Once September comes around we seem to fly through October and November and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, it’s Christmas and you’ve only done 70% of what you had planned. We find our companies descending into holiday chaos, staff are getting into the festive spirit, productivity seems to dip and clients are making all sorts of excuses not to pay. Meanwhile, for most businesses, the end of the year is one of the busiest periods for sales. We know that Christmas feels like it’s ages away, but with only 6 weeks until the big day, it will be here before you know it. Without proper preparation, you can be left in a precarious position financially.

Christmas is the time when most businesses take time off, whether they close entirely for 1 or 2 weeks or if they operate with a skeleton staff, this can cause problems for you. Firstly, these holidays may change the clients’ usual payment run date. Some businesses opt to pay all of their invoices on one day and you will most likely be aware of this but around the holidays this can change so make sure you ask whether they need your invoice earlier or not. If they are not changing their payment date but their holiday means that they will be overdue then communicate that with the client and ask them to pay the invoice early to avoid late payment.

Every business operates differently and that includes financially. Some companies run their financial year from January to December, rather than April to April and this may affect your payments. Businesses that run from January to December may choose to pay invoices in January so that their business appears in a better position, financially. Contact your client, ensure that they received the invoice and all of the details are correct and remind them of the payment date. This may be enough to encourage them to pay before the new year.

Unfortunately, excuses for late payment are not dependent on the time of year, you will hear these all year round. However, the same rules should apply, even in the season of goodwill. With staff members taking holidays, a common excuse is “that member of staff is away” make sure that you know who your contact is, and well before the holidays, ask if they have a colleague who will be dealing with payments in their absence. The common “the cheque is lost in the post” excuse seems to be the excuse of choice around Christmas, so offer a range of alternative payment methods to eliminate the use of this one.

At Commercial Domestic Investigations, we know how stressful the holiday period can be, from managing staff absence to late and missed payments. We’re here to help, our expert collections team can help with every aspect of credit management. From credit reporting to invoice collection. To find out how we can help you, contact our team on 08444 159200, email sales@commercialdomesticinvestigations.co.uk or use our contact form.