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Wgton businesses need better financial literacy

Wellington businesses need better financial literacy

Wellington businesses could benefit from gaining further business and financial skills, according to Westpac General Manager Business Banking Bruce McLachlan.

“Wellington is a centre for innovation, but to really capitalise on the entrepreneurial spirit and good business ideas, people in business need to improve their financial literacy.”

It pays to be on top of your business, says business owner Don Malcolm of Malcolm Total Logistics. “It took me two attempts to get School Certificate Maths,” confesses Malcolm. “As a kid, figures on a blackboard didn’t mean much. But when your money and house are on the line, you need to understand what is going on. We’ve got a turnover of $20 million a year, so it is very important on any given day to know where we are.”

Keeping on top of the books is vital for Malcolm as he manages a boutique customs and freight forwarding business, a cartage firm, and a dangerous goods management company with 58 staff in total throughout the country.

Recently Malcolm took three senior accounting staff to a two-day financial literacy seminar called Beyond Survival. “It was sufficiently complex to be interesting, but not too complex that I couldn’t understand it.”

He says he now better understands his own books, and how banks view his business. “Over the last 17 years I’d wonder why banks asked certain questions, and now I know why. I’ve gained interesting information on how banks look at things, and the ratios they use. Now I can understand and speak their language.”

He thinks businesses with a genuine interest in looking forward and being competitive will benefit from doing a financial literacy course. “It’s more competitive these days and margins are slashed, so you have to be smarter to survive.”

Beyond Survival is being offered in Wellington on 14 May and 18 June.

Financially stronger Wellington businesses will result in increased economic and social benefits for the wider region, says Bruce McLachlan. “Better financial knowledge and money management skills could increase the success rate of Wellington startups and existing businesses. Greater efficiency will help local companies become world-class, and compete internationally.”

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