Cash Flow Coaching Kit: a great new initiative from the Australian Taxation Office

You may have seen or heard that the ATO has sponsored a new Cash Flow Coaching Kit that’s designed to help Accountants and Bookkeepers 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.

 

Where to find it

The Cash Flow Coaching Kit Canvas is a new Report Bundle Kit. Sign on to Calxa online (this feature isn’t available in our desktop application), go to Reports and Bundles. You’ll see we’ve moved the Create New Bundle to the top of the list – something requested by accountants with a long list of bundles. When you click on it, 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.

 

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 (the Change Lever cards have some useful suggestions) you can decide on the highest priorities and an action plan.

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, 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 – it 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.

The initial feedback from accountants and bookkeepers we spoke to were concerned at the approximate number as this would rely on the client’s best guess and unlikely be very accurate. Whilst we can’t get the exact cash transactions from the accounting system, the feedback prompted us to re-look at this and use some smart guesses to get something close that won’t require much effort on 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 (but it would be a good idea, wouldn’t it?) 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.

 

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.

 

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You can find more information on how Calxa can help you with your business cash flow on our Cash Flow Forecasting solutions page.