Caitlin Sykes

Caitlin Sykes is the NZ Herald's Your Business editor

Small business: Getting paid faster - Justine Mitchell, Boomrock

Justine Mitchell is the general manager of Wellington-based Boomrock.

Justine Mitchell, general manager of Boomrock.
Justine Mitchell, general manager of Boomrock.

Can you tell me a bit about Boomrock?

Boomrock is situated on a 3000-acre coastal property about 30 minutes from Wellington's CBD. We are a multi-faceted business offering activities, client entertainment, weddings, conferencing, private celebrations and driver experiences on our race track and all-terrain park.

The business is also a working farm with more than 8,000 sheep and cattle, which supplies our own Boomrock Premium Lamb brand for the New Zealand market. And we have a sister business, FleetsafeNZ, which emerged from the driver training we offered at the Boomrock track.

What are some of the needs you have as a business in terms of cashflow?

Because of our diverse offering we need fast, efficient and flexible accounting options. A large portion of our business is made up of regular clients, so the accounting system we use needs to reflect our streamlined service delivery and be as easy for our clients to deal with as it is to organise an experience with us.

We need constant and prompt cashflow so we can reinvest this in new activities and experiences for our customers, and if the accounts are invoiced and paid in a timely way this leaves us time to focus on the more important aspects of our business and provide better service and experiences for our customers.

Can you tell me about your payment terms and the impact that has on getting paid faster?

We have seven-day payment terms and given we have long-term relationships with many of our customers, they support us by meeting these terms where possible. We are also fortunate to have minimal bad debt.

Our customers also have to book early to secure their Boomrock experience, so generating deposits provides security and goodwill for both parties once confirmation is received for an event. That also has the obvious benefit of supporting the cashflow.

Do you have any other tips for getting paid faster?

We made a change to Xero as our accounting system about two years ago and have found this to be a very smart business decision and an invaluable resource for a number of reasons.

For example, it gives our customers the option to follow a quick link to view and pay their account online, making the payment process easier and smoother for them as well as faster for us. The dashboard facility also gives a quick visual assessment of our current cashflow position and the bar graphs are a quick tool to identify overdue accounts. We also find the notes feature and expected payment date option a useful tool to record communications, as we often have multiple people responsible for following up overdue accounts when we juggle other business needs.

I'd also say that engaging the expertise of a reputable accounting company is key to the overall health and management of the business. As an alternative to hiring multiple CFOs for each of our companies we have engaged our accounting company to be the financial controller of our group of businesses. They liaise directly with our bank and act on our behalf as required. Having regular meetings with our accountant and viewing the reports generated from Xero helps us quickly identify our profitability, and this has the added benefit of ensuring the business can still operate effectively if there is a change in circumstances.

Coming up in Small Business: Crowdfunding campaigns are an increasingly popular way for companies to raise funds for projects. What has worked, and what hasn't, for companies that have run these campaigns? If you've got a story to share, get in touch: nzhsmallbusiness@gmail.com

- NZ Herald

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