Finance Facility Review: How does your finance facility stack up?

How confident are you that your current business funding is on competitive terms with a bank that remains committed to your industry and supportive of future expansionary plans?  Opportunity costs and unexpected surprises may result and invariably, these occur at the most inconvenient of times.    For that reason, we recommend a business finance facility review to ensure long term business success.

A general finance facility check-up is worthwhile for any business relying on consistent bank funding, however it’s particularly important if your business is experiencing any of the following:

  • Additional expansionary funding requirements
  • Poor relationship with your current banker
  • Increased requirements for the business to hold inventory
  • Recent strong business performance with no corresponding change in banking terms

During a finance facility review our specialists will gain an understanding of your business funding requirements, the general suitability of facilities being used, the market competitiveness of your arrangements, any pain points you are feeling in your banking relationship and either identify opportunities to enhance your finance facility arrangements or affirm you are well structured.

WHY PERFORM A FINANCE FACILITY REVIEW?

A finance facility review may result in:

  • determining the suitability of facility structures for current and future needs
  • identifying areas to restructure facilities to save interest
  • Providing independent assessment of rate and fee competitiveness
  • Identifying areas of opportunity for private equity and investment
  • Identifying business improvements that can generate new markets and efficiencies in the business cashflow
  • Identifying opportunities for re-valuation to improve terms
  • Facilitating discussions with your bank manager to provide owners with transparency and translation of the Banks position on credit and security risks of the client
  • Obtaining clear feedback from the Bank on ‘what they’re really thinking’ and mediate an outcome to reduce current friction
  • Providing timely covenant reporting
  • Formulate strategies to reduce your ‘risk rating’ with the aim of reducing interest margin loading.

Finance Facility Reviews may provide meaningful benefits and real savings for your business.   Speak with our Finance Specialists, Owen Dingle or Angela Winton on 07 3218 3900 for a no-obligation discussion on how we can assist.

 

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

Our Expert

 

Why we recommend 2 Factor Authentication to our clients

Imagine arriving at work, opening up your e-mail and reading through a confirmation that your CFO has made the fund transfer you (never) requested.  Then your client calls to advise they have just made an initial deposit on a recent quotation, yet your team cannot locate the deposit.  The stress levels in the office are escalating, everyone is on edge - one of your best sales execs just walked out after being accused of giving out the incorrect company bank details to a new customer.

This is happening to many Australian businesses on a daily basis.

All these issues started because a single company e-mail account was hacked and your every move has been monitored for the last week by a cybercriminal before executing a custom plan designed “just for you”.  Maybe you unknowingly gave up your password in response to a well-crafted e-mail from 'IT' asking you to reset your password.  Or your Sales Admin keeps their company e-mail password 'in sync' with their LinkedIn account (hackers stole 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords back in 2012).  Either way, it's too late and now everything taking place is a distraction from doing business, not to mention the ongoing reputation damage.

The bottom line is that both your username (generally your e-mail address these days) and password are not reliable protection methods for any IT systems.  Even if they don't have your password, cyber criminals have the power to test millions of password combinations in a second.  That's where 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) comes in. 2FA is an additional layer of security that makes it harder for attackers to gain access to your device or account, significantly reducing the risk of fraud.

A few examples of 2FA already you may already have used before are:

  • A token issued by your bank to login to corporate internet banking
  • A onetime password sent via SMS to approve a personal bank funds transfer
  • Access to Facebook using the Facebook Code Generator

The good news is, as long as you have a smartphone, enabling 2FA is generally free for most systems and just needs the installation of an Authenticator application, such as those from Microsoft or Google.  Online Applications such as Office 365, LinkedIn, Facebook, MYOB, XERO, and your bank just require you to turn on the functionality through your profile settings.  Other systems such as those used at work for example Exchange, Citrix or Remote Desktop can also have 2FA enabled but may need additional software (such as Duo Security) configured.

Although it can add an additional few seconds to login, enabling 2FA provides your business and personal accounts an extra level of security and is considered a best practice.

If you would like further information on how you can improve your security to support your business growth please contact your usual Hanrick Curran Advisor or alternatively Matthew Green or John Kotzur on 07 3218 3900 who can who can refer you to an ICT specialist.

Thank you to Stephen Gibson from AfterDark Technology for your content contribution.

 

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

Benchmark your way to a thriving business 

Benchmarking – it’s the No.1 thing you can do right now to bring your processes up to scratch and plan for a big spike in profits. By letting you see where you sit compared with industry leaders, it goes beyond traditional KPI monitoring to help your business prosper and implement changes where needed.

How does it work and what are the benefits? 

Let’s take a real world example. Say the Melbourne Storm are the ‘benchmark’ for rugby league and you run a local club team that’s had a good season. What can you learn from the Storms’ financials and processes? The answer is plenty.

Let’s explore five very profitable reasons why – big or small – your business should get on board with benchmarking.

  1. It provides clarity and fresh ideas
    Understanding the competitive landscape in your field is so important. It allows you to take a step back and see where your business sits in your field. It presents the big picture of where you are and where you want to be. You can see what’s worked for others, what hasn’t and how your figures compare.
  1. It lets you reach for the stars
    Benchmarking allows you to fall in line with best practice processes and set new standards of excellence. It gives you a snapshot into the inner-workings of your industry. For years, you may have wondered, ‘How did the frontrunners get there and how do they stay on top?’ Well, here’s your chance to find out! Benchmarking facts, figures and insights can help you raise the bar and improve performance.
  1. It shows you what’s working – and what isn’t
    Figures don’t lie. The story of your business is laid bare in a benchmarking report. Use these insights to assess your processes and inform your strategy going forward. It’s all about percentages. For example, you can look at your staff costs as a percentage of your profits – how does this compare to your benchmark industry leaders? And what about marketing or operations? Where can you restore the balance by creating new positions, restructuring or training your staff to increase efficiency?
  1. It can save you money
    In a benchmarking report, you can clearly see where fat can be trimmed and your time be better spent. Again, it’s about restoring balance – economising where needs be and investing where it’s worth it. If you’re considering trying something wildly experimental, benchmarking can be your sense-check. Translation: it can give you the confidence you need to take a risk or stop you making costly mistakes! Things like expanding too soon or cutting frontline staff. If you see a competitor tried a similar thing and it didn’t work for them, you can re-assess.
  1. You don’t have to do it yourself
    Work with your accountant if you don’t know where to start. Time is at a premium for SME business owners and the idea of gathering, inputting and interpreting your own data can be overwhelming. An advisory accountant who specialises in benchmarking services can access the gross profit, loss and operations data you need to crunch the numbers, guide you through the process and devise a clear, actionable strategy with you.

If you are a little curious about how you measure up against others in your industry, you’re not alone, in a recent SME Research Report 79% of business owners wanted to know how their business compared with industry peers.

For more information on the opportunity and benefits of a benchmarking analysis please contact your usual Hanrick Curran adviser or alternatively Tim Taylor, Matthew Beasley, Tony Hunt or Stephen Brake on 07 3218 3900.

If you would like to read further insights into the opinions and concerns of other business owners click here to download the full SME Research Report.

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

Our Experts:

   

8 Tips for a successful year ahead

January is a great time of year to reflect on the successes of 2017 and picture the achievements you could reach in 2018.  Astute business operators harness the perspective that comes with a New Year to define and refine their New Year’s resolutions and business goals. With this in mind we share with you 8 tips to achieve a successful 2018.

1. Review your business and marketing plans

This is a good time to take a breath and think about your long-term vision and marketing. Is your business on track? Has it expanded beyond your original plan? Has your ideal client changed?

Taking the time to update your business and marketing plans will influence every decision you make in the next year. Doing so might even give you new ideas for products or services, or identify any gaps in your business.

2. Hiring plans

Consider whether your current staff levels and mix of skills will enable you to deliver into your business plan. You could go even further. Do your staff reflect and embrace the culture that you have or want within the business?  Employees are the lifeblood (besides cash flow) of the business so think carefully about whether you have the right team on board who are engaged and skilled to support you to deliver into the business plan.

In addition, while reviewing your staff files ensure your staff contracts are up to date.  Awards change so it’s a good time to review these.

3. Speaking of cash flow…

Cash flow can become overwhelming when you’re not actively managing it, especially when the business is growing, because that growth needs to be funded.  Use the beginning of the year to identify the timing of when the additional cashflow needs are going to hit by preparing a cashflow forecast that reflects your business plan.  Map out a plan of what funding sources you can utilise to get you through these painful growth spurts (these can include prompt collection of debtors, extended creditor terms, overdrafts and owner’s equity).

Start developing a picture of what the cashflows of a successful year will look like now then plan to ensure you have funding sources identified to see you through.  If your bank or broker is not on the same page when it comes your cash flow picture consider if they are the right fit for your business. Your Accountant is a valuable resource when it comes identifying the right fit for your business.

4. Start planning the next seasonal campaign

The first few months of the year are a good time to think about the calendar of activities you can do to ramp up the pipeline of new work and to schedule the next period of down time.  This helps in managing the timing of key staff taking leave so they are on deck when you need them and taking a break in the quiet times.  Consider what your Clients schedules look like, when is the best time to engage with them to reinforce repeat purchases?

5. Get a handle on your financial health

For most businesses with a 30 June year end, you are half way through the financial year so have 5-6 months to hit your budget for the year ending June 2018.  Use this half way point to check if you are on track to meet budget, assess how the year to date result has varied from your original budget and what you can do to impact the end of year results.  Sit down with your Accountant to forecast out the year end result if you remain on the current trajectory, even better simulate a few key changes to revenue, margin increases, debtor collections and expense reductions to see what is possible to give you renewed focus to hit the result.

6. Your role in the business

Too many business owners say they end up spending too much time in their business, rather than working on larger plans and direction. Now is a good time to consider how that relationship is working in your own enterprise. Do you have enough time to set and monitor execution of strategy?

If not, carve out some regular time in your schedule to make that happen on a regular basis, perhaps fortnightly or monthly.  A good way to ensure this happens is to be accountable to someone, if not a business partner than consider regular catch ups with your Accountant who can help keep you on track to progressing items that are part of the bigger picture.   The long-term prosperity of your business relies on your leadership and strategic direction.

7. Have your system work for you

Too much of your work is manual and most of the time there is a more efficient way of doing things.

Start by looking at the tasks that take you the most amount of time, then figure out how to automate them. The less you have to do, the better and never underestimate the power of data!

If you are running cloud based accounting software there are thousands of add ons that can unlock efficiencies for example, a popular add on allows you to take a photo or upload your receipts from your phone and it will code the expense to your system accordingly, removing the need for data entry.

If you’re not yet on cloud based accounting software now is the perfect time to give this some consideration to allow for a seamless roll over come 1 July 2018.  There are many products on the market so talk to your Accountant about which product is right for your business.

8. Plan a strategy getaway for your top leaders

One of the most important weapons on a business owner’s arsenal is strategy and vision. Take some regular time in order to decide what the next steps for your business can be.

But you can’t always do that on your own. You need to get your top team involved. Instead of depending only on yourself, book some time in and take some time away from the day to day to think about what you could really accomplish in 2018.

Think big. Think ahead of the next 12 months, and then use the next year as a way to get closer to your long-term goals. Without that vision, you’ll be lost.

Take some time away with your team and gain some clarity.

If you would like to discuss forecasting for the year ahead, accounting software to help improve efficiencies or require assistance reviewing, planning and setting your business goals and objectives in 2018 speak to your usual Hanrick Curran adviser or alternatively contact Matthew Beasley, Tony Hunt, Tim Taylor, Stephen Brake or Simone Gordon on 07 3218 3900.

 

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.

Thanks to Patrick Stafford for your contribution to the content.