Councils across England are on the brink of a financial “tipping point”, with the closure of public services such as leisure facilities, children’s centres and pothole repairs set to intensify over the next two years. According to the latest report by the Local Government Association (LGA), the impact of spending reductions will start to become increasingly visible over the next two years if action isn’t taken.
Small and medium-sized business in England and Wales should be right at the heart of this year’s local elections, business leaders – including one of the founders of Silicon Valley – have said this week.
Mark Hoffman, who helped set up a string of companies in Silicon Valley before heading into UK business with Oxygen Finance Ltd said: “Regardless of political persuasion, the first move that any councillor in England or Wales should make is to secure long-term benefits for small and medium-sized businesses in their area.
“Local authorities have a responsibility to champion entrepreneurs, and promote geographic areas, but they can also look at their own suppliers and think about bringing in local businesses to carry out council functions and contracts.”
Oxygen Finance has worked with a number of local authorities, from Oldham to Bristol, to help establish a better supplier and customer relationship between councils and their local businesses. The idea is built on working together to provide a better service locally, whilst also creating an income for the council to spend on frontline services, through a rebate system for using local suppliers.
Inefficiency and unnecessary delays in the speed of payment processes can undermine supplier relationships and serves to ultimately hold back economic growth. Oxygen recently estimated that if all local authorities and the NHS were to implement an Early Payment Programme, such as the plan implemented in Oldham, where suppliers are paid within 0-10 days, the income generated for the taxpayer could be enough to build 10 new hospitals.
Mark Hoffman, Global CEO for Oxygen Finance, has articulated a new vision for the future of software: Software companies will pay their customers for the privilege of serving them. And that practice won’t be limited to software, he predicts; it could surface in publishing and many other business and operational segments as well.
In this interview, Pcubed’s Director of Sales, Carl Dalby explores with Mark Hoffman how this new vision works and how Oxygen Finance is working with
A new survey conducted by
In the February issue of “Cllr”, from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Cabinet Member for Finance, highlights how Oldham Council delivers social value through the adoption of Oxygen Finance’s Early Payment Programme.
In the article entitled, ‘A Premium on Social Value’, he states that having social value at the ‘heart’ of what the council does has led to a new procurement framework, “which guides us to choose suppliers based on what they’ll do for our borough: such as paying our residents fair wages, creating new local jobs as part of our Get Oldham Working campaign, caring for our environment or supporting local community groups.”
He continues, “Every contract we sign now must work harder to deliver for Oldham, which is why we were excited to be the first in public sector to adopt Oxygen’s Early Payment scheme in 2012. This is a pioneering programme that enables local authorities to pay suppliers early in exchange for a cash return or ‘rebate’. We signed up because we know local businesses, especially SMEs, are the heartbeat of our economy and must be supported.”
This Early Payment programme potentially saves suppliers from having to pay overdraft or bank loan fees to ease their cashflow while they wait for payments. It’s a virtuous cycle which Emma Alexander, Oldham’s Executive Director for Commercial Services, knows suppliers find extremely beneficial: “The feedback from local businesses has been fantastic,” she said. “They tell us that cashflow is their lifeline and this gives them much- needed liquidity at a time when their costs are rising.”
“The system produces a ‘win win’ scenario for all concerned. It’s now generating income for the council with 193 suppliers across a range of categories, and has also delivered significant process efficiencies through improvements like the introduction of eInvoicing and compliance reporting which accelerate payments further. Early Payment is a great way to help the health of your local economy – and keep local people in employment – and it means we are true to what we say we are as an organisation. We’d recommend this scheme to any authority considering signing up. It perfectly complements our values – and it takes the meaning of value for money on to the next level.”
To read the full article (page 24), please click on the link below:
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has released a new paper, “Strengthening UK Supply Chains : Good Practice from Industry and Government”.
This paper sets out 12 business challenges where collaborative supply chain approaches are providing solutions. It concludes that strong and sustainable supply chains require large organisations to adopt a collaborative approach to their suppliers, working with them for long-term success. Supply chain collaboration can solve problems in skills, finance, innovation and supply chain efficiency – benefiting the entire supply chain.
The document also highlights that “traditional bank-based supply chain finance programmes are most accessible to large, investment-grade companies. There are, however, an increasing number of working capital platforms being established to provide working capital products to smaller, non-investment grade companies – often those operating further down the supply chain. These are often funded by non-bank institutional investors.”
Oxygen Finance is referenced first as a non-bank supply chain finance platform (page 10).
Please click on the link below to read the full paper:
Nearly two thirds of businesses have experienced late payments of 90 days or more in the last six months, according to a study published this month by software specialist Sage UK and Ireland.
Only 5 per cent of businesses claimed to have any faith in the Prompt Payment Code (PPC), established by the government in 2008 to tackle the issue of late payment. The overwhelming majority of business leaders classed the code as ‘ineffective’ (38 per cent), or ‘extremely ineffective’ (16 per cent). The remaining 41 per cent said they had not heard of the code.
Big businesses were the worst offenders for late payments, according to 46 per cent of respondents. This is followed by small businesses (16 per cent), the public sector (13 per cent), and individuals (8 per cent).
Lee Perkins, Managing Director of Sage UK and Ireland’s Start-up and Small Business Division, stated: “It’s time for the Government to roll up its sleeves and get on with clamping down on the notorious late payers which are starving smaller firms of cash flow.”
“Thirty days is long enough, but it’s absolutely criminal that the majority of firms experiencing late payments of sixty, or even ninety days.”
Commenting on the findings, Roberto Moretti, Chief Executive at Oxygen Finance Ltd, said: ”This survey provides further compelling evidence that the real scourge of businesses today is late payment. In practice, the Prompt Payment Code is viewed by the majority of business leaders as toothless and ineffective.”
“There has been enough rhetoric in our view and this is now the time for positive, practical action. Through adopting Early Payment programmes, CFOs of large corporate or public sector organisations now have the opportunity to effect meaningful change, without the disruption typically associated with it.”
“The solution we have developed generates substantial income for the buying organisation, whilst accelerating payments to smaller suppliers in return for a rebate. This boost to the economy is achieved at a “net zero” cost to the buying organisation. Programmes are delivered non-intrusively through a turnkey service and managed on an industrial scale. There’s no IT hardware to implement, no people to resource and no capital outlay required. There has never been a better time for CFOs to look closer at Early Payment as a strategic income generative solution that also delivers powerful CSR and economic benefits.”
Roberto Moretti, Chief Executive at Oxygen Finance Ltd, was recently invited to a roundtable meeting at 10 Downing Street to discuss innovative solutions for improving access to capital for businesses.
The event was organised and attended by Lord Young, the British Prime Minister’s Small Business Adviser, with senior officials from the country’s Department of Business, Innovation & Skills also in attendance.
Roberto Moretti explains: “Oxygen Finance is honoured to have been recognised by the British government for its innovative business to business payments solutions. We are always delighted to participate in discussions on issues of such a critical importance to global economic growth.”
“Traditional sources of finance have consistently come up short in their ability to sustainably deliver liquidity throughout the supply-chain to fuel the recovery. This can only be achieved by new thinking and a fresh approach.”
“Early Payment from Oxygen Finance is unique in that it delivers a fully contingent and turnkey solution that benefits
According to new research conducted by EY, companies deliver superior financial performance when their CFOs enter into “business partnering” relationships with supply chain leaders.
The global study, “Partnering for performance”, surveyed 423 CFOs and heads of supply chain at leading companies, half of which have revenues of US$1b+.
The research found that almost 50% of respondents who advocated this partnership approach reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) growth of more than 5% in their company over the past year. This compares favourably with just 22% of those who practice a more ‘traditional’ approach.
Oxygen Finance, founded to become the largest business-to-business payments network, believes that the opportunity to engage more fully with the supply chain is greater still, since significant latent income can be liberated.
Roberto Moretti, CEO of Oxygen Finance Europe comments: “The supply chain is the core foundation for a substantial source of income. CFOs are now able to ‘monetise their spend’ through adopting Early Payment programmes with their suppliers which generate a new, rebate income in exchange for payment ahead of contracted terms.These non-intrusive programmes, where the complexity and the heavy lift is taken away from the purchasing organisation, create a compelling reason for supplier connection and optimised processes.”
Oxygen acts as an enabler, generating greater efficiencies within the supply chain and enhanced transactional transparency and connectivity between the CFO and procurement leaders.
Andrew Caveney, global supply chain leader at EY, said: “When cost reduction leapt to the top of the corporate agenda at the height of the financial crisis, supply chains – which typically hold a large proportion of many companies’ costs
In response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement:
Roberto Moretti, Chief Executive at Oxygen Finance Ltd in the City of London, said: “In 2008, 4,000 businesses failed as a direct result of late payments. As the economy begins to recover in 2013, this autumn statement was the watershed moment for small businesses.
“We are disappointed that the Chancellor has seemingly ignored prompt payments and early payments as a crucial driver of growth, but now it is up to local authorities, government departments, the NHS and every organisation in the public sector to continue to take the lead – just as they have in places like Oldham, Northumberland and London.”