#Immediacy on speech making

The reasons for this are: Many companies put high-value invoices through a ...

The reasons for this are: Many companies put high-value invoices through a more rigorous checking procedure which takes longer; Payments of large amounts may require approval at a higher level by a VIP who is very engaged on other matters; Companies with a cash-flow problem may deliberately delay payment of large amounts until they have some money in from their own debtors. Chasing the unpaid note STAGE I STATEMENTS Many companies ignore invoices and pay on statements so, once again, it is important to send them out without delay.

Every unpaid amount should appear on the statement, which in itself will act as a reminder and, with a pre-printed message, can remind customers of your payment terms.

STAGE 2 THE TACTFUL TELEPHONE CALL Because an amount is overdue does not necessarily mean that the customer is deliberately delaying payment. He may be genuinely waiting for the computer-run or have staff away with the 'flu or any one of a number of other difficulties. A polite and fairly gentle reminder could be enough to persuade him / her to put your invoice on top of the pile. STAGE 3 A WRITTEN REMINDER The written reminder, sent about a month after the phone call, can be rather more formal and more firmly worded.

If, after a further month, there has been no response, it will be necessary to move to stage 4. STAGE 4 THE FIRST WARNING A email should be written pointing out how long the payment is overdue and that reminders were given on such and such dates. A new deadline for payment can be set with a statement that legal action will be considered if payment is not forthcoming on or before that date.

In most cases the threat of legal action brings a response and, in cases where it does not, the chances are that the customer is unable to pay rather than unwilling to pay. Whether or not legal action is taken will depend on a number of factors, including: The amount of money in question Your legal costs may be more than the debt due to you.

A compromise, which costs less than court action, is a email from your solicitor to the customer. This has no more force in law than a email you may write yourself, but it suggests that you mean business. There may be evidence eg other people complaining of overdue payments that the customer is penniless and possibly going, or gone, out of business.

Any money spent in pursuing the debt will probably be wasted.

The public relations aspect The appearance of your company as a plaintiff in a local court may be a means 'pour encourager les autres' or may be bad for your image and damage sales in the future. If, however, the sum of money is large, and it is believed that the customer can be made to pay, do not hesitate to go ahead with legal action.

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... read more

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 if there is an overa