The Huge Risk That Your NFP May Be Taking During COVID-19 – Matthew Brannelly

It’s no exaggeration to say that many NFPs in Australia are taking a huge gamble with one of the key elements of their plans to remain operational during the present crisis.

What about you?

Have you considered what would happen if your telecommunications went down and there was no backup, no support, and nobody there to help you fix things?

It may sound alarmist but that is the reality that NFPs (and many other organisations and businesses around the country) are facing.

Reality check: Your telco service centre is NOT in Australia

We’ve had some good news recently with the COVID-19 outbreak appearing to show some signs of slowing within Australia.

The Huge Risk That Your NFP May Be Taking During COVID-19 - Matthew Brannelly

That’s a relief for all of us – but it may not be enough to save your telecommunications going down.

You see, over the last 24 months, all major Aussie telcos moved their service centres to the Philippines or India as a cost-saving exercise.

While the job cuts in Australia have been widely publicised, the risks to organisations in times of crisis have not – and those risks are currently being realised.

With the well-publicised lockdowns from the Coronavirus in both the Philippines and India, there are few people available to deal with communications issues if they arise.

As the pressure builds, the telco’s employees are being asked to focus on sales – not service.

What does this mean for your organisation?

1. Your telco almost certainly operates its service centres from the Philippines or India
2. Right now, most of these are closed and are only able to offer a skeleton service
3. If you call your telco’s service centre, you may not even be able to speak to anyone

Try it. Have you called them in the past week or two?

Where does that leave your business continuity plans during COVID-19?

That’s an important question that too few organisations have addressed.

Despite so many organisations now implementing work-from-home policies, few appear to have considered what happens in the event of telecommunications failure.

Problems with your primary service could be crippling. No phones. No internet. No calls. No messaging. The business could be brought to a standstill in an instant.

As work-from-home policies are designed, plenty of thought goes into security, logistics, and infrastructure. But all that is worthless unless you have a redundancy plan in place that provides backup for telco failure.

Even some large organisations don’t appear to have taken this huge threat seriously enough.

Without effective communication services, no organisation can successfully navigate these challenging times.

The NFP space has already felt the impact of the Coronavirus, with some established organisations losing contracts or closing their doors because they have been unable to provide services.

Things could get worse without a telco redundancy plan in place.

Fortunately, there is still time to do something about this. That’s what I’ll address in the next post.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane – Use of Solar to Reduce Energy Costs in Business

Many businesses and not for profit organizations are looking for ways in which to bring down their operational costs. Being a well-known champion in the Not for Profit sector Matthew Brannelly Brisbane has managed to come up with simple but effective ideas that have helped revamp many of these organizations to trim down on expenditure while improving on their performance at the same time.

What makes Matthew Brannelly Brisbane’s ideas to be the most sought after is that they are so simple and straight to the point and can be implemented with much ease. Therefore, in terms of reducing the cost of energy in these organizations, and make their operations sustainable, using his expertise and vast experience, through his organization known as the Orbit Hub, together with his ever-dependable team, they launched its consultancy solution, Orbit Switch.

Solar to Reduce Energy Costs

This approach, in the end, has proven to be worthwhile. It has enabled many Not for Profit entities to save huge chunks of their expenditure on energy and channel these funds into other meaningful activities. In other words, the Orbit Hub has enabled these organizations to widen their approach when it comes to energy efficiency by using solar as an alternative source of energy instead of electricity, which in most cases has become too expensive and not so environmentally friendly.

Another approach by Matthew Brannelly’s team rapidly being embraced by many organizations is the issue of holistic solutions. Since many of them have different needs, hence the need for tailor-made solutions for each site.

Apart from the customized solutions and quality products, they also offer maintenance and monitoring services. There are also long-term warranties on each of their renewable energy products like the solar panels including accessories such as inverters for a period of up to about twenty-five years.

As an organization, you should strike while the iron is hot by taking advantage of all this to cut your energy costs.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane – If You Want Peace, Always Listen to Your Accountant

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane tries to explain how our trusting nature has landed us in hot soup at some point in our lives. He is most of the time fascinated by the number of people who get into trouble from too much trust of the other party. Furthermore, trust cannot just exist on its own. There must be other elements supporting it to ensure its continuity like how to maintain it.

However, every so often, trust takes a back seat as we take most things for granted in our lives. Even the most important ones are treated just as casually as the rest. We are so accustomed to taking things casually in that we only take notice when things start crumbling around us.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane - If You Want Peace, Always Listen to Your Accountant

According to Matthew Brannelly Brisbane, most of our businesses suffer because of the casual approach and lack of trust in each other. You want to start a business or you are already operating an established one for that matter but do not trust your accountant’s insight or the people around you. You are always suspicious of everyone.

Trusts are a very important part of a legacy for any person or business entity and must be updated now and then. Failure to which you will be courting a disaster in the future. They are what will put things in order in case there is a dispute. Many trusts are withholding massive amounts worth of assets but have no proper documentation and in shambles setting the stage for disputes.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane earlier on observed how sharp accountants had suggested the need for business or asset owners to have by their side an independent appointor who is not involved in the day to day managing of the assets. This kind of agreement ensures that the latter does not have vested interest when it comes to executing the will.

Being an account himself, Matthew Brannelly reminds us of the great value that accountants play in our lives. They can provide you with elaborate strategies on how their clients can handle their estates without much trouble.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane – How an NFP saved $240,000 on Electricity through Smarter Procurement

I caught up with Sharon Musker from Wise Up Energy Solutions last week over coffee to talk about electricity bills.

Electricity billing concerns me. I’m especially mindful of the impact on my colleagues in the not for profit sector. Many have expressed their concerns about confusing contracts and billing and have asked me to help them. I knew Sharon would be able to give me some answers.

Sharon is an independent electricity consultant and understands bills, so she is the perfect source of truth.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane - How an NFP saved $240,000 on Electricity through Smarter Procurement

She said that many businesses are most likely paying more than they need to for power. Most don’t have the luxury of anyone on staff who understands electricity billing and the intricacies of procurement. And let’s face it, electricity retailers and even brokers are sales organizations and therefore have a different agenda when it comes to giving advice. One of the problems is that years ago we just got a bill and paid it but today’s environment is very different and that’s the message we need to get out.

I had thought that most retailers would be about the same with a bit of a discount here and there. Sharon explained that for large businesses it’s not all about the kilowatt energy price and a holistic approach needs to be adopted.

I asked her what could not for profits do to reduce energy costs other than turning off the lights.

The first thing she said was to get an INDEPENDENT energy professional on board, someone who understands the market, who can help and guide them through a thorough energy review. She recommended that clients dig deep into bills, contracts, metering, broker service charges, network charges and most importantly consumption data. They should know network pricing and the rules and keep in mind these usually change annually.

Informed clients would ensure bills are being checked against the data from the electricity meter as she is found lots of billing errors. You can’t just assume that they will be 100%. When you are talking about thousands of dollars if not more a month you would want to know if you are being overcharged. On the flip side, if you are undercharged, the retailers have 12 months to request it back, at a moment’s notice and no one budgets for that.

For sites with lower consumption, they might just need their current plan tweaked and she said that churning retailers weren’t always required. Some retailers give her direct access to better deals as they are not paying Wise Up Energy Solutions any commissions. It’s all about pushing the boundaries and knowing the limits and introducing business to different retailers who have different niche products, services or rates.

I asked her realistically how much can businesses save.

The best she has achieved for a client on a small business account was $7500 per year. But for a larger multi-site NFP it was $240,000. When you’re a not for profit with numerous sites in different networks with different plans, contracts, network charges, rules and retailers, that is when it gets interesting. The potential to save tens or potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars is a real probability and that’s not even mentioning solar.

Sharon said her target this year is to wipe 1 million dollars off her client’s energy bills, which is double last year’s results. For many small businesses, she’s really making a big difference.

Wise Up Energy Solutions is a member of the Orbit NFP Advisory Hub – a group of professionals committed to helping NFPs achieve smarter procurement outcomes.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane – Leaving a Lasting Impression in the Business World is Critical

According to Matthew Brannelly Brisbane, in one of his topics on how to get referrals, being a strategic advisor has its own merits. You get to secure for yourself a front-row seat concerning the advisory roles for organizations. By sharing your knowledge and ideas, you get to sharpen your expertise and creativity as well. When you are a leader, people will get attracted to you. They will always tend to fall over themselves just to please you, simply because you are a leader.

He goes on to say that if you want to be recognized for your needs, or want to climb the leadership ladder, then you should consider taking up a very active leadership role in that particular organization. This will raise your profile further, exposing you to more and better opportunities for yourself. If you want something done in an organization, the best way to go about it is by targeting the center of command.

Matthew Brannelly Brisbane - Leaving a Lasting Impression in the Business World is Critical

Matthew Brannelly explains in detail that by targeting an organization’s central command, you get things done faster and effectively. The same applies to our communities, where influential figures tend to have a say in the decision making processes on behalf of the rest of the people in those areas. These are the kinds of people that strategic advisors go for to get the real picture first before doing anything else.

In marketing, Matthew Brannelly Brisbane opens up by saying that those who have considerable experience in this area know that it is all about three things, which are: Educating Your Prospective clients, knowing the difference between your firm and others, and building lasting relationships with your customers, or any other business figures in the value chain.

Matthew Brannelly continues by saying that, to leave a lasting impression, you have to be yourself before all else. When you build relationships, you set the stage for future relations and more customers. Communication is key here. However, it all depends on your business language, and how you pass information from one party to the next.

ASIC gives green light to CPA for Licences

The Accounting Bodies are taking on the institutions…finally.

With over 90 % of the advice market controlled by the Banks, accountants have a significant opportunity to stand out from the crowd with an independent approach to licencing.

Less than three months out from the accountants’ exemption expiring, CPA Australia has announced that ASIC has granted an AFSL and an Australian Credit Licence (ACL) to its wholly-owned subsidiary, CPA Australia Advice.

In June last year, CPA Australia announced it would establish a new wholly-owned subsidiary to provide independent financial advice to Australian consumers.

“We are very pleased that ASIC has confirmed CPA Australia Advice has been granted its AFS licence and ACL. It is the critical next step for us as we work towards being operational by 1 July this year,” said CPA’s chief executive Alex Malley in an announcement released this morning.

“When we announced our plans to enter the market, we were clear that we wanted to set a new benchmark for professional and ethical conduct in making independent financial advice available to all Australian consumers.

“The granting of these licences means we can now get on with the job of delivering on those objectives.

Why Accountants should Lead the Estate Planning Converstion for SMEs

Of the 50 % of SME’s I meet with wills, most are inadequate. Usually because the lawyers or the clients haven’t properly understood the structures in place.

Recently, a client with a very successful business said everything was in place – his usual lawyer had done his wills. Based on past experience, I asked to see a copy – and when it arrived it was a basic 2 page will. Problem was he didn’t own any assets, they were in trusts and a company. This combined with a second marriage and children from a combination of 3 parental pairings ( at different times ) meant his will would have been destined for court .

Having given him the “good news” that they were ineffective we set about understanding his intentions regarding his current spouse and how the estate would be divided up one she passed away. The complexity was creating a succession plan for the entities that would pass beneficial control to the spouse and then the kids ultimately and ensuring the spouse couldn’t alter the succession plan after the husband died.

It took us a lot of creative thinking working with the accountant to create a structure which involved:

  • Adding testamentary trusts for each child as default beneficiaries to the trust
  • Having the wife and accountant become trustees of each of the kids TTs to ensure the husband’s intentions were followed
  • The shares in the company to be left to the kids TT’s .
  • Added multiple back up appointors to the trust to mirror the controls required via different succession stages

This strategy ensured:

  • The kids were protected
  • The wife was protected as a beneficiary via the kids TTs
  • There was succession
  • The accountant played a vital role as an independent trustee

We could then brief the lawyer about the overall strategy knowing it worked at a corporate level. We also took advice in formulating the plan re changes to the entities control provisions.

Unfortunately, all too often, accountants aren’t involved in the process and as a result lawyers do not receive a proper brief (through no fault of their own).

The accountants I work with are now getting used to playing an integral role in designing the estate plans for their clients and remaining a central figure in the ongoing management of the estate process. The clients love the outcome.

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