‘We’re going to have to bring in more robust practices to chase debts,’ said Cherie.
Brent nodded. As the accounts manager, he felt some responsibility. Of course he did. But it was Cherie’s business and there’d been many times when he’d returned home after a day in the office, astonished over her processes.
‘There’s far too many customers ignoring paying invoices,’ Cherie continued. ‘Any ideas to follow up?’
Brent had to be careful here. He had a system in place: phone calls, emails, reminders, then more reminders, emails and phone calls. But Cherie had said, years ago when he first got the job, that she didn’t want her customers hassled.
‘Well, Cherie, I do follow up those owing.’
‘How?’ Her voice was taut. Her eyes narrowed. Brent trembled under the strain of her disapproval.
‘Nothing out of the ordinary,’ he said. Desperate to normalise his process. But it was normal, a tactic used by businesses the world over, so he took a breath, straightened his shoulders and looked her dead in the eye. ‘Many businesses make phone calls and send reminder emails and the like. I’ve been doing it too. You have to follow up with customers, if you take a soft line approach to their paying of invoices, then they’ll take advantage.’
Cherie’s was red. Brent went on. ‘Which they clearly are doing. Otherwise you wouldn’t have…’ his voice trailed off as he checked the spreadsheet. ‘…$200K outstanding.’
Her lips were drawn into a tight, thin line. Brent knew he’d made his point and was chuffed, proud.
‘You’re right. Make some phone calls, then. Get them to commit to paying.’ Cherie said. She walked away from his desk, then stopped and turned to face him. ‘And consider this your first warning. Don’t let us get so far in debt again.’
Brent slumped at his desk. Opened the web browser on his computer, searched for Seek, and began looking for new employment.