Today, mental health issues are affecting a wider range of people throughout the community. Business people are not exempt. Therefore, a big thank you goes to Beyond Blue for allowing Credit Matters to add a link to their website with information designed to assist business people dealing with mental health issues. Our website can be found at www.creditmatters.com.au Alternatively you can go directly to Beyond Blue at www.beyondblue.org.au/
We have also added another feature for a Members, "Abbreviated Terms for Use in Diary Memos". This feature is designed to assist those businesses which have a facility for adding diary memos of conversations and other actions. It is often time consuming when writing explanations in full. Being able to add this information in an abbreviated form which can be understood by everybody in the organisation, saves time.
The attached brochures this month include two brochures from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. They are focused on the risk of franchising, plus the cash flow crises for small business. There is also a brochure relating to RSM's Fraud & Forensic Services ACFE Authorised Trainer 2-day seminar training on Contract and Procurement Fraud seminar Melbourne 21-22 November 2019. Finally, but not least, a template or quiz from The Bank Doctor for business people seeking finance.
Don't forget, if you wish to promote your business services at an affordable rate, you can contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be pleasantly surprised at what we have to offer.
Always remember, the internet opens the door of opportunity. It is deficient in effecting closure of the sale.
If a sale is not a sale until the money is in your bank account, understanding the value in Barry Urquhart’s makes good sense.
The problem with an unlimited use of emails, internet relationships and the use of technology is manyfold. The reality is that a heavy reliance on the use of technology means that many business people forget the value of other business interrelationship methodologies. People also tend to forget that technology provides us with a set of tools which CAN aid our business objectives.
All too often in the initial sales contact via emails and the product or service information on our websites, is static. Unless the intended target, or potential customer actually wants to buy then and there, the sales material is often quickly forgotten or ignored.
It is not until a salesperson actually makes direct contact face to face or via the telephone, that real sales action take place.
In following up for unpaid invoices, the sequence of actions often remains the same with no action from the customer to commit to paying the invoice(s). You can send emails, or have the best interactive payment methodologies and a wide range of payment options available for use on your website. However, if the customer or their employee is busy, uninterested or is trying to avoid payment, these technology contacts and offerings often are wasted.
Just like obtaining a commitment to buy often requires a personal connect, the same goes for collecting unpaid invoices. It is not until you contact the customer via an agreed visit at their premises, or a telephone call, that you are likely to get a commitment to pay.
It is always wise to remember that a sale is not a sale until the money is in your bank account. To ignore this reality, is to underestimate the importance of personal contacts by face to face’ or the telephone when following up for the unpaid invoice(s).
Traditionally in tough times, suppliers have tended to change their selling policies in an effort to survive. Consequently, they often:
sold their products and services at a discounted rate; or
sold to customers which were deemed previously to be of too small a dollar value to be worthwhile; or
failed to adhere to their business disciplines and due diligence checks.
With a combination of, or all of these strategies, business people had hoped they could keep their business going long enough to ride out any business downturn. Unfortunately, the outcome was often a quicker path to insolvency.
There is no doubt, many of these same tactics will be employed the next time around when the next downturn starts to bite.
Amongst the other strategies with a potentially better outcome to survive the next downturn may be to:
only sell for cash; or
on an agreed part-payment schedule supported by proper terms and conditions, or
maintain business disciplines and due diligence checks; or
provide more customised selling offers;
sell to those customers deemed previously too small to deal with because of the dollar value of sales; or
seek a business partner or investor, even if means giving away some equity.
Each of these strategies is designed to help survive a downturn long enough to (i) see the demise of your competition, (ii) gain market share and (iii) to survive. Alternatively, you may try these strategies and find they do not work. It may be then, you realise hopefully sooner rather than later, there is not enough business to survive the downturn. In that case, you may decide to close down your business with a minimum of loss and hopefully, your reputation intact.
It is always better to close your business down when you control the process, especially if your financial resources allow you to settle all outstanding debts. If you are forced to close down and your affairs are managed by an insolvency administration, the costs and loss of reputation is often far more damaging.
Urgent orders from a potential new customer, or a new customer whose account has just been opened, need to be treated very carefully. Although the order may be from a genuine customer who will pay within terms, this is not always the case.
It is worth remembering that this urgent order could well be part of a fraud, or from a customer with no intention of paying the invoice within agreed terms, in which case it is a fraud. The urgent sales order is a well-known tactic of fraudsters and those businesses which are on stop supply with other suppliers.
In each case, the customer is banking on your business dropping its due diligence and basic business disciplines to get the new order. Desperate salespeople and management trying to meet budgets at any costs, will be the best allies of these new customers with their urgent orders. In a business downturn, these issues add even more pressure on salespeople and management to approve the “sale”.
Rarely are urgent orders of a genuine nature. In many cases, the reason why the orders are required urgently, are because of other matters such as fraud and lack of credit elsewhere.
Is the spelling Afterall or After all?
Recently, whilst checking a Microsoft Word document, the word Afterall with the initial letter capitalised did not come up as a spelling error, whereas afterall without the initial capital, was shown as a spelling error. How could this be?
The compound word afterall is a common misspelling of after all. The Australian Oxford dictionary confirms the spelling is after all.
A check of Google for sites in Australia (sites ending in .au) returns 321,000 results for afterall and 19.6 million results for after all, which shows most people spell the word correctly. So why isn’t Microsoft Word marking the word Afterall as a spelling error?
It may simply be the Microsoft Word dictionary is in error. Another possible reason is a check of the internet shows Afterall is used by a number of organisations as part of their name. As part of an organisation’s name, Afterall can be capitalised.
In this situation, how the word Afterall is being used, is after all the only way to know if the word should be capitalised or not. If Afterall is not part of an organisations name, it is a spelling error.
Updates courtesy of www.asic.gov.au
28 August 2019
Mr Oussama Taleb, of Craigieburn, Victoria, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently removing and redirecting assets belonging to Marcel Plastering Group Pty Ltd, ACN 611 332 891 (Marcel Plastering) (in liquidation).
Mr Taleb, a shadow director of Marcel Plastering, operated a plastering business.
After an investigation, ASIC formed the view that Mr Taleb, in his capacity as shadow director, engaged in conduct that resulted in the redirection of company funds to both his then partner’s personal account and to a related company, Marcel Group Pty Ltd ACN 617260367 (Marcel Group) (deregistered), for the combined amount of $43,000, after liquidators were appointed.
30 August 2019
Mrs. Gela Anne Newitt, of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, appeared in the County Court of Victoria on 27 August 2019 for a plea hearing. Mrs. Newitt had previously pleaded guilty to obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Mrs. Newitt was a former director of Parklane Assets Pty Ltd ACN 052365027 (Parklane) which operated the Mentone Gardens Supportive Care Home (Mentone Gardens), in Mentone Victoria.
An ASIC investigation found Mrs. Newitt dishonestly obtained a financial advantage for herself by falsely representing to residents of Mentone Gardens that their deposit monies would be held in a trust account and that interest earned from these monies would be used to reduce their accommodation fees. Instead, Mrs Newitt used around $600k of the deposit monies for business related expenses (17-209MR).
06 September 2019
Mr Edward Harold Pye, of Fairney View, Queensland, has been convicted and sentenced after pleading guilty to breaching his duties as a director.
Mr Pye was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and two years’ imprisonment in respect to two counts of dishonestly using his position as a director, to be served concurrently. He was released forthwith upon entering into a recognisance in the sum of $2,500, on the condition he be placed on a good behaviour bond for 3 years.
Mr Pye was the former director of ERH Transport Services Pty Ltd that operated a refrigerated transport business.
An ASIC investigation found in 2014, on two separate occasions, Mr Pye dishonestly used his position to transfer $25,000 and $550,000 of ERH Transport Services funds to himself and another person. At the time of the alleged conduct, Mr Pye was the sole director of ERH Transport Services (18-152MR).
18 September 2019
Ananda Kathiravelu, of Perth, Western Australia, today appeared before the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court in Perth and was committed to stand trial in the Western Australian Supreme Court on a charge of conspiracy to commit an offence of market manipulation.
The charge follows an ASIC investigation into Mr Kathiravelu’s conduct in relation to trading in the shares of Radar Iron Limited (ASX code: RAD) on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 17 May 2016, one day prior to the suspension of RAD shares from the Official Quotation of the ASX.
Mr Kathiravelu is the director of a number of companies, including corporate finance firm Armada Capital Pty Ltd.
ASIC alleges that between 12 May 2016 and 17 May 2016, Mr Kathiravelu conspired with another to take part in, or carry out, either directly or indirectly, transactions that had, or would likely have, the effect of creating or maintaining an artificial price for trading in RAD shares.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 4,500 penalty units ($810,000).
27 August 2019
AUSTRAC has launched a campaign targeting illegal money transfer dealers.
Money transfer dealers that have not registered with AUSTRAC and are operating illegally are at a high risk of having their services abused by criminals groups and do not have the same level of risk protections in place as registered money transfer businesses.
Money transfer businesses that are not a financial institution such as a bank or credit union offer a valuable service to their customers and communities by allowing them to send money to family and friends overseas.
In 2018/19 individuals and businesses reported $60 billion worth of international funds transfer instructions sent and received by people in Australia using registered money transfer services. In the same year there were around 17.3 million transactions reported through Australia’s registered remittance sector.
10 September 2019
AUSTRAC has issued a $252,000 infringement notice to Compass Global Holdings Pty Ltd (Compass) for failing to report international funds transfers between 2018 and 2019.
Entities regulated by AUSTRAC, such as money transfer dealers, banks and casinos, are required to submit International Funds Transfer Instruction (IFTI) reports to AUSTRAC on time.
This is a requirement under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).
Information reported by the financial sector provides AUSTRAC with vital intelligence that enables AUSTRAC and its partners to combat crime.
AUSTRAC is working with Compass to address concerns that it does not have adequate systems and processes in place to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
25 September 2019
Issue 21 of IBAC Insights includes a message from IBAC's Commissioner about integrity in the workplace, a special feature on managing perceived conflicts of interest from the Ethics Centre's David Burfoot, research into the risks of unauthorised access and disclosure of information held by Victoria Police, details on how Victoria's protected disclosure 'whistleblower' legislation is changing, upcoming events, new resources and more.
Read the IBAC Insights Issue 21 summary
Message from the Commissioner
•Actual and perceived conflicts of interest: Why both matter
•Reducing fraud and corruption in Victoria's public health sector
24 September 2019
This information sheet highlights corruption vulnerabilities associated with public sector boards in Victoria. It alerts government departments to opportunities to strengthen their systems and practices to address those vulnerabilities. It also outlines measures to aid the detection, reporting and prevention of corruption which can otherwise lead to waste of public money and resources, undermine people’s trust in government, and damage the reputation of the public sector.
27 August 2019
The ACCC has found that franchisors in the food services sector are commonly providing inadequate information to potential franchisees.
In its most recent round of compliance checks of the franchising industry, the ACCC reviewed disclosure documents from a sample of 12 franchisors in the food services sector and found many were problematic.
The findings are detailed in a report, Disclosure practices in food franchising which detailed that around one in three franchisors are failing to consistently disclose useful contact details of former franchisees.
“One of the key steps in buying a franchise is to talk to someone who has been there before,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
“Our compliance review identified that some franchisors are making it difficult to contact former franchisees by failing to disclose basic information such as email addresses or mobile phone numbers.”
“Our message to someone thinking about buying a franchise is to walk away if you can’t easily contact former franchisees. You won’t get a realistic picture of the business without talking to them,” Mr Keogh said.
04 September 2019
An ACCC appeal against a Federal Court judgment in relation to alleged bid rigging conduct involving Cascade Coal Pty Ltd (Cascade), Paul and Moses Obeid and others was dismissed today by the Full Federal Court.
The appeal focused on whether parties associated with Obeid family members and Cascade were “in competition” at the time they withdrew a bid for Mount Penny and Glendon Brook mining exploration licences. The Full Federal Court has concluded there was no error of law on that issue.
“We brought this case because it is important that public tender processes are not undermined by anti-competitive conduct,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Cartel conduct damages competition, and disadvantages other businesses and consumers.”
“We will now carefully consider the Full Federal Court’s decision,” Mr Sims said.
04 September 2019
The Federal Court has found hair loss business Ashley & Martin’s terms in three standard form contracts with consumers are void because they were unfair.
From June 2014 until at least June 2017, Ashley & Martin signed up more than 25,000 customers to its ‘Personal RealGROWTH Program’ using three different standard form contracts which have all been found to contain unfair terms.
Customers were typically signed up to a 12-month Ashley & Martin program by a sales consultant, and the unfair terms required consumers to pay for all of the medical treatment before they received, or could properly consider, medical advice.
Under one of the terms found unfair by the Court, consumers who wished to terminate the contracts more than 2 days after they accepted the program and consulted with a doctor were required to pay 100% of the total price payable.
As a result, the unfair terms could have caused consumers to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars if they left the program after considering medical advice or developing side effects to the treatment.
“Ashley & Martin’s terms meant consumers were penalised for stopping their hair loss treatment even if they developed an adverse side effect to the medication,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“Consumers should be allowed a fair opportunity to fully consider the treatment program and medical advice when they sign up and not be penalised for exiting a treatment plan if necessary.”
16 September 2019
The ACCC’s Scamwatch service is warning the Chinese community in Australia to be wary about two alarming scams that involve extortion via fake kidnappings and threats of arrest.
In 2019, Scamwatch has received approximately 900 reports about scams targeting the Chinese community, with losses totalling over $1.5 million. This figure already exceeds total losses to the scam for 2018 which came to just under $1.2 million. Losses have been experienced in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia; however the scam is targeting people nationwide.
“These scams are particularly distressing, and we’re seeing a dramatic spike in the Chinese community being targeted. In July alone, the Chinese speaking community lost over three quarters of a million dollars. We’ve seen several individuals lose tens of thousands of dollars,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
There are two main variations of this scam. First, speaking in Mandarin, a scammer will call directly or leave an ‘urgent’ voice message to call back. The scammer will impersonate a parcel delivery service and/or Chinese authorities and claim you are in serious trouble as they have intercepted a package addressed to you with fraudulent documents such as fake passports.
The scammer will then threaten you with extradition to China to face criminal charges in court unless money is sent to them. They will claim this money is needed to prove your innocence while they investigate the supposed crime.
“Scamwatch has received multiple reports of a cruel variation of this scam targeting Chinese students in Australia,” Ms Rickard said.
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.
Credit Matters is continuing to grow and provide marketing and knowledge about financial risks to the Australia business community.
Futhermore, 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for options.