to review your work practices and to have your salespeople act more professionally, I suggest Greg's article is one source worth reading.
PS: As an example of the difference between a sales prospector and a salesperson, I have a friend who is a fantastic sales and business prospector. Sadly, I would not trust my friend to represent any company as a salesperson.
13 Apr 2015
Colin Porter highlights a number of issues in relation to what you say in your emails.
It is always wise to remember what you put in writing maybe used against you if the email is seem by other parties other than the intended recipient. This possibility is always a possibility if you are involved in any legal action.
We are always surprised when we stories in the media on what was said in emails when they are leaked by disgruntled people or in discovered in the event of any legal action.
Colin also provides additional information in his second blog - Business emails: Legal matters (Part 2)
If you do not have a policy or have taken the time to review how you write emails of late, I suggest these articles are worth reading. However before preparing any policy and procedures, please ensure professional advice is sought to assist in your particular situation. This action will assist in preparing the right policy for your business.
7 Apr 2015
Occasionally, despite your best intentions, there is bad press levelled against your brand and your business.
Sue discusses concepts to be considered when these events occur. These concepts include addressing the matter as quickly as possible, completing a review of the situation, being honest and having a plan for when such situations do arise. Even if you believe the situation is minor, always treat the matter with respect because the issue is always important to the person raising the issue.
Therefore three key concepts stand out in Sue's blog as follows.
1 Don't panic but confront the issue with an acknowledgement and carefully with a honest reply.
2 In order to reduce the effect of the bad news, prepare a plan of action.
3 If you feel overwhelmed, seek professional help.
In today's world, bad press at some stage is almost inevitable. With the advent of social media, bad news travels faster than an out of control bushfire. Therefore doing nothing is not an option these days. Follow through properly with any bad press and you will create a stronger brand.
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