Christmas is traditionally a time of goodwill but if you work for yourself, run your own business or run somebody else’s business and late payment is a problem for you then Christmas spirit may be in short supply.
Late payment can mean bonuses and wages are postponed and for obvious reasons Christmas is one time of year when employees rely heavily on their salaries being paid on time.
Late payment can also, in some dire circumstances, mean that office parties are postponed or cancelled which in turn can affect staff moral. Research carried out by The Prompt Payment Directory earlier his year underlines a whole range of other psychological impacts resulting from late payments .
At Christmas there are two main issues:
- invoices that are due in December may fall off the radar as the admin cycles in finance departments are shortened, that means a 30 day invoice that was sent out at the end of November and falls due any time from 25- 31 of December may end up being paid late as a result of the holiday period
- invoices that are normally sent out at the end of the month need to be dispatched earlier in December and checked up on before people start knocking off for the Christmas break. In other words it would be a good idea to send out and follow up in week beginning 18th of this month. (next week ;-0 )
Thinking about issue one there are some actions that can be taken now.
- Most businesses operate a skeleton staff over Christmas but it’s still worth finding out if any of your customers or clients are closing up altogether over Christmas, and if the close down period crosses the date when any of your invoices fall due for payment. If so then ask for early settlement of the invoice(s).
- Check who’s dealing with any invoices you have that fall due over the Christmas period. If you have a regular contact in a finance department find out if that person is taking any extended time off and who will be standing in for them.
- Make sure you have all contact names, numbers and email addresses of anybody who is relevant to the payment of your invoices. Don’t settle for generic finance admin email addresses as these can be picked up by anybody, if you really can’t get a specific address then copy all comms to you primary contact in the business .
Just by doing these simple things it sends a signal that you are serious about being paid on time. It will also help you get ahead of events if payment drags.
Additionally, the answers you get now could stand you in good stead at other points in the year. It’s always helpful to have some backup details to reach out to in the event of late payment whatever the time of year.