It is every supplier’s worst nightmare. You have finally secured a lucrative contract with a big name global brand, giving you what feels like a sense of security and assurance for future earnings.

Then, all of a sudden, the unthinkable happens - the company goes bust. From a position of relative comfort, you now find yourself at the back of a long queue chasing unpaid invoices you may well never recover.

Depending on how reliant your business is on that one big client, you could easily find yourself in jeopardy too, unable to absorb the loss.

Reports that Canadian subscription box supplier Nerd Block has gone to the wall is bad news for an army of suppliers waiting on months of unpaid invoices.

Subscription boxes are big business, and the market is growing by the day. With the success of major brands such as Loot Crate charging £20 or more for a monthly box of goodies delivered to your door, similar companies have sprung up around the world.

Vertu Corporation Limited, the well-known British manufacturer of luxury smartphones, has finally filed for insolvency after being passed between owners since 2012.

The company was known for its spangly, jewel-encrusted handsets which came with equally ludicrous price tags. Its entry-level handset cost a cool £6,500; prices stretched to more than £250,000 for the garish Vertu Signature Cobra.

The UK’s supermarket watchdog has published its annual grocery code compliance list, naming and shaming supermarkets for poor treatment of suppliers and other breaches of the industry code of practice.The UK’s supermarket watchdog has published its annual grocery code compliance list, naming and shaming supermarkets for poor treatment of suppliers and other breaches of the industry code of practice.

This year, Asda has secured the dubious honour of having the poorest relationship with its suppliers, leapfrogging its West Yorkshire rival Morrisons which topped the shame list last year. Iceland, meanwhile, was ranked worst for overall compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice in the past year.

Taking the decision to stop supplying a client can be one of the hardest decisions any company has to take. With every piece of business so hard won it can be difficult to take a firm line with your credit control and potentially prejudice further income.

But when a customer persistently refuses to pay in full and on time, sometimes you are left with little option but to act.

Along with traffic wardens, politicians, journalists and merchant bankers, debt collection is one of those professions that has a perennial problem with its public image.

But while the unfortunate association between debt collection and burly, menacing men using dubious means to take money from the poor and unfortunate may still persist, as with many things in life, there is significant gap between perception and reality.

Credit Notes are essentially a negative invoice used to rectify mistakes or credit amounts raised in your sales invoice. They may be used to credit all or part of an invoice depending on the circumstances and serve as an accounting record for both parties to counter the invoicing error.

The Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) has attracted sharp criticism for claiming that there is “no evidence” that late payments by supermarkets cause problems for suppliers.

Christine Tacon made the comments to Food Manufacture magazine, claiming that in the four years she has been in the role, retailers were honouring an average of 98 per cent of invoices on time.

The remarks have attracted disbelief and outrage from suppliers’ representatives in the industry. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) pointed out the the government recognised there was a chronic cross-industry problem with late payments affecting SMEs, which make up 96 per cent of UK food and drink manufacturers.

A fine example of how not to carry out debt collection appeared in Singapore newspapers this week after three men were jailed for their part in a farcical incident.

Andra Chew Keng Leng, 40, Lim Boon Tiong, 43, and David Tan, 37, all employees of a debt recovery firm called Double Ace Associates, were sent with three colleagues to collect a debt from a food stall owner at Singapore’s Funan Digitalife Mall.

With a little under a month before the UK goes to the polls - again - following PM Theresa May’s snap general election call, it is difficult to know on what ‘issues’ the public will be basing their votes.

Such has been the mad scramble caused by the election call, the major political parties have not yet even got round to publishing their manifestos - even the Tories, it seems, were caught on the hop by their leader’s out-of-leftfield decision.

One issue we’re sure all small business owners would like to see feature prominently is so-called late payment culture.

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