THESE are difficult times for businesses and good cash flow must be maintained.

Here are our top tips to keep your cash flow healthy during this pandemic:

• Standard Terms and Conditions of Business: These are essential to protect your business. They set out the legal basis on which you contract with your customers. They should include your payment and delivery terms, cancellation, exclusions etc.

• Identify your customer: You must be certain of the legal entity if you have to sue.

• Confirmation of orders: Ask your customers to confirm the order in writing.

• Proof of delivery: Goods are not being signed for, so think about how to prove the goods have been received in case you customer disputes delivery.

• Invoice on delivery: A delayed invoice inevitably means delayed payment.

• Maintain a strict credit control process: If you don’t have a credit control procedure, formulate one. It is vital that the process is strictly adhered to.

• Communicate: It is essential you keep open a line of communication with your customer. Make sure they have received a copy of the invoice before it becomes overdue. Address any issues raised and confirm in writing.

• Time to pay: If your customer is unable to pay your invoices on delivery and seeks time to pay, consider the proposal carefully. Are the proposals realistic? Is the customer prepared to offer security? Commit any agreement in writing and include an acceleration clause.

• Be assertive: Customers are facing difficult times, but so are you. Do not be afraid to threaten legal action if they won’t pay.

• Review your ledgers: Look at your bad debt ledgers at regular intervals. Make sure your aged debt does not become overwhelming. Consider offering a discount (on a without prejudice basis) as an incentive for payment of a long overdue debt.

• Seek advice: If payment is not forthcoming, seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. The quicker you act in these circumstances the more chance you have of recovering your debt.

For advice call Robert Barnard on 07469049216 or Daniel Elsworth on 01904 561455 at Lupton Fawcett’s Debt Recovery team for a free no obligation consultation.