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How to really piss your suppliers off with your payment terms, procedures and systems

This Checklist describes the main ways buyers really upset suppliers with their payment terms, procedures and systems, as they look after their own working capital efficiency regardless of the impact on their suppliers. Piss offing features include:

1. Payment terms

Demanding payment terms that are against the law

Not having clear policy and guidelines on payment dates and procedures

Having payment system terms that are not in line with your contracts

Extending your standard Days Payables Outstanding policy (for the local market) because you have the power to force it on suppliers

Increasing your DPO whilst saying:

Instead we now offer low cost (your assessment - not necessarily the supplier’s) supply chain finance or dynamic discounting, when supplier doesn’t need the cash early or has other sources of working capital plus also not offering alternatives

2. Procedures and systems

Making it difficult for employees to approve invoices, e.g. no clear guidance and support on how to do this

Not providing functionality to flip(change) the Purchase Order to an invoice, so minimising the work involved

Not offering a range of payment methods, so the supplier can choose which one they want to use

Making it difficult for a supplier to find out when they will be paid, e.g.

  • a  supplier support web-site that is difficult to understand and use
  • only a telephone service that rings many times before being answered

Not giving full and accurate information on the remittance payment for supplier to be able to determine what payment for

Allowing invoices to sit for weeks in the accounts department unapproved or in the unapproved section of your portal without communicating what is happening

3. Working capital games to improve your DPO

Paying on due date so payment arrives in suppliers account 1-5 days after due date

Adding grace days to due dates, so all invoices are deliberately paid late

Paying European suppliers by cheque from North American Shared Service Centre

Paying US supplier via a lockbox in Guam

Making foreign suppliers pay withholding taxes because you did not inform them of the right forms to complete with the tax authorities

Complete success is when your suppliers stop doing business with you because the hassle just isn’t worth it.

Thanks to many CTMfile readers who supplied examples for this Checklist.

(Suppliers: Do you have any other examples of what pisses you off with buyer payment terms and their procedures/systems. Send them to:

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