To me - and the millions of other sole traders in the UK - cash flow is crucial.
We do not have massive backroom teams to deal with stuff - We ARE the backroom.
We do not have various ‘departments’ to do their thing before anything happens - We ARE those departments.
When I get an invoice I always pay it promptly.
Time and again in the 4 plus years I have been self-employed I invariably have to ‘chase’ payments of my outstanding invoices.
I am usually told things like – “it is in the system” or “it has been passed for payment.”
Many times I’ve had to chase payments 2 or 3 times. I often feel embarrassed about asking. And yet it is my money!
The longest I've had to wait for payment is just over 9 weeks from the date of my invoice.
I used to work as a manager in the National Health Service (NHS) and so I realise big organisations ‘pass’ an invoice from ‘desk to desk’ and ‘manager to manager’ for approval before it eventually reaches the person in the finance team who finally sends the money to the supplier.
As a manager in the NHS I often commissioned suppliers who were sole traders or small businesses. I appreciated how important it was for them to receive their money for work done. I therefore took personal responsibility as a manager to ensure their invoices went through the system as quickly as possible. I've always contended this is possible but relies totally on the individual manager taking a personal interest and showing loyalty to the person he/she commissioned in the first place to perform the work!
I was not a perfect manager in the NHS but, come on, this is not rocket science.
Smaller organisations I work for are always the quickest payers. Maybe that is because there is empathy about the importance of cash flow.
Four years have passed since I started charging for my services and as far as I can see things are not getting better but I live in hope.