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Get your finances sorted with Micro Business Forum

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

✦ Getting clarity on your numbers is the best thing you can do for a healthy business so you can thrive going forward. Three experts on different areas of finance come together to share about how business owners can empower themselves.

Micro Business Forum, the friendliest small business network in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area pride themselves on sharing knowledge, providing networking opportunities and offering support to start-ups and small business owners.

Recently, they organised a panel session with three finance experts to help business owners understand their finances better, and learn how to gain clarity on the confusing word of numbers.

Panel Speakers:

Judith Jackson is a Registered BAS Agent and Bookkeeper at Bean Guru supporting small business owners and accountants on essential parts of running a successful business. Judith ensures the books are up to date and accurate and help you understand your financial reports.

Dean Cohen has been running Persuasion since 1991 with 100 active clients that he recovers money for. Persuasion uses many tools to collect money from sending letters, emails & SMS to proceeding with legal action if needed. They also use a Debt Recovery program called DebtCol to manage all our debt collection needs.

Alyson Ogilvie-Lee is an Accountant & Business Strategist, specialising in business restructuring and insolvency, helping in excess of 200 companies in Australia, New Zealand, USA & Germany since 1994. In July 2021 Alyson joined three partners and relocated to Cor Cordis to focus on the recovery of Australia post pandemic, guiding small to medium businesses.


This presentation is intended to provide general information only and is not financial and tax advice. It should not be relied upon as financial and tax advice or as a substitute for financial/tax/legal advice.You should consult with a qualified Taxation Lawyer or Accountant. MBF uses this platform to provide small business owners with guidance and information only.

Top 6 Challenges of a Small Business Owner

Brilliant-Online's Edgard Lopez was there to moderate the panel discussion and there was a lively discussion where Judith, Dean and Alyson explored important issues that can help small business owners make a positive change.

If you are a start-up or a small business owner, you may well resonate with these 6 challenges.

  1. Access to funding

  2. Debt collection and repayment

  3. Inconsistent cash flow

  4. Emergency expenditures

  5. Reporting

  6. Top tips to prepare for your tax returns

All three experts repeatedly highlight the need to be organised, and to get our books, numbers, admin and paperwork in order. Here's a golden rule from Dean who has seen many cases in the debt collection area:

Get your systems in place (credit applications) from the very beginning, and stick to your limits.

It's not cheesy to say here that prevention is better than cure. Watch the video to get tips from Judith about how to avoid getting into the tricky realm of having to require the services of a debt collector.

Running a business is not unlike when we were in school - we took notes, organised them and filed them clearly so we could review them well in time before the exams and have all the information well under control. So in business it's the same. It's important to be diligent and organised i.e. follow up if money is owed, and make sure your paperwork e.g. invoices are properly done. It's never 'just a piece of paper', so give due attention to your paperwork and get them in order.

Judith suggests having a plan to ensure clarity and certainty about the ins and outs of your numbers. It's not a guarantee but it does give you something to work towards and measure against. Alyson supports this by reminding us to use KPIs to analyse your business and measure your cashflow. Make sure the marketing tools and software that you use can help you with your KPIs.

The panel also pointed out the importance of insurance, learning to choose the right type of insurance for your business e.g. cyber, medical, income, liability etc.

May is the time to fix that appointment with your tax accountant and have a talk to plan and structure your business. It's your tax accountant who can also help you speak with the Tax Office. When it comes to tax issues, it pays to do it properly from the very beginning. As Alyson says, "Don't sidestep your accountant."

It was an information-packed session we had with the panel, and we had some interesting shares from the floor as well with real life examples from business owners. What everyone got out of these discussion sessions at Micro Business Forum is practical tips and ideas business owners can implement immediately or use to help them get unstuck and to move their businesses forward.

Watch the panel discussion here:

Access to funding (Go to 05:40)

There are many opportunities and alternatives of income available to business owners. It is true that we spend money in order to make money. The key is how we get the funding and how we are spending it.

  • Do we cut expenses or do we invest to grow or do we redistribute money?

  • So why is it good to sometimes take up a loan or look for investors?

  • How can we take advantage of grants from the government?

  • What other sources of funding are available?

Debt collection and repayment (Go to 11:57)

We don’t want to be in debt nor do we want to have customers owing us money which affects our cash flow.

  • What is an acceptable debt level?

  • Should we give credit?

  • What are some of the strategies to collect payments?

  • Should businesses charge interest for late payment? How much?

  • How much does a debt collector charge for debt collection?

  • What if we need to sue a debtor?

  • Do you write off bad debts and implications to tax?

Inconsistent cash flow (Go to 43:33)

How do we ensure good cash flow? Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Prepare and maintain a cash flow forecast

  • Establish clear payment terms

  • Invoice right away

  • Offer periodic payment packages

  • Make payment easy for your clients

  • Minimise your debtor days

  • Focus on cash flow, not profits

  • Look at the big picture

  • Outsource CFO services

Emergency expenditures (Go to 47:46)

Surprises may happen despite careful planning e.g. repairs (due to floods, fire, accidents etc). What can businesses do to reduce the negative impact of such events?

  • How much should we buffer and why?

  • How about insurance?

Reporting (Go to 52:47)

Organize, organize, organize! It's important to get your books in order.

  • How can reporting prevent financial loss or give headlights to where the business is going?

  • What can we do to have effective reporting?

  • How often should we look at these reports?

Top tips to prepare for your tax returns (Go to 1:09:17)

The panel experts explains what we need to know about personal, company and super.

  • What are the things to think about when preparing your tax return?

  • What can we write off or expense out?

  • Tax payment - instalments?

What's your biggest takeaway after watching the discussion?

If this has been useful for you, remember to out more meetings, networking and events at MBF and see for yourself why we say they really are the friendliest support network you'll find! Here's to thriving businesses in our communities!


Micro Business Forum


Post: P.O. Box 9339, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444


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