Accounting software consultant Heather Smith takes a lighthearted look at some of the excuses people give for not paying their invoices and some of the more outlandish ways people find to delay, disown and deny their debts.
I have heard so many excuses as to why an invoice has not been paid on time. As I listen on the other end of the phone, or as the recipient of an email, I roll my eyes and wonder does the customer truly expect me to believe these feeble excuses? I thought I would share some of them with you and maybe you can use them when you next need to avoid paying those damn invoices.
- The easiest method of avoidance is to pretend to pay the invoice, and instead enter the wrong payment details on the payment slip. This is sure to delay payment.
- On the day payment is due, email the supplier, and remind them to send you an invoice – this makes the supplier feel like they have made the mistake, and they may inadvertently extend the payment terms.
- Randomly and frequently change email address, so you never receive emailed invoices. Tell the supplier that you can’t receive invoices by email, use some lame excuse like, I don’t have a printer attached to my computer so you will need to post the invoice. Become totally technologically illiterate. Or reply to the email and advise them that you cannot read the attachment and ask them to mail you the invoice. A mailed invoice always takes longer than an emailed invoice doesn’t it.
- Study the invoice carefully, is there any mistakes? Has the tax been correctly stated, are the correct supplier and customer details on the email. Have the goods been delivered as per the invoice. If there are any issues ask the supplier to amend and resend before payment can be made.
- Tell the supplier that the person who needs to approve the invoice is away and will be back next week. What you are a freelancer? Never let anyone know that or you cannot play good cop, bad cop. Leave yourself the option of the imaginary ghost partner who can be blamed when needed.
- Fall of the planet. Become totally contactable, and don’t leave any clues as to where you are. Disappearing into a vortex is a sure fire method to avoid debt.
- File for bankruptcy. A little drastic, and it will have long term implications on your credit rating. But if you really want to avoid paying the invoice, this is an option to be considered.
Delay, disown, deny, delay, disown, deny.
Of course this article is totally unhelpful and written tongue in cheek. Avoiding paying your invoices is not very fun for either party. If you do find yourself struggling to pay you’re your debts, I truly believe you should be up front and honesty with the supplier. Communicate with them; perhaps you can renegotiate payment terms, work out a payment plan, or provide contra goods or services? Monitor your cashflow and don’t over extend yourself, don’t make agreements to purchase goods or services you cannot pay for. Don’t be the customer who feeds your invoices to the dog.