The Cash Flow Coaching Kit is a great initiative from the Australian Taxation Office. You may have seen or heard that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has sponsored a new Cash Flow Coaching Kit. It’s been designed to assist Accountants and Bookkeepers who want to help their clients to better manage their cashflow. And, along the way, pay their tax obligations sooner.
We liked the concept – anything that helps advisors improve their clients’ businesses must be useful – but we, and many practitioners we spoke to, didn’t like the manual card system they provided.
So, we automated the canvas from the Cash Flow Coaching Kit.
ATO Cash Flow Coaching Kit in a Bundle
The Cash Flow Coaching Kit Canvas is set up in Calxa as a Report Bundle Kit. Go to Reports, Bundles and Create New Bundle. You’ll see the Cash Flow Coaching Kit amongst the pre-configured bundle kits. Simply select the organisation and budget to use and then create your bundle. At this point, changing the name from the default is a sensible idea but you can do that afterwards as well.
What do you get?
When you run the bundle, you’ll see a cashflow canvas report showing year to date actuals and then a forecast for the next 12 months. These are followed by the Action Checklist. Advisors can use the Document Editor to add actions after discussion with their client and then a series of Change Lever cards and a related KPI.
The idea is that when you, the advisor, discuss the highest priorities for change with your client you can decide on an action plan. The Change Lever cards have some useful suggestions that will guide you.
It’s simple to disable reports in a bundle by just turning off the Change Lever cards and KPIs that you’re not using this time. Then, simply re-run the bundle and save a copy for the client to take away.
Where do the numbers come from?
The numbers on the Canvas reports are an estimate of the cash transactions in the business.
The original paper-based design relied on approximate numbers, not drawn directly from the accounts. The initial feedback we had from accountants and bookkeepers was that this was far too approximate. Purely, as this would be relying on the client’s best guess and was unlikely to be accurate enough to be useful. We can’t get exact cash transactions from the accounting system, but we’ve used some smart guesses to get something close that won’t require much effort on the part of the advisor whilst consulting with the client.
Changing the numbers
Unlike most of our reports, the Canvas reports are editable, and this is especially useful on the forecast one. You can discuss with your client what the numbers should be, make changes on the screen and then save to a PDF for the client to take away. You can also add numbers and a label to the empty cells on the canvas.
We don’t save those numbers anywhere so remember to update your budgets afterwards.
Don’t forget that you can also re-configure the reports to, for example, run the Actuals canvas for the last month or quarter and the forecast one for the next month.
Now, create a workflow to deliver the updated bundle to your client at the beginning of every month so they can monitor their progress.
Change Lever Cards to Start a Conversation
One of the most useful parts of the Cash Flow Coaching Kit is the Change Lever Cards. We’ve included them as documents in the bundle, based on the cards in the original paper kit. What’s good about them is that they give you a series of questions that are great conversation-starters to get your clients thinking.
For example, if your client has a revenue problem, you could start with the Pricing Change Lever card. It has suggestions on how you might be able to increase prices, how you could focus more on the most profitable customers or products or on selling more products to existing customers. If you want some inspiration (and we all do some days!), they’re a good starting point. And once you get that conversation going, you and your client can bounce ideas around and come up with a plan to improve their cash flow.
We’ve matched each of the Change Lever cards with a relevant KPI chart so you can monitor progress over time. Even if you don’t find the canvas reports particularly enlightening (and you wouldn’t be the first), pick up the parts that are useful to you and use them to build your client relationships and help to guide them in the right direction.
If you’re unsure on how to approach this, start with our great series of articles and webinar recordings on Starting a Conversation with your Client.
Collaboration on the Automation
As usual, we haven’t done this all on our own and we’ve had some encouragement and good feedback along the way. We owe special thanks to the team at ABN, the Australian Bookkeepers Network, and our Brisbane-based Accredited Partner, Fiona Bell of DependaBell Accounting Services.
You can find more information on how Calxa can help you with your business cash flow on our Cash Flow Forecasting solutions page.