Nagging Panda: New start-up gets your invoices settled

If anyone understands the constrictions and damage late payments have on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and corporates alike, it’s serial entrepreneur and TechZoo Corporation chief executive Elan Lea.

His most recent five-year tenure in telecoms systems has seen debtors books book values of hundreds and millions of Rands. He employs several hundred people.

“Any business leader will tell you that a constant in every industry and companies of all sizes is late payments and worse, no payments,” says Lea. “The time and resources required to keep tracking down non-payments can have a severe effect on a company’s bottom line and, in the case of SMEs, can be outright devastating.

”The three major problems faced by almost all businesses are getting paid late or not at all; not following up on quotes and writing off money because businesses can’t find a collector to assist.”

Lea set his sights on solving the problem of 91% of SMEs being affected by late payments. In South Africa, Lea created Nagging Panda, and has just launched it. It is an automated system that can be tailored for each client.

Missed payments increase

In July 2020, a TransUnion survey of 1 500 businesses in South Africa found that half of these were “extremely concerned” and a quarter “very concerned about their ability to meet their own payment obligations.

Sage observed that 66% of surveyed businesses could not pay employees in full over the next 12 months; 44% couldn’t rent in full, and 41% couldn’t pay shareholders or owners salaries in full.

“When you consider the massive knock-on effect of this on employees, suppliers, and creditors,” Lea asserts, “you’re looking at a lot of people struggling to meet financial commitments.”

With or without global events like the pandemic, this has been a major problem. The solution was to find an affordable and measurable way to automate collection and payment.

How Nagging Panda was founded

A solution was found by choosing the most offensive animal for the logo and name.

“The debtors clerk, receptionist, owner or whoever runs the accounts department easily creates a Panda to attach to invoices and quotes to encourage prompt payment and higher quote acceptance rates,” says Lea.

A Panda is an automated workflow of instructions. When the time comes, following instructions created and tailored by the user, the Panda jumps into action and the debtor receives automated e-mails and/or SMSs from Nagging Panda on the business’s behalf.

“There’s no limit on how many emails or SMSs can be sent – it’s up to the user to create a Panda to communicate with their customer as they see fit,” Lea notes.

Then, there’s a built-in debt collector.  You can give your Pandas pre-written instructions to help them send unpaid invoices directly to the debt collector in the event that an invoice is not paid by a certain date. “Or,” says Lea, “you can skip the nagging altogether if needed and go straight to the debt collector.”

To save money, clients pay debt collection fees only if they are successful, which means that the debt has been paid.

“When it comes to convenience, we understand its bottom-line value to any company,” Lea states. “We’re also acutely aware that simple and convenient is best, so we’ve included a Pay Button that can appear on all invoices and communications, making payment a click away for clients. We’ve integrated with some of South Africa’s top payment providers to bring payers a familiar and trusted payment function.”

Enhancing your accounting system

Nagging Panda can be used in two modes to increase efficiency while keeping costs low: creator and integrator. In integrator mode, Lea explains that Nagging Panda integrates effortlessly with your existing accounting software, quickly pulling in the invoices and quotes that you’ve created in your regular workflow.

“Then, seamlessly and automatically, Nagging Panda does the dirty work. You can also opt for a hands-on approach to this, or what we call to set it and forget it,” Lea says.

As a creator, you’ll use Nagging Panda’s Creator option to set up your accounts receivables to create invoices, quotes, credit notes, customer statements, debtor aging and more,” says Lea, adding that this enables businesses to keep track of accounts receivables and simply assign Pandas to invoices and quotes with maximum flexibility.

With customisable templates and unlimited reminding – or Nagging – the software is a boon to businesses of all sizes and can be what keeps an SME firmly on track to success.

“Again,” says Lea, “Nagging Panda saves company resources by being on duty 24-7, 365; it’s your debtors clerks best friend. Goodbye awkward and time-consuming repeat calls.”

Subscription fees start at R399 per Month and increase according to the amount of invoices, quotes, and debt collection required on a monthly base. Even the smallest SME can access the same full-service accounting services as a large business. The Nagging Panda has the ability to take on late payers and increase revenue by following up with quotes without extra effort.

“With limited cash flow and late or non-payers being among the top threats to your business, we believe we have created a solution that suits any pocket, in any sector, and across all industries,” Lea concludes.

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