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Seventeen years on, Hampers with Bite is a leading supplier of hampers within Australia, working with brands like ANZ, Telstra, and Coca-Cola, to create bespoke and memorable gifts.
“Everything that we’ve seen from ezyCollect, we knew it was the one early on.” – Beth James, Customer Operations Manager
Hampers with Bite faces the challenges of extreme seasonality. They do the majority of their business during Christmas time. This leads to cash flow issues in the middle of the year when they order stock and have thousands of open invoices and high overdue.
“Allocating payments to customers is a lot faster. It’s a no brainer to recommend ezyCollect.”
MARTEC’S ceiling fans, LED lights and bathroom fixtures are stocked in major wholesalers, mum-and-dad lighting shops and “everything in between”, says Linda Attenborough, MARTEC’s Financial Controller for the past eleven years. The supply chain, built over fifty years in business, extends around Australia and internationally. With over 3000 customers on account at any time, managing receivables was a full-time job for two of Linda’s staff. But it’s not anymore, says Linda, who implemented automated debtor management 12 months ago and describes ezyCollect as a godsend.
“ezyCollect is a godsend,” – Linda Attenborough
MARTEC moved its accounting system to MYOB Exo three years ago, and was using a combination of daily and weekly receivables reports, numerous Excel spreadsheets and “emails galore” to keep track of thousands of open accounts. “Because we have a wide variety of trading terms for debtors, trying to find a way to maintain all of them was hard,” explains Linda. Without good visibility of overdue accounts or a concise history of debtor communications, Linda felt like she was flying blind.
“It felt like I was always flying blind.” – Linda Attenborough
When MARTEC’s MYOB consultant, Kilimanjaro, suggested ezyCollect could help with cash flow and debtor management, Linda was ready to consider a better way to recover cash.
One year after implementing ezyCollect, MARTEC’s accounts receivables and debtor management picture looks remarkably different:
“It helps debtors, too.”
Now Linda is looking forward to adding the Simplypaid function to invoices, allowing her debtors to click and pay online. “I’m hoping it will help us get the five percent overdue down to one or two percent!”
To see how ezyCollect can get your accounts receivables under control, take a tour today.
IQPC in Perth knows business IT services and client support. It’s what they’ve delivered for the past 26 years. A five-fold growth in their team size has enabled them to offer their clients even deeper support to maintain and improve their essential IT services. More services equals more invoices to collect. In 2018, IQPC improved its invoice-to-payment efficiency by integrating ezyCollect with its Xero accounting software.
Phil Wainwright is a director and co-owner of IQPC. He has personally overseen the accounts receivable process from the time the company issued its first invoice in 1994. Two decades later, an entirely manual process of chasing payments reached its tipping point.
“When it got to around 400-500 invoices a month, it was really hard to keep control of debtors,” explains Phil.
Although IQPC had a great track record of positive cashflow, the workload to recover cash was becoming a bigger burden on the four administration staff who shared the accounts receivable job.
IQPC’s variable payment terms added complexity to the job: some invoices would become overdue after seven days, others had 30-day terms. While Phil describes Xero as an “amazing accounting system”, he describes its capabilities to communicate with customers about overdue invoices as basic.
“Xero would send automated reminders on a per invoice basis. That was confusing and annoying for our clients,” says Phil, whose clients could accumulate up to 20 invoices each month.
Unable to rely on autopilot, Phil’s team had the daunting task of extracting a long list of overdue invoices from Xero and manually preparing reminders. As the team completed collection calls, staff had to create and duplicate their call notes on every invoice in Xero.
“The system was breaking down and things were getting missed and forgotten,” explains Phil.
The team was losing even more time processing credit card payments manually over the phone.
“We desperately needed a good online payment gateway,” says Phil.
IQPC integrated ezyCollect with Xero to solve two major pain points that were costing the business time: following up every invoice to payment; and accepting and allocating payments easily.
Now, IQPC deploys a 6-step workflow of automated emails interspersed with phone call tasks for staff. Customers appreciate the consolidated account information in every communication. And staff appreciate the daily call list emailed to them.
“We have found that the vast majority of clients respond directly to the automatic email reminders, so the daily call list is usually very small. Sometimes no calls at all,” reports Phil.
The automated end-of-month statement also acts as a powerful reminder and collection tool. “We always get a flood of payments for the next few days after our monthly scheduled statement run.”
In addition, IQPC has deployed the online payment portal available in ezyCollect. Clients receive a reminder or monthly statement, click a Pay Now button, and enter a personalised payment portal listing every open invoice.
Previously, IQPC’s clients would need to call and ask for missing invoices; now they can access and query all of their invoices from their payment portal.
“Our customers have everything they need via their reminders, statement, and payment portal and can self-serve 95 percent of the time. Our team is no longer spending 8 hours a week answering their enquiries,” says Phil.
What’s more, the online payments system costs IQPC nothing to run, with no monthly service fees and transaction fees low enough that IQPC can surcharge to clients.
IQPC saves at least eight hours each week or $12,000 a year. That saving is now directly allocated to more customer care.
“We’ve automated other processes in the business, too, and streamlining the entire administration function has meant that our staff can evolve into more challenging roles. People who were doing manual data entry are now customer service professionals at the front line of our business.”
Ironically, after integrating ezyCollect’s sophisticated reminder system, IQPC’s clients actually receive fewer payment reminders.
“Our customers are no longer pestered with too many reminders. With ezyCollect they receive drastically fewer reminders and all the information is laid out in front of them. They can answer their own questions.”
Phil is pleased his IT business has been able to support its own clients with a digital payments experience. “The payment portal has a very slick and modern design so it creates a great impression on the client. Rather important for a tech company!”
“Xero is a fantastic accounting system and ezyCollect is the perfect complement to that system.Chasing over 700 invoices a month without ezyCollect would be a nightmare. We get paid quicker. Our clients get a much better experience. It’s less stress all around.”
CW Systems Pty Ltd is a leading distributor of blinds and shutters around Australia. The family-run business has been supplying high-quality window furnishings to major retail outlets since 1998. In 2014, the growing business upgraded its business management software to NetSuite to streamline its increasingly complex sales-to-dispatch workflow. In 2019, CW Systems integrated ezyCollect’s accounts receivable platform.
Christian Cruz took over as finance manager in 2017. He inherited a largely manual process of debtor management that used the resources of his accounts receivable officer and even the customer service team.
“Due to a lack of time, each week the customer service department would help the finance team to call our overdue customers,” says Christian.
On top of spending 2-3 hours each day making collection calls, Christian was losing four hours a week preparing email reminders—time he should have been allocating to preparing his budget and forecasting reports.
With some major retailers accruing up to 50 open invoices each month, it was a laborious task to go back and forth between NetSuite, Excel and Outlook to present customers with all of their invoice details.
“We didn’t have the time to contact every customer that was overdue, only the most overdue with the highest value.”
CW Systems set up ezyCollect to work with NetSuite in June 2019 and sent their first automated communications eight days later.
The volume of reminder emails being generated by CW Systems increased immediately, with the business having the flexibility to exclude customers from the automated sequence.
CW Systems’ second payment reminder in the multi-step automated sequence is the most effective in generating a payment but the pre-reminder notice, which Christian schedules for five days before an invoice is due, has been a happy surprise.
“With the pre-reminder email, we have a lot of customers paying early.”
Even collection calls are fewer and easier now. “The reminders are populated with all the information customers need, so if I have to call them, they already have everything in front of them,” reports Christian.
In addition, the new online payments facility makes collecting money a 24/7 reality.
“With a Pay Now button on our communications, we are receiving payments at 11pm and two o’clock in the morning as our customers find time to do their accounting.”
An added bonus has been the Pay by Instalments service available within the online customer payment portal. Credit-worthy customers can opt to settle their account in full by entering a payment plan with a third party finance provider.
“We get paid in full and that means our customer avoids going on account hold. They can keep trading with us while better managing their cashflow. It helps them and us,” says Christian.
CW Systems now has a standardised accounts receivable process that has eliminated the mess of spreadsheets and brought instant visibility to its outstanding cash balances.
“We can grab a picture from the dashboard of the value of current overdues and longest overdue customers. It really helps when communicating to management,” says Christian.
Time saved is the biggest return on investment for the busy finance team. “What used to take five minutes to send a reminder email with all the right information, now takes around five seconds,” reports Christian.
The boost to cash reserves as invoices get paid faster also has a major pay-off. Now, CW Systems can consistently pay its own suppliers on time or in advance, without needing to dip into cash reserves set aside for tax payments.
With a view to increasing their manufacturing arm, CW Systems now has the accounts receivable muscle to keep the cashflow pumping in the right direction.
“When it comes to accounting applications, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Bruce Carr. After selling leading accounting software program Exonet to MYOB in 2007 (now MYOB Exo), Bruce turned his attention to helping small and medium businesses integrate their ecommerce solutions.
Web Ninja integrates popular accounting solutions (including MYOB AccountRight, MYOB Exo, Jiwa, Attache, Quickbooks and SAP) with ecommerce web stores, helping their clients to sell more products online, manage their inventory and reduce administration.
“We have almost 600 clients and operate on a project based billing cycle. As Project Managers, we’re good at looking after our customers but we aren’t great at collecting money,”explained Bruce.
We always got paid but we didn’t realise how long it was taking us.”
Following up unpaid invoices fell on one person’s shoulders and it was a heavy burden for them to carry – asking clients for money is never pleasant, says Bruce.
Chasing overdue invoices was often challenging and inefficient. It took one person half their week to manage collections. Bruce wanted payment reminders to go out automatically so that they could focus on doing other tasks.
Following up unpaid invoices can be difficult to balance with managing client relationships. Bruce wanted to find a way to improve how Web Ninja communicated with its clients.
were not efficient and occasionally got lost or misplaced. Web Ninja wanted to keep all its invoices in one place so they were easy to issue and track.
Web Ninja have always offered their clients the option to pay by credit card, but it took up to two days to receive the cash and be notified that the invoice had been paid.
Bruce wanted to elevate the importance and visibility of collections to the management team. He looked for daily reports that the team could review as part of their regular meetings.
“We expected people to be upset that we were collecting, but they weren’t…we received some lovely responses from our customers. It’s fantastic!
“Our admin person had to make fewer calls to customers and there was much less aggravation in her day.”
“We have about 200 customers with ecommerce stores that use MYOB EXO in Australia and many using Xero in New Zealand. We proactively promote ezyCollect to them because it’s been awesome for our business,”comments Bruce. “ It works seamlessly with MYOB EXO and Xero, enforces their trading terms and we know it will improve their cash flow.”
Before implementing ezyCollect, Web Ninja took the opportunity to review their trading terms. They changed their payment terms from 30 days to 14 days and notifed their customers that technology would be helping them to implement the new terms. “It’s a good opportunity to have those discussions and determine what trading terms you think are fair for your business,” advises Bruce.
ezyCollect can work for so many businesses, says Bruce. Most of Web Ninja’s clients are wholesale distributors with turnover between $5m and $100m. They have plenty of stock, established relationships and trading arrangements that have been in place for a long time but perhaps haven’t been enforced. “Implementing ezyCollect gives them the opportunity to enforce their trading terms and improve their business.”
Bruce also believes that the technology is useful to smaller businesses and sole traders. “Sole traders are usually creative and the last thing they want to do is follow up invoices personally,” comments Bruce. By using ezyCollect, sole traders can automate their collections and focus on looking after their customers.
To see how ezyCollect can improve your cash flow, take a closer look experiencing our free demo.
Feral Brewing, a brewery in the Swan Valley, pairs age-old traditions with newfangled flavours to craft legacy beers. The family-owned business keeps sustainability at the heart of its practice, so when Financial Controller, Anthony Bedford, needed a debtor management solution for the more than 500 customers who sip from Feral’s keg, it’s no surprise he turned to automation in the spirit of innovation and sustainability.
The enterprise has its fingers in a number of pies in Perth’s tantalising food and beer industry: a brewery shipping kegs, bottles and cans around Australia, a restaurant, beer garden, and even a merchandising arm for the die-hard fans. As the business acquires sales, the hundreds of invoices to credit customers each month also mean that debt is accrued.
The debtor management problem
In 2014, Anthony started with Feral Brewing. The then 12-year-old company had 40 to 45 percent of its invoices outstanding in any given month. Anthony considered hiring a Credit Controller to reduce collection times. However the large amount of invoices to be followed up meant this wasn’t going to be effective. “With a large customer base, some with relatively small dollar amounts per invoice, an IT solution was the most cost effective option,” explains Anthony.
What worked in debt collection
Feral Brewing signed up with ezyCollect and set up a sync with their instance of MYOB. The ezyCollect platform was able to comprehensively map and track all accounts receivables activities. After personalising the in-built communications plan to suit their business, Feral Brewing started to send system generated reminders to all overdue customers. “The reminders automatically go out and that now requires less manpower from within the business” explains Anthony. “No one likes doing collections.”
“The reminders automatically go out and that now requires less manpower from within the business.“
The consistent and regular follow-up generated from ezyCollect reminders soon generated results: within a few months Feral Brewing halved its overdue accounts. Consistent follow-up of overdue customers means a key performance indicator of overdue accounts at 20 percent was not just achieved, but often exceeded.
Within a few months, Feral Brewing reduced their overdue accounts by over 50%.
Operating capital has improved significantly and this has enhanced the cash flow, giving the business greater comfort and security. For a business that checks its cash flow daily, being able to forecast with confidence was another tick in the box.
Feral Brewing have mastered the formula for making beer, and now they’ve got the formula for getting paid on time with ezyCollect.
Anthony’s top tip for productivity:
Sales teams respond well to key performance indicators of sales per team. And a little bit of healthy interstate competition is great for motivation.
Anthony’s top tip for cash flow:
Keep an eye on your cash flow regularly. Consistently work at converting your debtors and stock into cash.
Get started for free with ezyCollect, book a demo