Perhaps inspired by David Letterman’s longstanding “Top Ten List,” a British firm recently compiled a list of common excuses offered by businesses for late and non-payments. The information is a distillation of statistics from a related survey and has enjoyed viral fame since being published on September 19.
As one journalist pointed out, the content will probably not come as a surprise to businesses since most have heard the excuses from their B2B customers at one time or another. An interpretation of that list adds some irony to the serious enterprise of commercial collections.
Top Ten Excuses in Commercial Collections
- The owl lost my check — The original British item was “the cheque is in the post,” but the Harry Potter reference was too tempting to pass up. Statistically, this one ranks up there with “the dog ate my homework.”
- We haven’t received a statement — This excuse could very well spike the garden-variety polygraph test like a Seismometer reacting to a 8.0 quake.
- The charges aren’t valid — a “three-nose medal” from the Pinocchio awards.
- Our finance director is out of the office — or as they say in baseball, “going, going … gone.” The survey mentions that some businesses repeat this alibi for six weeks or more.
- Our accounts payable person is away — on the same days as the finance director, no doubt. How can their department possibly function without two key individuals?
- We can’t pay until we get paid — clearly a company with problems in both accounts receivable and accounts payable.
- You’ll have to wait until our next payment run — code for “we’re too busy or don’t want to pay what we owe at this time.”
- Our payment terms are 90 days — i.e. “we’d like to draw an additional 60 days of interest on what we owe.”
- It’s been paid — here’s where the debtor rolls the dice and hopes the creditor loses track of their account.
- Our computer system is down — and naturally, “we’ve forgotten how to write checks the old-fashioned way and don’t have a backup plan.”
The British company urges creditors to take action on accounts receivables long before they become delinquent or unpaid. “Timing is everything” in commercial collections where the classic “helping hand” should be extended to businesses at the earliest stage of their delinquency, thus solving small problems before they fester into larger ones.
If your organization is hearing too many of the above excuses, we can help.
Optio addresses commercial collections with a proven track record in financial services, air-tight data security, state-of-the-art technology and a commitment to compliance and maximum brand protection. Contact our team today to learn how we can fortify your efforts with a successful program.