Final Ministerial Determination for 2014–15 now available.
Published by Credit Matters Pty Ltd.
Welcome to Credit Matters Newsletter for May 2015. Our monthly newsletter contains information about financial risk management issues, blogs, advice of new business listings and free advice from organisations such as ASIC.
You can always view past copies of our newsletters via our website at www.creditmatters.com.au
Have you visited our Members Area lately? There are interesting offerings which can help you develop the best financial risk management processes for your business. To assist in your decision making about joining, we have added details to our Homepage of what is currently available in the Members Area.
Advertising via Credit Matters
If you are interested in reaching a wider group of business prospects, contact Kim to see what we can do for you. There are many different opportunities to advertise your business. However Credit Matters offers one of the few opportunities to reach a broad marketplace of customers with financial risk management requirements.
This month, we have listed an advertisement by one of our overseas associates, The Kaplan Group. Dean Kaplan and his team have put together a free e-booklet comparing seven agencies which offer credit reports in the US.
If you are doing business or about to do business in the US, and want to know who you are dealing with, this product is a useful guide to help you complete your due diligence.
Attached this month are brochures from (creditor)watch, CMARS, Investigator Upgrade and Express Mercantile.
Previously I have discussed the problem of the mounting costs which occur when there are not enough employees to do the work in a timely and efficient manner. This short-staffing problem generally occurs because (i) there is a deliberate decision to avoid employing more people or (ii) workload creep via the implementation of new procedures and customer requirements.
Irrespective of why you are short-staffed, if problems escalate to the point customers and suppliers start venting their anger and frustrations, your brand is damaged. It goes without saying the costs of trying to repair a damaged brand are considerable.
Therefore this month's conundrum is as follows. Do you keep your employee numbers down to save on upfront expenses and risk damage to your brand and the later unknown costs to repair your brand? Or do you pay for enough employees at a known upfront cost to avoid brand damage and the unknown repair costs later?
The choice is yours!
Paul McCarthy's quotation is so apt in today's fast paced world. The idea that people will just wait around anymore for you waiting for service or an answer to their problems, is out-dated. Therefore the concept of respecting peoples' time should be an important component of your brand protection strategy.
It is also wise to remember, your brand is viewed exactly as is your word as a person. If your brand does not inspire confidence, then your business's survival and opportunity to maximise profits is compromised. Likewise, as an individual, your word is only valuable if other people believe it is worth something.
Developing and protecting your brand is not just about creating a pretty image and being able to sell a great product or service. A brand is something much more than pure dollars in and out, or selling products and services. It has a perception and an intrinsic value for those which interact with your business.
This works both for and against you in business. For instance, you might have a valued brand product or service. However your business brand might be damaged by operating mistakes and inefficiencies.
Two examples for your consideration
1 Your business is deemed to have a "good name". However, the treatment of your firm's suppliers' needs is abysmal because there are not enough employees to promptly answer their enquiries.
For instance, we often see a response to suppliers' emails which advises:
"Thank you, we will respond to your email within 48 or 72 hours ..."
Or you might see:
"Thank you, your email will be dealt with shortly. However if you do not receive a reply within 10 days, please contact us again"
Alternatively, the supplier contacts the customer by telephone, providing a telephone number can be found of course. The supplier is then advised to start pressing buttons, wait in the queue or leave a message which will be responded to within 48 hours etc.
If the supplier cannot get the information they want, they often have no alternative but to place the customer on stop supply/credit and wait until they are contacted. In this case, the customer's brand, and possibly their creditability, as a reliable business partner is at risk.
2 Customer service departments exist with an impressive range of listed email contacts. However there are NO telephone contact details which allow your suppliers and customers to interact and quckly find answers to their questions.
Does your customer now send an email, or just move on to your competitor? Alternatively, does you customer refuse to send payments for outstanding invoices?
In summary and in a world where "... instant coffee is too slow" we see many positive statements on the importance on customer service. Equally however, we soon see the incongruence of such statements being undone when we make contact for assistance. Too often the harsh operating realities of the modern business, results in the stakeholder being left without an answer or a speedy resolution of their problem. Unfortunately, such experiences appear increasingly to be the norm in the modern business world.
In light of such experiences, it would seem reasonable to suggest a focus on improving your stakeholder's interactions with your business, could be a brand winner.
The Supreme Court of Queensland last week clarified the law relating to penalties as it applies to liquidated damages clauses in construction contracts and, in so doing, provided welcome reassurance for many contracting parties operating within the construction industry across Australia.Read more
The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 (the Data Retention Act) became law on 13 April 2015. It introduces a statutory obligation for telecommunications service providers to retain specified information for two years (the Data Retention Scheme).
A decision from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on 1 May 2015 has potential ramifications on obligations of software developers and service providers under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act), particularly in the internet and mobile space, in relation to metadata which is collected deliberately or incidentally as part of the service.
The background of Ben Grubb and Telstra Corporation Limited  AICmr 35 saw Mr Grubb request all of the metadata relating to him which Telstra had in its possession or control under the Act. The metadata in question and considered by Commissioner Pilgrim included network-based identifiers, connection geolocation information, and incoming and outgoing call information and data records. Telstra admitted that this metadata was regularly made available to law enforcement agencies.
On 28 May 2014, we wrote about the Commonwealth government’s consultation paper outlining proposals to extend unfair contract term protections to small businesses (linked here).
After extensive consultation both with stakeholder groups and the States, on 28 April 2015 the government released an exposure draft of the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015 (Exposure Draft).
Would you like to know more?
Credit Matters provides access to blogs written by Kim Radok. Just go to www.creditmatters.com.au to read these and previous blogs.
Since our last newsletter, we presented the following blogs.
Since our last newsletter, the following posts have been added to the Invaluable Reading From Australia and Around The World section.
Credit Matters is a financial risk management resource centre for the Australian business community. If you are in business, Credit Matters is your ideal source of financial risk management solutions.
“We live in a world where instant coffee is too slow.” By Paul McCarthy
News From ASIC - Help with ASIC online services
Are you registering, renewing or cancelling a business name? Check out ASIC's new series of YouTube videos to help you use its business names register and other online services.
News and Updates
20 May 2015
AUSTRAC has fined one of the world’s largest remittance network providers almost $0.5 million for systemic contraventions of Australia’s AML/CTF laws.
13 May 2015
AUSTRAC has cancelled the registration of Sydney-based independent remitter FNF First National Finance Pty Ltd (FNF), due to significant money laundering or financing of terrorism risk.
A free smartphone app developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will help business owners undertake important checks before they enter into business transactions with other organisations.
For more information ASIC APP INFORMATION
Credit Matters is continuing to grow and provide marketing and knowledge about financial risks to the Australian business community.
Furthermore, we invite marketing and knowledge ideas from our readers and contributors on how we can assist our respective firms grow. If you have any ideas, please contact me at Click to see email
If you are interested in finding new ways to reach your marketplace, why not try Credit Matters. Our prices for advertising are very reasonable and advertising packages are on offer to make any cost, even more affordable. So if you are interested in reaching your customers at the right price, please contact Kim at Click to see email for options.