Knowledge is power, as the phrase goes, so make sure you use it wisely.

Check the exact name and legal status (you will need this if you ever have to take legal action to recover a debt)

· Use headed paper to verify company details

· Make sure the order is from the same entity

· Use a reference agency to verify details further and check their credit status

· Ask for references from other suppliers and verify them – as well as the other suppliers.

Agree payment terms before you supply To ‘assume’ is always dangerous, so be clear from the outset how you will conduct your business.

· Don’t assume you will be paid on 30 days or end of month following

· Set out payment terms in writing and try to obtain written acceptance

· Make sure that your customer’s order does not suggest different terms

· Set out penalties (late payment charges and interest) if payment is late – you don’t have to involve them but the right to do so is useful.

Invoice accurately, clearly and promptly Attention to detail can make all the difference in getting paid on time.

· An invoice can’t be paid until it’s received

· An invoice won’t be paid if the goods or services are not clearly specified

· An invoice won’t be paid if the customer’s order number is not quoted

· An invoice won’t be paid if it’s sent to the wrong address or has the wrong company name on it

· A disputed invoice won’t be paid

Don’t be afraid to ask for payment. The only good customer is a paying customer, and if you don’t ask, you might not get.

· For large or important amounts, telephone before the due date to make sure everything is OK

· Make immediate contact when payment has not arrived

· Be assertive about what you expect and when you expect it

· Make the consequences of non-payment clear

· Follow up promises to make sure they’re met

· Do what you say you’re going to do when you said you would.