How can compliance be made easier?

How can compliance be made easier?

In a recent blog, whilst complimenting the financial conduct authority (FCA) on a quality publication, the CEO of the ICM said how two recently issued compliance documents were 40 pages and 646 pages respectively. Philip King went on to add that he did not envy the job of a compliance manager on that basis.

So what about the companies that do not have a compliance manager? Where the financial controller or credit controller has to try and divulge this information whenever it should be drafted or arrive on email from the FCA? Philip’s blog, which can be read in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/rule-thumb-blog-philip-king/ points out and pokes fun at the fact that one of these FCA documents has four pages set aside for abbreviations alone. Whilst the CEO of the ICM says how the writing style is good, plain English, easy to follow to read, the blog highlights that this was issued at the very end of February by the FCA. Guidelines within effective from the 1 April in the same year. Nearly 700 pages of information for a company to read, digest, implement strategies around to change policy and procedure to ensure compliance, in just one short month. No wonder Philipp says he doesn’t envy a compliance manager!

Using the right software can help. Safe Financials and Safe Credit Control software for instance is powered by Safe, kept abreast with the latest regulatory and best practice changes. Those using Safe software are updated with software updates, user manuals, and offered training courses. Having Safe software in your business could really help take the pressure out of financial regulatory compliance. To find out more visit www.safe-financials.co.uk or www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk. You can also call 0844 583 2134 or email info@safecomputing.co.uk.

Green shoots of recovery for UK businesses and the economy

 

Green shoots of recovery for UK businesses and the economy

In a blog response to budget announcements, ICM CEO Philip King talks of the good news coming out of the UK government for business, and the green shoots of recovery for the UK economy. Philip states how he sees the controversial pension reforms as a positive change, and predicted statistics for the 2014 UK economy as very encouraging.

Quoting the creation of 1.5 million jobs in the next five years and grants for 100,000 more apprenticeships, Philip sounds quite positive about the direction of the economy. You can read his blog in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/calm-seas-fair-wind-blog-philip-king/. It certainly seems to echo the thoughts of many that the UK economy is certainly recovering after a tricky few years. News reports such as this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27047966 only the other day talked of the first signs that wages might finally be increasing disproportionally better than the costs of goods and services for the first time in many years. There seems, however, to be a difference of opinion over whether this is four or six years of history. Either way, essentially, soon the working man or woman, should start to find that impact of the positive echoes of the economy in how far their day to day pay packet stretches. A pay packet that the office of national statistics believes is currently increasing annually by two percent in the private sector. In the same report, the office  states how the figures for unemployment have fallen by 77,000 in the last three months. It certainly would seem to be the beginnings of a much needed boom period for UK businesses.

While growth is key, so is keeping on top of your finances while growing, especially if you’re nurturing the cash flow of an SME. Cash flow can be king, and over stretching funds outwards whilst not getting enough back in, can quickly see a business fall below the agreed overdraft line and into closure. Software tools such as Safe Financials and Safe Credit Control can help business keep the books in order, reduce debtor days, and keep payments processing through the business. To find out more about these products, visit www.safe-financials.co.uk and www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134. 

 

 

 

Credit history, a help or hindrance to budding entrepreneurs?

Credit history, a help or hindrance to budding entrepreneurs?

In his most recent blog, ICM CEO Philip King pulls into question some of the government MP statements on credit history and entrepreneurship in the SME sector, making some valid points.

Philip’s blog can be read in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/confused-thinking-blog-philip-king-2/. Crux of his argument seems to pull into question seemingly conflicting views voiced by George Osbourne and other MPs at a recent conference in Manchester. On one hand, a proven history of trying and failing in business, could indicate lessons learned and a safer bet for any funding for the future. Equally, some try and repeatedly fail, never attaining a successful enterprise, leaving creditors reeling in their wake.  Essentially the question brought about is should banks transfer history between them or is this counterproductive to business growth? 

It’s been argued that a Californian idea is that no transfer of information occurs. If a business has a bad credit history with one bank, they simply apply to another bank and are assessed afresh. That perhaps by comparison our credit history system in the UK is thus stalling our own country’s growth and entrepreneurship. Indeed as Philip states in his blog, numerous celebrity entrepreneurs did not succeed first time, many of which now have well documented life stories of how they learned from those past failures to become the success they now are. However the argument that we transfer information if good and bury if bad seems impractical logistically. Who decides how good or bad, and where to draw the line? The main question seems to be how reliable the history is for predicting the future. For which a conclusion might be that no one can truly foresee the future, so why not give business a chance? The reality is the risk of lost capital to investors, and the potential domino effect one unsuccessful enterprise may have on others invested in it, supplying to it, awaiting return from it.

Safe Credit Control is a software product that aims to minimise that risk by reducing debtor days with proactive customer relationship management with creditors. As a software solution, Safe Credit Control engages those who owe early for repayment, rather than awaiting the traditional 60 days before beginning the chasing process. Reducing debtor days can improve cash flow which can be make or break for SMEs. To find out more visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134. 

Proactive rather than reactive credit control?

Eddie StanleyProactive rather than reactive credit control?

An ability to manage cash flow is crucial to business success, and the control and management of debtors is often a painful task, as a result of manual and repetitive processes. Recent external economic factors resulting from the impacts of a long term global recession, only adds to headaches of a credit control team. An introduction of effective tools to improve the collections process, is arguably more important today, than at any time in recent history.

Credit controllers are traditionally regarded as an essential element in business to chase late payments, and respond to customer queries. However, why just be reactive in this field when you can be proactive? Proactive businesses are generally regarded as market leaders, and those who are reactive are more likely to be ‘me too’, or market followers. The traditional style of credit control is a purely reactive process. You wait for non payment, and chase. Just because that is the way it has been done, does not mean that is the way it should work in the future. There is a better way.

Software is available now which can manage credit checking, credit insurance and risk analysis, through to promised payments. There is software which can even produce and automate chase letters and copy invoices. By proactively contacting the customer at various points in their lifecycle, rather than simply awaiting non payment, this software can automate a more proactive customer conversation. Throughout all phases, every event or process is tracked through credit controller’s workflow with in-built escalation procedures, and excellent supporting management reporting. This allows the credit controller to be freed from the everyday, and time to concentrate on really exceptional cases.

A major benefit of this pro-active approach is that the relationship between credit control team and the customer becomes positive. Most credit controllers traditionally ring up only to complain that the account is overdue for payment. By actively managing the account, it becomes possible to see any difficulties in advance, and work them out with the customer before they turn into a problem.

Safe credit control has taken these concepts of customer relationship management (CRM), and applied them to the credit control function, providing a softer, service orientated team of customer service representatives. If your current processes could be improved using our software and outsourcing services, why not get in touch?

Eddie Stanley

 

 


Eddie Stanley, Commercial Director for Financials and Credit Control

 

Go anywhere credit control and spread the word!

Go anywhere credit control and spread the word!

As there is an increasing trend to work from home, so there is a need for more portable and accessible ways of working. Working from home or indeed the local coffee shop, saves company space and resources, and provides employees with a more comfortable working environment.

Additionally in these days of distributed office environments, for example, branch networks either locally or internationally, access to key management information from these disparate locations is crucial to business success.

Furthermore, providing business critical data directly to your clients, will generate a rapid return on investment not to mention empowering your most valuable asset, your clients.

For some reason though, a surprising number of companies seem to keep their credit control function and teams in house, and trapped in a single environment. Current, cost effective and readily available technology means this does not need to be the case. Software is available now which allows credit controllers, branch colleagues and their clients, to work externally to the localised environment. The reach of credit and query management can be extended using web based software via an online portal. Within a web browser, permitted users can check reports, handle enquiries and interact with the internal credit control team.

Trusted colleagues gain access to all their associated clients credit control related data and clients themselves may access a reduced subset of their own data.  Available data includes client turnover, aged debtor profile, balances and outstanding queries, not to mention full access to all current and historical transactions including the ability to download copy documents.  Other documents, chase letters and customer statements may also be viewed and downloaded via the portal.

The option to interact with the credit control team by adding notes or changing the status of a query or outstanding action radically improves the interaction with the team.  This shortens resolution time, hence enabling outstanding debt to be resolved in a much shorter timescale.

To find out more about Safe Credit Control, visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk and complete an online enquiry form.

 

 

 

 

Eddie Stanley, Safe Computing, Commercial Director, Financials and Credit Control.

 

 

Emerge from global recession, increase information, and reduce your manual intervention

Eddie StanleyEmerge from global recession, increase information, and reduce your manual intervention

The recent global recession has produced a turbulent economic environment, affecting individuals and corporations in equal measure. The nonstop growth of the credit culture has had significant impact on individuals, leading to mortgage defaults, reduced spending on the high street and a general tightening of the belt.  Business is no different. Banks are unwilling to provide loans to invest in new opportunities, and also not extending overdrafts.

Credit rating and data providers are set to play an increasing role in helping businesses to stay abreast of their client’s financial health. Activities to do so involve managing their client’s debtor situation, and being aware of any impending customer insolvency.  Many suppliers of such data now provide an ongoing service to alert clients of any activities that are likely to affect the credit worthiness of their customers and suppliers. These could include county court judgements (CCJs) issued, new accounts filed, risk or delinquency scores, and offering recommended credit limits. This supplements the traditional credit check and report process, which still plays a major role in checking process of new or prospective client customers.

Given the recession, you would expect the popularity of credit insurance to have increased, however, the cost of this service has also increased and hence its take up has remained static. In the case of credit rating and insurance solutions, the manual effort involved in acquiring and processing the data is significant. The information gleaned from this process is, more often than not, disparate to the commercial business solutions in place.  By easing the manual processes required and integrating such solutions with the finance systems, there is an opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce costs and drive down poor credit performance. Safe Credit Control reduces these manual processes, and could help your business, so get in touch to find out more.

Eddie Stanley

 

 

 

 

Eddie Stanley, Commercial Director for Financials and Credit Control

 

 

Credit control and CRM, working together?

Credit control and CRM, working together?

Customer relationship management systems are an increasingly hot topic in the IT related press. Organisations are increasingly seeking to automate their ‘front office’ activities where possible, and see credit control as very much a ‘back office’ function. Traditionally, credit control is a reactive exercise, controllers chasing late payment as Rottweilers, not the cuddly teddy bears associated with CRM.

Adopting a softer, CRM based approach to credit control is, as the name suggests, about cultivating a relationship with the customer.  By employing CRM techniques, we give the customer the impression they are special, and that the credit controller has a holistic view of their account and the person they are communicating with. Any software system should therefore be able to provide all relevant customer facing personnel with a comprehensive view of all dealings with the company. An all round, sometimes called ‘three sixty degree’, view.

Creating a relationship on a one to one basis, encourages trust between the parties involved.  A customer promising to pay transactions is far less likely to default, if they feel they are letting a ‘friend’ down rather than the unknown face of a traditional credit controller. One software and service provider has embraced this concept, combining CRM practices into credit control activities which in turn separates them as a thought leader in the market.

This software solution, available today, tracks every single communication between credit controller and customer, each conversation, every letter, all emails, the whole relationship committed to record.  Automated events are diarised to drive a daily workflow for the credit controller.  Typical events include overdue invoices, exceeded credit limits and risk reviews to name but a few. The credit controller is guided towards their daily tasks, with all the related information necessary to complete the task readily available.

To find out more about Safe Credit Control, visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk and complete an online enquiry form.

 

 

 

 

 

Eddie Stanley, Commercial Director - Financials and Credit Control, Safe Computing.

 

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