All my customers are paying their bills late!

Dear Aunty B,

Not only has this been a horrible start to the year with sales slowing, but people also seem to be making the most absurd reasons for paying their bills late.

 

In the past week I have had someone tell me to fax the “lost” invoice because their email is having problems (we don’t have a fax and he told me this on email!) and yesterday I was told that after waiting since before Christmas to be paid one bill, I now have to send the invoice to Singapore because that is where this large Aussie company is now doing its accounts.

I am so stressed about money that all I can think about is getting it in. Is this a hangover from Christmas or are people going to be shits all year and pay late? And aren’t things meant to be getting better?

The only person in the world to pay on time (it seems),
Victoria

Dear The only person in the world to pay on time,

Congratulations for being such a community minded fella. We really should start a “pay on time club” and just do business with each other. Honestly. Big companies have no idea what a late payment can mean to a small business.

Look, the lesson for this year is that it is going to be a bit like 2008 when the GFC hit.

Remember that awful year when everything slowed down? And then the year after where it became a bit of a habit to pay as late as you dam well wanted?

We are seeing the costs of wholesale funding rise again and while things are looking up, some sectors of the economy are really struggling, which drags everything down.

But something is worrying me. I agree you should be totally focused on getting money in the door on the sales side. But why the hell are you dealing directly with late payers? Set up systems that never fail. And get someone else to make the calls, take the excuses, etc.

Remember, you can get someone in to do your books and chase your invoices for as little as $40 an hour. These people are experts at what they do and do it better and faster than you ever could.

Surely your time is worth more than $40 an hour and is better spent than on dragging in the money?

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

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