A government spokesman said: “The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October and our top priority is supporting consumers and businesses in their preparations for Brexit.
Are you preparing?
In a previous blog we talked about reviewing your due diligence processes to ensure you know who you’re dealing with. So we thought it would be useful to also be aware of which industries are predicted to be most effected, in a no deal outcome.
Which industries are likely to suffer most from a no-deal Brexit?
The cross-party Exiting the EU Committee has warned that a no deal could mean “damaging consequences” for sectors such as:
With pressure on cash-flow it is essential that you stay on top of your credit limits and watch our for repeat late payments. Don’t just assume customers can and will pay you eventually. No matter how big their name is. If you have clients in these industries extra vigilance or communications maybe needed.
Using an independent third party such as ourselves to create and implement and end to end credit control function or chase one off late payments can often be the most effective option. Get in touchwe are happy to talk through options.
The Government continue to acknowledge the devastating impact late payments have on SME’s in their Spring Statement:
Philip Hammond said “I announced a year ago that we would take definitive action to tackle the scourge of late payments for our small businesses. A full response to last year’s call for evidence will be published shortly, but I can announce today that as a first step we will require company Audit Committees to review payment practices, and report on them in their Annual Accounts. We will announce further details in due course. “
This seems to be the Government’s grand idea to make larger companies more self accounting. By having them publish the typical time taken to pay suppliers. Also requiring them to employ a non-executive director to be responsible for this and to hold them to account.
Is this another government white elephant initiative just in time for the launch of Dumbo in the cinemas or will it really help tackle late payments?
Late payments continue to negatively impact small enterprises in the U.K. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that larger firms should have a director in place to help reduce delays. Elsewhere, late payments impact contractors focused on emergency repairs in the U.S. Virgin Islands after the 2017 hurricanes.
Any company dealing with the larger UK companies know they often dictate their own payment terms. So what’s to stop the firm simply extending the payment terms. As long as they adhere to the extended terms, then will they be deemed as late ?
Also how effective is a non executive director going to want to be in holding the company to account that is paying their wages ?
Another challenge is whether the larger companies will adhere to the request, or will it be another ‘toothless tiger’, akin to the Government’s voluntary Prompt Payment Code?
Recent surveys by the BACS payment scheme showed the direct cost of late payments to small businesses is currently valued at around £2 billion. With the FSB have commenting that a typical SME is owed on average £6,142. It is estimated that as many as 50,000 firms go out of business each year because of problems related to late payment.
What can you do?
It’s not enough to allow the larger businesses to regulate themselves, it is imperative that all SME’s manage their exposure and risk in a prompt and pro-active manner.
Where possible invoice little and often.
Not only does this remove the spectre of having your cash flow tied up in one big invoice, should a smaller invoice be paid late, it alerts you to the payment practices of the customer and allows you to react to same for the future.
Be proactive and not reactive.
Have a set, robust credit control procedure that ensures that you are pursuing invoices as and when they become due (and before if possible). The sooner you are aware of a late payment, the quicker you can resolve same for the sake of your business and your sanity.
For more ways to manage your exposure to risk take a look at our Blogs or Contact Us.
The New Year is always full of promise. The challenge is whether we can continue to stick to our well intentioned promises.
We often make promises to alter ourselves, our lifestyles, our environment but how often do we promise to alter the way we look at our business
Sadly running a successful business can be a drain on your time. Often the clamour to service clients and fulfil orders takes over the opportunity to really look at your business. Including analysing your exposure and your risk.
We all know that there is ‘no better time to start something new than the present’ but the New Year also brings us a ready-made opportunity for change.
Take a little time during the holiday period to study or analyse your customers payment habits. Is there a particular 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. The quicker you action a concern, the speedier you are to get paid.
Is there a particular customer who has consistently ordered more goods than your suggested credit limit ? Now is the time to 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 ?
If they are, then write to them to extend their credit limit. Your customer will appreciate the vote of confidence and may even provide further orders. If they are not worthy of additional credit, flag them up on your system and every time they go past their limit, contact them immediately and ask them for payment to bring them back in line.
New year is the time for new starts and new beginnings, so let’s all start putting best practice into our businesses.
If we can be of help with recovering outstanding debts or remove the time you spend chasing payment by taking on your credit control please get in touch>>>
Halloween… a time for ghouls and ghosts, tricks or treats, but also due diligence.
Oh no…more late payments
We all dress up pretending to be other, often ‘un-worldly people’. The aim being to remain unknown, to scare or maybe trick the unsuspecting and hopefully to escape with a bag of loot. All in the name of fun of course.
If you consider this in a business context, it’s not so fun, especially when you consider the real aim is to trick you out of your hard earned money!
It may sound harsh even far fetched but we all know that there are companies out there who don’t need Halloween season as an excuse to try to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
Remember in most cases October’s invoicing is Christmas’s cash flow.
Doing all that you can now to ensure that your customers are true and valid, will go some way to ensuring that the invoices you raise this month have a chance of being paid in the future.
What action can I take?
Check up on the liquidity of both your new customers and also your bigger value customers.
Check that the account details you hold are correct and that you’re billing the correct company.
Check that there aren’t any pending insolvencies raised against the customer.
Check that the people running the company, are who they say they are.
How do I do that?
Use these FREE web-links to aid in your investigations :
As you know, our mantra is… ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure’… so being forewarned is forearmed.
In this season of pranks and high jinks, no matter how tempting it may seem to chase that quick buck, that big invoice, it is imperative your do your diligence first.
Don’t get fooled into accepting a trick, concentrate your time on receiving those treats !
Are you owed money?
Why spend valuable time chasing for payment when we can do it for you? Submit details of owed invoices quickly and easilyonline, or simply give us a call 01535 654 594. On occasion you can even add our fee and interest to the total amount we aim to collect.
We’re a friendly bunch here at Corp and Comm. We share a passion for delivering high quality services to our Credit Control and Debt Recovery clients.
As a growing small business who value and reward our people, we believe it’s an exciting time to work here. So if you’re a bright, motivated individual looking for flexible part-time work. Get in touch with your CV.
Credit Controller / Administrative Assistant Role
Job Title: Credit Controller and Administrative Assistant.
Job Type: Permanent, primarily flexible part time hours, 4 hrs a day, 5 days a week.
Reports to: Director. PRIMARY OBJECTIVES OF THE ROLE:
Assist in the efficient collection, control and administration of monies owed to clients within the agreed credit terms.
Maintain computerised and manual systems in order that payments are correctly allocated to each client.
Undertake routine / general administrative functions within a busy office, such as dealing with customers, filing, photocopying and mailing.
Salary – £9.50 per hour
Holiday – 25 days (pro rata)
Nest Pension Scheme
Assist in the setting up of the credit control system.
Ensure that debts are paid in a timely manner.
Chase overdue invoices by telephone, email & letter within agreed timescales.
Maintain accurate records of all chasing activity.
Provide regular updates to clients.
Identify changes in payment patterns and propose action to avert indebtedness.
Liaise with clients and customers regarding any disputed invoices. Where possible seeking relevant information in order that the query may be promptly resolved and payment received.
Provide accurate advice on billing queries.
Respond promptly and completely to both client and internal enquiries.
Other general office duties as delegated from time to time by Director or any other person designated in their absence.
ESSENTIAL WORK SKILLS
Able to demonstrate experience of working within a busy office. (Credit control experience is desirable but not essential).
• Computer skills and experience of working with credit control systems and software such as Xero, Sage etc is desirable but again not essential.
• Familiar with accounts procedures, client ledgers, disbursements and general office accounts.
• Experience of legal practice and procedures is desirable but again not essential
• Possess an excellent understanding of Microsoft Office.
• Experience of dealing with clients and customers at all levels.
• Ability to manage & prioritise an extensive caseload.
• To remain confidential at all times and adhere to regulatory guidelines and practice.
PERSON SPECIFICATION :
Excellent communication skills at all levels.
Calm, confident manner to handle potentially uncomfortable conversations.
Ability to establish and maintain good client relationships at all levels.
Good keyboard skills and competence of Word, Excel and Outlook are essential
Good standard of education with a high standard of numeracy and accuracy with attention to detail (minimum O level / GCSE Maths & English Grade A-C).
A team player with a flexible approach and a willingness to learn.
Outgoing and confident personality who is able to operate at all levels.
A self-starter who is pro-active and can set and achieve goals.
Strong organisational & time management skills.
Please send your CV and covering letter to either :
Ask yourself these questions, then challenge yourself to take action to improve your Credit Control and CashFlow
Am I spending too much time on monitoring and chasing payment?
YES / NO
Would my time be better spent on other business priorities, that would bring cash into the business?
YES / NO
Are potential CashFlow problems due to a lack of Credit Control team/skills?
YES / NO
Do I need more resources to ensure my cash is collected, if my growth plans come to fruition?
YES / NO
Am I worrying about making the call, sending the email etc to ask for MY money. Will this effect my CashFlow?
YES / NO
Am I worried that I may offend and then loose a contract/client?
YES / NO
Hopefully those questions made you take 5 to consider how you can have a more successful Credit Control process and improve the company CashFlow.
If you have lots of YES answers to the questions above then our advice would be to carry out a review of your Credit Control processes. Check out our Blogs>>> for guidance on implementing a successful Credit Control process
Should I be looking at options to outsource my Credit Control to improve CashFlow?
YES / NO
If you answered yes, please get in touch it is often more cost effective than you think.
New legislation, known as ‘Pre Action Protocol for Debt Claims’ came into effect this month. The Protocol describes the conduct a court will normally expect, prior to the start of legal proceedings.
The new protocol is clearly slanted towards the Court’s drive to ‘treat the customer fairly’ but there is a case to state that this legislation may have pushed the incentive too far. Therefore now is the time to consider your dealings with individuals and sole traders to ensure you have been diligent and are prepared to avoid extending the process of debt claims.
So what do you need to consider…?
First of all its worth noting that there has been significant changes to the ways in which you can pursue both individuals and sole traders through the Courts. Below you can find the main criteria changes and something’s for you to consider and act on:
You must be able to prove who you’ve dealt with. You must have information to show whether you’ve dealt with an individual or a limited company.
So make sure you have standard account opening form, its key.
You must hold a record of sales agreements. If they’re verbal, then keep a date of the discussion. If they’re written purchase orders, keep copies.
You need to be able to demonstrate when the agreement to supply was made.
Prior to issuing legal proceedings, the debtor must have been served with a postal demand for payment giving them a MINIMUM of 30 days to pay.
This demand can come from the client or a third party agent.
The demand must include a disclaimer to the debtor, should they not be able to pay then they must respond to the sender and it must also include in depth information.
So supply a response pack that acts as a aid to prompt the level of detail required in the reply.
Should the debtor respond and/or dispute your letter of claim, then a further 30 days grace on issuing must be provided to the debtor. Only after this second notice has expired can you issue proceedings.
Therefore if you find yourself dealing with a professional debtor, they could drag out the period before they can be sued, to beyond 60 days by the time you instruct a third party such as ourselves! This doesn’t take into account the time you pursued the debt yourselves.
The message is clear…
Do you now consider putting all of your sole trader and individual accounts on a cash only or pro forma basis ? If not, do you make a practice of passing these accounts sooner rather than later and avoid giving Tom, Dick and Harry more credit than they are worth ?
Further help on steps you can take to create a successful Credit Control process can be found in previous blogs
We are lucky enough to have several Accountants as clients and advocates, financial professionals who are willing to refer business contacts to us as and when they feel we can be of help.
One of these longstanding clients TLC, recently asked if we’d like to be a ‘guest blogger’ on their site, to share some of or expertise with their readers. Obviously we jumped at the chance and wanted to share it with our readers too.
TLC, like us can be a quirky bunch and as you might expect they love their figures. So here are a few figures to kick things off:
A typical small business wastes 130 hours p.a. chasing invoices.
In pounds and pence the recovery fees alone equate to almost £11,500 p.a. per company or, £11 Billion p.a. across the whole UK SME sector.
Admittedly we’d like to earn a little more of this £11 Billion but for now, head over to TLC Accountants and let us give you some free advice to maximise your chances of being paid and hopefully save you time and money that can be put to better use: >>The Ten Commandments of Successful Credit Control