Business - Outsourced Finance

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Without customers, your business wouldn’t exist. Customer service is important, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer is “always right”. In fact, here are a few reasons why difficult customers are actually bad for business…

They demotivate your employees

No matter how hard you try, chances are you’ll have to deal with customers that are less than pleasant.

If ever you need to make a choice between your employee (especially if they are not at fault) and a really difficult customer, remember that your employee has helped you make your business what it is today. And, employees who feel supported by their bosses are far more likely to give more to the business. It may even come down to either having to cut a difficult customer loose – or find a new hire. We say, keep the employee!

Sometimes they are more trouble than they’re worth

Jumping through hoops for unreasonable customers could run your business into the ground. They use up time and effort which could better be spent on others who appreciate and value your business – and who are more likely to return for repeat business in future.

As a small business or start-up, it feels as though every rand matters – even those from relentlessly irksome customers. However, by setting the precedent early on that the customer is always right, you may as well put a sign up welcoming more rude and demanding customers…

Learn from each experience, no matter how unpleasant it may be. For example, if you are working on a project and the customer constantly goes back and forth, insist that any further changes be charged for. This forces customers to make final decisions and not change their minds on a whim. We know you want to be seen as someone who goes the extra mile but you need to consider if that extra mile is worth it (or have become several extra miles, when the customer is only paying for a quick Uber ride).

Customers don’t always know best

You are the professional. That’s why people come to you for your product or service. The fact is that your customers often don’t know or understand the processes behind what goes into your product or service. Never assume anything when it comes to customers. The number-one reason a customer relationship (or any relationship for that matter) turns sour is because of poor communication. Communicate clearly and often. This helps to set realistic expectations and build trust.

None of this is to suggest that you throw customers out at the first sign of a disagreement. Both you and your customers are human after all, and misunderstandings are a part of life. Deal with, and learn from, each situation as it comes – but keep these points in mind when making decisions going forward.

Do you need help putting systems in place to mitigate any problems that may arise in the future – customer-related or otherwise? Contact Outsourced Finance. We are here to help.


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As an entrepreneur your business is your baby, and a work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat.

You are the main driver behind your business’s development and delivery, and with that comes a fear: a fear that if you step away for just a moment, everything will collapse.

Plus, today’s always-on tech means that you’re accessible day and night to unrelenting clients.

Working too long and too hard can lead to serious health issues, too; in Japan ‘death by overwork’ – karoshi – is a major problem, and has resulted in people literally working themselves to death.

That’s not to say that putting your all into your business will kill you, but if left unchecked burnout can have significant consequences. So here are our three tips for a better work-life balance:

1. Build a business that runs itself

Your business needs to be sustainable, so that it requires minimal input from you to grow it in the long term. Develop strategies to implement processes and hire the right skills to ensure your business is a working machine.

And please delegate: we get it, it’s hard. Our experience is that many entrepreneurs do not like letting go of control, but at a certain point it must be done.

2. Manage client expectations

Unrealistic deadlines will keep you working ridiculous hours. Manage client expectations and set doable deadlines. Consider giving yourself a ‘time buffer’ where possible. Rather under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.

It’s also important to communicate with your clients when there will be a possible delay. The right client will appreciate the honesty.

3. Outsource where you can

Many entrepreneurs try to be a one-person show – HR, finance, marketing, IT, they do it all. This might save costs in the beginning, but it’s not sustainable. Outsource where you can, and where you feel like you don’t have a handle on things.

A work-life balance is essential. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off to refresh and regroup – trust us when we say that everything won’t fall apart. In fact, it’ll benefit your business, because you’ll be able to look at things with fresh eyes, not feel so overwhelmed, and take your dream to the next level.

Want to find out how you can balance your time between work and play, and let go of the reins a little, especially when it comes to your business’s finances? Contact Outsourced Finance for honest advice.


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We’re heading to year-end – and fast. As a small business, you’ll need to be prepared for the December/January break. Planning ahead will help ensure that your business runs smoothly – and remains competitive – during this slow time of year. Most small business owners are aware that things go quiet, but it can be incredibly stressful if you haven’t covered all your bases. Here’s how you can get ahead (and minimise cash-flow anxiety).

1. Mark your calendar

The best way to secure your business before year-end is by looking at your calendar. You may need to ‘double up’ now with work (including admin) to keep you covered over the quiet time – especially if you’re planning on taking a break yourself. Ideally you should factor this in at the beginning of the year, especially when it comes to your budget, as you’ll need to bring in extra clients before the holidays to make up for the lack of cash flow during the shutdown.

2. Hold an event

Holding an event during the run-up to the festive season can play a critical role in attracting new customers before everything closes. Events offer opportunities to engage with potential new customers, give some client-love to existing ones, and increase sales through specials. The event should be geared to secure new clients, and ensure their continued engagement with the brand into the new year. For instance, a yoga studio can hold a free class during the last week of the year to encourage January sign-up. Throw in some gift certificates too to spread the word about your business.

3. Get social

While it may be tempting to log off completely, staying active on social media during the December holiday season can help your small business gain much-needed attention (if you do need a break – we understand! You could also outsource this role to a marketing intern as a temporary solution). Again, you’ll need to plan ahead for this, so create that social media content plan now; keep it relevant to your industry and schedule a few fun posts, too. Even better, let your customers know via social before the season hits if you have any special offers coming up. While social is great, email is even better. Start targeting existing customers now by creating an email newsletter campaign geared towards the end-of-year period – you can use software like MailChimp to design and send out a campaign (free up to 2 000 email addresses).

Provided you’ve done some prepping, you’ll get through the December slow-down unscathed. As a small business owner, it can be very stressful during this period as everything grinds to a halt (unless you’re in retail, of course!). Need expert advice on how to cover all your bases for a seasonal slow-down? Contact Outsourced Finance; we’re here to help.


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Running a business isn’t easy. Customers, invoices, suppliers, and cash flow often have you running from pillar to post without time to take a step back. Balancing client demands with keeping your team happy can be tricky too, and often leads to bad decision making.

Knowing when to say ‘yes’, and more importantly, when to say ‘no’ can have a long-lasting impact on your business. Avoid decision fatigue by making the hard choices early on in your business that set you up for success. While there is no exact formula for making the right decisions every time, there are some steps you can take to help make the best possible decision at the right time.

Not sure what to do? Try the following five steps when making a tough decision:

1. Accept there is no one right answer

This is important as people often get stuck trying to make the right decision, which results in unnecessary delays, which could cost you money.

2. Separate the heart from the head

It’s important to admit whether you’re making a decision based on facts or emotion. It’s not always bad to make decisions based on emotion, but this needs to be clear from the start, otherwise you may end up in a situation that you don’t want to be in.

3. Consider alternatives

Weigh up your pros and cons, and understand the impact and risks associated with alternatives. Do your research, speak to people who’ve had similar experiences. But, as per point 1, don’t get too hung up on this step.

4. Make decisions timeously

Take some (but not too much) time to think about your decision. Sleeping on it often helps. However, it’s important to wake up in the morning and MAKE the decision. Waiting too long often results in a decision being made for you.

5. Be agile, but don’t chop and change

Be open to suggestions and improvements, but once you’ve considered all options and made up your mind, stick to your guns. Changing course too often makes you seem less confident and it hampers consistency within the business.

Making tough decisions can be a stressful and emotional process. Speak to people you trust, and think long-term before making important decisions that may be critical to the sustainability of your business.

Need a different point of view before making a tough decision? Contact Outsourced Finance to get honest, professional advice.


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So many employees are wary of taking on someone fresh out of university. Their degree says that they have all the theoretical knowledge, but how will they handle the ‘real world’ for the first time?

At Outsourced Finance, we know the struggle of trying to get experience when no one is willing to give you a chance in the first place, so we decided to take on an intern. This is what she had to say about her first experience in the corporate world:

“Graduating from university does not automatically guarantee you a job. It took more time and effort than I had expected: finding a job became a job!

With all the interviews I went to, I never felt that spark of connection with the companies or even the position. That was until I got my interview with Outsourced Finance. From the moment I walked in the door, I knew this was the opportunity that I was waiting for – and so much more. I finally got to put everything I learnt to work, and I am now exposed to new people and situations every day so I can sharpen my skill set.

There is no time to get comfortable, and that’s what is great. You don’t grow when you are comfortable. Every day is a learning experience where I am pushed to take the initiative, which is a great skill to acquire on its own.

Although Depo and Malusi are always willing to help and support me, they encourage independent problem-solving, which I admire because it allows all of us to learn and grow.

Working in this environment inspires me each day. I get to meet and work with people from all walks of life, which helps me further expand my knowledge.

Outsourced Finance has been a great platform for me to gain valuable skills and experience to build my career and work towards my goals and aspirations.”

Outsourced Finance strongly advocates for job creation and giving people the ability to learn and grow. Plus, we’ve often seen interns themselves bring plenty of fresh perspectives to the table: new ideas spark inspiration that creates a positive ripple-effect throughout the entire team.

Are you looking for a new perspective on strategies to grow – and sustain – your business? Contact us to find out how we (and our intern!) can help you.


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You might think that all you need to spend on a new hire is ‘cost to company’, aka CTC. Think again. Have you ever stopped to consider what else you’re paying for, beyond your employee-to-be’s salary package? Here are five things to consider before signing someone on:

1. Recruitment

Let’s begin at the beginning: just finding the right person for the job can cost you. It takes time to do the admin of advertising for the position, sifting through hundreds (or thousands!) of CVs, and conducting interviews. We know that time is money, so it’s not surprising that many business owners would prefer to pay an agency to do all of that for them – and that doesn’t come cheap.

• Our pro tip: Bypass an agency and use word-of-mouth or the power of networking – it’ll save you time and money, and you’ll get much better candidates.

2. Rent

Most businesses need a proper space to perform their job, whether it be an office, studio, or workshop. But this costs money. The more employees you have, the bigger the space you need, and the bigger the space, the higher the rent or bond. If you’re working from home, this may not be an issue for you… yet. But the more your business grows, the more space you’ll likely need.

• Our pro tip: Many small business owners think that having an office of their own makes their enterprise seem more legit. This is only partially true, and it can be a massive waste of money. If you’re still finding your feet, consider a shared co-working space – it’s a lot cheaper, and it’ll open up opportunities for collaboration.

3. Leave

South African employees are entitled to 15 working days of annual leave and three days family responsibility leave per year. Don’t forget about the 12 public holidays and additional 30-day sick leave in a three-year cycle. That’s a whole lot of money that employees are entitled to, even when they’re not at work, and it’s something that definitely needs to be factored in.

• Our pro tip: If you’ve just started an SMME, think about whether or not you actually need full-time employees just yet. Can you do the bulk of the work yourself, or make a few hires who work less than 24 hours per month (then public holiday and annual leave pay don’t need to be factored in). Even better, make hires that are virtual, like (ahem!) a digital accountant.

4. Consumables

Small costs build over time, but tea and coffee is a non-negotiable. Even though these costs aren’t that significant, they’re recurring and frequent. In addition to cleaning consumables and stationery, these general office supplies often get overlooked when working out the cost of an employee.

• Our pro tip: Read our top three tips to manage your business budget (spoiler alert: tip number-one talks about doing a consumables audit!)

5. Equipment and resources

As a business owner, you need to provide the resources and equipment for your employees so that they can do their jobs. Items that need to be replaced or upgraded periodically, like computers, laptops, and specialised software, could result in a high cost per employee per year. And don’t forget about insurance on valuable equipment.

• Our pro tip: Unless you’re in the design industry, your office probably doesn’t need to be kitted out with the latest iMacs; a VOIP system can be a lot cheaper than fixed phone lines; and look into paperless set-up.

Employees are an investment and we’re all about job creation, but being informed about all the potential costs that come with a new hire is essential, otherwise you could get a few nasty surprises…

Don’t like surprises? Contact Outsourced Finance to find out exactly how much your employee(s) are costing, or will cost, your business.


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Many business owners don’t know the first thing about crunching numbers. Luckily there are people out there who do – like bookkeepers and accountants. A question you might be asking right now is: ‘Huh, aren’t they the same thing?’

The short answer is no, they’re not. They’re different and your business might need one or the other, or even both.

Let’s take a doctor and a nurse, for example. Both work in the medical field, yet their roles are not the same. The situation is similar to bookkeepers and accountants. Yes, they both with work with finances but in two very different ways.

As a business owner, it’s really important to know the difference between the two, because chances are, you’ll need either need a bookkeeper or an accountant on call (or both!). Let’s break it down…

The bookkeeper

Bookkeepers are the masters of keeping business financial records up to date, like receipts and invoices. They track all the transactions to and from the business, which include:

• Income

• Expenses and bills

• Generating and sending invoices

• Managing debits and credits

They take all the data from these transactions, capture it, summarise it, and make sure it’s organised so that future bills can be paid and reports can be pulled. This helps business owners know exactly where their cash flow is coming from and going to. Think of them as paper-trail ninjas.

The accountant

Accountants carry a weightier role in that they are responsible for managing the company’s accounts; they also analyse financial data so that they can report on how the business is performing. This helps to forecast how the business could – and should – perform. Think of them as calculator fortune-tellers.

A good accountant should be able to:

• Prepare financial statements

• Complete and file tax returns

• Forecast any financial challenges and opportunities

• Analyse business operation costs

Because accountants need to know how every aspect of money works within a business, they have to complete at least a four-year degree. You wouldn’t let someone who claims to be a doctor operate on you if they weren’t qualified, neither should you let someone operate on your business without the proper qualifications.

Which one do you need?

Deciding whether you need a bookkeeper or an accountant will depend on how big your business is, what industry it’s in, and the level of expertise needed. A bookkeeper is less expensive and is ideal if you just need help in organising your daily transactions. However, if you need someone to take charge of the financials and be able to guide and advise you, getting the help of an accountant would be a very wise choice.

Whether you need help with bookkeeping, accounting, both, or anything in-between, Outsourced Finance can help you, wherever you’re based.


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In most start-ups, the initial knee-jerk reaction is to fixate on competitors – which wastes time, money, and resources.

If this is a current issue for your business, then maybe it’s time to shift your mindset: why not join forces and collaborate with another company?

Yes, it may scare those of you who are control freaks, but here are four reasons why collaborating may be a really good idea:

1. It’ll inspire you

We all have our own way of doing things and often get stuck in a rut. Sometimes we forget that there may be different ways of doing things that save time, effort, and money. Collaborating with different minds gives you a new perspective and may trigger some all-new creative juices to flow. Plus, you may also get introduced to new techniques and technologies you never knew about before.

2. Your business will grow

Collaborating is a great opportunity to get exposed to a different audience and, in turn, get them introduced to your brand. Granted, not everyone you reach out to will want to collaborate, but each new connection you make opens up the possibility of expanding your network. A successful business owner knows to continually make connections and form alliances. Work that room!

3. Two (or more) brains are better than one

There is power in numbers. Everyone that you decide to bring to the co-lab table will bring different viewpoints, experiences, and skills. Where you are weak or inexperienced in one area, others will fill that gap. Or, sometimes you just need input from someone who is outside the situation. Collaborating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go into business with someone else – you can even just collaborate on a single project. Either way, you can pack a much bigger punch when collaborating versus doing it all on your own.

4. You can share the load

If you want something done right, you better do it yourself, right? While that’s true in some cases, there will come a time where you simply can’t do it all on your own. Partnering up with someone you trust can take a huge load off your shoulders so that you can focus on what you do best – growing your business! Collaborations also let you split expenses, so you can take on projects which you may not be able to afford on your own just yet. If both parties have an agreement to contribute equally, the majority of the time you would be able to double your budget while still reducing cost. Winning.

Collaboration is a powerful tool for any business: it builds connections and can take you to new heights. Simply start a conversation with like-minded people and see if there is an opening somewhere where you can work together… you’ll thank us later.

Want to get advice about collaborations, or just get the ball rolling with your business? Contact Outsourced Finance; we’re here to help.


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According to the GEM South Africa 2014 report, one of the main challenges faced by SMMEs’ are commercial and professional infrastructure, which speaks to the presence of commercial, accounting and other legal services and institutions. These services are crucial to promoting the sustenance of existing SMMEs in the country.

Digital accountants are providing the accounting infrastructures to  SMME’s to sustain their business. Gone are the days of expensive desktop accounting software, that add limited value to running your business in real time.

The growth in cloud accounting software like Xero, Quickbooks online and Sage One has soared in the past few years in South Africa, as SMME’s start to catch the worldwide bug of inexpensive,  user-friendly cloud accounting software. This software has resulted in the next generation of accountants; The Digital Accountant!

The digital accountant taps into a community of more than20 000+ could-base accounting apps to provide your business with a tailored collaboration, and it assists you with managing your bookkeeping tasks, as well as it gives you an insight on handling the financial and tax administration associated with your business.

This seamless, affordable digitalised accounting solution allows business to issue quotations and invoices from your smartphone, automate reminders for debtors to pay. The ease of bookkeeping when optical recognition technology for scanned supplier invoices, turning the hardship of  SARS compliance into a walk in the park. The cherry on top is now cashflow funding systems like Bridgement ( www.bridgement.co.za ) that taps into your cloud accounting software to provide immediate funding for your business. Having a digital accountant  significantly reduces time spent on accounting administration for your business, allowing you to focus on  growing your business

I can not hide my excitement about the new wave of cloud accounting, and digital accounting services in South Africa. It will ultimately provide SMME’s with the financials service infrastructure their business requires to grow. SMME contributed 22% to the gross value added (GVA = GDP before taxes and subsidies) of South Africa. Hence a growing industry in effect creates real jobs for the unskilled labour force in South Africa


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Starting a Business in South Africa is the road less traveled, and it is a scary road, According to a study by The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA: 2007), South Africa has one of the highest failure rates of new SMEs in the world, at an estimated 75%. According to a speech given by the South African Trade Minister, Rob Davies in May 2013, five out of seven new small businesses started in South Africa fail within the first year. That is an alarming failure rate of 71%. How do you make sure your Business is part of the roughly 25% that succeed? Is it a game of chance or is there a blueprint for success?

Well, the important thing is to start right,  this gets you to towards the 25% that succeed.

1. Business Plan

Do a Business Plan; this is the roadmap for your business.  It allows you to understand your Business’ Industry, Market and Competitors. With this knowledge you can formulate your Business Strategy; how will you get to your target market, how will you price your product/ service, is your Business viable, What is your X factor!
During the drafting of your Business plan, you will chop and change because with the right market research you will realise things are not what you thought it to be.

2. Legal Identity

Next, think about the legal entity of your Business, will you be a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Company or NPO. Understanding the pros and cons of legal entities allows you to make the right choice and adequately protect your investors from financial liabilities.

3.  Cashflow

You can have the best idea or product, but without proper funding, your business might never take off.  Consider how you will fund your business, will it be owners equity or external funding. Essential to have at least six months cash flow funding to run your operation. Majority of Entrepreneurs fail in the 1st year due to cash flow issues; they just cannot meet their immediate obligations.  A comprehensive Financial Plan with scenario analysis will allow you to know how much funding you require.

4. Business Partners

Get the right Business Partners. Your Banker is a crucial Business Partner, make sure you have a dedicated relationship manager that understand your Business. Hence your Bank can meet you at your point of need. Supplier agreements are vital for your survival, make sure it is a comprehensive agreement stating the terms of purchase, quality of the product, delivery timeline and payment terms. If your supplier does not deliver on their promise, it might directly impact on your client and damage your reputation.

When all is said and done, get out your light saver, join the battle and May the force be with you