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Since about 2006, we have integrated project management, record keeping, ABN Web services and SBR (Standard Business Reporting) to improve small business viability.
In September 2015 to May 2016, we studied supply chain management with MIT via edx.org. This has led to better quoting and cashflow analysis to make our business profitable when dealing with customers and suppliers.
In December 2011, we developed ABN Web services based on Australian Business Register to clean and update Australian company records.
On 3-4 September 2012, WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd staff, Dwight Walker, attended training in Sydney by Australian Treasury on how to navigate SBR XBRL using Web services. WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd licensed Fujitsu C, .NET and Java API from Treasury.
WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd plans to write Web services to post ATO BAS, Payroll and Superstream.
This includes integration with AUSKey so opens vast doors into integration of government agencies and government-business Web transactions and semantic Web development on a grand scale.
What drove WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd to study and use SBR XBRL was the need for due diligence and transparency and ease of transaction processing for small to medium enterprises that government paper-based systems do not provide.
Bad debtors drove WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd to clean up its backend bookkeeping which its director Dwight Walker migrated to the Web and now is integrating with the government backend via the Web to have high quality data processing of business and government oriented transactions. This includes all Australian Federal and State Departments and Agencies.
This is a sign of the Australian Government opening up intellectual property to allow developers to write custom source code and integrate with government backends to improve efficiency via Web services over the Internet.
In January 2013, WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd decided not to do any more governmment work at this stage as it is more risky than small business due to slow payments and slow response on technical issues causing major cashflow issues.
In January 2017, WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd migrated their site to AWS which is much more competitive and sophisticated re billing than Cloud Central in November 2012 which caused bill shock.
In March 2018, WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd attended Webinar re doing ATO conformance testing for Single Touch Payroll via Ozedi portal. This builds on Standard Business Reporting ATO conformance test tools.
In September 2013, WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd attended the starting of an Australian superannuation software association which will rely on SBR/XBRL to function across the industry. This is to do with ATO SILU.
In July 2016, WWWalker Web Development Pty Ltd registered with clearing house to pay super for its employee.
In August 2016, Dwight Walker logged into my.gov.au and linked to ATO where he rolled his unclaimed super from years ago into his main super fund.
In July 2017, the teacher at an RTO said his previous employer had not paid his super and ATO is sending default notices to make his employer pay but charged him $5 per 5 minute consultation and that employer had run down 14 other companies without paying their bills. Worrells was handling insolvency of RTO re recovering super owing to employees on this matter.
To stop losing super, employee should check their super fund is receiving their super each quarter from their employer. The employer will not do this for employee. Don't trust the employer to pay super. The longer employee leaves it the greater chance the lack of super payments will get bigger and bigger till it is impossible to recover at liquidation of employer's company.
In August 2016, we imported our Translink Gocard records in CSV format into MySQL to better manage bookkeeping for transport costs which are quite tricky to dissect. I extended their data with my comments field which was very handy when doing income tax returns.
In September 2016, I categorised my transactions so I can better manage my orders.
In 2016, it is easy to do individual or sole trader income tax return using ATO app on Android 4.1+ or iOS 7+ or Windows Phone 8+.
Many small businesses seem to lurch from one disaster to another (reactive instead of proactive management). We often are called up to redevelop their existing site or technical infrastructure to bail them out before they go under. Often the previous developer was unqualified and left a complete mess to recover from.
We use our project management system to stay viable. Often management is pathetic at the small business and we have to counter this downward spiral by our own robust internal management systems. We have built up these methods and tools to cope with the pressure from little guys who stuff things up so much and won't pay to upgrade or improve.
Even some middle-sized companies act like they are a small business with limited resources so this applies to them also.
The usual symptom is penny-pinching on IT resources, trying to cut corners for no good reason and endless delays to save paying us on time and reduce our cashflow and give them an interest free loan. No-one thinks ahead or budgets for the future.
Everything is now and for themselves not their colleague - very introverted mind-set. They have zero leadtime.
They suck our resources to survive so we have to fight them off bravely before we are sucked down in the whirlpool of their incompetency with them. Often we end up losing money despite our best efforts.
Small businesses are very difficult to make a dollar out of.
The best option is to boot them out when they are too much trouble to service. So we have an exit strategy for the worst ones.
In June 2006, the project management information system was extended grudgingly to kicking along the client's pathetic bookkeeping by allowing downloading of just their balance owing, invoices and receipts, quotes and quote amendments and bank memos from our records. This is a unique and unheard of service due to slack bookkeeping of the customer which put much pressure on our cashflow and admin time and effort. This overhead has pushed the project ahead where the customer would not do their duty and keep tight records and see what the project was costing or what the next bill was. It is on demand and has low costs so we are not hammered for backcopies which is not our duty to provide.
It is to combat the kind of customer who has no records on their site due to constantly losing emails due to viruses and spam, failing to file important documents and is in danger of going under if they kept up their slack record keeping practices which would endanger payment to us for services done.
The final outcome is a quicker, less loss creating project that allows us to finish and cut our losses with this red-ink and debt-producing lemon of a customer.
In February 2007, the poor record keeping of the customer led to an ATO tax audit of them. This proves if a customer has poor record keeping, they will be caught by the ATO for a tax audit, possible prosecution for tax evasion and a complete overhaul of their shoddy record keeping which may send them broke through all the lost time serving the ATO's requests.
For the record, our system above of allowing a customer to download copies of tax invoices, receipts and bank records securely from our Website produced records that were not useful enough or too complex or hard to understand for the ATO tax audit, so a waste of time. They want accountant quality records, not our inhouse records. As usual the government adds costs to small businesses that are of little benefit to us. We just had to give a statement of total amount owing and paid by the customer.
Back in 2002, I migrated all my current accounting records to my internal Web-based database for flexibility. I now import banking records into it using CSV. This has saved my business when switching banks or being on the road with no access to desktop.
Since 2012, Reckon, Xero and MYOB accounting software online subscriptions and desktop subscriptions are much dearer than buying desktop software license outright and upgrading as before but are more flexible and upgraded automatically. They import bank records into them automatically in QIF format and make doing ATO BAS much easier as they do it internally instead of logging into ATO BAS portal and doing it manually.
Transport costs add to cost of transaction. Cheaper faster transport reduces this overhead. Not reducing transaction cost will mean economic order quantity will be higher so more jobs have to done in the transaction to make it profitable. So on a trip to the customer, many jobs need to be done not just one or it will be too costly to service the customer.
As of May 2007, we have absorbed onsite visit costs as it is worth us to travel a long way to get a job going rather than sit back and see cashflow go negative. This only works if the job goes ahead. We were burnt by trying to pre-empt a visit only to find the customer not ready and our travel costs lost to Queensland.
We also now have places to work from in Sydney to facilitate onsite work in these areas and use local central accommodation for most major cities across Australia to be efficient and on the ball.
This also stops customers stuffing us around because their usual technical support person is too busy to get back to us or they are struggling to get the basic technology going to say upload an image from a digital camera to a PC via a USB cable. We can do the technical support ourselves at our own cost, an investment in our business we can write off against increased income. We do this because of the customer's lack of confidence and win as we get much better value with better infrastructure setup by ourselves pronto.
We have used an office in Wetherill Park, Sydney, when we did a short job in Sydney. This is also unheard of - us paying for the travel and basic support - but it gives us an edge over other companies that try to frustrate us.
If a town frustrates us, we find other places to do business. That way we are not bogged down by slow payers or stuffy locals.
We run a dynamic mobile company so can do this quite easily now. We picked skills up by travelling for 2 years during the dot com crash and are totally Web-based now. It also gets us out of Orange which can be a trying town at times due to its conservative nature and tightwad locals and gives us a fresh slant on life and alternative income streams than just working over the Internet from Orange. In January 2008 and June 2009, we left Orange when things became too difficult to continue there and now pay passing visits to catch up on admin.
From 2015 onwards, we pack as many jobs in a trip from Caboolture to Brisbane as we can to reduce our costs and be profitable. Occasionally the job fails so we have to wait longer to find enough jobs to be profitable with Economic Order Quantity to meet demand.
When we were based in Orange, NSW, we were exploited by customers for lower prices because we were from the country. Because we had lower costs the customer expected lower prices which did not benefit us at all. We moved to Orange to save us money not just be a cheap alternative to a city programmer with the exact same profit margin. What's the point of living in a tougher environment for no benefit? As a result, we slowly got worn down financially till we realised we may just as well work from a city location as the benefits seemed to be in the city's favour due to exploitation of smaller towns by cities.
When we lived in the country it cost us $100s to collect debts which slow payers knew so we just had to foot the bill and visit customers onsite to close accounts and not leave this loophole open for exploitation. It was an expensive lesson in being close to the customer to stop exploitation by getting us over a barrel.
Unscrupulous customers in a distant town were squeezing us due to the logistics of chasing overdue payments being in favour of cities that were close together and cheaper to visit to perform the debt collecting. We put a stop to this with our bookkeeping and onsite debt collection which closed accounts and got late payment very quickly.
In 2015, when I disabled a Website, the Cowra customer paid on time after which I enabled the site.
In June 2007, we decided to write-off incomplete work for a NSW bad debtor and give the customer a discount for getting us to write a project management system for a job that was taking too long to pay and holding us back. Our equipment started failing due to low cashflow not allowing us to invest in new equipment so we realised if we lost the income in the short-term we would survive in the long-term by finding better work elsewhere with better customers or a new job altogether if we closed down and gave up in frustration.
For one NSW long-term bad-debtor, credit was given for unfinished work and the bill finalised in December 2007 then later in January 2008 when they would only pay about 50% of the lower fee - making it about 25% of my costs overall - a dead loss. Completed software was billed. Our survival came first and after we had survived we got our act together and caught up our bills and sorted them out with debtors.
We got more out of writing the project management system than the actual job itself!
Money can kill you if you love it too much. It is like weeds that strangle your life away.
On 10 Oct 2008 the music stopped with an 8% drop on the Australian Stock Exchange as part of the worldwide financial meltdown and now we are all fighting for the last chair or dollar to survive.
We have had nothing but misery and hardship since we based our business in NSW due to
Tightening conditions in a contract will reduce these overheads and make us profitable.
If a company keeps changing their specification endlessly and gets work done they don't want and then won't pay for when we calculate the hours on our timesheets, we find alternative income streams for a while till things pick up again. Accurate pricing blocks rorting. Using estimate modelling creates realistic quotes.
The more changes are made, the more the costs blowout and the more risk on the developer to keep costs down! Hence we resist changes to specifications and draw a line in the sand to stop customers crippling the project by messing around with specifications. We stick to the original specifications and ony accept changes if they are viable to implement - no rush jobs and no last minute thoughts which clobber the job and make it run over budget and lose us tons of money. The customer only sees things as an end user and does not see them as a full system like we do as software engineers hence their little change can balloon into a cascading string of changes that blow costs out. Agile development can counter this effect.
We clamp down on changes to keep costs in check.
If somehow the customer still sneaks through changes or our billing cycle gets longer and longer due to complexity in the project making billing go to the bottom of the pile, the escalating costs can be a shock to the customer leading to a decline in business.
It is not wise to crowd the developer - the more changes you cram in, the less likely he is to do a regular bill and the more likely you are to get a big shocking bill which you won't want to pay. Timesheets must be done regularly or a big bill will hit the customer. The more interruptions and changes the less likely the timesheets will be done and the more likely of a cost blowout.
There are running battles between the developer needing to get timesheets entered for billing and the customer trying to make specification changes.
We resist such pressure on our business and give priority to timesheets despite what evidence of payment owing they produce - bad or good. The truth of actual hours spent is necessary so we can plan better next time.
The worst that can happen is they don't pay the last bill or they pay 5 months late but it stops the rot - a high price to pay but worth it to save your business from destruction if no information is gathered and drastic surgery taken to kick the blood-suckers off.
There are a lot of non-technical companies that have no idea about the cost of software development and will try to cut corners or not pay to save their hide when they shouldn't try to build custom software as it will end in a wreck like seems to happen very often to us when they ask us to develop custom software for them on a shoestring budget.
Ignorance of hi-tech methodology and costs by the customer is a killer for our hi-tech business and must be blocked at all costs. The quicker we can abort when costs blow out the better so regular use of metrics on progress and costs is vital to survive in this cutthroat environment of ridiculous expectations of small businesses who try to live off us and not pay for what they want.
It takes us 6 months to 2 or 3 years to recover from these losses and get going again. The less the rip-off the quicker we can recover. So if we are smart, they are less able to hurt us.
Customers like this are an enemy to fight off. There is evil in the world, one of them being greed and greed can drive a company to destroy another for their own benefit so we have to use truth to protect us. Many times we don't win but have to start again and find other customers rather than go to court and be strung out with delays and costs to the point of wiping us out.
Bad customers are very slick at avoiding paying and exploiting every loophole they can lay their hands on so beware and run the other way when they try to get you to quote for them. They are like the plague.
This is the technique used by many bad customers who use bad debt to destroy our business:
One upside can be if challenged a customer can pay but pay late or we can come to some agreement with the customer to have them pay part of the original bill and give them a discount or credit for work not completed by us to close off a long overdue bill.
Here is a very relevant verse God gave me when my equipment failed when a large bad debt ground us down to the point of writing the customer off in June 2007 - you catch up and bill them but they won't pay in full but drag it out so your equipment crashes while waiting for them so that it is very hard to bill them and you write them off letting them get off without paying rather than suffer even more losses - a complete rort and disaster:
'My son, if you have put up security for your neighbour, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped in what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbour's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbour! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.' (Proverbs 6:1-5)
We learned a long time ago to have independent systems for testing and development which the customer cannot mess around with and wreck. Independence is very powerful in IT as the customer who 90% of the time is totally useless with technology can really foul the project up if they are directing it. If they refuse to relinquish control, we micromanage what they do so they can't get out of control and drive costs up at our expense. Uneducated customers are often good at making the developer pay for losses. I have suffered many losses due to useless customers who boss me around and me not countering it in time.
We don't trust the customer for infrastructure. They are generally hopeless! We pay the money and have parallel systems for testing to save our sanity as the IT guy. The investment pays off handsomely in savings down the track in reducing cost blowouts and inordinate amounts of spending on support by other companies out of the control of the developer because of the lack of knowledge of the customer about IT.
Penny pinching decisions on hardware and systems and networks by the customer are never in the best interests of the developer and only lead to impoverish him and the usual stuff up of the project and very slow payment of debts arising from this mismanagement by the customer. The developer who is so badly treated by the poor customer pushes away from the customer to survive but takes with him the source code and a good project management system that he can block the next problem customer with before they manage to ruin things badly.
Knowledge is power in retrospect.
If you use economic order quantity to cut your losses, you go ahead. Organising order quantity and transport to stop bad customers makes money. Not losing money can actually make you money because your overheads decrease making you very nimble and not bogged down with bad debtors all the time.
However to restart the business, a second source of income such as music or dole or debt must be found or the company will die.
As of March 2008, we have started creating repayment strategies for customers with large debts. This has proven successful. The customer pays a regular amount off each week and gradually reduces the debt. This stops us waiting and constantly having to ring the customer up to remind them to pay and stops the blockage where the customer is waiting till they can pay the whole amount before they pay anything which may take several months and cause a huge cashflow crisis for us to handle by getting a 2nd job etc to allow us to wait and get matters sorted out.
This makes us like a bank manager but it is not hard to setup say a repayment strategy for a customer of $100/wk x 5 weeks to pay off say $500. This setting up of repayment plans was resisted by us as extra overhead but it has helped us to get on top of bad debts caused by customers waiting to repay in full when several part-payments will do the same and also give us cashflow to survive rather than having to take out a 2nd job or borrow money off our credit card with all its high interest to survive.
This all happened because we did not want to use the NSW Sheriff like we had done several times before, mostly unsuccessfully, to get the money and wanted to avoid going to court as this would have made us get stuck in NSW waiting for all the court processes and delays and caused us to go even further into the red, so we took a different waiting, goading and repayment strategy and took out a second job in Queensland till the customers caught up which worked at long last!
We had to negotiate payment strategies and sort the bad debts out - much harder but it eventually sorted, thank God!
We don't want to provide an interest free loan to people who do not pay us on time and treat our credit like a bank loan. They destroy our liquidity and make it very tough for us so we have several income streams we can rely on to get ourselves out of hot water when these kind of smart alecs take advantage of our small size in finding it hard to chase them up or go to court for late payment.
Companies know small companies struggle to get late bills paid so they just wait and make it harder to get paid so we just do other things and wait and get them to pay! Touche!
In 2008, we put in a big disincentive if the customer pays late - a late fee or interest charge of $100s - and we are starting to see them paying by instalments on a regular basis, not stuffing around and doing nothing for months on end to evade payment.
In the end, money talks. Nothing else works. It takes a hell of a lot of persistence to find out how to get people to pay and not keep fobbing us off! Late fees and interest payments seem to successfully goad people into paying on time, not squandering our precious time on administration.
The delays in payments have cost us $1000s over several months in lost opportunities (we are just doing debt collecting instead of technical work) so hitting late payers with high fees is an effective way of closing off long overdue payments and getting them over and done with. Pressure is the only way to get anywhere.
These sort of customers (rich end of town) know they can exploit my need for payment by delays so if there is no penalty they will just wait on and on till I break, so the introduction of significant penalities pushes them to action or they suffer from the fees.
If fees don't work, we pay a visit to the customer, even if they are in a distant town or city, and get the matter sorted out face to face, get final payment and close the overdue account.
Remember the importunate widow in the passage below. Evil will be overcome by good, just be persistent and don't give up before they pay you!
"In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' " (Luke 18:2-5)
We provide the facility for customers to download balance, tax invoices, quotes and memos via an email linked to the account as a self-service feature. This saves us time and the user can pay their bills and manage their account details better.
The only upside to this dilemma is we outsourced at our own expense all the customers business processes (Business Process Outsourcing - BPO) and did not charge them using our project management system. This small overhead quickly paid for itself and stopped endless waste of time by low skilled customers. The customer purely got an end product and we did not have to educate them on how to write software which they had little inclination or skill to do. They just bought a black box (product if you like) and the insides were done by us with no influence from the customer over our engineering process. This realisation of the impossibility of ever elevating the knowledge of customers led to many breakthroughs and increase in profitablity of our IT business for small business customers who had made us very poor by their bad business practices.
For 2 mths in 2008, we decided to put our business to one side and work as an employee for another company to give our business a standing chance after a hell of a year in NSW when due to cost blowouts and mean spirited customers we ground to a halt. God opened a door after much prayer about our future and we worked briefly for a Christian Group who use internet for a large part of their operation worldwide. This enriched our business but we are now back working for ourself as our cashflow kicked in from NSW after 5 mths waiting for payment. We also discovered it was much easier to develop outside someone else's business despite there being more risk for us due to the high overheads and lack of control involved when partnering too close to another business leading to loss of work and attacks over lack of job to get us to close our business by country people.
According to a 1994 article on AustLII, there are no reporting agencies in NSW to allow others to see if they are over their credit limit or overextending themselves due to the Privacy Act hiding their bad credit rating or high levels of debt. May be this debt level points to an incredible dependence on material goods to get meaning and pleasure out of life. Material goods perish over time and grow wings and fly away.
May be hiding people's credit risk is related to the high levels of gambling addiction in NSW and the NSW Government being unwilling to reduce gambling outlets because they get a high amount of revenue from gamblers.
Several cases in the media point up people in key financial positions such as paymaster or contract management using their position to accept bribes or embezzle funds to feed their gambling addiction which wrecks families, futures and the public through squandered funds and reputations. It is the prodigal son run amok and being left to eat corn husks after his wild spending spree and a famine destroys his inherited wealth! After he repented and came to his senses he returned to his father's house and his life was rebuilt by God's grace. The bitter brother who lost all the money had to forgive and give thanks for the small amount he had or lose even his father's blessing so there is a lesson for debtor and creditor in the tale of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32)
NSW, in my opinion, started sliding after the Year 2000 Olympics and is still way behind the other states in the performance of its economy so it is very hard to pick up business here - very competitive and cheapskate, not growing and expanding like the other states - because of high taxes and costs of doing business here that no-one is willing to tackle so we all devour each other to survive - the 'dog eat dog' world of NSW! Even Queensland has a 'dog eat dog' world but it is hidden behind a facade of checks, measures and bureaucracy which push me to work for myself again to escape the downward pressure on people with ideas and energy like me. My dynamic little business will survive all the rocks thrown at it as long as I manage to make a small living on the side till sales kick in.
The Rudd (now Gillard) Labor Government in 2009 is giving more power to the debtor than the creditor by allowing more leniency on repaying bad debts which leaves the creditor scrambling for other sources of income while they wait for the debtor to come good!
From 1 July 2012, Gillard Government is allowing those under major debt to pay them off quicker by letting them pay off the higher interest rate part of a credit card loan first not last like now with the current Commonwealth Bank credit cards regime. Since 1 July 2011, Australians are able to change to a better loan with no exit fees on previous loan. Bank loans tie up about 95% of discretionary funds on a small business so freeing up this debt is vital to get the economy going at the small end.
From 14 February 2020, user-initiated credit stops must be sent to all credit providers stopping others milking the stolen credit card.
Before this government intervention, the extortionate interest regime (pay off higher interest last) was a form of unmitigated usury, particularly outlawed in Leviticus 25:35-37:
If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.
The Commonwealth Bank and other banks used the Global Financial Crisis as an excuse to kick the guts out of small borrowers by racking up the interest rate regime (pay higher interest rate last) and punishing good borrowers for the sins and profligacy of Wall Street. God will judge our financial leaders for how they treat the weaker citizens with such contempt.
2018 Essential Director Update: CBA APRA fine from AICD on Vimeo.
Prior to 2008, CBA gave easy credit on its credit cards which it is now wanting back mercilessly in 2012 when interest rates have gone up and sales have gone down. This shows a slack bank manager leeching small businesses for maximum profit instead of doing an income check before loaning more money. The law has changed now stopping easy credit.
This led to me to going on the dole in February 2013 to August 2015 and moving to Queensland to make this viable with Centrelink to stop constant badgering of me by CBA but I am putting nearly all my dole into the debt and only slowly bringing it down and going mad with boredom as I cannot find a new job in my middle age, Queensland location (slow economy) and having worked for myself for over 16 years making people not willing to employ me as I have not worked for other companies for so long making me look like I have no relevant experience which is not true. In September 2013, I am now building my business via Queensland Data using open data. I also simplified my resume and have started getting interviews in January 2014. I also started doing online courses in May 2014 and March-June 2015 to upgrade skills. I restarted business in August 2015 to get off dole (Job Active will not pay for any training leading to long-term unemployment and poverty trap in low-income area).
In November 2013 at Woolworths contactless credit card transaction snatched funds from my credit card without my permission so I had to reverse it and use EFTPOS to save interest. CBA will not disable contactless credit card system. This leads to paying 6 times the value of the product in interest and principal and leads to impulse buying. Also people on low-income are vulnerable to credit card interest and bills being gratuitously charged to a credit card quickly creating more debt and getting out of control. Lay-by is safer.
CBA provides assistance in financial hardship but with plenty of caveats. I never got anywhere with them. They said to pay a debt off quicker, increase repayment rate. Bleeding obvious!
In June 2015, CBA introduced Community Forum where bank customers can share solutions to banking problems. Good idea!
In 18 June 2016, Commbank Android app no longer works so I had to go to netbank.com.au using Chrome on Android which is very clumsy but works. New Commbank Android app is impossible to do transfer as popup greys screen and I cannot swipe to confirm button. Call centre was overloaded and was rude to me and cut me off and asked me to visit a branch so I used communitiy forum above. Transition from old to new app is very poor. They should have used responsive design using HTML5 and CSS3 to resize for smaller screens like mine 320x240 pixels.
On 1/8/16, CBA Netbank went down - see Aussie Outages - Commonwealth Bank.
On 24/10/16 deposit to my CBA business account was delayed due to internal problems at CBA that they warned me about on Netbank in the morning so debit transaction caused overdrawing fee of $10 to be charged in error. This will be refunded in 24-48 hours. This caused cashflow issues for my business at end of month which caused a lot of stress for me. This made me very unhappy. I should have delayed payment for 1 day till the delay had gone and the overdrawn fee would not have been charged and had to be refunded at a later unknown date. The whole of CBA accounts in Australia was affected by this delay in bank backend processing. The deposit had gone in but it had not balanced subsequent debits due to delay in internal processing.
On 15/3/17 coin deposit ATM at 192 Ann St Brisbane took half coins and did not count them or return them because coin return bay was not pushed in properly. I had to call to get the lost money back which I did the next day but in the mean time I had all my accounts closed by CBA Caboolture due to clash over this incident which has totally screwed me. I am trying to find a replacement bank which is not easy for credit cards or to find one with an ATM near my flat. Most branches or ATMs are 3.8km away. On 19/3/17 my Netbank login was disabled without notice so I cannot download CSV or PDFs of accounts or BPAY directory. Security said I must get that by using an ATM or visiting a branch. I have been trashed.
I switched to Auswide Bank which had Visa debit cards for easy internet payment instead of credit cards, internet banking, BPAY and EFTPOS! I should have made the switch long ago!
I am paying off CBA credit cards with Auswide Bank debit cards as debit card can be used online to pay bills that require a credit card and there is no interest only a monthly fee and 3% currency conversion fee for overseas transactions so I save heaps on interest using a debit card. Using debit card requires more budgeting but is a much cheaper and efficient way of paying bills than credit card.
We approached legal aid for advice and they suggested writing our case to Customer Advocate of CBA. A reply came from CBA Advocate after a month in May 2017 which said I had to contact AFCA (ex FOS). CBA are wasting my time.
I still got monthly paper statements for CBA accounts.
I pay off CBA credit cards using BPAY from Auswide. I cannot use credit cards any more so they are a money sink. CBA ripped thousands of dollars out of my company by locking my credit cards for years to come till they are paid off and finally closed.
CBA could not close my company account but after keycard closes I can use Auswide or other bank's Visa card to access CBA ATM to deposit cash into it. CBA will not issue me a new keycard or Netbank account for my company as I am director so they strangled the account and I closed it and got an account with another bank to do business.
My CBA credit cards were interest only loans that led to poverty as they were never paid off and there was no spare cash to invest in my life or business.
In April 2017, I rewrote database scripts to merge accounts between banks so I could do ATO BAS when I switched banks part way through a quarter.
In June 2017, I found I had lost my Keycard but it was hard to block or cancel as I have no access to mobile app or Netbank.
In June 2017, Auswide Bank Morayfield branch moved to North Lakes so I have to use Westpac Morayfield or other Westpac branches to bank funds. This is yet another change in the past month since CBA dumped me. To bank via Westpac I have to use Auswide Bank deposit book and wait 1 day for cash deposits or 3 days for cheque deposits. Auswide Bank Morayfield had not contacted Westpac Morayfield to tell them what was going on. North Lakes branch is outside Westfield in North Lakes Drive so park in Westfield and walk out front door of Westfield and turn right to find it. Use GPS to get out of Westfield car park.
Westpac don't know that I can deposit via them for Auswide Bank. Their staff are ignorant re Auswide Bank. This is frustrating.
I can bank with Auswide Bank at Australia Post via Bank@Post which is more convenient after relocation: deposits $0 fee, withdrawals $2, balance enquiry 20c. Banking in Caboolture at Australia Post is better because I have to cross very congested Caboolture River bridge which is 1 lane wide due to bridge raising works and slows me down getting to Morayfield branch to bank in Auswide Branch. The only concern with banking at Australia Post is they have a $30 daily limit on how much coin cash I can bank without having to bank at a branch or Westpac who takes 1 day to deposit funds in my account via special deposit book from Auswide Bank. So I bank at Auswide Bank North Lakes for large amounts.
Auswide Bank needs to give a month's notice to prospective customers of bank relocations so people can choose whether to join their bank or not instead of that person having then to bank further away or use Westpac or Australia Post to bank with them. I had only been with them a month before the branch relocation came up and stuffed me up again!
Auswide Bank is upgrading its internet banking and mobile app on 15/5/17. CSV format of transactions exported from Internet banking changed so I had to rewrite my import scripts in PHP and MySQL with new columns. I also had to reinstall mobile app as I could not upgrade insitu as my mobile only has 2GB of space then later I found I did not really need to update mobile app as nothing had changed. Getting SMS code when installing mobile app was tricky as I got 8 duplicate SMS codes instead of say 2 and connection timed out several times so I had to start registering mobile app again about 5 times.
Auswide Bank BPAY is awkward. Each account has to have a separate list of BPAY billers setup instead of having one central list of BPAY billers setup which any account can use so I had to enter BPAY biller for each account separately (twice) instead of just once if I paid the bill with different accounts. This is silly for a small business like mine.
Auswide mobile app transfer between accounts does not update to account balance till logged off and on or I waited 2 minutes. This stops me paying a bill from to account till balance has updated.
In May 2017, transfer between accounts did not go through fast enough so debit bounced but by time transfer had gone through I bought from another source and funds went through OK. It came up as insufficient funds plus transfer in one transaction which is confusing. So check balance in peep or login in app before debiting from that account to make sure there is sufficient funds. There is a 2 minute delay between leaving one account and entering other account. Transfers between accounts are not instantaneous.
From 1/9/17, business bank account fees went up from $0 to $10/mth, $0.50 for direct debit, $1 for payment to external bank. This takes away incentive to use Auswide Bank for business.
Personal Bank Account fees and charges go up from 1/9/17.
In September 2017, I found to Pay Anyone via app or online banking, Internet Banking SMS Secure had to be setup by registering mobile phone number to receive SMS for authentication. It takes a few minutes to receive SMS for Pay Anyone to be authenticated.
In myTax on ato.gov.au Auswide Bank had institution name of Bundaberg instead of Auswide Bank and ATO could not fix this and I could not edit institution name only BSB, account number and account name which were OK.
In October 2017, re http://auswidebank.com.au/locate/branch-atm-locator/ and http://auswidebank.com.au/locate/atm-locator/, why doesn't Auswide Bank have a locator for branch and ATM where people can enter postcode or suburb name to find nearest branch instead of just having a long list of addresses and a map with pins in it? I believe Auswide Bank did have this before. Now I have to hunt through a list and map to find nearest branch. Auswide Bank also need to put opening hours on each branch instead of just up near top of page. I had to deposit via Caloundra as I was on Sunshine Coast.
On Wednesdays branches open late at 9:30am which can stuff up deposits.
Maroochydore Branch closed by October 2017. I found this out at Caloundra branch.
In November 2017, AGL bill had 20 letter BPAY biller reference number which was too long for Auswide Bank mobile app which only accepted 18 letter reference numbers for BPAY. I had to login to auswidebank.com.au and add biller there as it did not limit me to 18 letters.
In December 2017, downloads of CSV files of transactions from auswidebank.com.au were blocked by Chrome and IE browsers, so I allowed popups by clicking red box on right of URL of Chrome and allowing popups on IE.
In May 2018, some financial institution had BSB of Auswide as being for Mackay Permanent Building Society so they would not let me use Auswide BSB for transaction so transaction stalled or upload CSV of 90 days of bank statements. Financial institution had to update that BSB as being for Auswide Bank or verify CSV bank account records manually. Auswide Bank and Mackay Permanent Building Society merged in 2008 but still this error of name not matching BSB stayed in there. ASIC caught Auswide Bank (Wide Bay Australia) for poor credit lending practices in 2/2015.
In June 2018, Auswide Bank Android app had communication error with server in Caboolture as they upgraded their root certificate via third party and I use Android 4.1 mobile phone which is no longer updated by Google. So I had to use Windows Chrome browser at auswidebank.com.au to do transactions. I upgraded Chrome on Android and browser connection error disappeared but Android app still had communication error but they will not upgrade app. I would have to get a new phone. Auswide Bank website upgraded their Thawte certificate on 15/6/18 and since then communication has failed on app due to Android 4.1 phone not having upgraded root certificate too. Auswide wrongly pointed me to PC and Mac internet banking support page as this is an Android problem not a PC or Mac problem. Old Android phone could not be upgraded unless rooted if at all. I manually imported Thawte TLS RSA CA G1 certificate into Android phone by setting up PIN for screen first then installed Auswide Bank app and it ran fine!
In July 2018, Auswide Bank 1300 138 831 number IVR had error and would not put person through but would go round in circles back to menu even after number like 5 was pressed. I had to email head office as North Lakes could not help me.
In July 2018, one of my cards was locked so I had to activate it via SMS to phone so payment went through to Amazon Web Services. I found card was locked by logging into internet banking. Account had enough funds but no payment was going through. Amazon Web Services account would have defaulted and site been shut down unless I had activated card and paid bill.
In July 2018, Auswide Bank VISA debit card charges 3% currency conversion fee for overseas transactions (personal bank accounts fees and charges). This bumped up one transaction $8. I tried PayPal next time as they appeared to charge me no fee but they had a day delay before transaction hit account and charged a small fee via their internal currency conversion rate being less than via bank. Debit card still seems better.
In January 2019, hackers copied Auswide Bank site and sent phishing emails to trick people into logging into fake site and giving them their credentials so they could steal all their money.
In June 2019, pages on Auswide Bank site had 404 errors late at night and password reset only seemed to work for one login. The next day the login worked fine again so the site was under maintenance without warning. Also Caps Lock was not detected so failed password was because the text was in the wrong case without warning. This led to chasing my tail re trying to reset password during maintenance which saved it but second and subsequent logins with new password were blocked not because password was wrong but because site was under maintenance. This was very confusing and frustrating. Just wait till the next day and the reset password will work a second time without having to reset it yet again. This site should be more user friendly when site is down for maintenance in middle of night without warning. There should be a status listed like on Vodafone site in middle of night saying this site is under maintenance to save frustrated users not being able to login due to maintenance and resetting password that appear to only work once. This communication was lacking. When I was trying to reproduce the problem the next day with the call centre the problem had gone away and it turned out the site was in maintenance mode without warning. Because Auswide Bank is a virtual bank with very few branches the Website is the main point of access so if password does not work the user is neutered apart from VISA debit transactions over the counter with a store or via ecommerce for purchases or post office for deposits. If site can't be logged into the user is quite stuck for making payments using BPAY or direct deposits.
In July 2019, on Auswide Bank site I had to delete and re-add BPAY Biller to change customer reference number as if I clicked edit it only let me change my name for the biller but not the customer reference number. This is a bug which needs fixing but won't so workaround of deleting and adding is only way to fix it.
In August 2019, I visited North Lakes branch and they said 3 branches had been closed and Auswide Bank was interested in merging with another bank/building society.
In August 2019, I had to change payee name with ampersand or plus sign (& or +) in middle to use 'and' instead for it to add OK otherwise it refused. It was not a BSB error. I discovered this by logging into internet banking using browser on PC as browser in Windows Phone did not give this error clearly.
From April to September 2020, Auswide Bank waived business customer bank fees due to Coronavirus. This is very welcome!
As of May 2020, Auswide Bank does not use Osko for BPay which uses PayID instead of BSB-account so transfers take till next business day from other banks instead of instantaneously.
In December 2018, it took 3 months for NAB to fix broken ATM at Caboolture Square that gobbled credit/debit cards. Centre had to put up sign warning of malfunctioning ATM. Lazy!
In March 2017, when I applied for balance transfer of credit card, St George did not send out letter to give status of application till I visited Morayfield branch in May 2017 and rang them using their phone for about 30 mins. St George only use post and phone and Web form not email or chat to communicate. They should at least have emailed or texted me to say ring or visit them. This is very old fashioned.
In March and May 2017, St George have very long phone queues on their call centre, over 10 mins long! Use their phone or a fixed line or mobile will be too dear.
St George service has gotten worse since Westpac merged with them in December 2008 for $18.6Bn paid for in Westpac shares. St George is now a division of Westpac.
In November 2018, I was paid $5 USD into my Payoneer account for Appen online work. Appen only use Payoneer to pay their subcontractors not Paypal which is much cheaper and better.
The money was locked up.
Payoneer is a monopoly payment vendor with Appen.
I could not link my Payoneer account to my Paypal to get paid.
If I ordered a Mastercard with $2 USD money it would take 2-3 weeks posted to get to Australia and be only in USD and good for purchases depending on exchange rate or use it to buy online in USD. I would have to do a split purchase as the Mastercad would not have enough money on it for a purchase on its own. So it was pointless.
So I decided to not do more online work for Appen for small amounts via Payoneer as it was not worth it.
This was a trap like slave labour.
There was very little buffer to repay the loan by the borrower if there was interest rate hike. The Government warned people not to take out interest only loans as they were too risky. This was due to a housing frenzy form investors because of record low interest rate of 1.5% forcing up Sydney and Melbourne house prices to unsustainable levels.
It is called a housing bubble that could burst once the toxic loans explode like in sub-prime mortgage debacle in Global Financial Crisis in USA in 2008.
UK ODI setup Open Banking Standard to improve business and personal finance management in UK.
Open Banking allows customers financial data portability between banks and digital wallets.
In November 2015, with all people having trouble paying off their debts, all big 4 banks are making record profits in Australia, over $7Bn per bank of $29Bn collectively due to entrenched market share, high real estate prices, struggling economy and strong balance sheet.
In August 2016, CBA profit hit $9.2Bn, another record, up 2%.
The one weakness is that if the customer does not pay their debt off on time, the whole debt system collapses due to toxic loans.
I know in 2000s I was underpaid or paid very slowly by customers so understand how hard it is when payment is slow to come. It puts immense pressure on any contractor. Other sources of income need to be ready in case of this stress.
CareSuper is an Industry SuperFund but they still manage their Website user login like a corner store.
Caresuper is very conservative and bought out Asset Super in 2012. Asset Super was more customer oriented. Caresuper is all about maximising profit at all costs.
In May 2016, I found that password resets go into the Trash folder if Spam Assassin or similar filtering is setup. Caresuper will not suggest to look in there. I found out by accident. Caresuper will do a manual reset but will not suggest looking in Trash or fixing password reset so that it does not go into the Trash.
In September 2016, I found username is used in preference to account number in login if setup. They refuse to put a warning that member number will no longer work if a username is setup.
CareSuper is getting a new administrator by 29/3/2019. Their site will be down for 8-29/3/19 except for read-only. Why not upgrade on weekends or at midnight like ATO do? This means more complexity for me. Better information management is needed to smooth the process but none is used so customer had to adapt to all the new details of account and address etc. The change is not customer-centred but business centred. Nothing was learned from Royal Commission into Banking re customer benefit. It is all about profit. CareSuper need a tech savvy CEO. The site was down all April instead of March 2019 so transition was pushed back a month.
On 29/4/19 when I tried to ring up CareSuper after their site came online again after new administrator was appointed member login would not work, password reset email was not received and call centre was maxed out with 51 in queue. I tried again on 30/4/19 and still could not get through on phone for 5 mins. The transition to new administrator has not gone smoothly.
In April 2019, my super going into CareSuper during their period when they were down or upgrading was blocked til it came back up again. This caused all sorts of confusion and delays for me and contractor I was working for. CareSuper said payments should be received OK during upgrade but they weren't.
In 7 May 2019, the new member login worked at CareSuper's site. CareSuper had caught up the transition to a new administrator. The CareSuper call centre queue was still 33 long!
Contractor used AustralianSuper QuickSuper clearinghouse not super fund Website to pay my super but there was an error message due to format I am guessing.
In 2016, we explored Bitcoin and Blockchain to create low cost reliable financial record infrastructure.
In December 2017, Bitcoin price fluctuated extremely.
In March 2019, I am threatened via emails from blackmailers who want Bitcoin.
So Bitcoin has fostered fraud and blackmail because it goes round anti-money laundering protections of banks.
Cybersecurity, criminals, hackers and Bitcoin are perfect recipe for fraud and exploitation of digital assets like email and Websites worldwide. Data breaches are a big threat for exploitation and money laundering rackets in Asia, Russia and South America.
In February 2019, I discovered AEMO is going to use blockchain to monitor and manage distributed power network.
IBM is investing into blockchain technology.