I read with interest Jim Davies’ Private View about accounts departments (DW 18 September). How accurate this is on many counts.
As a director of a small (ten people) design group in Derby we have a payment policy of 45 days for our suppliers. Unfortunately, our clients generally tend to pay us on 90 days plus.
We have had similar experiences in regard to the common excuses made by larger companies. In particular, one seriously large corporation whose ‘accounts telephone number’ is only ever answered via a message that refers the caller to their original contact within the company.
This ‘circle’ is compounded by its internal purchase order system requiring sign off at multi-levels for every purchase. And all this, be it for 500 single colour letterheads or 10 000 40-page six-colour brochures.
I understand that in Germany, the government picks up any outstanding invoices direct from the offenders once the credit date has been reached. Far better for the might of the government to force companies to comply than us little guys.
Mind you, look at the board of most multinationals and you’ll surely see the name of many a minister or Lord – so there can be little incentive to change this way of doing business.
In any event, I am sure that the tactical job of accounts will demand both the guile and diplomacy on both parts for many a year to come.
Derby DE1 1RY