I know it might sound a little bah humbug but hear me out. It is definitely worth making a concerted effort to chase outstanding payments owed to your business at this time of year.

With less than two weeks to go until Christmas Day, it is crucial that you protect your cashflow and collect money that you are owed, especially if your financial year runs January to December.

December can be a struggle for businesses due to the reduction in productive days, but if you put off chasing debtors, things are unlikely to improve dramatically in January and you’ll simply be putting yourself at the back of the queue, making it even harder to collect those debts.

It’s a fact that older debts are harder to collect, so acting quickly is essential, even if you do feel a little awkward about chasing outstanding payments during the season of good will.

Your priority has to be protecting your own cashflow through leaner months and that means making sure you get paid before the end of the year.

During my 30 years helping businesses to recover money that they are owed I’ve heard every excuse in the book…

  • ‘I’ll pay when my customer pays.’
  • ‘I posted the cheque last week.’
  • ‘Our director isn’t here to sign the cheque today.’
  • ‘I haven’t received an invoice/statement of account.’
  • ‘We didn’t receive the goods/service.’
  • ‘There’s a problem with the work.’
  • ‘There’s a mistake on the invoice.’
  • ‘I’m waiting for my new cheque book to arrive.’
  • ‘I’m in the process of changing my bank account.’
  • ‘The company owner has died.’
  • ‘We are in receivership/liquidation/administration.’
  • ‘I have to pay my key supplier first.’
  • ‘I thought we had 60 days, not 30 days to pay.’
  • ‘My accountant only comes in once a week/is off sick.’

And the list goes on!

I love Christmas as much as the next person, but it shouldn’t be used as another excuse to avoid paying outstanding invoices.

Don’t feel bad. This is your money. This is a good time to put pressure on customers, many of whom are canny and will have been in this position before. Be strong and demand your money.

If you would like advice about recovering money that you are owed or would like me to write to customers on your behalf to demand payment, please get in touch with our debt recovery team by phoning 01782 205000 or emailing richard.anderson@beswicks.com.