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Neil Halls

Director at

Member Since May 2017

Sydney, NSW, 2000

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​Our services are designed to meet the needs of organisations that would normally consider professional commercial advice to be out of their financial reach. We pride ourselves on being one of the only consulting firms whose services are in reach of any business. Specifically we work with our clients to help improve their business performance across the areas of Strategy Development, Business Planning, Performance Management, Managerial Finance, Human Resource Management.

Business Planning

7 Weeks Of Consultation Boosts Profit By 11.5% Within 12 Months

Summary NSW based construction business was stagnant in a rapidly growing industry The business made an average profit of $2 million annually for the last 3 years However, their competitors kept growing while they kept drifting along without clear plans Key individuals couldn’t agree on what their unique selling proposition was Clear Path Commercial Consulting delivered a realistic and ac...

Neil Halls answered this question

Do I need to hire an accountant with a CPA?

Good Point Amanda,  Both CPA and CA qulifactions are woth considering.  I guess it depends what you are looking for. I am not an accountant myself, but i do deal with them on a daily basis, and have some work with me. From my experience CA qualified accountants tend to be speciailised in a certain area of finance, wihile CPA qualified accounats tend to be more genralist and have a more holistic view of how a business runs. 

Neil Halls answered this question

Do I need to hire an accountant with a CPA?

While you do not NEED to hire an accountant with a CPA, I would strongly recommended it. let me put it this way, you do not NEED to send your car to qualified mechanic to get fixed, you could get your friend to do it and they may or may not have the skill to do the job properly, it is hit and miss

CPA qualification is additional qualification beyond simply completing an accounting degree. Even once a candidate has gained CPA certification, they must complete ongoing development to maintain there certification. This will ensure your accountant is up to date with the last thinking, accounting policies etc. Further more from my experience CPA qualified accountants tend to be able to provide a more holistic view of your business and are able to look beyond you balance sheet. Personally i would not use, or employ an accountant without CPA qualifications

Neil Halls answered this question

Do you need a business plan in writing?

The simple answer is YES you do need a business plan!

The term business plan gets thrown around a lot, and means different things to different people. Often when people talk about needing a plan to secure funding etc, they are actually talking about a business case, not a business plan.

A business plan is effectively your roadmap. It should outline the steps you are going to take in order to meet your objectives and strategic goals. It should contain key activities and programs of work, measures, milestones and depending on the size of your business who is accountable to deliver what and by when.

As a business you should be monitoring your progress against your business plan, very regularly (at least quarterly, if not more frequent. Exactly how frequently depends on the nature of the business). As a business, your business plan is the map to your success, and defiantly not a set and forget document.

A business case on the other hand (the document used to try and secure funding) is really about trying to encourage investment in your business. It is almost a sales pitch, and will be more focused on the risk / reward profile of your business (or specific initiative) and is not a document that will help you manage your business

Neil Halls answered this question

Wendy Huang
Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Cashflow Management

How important was cash flow to Vinomofo?

Simple Answer, Cahsflow is King. We have come across many business were Cashflow problems have caused profitable businesses to get into difficulty. Almost always, that difficulty can be avoided


We have a blog on our website which talks about this exact topic in more detail

Neil Halls answered this question

How do you cut costs in your business?

Without knowing more about your business, this is almost impossible to answer specifically. However, a couple of generic things to look at:

  • What are your fixed verse variable costs? Fixed costs are the costs you incur everyday, regardless of how many goods you sell (i.e. an office lease). variable costs are cost you only incur when you produce or sell a good (i.e shipping, production costs, product insurance etc). All things being equal, a higher proportion of variable costs can be beneficial as you only incur the costs when you are selling goods and generating revenue. So think how you can switch your costs from fixed to variable. obviously the trick is then to reduce these variable costs

  • Depending on your type of business, how much inventory to you have? yes you need to to meet your customer needs, but having excess inventory is a huge business cost! try and minimise your inventory holdings, while still meeting your customer needs
  • Are you getting the best deal from suppliers? what is the relationship between your accounts payable and your accounts receivable? Are there lower cost suppliers or can you get better contract terms
  • Have a good look at your key financial ratios. these will tell you where to look in your business to help reduce costs. How do these compare with similar companies in your industry (if you can find this out?)

If this is a real issue for you, i would suggest you talk to someone who can help with this, as you will need to get a handle on this. While there are many companies who work in this space (yes we are one of them) make sure you get someone who can not only help you in the short term, but also teach you what to look for moving forward so you can continue to monitor your business as apposed to someone just trying to sell you something. We also offer free initial consultations if you would like to discuss more.

Neil Halls answered this question

What advice can you give to small startups?

Ultimately, this all comes down to your business model, and specifically your value proposition.

In simple terms as a small start up competing against a larger incumbent, you need to be crystal clear about what it is you do that will differentiate you from the established players. Why will customers come to you as opposed to an established business. Are you cheaper, provide a better customer experience, or have some sort of product differentiation? Once you truly understand this, then you can work out how and where to compete. This is where your business strategy comes in, which is about "where to play and how to win"

It is surprising how many companies we come across (not just SMEs, but also larger companies) who do not understand their value proposition. As such they try to be all things to all people, and ultimately become the master of none. You need to be clear about what it is you do, and who you are specifically targeting.

Neil Halls answered this question

Jef Lippiatt
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Team Management

How do you prefer to get feedback and/or recognition?

This is something every workplace must do, unfortunately in our experience most of them do it poorly!!

The most important point I will make it that feedback must
be a continuous conversation, whether it is for positive or negative feedback.
Too often people reserve giving feedback for annual or 6 monthly performance reviews.
Why is this an issue? Because you top employees who are doing a good job will
feel disengaged. You know they are doing great work but they don’t, so in many instances
these people will end up leaving your workplace as they feel undervalued. This is
not good for you! Alternatively bad performance does not get rectified in a timely
manner. The longer bad performance goes on, the harder it is to rectify. Often
one of the biggest issues is that people managers lack the skills or confidence
to have the hard conversations.

In regards to recognition, yes things like recognition and
presentation of awards and certificates in front of the team can be valued by
employees. However our experience shows that often the little things have the
biggest impact. Our work has show that things like a team lunch to celebrate a
project milestone can go a long way to rewarding a job well done. Or for a
smaller thankyou instead of just saying job well done, take them for a coffee
and explain what it was you valued about their contribution. Trust me, as
managers we see these things as small, but team members really value them.

Business Planning

7 Weeks Of Consultation Boosts Profit By 11.5% Within 12 Months

Summary NSW based construction business was stagnant in a rapidly growing industry The business made an average profit of $2 million annually for the last 3 years However, their competitors kept growing while they kept drifting along without clear plans Key individuals couldn’t agree on what their unique selling proposition was Clear Path Commercial Consulting delivered a realistic and ac...

Business Growth

The 4 Mistakes that Leave You Wondering About Your Business Performance

Measuring your business performance is a difficult task, but if not done with care and the right tools. Some mistakes businesses commonly make is using KPIs not specific to your business and ones that focus on actions, not results. Other mistakes include staff not engaging with the business' desired results and searching for the nonexistent "perfect measure". A long common issue we come across...

Neil Halls answered this question

Do I need to hire an accountant with a CPA?

Good Point Amanda,  Both CPA and CA qulifactions are woth considering.  I guess it depends what you are looking for. I am not an accountant myself, but i do deal with them on a daily basis, and have some work with me. From my experience CA qualified accountants tend to be speciailised in a certain area of finance, wihile CPA qualified accounats tend to be more genralist and have a more holistic view of how a business runs. 

Neil Halls answered this question

Do I need to hire an accountant with a CPA?

While you do not NEED to hire an accountant with a CPA, I would strongly recommended it. let me put it this way, you do not NEED to send your car to qualified mechanic to get fixed, you could get your friend to do it and they may or may not have the skill to do the job properly, it is hit and miss

CPA qualification is additional qualification beyond simply completing an accounting degree. Even once a candidate has gained CPA certification, they must complete ongoing development to maintain there certification. This will ensure your accountant is up to date with the last thinking, accounting policies etc. Further more from my experience CPA qualified accountants tend to be able to provide a more holistic view of your business and are able to look beyond you balance sheet. Personally i would not use, or employ an accountant without CPA qualifications

Neil Halls answered this question

Do you need a business plan in writing?

The simple answer is YES you do need a business plan!

The term business plan gets thrown around a lot, and means different things to different people. Often when people talk about needing a plan to secure funding etc, they are actually talking about a business case, not a business plan.

A business plan is effectively your roadmap. It should outline the steps you are going to take in order to meet your objectives and strategic goals. It should contain key activities and programs of work, measures, milestones and depending on the size of your business who is accountable to deliver what and by when.

As a business you should be monitoring your progress against your business plan, very regularly (at least quarterly, if not more frequent. Exactly how frequently depends on the nature of the business). As a business, your business plan is the map to your success, and defiantly not a set and forget document.

A business case on the other hand (the document used to try and secure funding) is really about trying to encourage investment in your business. It is almost a sales pitch, and will be more focused on the risk / reward profile of your business (or specific initiative) and is not a document that will help you manage your business

Neil Halls answered this question

Wendy Huang
Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Cashflow Management

How important was cash flow to Vinomofo?

Simple Answer, Cahsflow is King. We have come across many business were Cashflow problems have caused profitable businesses to get into difficulty. Almost always, that difficulty can be avoided


We have a blog on our website which talks about this exact topic in more detail

Neil Halls answered this question

How do you cut costs in your business?

Without knowing more about your business, this is almost impossible to answer specifically. However, a couple of generic things to look at:

  • What are your fixed verse variable costs? Fixed costs are the costs you incur everyday, regardless of how many goods you sell (i.e. an office lease). variable costs are cost you only incur when you produce or sell a good (i.e shipping, production costs, product insurance etc). All things being equal, a higher proportion of variable costs can be beneficial as you only incur the costs when you are selling goods and generating revenue. So think how you can switch your costs from fixed to variable. obviously the trick is then to reduce these variable costs

  • Depending on your type of business, how much inventory to you have? yes you need to to meet your customer needs, but having excess inventory is a huge business cost! try and minimise your inventory holdings, while still meeting your customer needs
  • Are you getting the best deal from suppliers? what is the relationship between your accounts payable and your accounts receivable? Are there lower cost suppliers or can you get better contract terms
  • Have a good look at your key financial ratios. these will tell you where to look in your business to help reduce costs. How do these compare with similar companies in your industry (if you can find this out?)

If this is a real issue for you, i would suggest you talk to someone who can help with this, as you will need to get a handle on this. While there are many companies who work in this space (yes we are one of them) make sure you get someone who can not only help you in the short term, but also teach you what to look for moving forward so you can continue to monitor your business as apposed to someone just trying to sell you something. We also offer free initial consultations if you would like to discuss more.

Neil Halls answered this question

What advice can you give to small startups?

Ultimately, this all comes down to your business model, and specifically your value proposition.

In simple terms as a small start up competing against a larger incumbent, you need to be crystal clear about what it is you do that will differentiate you from the established players. Why will customers come to you as opposed to an established business. Are you cheaper, provide a better customer experience, or have some sort of product differentiation? Once you truly understand this, then you can work out how and where to compete. This is where your business strategy comes in, which is about "where to play and how to win"

It is surprising how many companies we come across (not just SMEs, but also larger companies) who do not understand their value proposition. As such they try to be all things to all people, and ultimately become the master of none. You need to be clear about what it is you do, and who you are specifically targeting.

Neil Halls answered this question

Jef Lippiatt
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Team Management

How do you prefer to get feedback and/or recognition?

This is something every workplace must do, unfortunately in our experience most of them do it poorly!!

The most important point I will make it that feedback must
be a continuous conversation, whether it is for positive or negative feedback.
Too often people reserve giving feedback for annual or 6 monthly performance reviews.
Why is this an issue? Because you top employees who are doing a good job will
feel disengaged. You know they are doing great work but they don’t, so in many instances
these people will end up leaving your workplace as they feel undervalued. This is
not good for you! Alternatively bad performance does not get rectified in a timely
manner. The longer bad performance goes on, the harder it is to rectify. Often
one of the biggest issues is that people managers lack the skills or confidence
to have the hard conversations.

In regards to recognition, yes things like recognition and
presentation of awards and certificates in front of the team can be valued by
employees. However our experience shows that often the little things have the
biggest impact. Our work has show that things like a team lunch to celebrate a
project milestone can go a long way to rewarding a job well done. Or for a
smaller thankyou instead of just saying job well done, take them for a coffee
and explain what it was you valued about their contribution. Trust me, as
managers we see these things as small, but team members really value them.

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