Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Managing cashflow

Boys and girls, if anyone ever offers you a job that involves managing cashflows, just Say No. Its the same as being offered cigarettes or drugs. Only worse.

The job is usually well disguised by a fancy title: Corporate Treasurer, Financial Controller or other such fancy names, but this hides the true horror that lurks within.

What does the job involve? First collecting money from customers, who never ever pay on time. They generally don't have the money, but will make a thousand other excuses - the invoice is wrong or written in the wrong name, the goods were not of the required quantity or perhaps quality, the purchase order that they issued to you had an error in it - just to delay actually writing the damn cheque. Once they get to the stage where they do get down to writing the cheque, there is waiting time while one or more signatures are obtained before you finally get payment.

The second and harder aspect of the job is paying suppliers - who you can never ever pay on time because YOUR customers haven't paid you. This involves receiving many angry phone calls a day and trying to persuade the suppliers not to stop supplying goods (otherwise the business grinds to a stop) while at the same time asking them to comeback later for the cheque.

In the meantime, your plans to actually keep to commitments get waylaid - the electricity bill turns out to be larger than expected and the phone bill even more so. The landlord wants repairs to be paid for and a bigger advance on the rent. Salaries turn up all too soon and you need to pay that or get throttled by your so called friends and colleagues. VAT payments are a nightmare all of their own, almost as bad as duties and clearing charges on imports.

And do you know the best part? This is STANDARD, I repeat standard in about 90% of the small and perhaps 85% of the medium sized businesses in Sri Lanka. The situation is getting worse these days, thanks to the Chinthanaya effect on business.

I did it once and vowed never to do it again, but I find that events seem to have overtaken me and the spectres from the past come back to haunt me again.

I need another job.


pissu perera said...

aney deiyane.. doesn't sound like fun. actually, it sounds like playing mummy to a very large, very annoying and very disorganized family. the stuff that nightmares are made of. happy job hunting :)

Jack Point said...

Ever wondered why accountants are such a sour lot? Now you know...:)