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.
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.
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.
We always say that a sensible approach to invoicing can help to cut down on the number of problems you face - and that's still true. Chasing up invoices, making sure they've been received by the client, and querying any payments as soon as they become overdue can all help to encourage clients to pay up on time.
But when an invoice goes unpaid, it's easy to find yourself becoming more and more lenient in the hope that your client will eventually pay - while they become less and less reasonable in their reasons for delaying.
The videogames industry is a key contributor to the post-industrial UK economy, at a time when the creative industries and services sector are steadily growing in importance.
But safeguarding this contribution means ensuring the continued health of companies working in the industry - and the sector's representative body TIGA (The Independent Games Developers Association) is doing just that by encouraging all those working in the videogames sector to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code and avoid late payment.
Businesses that have been surviving at the edge of affordability - commonly called 'zombie businesses' for their inability to survive any further change in the health of their cashflow - could be particularly keen to see the Late Payments Directive introduced as planned.
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is running a consultation until October 19th on the Late Payments Directive (or European Directive 2011/7/EU, to use its proper name), which should help many small businesses to receive full payment of their invoices within 30 days - and to charge interest on top of any debts that go unpaid for longer.
Local authority late payments are almost as much of a problem now as when, in 2008, the government first introduced a ten-day target for settling its invoices in the regions, reports the Forum of Private Business.
Following on from our mock interview with Dodgy Dave the Debt Collector below you can find an infographic containing Nine Top Tips to avoid dodgy B2B Debt Collectors.
The tips are from the pen of our MD Sid Home. Sid is a former British Transport Police officer and has been the Managing Director of Safe Collections since the company was incorporated in 1984.
When you've been left out of pocket by a non-paying client, it's only natural that you should want to claim back what is rightfully yours.
So how do you know who to trust? We spoke to Dodgy Dave the Debt Collector - a prime example of the kind of person you probably don't want to trust with your money.
Late payments are a burden that all businesses must bear, and we fully understand and appreciate the annoyance that they can cause to all of our clients, whether big or small. So when a customer leaves you with an unpaid invoice, it's equally understandable that you might choose to 'encourage' them to pay up in any way possible.
Increasingly, that for some people means taking to the social networks to name and shame the non-paying client and try to embarrass them into paying. There are clear problems with this approach - for a start, you have to wonder whether a business owner happy to renege on a contract is likely to be shamed into settling their account simply because of a bit of bad word of mouth. But we were curious to find out just how often naming and shaming actually works - so we asked you.
The government's ongoing pledge to help small businesses keep their cashflow looking healthy has taken a new turn - and it's like 'improving' policing by asking criminals to turn themselves in.
Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills work with representative groups of small firms on the Small Business Economic Forum.
Night of the Living Debt as 'Zombie Businesses' take over the UK!
Watch your backs people - there's a zombie revolution taking place, and the bloodthirsty brutes have got a taste for your money.
R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, says there are already 146,000 'zombie businesses' out there, including much of the retail sector, leaving Britain's high streets looking like something out of a horror movie, financially speaking.
Gloomy news from the Forum of Private Business in recent weeks, as FTSE 100 companies are again being urged to abolish the late payments culture by settling their invoices on time, and banks are again being urged to lend more to cash-strapped small businesses.
In an ongoing climate of tight availability of finance in all its forms, and with outstanding invoices totaling tens of billions of pounds, it can be easy to wonder what's the point in chasing payments?
A failure to follow the 'golden rules' of credit control is leaving many SMEs facing a significant burden of payment chasing this summer, says RBS Invoice Finance.
The bank's specialist team has compiled figures showing that small firms are currently receiving payments an average of 30 days beyond the agreed deadline.