Category Archive: Credit Control

  1. Bad debt (credit) insurance, is it really worth it ?

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    We insure our cars, our house and sometimes even ourselves – but how many of you have considered insuring the life blood of your business – Your cash flow.

    We’re at the coal-face of the credit and debt industry and we have seen a steeped rise in companies failing over the last 12 months.

    A recent BBC editorial highlighted the fact that company insolvencies were at their highest since the 90’s and effectively every 1 in 200 active companies closed in 2023.

    Frightening statistics ! But what can you do when a customer enters insolvency ?

     

    Credit insurance is like most insurance… it can be costly and you hope you won’t want to use it but when you do, it can be life saving.

    Now we don’t profess to being experts at insurance but we have trusted contacts who are. We picked the brains of Tamlynn Siddle at Allianz for her thoughts as to the whys and wherefores of credit insurance and how it all works.

    Effectively with the appropriate cover in place, should you suffer the shock of having a customer enter insolvency, in straightforward cases a client can receive up to 90% of their losses back from the insurance company.

    Even when you’re experiencing a late paying customer, your insurance can help. For example, if Corp & Comm were retained to recover your account but sadly all of our actions were being ignored (which is rare but we have to admit it does happen from time to time) then after a pre-agreed period of chasing, you can pass this account to your insurers and should they also not be successful, you again could receive up to 90% of the debt value back via the insurance company.

    In short, although there are no guarantees that you won’t experience a customer’s insolvency, there are ways that you can avoid feeling the full brunt of that pain.

     

  2. Never mind three wise men, what about three wise tips to getting paid…

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    The invoices you raised in October are your Christmas Cash-Flow.

    To maximise your chances of being paid these invoices before the Christmas break, it is vitally important to you have all your checks and balances in place.

    This year, a lot of companies will shut down for Christmas around Friday 22nd December (if not before…) and the likelihood is, they won’t be returning until the New Year.

    This means that you’ve only got three weeks to recover four weeks worth of invoices.

     

    Don’t be phased though, use the last weeks of November to action your Christmas Cash-Flow Plan.

    With a bit of careful thought, planning and action, you can maximise your chances of December being all… Ho-Ho-Dough !

     

    1 – Review all of your invoices that will soon be falling due.

    Have all of your invoices been sent ? Can you send them again by email also to ensure receipt ? Do your invoices contain all the information they should ? Most importantly, do they contain your bank details ?

    Now is the time to make any amendments to any invoice and get them sent again to the customer.

     

    2 – Find out when your customers are closing.

    Pick up the phone. Use the opportunity to continue to grow your business relationship but also find out when your customers are closing for Christmas. Make a note and you’ll ensure you’re able to chase your invoices when they’re actually around. Finally use the opportunity to make sure they’ve got your invoices and that they don’t need anything further.

    It may seem cheeky to ask about invoices that aren’t yet due but it’s better to resolve challenges now than when the time is ticking.

     

    3 – Set two dates in your diary for credit control.

    December can be a manic month, we’re trying to fit four weeks of work into the three weeks on offer. As a result, we have a tenancy to concentrate on sales and revenue and NOT financial admin. By physically putting two mornings into your diary, be it Outlook, Google or whatever method you use, you ensure that you spend time of the important function of Christmas Cash-Flow.

    A good tip is to diarise the first and second Thursdays of December. People often take Fridays off Christmas shopping.

     

    There’s just a few tips as to how to reduce your Christmas financial stress, whilst all along increasing your chances of Christmas Cheer.

    Don’t worry if it seems a lot, we’re always on hand to discuss, advise and guide how you can implement same and should it all seem too much time and effort, then we’re there to pick up the baton for you instead.

     

    Enjoy the rest of 2023, from all the Team at Corp & Comm. 

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Talk is cheap… Not here, we think talk is priceless.

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    A huge thanks to business mentor Gary King for affording us the opportunity to share with The Association of Business Mentors, our knowledge and advice as to how their clients can not only survive but also grow in these troubled times.

    Through their Podcast series about Business Essentials, we share our tips, advice and guidance as to how to maximise the return of your business invoices…

     

  4. Overtrading – Once a myth, now a reality.

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    Is there one word that sums up the cost of living ‘crisis’ on the credit management of a business…
    One word we use – Overtrading !

    The sky rocketing cost of raw materials, the utilities to convert them and the fuel to distribute means companies need to spend more to simply purchase the same value of items as before.

    To cope with this reduced money making, some businesses are gambling on what we call ‘overtrading’, where they commit to larger and larger contracts to bring increased revenues.

    The downside to committing to larger projects is the necessity to buy more materials. Buying more leads to an monetary increase in orders, meaning much larger potential debts.
    Yes, we can hear you say… ‘but this increased demand is fine because they’re going to earn more from the larger project to pay the bills’… but are they ? ?
    All it takes is a snagging query on a site, or a manufacturing query at source and the customer’s payment chain comes to an inevitable halt, restricting cash-flow into their business. This lack of funds forces them to pass on their pain through none-payment to suppliers.

    So how do you spot the tell tale signs of overtrading ? Look at your ledger for these…
    1, Has a regular customer started to order increased volumes beyond their limit ?
    2, Has a customer’s payments started to become delayed later and later ?
    3, Has a normally ‘talkative’ customer become unexpectedly silent ?

    If the answers to 1 and 2 are Yes, then grab your credit control script, give them a call and look for some answers.
    Tell them you’ve noticed an increase in orders and ask them is this for a specific larger project, or are they simply doing more and more work.
    Tell them you’ve noted recently that ‘everybody’s’ payment terms are getting stretched these days and you just wanted to make sure they had everything they needed to ensure there were no delays with the payment of your invoices.

    Let’s not forget, until you’re paid, you’ve funding their business. It’s cost you money to fulfil these orders, it’s not all pure profit and until you get paid, it’s you carrying their debt, not them.
    Finally, if you sadly don’t get a response from your attempts, then it’s time to grab the bull by the horns and take some action. You know where to find us to source your solution.

  5. Do you have a ‘perfect’ plan for the tough times ahead ?

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    Why oh why do we continue to believe in these mup…..ts ! ? !

    Grant Shapps (Business Secretary) announced in December that there would be a full root and branch review of late payment attitudes towards small businesses, with the results planned to be published on the 6th April 2023.

    To press, we continue to wait for the report with baited breath.

    Sadly we believe it will be just another headline grabbing exercise, akin to the much lorded Prompt Payment Code, the Government’s ‘voluntary’ code of practice, drafted to speed up payments but in fact attributed very little to changing the attitudes of slow payment.

    Here at Corp & Comm we live by the mantra ‘Education Is Everything’.

    People can tell you that they’re doing all they can for us but in reality, if you want to protect your interests, you have to have a PERFECT plan to take action yourself.

    So how can you educate us then…?

    Times are hard, cash is tight. We want you to be first in line for payment. Here are some hints and tips as to how to be P.E.R.F.E.C.T when the time comes to ask for your monies, without it affecting those valuable client relationships.

    • PREPARATION
      • Have your call script to hand so to be both concise and professional.
    • ENTHUSIASM
      • Be bright and alert. Nobody wants to talk to a grump.
    • REALISM
      • Ask yourself if the debtor can meet your request or will you need to negotiate.
    • FOCUS
      • Don’t go off track. You’ve called to ask for your money so ASK FOR IT !.
    • EMPATHY
      • Although you need to be firm, you must also understand the debtor’s position.
    • CONNECT
      • Try to form a bond with the customer, they’ll be more likely to resolve your claim.
    • THE OUTCOME
      • Always remember why you’ve rang, you need your money so make this your goal.

    Alternatively…

    If you would rather spend your time on other priorities, we are here as a trusted payment partner. You get back your valuable time and you receive an expert team to ensure you get paid quickly .

    You can outsource both your end to end Credit Control or any individual Debt Recovery, learn more at www.corpandcomm.com or call us on 01535 654 594.

  6. Turnover vanity, profit sanity but cashflow is reality.

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    The New Year is always full of promise to alter ourselves, our lifestyles, our environment but we should also take time to alter the way we look at our business.

    Running a successful business can be a drain on your time.

    The clamour to service clients and fulfil orders often takes over the opportunity to analyse your financial exposures and risks.

    We all know that 2023 is going to be a challenge, a recent study showed there were 1,900 business insolvencies in December alone.

    Read on to learn how to avoid being a victim of the insolvency statistics.

     

    Now is the time to study your customer’s payment habits.

    Do you have a customer who has taken longer and longer to pay? If so, make a note on your accounts system to flag them up as a concern. Then make them your priority when you’re conducting your credit control. Contact them first before any others, the quicker you action a concern, the speedier you are to get paid.

    Do you have a customer who consistently orders more goods than their suggested credit limit ?

    Conduct some credit and diligence checks on that customer. Make sure that they are worthy of the extended credit limit that you are giving them? Remember, until you are paid it is YOU that is funding your customer’s business.

    There are many credit checking facilities out there such as CreditSafe, Experian and others. You may find your bank offers a similar service, perhaps not as detailed but still useful in any event. Use the facility to consistently check whether the customer should be receiving a larger credit value. If they are worthy of an increase, then perhaps extend their credit limit. Your customer will appreciate the vote of confidence and may even provide further orders. However if the customer is not worthy of an increase in credit, what actions are you taking to protect yourself on these increased orders.

    Our advice is to never let it lie. Address the issue, inform the customer of the credit challenge and insist on either a pro-forma or upfront payment to bring their credit account back into terms, or suggest they stagger the orders whilst they pay for the current account. A New Year is the time for new starts and new beginnings, so let’s all start by putting best practice into our businesses and securing our futures for the tough times ahead.

  7. Have you prepared your October invoicing as your Christmas Cash-Flow.

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    It’s time to replace the Chaos with a little Christmas.

    Even by Blighty’s standards, the last quarter has been a little bizarre to say the least. We’re on our third Prime Minister, utilities are still on the rise, inflation’s rocketing and it’s being matched by interest rates.

    Now more than ever, the necessity of having cash in the bank has never been more important.

     

    December can be a struggle in more ways than one.

    Expenditure and wages are not the same in December. Add seasonal factors such as Xmas bonuses, parties, gifts etc and you’re suddenly spending more than expected.

    Add to this that most businesses close for an extended period over Xmas and you’re faced with having to fund increased expenditure but within a decreased three-week working period.

     

    The actions you take NOW become so much more important.

    A renewed credit control focus is vitally important because the invoices you raise now will be your ‘Christmas Cash-Flow’!

    As we all know, there is no cast iron way of guaranteeing that an invoice won’t be paid late but there are ways that you can minimise that risk.

     

    1. Make sure that your invoice holds all the correct written information.
    • List the customer’s information correctly. Make sure any description of goods/services provided is accurate. Ensure the price is as quoted and the invoice is dated correctly. Don’t provide any excuse for your invoice payment to be delayed.

     

    2. List on the invoice the payment information that the customer will need to pay you.
    • Make sure your complete bank details are on your invoices : bank name, account name, sort code and account number. Include your payment terms and most importantly, the date for payment. Without a place to pay, people can’t pay.

     

    3. In December, have a ledger to hand to see what invoices are owed…. and action it !
    • In most cases businesses will only be trading for three weeks in Dec. Be proactive with your ledger, don’t delay when an invoice is overdue. If the invoice has been raised fairly, it’s expected to be paid.
    • Don’t be scared to ask for your money, you’ve earned it and you certainly deserve it.

     

    If you don’t have a plan to action your unpaid invoices, or you struggle to implement your processes, then don’t delay, use your peer support network and contact us for all the help, advice and guidance you’ll need to enjoy a stress free end to 2022.

     

    Stay Safe Folks, let’s all try to have a happy festive period.

    From all the team at Corp & Comm (01535) 65 45 94.

     

  8. Everyone’s saving save money but should we be spending ?

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    90’s pop chanteurs D’Ream once sang… ‘Things can only get better’.

    Sadly, if you apply this in a business sense, they’re wrong !

    Inflation is at a record high. Interest rates are rising. Petrol is ever fluctuating. Utilities are going up again with the upcoming increased price cap. This all means that supplier costs continue to increase to cope with the demand for more business capital and there’s no immediate end in sight.

    Unfortunately now it’s more apt to chime… ‘things are only going to get more expensive’, but what can we do to mitigate these increasing costs and maintain business continuity ?

    Cutting costs is one option but the general rule of thumb is that you can only cut costs by around 20% but as a well-known supermarket brand does say… ‘every little helps’.

    Increasing sales generates greater long term returns, especially if they’re recurring but revenue growth can take time, which a lot of businesses simply don’t have.

    But what about maximising the situation at present ?…

    Many businesses have a cash life-line hidden within their ledger, they just don’t have either the knowledge, the skills or perhaps the time to release it. Unpaid monies sat on a client’s invoicing can hold the key to survival. It’s simply a matter as to how you recover those monies to both the client’s  AND the customer’s benefit.

    Business owners recognise the risks ahead and are looking for solutions to provide them with the tools and the bi-product, cash-flow to navigate the tricky waters ahead.

    We normally get recommended within ONE LinkedIn discussion a week as the ‘go-to guys’ when it comes to effective and professional debt recovery solutions. At the point of writing, this week alone we’ve been included within FOUR separate LinkedIn posts.

    But why choose to spend more money when times are tough ?…

    Well we recently conducted a bi-annual review of one of our creative clients and ascertained that for their monthly investment of only £300.00, we had recovered for them the total of around £245,000.00. An eye watering return of investment of approximately 7000 % !

    Now more than ever….

    Is the time to keep control of your exposure and risk.

    Is the time to maintain and continue your essential business cash-flow.

    Is the time to invest in business continuity, business growth and business survival.

    Now more than ever, is the time to invest in the gang at Corp & Comm.

  9. Write Offs….. They’re not just limited to reckless car drivers.

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    April brings the season of new financial years and new starts.

    Final accounts can help you celebrate your achievements but they can also highlight failings. One such failing is the value of your invoices that you didn’t get paid. The inability to get paid for your hard earned work.

    At the end of the financial year, a decision is made to write off these values for one reason or another…. It’s too much work to pursue them, it’s not cost effective or quite possibly, I simply don’t know how to go about it !

     

    There are two main reasons why you would write off debts :

    1, The company owing you the money has entered insolvency.

    2, You’ve decided it’s not financial viable to pursue the debt.

     

    Should you suffer a customer insolvency, then there’s very little anybody can do. Companies go bust daily, often with little warning. But what can you learn from an insolvency ?

    If the insolvency company owed monies within 60 days, then you’ve probably done all you could to chase your monies. Sadly this is just the cost of running a successful business, you’re going to encounter such challenges more and more as you get busier and busier.

    However if you have some insolvencies over 60 days, then you need to look at your chase procedures and ask… ‘What could I do to reduce my risk ?  What else can I do to place the extra pressure on the customer to make sure I’m paid in front of somebody else ?

    Rest assured, we’re at hand to help you find answers to these questions, just give us a call or drop us a line.

     

    If you have lots of ‘standard’ write offs, there’s plenty of reasons as to why you should continue to pursue your accounts.

    Did you know you still have a legal right to pursue written off debts ? In fact, you have SIX years to pursue your accounts.

    Let’s not forget, your invoices represent not only the cost you’ve incurred in completing the project but also your profit.

    Make no bones about it, if you continue to allow debts to simply be written off, you will not only continue to lose the money that you’ve invested in the project but you’ll also be losing money you could have invested into your business.

    So what can you do about it ? Simple, don’t just accept it, take action to avoid it !

     

    At Corp & Comm, we work pretty much on a no win – no fee basis.

    There’s a small fee for the initial instruction but after that, our works, expertise and processes are free to you.

    Once your monies are repaid then a reasonable commission fee is raised but look at it this way, receiving an invoice from us is a good place to be because that means you’ve received monies that you didn’t expect to see.

    So don’t delay, make contact today. Like we said, you’ve got SIX years to act but just don’t take that too literally.

  10. Has your Credit Control adapted to change ?

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    Regular readers may recall that at the very start of the pandemic, we wrote about how your Credit Control procedures may have to change to adapt to the differing work patterns of your suppliers.

    Whilst the advent of ‘flexible’ or ‘hybrid’ home working can be beneficial for both the employee and the business, it can often be detrimental to a Supplier’s credit control.

    Most importantly, it can be detrimental to the time it takes to recover your monies.

    The Government’s new declaration that you should work from home where possible, has once again led to frustrations and inabilities to contact the relevant payment personnel, the bi-products being both a delay in payments and the inevitable squeeze on cash-flow.

    So what can you do to legislate against these delays, maximise the recovery of your monies and maintain your cash-flow.

     

    1. Make sure that your invoice holds ALL the correct information.
    • List the info and descriptions correctly, that the price is as quoted and the invoice is dated correctly.
    • Include and highlight your complete bank details :  bank name, sort code, account number and account name.
    • Declare your payment terms and most importantly, the date for payment.

     

    1. Make sure that your database holds ALL the correct information.
    • Make sure you have not only the customer’s contact information but also those of the Accounts contact – They may be different.
    • Include an alternative Accounts contact who can arrange payment, just in case your primary contact becomes ill.
    • Have a contact to escalate the matter to, such as an FD or MD and have both the company and personal contact info for them.

     

    1. Have a ledger to hand to see what invoices are owed…. and action it !
    • Move into the modern age and email all of your invoices and statements, don’t trust the Post Office to do your job for you.
    • Be proactive with your ledger, don’t delay when an invoice is overdue. If the invoice is fair, it deserves to be paid.
    • If there’s a legitimate query, rush to resolve same, don’t give an opportunity to delay payment any longer than is necessary.

     

    Don’t worry if your current processes don’t include all of these, simply adding something to your procedures makes them better than before. Alternatively if your already experiencing these delays and are being forced to spend more and more time on your essential credit control functions then don’t dismay, help is at hand.

    Corp & Comm are here to help you with free advice, guidance and support on all things related to credit management.

    Simply email us at admin@corpandcomm.com, or contact us on (01535) 65 45 94.