Due Diligence

I hate finances. I hate accounts, ledgers, spreadsheets and invoicing. I have an enormous respect for anyone in the accountancy business as I simply don’t have the mathematical flair which means that I can enjoy such tasks. When it comes to my to self assessment I have mine done in May each year, purely to get it out of the way! Needless to say, spending time on my business finances is time I would rather be doing something (anything) else.

That said, keeping on top of records, invoicing and payments is a necessary evil if I wish to be paid (and I do).  Unfortunately over the past few years I have spent far too much time chasing late or missing payments for work I’ve done. I have a fairly simple invoice system and all clients know what they need to pay me, and when. Sadly it doesn’t always run so smoothly.

In the past I have spent ridiculous amounts of time chasing payments. You get either complete silence (so frustrating!), excuses (I know business is tough for everyone however I need to feed my children and pay my bills too!) or my personal favourite, told off. Yes, I have been known to be told off by clients when I chase them money as if by asking for what is already very overdue I am committing some heinous crime. To be honest, it is all rather tiresome.

As a self employed / freelance writer I don’t have one boss who pays money into my account on the last day of the month therefore I rely on clients to pay as agreed to ensure that my cask flow keeps flowing. What is the answer? I have toyed with sending my six year old and two year old round to act as my “heavies”. After ten minutes of “Why? Why? Why? What’s that? Why?” I’m fairly sure most people would cough up quick to stop the torture.

There are ways and means of reducing the risk of non-payment or payment worries nowadays as there is a way in which you are able to look up business details of UK companies in advance. What this information contains are things like their information with Companies House, whether they have any CCJs etc against them and so on. There are times when I have wished that I had been able to know more about a prospective client before I agreed to work for them and while some of this information is a matter of public record, having the time to search it all out is an issue. Whilst a couple of red flags in the information doesn’t necessarily mean that a particular client is untrustworthy, far from it, it would enable myself and of course many other businesses to approach a working relationship better informed.

Duedil is the tool in question and while I haven’t used it properly myself, other than a quick tinker to find out more, I am able to see the merits of it! What is more, the service is free to use therefore is worth having a nosy at.

Working for yourself has many benefits and personally I can’t imagine myself ever working for someone else now. There are however downsides and chasing payments in the main one for me. My question for all of you good folks is, what do you do regarding overdue accounts? Do you send in a persistent toddler? Do you do some sort of due diligence in advance? I’m curious!

Don’t be fooled by their cuteness, these two would make excellent debt collectors!

Written in collaboration with the mentioned business yet true to my thoughts, feelings and experiences

Pinterest: Just fun or destined for more?

Pinterest

Apparently Pinterest is the Next Big Social Media Thing. Maybe it is already but I’m not quite seeing it myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I use Pinterest (I’m here) and am suitably hooked but I use it for me. It appeals to me in so many ways, I can label things (I like boxes), I can search and collect pretty, useful, interesting things and store them for my own pleasure. I’m not sure what else there is?

I have 4 Boards.

Just Because – This is a board that contains anything that makes me chuckle, intrigues me or makes me think. It also contains anything that I want to pin but can’t think of a suitable board name for.

For the Home: Things I have, want, love for the home. This board is my main board and feeds my interior design obsession. Lots of pretty and striking things mixed up.

Make and Do: Started around Xmas this board has craft things for the kids and thing I’d like to make for the home. I probably won’t of course as I am rubbish at anything crafty myself, I’ll find somewhere that I can buy it from and add it to my For The Home board 🙂

Style Board. I have three pins in here. Clearly I am not very stylish, I’m more of a comfort girl. I might rename this board “Things I might buy and wear if I was skinny, rich and could be arsed”. I might even just delete it, because I can.

And that is it!

Perhaps I need a “Pinterest for Idiots” guide to see the bigger picture but you know what, for me, it’s just an enjoyable tool.

What do you use Pinterest for? Are you like me and just like to collect shiny things to browse and grin at, to find new blogs and sites that the pictures link back to and enjoy nosying at what other people find funny / pretty etc?

Do you use it, or do you plan to use it as a business or social networking tool?

What do you use yours for?

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