Quick Fix: Catapult Innovations on Getting Paid
Melbourne-based company Catapult Innovations designs and manufactures wearable tracking technology for elite athletes, supplying high profile clients like the Australian Cricket Team, as well as overseas sporting teams and training institutes. Over half its trade is in export, along with half the risk.
Since start-up in 2005, partial payment prior to shipping an order has been integral to Catapult’s positive cash flow. “We stipulate that there’s a 50 percent payment upfront,” says chief operations officer Igor van de Griendt, “and that basically locks their timeframe in for the goods to be dispatched.” With a high value product, especially one that requires ongoing training and support, risk is significantly reduced, he believes.
For Catapult, problems tend to arise after payment. Van de Griendt says it’s fine getting money out of Australia but it can take weeks of emailing back and forth to retrieve funds. “Money coming back in is sometimes an issue,” he said, “where it sits there—not even showing up into our holding account—with us having no access to it because of regulatory compliance issues.”
Difficulties encountered can be due to the person who made the decision to purchase simply failing to communicate with their relevant accounts department. Van de Griendt also identifies a relative amount of risk with foreign exchange rates and uses a holding account to reduce costs. “It allows us to make better use of the exchange rate,” he says.