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Cheng & Co: Empowering Accountants And SMEs Using Curlec’s Online Direct Debit Solution

As Covid-19 continues to unfold globally with most countries putting their citizens under lockdown, the repercussions of the pandemic are causing a profound effect on businesses, both big and small – challenging professional services to configure their workforces and operations to better manage their client’s cash flow position and maintain visibility over the cash pipeline as a first line of defence.

From a business perspective, accountants generally struggle to get clients to pay their fees on time. And unpaid invoices can leave serious gaps in the financial report, along with the hassle for accountants to chase the late payers. Now, with unprecedented economic uncertainty, accounting firms are resorting to acquiring advance payment prior to the work submission to ensure they are able to cover and maintain the necessary expenses and overhead.

Accurate financial reporting is crucial in driving decisions that run the business. And for the calendar year end businesses, this will be the first financial year when the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak are reflected in their financial statements.

                               Tom Wong, Chief Executive Officer of Cheng & Co.

Founded in 1993, Cheng & Co is one of the largest local accounting firms that serves over 6,000 SMEs in Malaysia by providing professional business services in the areas of tax, accounting, company secretarial and business consulting. With over 14 branches located across Malaysia and 4 branches overseas including Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Australia, the company serves predominantly SME businesses along with fellow startups and larger corporations.

Prior to adopting Curlec, Cheng & Co was facing a number of challenges, including time wasted relying on manual administrative work, as well as chasing for late payments with invoices as low as RM1.25.

What’s more, 100% of their clientele were utilising manual methods such as cheques and bank transfers to pay their dues, putting a large portion of effort for Cheng & Co into managing time and manpower to solve these discrepancies in their cash flow.

There are a number of implications on how the disruption of cash flow can affect your business. But now, coupled with the current economic uncertainty due to the outbreak as well as having the team work remotely from their homes with limited access to their clients, the process of issuing and collecting manual payments continues to be delayed until the Movement Control Order (MCO) period has been lifted. And having limited to no access to client documents in the meantime proves to be a major issue in ensuring business continuity.

Speaking about the repercussions of Covid-19 towards the firm,

“Being in the B2B space, many of the businesses we serve are closed until further notice to comply with the MCO order. And due to this closure, we are not able to physically meet with our clients and they are not able to make their payments on time, causing a significant disruption in our business practices,” said Tom Wong, Chief Executive Officer of Cheng & Co.

In seeking to improve its operational efficiency during this lockdown period, Cheng & Co aims to upgrade their subscription-based model by incorporating Curlec’s Direct Debit system to automatically collect and reconcile these payments with their own accounting system.

“It is imperative for businesses to evolve and adapt to new technological advancements in order to keep pace with the changing global landscape, especially with the current situation today,” said Wong.

                                                         The Cheng & Co Team

And now, with the partnership with Curlec, Automated Direct Debit has become a new standard for Cheng & Co’s clients in Malaysia.

Incorporating Curlec’s services designed specifically to handle both recurring (designed for recurring secretarial services) and one-off payments (for tax services), the system has enabled Cheng & Co to not only provide a seamless payment cycle for its clients, but also diversify it’s payment plans to provide more options that benefits both the firm and the clients during this MCO period, such as the incorporation of instalment schemes within the terms for outstanding payments.

“With Curlec, we are able to redefine the way we receive our returns as well as diversify our payment offerings to suit the different agreements we have with our clients, offering both reliability and the flexibility needed to weather out these trying times. Making strides in payment efficiency, Curlec integrates seamlessly with our cloud-based accounting software, Xero to streamline our entire collection process, helping to digitise our businesses in line with the current situation, thus, giving our clients the full package.”

For a traditional business like Cheng & Co, Curlec’s payment solution makes the payment process easy to initiate and monitor, as they work closely with the company to integrate all the invoices with payment links for our clients to easily make payment through email or WhatsApp. Since the company has incorporated everything into a single system, Cheng & Co know exactly when they get paid as well as what is coming down the cash pipeline every month, making it so much easier for the company to plan its internal finances.

“Moving forward, we are working to move at least 50% of our collection done through Direct Debit”.

If you would like to take full advantage of Cheng & Co’s collaboration with Curlec, please leave your contact details below.

 

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Instalments For All, Even Non-Credit Card Holders?

The everyday practice of paying via instalments isn’t something foreign to most, and has become commonplace even among today’s youth. With the bulk of people opting for this payment method for most commitments that would otherwise eat off impossible chunks of their income, large purchases become more and more accessible for folks of all income statuses.

Be it for car, home or tech appliances, this practice sees people of various walks and ages taking advantage of instalment plans to prevent them from breaking the bank.

But with 47% of Malaysian youths facing high credit card debt as of early this September and only 18% of Malaysians between the ages 20 – 74 who are credit card holders, there are more and more reasons for modern-day citizens to shy away from credit cards. Rationales include high interest rates, poor financial habits and risk of low credit scores.

When credit cards don’t come into play

But what about those who don’t qualify to register for credit cards? The eligibility criteria varies according to each bank but in general, a minimum age of 21 and income of RM24,000 per annum applies. So if you’re not earning at the very least RM2,000 and above a month, bid goodbye to your chances of enjoying the advantages of a credit card.

The startup that’s beating the system

Yet, there is a way around it. DokkuPay, a Malaysian startup manages to find the chink in the armour and makes the option of paying via instalments available for those who would rather not use credit cards. DokkuPay is a payment solution app which allows you to purchase items first, but spread the total cost over 4 equal instalments with bank accounts. And get this, interest-free!

In a nutshell – “Buy Now, Enjoy Now, Pay Later.” as their saying goes.

“We believe that everyone is entitled to buy things that they want without having to pay one lump sum at once. There are clear pitfalls to using traditional credit products to obtain what you want, when you want it. Life can quickly become defined by the debt itself, rather than the things it acquired.”

The Ins And Outs

  • Following that, add a payment method on the app by verifying your bank account details. This is exactly where Curlec steps in and makes such automatic “instalments” possible – via Direct Debit. Curlec enables this by authorising DokkuPay to collect recurring payments from bank accounts.
  • Begin shopping as per usual and when it’s time to checkout, purchase a voucher code on the DokkuPay app and apply this code when checking out on the merchant’s website. Essentially, DokkuPay pays for you!
  • With that settled, your instalment schedule of four equal instalments begins within five working days from the day of purchase, where your first instalment will be deducted from your bank account via Curlec’s Direct Debit. The remaining three instalments then become due every two weeks thereafter. Throughout each transaction, Curlec acts as the third party between DokkuPay and the user to allow such deductions to be made.

 

Dokkupay on the App Store and Google Play

Curious users may wonder about any hidden fees. Fret not as DokkuPay stays true to its claim of being 100% interest-free guaranteed. The only fees that come into the picture are the late fees incurred for any unsuccessful scheduled payments, in which case RM10 will be charged per late payment. So make sure you have sufficient funds in your account.

At the core of a FinTech revolution with Curlec

The founders behind this FinTech collaboration are Lim Kah Hoe, CEO of DokkuPay and Zac Liew, CEO of Curlec. Both these startups are among many FinTech companies who are playing a pivotal role in moving Malaysia to a cashless society step-by-step. One making the possibility of paying via instalments a reality for everyone, the other simplifying recurring payments for businesses in a seamless manner.

With a vision to democratise financial services here in Malaysia, coupled with the entrepreneurial spirit aflame inside them, these companies are paving the way to more convenient and all-inclusive payment solutions for the general public and business owners alike.

“We want to be the innovating force to the retail economy and we aspire to empower customers in managing their finances and becoming their most go-to payment method. This was never possible until Curlec came about and now we are able to offer instalment payments by bank accounts.” – Kah Hoe

DokkuPay is merely one among the many startups who work hand-in-hand with Curlec, who are the primary force behind such cashless payment options. This collaboration was brought about through a startup accelerator programme named 1337 Ventures. Aimed at discovering, funding and launching emerging startups, this programme gave Curlec the opportunity to play a bigger role in growing the local FinTech ecosystem.

As part of Curlec’s support scheme, all startups on the 1337 Ventures programme were offered Direct Debit services from Curlec free of charge for the first 6 months. This was intended to help get these startups off the ground, all the while supporting likeminded FinTech companies in the hopes of catapulting Malaysia towards the direction of a smarter paying society.

Just as how DokkuPay realised their goals with Curlec, your business too can benefit from our Direct Debit system, contact us below this page to find out more!

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Improving The Membership Experience At DOJO With Direct Debit

“What really sets Curlec apart was the way in which their solution completely integrates with the Direct Debit process. We were keen from the outset to use Direct Debit as it is cheaper and allows for seamless payment collection. We don’t just save on transaction fees, we save time.”

– Dewan Ng, one of the Co-Founders of DOJO.

 

DOJO is a co-working space located in downtown Kuala Lumpur that was launched in January 2018. It was born out of a mission to empower the creative and entrepreneurial community, by creating unique work spaces and providing personalised services to connect members to a powerful network.

As a company that relies on monthly membership payments, DOJO were eager to find a payment solution that could simplify their payment collection processes and keep up with them as they look to scale. This is where Curlec came into the fold.

Scaling the Business

Before choosing Curlec, DOJO analysed other existing payment options that mainly relied on credit cards. “What really sets Curlec apart was the way in which their solution completely integrates with the Direct Debit process,” explained Dewan Ng, one of the co-founders of DOJO. “We were keen from the outset to use Direct Debit as it is cheaper and allows for seamless payment collection. We don’t just save on transaction fees, we save time.”

In addition to enabling hassle-free payments, Curlec provides a scalable Direct Debit solution that fits into DOJO’s growth plans. “We currently occupy a 7,000 sq. ft. space in Menara Amplewest, and will be expanding to 21,000 sq. ft. in a couple of months. We have plans to eventually expand this upwards in our building,” said Dewan. “As Curlec is an automated, online solution, the high admin cost that is usually associated with growing a business disappears.”

Creating an Ecosystem

In addition to acting as a physical co-working space, DOJO has created an ecosystem whereby their members gain personalised services, such as on-demand insurance.

“As advocates of innovative ideas and design, we needed a payment solution that reflected this,” explained Dewan.

“Curlec is entirely cloud-based and requires very little manual intervention, which perfectly complements the tech ecosystem that we are trying to build.”

If you would like to know how Curlec can help your business scale, like DOJO, please contact us here today by filling the form at the bottom of this page.

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Making Payments Easy For The Union

“Curlec has enabled us to reduce our cash flow risks and taken away the administration associated with payment collection” – Carlos Villa, Founder of Union Strength

Union Strength was founded by Carlos Villa in 2017, and it was born out of a mission to provide a community of like-minded gym goers a space where they could truly focus on strength and conditioning.

Prioritising Cash Flow

Malaysia has seen a recent boom in the fitness industry with the number of gyms rising dramatically over the past decade. However, many of these gyms have been unable to sustain themselves and in some cases, closed within a year of opening. This epidemic has not been exclusive to boutique gyms, with international fitness chains falling foul as well.

With this in mind, Carlos was keen from the outset to ensure that he had all the infrastructure in place to ensure that managing cash flow would not be an issue. This involved finding a solution that would be easy for customers to sign up to whilst also simple for the Union Strength team to use when collecting membership fees.

“When I was working on my business plan it became clear that managing cash flow was paramount to success. We’ve made a large investment in equipment and needed to ensure that members have an easy and simple way to pay their monthly fees,” explained Carlos.

“We also needed a system that didn’t solely rely on credit cards as this would not account for our entire member demographic.”

Partnering with Curlec

Union Strength opened its doors in December 2017 and has been taking full advantage of Curlec. As a start-up company, Carlos has been keen to ensure that as many of his processes are digital and automated.

“We used Curlec’s Instant Pay feature to collect our one-off introductory offer. Following this, we have been signing up clients online using Direct Debit,” said Carlos. “The different payment options and the fact that we know our monthly fees will be collected on time is a huge benefit for us.”

If you would like to know how Curlec can help your business stay in control of cash flow, like Union Strength, please contact us here today by filling in the form beneath this page.