Cash Flow Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

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making it easier to get paid blog

Making it easier to get paid

Making it easier to get paid

Making sure you get paid on time is crucial to your success.

The process of making sales and generating revenue lies at the heart of any business model. But you can't manage your cashflow effectively or raise any profits if customers don't actually pay their invoices.

The easier you can make it for customers to pay you, the faster you'll see cash coming into the business. That’s good news for your financial position, your ability to cover your operational costs and your capacity to fund the growth and expansion of your business.

So, how do you speed up those payments and make sure you get paid on time?

Set out clear payment terms

Your payment terms are the starting point for healthy payment times.

These terms set out when you expect to be paid and form a legally binding contract with the customer.

You may expect immediate payment on receipt of the invoice. Or you might set out a specific number of days that the customer has to pay the invoice (generally 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, depending on your industry). This is sometimes called ‘trade credit’ and allows your customers to pay for goods and services at a later, pre-agreed date – helping them to spread the cost.

Your payment terms should also include details of any late payment penalties.

If the customer doesn’t meet your agreed payment times, most businesses will add a 1% to 1.5% monthly late payment fee to the outstanding bill. This acts as a great incentive for the customer to pay the bill, before the penalty fees start mounting up.

Invoice customers as soon as you can

In a business-to-consumer (B2C) environment, your customers will generally pay for their goods and services immediately. But when you’re working in the business-to-business (B2B) world, you’ll need to send your customer an invoice, asking for the money to be paid.

A customer can’t settle their bill until you send them an invoice. So, it’s vital to send out the invoice as quickly as possible, so you can minimise the gap between doing the work and being paid for the work.

In some industries, the project will be broken down into multiple invoices, paid across a period of time. This makes it easier for the customer to pay, and means you (as the supplier) don’t have to complete the project before receiving the money you’re owed.

Ideally, you want your invoices to go out as early as possible. This allows your payment terms to kick in and makes it easier to predict when cash will be coming into the business.

Be organised about your payment admin

Getting paid is a process – and the more organised you make the process, the quicker the payment will be received.

When you send out the invoice, make sure you send it to all the relevant people in the payment chain. This will usually be:

  • Your main contact at the client – the person who you usually deal with
  • The person who will approve the bill – the person who will green-light the payment
  • The finance team – the person (or people) who will actually action the payment.

It’s also a good idea to quote any relevant purchase order (PO) numbers that the customer has raised, and to give a very clear description of the work done, or the goods purchased.

Embrace the available payment technology

Invoices used to be hard-copy printed bills, but in the digital age the vast majority of companies will send out e-invoices.

Electronic invoices are easy to raise (usually from your accounting software or project management app) and can be emailed out instantly.

Doing everything in the digital realm also makes it easier to keep records and keep track of payments.

Many e-invoice systems will also let you add a variety of different payment options for the customer.

You could just include your bank details and wait for the customer to make a direct payment to your account. But you can also include payment buttons in the e-invoice that give customers the option to pay via digital payment gateways, like Stripe or GoCardless.

Offering more ways to pay makes the whole process more convenient for your customers. And it will generally result in faster payment times as a result.

If you want to speed up your payment times and boost your cashflow, please do get in touch. We can help you streamline your payment processes and embrace the latest in payment tech.

chasing invoices

5 tips for chasing invoices without annoying your clients

Chasing Invoices

When you’re a small business owner, sole trader or freelancer, chasing invoices and asking for payment on overdue invoices can be a delicate matter.

Without an accounts person or department, sometimes you’re trying to secure new work and chase invoices from the same person. That can be an awkward tightrope to walk.

Here are five tips for chasing payments while maintaining customer loyalty:

Automate reminders

Set friendly payment reminders that go out automatically – they tell clients they’re missed a payment without making it personal. It’s like your invoicing platform is giving them a nudge, rather than you doing it yourself. You can sign it off with just your business name, rather than your own.

Find out who’s behind the payments

Is there another person at the business who’s in charge of accounts or payments? Ideally, you want to be selling your services to your usual contact and chasing someone else to pay your invoices.

Enlist help from a friend

If you have a friend who also has a small business, become each other’s accounts support. Set your friend up with an ‘accounts@yourwebsite.com’ address and they can send out email reminders and follow-ups to your clients, or call them about the invoice. Maybe you can do the same for them.

Set expectations when you negotiate the job

Firm and clear payment terms make it easier to get paid faster and keep that cash flowing.

Set out your terms up front – it’s much easier to talk about your payment expectations when you organise the job, rather than once the invoice has been sent.

For persistently slow payers, consider offering an early payment discount or ask for more money upfront for the next job.

Be nice, but firm

There’s no need to be rude or aggressive to your clients when chasing payment; you want to maintain a positive relationship.

However, at some point you need to cut off their credit. Often saying ‘I’m very happy to do that for you, just waiting on payment of that last invoice’ will give them the impetus they need to pay you.

But if they persistently don’t pay, no matter how much you like the client, you’re not providing a free service! Stop working for the client and chase those outstanding invoices more assertively.

If you need help managing your outstanding invoices, get in touch for expert support and guidance.


business finances

Making sure your new business finances are in order

Making sure your business finances are in order

Getting your head around the basics of bookkeeping, accounting and good financial practice may not come naturally to all business owners. But the better you understand the numbers, the more control you'll have over your business and your decision-making.

To get you started, here’s a rundown of some of the main financial terms and how they apply to the financial management of your business.

Revenue and money coming into the business

Most of us understand that revenue is the income you generate through your sales.

If you multiply your average sale price by the number of units sold, this is the top level number you get. It’s a gross figure (i.e. before any deductions) and gives you a clear idea of how much money the business is generating through its sales activity.

Revenue can come from various sources, and each income source is known as a ‘revenue stream’.

Revenue streams could include product sales, income from services you provide, income from intellectual property you own (like patents) or income from assets the business owns, like property you rent out at a profit.

Having several revenue streams is a good idea, as it spreads your income generation across multiple areas and reduces the risk of one revenue stream drying up.

Expenditure and money going out of the business

Expenditure refers to any payments you make (either in cash or credit) against the purchase of goods and/or services.

In a nutshell, expenditure is the money that’s going OUT of the business, so it’s important to have a good grip on these costs and to make sure you’re not spending any more money than you need to.

Costs that would fall under expenses include your supplier bills, your payroll expenses, your operational overheads and the costs of any raw materials and goods you buy to keep the business running.

The less you pay out in these expenses and overheads, the more of your revenue will end up as profit – as we’ll see in the next section.

Profit and loss (P&L)

Your profit and loss statement (usually referred to as your P&L) is an incredibly important financial report to get your head around. 

The P&L summarises your revenues and expenditure over the course of a period – usually for the month, quarter or year that’s just ended – and gives you a breakdown of the profits and losses the business made during that period.

If you make more in sales revenues than you spend in outgoing expenses, you make a profit (and that’s vital to your success).

For any business to be financially viable, your financial model MUST be able to generate profit.

Without profits, the business can’t make money, you can’t reinvest back into the company to drive growth, and you (personally) won’t get paid anything.

Cashflow statements and positive cashflow

Your cashflow statement is another vital tool in your accounting toolbox. 

To keep the lights on in the business, you need enough available cash to cover your everyday expenses. Your cashflow statement shows you the cash inflows (money coming into the business from revenues etc.) alongside the cash outflows (payments to suppliers, or operational overheads etc).

For the business to have enough cash in the pot, your cash inflows MUST outweigh your cash outflows. This is called being in a ‘positive cashflow position’ and it’s a level of financial health that every startup should aim for.

By tracking inflows and outflows, and projecting them forwards in time to create forecasts, you can make sure there’s always available cash in the business.

Improving your understanding of the numbers

It takes time to pick up the financial jargon and accounting terms that will help you understand your accounts.

But don’t despair. As your business journey evolves you’ll gradually begin to get your head around the important business finances, numbers, metrics and reports.

Other important finance terms to understand include

  • Turnover = the total sales revenue made in a period. It’s also sometimes called ‘gross revenue’, as it’s the number prior to any deductions being made.
  • Assets = the things you own in the business, like equipment, property or cash etc.
  • Liabilities = the things you owe to other people, like bills, debts and loan repayments.
  • Balance sheet = a snapshot of your assets and liabilities on a given date.
  • Working capital = your current assets minus your liabilities. In common usage, it’s the capital (money) you have in the business to keep the company operational and trading.
  • Funding = bringing additional capital into the business, usually in the form of business finance products like loans, or through private investment from outside sources.
  • Credit score = a rating given to the financial health and risk level of the business. The bigger the score, the lower the risk – and the better your access to funding.

If you’re planning for your business, get in touch. We’ll help you set up the ideal accounting system, so you’re in complete control of your finances.

Keeping your business cash liquid

Keeping your business cash liquid

Keeping your business cash liquid – the difference between cashflow and profit

The foundational goal of any business is to make a profit.

As a business owner, that’s one of your key financial aims – to make enough sales, at a big enough margin, to generate profit from your enterprise.

But how does profit differ from cashflow? And why is cash king?

How do profit and cashflow differ?

To really understand the difference between generating profit and managing cashflow, we need to look at what both these terms mean. You might think that delving into the accounts is a job for your adviser, but being in control of your profit and cashflow is an invaluable business skill.

Let’s take a look at the differences:

What is profit? 

Profit is the surplus that’s left from your income once you’ve paid your expenses, supplier bills and tax etc. It's driven by creating a profit margin and generating value from your products and/or services.

What is cashflow? 

Cashflow is the ongoing process of ensuring that the business has the available cash (or ‘liquid’ cash) needed to operate. This provides the money needed to trade, to pay suppliers, to cover wages or to buy raw materials etc.

Why is positive cashflow so important?

‘Cash is king!’ may be a cliche these days, but it’s a maxim which underpins any successful business model. Yes, it’s great to make a profit at year-end, but if you don’t look after your cashflow then the business may not survive as long as the end of the year.

What’s needed is good cashflow management to enhance your financial health. And without a careful eye on your cash numbers, things can quickly go awry.

A business can generate high revenues and big profits, but still be cashflow poor. In other words, it can have profits at the end of the period, but have very little liquid cash to fund it's day-to-day operations over the course of the period.

Talk to us about improving your cashflow management.

Good cashflow management is all about being in control of your cash inflows (income you’re generating) and your cash outflows (what you’re spending). To achieve ‘positive cashflow’ you need to proactively work to keep your inflows higher than your outflows.

As your bookkeeper and BAS Agent, we’ll help you set up detailed cashflow reporting and forecasting, so you can keep the business in that ideal positive cashflow position. And we’ll also look at key steps for keeping your revenues high, margins profitable and meeting your financial targets.

Get in touch to talk through your cashflow management.

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas is nearly here, and it’s a great time to let your customers and team members know how much you appreciate them. 

But this has been a tough year. It’s not easy to know how much to spend or whether it’s appropriate to throw a party.

Gifts, cards and donations

The traditional professional Christmas gift tends to be food-related: hams; hampers; bottles of wine or spirits. Those can be ordered online and sent out, although it’s best to avoid anything that will spoil considering current delivery delays and people who may not be working in the office.

For customers or clients who you know really well, something tailored to their personal interests can show you’ve been paying attention. And for both customers and staff, a handwritten card is a lovely touch and costs very little.

Another option is a donation on behalf. Many people really appreciate an email or card that lets them know you’ve donated money to a charity on their behalf, particularly if you can include details like, “The local foodbank will use this donation to feed families on Christmas Day.”

If lockdowns allow, a coffee or lunch for higher value clients is an excellent way to build stronger relationships as well as making the most of the Christmas season. You might spend more this way, but for your best clients this can be far more memorable than a gift.

For your team, a hamper is probably a less popular choice. A Christmas bonus might be appreciated, but do run the numbers first. A supermarket voucher retains its full value, while a cash bonus must be taxed. Talk to your team – they may prefer a paid day off rather than any gift.

How much should you spend?

You might like to create categories based on how much your clients spend with you and how valuable they are to you. The top customers might all receive a larger gift, while the smaller customers might get a something more modest.

Christmas budgeting

Wondering how much each client or customer has spent? Not sure what you can afford to budget for Christmas gifts? We can help.

Get in touch and we’ll run the numbers to give you the insights you need.

ATO line of credit ending

ATO Line of credit ending


ATO Line of credit ending

As new reporting powers come into play, businesses are being warned against using the ATO as an alternative line of credit.

Debt Reporting Powers

In 2019, the ATO was afforded new debt reporting powers. While this took a backseat to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ATO is now cracking down on outstanding tax debt. 

Businesses without a payment plan, that are more than 90 days in arrears, and who owe more than $100,000 in tax are more likely to be reported to credit agencies by the ATO.

Impact on credit rating

In the past, business owners have sometimes used the ATO like a ‘line of credit’ by not paying their ATO commitments on time.

Taking this road is much more likely to have an adverse impact on your credit ratings and credit insurance limits. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to maintain or extend credit terms with suppliers.

Therefore, it's important to maintain a high level of communication with your creditors. 

Staying on the front foot

As business owners, if you owe tax, it's vital that you stay on the front foot with this ATO crackdown. We suggest you seek the advice of your BAS agent.

First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray, as your BAS Agent, are able to advocate on your behalf to deal with the ATO.

As Busy01 Consulting, we can also to assist with:

  • preparing a business plan
  • management advice
  • cash-flow planning and projection
  • systems development
  • business expansion
  • budget development
  • trading-structure planning.

Get in touch to discuss which options are best for your business. 

direct debits and online payments

Direct Debits and Online Payments

Direct Debits and Online Payments

Do You Have Direct Debits and Online Payments Set Up for Your Business?

Making it easy for your customers to pay you is vital to business success. Getting direct debits and alternative payment methods linked to your business is so easy these days there's no excuse not to give your customers multiple ways of making payment.

Many service-based businesses choose direct debit arrangements with their clients to avoid late payment. If you’re often chasing overdue payments, consider implementing direct debit arrangements to reduce your administration time.

If you’re already using online accounting software, check the add-on solutions and choose one that integrates with your accounts. This means that the payment platform information feeds directly into your accounting software to be easily matched to customer transactions.

Make it Easy

You probably already have bank transfer information set up, but adding several other methods such as PayPal, debit cards, and credit cards allows customers to choose the method most convenient for them at the time. Many customers appreciate the automation and simplicity of direct debits.

Make sure your payment terms and conditions are clear on your website and invoices and don't forget to include all your chosen payment methods for customers!

Worried About Costly Fees?

You have the option to choose whether you will absorb the cost of the payment gateway processing fees or whether you will add the cost to your invoice and charge the clients extra. Your accounting software will then allocate the funds accordingly to invoice payment and fees received.

Better Transaction Recording

When you integrate direct debits and online payment methods with your accounting system, you dramatically reduce errors in recording customer payments – which means less time spent on your accounts!

Not Sure Where to Start?

If you’d like to make it easier for customers to pay you, talk to us about which solutions are best for your business. We can discuss which platforms have the best and most secure integrations with the accounting software you use.

We’ll help streamline your payment systems.

Credit Control

Keeping debt low through proactive credit control

Keeping debt low

Credit control: Having a large amount of debt in your business is bad for cashflow, weakens your overall financial health and brings down your credit score as a business.

So when customers don’t pay on time, that ‘aged debt’ is bad news for your finances. Aged debt can begin to stack up, adding to your liabilities and reducing the health of your overall balance sheet. So, it’s important to tackle late payment head on.

Get effective with your credit control

Being proactive with your debt management helps you speed up payment, reduce your debtor days and rein in your overall debt as a business

To improve the efficiency of your credit control:

  • Make your payment terms clear – state your payment terms on all invoices and create a policy that’s part of the terms & conditions that customers sign up to.
  • Run regular debtor reports – check your list of late invoices to see which customers are the late payers, and where the big debts are that need to be collected.
  • Be proactive in chasing late payment – don’t be shy about asking a customer to pay their bill. Set up notifications and schedules to remind yourself to chase late-payers.
  • Automate your credit control tasks – cloud accounting platforms have built-in tools or automated credit control integrations that can automatically chase your late-paying customers as soon as an invoice is overdue.

Talk to us about enhancing your credit control

If late payment and aged debt is weighing heavily on your balance sheet, we’ll help you set up the debtor reports and credit control processes needed to reduce this debt.

Get in touch to improve your credit control.

Getting on top of your invoicing

Getting on top of your invoicing

One way to help your small business succeed is to get on top of your invoicing.

This means sending them in a timely manner, making sure they have all the essential information included and chasing them up when you need to!

When you’re running a small business or working for yourself as a contractor, getting paid relies on sending your invoice. And because getting paid, and on time, is essential to staying afloat, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got all the important information included.

Setting up your invoices correctly will ensure you get paid quicker.

One of the important aspects of invoicing is making sure your invoices are sent in a timely manner. Ideally you will be invoicing immediately a services is completed or a product ordered. At a minimum you should provide an invoice within 28 days.

Also, for high ticket items, consider asking for a deposit.  If your service is ongoing or extended over a period of time then look at implementing progress invoices. This will help your cash flow. 

What to include in your invoice

Your invoice needs to contain the following:

  • 1
    The words ‘tax invoice’, ideally as a heading.
  • 2
    Your business or trading name.
  • 3
    Your contact details- these aren’t technically required for invoices for under $1000, but it’s a good idea to include them in case the recipient needs to get in touch.
  • 4
    Your ABN or ACN.
  • 5
    The date you’re issuing the invoice.
  • 6
    An itemised list of what you’re invoicing for, including the price for each item or service. Make sure that you clearly indicate whether GST is included in the total price.

If you are using accounting software simply fill in the templates or you can see some examples of invoices on the ATO website.

A well set out invoice will make it easier for your clients and customers to pay you. Accounting software will make the job easier by providing the format for your business and increasing your efficiency.

Talk to us about your invoicing to ensure you make it easy for people to pay you.

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