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Liquidity Crunch Much?

If you are a fan of the guest brokers on Bruce Whitfield’s Money Show, you would know – there are bargains to be had in listed shares right now. We have all heard the stories of fabulous fortunes being made in times of recession. ‘Take a punt’ they say.

Still… going along in this particular bear market might not be such a sure thing. Deep discounts need to be weighed up against the long-term impact that the pandemic might have on markets (insert ‘new normal’, ‘disruption’ and ‘pivot’ here). The undeniable truth is that some sectors might never recover, some businesses will not survive. Moral of the story … Buyers Beware! (that is assuming of course, you have extra cash lying around). Yeah right.

The market turmoil is ubiquitous, no company is immune, there is no corporate vaccine. The unlisted space is no different to the exchanges, albeit a little closer to home. Many businesses have succumbed to lockdown and company fatalities are high. While Covid19 relief measures have provided some respite, this has mostly assisted the workforce, and entrepreneurs are left carrying the can. SMME valuations have tanked in many sectors and yet owners are still contemplating selling their businesses. They have no option – the bank balance has dried up, the bills are piling up and there seems no end in sight. Or is there?

Before throwing in the towel, it is important that CEO’s exhaust all their options. Exiting in a buyer’s market is to be avoided. Act in haste, repent at leisure. By now, most businesses will have prepared detailed cashflow forecasts and will be implementing strict ALCO strategies. Inventory levels will have been run down, arrear debtor’s will have been collected, non-core assets sold off, rent and supplier payment moratoriums negotiated, headcounts optimised etc.

The next step for a wise entrepreneur would be to take a long hard look at the Balance Sheet with a view to undertaking a restructuring or refinancing. ‘Is there scope for raising additional capital?’ our intrepid CEO may ask. Well, equity is usually the last resort when it comes to monetising value. It is the most expensive, both in terms of the long-term cost of funding as well as upfront transaction costs. Also, finding a suitable investor with a chequebook in hand, is easier said than done.

On the other hand, raising additional debt in the current climate is considerably less challenging. The low interest rate environment and relatively relaxed credit regime lend themselves to a smoother process with a higher probability of success. Right now, banks are more sympathetic to ‘out of the ordinary’ liquidity gaps and there are many financial institutions to choose from, all vying for your business.

That said, the biggest pitfall to a successful fund-raising road show is poor information and ineffective communication. It is vital to approach the right financier, at the right time with the right request. Many SMME’s stumble at the final hurdle by not understanding and addressing the minimum term sheet requirements in a convincing manner. Packaging the loan application with bank friendly terminology, a comprehensive financial model and an impressive business plan is fundamental to a positive outcome.

That is where we come in. The FD Centre globally enjoys formalised development partner relationships with many banks and credit providers, and we understand their product offerings and requirements. We are instrumental in assisting many small businesses to access Covid19 subsidies and grants during this time. We have developed many emergency cashflow arrangements and business continuity plans for our clients, often on a pro bono basis or at reduced rates, given the circumstances. We understand that unless your business is surviving and thriving, ours will not either.

So, if you are a CEO of a mid-sized corporate who has been contemplating divestiture, just know that The FD Centre can assist you in this path, but we would strongly suggest that you delay this decision until you absolutely certain that there is not unseen debt capacity lurking in your Balance Sheet.

If you appoint one of our world class Finance Directors to undertake a Balance Sheet Optimization exercise on your behalf, you can expect that we will assist by identifying one or all the following:

  1. Existing debt consolidation with longer tenor and upfront interest and capital moratoriums;
  2. Short-term asset-based financing options (factoring, trade finance, working capital);
  3. Hidden assets for collateral/security (off balance sheet leasing, cashflow discounting);
  4. Long term asset revaluations (properties and investments);
  5. Mezzanine debt capacity (preference shares, high yield bullet loans, PUK loans);
  6. Risk hedging and derivative applications to improve Loan to Value;
  7. Expansion and M&A opportunities (new markets, strategic equity partners, new products).

We will quickly present the various alternatives to you and, once you have ‘in-principle’ approval from your board, we will work closely with your finance team to identify the most suitable finance providers and put together a watertight, best of breed finance application that will maximise quantum, sharpen pricing and ensure that your liquidity nightmares are a thing of the past.

If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact Walter Staffetius who is Regional Director of Gauteng East or contact The FD Centre directly 

Now may be the time to attack

Covid19 has been quite a shock to the system, grinding the world to an abrupt halt and causing economies to nose dive. All over the world business owners are grappling with the after effects of C19 and have never been as busy. Your business, that was built to be on auto pilot for day to day tasks, now requires you to rethink many processes and often only the business owner or senior management can deal with these new issues.

 

What we need to try avoid, in amongst this “new busy”, is losing sight of the opportunities that C19 presents. It is possible that your business and industry may now be better positioned to grow post C19. There are many industries that will be bigger and more profitable, for example online retailers; other industries will eventually return to something similar to the old normal, tourism businesses spring to mind; and those industries that are structurally worse, will need to re-invent their business models to be relevant post-COVID.

 

In addition, the cost of debt and business valuations have dropped significantly, and may stay at these levels for a while, creating a window of opportunity to grow significantly. If your business is in the winner category, or is positioned to return to the old normal, then your planets may have lined up and it is time to attack the market. If you are game for this challenge then the two question you need to answer are, where to invest your money, and where to get the capital.

 

In terms of where to invest, you have most probably been eyeing an industry, market, product or competitor and know exactly who to target. If not, some focussed strategic planning and research should be able to identify good opportunities. It is always a good idea to get a transaction advisor involved, who can review the logic of the acquisition/merger, advise on all the steps in the deal and protect your identity in the approach. Often you will find that it is easier for an intermediary to talk to a target and get them to open up and give some high-level information to make sure the deal makes sense.

 

The second focus area is funding the deal. There is no rocket science to raising funding, as a matter of fact it requires a fair amount of grunt work.  It requires a good story, reflected in a simple well thought through set of numbers addressing all the questions the funders may have, especially those around cashflow. The financial model should be robust and should talk to the rationale of the deal; it should be simple enough to understand (don’t get tripped up by overly complex and detailed models) and detailed enough to reflect reality. It should include the proposed funding structure and be built in a way that key assumptions can be changed to test sensitivities. It should be built using best practice such as separating inputs, calculations and outputs and the model should reflect ratios important to debt and equity funders. The model should include a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow, the so called three statement model (“3M”).

 

The FD Centre can help you identify potential targets, sense check the rationale, support you in approaching and negotiating with the target, build a fit for purpose 3M model and raise the funding to take advantage of existing opportunities. We are flexible in our approach and are happy to provide the full service or support your existing resources to do the work themselves. If you would like to discuss how we can help you please feel free to contact Andrew Meerburg who is Regional Director of the Corporate Finance division in Gauteng or The FD Centre directly.

New Draft Tax Relief Bills, released on 01 May 2020

There has been a significant response by National Treasury, the South African Revenue Service, the private sector and various government bodies in respect of relief measures aimed at minimising the negative effect of COVID-19. This article will cover two aspects; first a brief summary of the measures recently introduced by National Treasury and SARS in so far as they relate to tax relief for businesses and individuals. Second, we’ll give you details of the various kinds of funding streams available to businesses to combat the financial implications of COVID-19.

 

UPDATE: on the 1st of May 2020, revised versions of the Tax Bills below were released by the Minister of Finance, for public comment. The amendments have now been included in bold in the article below. We want to reiterate that the below is not intended to be legal or tax advice, and that taxpayers and clients should contact professionals for advice particular to their business.

 

FROM A TAX PERSPECTIVE…

The National Treasury and SARS have published the following draft legislation in response to the COVID-19 state of disaster and consequent lockdown:

A. The 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill; and

B. The 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill.

The measures contained in both bills will take effect from the 1st of April 2020. The bills are open for public comment until the 15th of April 2020.

Revised Bills have been released on the 1st of May 2020 and are available at: https://www.sars.gov.za/Media/Pages/CoronaVirus.aspx

 

A: Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill (Draft DMTRB)

The Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill introduces various relief measures via the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) and amendments to the ETI Act. Amendments have also been introduced into the Income Tax Act to provide alleviation to Debt Relief Trusts.

 

Employment Tax Incentives (ETIs):

Earning thresholds and the corresponding incentives applicable to them have been increased:

In respect of the first 12 months of employment:

i. An employer will be entitled to the sum of R 750 (previously R500) and an amount equal to 50% of the employees’ salary in the case of employees who earn below R 2000.00.

ii. An employer will be entitled to the sum of R1 750 (previously R 1 000.00) in the case of employees who earn between R 2000.00 and R 4500.00.

iii. In the case of employees earning more than R 4500, but less than R 6001, the values applicable to the formula used for calculating the ETI have been increased.

 

In respect of each of the next 12 months of employment

i. An employer will be entitled to the sum of R 750 and an amount equal to 25% of the employees’ salary in the case of employees who earn below R 2000.00.

ii. An employer will be entitled to the sum of R1 250 in the case of employees who earn between R 2000.00 and R 4500.00, and

iii. In the case of employees earning more than R 4500, but less than R 6001, the values applicable to the formula used for calculating the ETI have been increased.

The values utilised in the formula to calculate the ETI for each of the months of employment after the 24th month of employment in respect of each employee has been increased.

 

A significant change to the Employment Tax Incentive Act has come with an extension of the age-related qualification criteria. Ordinarily, only employees who were between the ages of 18 and 29 at the end of each month in terms of which the incentive was being claimed would qualify in terms of the incentive.

Under the Bill, employees who are between the ages of 30 and 65 and who previously did not fall under the definition of “qualifying employee” now do, but only in respect of remuneration paid between 01 April 2020 and 31 July 2020.

Employers can claim their employment tax incentives on a monthly basis, as opposed to every 6 months.

 

The definition of “Monthly Remuneration” has been broadened to include any remuneration paid to a Qualifying Employee in respect of a month, as opposed to the minimum threshold of at least 160 hours of work in order to qualify in terms of the Act. The amendments are deemed to come into effect on the 1st of May in respect of any income paid until the end of July 2020.

Employers who previously did not qualify for the Employment Tax Incentive where they paid their employees R2000.00 (or less) in a month, have now been included as qualifying for the incentive in respect of remuneration paid between 01 April 2020 and 31 July 2020.

The requirement that an employee be employed on or after 01 October 2013 in order to qualify, has been clarified as only applying to employees between the ages of 18 and 29 in respect of remuneration earned up to 31 July 2020.

These amendments now cover employers whose employees are earning less due to the effects of COVID19 on the Labour Sector (such as short-time, reduced wages, etc).

NB: The relief measures relating to ETI do not extend to taxpayers registered as employers after the 1st of March 2020.

 

Additional Relief

Bona fide Donations to the Disaster Relief Fund between 01 April 2020 and 31 July 2020 will be deductible against taxable income for the 2020 tax year.

Trusts established for the purposes of providing disaster relief must be deemed to be public benefit organisations in terms of the Income Tax Act, and therefore subject to special tax dispensations applicable to public benefit organisations.

As from the 31st of July 2020, any COVID-19 disaster relief trust that is not dissolved and which has not had all its assets distributed on or before the 31st of July 2020 must be deemed to be a small business funding entity for the purposes of the Income Tax Act and must be approved as such.

The amendments relating to the Employment Tax Incentive Act do not apply to companies who were registered as employers with SARS after the 1st of March 2020.

Amounts paid to employers from any COVID19 relief organisation, on behalf of their employees, must be deducted from the calculation of remuneration for the purposes of PAYE/UIF/SDL for the period 01 April 2020 to 31 July 2020 (examples include the COVID19 UIF Ters Benefit, or the SAF Trust).

Employers are exempted from liability and payment of SDL for the period 01 April 2020 to 31 August 2020.

 

B: Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill (Draft DMTRAB)

The Draft DMTRAB introduces relief measures available to qualifying taxpayers and qualifying micro enterprises in relation to:

  1. Employee’s Tax
  2. Provisional Tax
  3. Interim payments by micro businesses
  4. Extension of time periods.

It is important to know that these Bills and the measures contained in them only apply to qualifying taxpayers, and qualifying micro-businesses, and therefore it is important to first understand what each of these terms means.

 

Qualifying Taxpayer

A qualifying taxpayer is defined in the Bill as being a trust, partnership, company or individual who is a taxpayer who has a gross income of R50 million (see note) or less during the year of assessment ending on or before 1 April 2020, but before 1 April 2021; who’s gross income for the year of the assessment does not include more than 10% income derived from interest, dividends, foreign dividends, rental from fixed property and any remuneration received from an employer; and who is tax compliant for the purposes of relying on any deferral in the Tax Administration Act.

NOTE: in terms of the Revised Draft DMTRAB the gross income threshold has been increased to R 100 million or less, and the restriction on income, dividend (local and foreign), rental and remuneration has increased to 20%.

Rental for the purposes of the above restriction does not include rental income from fixed properties where that is the primary trade of the taxpayer (i.e where their gross income is comprised primarily of income from rental).

 

Qualifying Micro-business

An individual or company which meets the criteria for a micro-business as set out in the Income Tax Act (predominantly a gross income of less than R1 million Rand), who is a taxpayer and who is tax compliant.

The Solidarity Fund is now specifically referred to in the Definitions section of the Bill.

 

Deferral of Employee’s Tax

Any qualifying taxpayer who was registered as an employer for the purposes of PAYE before the 1st of March 2020 shall be allowed to pay only 80% of the total PAYE due in respect of amounts withheld from remuneration during the period 01 April 2020 to 31 July 2020.

In terms of the revised bill, a qualifying taxpayer registered as an employer is now allowed to defer 35% of their PAYE (thus allowing them to pay only 65% of their liability).

Thereafter, the remaining 20% (now 35%) which is due must be paid by the employer is 6 equal monthly instalments, starting on the 7th of September 2020, and ending on the 5th of February 2021. It appears as if the entire amount deferred, and which is owing to SARS will be divided by 6 and added to the Employer’s PAYE from the 7th of September 2020 to the 5th of February 2021.

There will be no penalties or interest levied against PAYE deferred in terms of the Bill, however if the amounts are not paid when they are due (i.e. from 7 September to 5 February), they will incur interest and penalties.

 

Deferral of Provisional Tax

Qualifying provisional taxpayers can pay 15% instead of 50% of their estimated liability as their first provisional tax payment, and thereafter 65% of their total estimated tax liability as their second provisional tax payment.

No interest or penalties will run on deferred payments, however the tax that has been deferred (i.e. the remaining 20%) must be paid as a third provisional tax payment at the end of the year of assessment in order to avoid interest running.

 

Interim Payments by micro-businesses

Similar relief is available to qualifying micro-businesses who are obliged to make interim payments, i.e. payment of 15% as opposed to 50% of their first interim payment, and 65% as opposed to 100% of their second.

The Revised Bill appears to correct an error in time periods, and the above benefit is broken down as follows:

  1. For the period 01 April 2020 to 31 August 2020 a qualifying micro-business may pay only 15% as opposed to 50% of their assessed interim payments (thus deferring 35%); and
  2. For the period 01 September 2020 to 28 February 2021, qualifying micro-businesses may pay 65% of their assessed interim payment. A remainder of 20% of the total liability may therefore be deferred, as above.
  3. All amounts deferred shall be due for payment as set out in a notice of assessment.
  4. The amounts deferred will be subject to interest and penalties only if not paid when due.

 

Extension of Time Periods

Some administrative processes contained in the Tax Administration Act and the Customs and Excise Act are subject to specific time periods, and non-compliance may have a significant impact on these processes.

In terms of the Bill, the period of the national lockdown will be counted as dies non. In other words, they will not be counted for the purpose of calculating the applicable time period. It is important to note that the circumstances in which these days will be taken as dies non are set out in detail in the Bill, and you should consult your tax practitioner to see whether the Bill is applicable to your unique circumstances.

More detail has been added with the revised Bills, which must be consulted on a case by case basis.

 

Donations to the Solidarity Fund

Employers can factor in donations of up to 5 per cent of an employee’s monthly salary when calculating the monthly employees’ tax to be withheld. An additional percentage that can be factored in of up to 33.3 per cent, depending on the employee’s circumstances, will be provided for a limited period for donations to the Solidarity Fund. This will lessen cash flow constraints for employees who donate to the Solidarity Fund.

 

Fast-tracking of value-added tax (VAT)refunds

Smaller VAT vendors (falling under either Category A or Category B) which are in a net refund position are temporarily permitted to file VAT returns monthly, as opposed to every 2 months.

The relief is aimed at allowing taxpayers who would ordinarily submit tax returns every 2 months (either under Category A or B) to voluntarily submit returns every month, while at the same time remaining under their respective category, with the view to return to the filing of returns every 2 months after 31 July 2020.

Note: Category B vendors would have to file an additional return in August 2020, to bring them back onto their usual VAT cycle and Category A vendors should be permitted to file in May 2020 instead of waiting until June 2020.

 

Three-month deferral for filing and first payment of carbon tax liabilities

The filing requirement and the first carbon tax payment are due by 31 July 2020. To provide additional time to complete the first return, as well as cash flow relief in the short term, and to allow for the utilisation of carbon offsets as administered by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the filing and payment date will be delayed to 31 October 2020.

 

Deferral of Excise Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco Products

Due to the restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, payments due in May 2020 and June 2020 will be deferred by 90 days for excise compliant businesses to more closely align tax payments through the duty-at-source system (excise duties are imposed at the point of production) with retail sales.

 

Some Last Notes:

Larger businesses with a gross income of more than R100 million who can show that they cannot make their tax payments as a result of COVID19, may apply directly to SARS for the deferral of any payments without incurring penalties.

In a similar vein, businesses with a gross income of less than R 100 million can approach SARS directly for the deferral of amounts which are not set out in the draft Bills. This may include VAT payments, but clear direction from SARS is advised.

A useful list of FAQs has been made available by SARS on https://www.sars.gov.za/Media/Pages/FAQs—Tax-Relief.aspx.

In addition to the proposed tax relief measures set out above, Government has announced further measures to assist particularly Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises.

 

SMME DEBT RELIEF FUND

This is a soft-loan facility aimed at qualifying businesses who are directly or indirectly negatively affected by COVID-19. In order to be eligible, the business must have been registered with the CIPC on or before the 29th of February 2020, must be 100% South African owned, and must employ at least 70% South African citizens in its workforce.

Priority will be given to businesses owned by women, young persons and persons with disabilities.

In order to apply for this funding, SMMEs must register on www.smmesa.gov.za. Once issued with a reference number, applicants must fill out the requisite forms, and send these along with the required supporting documentation to [email protected]

 

SMME GROWTH RESILIENCE FACILITY

The SMME growth resilience facility has been made available to bolster and protect those businesses providing medical and essential services and equipment.

The Business Growth and Resilience Facility is targeted at SMMEs who locally manufacture or supply hygiene and medical products that are in demand in order to curb and manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These are products such as sanitizers, detergents and tissue paper. This facility will offer working capital, stock, bridging finance, order finance and equipment finance. The funding amount will be based on the funding needs of the actual business. Find more info and application forms at www.smmesa.gov.za.

 

SAFT TRUST (SOUTH AFRICAN FUTURE TRUST – SAFT)

This Trust was established by the Oppenheimer family, to extend direct financial support to SMME employees who are at risk of losing their jobs or will suffer a loss of income because of COVID-19.

SAFT will transfer funds directly to employees of participating SMMEs, via interest-free loans where employees themselves carry no liability.

Loans will be extended to eligible SMMEs on a first-come-first-served basis.

Eligible SMME employers apply for the scheme via their preferred partner bank and provide a list of names of employees “at risk” due to COVID-19. The SMME must be an existing client of the partner bank in order to apply. To qualify businesses must have an annual turnover of less than R25 million, have been a sustainable business on the 29th of February 2020, be negatively affected by COVID-19 and have been trading for at least 24 months prior to shut down.

Partner banks are: ABSA, FirstRand Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

SAFT has set the eligibility criteria for the loans, in consultation with their banking partners. However, the ultimate decision on whether or not to extend a loan and who will receive the funds will rest with the banks.

 

SAKUMA RELIEF PROGRAMME

Newly announced by the Rupert family, this programme is designed to help ailing SMMEs.

For close corporations, companies, and trusts, financial aid in the form of an unsecured interest-bearing loan of between R250, 000 and R1 million coupled with a non-repayable grant of R25, 000 per qualifying business has been made available.

The loan portion will be interest free for 12 months with no repayment obligations during this period. The loan is repayable after 12 months, and incurs interest at the prime rate from month 13, once the business is on its feet. The money can be used to cover payroll, rental, and other monthly operating overheads. There is no security requirement for the loan.

For formal sole proprietors, a grant of R25, 000 per qualifying business to be used to pay for overheads is available. To qualify for financial aid, the business must show evidence that it was financially active prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and be compliant.

Businesses can apply through: https://finance.businesspartners.co.za/

 

SECTOR SPECIFIC RELIEF

In addition to the broadly applicable measures, outlined above – various stakeholders have concluded agreements (both with government and between the various member organisations) in terms of which specific relief is being made available to businesses who fall under these sectors.

Businesses in various sectors should enquire about relief aimed specifically at the sectors which they occupy.

 

PRIVATE SECTOR ASSISTANCE

  • Standard Bank

From 1 April 2020, Standard Bank will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a payment holiday for 90 days (01 April 2020 until 30 June 2020) – restructuring payments for the repayment to come into effect after the 90-period. https://www.standardbank.co.za/southafrica/personal/campaigns/covid-19

  • ABSA Bank

From the 1 April 2020, ABSA’s corporate and business clients will be offered solutions based on their unique requirements and operations. For retail clients, the ABSA relief programme incorporates a three-month payment holiday and allows customers to reduce their monthly repayments. https://www.absa.co.za/media-centre/press-statements/2020/dealing-with-the-impact-of-covid-19/

  • First National Bank

From 1 April to 30 June 2020 aimed at providing relief to individual and business FNB customers whose financial stability has been impacted by Covid-19 pandemic. https://www.fnb.co.za/press-office/index.html

  • Nedbank

No specific relief policy for businesses or customer are currently in place. Customers are encouraged to contact the bank directly if they are in financial distress due to Covid-19. Call 086 055 5111.

 

RENTAL RELIEF

The Property Industry Group (PI Group) have published guidelines and details on financial assistance for retail tenants.

The PI Group is comprised of various commercial property stakeholders, and speaks in general for the commercial real estate industry.

In terms of the Guidelines, the group recommends that retail tenants who are affected by COVID19 and the continued lock down should be awarded certain rental discounts and deferrals.

This is an incredibly recent occurrence, and retail tenants are advised to approach their landlords to apply for this relief as set out in these guidelines.

A copy of the press release relating to the guidelines may be accessed at https://sareit.prowly.com/94420-the-property-industry-group-increases-its-retail-tenant-assistance-and-relief-guidelines.

 

RELIEF FOR EMPLOYEES

COVID-19 TERS (Disaster Fund) and UIF

In addition to the measures introduced by National Treasure and SARS, the Department of Labour, via the UIF, has made a substantial amount of money available via the COVID-19 TERS facility.

In terms of this facility, employers whose employees have been placed on short time, or who have been temporarily retrenched, may apply to the UIF for a benefit to be paid to their employees, via the company. The benefit may be a minimum of R 3500.00 per month, per employee, or between 38% and 68% of the benefit the employee would have received if they had been completely unemployed.

 

The COVID19 TERS UIF benefit application process has been moved online and has been simplified significantly. Employers are still permitted to file claims for April (as at 03 May 2020) and are encouraged to do so as quickly as possible. The online application portal may be accessed at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/covid19.

Employees may also continue to apply for ordinary UIF benefits, depending on their individual circumstances at www.ufiling.co.za. NB: an employee cannot apply for ordinary UIF benefits and qualify for the COVID19 TERS benefit at the same time. We encourage employers to determine whether their employees still have any active or open claims. More information on UIF may be found at www.labour.gov.za/uif or by calling 0800 003 0007.

 

WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION

Guidelines issued by the Compensation Commissioner on the 20th of March 2020 indicate that COVID-19 will be considered an occupational disease in certain circumstances.

There is a procedure to follow, and if the fund accepts responsibility, it will pay the affected employee’s medical expenses and up to 30 days of sick leave compensation. This does not include the employee staying at home because of the national shut down, only if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 as a result of varying degrees in risk of exposure at the workplace.

More information on Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases can be found at www.labour.gov.za.

Tax Responses to COVID-19 3_May_2020

“This too shall pass”

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the only constant in life is change.

Over the course of the last century alone there have been a litany of challenges and numerous disasters, all of which have one thing in common – they’ve all passed.

Some months from now – it’s impossible to predict the true timeline – the current situation we face with Covid-19 will too have passed. It will have left in its wake a trail of debris and destruction which we ought not minimise, but it will pass.

As the great German writer Goethe once said: “Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.” It’s a wonderful way to focus the mind on proactive, practical activity and look forward. To deal with things that you can influence and change rather than those you can’t.

As Finance Directors part of our role is to use our knowledge of the past and translate it into actions that bring about a better future.

With 750 of us in South Africa and abroad, many of us spanning 3 or even 4 decades of service to SMEs, we have weathered many storms. We’ve also come out the other side.

And we have learned from those experiences that there are certain actions we must take quickly if we want to overcome adversity and put ourselves in a stronger position for when the storm abates. In the midst of the storm it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening. This is precisely the time to slow down for a moment, as hard as it may seem, and make some proactive decisions.

To address the negative, we can take it as read that the speed at which many industries will contract over the coming weeks will increase. Primary industries such as aviation, travel and tourism, events and conferencing, restaurants and pubs, will suffer devastating blows as will the supply chains they support. The ripple effect will affect everyone, in some way or other. These events are already in train.

While all that happens, as SME owners, we have to do whatever we need to do in order to weather the storm and come out stronger the other side.

And you don’t have to face that challenge alone. The President and Government have pledged to help small to medium sized businesses get through the challenges of the coming weeks and we’re also here to help you navigate the options and put you in the strongest possible position when some sense of normality is restored.

Below are some key considerations, risks, opportunities and resources. If you would like us to help you navigate the options, we are offering a courtesy 1:1 Scenario Planning Call to help you get clarity around what you should be doing now to put you in the strongest possible position.

 

Protect the downside:

Cash is king. What cash buffer do you have in place, what funds can be drawn down from available credit facilities if required?

 

Scenario Planning:

  • If you are predicting a reduced demand what will be the impact on sales and cash?
  • What costs can be cut or deferred? Is there flexibility in the cost base that could partially offset a downturn in revenues?
  • Are there major capital expenditures which could be postponed?
  • Over what time period might you expect revenues to be reduced?
  • What impact might you expect in regard to late payments from your existing customers?

 

Supply side:

  • Are you likely to be impacted by a break in supply of inputs/services from other businesses struggling with the virus?
  • How much contingency are you holding if supplies of inputs stopped/became erratic?
  • Are there alternative sources of supply if a supplier fails?
  • What is the likely impact on workforce – do you have a business continuity plan, can workers productively work from home/remotely?
  • Could you look at taking measures now to reduce the risk to your workforce; e.g. more virtual meetings rather than asking staff to travel?
  • Are you operating in an area which could be impacted by “lock down” measures e.g. city centre, does the workforce travel largely by public transport (impact if closed/restricted), would the travel patterns of the workforce mean it would be necessary, for staff safety, to suspend travel to the head office/main site.

 

Demand side:

  • Potential impact on sales volumes – e.g. what is your level of exposure to consumer demand, are you B2B or B2C, are your corporate customers likely to be significantly impacted (airlines, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, attractions, events, etc.?
  • Any delivery issues for goods/services?
  • What are the contractual implications of failure to service customers (do they have a force majeure protection in contracts?)
  • Does the client have contracts which enable clients to claim force majeure and cancel commitments without penalty – worst case what might this mean in terms of the liquidity scenario planning.


Communications:

  • Who should you be contacting now – suppliers to see what contingency plans they have, customers to reassure, other stakeholders?
  • If someone has an issue, do they have the means to communicate with you?
  • Can you post messages on your website remotely if required as a means of keeping customers, suppliers notified?

 

Staff:

  • What is your policy on sick pay if staff have to self-isolate?
  • Are there contingent measures that can be put in place to bring in temporary staff if necessary?

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Any business-critical single points of failure?
  • Can you switch your office phones to an alternative line?
  • What insurance arrangements do you have in place?

 

Prepare for the upside:

All of the suggestions mentioned above constitute the day to day role of an FD. These are things that companies ought to be doing as a matter of course, but of course, many do not.

The advantage of going through this process now is that it will enable you to build a better, stronger, more resilient business for the future. Whether Covid-19 or the next major recession, or some other unforeseen event, knowing that you have done all that you can to prepare your business will give you greater confidence in the future.

The future of work is all about remote working, flexibility, greater specialisation and outsourcing. The Coronavirus will increase the pace with which we transition to a new global model.

We encourage you to be cautious and use this time to spark ‘fresh activity’ and build a stronger, leaner business for the future.

We are here to help and are offering 1:1 Scenario Planning Consultation to help you make the right decisions to get you through the coming weeks and prepare you better for when the current madness subsides.

 

Where To Find The Cash You Need

A lack of cash can not only stall your company’s growth but also place its very existence under threat.

It doesn’t matter how profitable the business may be; cash flow problems can place it under severe pressure, according to the FD Centre’s Chairman Colin Mills in his book ‘Scaling Up How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash.[1]

“You might think you’re immune from danger because your business is experiencing a high level of growth, but you’re wrong: expansion can exacerbate the problems caused by poor cash flow management,” he said.

“You almost always have to make investments and bring certain expenses on ahead of achieving the higher revenue and cash flow that comes with successful growth.”

It is the oxygen every business needs to survive.

“The stark truth is, without cash your business will be unable to meet its payroll obligations, default on payments to suppliers and creditors (payables), and ultimately cease trading.”

Fortunately, there are ways to find cash both from within your business (by improving processes, cost-cutting and selling off unused assets) and from traditional and alternative external funding sources such as banks, invoice factoring companies and crowd-sourcing platforms.

Getting the cash your company needs earlier rather than later can not only save you and your employees from unnecessary stress but also help you to achieve more rapid growth as the following example illustrates. One of the CFO Centre’s American clients had over-hired which caused it to run into cash flow problems.

But with the help of the CFO Center, the company was able to survive the blip and then attract one of the ‘Big Three’ automobile manufacturers in the US—Chrysler—as a client.

“They were really bumping up against their credit line of $US500,000,” recalled the CFO Center’s Bill Starr in ‘Scaling Up. “We came in, restructured their financing and their forecasts, and in a couple of months we were able to get them a new line of credit for $2 million,” he said. “That effectively allowed them to invest in the growth of the company.

“A year after we were engaged, the client won a massive deal with Chrysler. Chrysler conducts vendor analyses on the financial position of its vendors, and this company got a green light across all areas that Chrysler reviewed them on.”

Look within your company first

While many business owners automatically look to external funding sources, it pays to look closer to home first.

“Most entrepreneurs don’t realise there is often considerable funding to support growth from within their own business,” says Mills. “That’s because the collection of customer receivables can often be improved through strong credit control and the level of stock holding reduced through improved systems and processes. In some instances, poor negotiation of supplier payment terms means fewer funds are available within the business to support scaling up.”

So before you pick up the phone (or click your mouse) to apply for external funding, consider the following methods for freeing up cash within your business.

Declutter

If the business has machinery, equipment or large amounts of stock that is idle, consider selling it or renting it to other businesses.

Remove unnecessary overheads

Look at all your overheads to see if they can be lowered. For example, consider reducing staff numbers, or not replacing employees when they leave or moving premises to get a more favourable lease.

The head of the Australian CFO Centre Stephen Copplin recalls how one part-time CFO was asked to help a fast growth branding business that had got into trouble with cash flow. Most troubling was a looming $AUD 500,000 tax bill.

At the company’s headquarters, it was easy to see why the company was struggling: the carpark was crammed with ‘flashy’ company cars.

A conversation with the owner revealed he did not have a good grasp on his financials. He didn’t know how to improve his margins and had no idea how much his product was costing to produce.

So he was advised to sell the cars and make half the staff redundant.

“We were really hard with the guy; we took a firm line with him, but he did all the things we suggested he do to get his business back in order,” the part-time CFO said. “That was three or four years ago, and today his scaleup growth has delivered the cash flow and sustainability, to where he should have been if he had the financial nous beforehand.”

Negotiate better terms with vendors

Ask for more favourable payment terms from your suppliers. This doesn’t necessarily mean asking for reduced prices but could be as simple as requesting an extra seven days for your payment window.

If your suppliers refuse your request, look for other suppliers who can offer lower prices or better payment terms for the same quality of the product.

Resolve late payment issues

Make your payment terms clear to minimise the possibility of late payment issues. Try to keep to the same terms for all your customers (for example, a 30-day window for payment of the invoice). Get agreement to your payment terms from all your customers or clients. Carry out credit checks on all new customers or clients. Ensure that invoices are issued promptly. Ideally, you should issue invoices by email on the day of completion of the job or project and ensure that overdue payments are pursued.

Get deposits for large projects or orders. Build a deposit (of anywhere up to 50% of the total cost) into your contract for large projects or orders. This is especially important if the projects or orders are likely to involve a lot of resources and time.

That way if the customer decides to cancel the project or fails to pay the balance on the project or order, you have at least recovered some of the cost of the resources and time you’ve already invested in it.

Look for External Funding

You should also consider external funding sources to help ease your cash flow challenges. There are a dizzying number of sources to consider, both traditional and alternative (which is why you should use the services of a part-time FD or CFO to identify the best method for your company and help you navigate your way through any such process).

Apply for a bank overdraft

A bank overdraft has been the traditional form of funding for many businesses. But these days, banks are more likely to try to steer their clients to other forms of debt that provide the banks with more security.

While overdrafts are usually quick to set up, they have a major drawback, and it’s this: banks can call them in on demand.

Request a bank loan

The advantages of bank loans are that they are for a set term with regular repayments and that the banks can’t call the money back on demand. The downside is that banks will demand strong security for the loan such as a personal guarantee secured on the assets of the business or even the owner’s personal assets.

Use asset financing

Using your assets as collateral for the loan is one of the easiest ways your growing business can get access to quick cash. However, there is a drawback: not all assets are considered equal.

Typically, lenders will only consider assets that they can sell quickly if you default on the loan. Therefore, they usually want high-value assets with a low depreciation rate or high appreciation rate, and which are easy to convert into cash.

Get alternative financing

The alternative finance market includes a wide variety of financing models including peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and specialist finance providers offering products such as selective invoice finance and invoice trading platforms.

The benefit is that since they have greater flexibility than traditional funding sources they can often offer a faster turnaround on the right deals.

Invoice Discounting

The advantage of invoice discounting, in which banks and invoice discounting companies lend money secured against your debtors/receivables, is that you can borrow up to 80% of the invoice amount within 24 hours.  So you get the cash flow benefit and the rest when the money is collected.

The disadvantage is that it can cost more than overdraft or loan charges so it may have a bigger impact on your profit margins.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending

P2P platforms match lenders directly with borrowers so that you can borrow money from individuals. The huge benefit of this is that the rates are favourable and often much better than any other type of lending method. The disadvantage is that you will still have to undergo a credit check and possibly pay an application fee.

Equity-based crowdfunding

The way it works is that people come together on the crowdfunding websites to pool money towards a particular venture or idea in return for an equity share in your business. The issue with crowdfunding though is that it’s not as easy as some people make it out to be, as it requires months of planning and lots of marketing in order to get people excited enough about what you are doing to contribute money towards it. There’s also the risk that you don’t receive the amount you’re seeking, in which case any finance that has been pledged will usually be returned to your investors, and you will receive nothing. If you’re successful, there’s the risk you give away too much control in your company. This could have an impact later when you decide to sell the company.

The easy way to raise cash

Of course, you can make the finding or raising of cash a much easier process by engaging the services of a part-time FD or CFO. For example, the FD Centre (and CFO Centres) offer the services of part-time FDs or CFOs with big business experience who can use what they know to help you uncover or obtain the cash you need to help your company achieve rapid yet sustainable growth. They will help remove the fear and confusion from the entire process.

To discover how the FD Centre (or CFO Centre) will help your company to get cash and scale up, please call us on +27 861 127 280

or contact us here.

How it works

The FD Centre’s part-time FDs use a proven framework known as the ‘12 Boxes’ to identify where the problems are within any business. They use it to review every aspect of your company finance function and identify every problem area.

They will help you to understand your company’s finances and not only eliminate cash flow problems and identify cost-savings but also to improve profits.

They can also help you and your team to understand your main profit drivers; find and arrange funding; identify your Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), help you to expand nationally and internationally; and build value to make your business more attractive to investors or buyers. To discover more about the 12 Boxes, click here.

Need help?

To discover how an FD Centre part-time FD will help your business, contact us now on +27 861 127 280. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time FDs, click here.  You can see how they add rocket fuel to any business here.

Where are you going wrong?

To identify strengths and weaknesses in your business in just nine minutes with the F-Score click here now. Just answer a brief series of questions, and you’ll receive an 8-page report that will reveal potential current or future pain points for your business. It will also help you to rate the performance of your finance function and uncover untapped opportunities for growth. Click here now to take the F-Score.

Got a Big Question?

If you have a burning question for one of our team of FDs, ask it here, and you’ll get an answer within 24 hours. Please note the question must be finance-related (sadly, they can’t predict who will win the Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup or even the US Masters Golf Tournament).

[1] ‘Scale Up: How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash’, Mills, Colin. BrightFlame Books, 2016

“Working with many different businesses, allows me to keep the thrill of making a difference to business successes but also be around for the family moments that I wouldn’t want to miss.”

Amanda Brown, FD at The FD Centre in Kent (part of the CFO Centre Group)

Back in 2017, with over 25 years of FD board experience, Amanda started thinking about the benefits of a more diverse way of working. She was hoping for more flexibility – which would allow her to be around for her children. What is it they call it these days – being present?

It wasn’t that she was unhappy in her current role or that there was any big decision to be made. It was simply that she wanted to feel like she was making a difference whilst working around family life.

She noticed an online advert for the FD Centre, decided to get in touch and the rest is history, as they say.

And now, with three children ranging from 8-28, there’s never a dull moment for Amanda but there’s definitely more time to catch up as a family than there were before:

“Working with many different businesses, allows me to keep the thrill of making a difference to business successes but also be around for the family moments that I wouldn’t want to miss. When I was working as a full-time FD, making a difference was always the aim but now with the diverse portfolio of clients I can share my experience and essentially impact more companies and people’s lives positively.”

Amanda’s the first to admit that life can still be hectic – in fact, a client has recently asked her to run a key project for them for a 5-month period.  The buzz of the job and the opportunity to support a growing business makes it all worthwhile. And no-one wants too much time on their hands, right?

If, like Amanda, you’d value the opportunity to work with a diverse set of clients and the flexibility to manage your own priorities, please do get in touch – https://www.fdcentre.co.za/join-the-team/

Business Budget – A Simpler, More Effective Approach

Hearsay, you may shout! How can I possibly run my business without a budget? Can I hold managers accountable? How can I reward and incentivise my staff to perform?

And, most importantly, how do I measure my financial performance on a monthly basis? All these are very valid questions, but an annual business budget is not the best financial management tool to achieve this and can drive limiting behaviours.

What if I were to say there is a better way. A way that improves financial performance and increases employee engagement. This way is known as Beyond Budgeting.

Let’s remind ourselves of the 3 core objectives of any business budget:

  1.       It sets a target i.e. what we want to happen
  2.       It acts as a forecast i.e. what we think will happen
  3.       It’s there to allocate the company’s resources i.e. capital expenditure

A business budget is both a target and a forecast. How can one number be both things?

A budget sets a ceiling on performance, once it has been met what is the motivation to keep going? After all, you are only going to get a bigger target next year. “A new survey from Clutch just revealed close to two thirds or 61% of small businesses don’t have an official documented budget”. smallbiztrends.com

A budget sets out fixed costs with a plan of how we intend to get to our destination and it also allocates company resources accordingly. The world never ends up being how we planned it, so why do so many of us continue to follow – and stick to – the budgeted plan that is now out of date?

Many businesses witness a drop, both in employee performance and their motivation levels just because a large customer went bust during the year. This sees them losing any hope of commissions or bonuses just after the first quarter and you don’t need to be an expert to understand that this is not good for business.

These conflicts that arise due to budget conflicts need to be resolved as they can cause serious disruptions. We can resolve them by separating them and having different management processes.

Setting a small target that will take 12 months to achieve is not ambitious enough. Why not reach for the stars? If the target is met in 12 months maybe it wasn’t ambitious enough. If the target isn’t ambitious enough, you give yourself very little chance to achieve big things.

The world outside our businesses does not beat to the sound of our company’s financial year-end. Many of the important business decisions are made in the last few months of a financial year to hit a budget number, that was set 15 months earlier. This lack of strategy shows the ineffectiveness of business budgets as the only means to measure performance.

Often these decisions cost the business in the subsequent months. Time is a continual line; we should manage our businesses in the same way. The numbers that we make budgets for, get added up every 12 months (the previous year) to pay business loans, not to manage decision making.

Wondering how you can make better decisions in the light of the numbers that your business generates by not being dependent on a budgeting worksheet that you keep on following every year? You can do this using rolling 12 forecasts. Using this technique, you can forecast what you believe will happen in the next 12 months. Every month, you renew this and plan for the coming 12 months without limiting yourself to a specific period.

This helps you in understanding if you are closing the gap on your target or are you going away from it. If you’re closing the gap, keep repeating what’s working, if you’re drifting away, try something new. Measure, report, assess and repeat, never stop seeking to improve.

Allocate cash flow based on the opportunity, as it arises. Empower management to make decisions that improve customer service, delivery and seize the opportunity when it arises. Simplify decision-making for resource allocation and keep the process simple and easy. It does require rigor – just enough to make sure everything’s well thought through.

Lead your business by establishing clear values, goals, and boundaries. Delegate responsibility to those closest to the customer; give teams and management autonomy and freedom to act.  Promote transparency. Bad news is to be shared openly, so the remedial decisions can be made quickly.

Create bonus pools, not individual targets. You want everyone in the business pulling in the same direction.

The process of how small business manages its financial decisions is a culture driver. By managing your business using the above processes, it will change the culture and drive performance and increase employee engagement, improving staff retention and customer satisfaction. A happy employee is the most important step that leads to a happy customer.

So, let’s go beyond budgeting and business budget templates to break the glass ceiling that these budgets set and unlock the potential of your employees and their abilities.

Introducing Matthew Commins - FD Centre team

Introducing the FD Centre team – Matthew Comins

Introducing Matthew Comins:

 

Qualification:

CA (SA) And B.Compt (Hons).

 

Company Role: 

Regional Director, Mpumualanga

 

What did you do before joining The FD Centre?

Group CFO for the HL Hall & Sons group

 

How long have you been with The FD Centre?

2 years (October 2017)

 

Best part of being part of The FD Centre:

Flexibility of work hours and making a tangible and lasting difference in the lives of entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses in the Lowveld and surrounding districts

 

What are the values that drive you?

Integrity, relationships, trust, authenticity and vulnerability

 

What is the best part of being part of The FD Centre team?

Able to see the “big picture” and not get bogged down with the detail

 

What do you do in your free time?

Reading, and motorcycle riding and touring with my wife and like-minded friends

how to avoid stress with The FD Centre

3 Ways to Prevent Stress from Taking Over Your Life

Your best chance of succeeding in the fight against stress is to aim for prevention. Use these three methods to prevent stress on the individual and organizational level.

The following excerpt is from Dr. Nadine Greiner’s book Stress-Less LeadershipBuy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

Too many people wait until stress has progressed too far before taking action. But unlike other afflictions, like alcohol abuse or cancer, that only affect certain individuals, stress affects all of us — stress is not an “if” but a “when.” So, it makes sense to take preventive measures against stress.

Time management

As an executive, you know there are never enough hours in the day. From streams of emails to floods of meeting requests, your time is under constant attack. Time management becomes more difficult as workloads increase, but it’s crucial to effective leadership and stress prevention.

The first step toward understanding how effective you are at time management is to do a time audit assessing how much time you spend on the activities that consume your day. Then, to-do lists, calendar apps, and time-tracking software can all help you remain on task and better understand how effectively you are dividing your time.

 

Delegating

Managers frequently struggle with delegating. Do you enjoy delegating, or does it give you anxiety? Effective delegating doesn’t just prevent stress and burnout among leaders, but it also enhances team capacity. When leaders delegate work thoughtfully, they empower their team members to take on new responsibilities and expand their skill sets. Effective delegation involves five key steps:

1. Evaluate. Leaders must first determine whether a task should be delegated. If it’s critical for long-term success and mission-critical to the company, they may not want to delegate it. Leaders must also evaluate whether they have enough time to effectively delegate the job. Delegating shouldn’t be a rapid-fire handoff. They’ll need to spend time training, checking on progress, and engaging in constant communica­tion.

2. Prepare. Leaders must map out exactly what’s required. They should include clear and comprehensive information about timing, budget, milestones, communication frequency, and resources.

3. Assign. Leaders must determine which team members have the required skill set or expertise to complete the task. Ideally, it should help employees grow and expand their capabilities.

5. Avoid micromanaging. Once leaders hand off the baton, it’s critical to avoid micromanaging. If an employee hits a roadblock, leaders should treat this as a learning opportu­nity and not take the reins. Effective coaching will help employees understand where they’ve gone wrong and help empower them to succeed in the future.

If you struggle with delegation, consider blocking off time each day to create a plan of action. With careful planning, you and your team can succeed. Once you start delegating effectively, your team will dare to come forward more often and more vigorously.

 

Avoiding overcommitment

Do you find yourself biting off more than you can chew? Overcommitment is common among executives and leaders as they agree to take on tasks without considering whether they have enough bandwidth. But as requests and tasks pile up on each other and deadlines draw near, leaders can become overwhelmed and stressed.

Overcommitment can be crippling and lead to a kind of paralysis. The most effective antidote against overcommitment is to be firm and set boundaries. You must be vigilant about protecting your time and learn how to say “no.”

Article courtesy of: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/337726

9 advantages of an FD

Top 9 Advantages of a Part-Time FD/CFO

The quicker you want your company to achieve its goals, the sooner you should consider hiring a part-time FD or CFO.

That’s because a part-time FD or CFO will provide your company with the high-level financial expertise necessary to scale up (things you and your team may not even be aware you need), for a fraction of the cost of a full-time FD/CFO.

Hiring a part-time FD or CFO provides your company with many advantages that really help it to grow and stand out in any marketplace. But here are the top nine advantages you and your employees and stakeholders can expect when you hire a part-time FD/CFO.

 

1.Cost-saving

By hiring a part-time rather than full-time FD or CFO, you can avoid the often-hefty recruitment and hiring costs (and the delays they inevitably entail). What’s more, you can hire a part-time FD or CFO for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. You won’t have to offer a benefits package or bonuses to retain the appointee.

 

2. Strategic advice

Your part-time FD or CFO will provide you with strategic analysis and support on every financial aspect of your business. A report from the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) described CFOs as “critical to the success of start-up and early-stage growth companies” since they provide key insights.

It found CFOs play key roles in not only managing a young and fast-growing company’s finances but also in setting broader strategic goals and establishing and achieving financial and non-financial milestones.

What’s more, part-time CFOs or FDs can highlight potential threats or risks of which you and your team may be unaware or perhaps don’t know how to deal with.

 

3. Flexibility

You can use the services of your part-time CFO or FD for what you need when you need it. That could be for a variety of different financial functions or a specific project. This means you and your CFO or FD can tailor the role to suit your company’s needs at any time.

 

4.Multiple industry experience

Although you can choose to work with part-time CFOs or FDs who have direct experience in your given industry, you can also opt to work with those that have experience across multiple industries. The advantage will be that your CFO or FD will provide you with access to networks and multi-layered insights that you might not otherwise have

 

5. Crisis management

The loss of major contracts, customers or employees can be devastating for any business. Your part-time FD or CFO will be able to help you and your team navigate your way out of the crisis. This could include producing short-term cashflow reports, identifying costs that can be cut, producing new financial forecasts, and helping with raising vital funds.

 

6. Sounding board

Running a company can often be a lonely, stressful experience for CEOs, according to the FD Centre’s Chairman Colin Mills in his book ‘Scaling Up How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash.[1]

He’s seen first-hand what pressure does to business owners.

“I’ve sat in sales meetings with entrepreneurs who had literally been brought to tears by stress and frustration and the feeling that it’s all too much.”

That’s where a part-time FD or CFO can help. He or she can act as an independent sounding board for the over-burdened, stressed-out business owner. With their ‘big business’ experience, it’s more than likely CFOs or FDs can provide solutions to what can seem like overwhelming problems to the CEOs of growing businesses.

 

7. Mentorship for your team

Part-time CFOs help to establish sound reporting systems and tools that help improve reporting metrics and communications to investors. They can also act as mentors to members of your existing finance team, guiding them where necessary and providing the advice they need to rise to new challenges.

 

8.Access to a national and international network

If you choose a part-time CFO or FD from an organisation like the FD Centre, you’ll benefit from the expertise from all the FDs in its worldwide network. That’s hundreds of years of experience in every aspect of finance—all for a fraction of the cost of employing a single full-time FD.

 

9. You won’t get left behind

If you’re still hesitating about whether now is the right time to hire a part-time FD/CFO, consider the sorry tale of Kodak—a company that got left behind, despite once being one of the most powerful companies in the world.

Kodak was once known for innovation (being the creator of the Box Brownie camera, Kodachrome film and the Instamatic).[2] Here’s what’s remarkable—a Kodak engineer Steve Sasson developed the world’s first digital camera way back in the mists of time (actually, 1975). Okay, it was the size of a toaster, took 20 seconds to capture low-quality images which had to be viewed on a TV. But still… it had the potential to disrupt the market massively.

The company poured billions into developing the technology to take photos using mobile phones and other digital devices but delayed acting on it due to fears digital technology would destroy its film and photographic developing business. It failed to act fast enough and to identify the opportunities posed by digital technology.

On January 19, 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012, then exited its legacy businesses and sold off its patents.[3] It re-emerged in 2013, albeit in a vastly slimmed down version of its former self.

If you want to avoid becoming a post-script or salutary tale in your market, appoint a part-time FD or CFO. He or she will provide you and your team with strategic help and advice to recognise threats and to seize opportunities—thanks to vast experience and expertise.

The FD Centre (and CFO Centres) offer the services of part-time FDs or CFOs with big business experience who can use what they know to help your company achieve rapid yet sustainable growth. What’s more, they’ll help remove fear, confusion, and stress from the entire process.

To discover how the FD Centre (or CFO Centre) will help your company to scale up, please call us on +27 861 127 280 or contact us here.

How it works

The FD Centre’s part-time FDs use a proven framework known as the ‘12 Boxes’ to identify where the problems are within any business. They use it to review every aspect of your company finance function and identify every problem area.

They will help you to understand your company’s finances and not only eliminate cash flow problems and identify cost-savings but also to improve profits.

They can also help you and your team to understand your main profit drivers; find and arrange funding; identify your Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), help you to expand nationally and internationally; and build value to make your business more attractive to investors or buyers. To discover more about the 12 Boxes, click here.

Need help?

To find out how an FD Centre part-time FD or CFO will help your business, contact us now on +27 861 127 280 or contact us here.

What people are saying

People are talking about what they really think of the FD Centre’s part-time FDs. Find out what they’re saying on these short videos here.

Where are you going wrong?

You can identify strengths and weaknesses in your business in just nine minutes with the F-Score click here now. Just answer a brief series of questions, and you’ll receive an 8-page report that will reveal potential current or future pain points for your business. It will also help you to rate the performance of your finance function and uncover untapped opportunities for growth. Click here now to take the F-Score.

Got a Big Question?

Have a burning question for one of our team of FDs? Just ask it here, and you’ll get an answer within 24 hours. The question must be finance-related (sadly, they can’t predict who will win the World Cup).

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