Connect with us

How to Guides

Financial Management and Accounting Support for SMEs

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) realised that one of the key challenges faced by SMEs is a lack of financial management and accounting support. So, as the foremost body involved in the development of chartered accountants, SAICA established an enterprise development and SME support hub — the Enterprisation Hub — in 2013.

SAICA

Published

on

Accounting-support

Vital Stats

  • Company: South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
  • Contact: 08610 72422 (SAICA)
  • Visit: saica.co.za

A hub of success

The Hub primarily addresses skills development and employment for young, previously-disadvantaged accounting graduates, and also provides SMEs with unique back-office support relating to accounting and management consulting services.

This model is designed ultimately to reduce unemployment among graduates, and also to assist SMEs in participating profitably in the mainstream economy.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

Since its establishment, the Hub has supported 138 SMEs, with 110 actively serviced clients. It has groomed 16 graduates, of whom three have taken up permanent employment at mainstream organisations.

The success of the Hub is attributed to, among others, the strategic partnerships that have been forged with leading institutions such as SAGEONE, BANKSETA, FNB, the Small Enterprise Funding Agency (Sefa), the Department of Economic Development and Guarantee Trust Corporate Support Services.

The importance of SMEs

SAICA’s project director for Enterprisation, Byron Riddle, believes that small businesses are a core vehicle for driving the development, growth, and sustainability of South Africa’s economy.

“Through the relevant training and skills development offered to accounting graduates from previously disadvantaged communities, Enterprisation also provides much-needed assistance to job-seeking graduates. This initiative is intended to support the SME market through the provision of quality services that small business owners would otherwise not be able to afford.”

New opportunities have followed on the success of the Enterprisation Hub. It has partnered with the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) to provide accounting and back-office support services to NEF-funded SMEs.

BANKSETA’s Inclusive Banking division has an initiative called the Entrepreneurial Skills Project for SMEs, which provides training and mentorship for entrepreneurs starting a business — and these entrepreneurs will be referred to the Enterprisation Hub for bookkeeping and accounting services.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Outsmarting The Market

Services that are offered by Enterprisation:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Business finance consulting
  • Payroll services
  • Tax registration and submissions.

While business owners have to accept ultimate accountability for their business, Enterprisation adds value by:

  • Alleviating the pressure that business owners may experience by not having access to accurate and well-maintained monthly financial records for their businesses.
  • Contributing to the overall going-concern value of businesses through ensuring accountability and good business forecasting and budgeting.
  • Ensuring that business owners are always in possession of accurate and complete financial records when applying to credit providers for additional funding.
  • Accepting ultimate accountability for the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Ensuring that business owners understand the importance and potential benefits of up-to-date and timely tax submissions.

The Enterprisation Hub will be opening a second office in partnership with Sefa at the Riversands SME Incubation Hub in Fourways, north of Johannesburg. Other offices will also be opening in Cape Town and Durban to provide accounting and bookkeeping services to SMEs in those regions.

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. As South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, the Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 38 000 members who are chartered accountants and hold positions as CEOs, MDs, (board) directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and other leaders in their chosen spheres of business operations and public life. Most of these members operate in commerce and industry, and play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development, but some are also employed in the public sector.

Advertisement
Comments

How to Guides

The Steps Involved In Joining An Investment Holding Company For High Growth

There are many growth capital avenues available for established entrepreneurs. One of those is joining an investment holding company. Is this the right move for your business?

Published

on

growth-capital-for-business

Let’s say you’re a high-growth, high-impact business that’s reached a ceiling; a point at which you need to seek investment partners as a growth tool. Many mature businesses approach an intersection at which it becomes clear that they need to unlock capital, identify mentors, or collaborate beneficially with other subsidiaries.

If your goal is to join an investment holding company, what are the steps involved and what can you expect from the process?

Sustainability and scalability are the key

To begin with, it’s important to clarify the difference between a private equity (PE) investor and an investment holding company. PE investors need to go into an investment knowing what their exit strategy will be, while groups choose to invest in businesses that have shown themselves to be sustainable and scalable. As long as they continue along that road, the group is more likely to hold onto them. You are also a member of that group, and subject to its board.

In the case of MICROmega, we seek first to understand the business. If we are able to do that, we look for sustainability and scalability, and if these characteristics are clearly evident, we go on to pursue an investment opportunity. This is typical of investment holding companies.

Related: Dragon’s Den Polo Leteka Gives Her Top Tips To Attract Growth Capital

Once we become the investment holding company, we try to remove as many of the subsidiary’s distractions as we can: Alleviating administrative and financing burdens so that business owners are free to focus on growing the business. In our experience, growing businesses become more and more administratively intensive, which can bog entrepreneurs down.

This is ultimately a partnership, so everyone should benefit from the association. At the same time, you need to be sure that the investment holding company shares your values — this is a long-term relationship, and you need to know that you’ll be happy down the line.

What would-be subsidiaries need to do

business-subsidiary

1Define exactly what you want

While there are some basic strategic values that any partner should be able to bring to the table — namely, access to capital, industry-specific networks, and economies of scale — it’s wise for an investor-seeking business to have a predetermined idea of the specifics that they require from a potential strategic partner.

2Research, and research again

Any long-term investment relationship should begin with extensive research on the investment partner universe. There are many potential investment partners out there, but each has specific investment mandates, sector or industry preferences, and value preferences. Ensure that you can identify and understand these.

3Be clear on your own risk profile

The quantum of funding required will impact the choice of funding partner. When you understand your risk profile relative to the type of returns on offer, you’ll be able to determine, and strive to seek out the most appropriate funding source.

Related: Common Mistakes SMEs Make When Looking At Growth Opportunities

4Unpack your plan for the capital

Businesses seeking to be acquired should be clear on what they will do with the capital to be contributed by the investment partner, and how growth will be achieved.

5Ask the investor the right questions

I’m a firm believer in would-be subsidiaries ensuring that they adequately evaluate potential investors. The starting point is to ensure that the interests of both parties are aligned.

Thereafter, further questions should cover:

  • Investors’ detailed track records
  • Their investment mandates
  • The returns that they target
  • Their typical risk profiles
  • The origins or sources of their funding.

6Ensure a sense of shared spirit

It is essential that the investor and the organisation’s priorities and approaches are aligned at the outset; that they are on the same page. Many things can go wrong between entrepreneurs and financial partners, and the worst outcome is that the investor crushes the entrepreneur’s pioneering spirit.

Related: What Type Of Growth Funding Do You Really Need?

In such a scenario, no one wins. This is why I believe that both parties should be happy, with a sincere sense that they have entered into a partnership that will create value on both sides.

Regardless of who your investment holding company is, you should expect it to provide access to capital and support throughout the business; provide mentorship and ideas around innovation; and help you to create an environment in which you are able to focus on innovating, and not on administration management.


Checklist

  • Do you know what you’d like from an investment partner?
  • Have you thoroughly researched potential partners in your sector?
  • Have you determined your risk profile versus potential returns?
  • Do you have a plan on what you intend to do with any capital raised?
  • Do you have a clear list of questions to ask any potential investors?
  • Have you evaluated whether there is value-alignment?

Continue Reading

How to Guides

10 Ways You Should Invest Your Company’s First Profits

When the company finally starts making money, invest it so that it keeps making money.

John Boitnott

Published

on

business-growth-empire

You may have heard of the tradition of saving your first dollar from your first sale. Mom and pop stores have them framed near cash registers or tucked lovingly into office drawers. It serves as a symbol for the toil and joy of building a business.

So you’ve earned your first rand(s), and now you’re wondering what to do with them. Here are some of the best ways to invest and reinvest your company’s first profits.

1Business improvement

Most startups spend their initial profits in reinvesting, and your company should be no exception. The key to reinvesting is to have a sound strategy, not to necessarily devote a certain percentage of your profits. Your reinvestment efforts should be in line with your current strategic plan.

Most business owners choose to reinvest their profits in business improvements – for example, infrastructure, equipment, streamlining business processes, or finding ways to improve the customer experience. These are all valuable strategies because they can increase your profits in the long run, allowing you to expand business operations.

Related: Successful Entrepreneurs Limit The Downside To Maximise Profits In The Future

2Marketing

Digital marketing is always a smart investment of profit, when it’s done well. Many of the startups I’ve seen over the years wait several months before they do any real investment into marketing. Sometimes it’s because they just don’t know where to start.

You can’t lose by investing in performance metrics. Always keep track of your campaigns and adjust them accordingly. If you have little experience with marketing, consider outsourcing to an agency.

3Invest in your team

Building a better workforce will streamline your business, improve productivity, and create the kind of company culture that will attract hard workers. Reinvest profits in human resources initiatives such as training and continuing education.

As your company grows, you can expand to include benefits packages and other discounts. Investing in your employees early on will help you reduce turnover.

Keep in mind, hiring a new employee costs a lot of money – about six to nine months of a lost employee’s salary, on average.

Related: How Smart Managers Drive Profits

4Invest in yourself

Find ways that you can improve yourself in subject matter expertise. For example, many startups are spearheaded by people with a good eye for innovation but who don’t necessarily know how to manage people.

This is actually one of the most common criticisms founders face. Classes on management or basic business operations can be invaluable for people who don’t come from a formal business background.

5Hire help

To that end, entrepreneurs are also guilty of trying to wear all of the company hats. Recognise when you need help, and ask for it. New hires can provide the technical skills and know-how to keep your operations running smoothly. This is one of the best investments you can make in the long run.

6Consider coaching

If you’re unsure of how you should create your strategic plan, consider using some of your profits to hire a career coach. These professionals can provide guidance on executive leadership, creating a business strategy, talking to investors, and handling conflict between employees, among other things.

Related: What the Power of 10% Rule Can Do For Your Profits

7Outsource your least favourite tasks

We all have a dreaded task that sucks some of the joy out of running a business. For some, it’s balancing the books or running payroll. For others, it’s assessing and tracking the efficacy of marketing campaigns or content creation for the company blog. Fortunately, you can outsource most of these to third parties. Find someone qualified and hand over the task.

8Improve your SEO

First, if you launched a company without a website, create one. Second, spend some time, money, and energy getting that website to the top of Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). For the uninitiated, Search Engine Optimisation is a tricky beast, but you’ll get the hang of it (or find someone qualified and outsource it).

The small business administration offers a useful primer on the topic, as well as other resources. If you’re looking for a way to see a significant return on investment in a relatively short time, this is one way to do it.

9Create a cash buffer

While reinvesting in your business is great (and necessary), make sure you’re sitting on enough cash to handle problems that may arise. While your business insurance policies will cover the disasters and catastrophes, it’s always advisable to have liquidity available for when you really need it.

10Don’t diversify too early

Many budding entrepreneurs make the mistake of diversifying their investments too early in the process. Stocks and bonds are important, but so is building your empire. To invest your first profits, start with what you know. No one knows your business like you do, so it seems like the natural place to start.

For now, enjoy your first profits by putting them back into the fruits of your labor. Take care of your employees and customers, and your profits have a better chance of growing organically. With time and proper investment, you’ll soon be poised to open another location or expand to a new market. Reinvestment will always be a smart business move.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

How to Guides

Do You Know What You’re Worth?

How to determine your hourly rate.

Published

on

personal-wealth

We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re there right now. You charge out your work at a certain hourly rate, but you’re suspicious that you’re either a) being ripped off or b) hitting above your weight.

It’s more than likely that the only way you judge if your pricing model is accurate is against what you think your competitors are charging.

When a prospective client walks in with a quote from across the street to see if you can do the same – for less – you carefully examine that quote for clues as to what you should be charging.

More than that, there is often a real fear near the end of the month that you might not cover your running costs.

You hope and pray for a big job to come in soon so that you can charge a big deposit and at least pay salaries.

I’m here to bring you good news today; there is a better way.

Determining Your Hourly Rate

Knowing what your true hourly rate should be in order to cover your overheads and expenses will give you a clear path to business control, growth and potential profit.

So how do we do it? Initially it takes a bit of work, but after it is calculated it is relatively low maintenance and will ensure you run your business smarter.

Related: How Can You Compete Without Discounting Your Price?

Start With Your Cost Centres

cost-business-centres-separate

Aside from making up the basic framework and substance of a business, and being the basis for creating a profit, cost centres are what we use to determine hourly rate.

A cost centre is used to break the business into measurable portions in order to determine if that portion is profitable. A cost centre could be your design team, your delivery fleet, or your expensive machine that fills one third of your factory floor.

The reason we break up a business into cost centres is to better identify and isolate variables to determine how efficient they are. This is less overwhelming than trying to improve efficiency as a blanket rule across the entire business.

If you have an ERP or BOS system in your business that handles your business admin and quoting, then make sure you understand how to set up your overhead and production cost centres in that system.

We like QuickEasy BOS for this as it has a handy cost centre Wizard that allows business owners to have full control and clarity into this step. Alternatively, if you do not yet have ERP software, this will be a more manual process for you.

Every business has two types of cost centres:

A business has direct and indirect costs, and these require two different types of cost centres.

Production cost centres

These are the direct costs. These contain expenses such as equipment or computer costs, monthly maintenance and production salaries – costs directly associated with the production of a product or service that you sell.

  1. Machine costs: The total replacement value of a machine or computer or equipment, broken down to a per-month value.
  2. Maintenance costs: Does your equipment need monthly maintenance? This must be included in your calculation – perhaps this is your IT maintenance contract or your vehicle’s service fees. Provision must also be made for breakdowns and repair.
  3. Labour costs: Only salaries directly associated with production are to be added here. The machine operator and his assistant, the driver, the designer using his Mac book – their weekly or monthly salaries will be included in this cost centre’s cost.

Related: What Is The Real Cost Of Your Time?

Overhead cost centres

These are the indirect costs. These contain expenses that are not necessarily directly recovered from the sale of your product or service, but are necessary to support the business.

These are expenses such as electricity, rent and admin salaries. Essentially the ‘expenses’ from the Income Statement, less the production salaries.

There are typically many production cost centres in a business, and only one overhead cost centre.

Overhead costing models

When considering how to cover overhead costs, there are two models that can be implemented.

The first approach splits the overhead costs across the business’s cost centres, and includes them in the hourly rate. This ensures that every estimate and quote covers a portion of your Overhead expenses. Each production cost centre accounts for a percentage of the overhead expenses – the larger the production cost centre, the greater portion of the monthly overheads is allocated to it.

Alternatively, overheads can be excluded in the hourly rate and added as an adjustment or markup in your quote.

Productivity

Determining the hourly rate depends on the productivity within a cost centre.

Knowing how many productive hours are available for work to go through that cost centre will help you determine what each hour should cost.

  1. Weeks per year: With 52 weeks in a year, not every week is productive for your staff members. There are two weeks of public holidays every year, and three weeks of annual leave. That leaves 47 productive weeks in a year.
  2. Hours per week: With 40 hours typically available per week, in reality most people are only productive 80% of the time. That leaves 32 productive hours per week.

To calculate the productive hours per month (which you will use to calculate hourly rate) take weeks per year, multiplied by hours per week, divided by 12. Or:

Hours per month = (weeks per year x hours per week) / 12

Note: Be attentive when it comes to your productivity calculation; not all cost centres are as productive as the next. If after a while you notice a cost centre only sees 20 hours of work a week for example, then the calculation will reflect a higher hourly rate.

Initially you may have to do some thumbsucking to start the ball rolling; feel free to use these values (above) for your baseline productive hours as a start. Alternatively, your ERP or BOS system should show you monthly cost centre recovery so that you can adjust productivity accordingly. Once again, we like QuickEasy BOS for that.

Related: How Salary Transparency Empowers Employees – And When Not To Use It

Calculating Hourly Rate

We’re almost there – you’re about to find out what you should charge per hour for each of your cost centres.

To determine your hourly rate, total your monthly costs (equipment, maintenance, labour) and divide this by the productive hours of the cost centre, or:

Hourly rate = monthly cost / hours per month

 Apply this to each of your cost centres. There you have it! Rinse and repeat. Now that you know what hourly rate is required, you can recover the costs of operating each cost centre.

Once you have implemented this don’t just leave it there – salaries increase, equipment is replaced, electricity goes up – so be sure to review your cost centres from time to time to make sure your expenses are up to date and reflecting accurate costs.

After that, it is up to the business owner to determine if the cost centre should charge a flat hourly rate, or what markup or adjustments should be made to the calculated hourly rate in order to make a reasonable profit.

The guesswork is removed, anxiety is replaced with clarity and the business owner can make price-decisions based on fact.

Continue Reading

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​