When it comes to cashflow, it isn’t just about ensuring your invoices are paid on time.  It encompasses the entire flow of money in and out of your business and covers your businesses dealings with your own suppliers.

So do you treat your suppliers as you would like to be treated?

Invoicing is an integral part of every business, so taking the time to ensure that your paperwork really works for you is often a wise investment.

In part three of the Managing Cashflow guides from the ICM and BIS you can find a wealth of useful information to help your company avoid the common invoicing pitfalls, reduce delays and remove excuses for non-payment.

A Christmas Collection

The payment was late: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of this story I am going to relate.

Once upon a time - of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve - old Scrooge sat busy counting his unpaid invoices.

After ensuring your company really knows your customer, knowing when you can expect your invoices to be paid is the next step in an effective credit control process.

Agreeing payment terms in advance helps to ensure both parties accept and understand their obligations and allows for the creditor to forecast the arrival of funds, a key survival strategy in today’s turbulent economy.

One of the single most important aspects of effective credit control in any business is ensuring that you know exactly who you are dealing with, before any credit is provided.

If you don’t know who your customer is, it is impossible to correctly identify the risk involved in providing credit and means your company is doing business “in the dark”.

The Prompt Payment Code and the Supply Chain Finance Scheme - what's going on?

The current economy is turbulent enough, without seemingly conflicting schemes being launched to help businesses with credit control and late payment.

But in recent weeks, both the Prompt Payment Code and the Supply Chain Finance Scheme have been making headlines for companies with slow-to-pay clients.

Many businesses involved in the retail and supply sectors find the run up to the festive period can be the businest and potentially most profitable time of the year.  But it can also be one of the most difficult times of year to keep a healthy cash flow as it's not only legitimate businesses that are gearing up for a bumper holiday period; fraudsters are also busily laying the foundations for a variety of Christmas cons that could leave many already struggling companies out in the cold come January.

If you're a small-business owner and you've never heard of the Supply Chain Finance Scheme, announced today, sit down and put anything breakable well out of reach, because you're going to want to smash something pretty soon.

The SCFS is one of those initiatives that you hear about, think "how the hell did they come up with that?", and then realise it was a government idea.

Late payments are a pain for all of us, clapping the irons on our cashflow, disrupting client relationships and generally causing a world of stress until they're resolved either directly or through the intervention of a debt collections specialist like Safe Collections.

But on an international scale, late payments cause even bigger headaches for economies across the EU, leading to an annual debt of €23.6 billion (£19 billion) according to European Commission figures.

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