Friday 14th July is National Shark Awareness day

I know it’s a tenuous link but I thought I’d ask you if have any sharks lurking in your business ready to take advantage of your good nature when you least expect it.

Over time we have been bit by shark type clients at TI Accountancy  … those that eat up loads of our team’s time without understanding their worth and those who chose not to pay for the work that the team has done.

For the sake of this blog let’s call them “Time Vampire Sharks” and “Withholding Payment Sharks” Unless you are an upfront cash business then both types mentioned above are detrimental to your company’s profit, and you need to find procedures within the day to day running of the business to stop as much of this happening as possible.

Time Vampire Sharks

You all know which clients I’m talking about .. those that ring you to ask a question, stay on the phone for 50 minutes going over and over the same thing and then ring the next week to ask the same question!

We’re lucky we haven’t had many over the years, but those we had have been painful experiences for the team.

The best solution we have found to keep them from swallowing up time, is by putting clauses in our quotes stating how much time is allowable for advice and technical help before a cost is implemented and then making sure everyone keeps a track of their time per client.

We’d be happy to recommend ‘Tsheets‘ as this has kept a track of our team’s time for years now and creates useful reports for our management meetings, these times have details on so we can differentiate between genuine accounts and payroll issues and those that just don’t want to help themselves.

We then send gentle reminders when people seem to be abusing the teams time.  This stops us having to charge everyone higher prices “just in case” they require advice and means that clients don’t get nasty invoices that they weren’t expecting.

Withholding Payment Sharks

These hide a little lower in murky water and are harder to find.  We have been bitten on several occasions by trusting new clients and never getting paid for work we have done.  These sharks make it hard for companies to give anyone financial credit.

GoCardless‘ has transformed our balance sheet debtors though.  Prior to having GoCardless we had to send statements and chase money which took valuable time, trying to get hold of busy business owners.  Now we send a GoCardless link which means clients can set up a payment plan to ensure the monthly fee is transferred automatically, leaving both business owners free to do more profitable activities.

We have also become strict on looking at our Debtors regularly and if someone isn’t paying, advising them that we cannot do anymore work until the payment plan is back in place.  This procedure has meant we can separate those that choose not to pay from those business owners that were genuinely too busy in the day to day running to remember to pay bills.

If either of these methods would help you keep the sharks at bay in your business then we’d be happy to link you to both software programs. 

I’d also be interested in knowing what you do to keep the sharks from eating away at your business?