The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2014-03-12T01:32:57Z Small business not prepared for Privacy Act changes 2014-03-12T01:32:57Z small-business-not-prepared-for-privacy-act-changes Sydney, March 12, 2014 – Approximately one in three Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are unaware of changes to the Privacy Act 1988, which came into effect today, and impacts how businesses capture, handle, use and process personal information, according to the latest SME research from leading small business finance specialist Bibby Financial Services and research firm CoreData. The changes to the Privacy Act could affect how SMEs use personal information for direct marketing and the disclosure of personal information to people overseas. New research from Bibby and CoreData, which surveyed a range of SMEs that may be impacted by the Privacy Act, found that 37 per cent of respondents are not aware of changes to the Privacy Act or their potential impact. On the flipside, 40 per cent believe the changes to the Privacy Act won’t impact their business. Mark Cleaver, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, said: “Of potential concern is the 16 per cent of respondents who said they won’t be making any adjustments in response to changes to the Privacy Act. These findings reinforce the need for SMEs to receive adequate education and work to stay abreast of all changes to relevant legislation and regulations,” Mr Cleaver said.  “The Federal Government has launched a Privacy Checklist for Small Business which details what sort of businesses need to comply with the Privacy Act. All SMEs should complete this checklist. If you are still unsure if your business needs to comply, you may need to seek advice from a lawyer,” Mr Cleaver said. Respondents from the IT and media industry (36%) were found to have already made changes or in the process of making changes in relation to the Privacy Act according to Bibby/ CoreData research. They are closely followed by those from financial and insurance services (36 per cent).  The research by Bibby and CoreData was carried out from February 3-14, with a total of 859 responses collected. The survey was conducted on a range of businesses with annual turnover of less than $200,000 to over $50,000 million. The research reveals a higher proportion of medium-sized businesses are aware of changes to the Privacy Act. Two in five respondents from micro businesses or those with 1-4 employees, are unaware of the changes to the Privacy Act, this compares to 35 per cent of medium-size businesses, or those with 20-199 employees. The Privacy Act 1988 currently protects personal information handled by large businesses and health service providers of any size. The Privacy Act may apply to a small business if it has an annual turnover of $3 million or less and either: trades in personal information; is related to an entity which is captured by the legislation; provides services under a Commonwealth contract; runs a residential tenancy database; is related to a larger business; or is a reporting entity under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.   ENDS About Bibby Financial ServicesBibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses.  With over 6500 clients in 15 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807.   Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au RBA rate cut welcomed by business lender 2012-12-04T04:45:00Z rba-rate-cut-welcomed-by-business-lender Bibby pre-Christmas release MEDIA RELEASE RBA rate cut welcomed by business lender Sydney, December 4, 2012 - The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)’s official cut in interest rates will help to underpin greater levels of business investment at a time when the economy needs more activity outside the mining sector, according to Bibby Financial Services Australia. The RBA today dropped official interest rates to 3.00 per cent from 3.25 per cent. That decision came after official data revealed on Friday a drop in business credit of 0.3 per cent, reversing a rise of 0.3 per cent in September, leaving business credit broadly unchanged since June. This compares to a modest recovery in borrowing by households. Gary Green, Director of Bibby Financial Services Australia, said borrowing activity by businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), has been held back by uncertain economic conditions and a lack of confidence about the future. “A further cut in official interest rates will help boost business confidence and prompt greater levels of investment in all sectors of the economy, which the Australian economy needs,” Mr Green said. “The RBA’s credit data suggests that the business sector is struggling and that borrowing costs remain too high. Our own research shows that SMEs fear their customers or suppliers could become insolvent in this uncertain economic environment, as revealed by our own Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey. “With some SMEs struggling to meet make ends meet in this sluggish economic environment, our recommendation to all SMEs is to increase their focus on cash flow and working capital, particularly with the Christmas holidays almost upon us.” While business credit for large businesses has recovered modestly since the GFC, business credit growth for small business has been stagnant. The outstanding value of bank loans that are larger than $2 million increased by 10.5 per cent from June 2011 to July 2012 after declining over the previous 2.5 years[1]. However, the outstanding value of loans valued at less than $2 million has remained largely unchanged since 2009. Mr Green said to smooth out cash flows, SMEs have been taking advantage of debtor financing in recent times. Over the year to September 2012, there was a 13.9 per cent rise in the level of debtor finance or factoring, while the number of businesses seeking such finance had grown by 3.8 per cent, according to data from the Institute of Factors and Discounters (IFD). In NSW alone, debtor financing jumped by 48.2 per cent from a year earlier. “This indicates debtor financing is providing new levels of support to Australian businesses,” Mr Green said. He also noted the increased average size of debtor finance facilities evident from the IFD statistics, suggesting that debtor finance is gaining acceptance amongst increasingly larger SMEs. Debtor finance allows a business to quickly convert its unpaid invoices into cash, and is in effect a line of credit extended against the business' receivables, which is often one of the largest current assets on the balance sheet. ENDS Media contacts Rebecca Murray, FCR: t (+612) 8264 1002/ +61 423 338 005 Andrew Briggs, Bibby Financial Services (Aust): t (+612) 9310 8921/ + 61 403 096 807 Bibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. With over 6000 clients in 15 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au or follow them on [1] RBA September 2012 Financial Stability Review. Lower interest rates necessary to help small business 2012-11-30T03:07:00Z lower-interest-rates-necessary-to-help-small-business Bibby pre-Christmas release MEDIA RELEASE Lower interest rates necessary to help small business Sydney, November 30, 2012 - With an uncertain economic environment ahead, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) should be ready to cut interest rates next week and deliver a Christmas boost to small and medium sized businesses, with fresh data today revealing a decrease in business credit, according to Bibby Financial Services Australia. The RBA today released data showing business credit decreased by 0.3 per cent over October 2012. In the 12 months to October, business credit increased by 3.3 per cent. Gary Green, Director of Bibby Financial Services Australia, said lower interest rates would help boost confidence levels and borrowing by small businesses, with activity held back by uncertain economic conditions. “While business credit has recovered during 2012, this recovery has been led by larger businesses, particularly listed companies, while borrowing by small businesses has been stagnant due to difficult trading conditions. “A further cut in official interest rates would help boost small-business confidence and help to prompt greater levels of business investment, which has been restrained by worries about economic growth,” Mr Green said. “RBA data suggests the cost of borrowing probably remains too high for SMEs. There is a lack of confidence amongst SMEs about the economic outlook and their ability to repay debt, and furthermore directors are reluctant to put personal property on the line. SMEs also fear their customers or suppliers could become insolvent in this sluggish environment, as revealed by our own Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey,” Mr Green said. “Our recommendation to all SMEs is to increase their focus on cash flow and working capital, particularly with the Christmas holidays almost upon us.” According to the RBA[1], the outstanding value of bank loans that are larger than $2 million increased by 10.5 per cent from June 2011 to July 2012 after declining over the previous 2.5 years. However, the outstanding value of loans valued at less than $2 million has remained largely unchanged since 2009. Mr Green said lower interest rates would be likely to bolster the use of debtor financing by SMEs, which has been gaining in popularity in recent times. He also noted the increased average size of debtor finance facilities evident from the Institute for Factors and Discounters (IFD) statistics, suggesting that debtor finance is gaining acceptance amongst increasingly larger SMEs. Over the year to September 2012, there was a 13.9% rise in the level of debtor finance or factoring, while the number of businesses seeking such finance had grown by 3.8%, according to data from the IFD. In NSW alone, debtor financing jumped by 48.2% from a year earlier. “This indicates debtor financing is providing new levels of support to Australian businesses,” Mr Green said. Debtor finance allows a business to quickly convert its unpaid invoices into cash, and is in effect a line of credit extended against the business' receivables, which is often one of the largest current assets on the balance sheet. In a typical facility, the lender (or ‘debtor financier) will advance between 60-80% of the face value of the business' invoices within 24 hours, with the balance returned to the client on payment by the debtor. In some cases the lender also provides an accounts receivable service, helping to save time and accounts receivable cost. ENDS Media contacts Rebecca Murray, FCR: t (+612) 8264 1002/ +61 423 338 005 Andrew Briggs, Bibby Financial Services (Aust): t (+612) 9310 8921/ + 61 403 096 807 Bibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. With over 6000 clients in 15 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au or follow them on [1] RBA September 2012 Financial Stability Review. Preparing for the traditional Christmas cash flow squeeze 2012-11-15T00:19:00Z preparing-for-the-traditional-christmas-cash-flow-squeeze Bibby pre-Christmas release MEDIA RELEASE Preparing for the traditional Christmas cash flow squeeze Sydney, November 15, 2012 - With an uncertain Christmas trading period approaching, business owners should be extra vigilant in managing their working capital and monitoring cash flow - to avoid the traditional cash flow squeeze in the New Year. According to Gary Green, Director of Bibby Financial Services Australia, trading conditions this Christmas are likely to be difficult. “Like last year, we are entering the festive season with retail figures remaining weak, a string of major insolvencies, a slight rise in unemployment and tightening of credit and bank overdrafts,” he said, noting that the average small business now waits almost twice the standard 30 days for payment of invoices and business insolvencies are still relatively high, partly because of the ATO’s reduced tolerance of tax arrears and a general tightening of trade credit from suppliers. “Unless you are an ice cream seller near a beach or a removalist firm, which traditionallyhave their busiest trading over Christmas and into the New Year, it is important to start preparing now to cover costs and maintain strong cash flows when business istraditionally quiet,” he said. “When the nation goes on Christmas holidays, accounts staff are harder to contact, and many businesses are on skeleton staff - so anticipating cash shortages is critical. Without adequate planning now, the business may have to deal with serious issues next year such as paying that first tax bill in the New Year after a period of lean cash flow. “Fast growing young businesses are particularly at risk. In the rush to grow, it is often the fundamental business practices - such as getting sound credit control procedures in place - that are left at the bottom of the 'to do' list. And yet growing companies are the most hungry for cash flow funding. A key risk for these businesses is ‘overtrading’, which results in blowouts in payables and receivables and increased financing costs that squeeze margins – which can be fatal. In such situations, the business may need to reduce sales or investigate ways to fund working capital to better align sales with production/fulfilment”, he said, explaining that debtor financing can be the answer. How to ensure a reliable cash flow Aside from bolstering processes and procedures, invoicing early and often, and running credit checks periodically, there are a number of funding tools available besides the overdraft that can help to ensure reliable cash flow in such situations. One such option is debtor finance – also known as invoice financing or factoring – which is rapidly becoming an important funding tool for Australian SMEs. According to the Institute for Factors and Discounters of Australia and New Zealand, debtor finance helped fund over $62 billion in business-to-business sales nationally in the 12 months to June 2012. Although it declined slightly in the immediate aftermath of the GFC, volumes of debtor finance are rebuilding strongly. One of the reasons for this is the growing awareness and acceptance of this form of financing among business owners and their advisers. Debtor finance allows a business to quickly convert its unpaid invoices into cash, and is in effect a line of credit extended against the business' receivables, which is often one of the largest current assets on the balance sheet. In a typical facility, the lender (or ‘factor’) will advance between 60-80% of the face value of the business' invoices within 24 hours, with the balance returned to the client on payment by the debtor. In some cases the lender also provides an accounts receivable service, helping to save time and accounts receivable cost. The service may also be offered confidentially. Some lenders can set up such debtor funding facilities within several weeks. Mr Green said, “Debtor finance is a versatile funding arrangement, suiting a wide range of businesses and industry sectors - from small start-ups to established listed small cap companies, from manufacturers and wholesalers to business service providers. Retail, construction and IT-related services, however, are not suited to debtor finance. “A unique feature of debtor finance is that traditional real estate security is not required, which can be a critical advantage in an environment of softening house prices,” he said. “Although debtor finance can be slightly more expensive than other funding facilities on a straight comparison of interest rates, this comparison ignores the often significant benefits of strong cash flow to the business - from more streamlined operations, less reliance on discounts for prompt payment, reduced accounts receivable cost and the ability to take advantage of opportunities more quickly.” “Cash flow is king, and so monitoring cash flow in the current environment should be a high priority. Should your business be facing any immediate or anticipated cash flow shortage, having a closer look at debtor finance could be a good idea. “Just in case the environment becomes even more challenging, now is a good time to prepare,” Mr Green said. ENDS Media contacts Rebecca Murray, FCR: t (+612) 8264 1002/ +61 423 338 005 Andrew Briggs, Bibby Financial Services (Aust): t (+612) 9310 8921/ + 61 403 096 807 Bibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. With over 6000 clients in 15 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au or follow them on The cheque is not in the mail – SMEs batten down the hatches 2012-09-25T22:23:00Z the-cheque-is-not-in-the-mail-smes-batten-down-the-hatches iShares to launch Australian ETFs on the ASX MEDIA RELEASE The cheque is not in the mail – SMEs batten down the hatches Sydney, 26 September 2012: Eighty-three per cent of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) decision makers experienced cash flow issues in the past year, most commonly because customers made excuses for slow payments, according to the recent Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey. As a result, in the last year 23% of SMEs wrote off a bad debt, 32% had customers negotiate to pay in monthly instalments, and 21% had difficulty meeting tax payments on time. Gary Green, Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia, said, “It is good news that, in response to their gloomy business expectations, 84% of the surveyed SME business owners put strategies in place to help manage their cash flow. Thirty nine per cent spent more time chasing invoices, and 21% delayed payments to their own suppliers or refused to take on more work until invoices were paid (21%). Not surprisingly, 17% of SMEs outsourced their debt collections to a lawyer or debt collection company. “Some businesses put in place advance warning systems, including conducting cash flow forecasts (27%) or periodic cash flow health checks with their accountants or advisers (19%). We would like to see all SMEs using forecasts or cash flow checks to warn of danger ahead,” said Mr Green. “Only 17% of companies are doing credit checks on new customers, which is a concern. Credit checks are an inexpensive way of reducing the chance of bad debts,” he said. When an SME discovers a gap in its projected cash flow, the range of potential solutions can be somewhat limited in these difficult times. Twenty seven per cent say they would get an overdraft, or increase their existing overdraft (21%), but 27% would have to resort to dipping into their personal finances or access deposits (20%). “Another potential solution is debtor finance, and 11% have been researching its use,” Mr Green said. The latest statistics from the Institute for Factors and Discounters (IFD) for the June 2012 quarter confirm the increasing take up of debtor finance, with the highest factoring turnover figures on record of $1.39 billion for the June 2012 quarter, a 41.1% increase on the corresponding June 2011 quarter. Factoring is defined as the sale by a business and the purchase by the Factor of trade debts on a continuing basis in order to free up cash flow, with the Factor carrying out some part of the sales accounting function. “We are certainly seeing an increase in enquiries about debtor finance, which is suitable for most non-retail businesses - other than those with very low margins or high levels of doubtful debts,” he said. Expectations for the year ahead remain gloomy according to the Bibby Barometer – with 77% of SME business owners concerned about customers becoming insolvent in the coming year, 43% expecting the time they must wait to be paid to increase further in the coming quarter, and about half (51%) more concerned about global economic conditions than they were a year ago. “With only 20% of SMEs planning to invest in their businesses in the year ahead, a cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank would be welcome,” said Mr Green. Conducted in mid-August 2012 and the third of its kind, the Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey is a national study run twice yearly, surveying primary decision makers in over 200 non-retail SMEs. ENDS Media contacts Rebecca Murray, FCR: t (+612) 8264 1002/ +61 423 338 005Andrew Briggs, Bibby Financial Services (Aust): t (+612) 9310 8921/ + 61 403 096 807 Bibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. With over 6000 clients in 15 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au or follow them on Carbon tax and cash flow concerns reduce SME confidence 2012-09-05T00:35:00Z carbon-tax-and-cash-flow-concerns-reduce-sme-confidence iShares to launch Australian ETFs on the ASX MEDIA RELEASE Carbon tax and cash flow concerns reduce SME confidence Sydney, 05 September 2012: Small business sentiment is continuing to decline, according to the recent Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey. The survey found that only 20% of small and medium businesses (SMEs) plan to invest in their businesses in the year ahead, down from 30% in February 2012 and 33% in July 2011. The Bibby Barometer Index declined from 100 to 94 to 87 respectively over that time period. Contributing to this downturn in sentiment is the perceived impact of the carbon tax. Although it has only been in effect for a short time, the Barometer found that the majority of respondents (72%) have been impacted by the tax, with 33% saying it has already had a major impact on their businesses and 81% believing it will have a long-term impact on their businesses. Conducted in mid-August 2012 and the third of its kind, the Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey is a national study run twice yearly, surveying primary decision makers in over 200 non-retail SMEs. Gary Green, National Sales Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia, said, “At a time when big businesses have by and large had a good reporting season, small businesses are struggling. We are seeing an increase in cash flow problems, with 83% of SMEs experiencing cash flow issues in the past year - most commonly because of slow payments. The majority (77%) of SMEs are concerned about their customers becoming insolvent in the year ahead. “We hear a lot about the challenges to the retail sector, but this research covers non-retail small businesses nationally - and they are also hurting. We are seeing a continued downturn of SME sentiment, with the result that 57% have reduced their headcount, including 28% that have reduced the number of full-time positions in their business, 25% that have replaced full-time with part-time positions, and 16% that have replaced full-time staff with casual employees. “It speaks to the extraordinary resilience of the SME business owners, that despite their expectations of a tough time ahead on many fronts, 71% remain optimistic regarding their business prospects for the next 12 months. And the SME business owners are working hard to overcome their challenges - with 48% now working even longer hours than in the past. “However, we seem to need some circuit breakers to help SMEs break through their negative sentiments and begin to invest in growth and productivity for the future. A resounding 71% of SME business owners do not think the Government is doing enough to help small businesses in the current economic climate,” he said. ENDSMedia contacts Rebecca Murray, FCR: t (+612) 8264 1002/ +61 423 338 005Andrew Briggs, Bibby Financial Services (Aust): t (+612) 9310 8921/ + 61 403 096 807 Bibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. With over 6000 clients in 14 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au or follow them on Top tips for better profits 2012-08-15T23:12:00Z top-tips-for-better-profits Sydney, 16 August 2012: Businesses exist to make money and if a firm does not generate sufficient profits it may fail. The margin between what businesses charge for their products or services and the cost to provide them can have a huge impact on the success or failure of an enterprise. Charge too much and the business may lose customers, charge too little and profits will be too low for survival. Even profitable businesses may fail if they cannot raise the finance to cover money tied up in outstanding invoices - and yet the cost of an overdraft or other form of finance may erode your margins. Furthermore, many traditional providers want to see profitability as a pre-requisite for providing finance in the first place. Greg Charlwood, Managing Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia, said, “In the current tough environment, we are advising our clients to give additional focus to maximising their profit margins. Business bankruptcies are rising, with ASIC statistics show that 1123 companies were placed into receivership in February 2012 – the highest number on record since the statistics were introduced in 1999, with the majority of these being small businesses with fewer than 5 employees. Our Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey, published in April 2012, found that small business expectations for a healthy business environment had declined by 6% over the previous six months - based on intention to invest in the business, expectations of sales growth, ease of managing cash flow, business confidence and levels of business stress. “ In order to help business owners and managers strike the right balance and maximise profit margins, Bibby Financial Services has developed the following top tips: (1) Reduce operating costs – look at where your business spends its money in producing its product or service, e.g. travel costs and stationery. Set up regular cost-reduction forums and consult with your staff on ideas. Are there any areas that can be cut back without having a negative effect on profits? (2) Review your supplier base – is the business paying for external suppliers to provide a service that could be carried out more cost effectively internally? Can you consolidate your suppliers? (3) Reduce cost of financing - consider ways to improve cash flow to reduce your cost of financing, since the longer debt remains outstanding, the longer it has to be financed through overdrafts or other mechanisms. Consider using debtor finance to reduce your accounts receivable cost and cost of finance. (4) Learn to negotiate – talk to your key suppliers and ask about early settlement discounts or loyalty bonuses. According to our recent Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey, 45% of businesses surveyed offered this facility to customers with a discount in the range of 3-6% the most common. If you don’t ask, you don’t get! (5) Shop around – research your supplier’s competitors and find out what prices they charge and what discounts they are prepared to offer. (6) Buy in bulk – consider buying raw materials and supplies in bulk at a cheaper price per unit. Where possible, consider pooling resources or join a bulk-buying group with any other business owners to get even better discounts. (7) Diversify your product range – try to sell new lines to existing customers as well as attracting new ones by adding to your product range. Trim your range of non-profitable products to focus all your energies on the profitable ones. (8) Minimise the risk of bad debts – bad debts erode hard-earned profits very quickly, so it’s important to safeguard your business. Consider a reputable business debt recovery agency to work on any delinquent debts to give you piece of mind. (9) Know your worth – are you charging enough for your products or services? Review your pricing to ensure that you are keeping up with inflation and your competitors. Build value in the minds of your customers through marketing and promotional activity, and show other ways of using your product or how it will directly benefit the bottom lines of their clients or their businesses. (10) Work smarter – investigate whether marketing or promotional funds can go further. Track the return you are getting on your activities. Are there complementary firms or organisations that you could pool marketing spend or resources with? (11) Consider sales incentives – look at ways to incentivise staff or customers who exceed sales targets or introduce new customers. Often internal sources will be the most cost-effective channels for new business Mr Charlwood said, “Running your own business is one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding things that you can ever do and requires motivation, entrepreneurial flair, determination and creativity. In order to be successful, it is vital that you know how much your product or service is worth and manage the fine balancing act between charging your customers the right prices and making enough profits to meet your revenue and profit targets,” he said. ENDS Media contactsRebecca Murray, FCR: t (+612) 8264 1002/ +61 423 338 005Andrew Briggs, Bibby Financial Services (Aust): t (+612) 9310 8921/ + 61 403 096 807Bibby Financial Services is one of the world’s leading global debtor finance specialists (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. With over 6000 clients in 14 countries worldwide, Bibby Financial Services is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Debtor finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. Bibby Financial Services Australia has grown dramatically, in recent years at an average 20% pa, due to increasing awareness of debtor finance as a smart choice for improving the cash flow, and a commitment to providing flexible, tailored solutions quickly. It now serves clients nationally, via a network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au New financial year tips for growing your business 2012-07-12T23:30:58Z new-financial-year-tips-for-growing-your-business Sydney, 13 July 2012: The current business environment is a challenging one, with difficult economic conditions creating cash flow challenges that can limit business growth. This ten-point checklist from Greg Charlwood, Managing Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia, outlines how businesses can review their financial position and strategies for growth for the new financial year. 1. Refresh your vision of successTake a measured look at your business as it stands – where are the opportunities for growth? What can be improved upon? Explore ways of optimising your current business, or creating new products or services for your current customers. Identifying concrete goals and objectives to guide your business through the new financial year is an important way of improving your chances of achieving these objectives. 2. Don’t neglect administrationCreating an organised filing system for paperwork and invoices can take the headache out of credit management. Disposing of outdated paperwork and staying on top of sales ledger entries, credit notes and adjustments will help to prevent cash flow problems from occurring and ensure your business is organised and capable of achieving growth. 3. Do your credit-checksWhile new business prospects are particularly exciting in the current business environment, always ensure you carry out credit checks on new customers. This will allow you to identify trends in their repayment behaviour and avoid any payment issues in the future. Credit checks can be done quickly and relatively inexpensively. Circumstances affecting existing customers are constantly changing, so it is also worth regularly reviewing their status. According to the February Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey, currently only 20% of small businesses regularly conduct credit checks. 4. Manage your customer relationshipsBe sure to maintain open lines of communication between your business and its customers, ensuring that you continue to refine customer service standards. Maintaining a close relationship withyour customers will help establish a reliable source of sales revenue and minimise issues with repayments. 5. Ensure invoices are issued in a timely fashionTimely issuance of invoices is the cornerstone of a healthy business cash flow. Our Bibby Barometer research showed that half of Australia’s SMEs are experiencing delays compared to a year ago, and so invoices that are issued early and are diligently followed up will allow your debtors plenty of notice to pay their receivables, improving your cash flow. 6. Keep tabs on your competitorsKnowledge is power, and keeping track of who your competitors are and what products and services they offer will give you thepower to stand out in the crowd. Keep abreast of news and developments within your industry and take note of any new trends. This knowledge will give you the knowledge you need to refine your competitive advantage and achieve growth for your business. 7. Get the best from your suppliersAssess your suppliers and confirm that you are getting the maximum value for money that the market permits, comparing rates and prices from other suppliers to ensure that you are minimising your operating expenses. Take particular note of any special deals or discounts on offer and try to negotiate longer credit terms. However, a loyal supplier may prove to be a useful ally during tough times, so don’t forget the importance of establishing and maintaining close relationships. 8. Why not try debtor finance?Cash flow is an essential indicator of the health of your business. Sticking to cash flow budgets and ensuring invoices are paid in atimely fashion is paramount. If your cash flow is limiting your working capital, look into alternative forms of financing. 34% of small businesses report that they are more likely to consider non-bank finance in the current economic climate. For example, debtor finance providers can pay up to 85% of outstanding invoices usually within 24 hours and also follow up your debtors for you. 9. Get your return in earlyDon’t put off your tax return until the deadline is looming, get it underway as soon as is practical to get a more accurate picture of your cash flow heading into the financial year so you can concentrate on growing your business. Make sure your accountant has the transactional records needed to complete your return. 10. Take time out and celebrate your successTake time out of your busy schedule to enjoy and reflect on your successes along the way, as surviving in the current economy is a sign of success. Running a small business is stressful and there are many challenges along the way. Taking a well-earned break will allow you to renew your energy and focus for the year ahead. Employees too are at their most productive when they feel valued and acknowledged, so reward your team for achieving their objectives with inexpensive staff events during the course of the year. ENDS MID-YEAR OUTLOOK FROM BLACKROCK’S RUSS KOESTERICH: 2012-06-28T22:57:34Z mid-year-outlook-from-blackrock-s-russ-koesterich Sydney, June 29, 2012 – In 2012’s second half, investors will face “a rocky road” compared with the year’s first few months, with the potential “fiscal cliff” in the U.S. as well as Europe’s ongoing turmoil both posing risk to a still weak global recovery, according to Russ Koesterich, Global Chief Investment Strategist for BlackRock’s (NYSE: BLK) iShares business. “At mid-year, the global economy is in roughly the same position as it was six months ago – an anemic recovery threatened by a European crisis,” Koesterich said, in a just-released update to his “iShares Market Perspectives 2012 Outlook” originally published in December. As he did in December, Koesterich currently assigns a two-thirds probability to continuing global expansion, albeit at a below-trend pace, and a one-third probability to Europe provoking another global downturn. At the same time, he noted, “a number of risks have the potential to cause a global double-dip recession,” including Greece’s continuing problems, weakness in the Spanish banking system, and the potential hit of simultaneous tax hikes and spending cuts in the U.S. at year-end. In particular, Koesterich said, investors might be underestimating the possible impact of the U.S. fiscal cliff. “Investor behavior suggests that the risk is not currently discounted into asset prices,” he said. Europe remains the major risk, Koesterich noted. “While it appears, following the June 17 elections, that a Greek exit from the eurozone is not as imminent as some had feared back in May, the election results do not change the underlying fundamentals,” he said. “There is still a significant tail risk that Greece may eventually decide to exit the euro. Even if Greece remains in the euro, a bolder plan for tighter fiscal integration is proving frustratingly elusive. “Due to Europe’s issues and the uncertainty surrounding U.S. fiscal policy, we expect volatility to remain elevated,” he said. “We continue to advocate for a relatively conservative portfolio composed of high-dividend paying stocks and U.S. ‘spread products,’ such as investment grade and municipal bonds.” Mid-Year Outlook Charts Market Directions, Offers Investment Ideas Koesterich’s mid-year outlook, “What’s in Store for the Second Half of 2012,” outlines the major factors likely to shape market directions for the next six months and provides a near-term outlook for key global regions and asset sectors, with details of related iShares investment products. Absent a worsening of the crisis in Europe, economic growth in 2012’s second half should be broadly in line with the first quarter—positive but subpar – with U.S. growth around 2% and global growth from 3% to 3.5%, Koesterich believes. “The U.S. is on marginally firmer footing and emerging market growth should begin to stabilize in the second half as the impact of 2011’s monetary tightening wanes,” he said. Europe’s Risk Factors Stretch Beyond Greece While investors enjoyed a temporary lull in Europe’s problems in early 2012, courtesy of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) massive injection of liquidity, the focus is once again on the Continent, Koesterich noted. Koesterich believes that the Greek banking system, Spanish banks, and political developments in Germany – Europe’s ultimate creditor – will be among the key factors shaping Europe’s fortunes as 2012 proceeds. “If the Greek banks continue to bleed deposits, the ECB will need to provide more emergency assistance to prevent a collapse of the Greek banking system,“ Koesterich said. “An even larger threat to Europe is Spain’s need to recapitalize its banking system, which is likely to cost at least €50 billion. To date, there is no credible plan.” Germany also represents a critical swing factor for the European markets, Koesterich noted, because that nation is under increasing pressure to accept a plan for mutualizing European debt. “Germany’s leadership has opposed such a move to date, but any development toward the pooling of at least some of Europe’s debt obligations would be a positive for the markets,” he said. Uncertainty will yield continued stress in the financial system, Koesterich believes. “We don’t see another recession or a Greek exit as foregone conclusions,” he said. “But Europe is no closer to a political, economic or financial resolution to its problems. “If Greece cannot abide by the terms of its austerity package, or if the Spanish banking bailout proves inadequate or unwieldy, then Europe’s chronic stress is likely to erupt into a crisis,” he said. A Looming “Fiscal Drag” in the U.S. In the U.S., potential year-end tax hikes and spending cuts could create more than $600 billion in “fiscal drag,” or the equivalent of roughly 4% of GDP. “Growth in the U.S. is unlikely to be better than 2%, so if the fiscal drag were to occur, we believe a double-dip recession becomes much more likely,” he said. “A compromise that would avoid the fiscal drag is by no means assured, yet investors are placing a very low probability on the drag actually occurring, partly evidenced by the fact that 2013 growth forecasts have remained remarkably stable over the past nine months.” Absent a clear consensus coming out of this year’s elections, November and December are likely to be marked by heightened volatility as investors grapple with the odds of a last-minute compromise, Koesterich believes. With Markets “On Edge,” Where to Invest? Markets are likely to remain “on edge” throughout the remainder of 2012, Koesterich said. “We prefer the relatively low beta of high dividend stocks—both in developed and emerging markets—and using any market weakness as an opportunity to add to longer-term positions in emerging markets.” In addition to offering attractive yield, dividend stocks are generally less volatile than the broader market, Koesterich said. ”Since the correction began earlier this year, dividend-focused indices have generally outperformed the broader averages,” he noted. Koesterich continues to advocate overweighting emerging markets. The continuing argument for the emerging markets rests on several factors including a longer-term trend toward less volatility, stronger economic growth, falling inflation and more compelling valuations, he noted. In late May, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index was trading for less than 11x earnings, the bottom quintile of its historical range. In the fixed income space, Koesterich has favored municipal bonds since late 2010. “Municipal yields are still at a significant premium to comparable Treasuries and there is little evidence of the feared meltdown in municipal finances,” he said. He also continues to prefer U.S. corporate bonds, particularly investment grades. “While high yield was the flavor of the month in the first quarter, we believe historically high spreads and less risk favor investment grade in the coming months,” he said. Bibby appoints Raffaele Giuliano as Business Development Manager 2012-06-27T06:17:32Z bibby-appoints-raffaele-giuliano-as-business-development-manager Australia, 25 June 2012 - Global debtor finance specialist, Bibby Financial Services Australia (BFSA) has appointed Raffaele Giuliano as Business Development Manager in Victoria to service growing demand for debtor finance and expand Bibby’s presence in metropolitan and rural Victoria. Mr Giuliano has more than 25 years experience working in the financing industry, most recently working for Octet Finance as a Business Transaction Specialist involved in payment financing. Before that, Mr Giuliano worked for over 15 years at Westpac Banking Corporation as a member of the senior management team with leadership and business development experience gained in both commercial banking and institutional banking businesses and prior to that, as Regional Marketing Manager for Australia’s Export Credit Agency, EFIC. Greg Charlwood, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services Australia said, “Raffaele has impressive experience in trade finance, working capital and supply chain finance and will be a valuable addition to the team in Victoria. There is no doubt that demand for debtor finance is on the rise and I am confident that Raffaele can service our clients and help grow our Victorian business.” Mr Giuliano said there is significant enthusiasm among Australian SMEs to invest and expand their operations however challenges with cash flow management are restricting opportunities to implement these investment goals. “The time is ripe for SME’s to look at their business assets and undertake a review of their business objectives as we move into a new financial year. If businesses foresee cash flow problems, particularly as a result of looming tax payments or are planning to grow or restructure in the year ahead, leveraging specialist borrowing tools such as debtor financing can be highly beneficial. “Debtor finance is an ideal asset class that allows SME’s to secure finance upfront through unpaid invoices to fund working capital and other business expenses. Factoring turnover increased by 31% in Australia over the past year and this strong growth is testament to the benefits it can provide, particularly in comparison to traditional forms of financing that require property as security. I look forward to working with the Bibby team to communicate the advantages of debtor finance and implement strategies for SMEs across Victoria,” Mr Giuliano said.Bibby Financial Services is the largest global independent specialist provider of debtor finance (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible and accessible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. It maintains a network of 32 companies and services approximately 5,400 clients in 14 countries worldwide, including the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, The Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, Poland, India, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. It is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807.Invoice finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners.For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au BlackRock: US housing prices may have hit bottom 2012-06-21T00:29:32Z blackrock-us-housing-prices-may-have-hit-bottom Sydney, 21 June 2012 – There are signs that real estate prices may have reached bottom in the United States, with minimal declines of up to 5% over the next year or so according to BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK). Ewan Cameron Watt, Chief Investment Strategist, BlackRock Investment Institute said, “Home prices in the United States have fallen to 36% from their peaks, and we believe the decline is slowing – and perhaps on the cusp of reversing itself. “Our base case takes into account competing market forces. On the one hand, many indicators are pointing upward. These include slowing price declines, increasing affordability, an uptick in loan demand and a reduction in supply. This is counterbalanced by factors such as the effect of retiring baby boomers, the weak financial health of the US consumer, the difficulty of obtaining a mortgage and regulatory uncertainty scaring off investors. “A tidal wave of baby boomers is expected to retire and downsize in the next decade, adding to an already greying population. People are also marrying later and college graduates are burdened by student debt and unemployment, depriving the market of its traditional source of demand from first-time buyers. Tough lending standards are another hurdle. “Most Americans have also become gun shy about buying a house. It is the mirror image from the boom years when aspiring homeowners were chomping at the bit. Then, they could only see upside because house prices would always rise. These days, most consumers focus on the downside – even if they have a perfect credit score. “On the flip side, owning a home has become more affordable than during the boom thanks to the price drops, record-low mortgage rates (if you can get one) and the effect of inflation. “Taking into account supply and demand factors, we don’t expect a quick rebound to the heady levels of the early 2000s, it is more likely the recovery will take the form of a long, flat “U” rather than a “V”. It may even flat line for a while,” Mr Cameron Watt said. According to BlackRock a holistic approach is needed to put the housing market back on solid footing. Actions include the need for government to guarantee mortgages; reshaping the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) as market intermediaries for credit support; transparent and simple rules for credit support; securitisation and foreclosures; prioritising and synthesising public policy; and respecting investor rights to attract private capital. “Sentiment is improving – slowly from a very low base. The majority of consumers expected only a modest decline in housing prices of up to 5% in a March survey and almost a fifth anticipated price rises, according to JP Morgan. A year earlier, a majority expected declines between 5% to 10% and fewer than 5% believed in price gains,” Mr Cameron Watt said.Launched this month, the BlackRock Investment Institute’s latest report titled, In the Home Stretch? The US Housing Recovery (attached), reflects BlackRock’s debate and conclusions.About BlackRockBlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At March 31, 2012, BlackRock’s AUM was US$3.684 trillion. BlackRock offers products that span the risk spectrum to meet clients’ needs, including active, enhanced and index strategies across markets and asset classes. Products are offered in a variety of structures including separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions. Headquartered in New York City, as of March 31, 2012, the firm has approximately 9,900 employees in 27 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company's website at www.blackrock.com. BlackRock appoints Andrew Landman as Head of Alternatives in Australia 2012-06-12T06:20:38Z blackrock-appoints-andrew-landman-as-head-of-alternatives-in-australia Australia, June 12, 2012 – BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) today announced the appointment of Andrew Landman as Head of Alternatives in Australia. In this role, Mr Landman will further strengthen BlackRock’s alternative investment capability in Australia to meet clients’ investment needs. Mr Landman has more than 18 years of industry experience and joins BlackRock from Ascalon Capital (a subsidiary of BT Financial Group) where he is currently Chief Executive Officer. Under Mr Landman’s leadership, Ascalon has successfully built a portfolio of nine single strategy hedge and high conviction funds across Australia and Asia Pacific with $4.2 billion in assets under management. In addition to his role at Ascalon, Mr Landman is Head of Investment Strategy at BT Financial Group. Michael McCorry, acting Country Head for BlackRock Australia, said: “Conventional asset classes alone will not be sufficient to fund the future liabilities of Australian investors. In today’s markets, which are characterised by low yields and increased volatility, alternative investment strategies have a greater role to play in investment portfolios. They offer the potential to enhance returns while reducing risk because of their low correlation to other asset classes.” Rick Arney, Head of Hedge Funds for BlackRock Alternative Investors said: “BlackRock is one of the largest alternative asset managers globally. Andrew’s appointment reflects our desire to expand on our position in Australia, one of the most advanced and established markets in the region. Demand from our clients for alternative investments is increasing as they seek to capture opportunities that maximise returns.” Joseph Pacini, Head of BlackRock’s Alternatives business in Asia excluding Japan, will lead the Australian Alternatives business until Mr Landman’s commencement with the firm. As at March 31 BlackRock manages approximately US$110 billion in alternative assets globally, of which US$20 billion comes from the Asia Pacific region. Globally, BlackRock Alternative Investors offers hedge funds, fund of hedge funds, private equity, real estate, renewable power and other specialised products. ENDS About BlackRockBlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At March 31, 2012, BlackRock’s AUM was $3.684 trillion. BlackRock offers products that span the risk spectrum to meet clients’ needs, including active, enhanced and index strategies across markets and asset classes. Products are offered in a variety of structures including separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions. Headquartered in New YorkCity, as of March 31, 2012, the firm has approximately 9,900 employees in 27 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company's website at www.blackrock.com.Issued by BlackRock Investment Management (Australia) Limited (AFS License No. 230523, ABN 13 006 165 975) (“BlackRock”). BlackRock believes the information in this document is correct at the time of issue, but no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given and no responsibility arising in any way for errors or omissions (including responsibility to any person by reason of negligence) is accepted by BlackRock. This information is general in nature, and has been prepared without taking into account any individual’s objectives, financial situation, or needs. Past Performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investing involves risk including loss of principle. 2012 BlackRock. All rights reserved. Debtor finance growth a result of cash flow pressure 2012-06-05T01:43:54Z debtor-finance-growth-a-result-of-cash-flow-pressure Sydney, 5 June 2012 – The latest statistics from the Institute for Factors and Discounters (IFD) for the March 2012 quarter, released on 30 May 2012, confirm the second highest factoring turnover figures on record of $1.26 billion for the March 2012 quarter, which represents a 31.4% increase on the corresponding March 2011 quarter. At state level, growth in factoring turnover was particularly strong in NSW and the ACT, with a 99% increase on the March 2011 quarter resulting in total turnover of $234.7 million. Western Australia also saw notable growth, with a 25.6% increase leading to total turnover of $241 million. Gary Green, National Sales Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia, said: “The consistent growth of debtor finance, particularly in NSW, confirms the increasing cash flow pressure on small and medium sized businesses outside of the mining sector. “The fluctuating Australian dollar, the knock-on effect of the Eurozone’s economic woes, weakening consumer appetites within the retail market as well as a continuation of the ATO’s focus on arrears, are all factors contributing to a sentiment of uncertainty within the SME sector. The manufacturing sector has been especially constrained by weak domestic demand and flat commercial and residential construction. “Due to this uncertainty, we are seeing many clients who do not wish to risk their personal property but need an increase in their lending facilities. Softening property values combined with stringent bank lending conditions might also be factors, as we are seeing many businesses that have had increases to their funding facilities refused by traditional lenders”, he said. “However, in Western Australia the drivers for debtor finance growth are quite different. The flow on effects from the mining boom mean that businesses are struggling to deal with cash pressures to fund the many new business opportunities. “It’s also clear that finance professionals, including accountants and finance brokers, are seeing more opportunities for debtor finance within their client bases, with referral volumes up about 23% so far this year.” “We are starting to see debtor finance recover and continue to perform very strongly against other types of business lending. In this environment, SMEs need flexible funding solutions and strong cash flows to address the increased uncertainty, and we would urge SME owners and managers to review their funding arrangements at this time,” Mr Green said. ENDS Reducing SME risks from supply chain collapses 2012-06-01T01:22:14Z reducing-sme-risks-from-supply-chain-collapses Sydney, 1 June 2012 – The potential collapse of Hastie Group is an important reminder to SMEs of the importance of managing supply-side risks and cash flow,” says Gary Green, National Sales Director for Bibby Financial Services Australia. “Given the potential collapse of many of the 44 Hastie owned businesses, it is likely that we will see a subsequent cascade of small business insolvencies, due to the whole supply chain being impacted. The immediate unemployment created by insolvencies such as Hastie, St Hilliers and Reed Group creates headlines, but the knock-on effects on smaller suppliers is also hugely significant and often hidden for a period of time,” he said. “The current economic climate continues to be very tough on non-mining businesses. As a financier of SMEs, we recommend that our clients reduce risk by broadening their supplier and client bases and by conducting credit checks on new and existing customers. In the current climate, with some large, high profile failures and ASIC reporting historically high levels of insolvencies, a ‘concentration’ of debtors and suppliers can expose SMEs to risks of bad debts and supply issues due to insolvencies. We urge businesses to review supplier and customer lists and consider worst-case scenarios as part of their risk minimisation strategies. “The Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey, conducted in February this year, indicated the vulnerability of small businesses to their biggest customers. We found that 12% of SMEs would have to fold if they lost their two largest customers, and 42% would have to significantly downsize,” Mr Green said. “The survey also showed the vulnerability of small businesses to bad debt. More than one in three would need to downsize or become insolvent if they had to write off debt of 5% of turnover. 27% had experienced a significant bad debt in the past 12 months, and the overall survival of 22% of SMEs was threatened due to cash flow shortages. “However, despite the significant risk of bad debts, we found only 20% of the SMEs conduct credit checks on new customers,” he said. SMEs should be encouraged to invest for future productivity 2012-04-24T05:10:43Z smes-should-be-encouraged-to-invest-for-future-productivity Sydney, 23 April 2012 – Business financier Bibby Financial Services is adding to calls for Federal Budget tax relief for small businesses, after finding that only 30% of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are planning to invest in their businesses in the next 12 months, while 19% plan to sell off assets. Bibby’s National Head of Sales Gary Green, commented: “Following the release of the Business Tax Working Group final report recently, the Federal Government is considering the recommendation that small businesses should be able to offset losses incurred in major investment spending of up to $1 million against tax they have paid in the prior two years. The report proposes that this ‘loss carry-back’ mechanism be phased in from 2013-14, with an initial one year carry-back period. “Our recent research shows that small businesses are even more stressed than they were a year ago. SMEs are weighed down by cash flow concerns, with 27% experiencing bad debts in the past 12 months. The proposed legislation will give small businesses much needed relief and allow them to focus on not just surviving but growing, impacting positively on the wider economy,” Mr Green said. “There is likely to be some hesitation from big business regarding how such a scheme will be funded, but we believe such businesses have been performing reasonably well in recent times, particularly in those local economies allied to mining. It is time the focus shifted towards small business, given that insolvency rates remain high. “Managing a small business is a tough balancing act. Our Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey conducted in February this year showed that more than one in three SMEs would need to downsize or would become insolvent if their two largest suppliers put them on cash-on-delivery status (39%) or if they had to write off a debt of 5% of turnover (37%). “While small businesses are experiencing difficult times, they face the need to innovate and invest to take advantage of structural changes in the economy – at a time when many large businesses, including mining companies and the banks, are making record profits,” Mr Green said. According to Dun & Bradstreet’s March quarter 2012 Trade Payments Analysis, the average time taken for the payment of bills by Australian firms was 52.6 days, substantially longer than in pre-GFC times. “The report confirms findings from our Bibby Barometer Survey – that many small business decision makers are suffering from late payments and many remain pessimistic about payment terms, with 36% of businesses expecting the length of time they must wait to be paid to increase further in the coming quarter,” said Mr Green. The survey found that the use of early settlement discounts to encourage timely payment of invoices was common among small businesses, with 45% of surveyed businesses offering this facility, most commonly within the range of 3 to 6%. Conducted in February 2012, the Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey is a national study run twice yearly, surveying primary decision makers in over 200 non-retail SMEs. ENDS Bibby Financial Services is the largest global independent specialist provider of debtor finance (also known as invoice finance, factoring, cash flow finance and invoice discounting) - a flexible cash flow funding tool for small and medium sized businesses. It maintains a network of 32 companies and services approximately 5,400 clients in 14 countries worldwide, including the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, The Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, Poland, India, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. It is part of the Bibby Line Group, a family-owned business-to-business services group with origins in shipping dating back over 200 years to 1807. Invoice finance is designed to improve business cash flow and support business growth by releasing cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Unlike other funding arrangements, no real estate security is required, making it more accessible for small and medium sized business owners. For more information on Bibby Financial Services please visit www.bibby.com.au <http://www.bibby.com.au>