Episode #064 How To Make Your Clients Think (And Care) About Their Numbers with Mick Devine CEO of Calxa

How to make numbers and cash flow forecasting actually meaningful

Have you ever been knocked back trying to get your clients to care about their financial reports? Many business owners rely on the bank balance to tell them how the business is going. And others desperately want help but don't know who to ask.

As bookkeepers, we're perfectly positioned to assist our clients have breakthrough with their business finances. In an information packed episode, Amy Hooke chats to Mick Devine, CEO and founder of Calxa.

Mick's a CPA turned software developer after becoming frustrated with spreadsheets. And over the years he's been able to help bookkeepers help their clients to think (and care) about their financials.

Key Takeaway: “You don't have to be an expert, or to even give advice. But if you can ask insightful questions you'll make yourself invaluable to your clients.” 

Podcast Info

Episode: #064

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: Mick Devine

Topic: Grow Your Tech Savvy

Useful links

Start 30-day Calxa Trial
https://www.calxa.com/freetrial/

Navigating Coronavirus
https://thesavvybookkeeper.com.au/coronavirus

Subscribe for Podcast and other notifications
https://thesavvybookkeeper.com.au/podcast

Mick Devine's LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/mickdevine/

Calxa's FaceBook Group
https://www.facebook.com/calxa

Calxa website
https://www.calxa.com

Read transcript

 

Episode #064 How To Make Your Clients Think (And Care) About Their Numbers with Calxa CEO Mick Devine on Cash Flow Forecasting and Advisory

 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

bookkeepers, business owner, business, client, ato, reports, accountant, questions, thinking, people, month, cash flow forecast, bank balance, money, bit, bookkeeping, conversation, happening, budgets, sales

 

00:00

Hello, good morning, everybody. Thank you for joining me today. Um, today as promised, I have Mick Devine from Calxa who will introduce himself in a second. Thanks for joining me Mick.

 

00:13

Hi, Amy. Good morning. Yeah.

 

00:16

Good to have you. Good to have you back. You've given us a bit of a hand on the navigating Coronavirus session and we got to have a coffee a little while ago, which is nice. Yep. Let me I'll get you to introduce yourself a bit but your CPA. So you're a bit of a background in accounting. And

 

00:39

how I guess I just want to start with a question How on earth did you go from being a CPA to being a software developer probably, good intro…

 

00:48

Well, I

 

00:51

I guess,

 

00:52

I guess it was an accident being being a CPA in the first place. So I took up accounting when I was 30. Because I want to get out of hospitality and hotels.

 

01:03

And

 

01:05

and that was the easiest thing to get into and it and it worked. got me out of hotels. Yes. But I didn't want to be an accountant. So then I did a Graduate Diploma in computer science.

 

01:17

Gotcha. And now I combine the two.

 

01:21

Yeah, right. And so what like what, what happened for you in that transition then? So you're a CPA. Yep. And then what was like, What made you go, I'm a CPA. Now I want to get into

 

01:35

in the late 90s, I was doing consulting work and doing a lot of MYOB installations and set up and training in those days and dabbling in a bit of software stuff on the side.

 

01:49

Yeah. And

 

01:52

working, working with lots of businesses, lots of not for profit organisations doing budgets and cash flow forecasts, and

 

01:58

how are you doing? budgets and cash flows at the time. Was there a wonderful software out there that kind of pulled it all? No.

 

02:07

It was export stuff from the accounting software and play around with it in the spreadsheet and and then try and export it again the next month and hope it matched up and

 

02:17

yeah, it was frustrating.

 

02:20

I'm sure many of our listeners can relate to that frustration. I can myself and so is your frustration with spreadsheets that? Yes,

 

02:30

I've got you on that path towards

 

02:32

Yep. Well, yes. Exactly. Yep.

 

02:36

Okay, great. So, I mean, so today, you know, we're obviously today's topic, because I forgot to tell everybody is making your clients think, and Mick's one of Mick's favourite topics is able to help and equip you to be able to have the right questions to start these conversations with your client. Yeah, so just thinking where we going to start in this topic. I think, yeah, I think I'll just hand ball it to you. And you can just start and we'll go from there.

 

03:07

Well, I guess there's, there's lots of people who talk about advisory these days as though it's a good advisory as as though it's something that, you know, every every bookkeeper and every accountant should be doing and I've, I've never been comfortable with the concept of advisory because I think to call yourself an advisor, it implies that you're an expert. And, and, and you're telling somebody what to do and how to do it.

 

03:42

Yes. And I think

 

03:45

I think most most of our clients most people in business they're smart people, but the problem is that they don't have easy access to all the numbers they need. They don't have someone to analyse those numbers for them look at them.

 

04:04

So

 

04:06

I think that's where

 

04:10

what you can do is provide them with numbers, but I think it's more than just providing people with a set of reports. Because, you know, you can do that and they'll say “Oh, yeah, that's nice” but they won't actually read them. I think you have to actually, you have

 

04:30

thought of what we should have caught what we should actually call the episode how to make your clients care

 

04:37

about financial reports.

 

04:41

Yeah, you know, I, I've seen people, you know,

 

04:44

recommend that you,

 

04:46

you know, just give your clients a set of reports every month and, and and think they're being advisors and, but I think what you need to do is, as I think you need to give them some reports, because you need Give them some information. But, but but those reports are just a catalyst for discussion. And I think it's, it's the discussion, that's the important part and, and it's about looking at those reports and, and picking out the key bits of information, the, the what's different, the, the what's changing, and because someone who's enmeshed deep in the business obviously doesn't, you know, often they don't see the big picture stuff, they don't notice things. And there I think is the great opportunity for a bookkeeper to highlight those that stuff to the to the business owner. You know, you know, did you know your wages, you know, 20% up on last year or they're above budget for the third month in a row and that sort of stuff and and I don't think you need to have answers to everything. But if you present the information to the business owner and

 

06:12

engage in a discussion

 

06:13

with them and say, you know, what, why did why do you think your wages are up? You know, and and they may know, it's, you know, I've just hired a new salesperson and, and, you know, it's gonna take two months before they're actually productive and getting new sales in. Okay, well, then we should actually measure that and, you know, compare wages to turn over for the next few months. And while it's high this month, and next month, and it should return to normal at some point, and, and that salesperson should be generating revenue. But if you're not measuring it, you don't know that it's actually happening. Yes. Yeah. So, so I think it's about asking those questions. And, and as you know, as we said,

 

07:04

make the business owner think about what's happening in the business.

 

07:07

Yeah. Right. So what you're saying is to be an advisor, you don't have to be an expert. And you don't have to provide advice even. But what you're doing is you're using reports to start a thinking process.

 

07:25

Yes, yeah. Yeah. And just

 

07:28

alerting them to what's going on in the business. And,

 

07:32

and and asking the right questions, you know, yes,

 

07:35

yeah, that's right. And so because I know bookkeepers, you know, they get nervous. So I think this will be giving some bookkeepers, peace of mind because bookkeepers get nervous about the term advisor anyway. And Firstly, because there's a lot of pressure Yeah. Oh, no, not Yeah. the advisor thing again, like this big push on bookkeepers to get into that. And a lot of bookkeepers will say, Well, I'm not allowed to provide financial advice to my clients. So what what's the deal with that, so I Firstly what you've said would have been peace of mind like you don't have to be an advisor as such to do this type of work like valuable work for the clients with their numbers.

 

08:15

go yeah

 

08:17

i think i think you're right you don't don't need to be an expert. I mean bookkeepers have expertise in bookkeeping and and understanding the numbers around a business and and that's something I think you can have confidence in. And and looking at those numbers and because you look at them month after month, you notice patterns things stick out. And you you know, you can look at ratios and and understand when something's a problem when something's not a problem. And, and and then I think it is just a matter of asking the questions. And, you know, if if sales are down. I mean, we're in slightly unusual times.

 

09:11

You know,

 

09:12

but but but generally, if sales are down, for example, as a bookkeeper, you don't need to know all the answers to how to go and get more sales. Yeah. But, but by alerting the business owner to the fact that sales are down, you can ask relevant questions like what do you think you can do about it? What have you thought about and, and just be a sounding board for them. And, you know, we're all just normal people. And, you know, the the problems of being a plumber, a

 

09:52

hairdresser,

 

09:54

candlestick maker, whatever, you know, they're all the same. Yeah. Exactly, in different ways, but the principles are the same.

 

10:05

Yeah, that's right.

 

10:06

Yeah, you can you can least answer whether something sounds reasonable or not, or, you know, ask follow up questions. And then when they come up with a plan, you can say, Okay, let's set in some process some ways that we can measure whether that's actually working or not.

 

10:24

Yeah, that's right. And I was just thinking, like, I mean, a really simple way that a bookkeeper could approach a business owner without having to sound like an expert at all, is to say, look, you know what, there's a lot of stuff going on at the moment. Would it be helpful for you, if I put together a list of when all your direct debits come out and what the amounts are, that'd be helpful for you? And they'll either say yes or no. And then if they say yes, then you can put that together and then you can go through it with them. You know, you can say to them, Look, you know, if we put that together, then we can actually look if there's some areas where you might be able to cut down some expenditure, but also plan the timing of when those funds are coming out of the bank account. Yep. And then if that's an interest to them, they'll say yes. If it's not, they might go, Ah, no, but could you actually do this? Or they might say, no, not at the moment, or we've already got one. And, you know, if they say they've already got one, you could say, Oh, that's great. Well, you know, like, would you be happy to give me a copy of that I can incorporate in your bookkeeping manual for you like, yeah, you sort of, you know, even though you didn't get some, like amazing advice, you're still getting to add value in small ways and start a conversation that shows them that you do have expertise outside of just crunching the numbers. Yeah,

 

11:36

yeah. And I think the other you know, key area right now. Is, is that cash flow forecasting

 

11:49

scenario planning stuff and,

 

11:51

and, and looking at different possible futures.

 

11:55

You know, what, I've been

 

11:57

doing quite a few of those at the moment, comparing What's it gonna look like if business opens in three months time versus six months time – Yes,

 

12:06

exactly. Yes. You know, if we have to go and get some funding, you know, how much do we need for three months Shut down? How much do we need for six months shut down? And, you know, can we get this and where do we get it? And what information do we need to provide to the bank or the government or whoever's

 

12:27

whoever's

 

12:28

easiest place to get money from these days? Yeah,

 

12:31

exactly. Yeah.

 

12:33

And so yeah, I mean, I guess because there's this advisory discussion going on at the moment. Do you think I mean, I this is my personal opinion, but I think what's happened is that advisory is marketed towards accountants. And people who do marketing don't realise that bookkeepers and accountants are quite different in what they do and their relationship to the business owner. So like, I personally think that the advisory marketing which is meant for accountants, right, you know, the marketers can easily say, well, let's just add plus bookkeepers. Yeah, open up our market but they don't fully understand the market. So you want to say a little bit about accounting versus bookkeeping Yeah,

 

13:13

I think I think it is that different relationship and and I think the bookkeeper generally, you know, not always but but generally has a much closer relationship with the business owner. And because you're dealing with those day to day week to week transactions and, and reports, you have much more contact with the business owner. Yeah. Whereas, I mean, I can't remember when I last saw my accountant, it was probably two two years ago. Yeah, yeah. You know, and many people don't see their accountants from one year to the next.

 

13:54

You know, I mean,

 

13:57

accountants are changing too and there are different Yeah, different different breeds of accountants out there now than, you know, that's for my, my, at my at my accountants, you know, just does things the way he does and

 

14:13

and and you know,

 

14:16

I know I know accounting so I don't have huge amount need for him but

 

14:21

so but

 

14:22

you know that's different for other businesses and business owners who don't have the same accounting

 

14:27

to have that yet because well a lot of business owners don't even know the difference between a bookkeeper and accountant. Yeah, often a client will say to me, so what do you actually do versus what the accountant does and you know, even explaining where there's potentially overlap and where the differences are, give them some clarity but I guess like the other reality is, you know, especially when you've got accountants billing, you know, in six minute blocks and that kind of thing, a lot of people they're not going to ring their accountant every you know, every time they have a question because you know that they don't want to get charged those fees whereas you having that regular engagement with the bookkeeper. They're always emailing saying, Where are these missing invoices? And here's my query lose. Yeah. You know, it's that constant back and forth.

 

15:08

Yeah. So I think, you know, this this conversation with the with the business owner about

 

15:17

about the bigger

 

15:18

picture of what's happening in the business. Yeah. is a natural extension of what the bookkeepers already doing. Hundred percent. Yeah. You know, whereas for the accountant who's just doing tax stuff, yeah. It's, and this is why my, my own accountant doesn't do advisory stuff. He says, I do tax I do compliance. That's what I've done for the last 30 years. That's all I want to do.

 

15:46

Yeah. Um, and, and it would require a total,

 

15:51

totally different mindset for

 

15:53

him. Sure. Yeah. To to provide some sort of reporting. advisory, I think it would feel odd if he called me up for a conversation every month. I don't think he'd know what to talk about.

 

16:08

Yeah, that's right. And also, if you say to your accountant that you want, I could, you know, could you give me a hand with the business? They're thinking from a tax very much tax minded. Yeah. So they're going to go, if you say that you want help with cash flow, they're going to go Okay, well, how can I? How can I help minimise your tax? That kind of thing. So they'll look at like tax structuring and things like that. And I've found a number of times going to speak to an accountant about wanting assistance more with a bigger picture financial direction of the business. Yeah. And straightaway, they go into tax advice. That's the that's the way that they're, you know, that's how they think about the business. Whereas the bookkeeper is thinking, all sorts of things, especially when you're, you know, when you've got a business owner on the phone to you, they're telling you often very personal things about what's kind of going on in the business. Yes, we were very much looking more Even though we're looking at bookkeeping, and that kind of compliance, we still got a bit of a, we're focusing on like, Oh, I like how can I help this business to improve the way things are currently operating?

 

17:10

Yes. And, you know, do they have a debtor problem? Okay, what do we do about their collection process? Exactly, you know, how do we help them with better systems for that sort of thing? And I think these are the things that bookkeepers do and, and that

 

17:24

they constructively help, they don't actually realise that yes, it's a skill, a valuable skill that they have.

 

17:31

Yes, sir.

 

17:32

Yeah, okay. That's Yeah, it's really good to get that insight and, you know, get that feedback from you as well. So, like, what kind of information then, like, what's the starting point? In terms of, you know, obviously, we're thinking of using reports to start the conversations, but what kind of information do you actually need to make a start on something like that?

 

17:55

I think

 

17:57

I think you can start with really simple stuff. And

 

18:01

yeah, you know, and, and

 

18:06

one I'd like to sell everybody some really great reporting software,

 

18:10

you can you can

 

18:12

you can, you can do quite a lot with just just the reports you get out of the accounting system. Yeah. You know, and it's, you know, you can look at the, you know, just the debtor balance month by month for the last six months and, you know, has it been increasing?

 

18:31

You know, has it

 

18:33

been staying the same? How's it varying compared to the income you know?

 

18:39

You know, there's there's some simple stuff. Yes, it might require a quick calculator. But you know, it's it's not

 

18:49

it's not rocket science. So, I think you know, you know, you can look at the gross profit and the net profit on a, on a p&l report. You pull out of the accounting system. So I think there's some really simple stuff you can start with there that the business owner may or may not be aware of. And, and, you know, as the bookkeeper, you'll you'll, you'll have a good idea of what they've already looked at and what they haven't looked at and what they take notice of and what they don't. But, you know, I, you know, while they may look at this stuff, sometimes month by month, are they looking at the trends, you know, are they looking at how their gross profit is changing from one month to the next. And, and so I think there's this really simple stuff that a lot of business owners aren't taking notice of that. Yeah,

 

19:45

that you know, could make a difference to their business, you

 

19:48

know, exactly, exactly. I have a burning question now that I just have to ask you, which is, you know, you'll hear this so many times that it's so business owners will say they Don't need a p&l. I don't need financial reports. You just need to look at the bank balance. And that would be like, probably a pet frustration for bookkeepers who are trying to move in this direction and feeling blocked by that, you know, very, like, it's like, what do you say to that? Like, what is the response? Like what what would you say?

 

20:21

I think I'd showed them a cash flow forecast. Yeah. That tells them what their bank balance is going to be like next month and the month after and the month after that. Yeah. And I mean, I many years we'll get to

 

20:38

the bit where you get to show them the cash flow forecast. So So let's say they've literally just said to you, I just go off what money's in the bank, like what how would you even respond to them to get to the point where they would let you show them the cash flow forecast?

 

20:52

Okay, well, well, I guess. I guess you you

 

20:58

you know how

 

20:59

much there is The next GST and PAYG payments are going to be

 

21:03

Yeah, yep. And so,

 

21:06

so is there enough money in the bank now to pay those? Yes? and there may or may not be. But what else has got to be paid between now and mean? Yeah, what else is coming in between now? And then? Have they thought about that? And if they're just looking at the bank balance, then presumably they haven't thought about what their needs are next week, next month? Yes, the following month, etc.

 

21:32

That's right. It's sort of like they're checking. They're looking at the bank balance wonder, be interesting to actually say like, I mean, you could say something just to kind of shock them and snap them out of it. I'm thinking something like, oh, did you know that that money is not yours? Yes, you could. necessarily. And you could say something like that, but what about you could say, Okay, so what if things change?

 

22:01

Yeah, what if things changed? What if? What if you had to close your business and only do takeaways for the next three months? No one could have imagined that!

 

22:14

No, all those people, though, all the ones that have just relied on looking at that bank balance, they're the ones that are like having heart attacks at the moment. Like they're the ones that are going Oh, like that bank balance, because I think if they're just looking at the bank balance, they're obviously looking to see

 

22:29

is it going up? Yes, staying the same, or is it going down?

 

22:34

And that's how they measure how the business is going.

 

22:37

Yeah, I, I did a I did a webinar a couple of months ago, before all this started on on cash management KPIs. And one of the key ones there is the number of days cash you have in reserve. So So if your income stopped all of a sudden, how long would your cash Last,

 

23:01

that's a good question to ask! Yes. And, you know,

 

23:06

it was,

 

23:08

you know, everybody always thought it was a fairly

 

23:12

hypothetical question. You know,

 

23:15

in the, you know, if you've got 30 days or 90 days in reserve,

 

23:20

then

 

23:22

if if for some reason you do lose a big customer and you your income drops by 10% or something, then you know, you're fairly comfortable.

 

23:31

But I don't think anybody

 

23:33

thought we'd be in the situation like not gym owners, for example, where you're closed and closed, and you you can't even do a takeaway as a gym owner. Yes, you know, so, so they are very much in the in the position of, you know, absolutely no income and still a whole bunch of fixed expenses that have to be Covered somehow. Yeah. So yeah, I think I think it is, you know, yes, you've got this money in the bank, but how long is it going to last?

 

24:11

And let's see. And and I think

 

24:15

the,

 

24:17

you know, not none of us. I don't think after, after the recent events, I don't think any of us could be hundred percent confident that in the in the next crisis, it won't be our business that is the one that

 

24:31

has

 

24:32

zero income for two months, three months. Yeah. You know, I mean, I mean, it could be and I'm not sure what sort of crisis would prompt this but you know, maybe next time around is bookkeepers. Maybe next time around is software providers. Maybe, you know, the the internet might go down and then I'll be out of business.

 

24:56

Hmm Yeah. I hadn't thought about that!

 

25:00

Exactly what if, what if it

 

25:02

didn't work? Yeah,

 

25:04

if the internet didn't work anymore, my reporting software wouldn't work anymore.

 

25:10

And then I'd have that didn't work

 

25:12

anymore. I don't want to think about it anymore. It's like, that's Armageddon, like, that's Yes.

 

25:18

Yes, your accounting software doesn't work anymore. But you know, there are different scenarios that, you know. And we think of these as extreme but,

 

25:34

you know, now people

 

25:35

are going to be a bit more, more extreme ideas. It's good. I had a conversation. I've been doing a little cash flow forecast for a business owner who just, you know, purchased the business late last year, and in an industry that's had a complete shut down. And just like, oh my god, like can't trade at all and all these costs going through, and I had such a good conversation with the client In the in, like along the lines of, you know, I think I actually said I think this is going to be a blessing in disguise because I could see the direction your business was headed and what happens is when you're flush with sales you go we like we've got all this money yeah you splashing it around everywhere, and it was actually getting out of control. And so now what yep is the opportunity to do now is lay this like really good foundation and get really smart about money. Where are you spending it and you know, making sure that you're investing the money in the right places in the business. And yeah, she was like, Yeah, absolutely. And I just said, I think this is the season that's gonna have business owners start to care about this kind of stuff. So it's a huge opportunity for bookkeepers to get into that space if they want to. It is

 

26:48

yes. Yeah. And and I think

 

26:52

it will be about measuring the value of that

 

26:55

stuff. You know, it's like

 

26:56

I was talking earlier about you know, you hire a salesperson Some, yeah, at some point they need to bring in sales. Yeah.

 

27:05

And you need to measure that. Yeah.

 

27:07

Yeah, exactly. And so, um, yeah, so one of the questions I want to ask you, as well as so hit like how given all of this, like, how does a bookkeeper make themselves invaluable to the client?

 

27:20

I think it's a it's about

 

27:22

at the end of the day, I think it's about having those conversations with with the client. And, you know, because the, the backyard operator operator can, you know, fill in some numbers in the accounting software and, you know, fill out a BAS form and get the get the business owner to lodge it, you know, and they may not do it very well. They may not be as knowledgeable but but, you know, theoretically they can do that. I mean, not legally but you know, but But, but but the business owner doesn't always understand what they can legally do and what they can't legally do.

 

28:06

And they don't know what to look for. They would never know by looking at a file if there's even mistakes in it. Yeah, until something starts to really look a bit weird. Yeah. Oh, how come this like a couple hundred thousand dollars of money to owe me when I'm sure that's all being paid? Like, yeah.

 

28:20

So I think I think not every business owner

 

28:23

appreciates the

 

28:25

professionalism of bookkeepers. I mean, it'd be nice if the world changed, and they did. But, you know, and and i think it, you know, the message slowly gets through. But I think by doing more than that,

 

28:42

that minimum, you know,

 

28:46

get the data into the accounting system, get the reports out and do the BAS

 

28:51

but by

 

28:52

providing them with that additional information that helps them run the business better. Yeah, that's what's gonna make you special. And and that's, that's gonna make you hard to replace. You know? Yeah, if you're having these conversations with me every month about what's happening in my business and, you know, pointing out what's working, what's not working,

 

29:15

yeah.

 

29:17

If I'm thinking

 

29:20

I want a different bookkeeper, and I, if that's happening, I'm not sure why I'd be thinking I want a different bookkeeper. But I'm gonna find it hard to find another bookkeeper. and be confident they'll provide that same service to me.

 

29:33

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

 

29:37

Yeah, I agree. And I had something right on my mind, and then it just dropped out.

 

29:43

Yeah, I was thinking as well. Yeah, just about the idea of because it can be a bit scary to think of approaching a client to talk to them about this sort of stuff, especially if they've rejected it in the first time You can talk about it. And so what I was thinking is that, you know, you could just put aside half an hour Just to do a little bit of homework, I'm not suggesting the whole the whole forecast first, because they might have no interest in, you've just wasted your time. Yeah. And then they won't want to pay for it. But what you can do is you can go into their file and just look for some clues of different talking points that you could bring with them. And, you know, once you've got that down, you don't have to talk about it all in one go. But you could just say, you know, I've noticed a couple of things in the file that you might be interested to know about, you know, do 30 minutes to have a chat. So the official time rather than just calling them on the fly and saying, Hey, I'm just, I've decided to start offering this service, you know, I guess it might be like, oh, not fine, like, yeah,

 

30:38

I've managed without it. Yeah. Yeah. But But I think yeah, I think it is about picking out two or three things every month to talk to them about

 

30:48

that, that they need to know. Yes.

 

30:52

Yep. Things that are potentially problematic with their business,

 

30:56

and also things that they've “A” never thought about before and “B” no One has ever or maybe will ever ask them about, you know, bowl along in their business doing things as I've always done. And until someone comes along and goes, Hey, did you know about this? No. Oh, no.

 

31:13

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and, and it might be about, you know, yes, you've got problems with your, you know, your customers aren't paying on time. And yes, we send them reminder letters, but do we need a better system for doing this? And, you know, and here's a couple that I've done a quick bit of research on, you know, should we look at this closer and automate some processes? Yeah, you know, you know, and is that going to get your get the money in quicker and then ease your cash flow worries?

 

31:45

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. Tie it back into that benefit that they get out of it all. Exactly. Yes. All

 

31:52

comes through understanding the client like you never going to be able to fully just guess all of this. It starts with opening the conversation with something and then as you get to To know them. Yeah. Or through those conversations, you can then present more information. Or once the conversation happens, you can say, Okay, well, you know, I've shown them. I've shown them. I've shown them these figures, let's say you've come to them and you said, Did you know that you've been paying for this; Like, extra subscription that they thought they cancelled? Yeah. So, yeah, so you're about to stop that and you're going to save them, you know, a couple of thousand dollars a year. And then you come along and that so once you show them something like that, or did you know this is still being debited, you'd better give them a call cancel it, then they then from there, they might say, Can you check and just make sure that there's nothing else when that's happening? So you so from there from that first thing, you've got sort of like, comes out of it? And then from there, you know, then you've got that ability to say, hey, would it be helpful if I summarised like all of the debits and you know, so you can quickly glance over it and pick out the ones you don't need anymore?

 

32:54

Yeah, and I think another another useful tool is some of the ATO bench Marking ratios? Definitely, you know, so, you know, if it's a cafe and, you know, you're looking at their food cost percentage, and is it is it within the ATO's accepted range or not?

 

33:14

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. You know,

 

33:17

if it's not, that's something that the, you know, the cafe owner wants to address, either because something's going going astray with their, their food, you know, is somebody is somebody pilfering stuff or not taking money out of the till taking? Yes,

 

33:35

yeah, exactly.

 

33:36

Yeah. So,

 

33:39

I mean, it could be the business owner doing that as well.

 

33:43

But what,

 

33:44

what I have to declare all of the cash? I didn't know that.

 

33:48

But, but again, you know, alerting them to the fact that you know, they, they either, you know, they either need to change what they're doing, so they're within the ATO boundaries, or expect an audit at some point, or at least some questions

 

34:08

that is a value ad, I can tell you now, a lot of people don't believe that they'll ever get audited. But by doing something like that, it's less confronting. Yeah, you're showing them hey, this is what the ATO actually look at.

 

34:20

Yes. And, and yes, there might be a valid reason why you're out of

 

34:24

out of the the normal range. Yeah.

 

34:27

But but at least now, you know, that you might get the question. And when you do get the question, you've got the answer to give to them. And, you know, yeah, ATO auditors, then they're normal people most of the time and if you've got reasonable logical answers, they're generally happy with reasonable logical answers. But, you know, you need to be you need to be prepared for, for their visits for their questions. So again, I think that's, that's something that's quite easy for bookkeeper to just look at those numbers, compare it to the business. And I think as you get more and more clients in a particular type of business,

 

35:12

Yes, exactly. You know,

 

35:14

if you're, you know, dealing with lots of electricians, for example, then, you know, what the, the ratios are that relate to electricians, and, you know, you've done one, and you do the next one, and it's repeat the same process and, and it becomes a bit easier. Boy, exactly. It's just gonna take

 

35:33

a bit of practice. But once you've done it with a couple of clients in one industry, you're going to be so confident once somebody gets you on the, you know, even with a sales call a potential new client, you know, you can drop a few little clues that you know, will help you to actually win more of those clients over as well. So, yeah,

 

35:49

and and I think the the other side effect of this whole process, is that the conversation with the with the client, it's a two way learning process you're you're making the client think about the business, but you're also learning about their business. So when you do get your next client inquiry from somebody else's in that same industry, you can talk with a lot more knowledge about the sort of problems that happened in that industry. And, and, and you know what to look out for when you when you look at their business and what's happening there. Hmm,

 

36:26

yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Very good. So helpful. And so I guess we could spend the last little bit of time just talking specifically about how Calxa does some of these things because I'm sure people probably wondering those questions because I know that Calxa  has, you've got the ATO cash flow kit. Yep. Set up in, in Calxa . So you've got some Calxa  as a platform where you can not only build these things, but there's also some pre built as you call them bundles. Yep. And different types of ways that you can set up types of report and, you know, creating KPIs for the client and things like that, just talk a little bit through the sort of software side.

 

37:06

Yeah. Okay. The, the quick version of it.

 

37:10

Yeah, I was about to say,

 

37:13

Oh, yes. I love talking about this software I created

 

37:16

I could I could give you the four hour explanation.

 

37:20

Let's go for me.

 

37:22

Yeah. So, so we, I mean, what what we try and do is try and make the reporting process

 

37:29

as easy as we can.

 

37:30

Yeah. So we connect to the accounting system, which is currently Xero, QuickBooks Online, MYOB AccountRight and MYOB essentials, pull data out of there, do budgets in Calxa and we've got some different tools to make the process of creating the budget easier. And then there's a whole set of reports and you can produce cash flow forecasts, you can do a full 3-way forecast with cash flow balance sheet profit and loss. Lots of reports to compare actuals against budgets, KPI reports,

 

38:07

and you can set some of them to go out automatically or sent to you automatically and all sorts. Yeah. So there's ways of doing it.

 

38:15

You know, there's a little bit of thinking sometimes about, you know, what's the right reports for each client? Definitely. But But once you've done that, and set it up, then each month, the process is simple to just, yeah, as Amy said, you can just schedule the delivery of those reports to yourself and to the client. And you know, you might send them to yourself two days before you send them to the client. So yeah, you have the time, you know, chance to check things over and make sure they look sensible. Yeah, exactly. before they go out. And, and so that, and but but, but I do think, as I said earlier, I think it's, it's,

 

38:56

I don't I don't think you should be content with just sending reports. So client, the reports aren't the end result. The end result is, is your conversation. The reports are just a catalyst for that conversation to give you something to talk about. So I would probably schedule a phone call. I definitely don't do visits at the moment.

 

39:22

That's right. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's great. And I know, I mean, I know that obviously, you're busy seeing CEO'ing at Calxa and that kind of thing. But I know that you have a couple of there's a couple of Calxa pros who do work with bookkeepers and that kind of thing. So I guess at some point, I mean, I'm really interested in doing some Calxa workshops, so maybe we can run something specialised like that in the future; for the Savvy people, and yeah, I mean, we'll include Yeah, we can include the links to obviously to the free trial, they can get a free 30 day trial and all that kind of thing; have a bit of a play around. Yep. With the, you know, go in there and you know, have a little bit of a trial set up and that kind

 

40:09

of Yep. Have a look.

 

40:12

Beautiful. Yeah. sounds really good. So, yeah, well, I mean, thank you for your time today. It's some Yeah, it's really good to get those ideas of conversation starters. Because sometimes it's just literally a case of, I want to do this, but how do I actually, what's that very first starting point, and then once you start it kind of, you know, kind of opens up from there.

 

40:34

Yeah. You mentioned the ATO cash flow, call it the cash flow coaching kit, and we've done an electronic version of that Calxa. But I think one of the best parts of that is the change lever cards are in there. Yeah. And, and they're actually a page of questions about different topics. And again, I think great conversation starters for your clients. So yeah, so have a look at those. And you know, because they they give you suggested questions for if they've got, you know, a cost problem or if they've got a revenue problem or, you know, different ideas to think about and the client doesn't need to know where you got the questions from.

 

41:21

Yeah, well, that's true. So,

 

41:23

so, so cheat. Yeah. Yeah.

 

41:25

Yeah. If you can't think of anything cheat, I think.

 

41:29

Yeah, that's right. There's Yeah, there's a few different ways that you can kind of get that info and everything. So well, that's great. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time today. And you know, like you've been very generous sharing your knowledge to our community on the podcast, but also in the navigating Coronavirus workshops. So, thank you for your time on that. Yeah. happy to help. Yeah, no worries. And yeah, hopefully we'll be seeing you around again soon. And yeah, just everybody else. Thank you for listening today. I will post some useful links for you. So we'll have a link in there to start a free trial of Calxa. So if you want to check that out, if you're interested in joining any event navigating Coronavirus, co working groups, you'll be able to get the replay where you can listen to Mick and you know the whole group have a discussion about cash flow forecasting. And also we'll keep you posted in the future. If we do any kind of collaboration with Calxa, anything like that, we will certainly let you know. So you can jump on to the savvy bookkeeper.com.au I use subscribe to the podcast and you'll be on our mailing list to find out about anything like that. So thank you for that and have a good weekend and I'll see you next week. I always say I'll see you next week. But what I mean to say is I won't see you but you'll hear me so until then stay savvy

 

We hope you enjoyed this podcast about Cash Flow Forecasting and how to get clients on board with it!

 

Looking to connect?

If you are a Bookkeeper who otherwise needs help with Savvy's other services, such as; Sales, Marketing, Website, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Business Logo and more, please get in contact.