#Immediacy on speech making

You may feel you will, be losing 'a good customer', but this ...

You may feel you will, be losing 'a good customer', but this was something you lost when the debt became seriously overdue.

Good customers who do not pay are not good customers at all. Debt-collection agencies There are firms specializing in debt collection who work for a percentage of the amount owed. Care should be taken in selecting such an agency, as there are some shady characters around whose methods leave something to be desired and whose actions may rebound on you.

Your accountant or solicitor may be able to suggest a reputable firm. Factoring Many of the major banks have subsidiary companies who offer a factoring service involving: Keeping your sales ledger, preparing and despatching your invoices; Keeping track of outstanding debts and chasing them. Factoring companies also maintain information on the credit-worthiness of business concerns, and can advise you of credit ratings if you are uncertain as to whether or not credit terms should be given to a prospective new customer.

However, the three major benefits are: You save money through not having to keep your own sales ledger; The factoring company will normally guarantee payment; Part of the value of each invoice probably about 80 per cent will be paid to you as soon as the invoice is despatched.

In return, of course, the factoring company will require a fee, and it is up to you to weigh up the value of the service against the cost. Your bank is -probably the best source of advice on where to find a good factoring company and what their terms are. These are some of the ways and means of speeding up the receipt of money due, but it is also important to build into your business routines designed to prevent the overdue money problem in the first place. DO YOU ASK FOR REFERENCES BEFORE GIVING CREDIT? Granting any significant degree of credit to an unknown individual or company without checking their financial standing is a risk seldom worth taking.

The larger the order, the greater is the temptation to accept it, but greater too is the risk. Obviously requests for referees must be handled tactfully, but any really professional businessperson will understand and respect your reason for doing so. Any belligerent reaction to what is a perfectly normal business procedure should be treated with considerable suspicion. CAN MONEY BE PAID 'UP-FRONT'? Asking for a deposit, or something on account, is becoming increasingly common in these difficult times and, where goods are made to order eg built-in furniture, clothing and machine tools, it is prudent to do so.

Not only will this practice guard against defaulters, but it will also provide funds for raw materials and other variable costs involved in the sob. CAN CREDIT-CARD PAYMENTS BE ENCOURAGED? Although a small percentage of the value of each transaction must be paid to the credit-card company, the seller has the benefit that payments are guaranteed. With the use of PayPal every business can take payments online. The use of credit cards applies mainly in retail-shop and mail-order businesses, but there seems to be no reason why others, such as plumbers, business consultants or interior decorators, should not do the same.

It is worth thinking about. IS THERE A SIMPLE, CHEAP BUT EFFECTIVE PROCEDURE IN OPERATION TO SEE WHEN BILLS ARE OVERDUE FOR PAYMENT? There are all kinds of computer systems, card indexes and patent ledger systems available for recording debts and indicating when they are due.

Some of these systems are expensive to install and require careful attention if they are to be operated effectively.

Having to look up entries in a website, for example, can be a chore and can be forgotten.

The simplest, and easiest, way is to make your own copy invoices ...

The simplest, and easiest, way is to make your own copy invoices do the work, for you by placing them, visibly, in a container' marked with the

Try to find a way to cut, say, 25 per cent from ...

Try to find a way to cut, say, 25 per cent from the time lag. Try, as far as practicable, an experiment by invoicing in smaller amounts. Monitor the results to see ... read more

Fortunately, dealing with tax is not wholly a matter of coping with ...

Fortunately, dealing with tax is not wholly a matter of coping with more and more onerous impositions on business. Governments do, from time to time, m