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Post Info TOPIC: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


Hitachi Invoice Finance revisited.

If you look back at the image in my post further up, you'll note the third paragraph from the end says:

"though I presume that like some of those, there's a good chance I'll continue to be chased for payment of this invoice after it's been paid".

"Some of those" obviously being other suppliers for whom I have to pay Hitachi - and for which Hitachi continue to chase for payment after they've been paid. Some of these go back several months, the payment has been correctly paid to Hitachi, clearly referenced on the payment itself, and a remittance advice sent to the email address Hitachi discloses for that very purpose.

I reached the point where I now have a plastic envelope pinned to the office wall with a growing pile of statements from them chasing the same paid invoices over and over.

Towards the end of February, I finally managed to speak to someone at the company who seemed helpful, and looked into all of them for me. As I went through each one with him, he found the payment, said that their automated system didn't pick it up, and allegedly sorted it out for me.

After that call, I noted that on the topmost statement - but cynically, I made a point of using the word I used above: "ALL OF THESE ALLEGEDLY NOW SORTED - 27/2/2019" - and decided to keep the statements in that plastic envelope... just in case.

My cynicism was justified. I'm now looking at a pile of new statements from Hitachi... for all of those same invoices (and one other that I haven't yet seen).

What a complete waste of my time, FFS!



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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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I would ind out who the head of department is and send a strongly worded letter (snail mail) followed up by a letter to the CEO if that doesn't bring results.



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Those moments when you utter


Ive not verified if this is the correct guy, but try
Robert.Gordon@hitachicapital.co.uk

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Actually I have
www.hitachicapital.co.uk/about-us/our-leadership-team/


You could probably copy them all in using their first names and the est of the same email address!

I would!!!!!!!!!!!

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Because I get quite a few where original invoices aren't received, but statements from factoring companies showing them are, I usually spend a few hours one day every few weeks making calls, getting the factoring companies to get their clients to send the invoices.

(Some factoring companies prefer it if I call the suppliers directly, but I feel this is a better approach because it ensures the factoring company knows why payment isn't being made - in addition to which, it's often the case that the only contact details I have are for the factoring company, because I've no record of the supplier until the client(s) receive and pass their first invoices to me.)

So for now, I'm going to just ignore the ones from Hitachi, and wait for them to ring me. They've become the factoring company who cried wolf.

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Nothing's changed re Hitachi... but it's time for a new FFS involving a different factoring company (although to be fair, the factoring company themselves may not be at fault - this may be down to the supplier).

Say hello to Innovation Finance (IF).

In early April I received a statement from IF showing two invoices from one client of theirs - one dated 26th March, the other dated 27th March. I rang IF on 8th April to request copies and - as usual - made a note of the call.

At the start of June a notice from a debt collector called Control Account (CA) landed on my desk, mentioning that supplier but chasing an amount that was more than the first of those two invoices, but less than the combined total. It didn't detail the breakdown (but the obvious guess - the first invoice plus late payment fees). I rang them straight away, explained that I was (still) awaiting copies of BOTH invoices.

One week later I followed up that call with another.

Today I received the first of those invoices in an email (from a no-reply address) with an explanation that the company now owes slightly more - the difference was indeed a late payment fee/interest.

Needless to say, I rang the feckers and stated quite clearly that the company would NOT be paying any charges for late payment. Had the invoice(s) been received soon after that 8th April call to IF, it (they) could have been passed and paid *on time*.

(This is why it might not be IF at fault, btw - it's entirely possible they followed up that call by requesting copies of the invoices from the supplier; it could be that the supplier didn't bother sending them in response).

I was already annoyed enough about this - but the person I spoke to at CA virtually called me a liar, by asking me if I have any proof that I rang IF on 8th April. I have a record of that call, including the (first) name of the person I spoke to. He said he'd check with them, but if they have no record, the company would still be expected to pay that fee. I told him in no uncertain terms they would not be paying it: If I have a record of that call, it's because I made that bloody call.

I have cooled off now, but when I put down that phone I was fuming!

And, of course, there's still that other invoice - so it may be that at some point I'll be repeating the whole argument.

(But it could also be that it was a cock-up and should have been on the account for another company altogether. In fact, thinking about it now, given that I've heard nothing about it since I made that call on 8th April, I wonder if that IS the case, and they spotted the error as a result of that call...)


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Gawd you do have a right old time with them dont you!

I thought I had come across CA before, but I think the co I was reminded of was called something very similar! Right old pain in the derrier though if they dont deal with a simple request for copy invoices! One of my clients gets calls about once a month from a debt collection agency - they never have sent invoices and its been going on for about 2 years. Never mind that he has also asked for a copy of the original contract, which was indeed forged!! Fun fun fun!



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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


Chasing for payment of invoices based on a forged contract, and continuing to do so when that's known? Priceless! hmm

When it comes to dealing with the copy invoices I requested, though, as I said, this might not be down to the factoring company - it might be down to the supplier. I get the impression that some people who use factoring companies basically don't give a hoot once the debt is in the hands of the factoring company and they've had their initial draw down.



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Those moments when you utter


...aaaaaaaand breathe.

I've just manually keyed three months worth of sales invoices from a client.

THE client that was, until recently, using a program I wrote for them in the early 2000s - intended for temporary use - for invoicing.

The reason I wrote it was because they were using pre-printed invoice forms, on which they wrote customer and sales details, and they were always a mess - poor handwriting, crossings out and corrections, calculation errors, etc. Not to mention them not necessarily all being filed, so hunting around the office to find any missing invoices. Keying them in was a long job.

They'd evaluated a couple of invoicing solutions specific to their industry, but found them overpriced and inadequate - so I wrote my program, in effect to put a form on screen that was more or less like their paper one - that way, they couldn't really go wrong, especially with a facility to cancel invoices (automatically raise a full credit) if they needed to amend one, or simply to manually credit any differences, etc.

The invoices (and credits) raised in it were exported automatically to a CSV file, which I could easily access and transfer to my laptop for importing into Sage. Now a long keying job was reduced to less than a minute.

So that was in the early 2000s, with the program intended as a temporary solution, until they found something more suitable - and they've been using it ever since.

Until now.

Now they're paying just over £100 + VAT per month for a solution that, quite frankly, sucks. It's a (semi?-)cloud solution with, AFAICS, a reliance on Excel, and supposedly multi-user. Except that it's only fully running on one of their office computers, and the others seem to access it via RDP (or VNC) from one PC to that main one. And if you're accessing it from the other machines, you can't seem to export the data to a 'real' location, ready to access. I have to access the 'real' machine to do that.

It puts the invoices out as an Excel file - and appears to have a limit of how much you can do in one go if you try to do everything I once. (i.e. export everything from the start of its use? Nope. Three months limit - so doing it today means I can't go back to the start of the VAT quarter; I have to do one month at a time to do that). The resulting file is a bit of a mess, and needs some tidying - it's nowhere near suitable for import as is, and after some time scratching my head, I concluded it would be easier to...

...manually key the invoices from these monthly spreadsheets.

Their new, overpriced software has effectively set my working practice for them back almost 20 years.

FFS.


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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


That's a definite FFS Vince.

Who in their right mind switches from a system that is working perfectly adequately, to something with at least a £1200 cost.

Hope your fees have gone up accordingly?

 

Just as a suggestion, and never having imported to sage, is it possible to extract the data column by column?   In VT there is a universal input sheet and with a former clients' data I would convert the pdf invoice list to excel and then copy over the date column, customer column, and nett VAT and gross prices.  It took less than 10 minutes a month so possibly a work round for you?



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"That's a definite FFS Vince."

Well it made a nice change from frequently banging my head on the desk due to factoring companies. :)

"Who in their right mind switches from a system that is working perfectly adequately, to something with at least a £1200 cost."

This company has a lot of foolishness in that regard, though - such as an unnecessarily audio branded telephone system whereby you ring, get a menu system, then put through to the right person. Except you're always going to get through to whichever of the office staff is able to pick up the phone. It's just to make them look/sound much bigger, and IMO a pointless waste of £300/quarter.

Or, speaking of their telephones - their telephone provider, who also provides a number of other services, from supply/installation/support of PCs, to web hosting, etc. Taking the latter first, they're still paying this outfit a tenner a month (IIRC the amount) for hosting, even having moved the hosting to another company - I've pointed it out and they've not stopped it. The MX records do point there, though - they're also paying him £5/month per mailbox for some email accounts, and a tenner a month for one bigger one. For contrast, I host email for another client at £5/year per mailbox.

And then there's the PC stuff, and the reason I really dislike this outfit (and have made my concerns clear to my client). Okay, I don't offer PC support per se for a number of reasons (I'm happy to look at stuff if I happen to be there, but that's it). But going back quite a while I happened to be there when this supplier (AFAICS a one man band) was installing a new PC. Talking with him while he was doing it, I soon learned that as well as being a new machine for the person on that desk, this machine was to act as a file server for the rest of the office - but it was an expensive machine so as to serve that latter purpose.

Personally, I'd always use a separate box for that - and in fact (and I said this) I'd be inclined to simply use a NAS in this case, because they don't do anything particularly special or taxing that needs a full server. A new PC was needed for that desk - fair enough, but it didn't need to be expensive, and a more than adequate NAS could be had for a lot less than the price difference between that and a machine built as a server.

Blokey got angry and argued that a NAS wouldn't be adequate. Bollocks. My NAS (still the same one now as I had then - so it's getting a bit old and could probably do with being replaced) can serve full motion, full HD video to several computers at once without breaking a sweat. It wouldn't even *notice* a few office documents.

But despite that, things carried on. I've continued raising my concerns with the client since, and when they moved premises last year the director suggested this would change at the new premises... but it didn't. A year on again, and they're still paying silly money to this outfit.

So, while frustrating, I'm really not surprised they're now paying over £100/month for a this pile of dung invoicing software.

"Hope your fees have gone up accordingly?"

Well I charge by the hour, so by definition, yes. Looking at my time clock app, I spent just shy of three hours on them yesterday - and most of that was keying their invoices into Sage. If I estimate I spent half an hour doing something else, and two and a half keying those invoices I probably won't be far off the mark - so that means their bill is two and a half hours more expensive this month than it would have been if I could just import that data.

"Just as a suggestion, and never having imported to sage, is it possible to extract the data column by column?   In VT there is a universal input sheet and with a former clients' data I would convert the pdf invoice list to excel and then copy over the date column, customer column, and nett VAT and gross prices.  It took less than 10 minutes a month so possibly a work round for you?"

I've yet to try VT's universal input sheet - and in fact have nobody I use VT for any more - but importing is not inputting; from what I understand, you can input via that because you can copy and paste spreadsheet data, which is what you're describing there.

The way Sage works for importing data is that you point it at a CSV file, which has to have all the relevant fields (columns). You configure which column represents each necessary field (with that mapping then able to be stored for future use - i.e. future CSV files from the same source). There can be many more columns in the file than you need to import (which is what it sounds like you're in effect solving by extracting data column by column) - that isn't the problem.

Part of the problem is the way the data was laid out; they have multi-line invoices (so one invoice might end up as several transactions in Sage - again no problem), but some of the data was on one line, then the line-data was on the next 'n' lines (offset from the left by a number of columns).

On top of that, I have about a dozen nominal codes for sales of different types - which I set up to match in the invoicing program I wrote for them. Apparently, this new rubbish will only allow them to specify two codes, so anything I import will show in Sage as two types of sales, unless I manually change the nominals as necessary by looking at each line.

Then there's the detail, which is a lot more free-form than the form-based data that I set up in my program - so if the field I import as that gets truncated (which it will, because some were quite long) it might end up containing useful data in Sage, or it might contain something more meaningless because the useful data was beyond the field size. (In fact I'm not sure here - Sage does have a field length limit, but I don't know if it'll truncate or complain).

I could probably write a program to sort out the way the invoices are set out in this file - but the nominal codes and detail would still need manual fixing. If we factor in the time to write a program, including fully testing and bug-fixing it, and allowing time to update it if the invoicing software changes (or when I spot new ways in which they've made a mess that I need to allow for), and bear in mind I still have to work through that data and make a lot of manual changes that can't safely be automated... I don't think it's worth it; there won't be much saving, if any, over manual keying.

Edit: Formatting!



-- Edited by VinceH on Saturday 20th of July 2019 08:49:56 AM

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Those moments when you utter


OMG sounds like a right mare.

Upside - more income for you.

You can lead a horse to water and all that! Although generally when discussing extortionate costs for waste of time kits of kit for clients they do tend to listen as they dont like to pay more than is necessary, although this lot sound like they have a bottomliss pit of a bank account.

Get what you are saying on the old multiple lines thing and if you are coding its not always straight forward for importing if you canot get the data in the right format in the first instance.



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Joanne  

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That's where it gets silly, though: this company doesn't have a bottomless pit bank account - they've always got a cash flow problem. So many easy ways they could save a few quid here and there, but no, wasteful spending is better, apparently.

As an aside, the invoicing software they're using is industry specific - and in a massive way, that's where I missed a trick with my program, so I am kicking myself a little.

By definition, my software is specific to the same industry - it was written with this company in mind, albeit intended as a temporary solution. I should have considered (say) 15 years ago that it was rock solid, and spent a little time tidying up loose ends that I hadn't worried about when I wrote it (because "temporary solution") - and actually tried marketing it to that industry, and perhaps making it a little more generic and tried pushing it beyond.

All these years later, most software would be expected to do things I hadn't considered all those years ago,(in addition to which I'm no longer set up for programming on Windows (and it would probably need to be rewritten from scratch in a more modern language*) so it's definitely too late.

* It was written in VisualBasic 5 or 6 - I forget which. The last version after MS had taken over the language, but before they MSed it up. :)

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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


Thanks for explaining Vince. I didn't know how sage imported the data.

 

 



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FFS.

Increasing numbers of ignorant ********* in evidence
https://www.book-keepers.org.uk/t65726532/help-required/

https://www.book-keepers.org.uk/t65720405/double-entry-on-the-sale-of-id-trade-receivebles-to-a-3rd-pa/

https://www.book-keepers.org.uk/t65700791/reconciliation-of-private-healthcare-nominal-account

https://www.book-keepers.org.uk/t65711090/quickbooks-help/

all since 15th

Appropriate new piccie methinks

no please nor thank you nor even an ack.jpeg

 

 



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Joanne  

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"Thanks for explaining Vince. I didn't know how sage imported the data."

No probs - I suspected as much.

For the record, an import facility in ANY software is one where you can the point the software to/at external data, possibly in an intermediate format such as CSV, and tell it to load that in and turn it into something the software understands. (Albeit with some restrictions - the external source must actually contain data that would make sense to the software!)

What you described for VT, to me, is not really an import facility: It's an input facility which you are 'leveraging'* into an import facility by the method you outlined.

* I hate the word leverage as a verb. You lever something, that's the verb, while you apply leverage, a noun. But it's not even 9am on a Sunday and I can't think of a word that works better in that sentence. Or maybe it's very gradually growing on me. :)



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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Those moments when you utter


Wedging. That would have been better.

Wedging an import facility into what is really an input facility.

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I think I would drive you ......... I know how to do things, but struggle with terminology. It frustrates the hell out of my hubby, so i just blame it on my blonde moments... lol, in my head I know, in practice I know, but sometimes verbalising is way off base.

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I can't get either of the two pieces of MTD software to work! Gah! FFS!

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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What are you using Vince?


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Those moments when you utter "FFS"


Hi Joanne,

 

(Deleted my initial reply - this would probably be better in a separate MTD help thread)



-- Edited by VinceH on Wednesday 31st of July 2019 11:08:48 AM

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Those moments when you utter


One moment I utter "FFS" is when I get a message from HMRC re my AML renewal telling me I haven't paid yet... after I've paid.

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Or when you get a call from a client to tell you they have received a `brown envelope` !!!

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MTD.
FFS.

No actual problems, per se - mine are now done for this quarter - but the inconsistent way in which MTD works is annoying the hell out of me.

Bah!

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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


VinceH wrote:

 but the inconsistent way in which MTD works is annoying the hell out of me.


 As a matter of curiosity  what do you find "inconsistent"?

 



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VinceH wrote:

MTD.
FFS.

No actual problems, per se - mine are now done for this quarter - but the inconsistent way in which MTD works is annoying the hell out of me.


 I was quite chuffed today actually.  Got up at 6 this morning to finish one off I was a bit behind on and was determined to submit it by Taxfiler, which is my preferred method (last time I used John H's software because I couldn't get my head round TF)  Once I sussed it, it was a doddle. Stupid me thought import figures meant bring the figures into TF when that is actually the next step after pasting from VT+ or attaching a spreadsheet. Now I understand it it'a a neat process.



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VinceH wrote:

MTD.
FFS.

No actual problems, per se - mine are now done for this quarter - but the inconsistent way in which MTD works is annoying the hell out of me.


 I was quite chuffed today actually.  Got up at 6 this morning to finish one off I was a bit behind on and was determined to submit it by Taxfiler, which is my preferred method (last time I used John H's software because I couldn't get my head round TF)  Once I sussed it, it was a doddle. Stupid me thought import figures meant bring the figures into TF when that is actually the next step after pasting from VT+ or attaching a spreadsheet. Now I understand it it'a a neat process.



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As a matter of curiosity what do you find "inconsistent"?

Mainly, things that do not match the definition of the word consistent; i.e. that are not the same and which, in point of fact, are different.

The two main things that spring to mind (bearing in mind I'm on the wrong computer so can't check the wording in the software) are both evident in (or rather between) my two biggest clients.

  • Both pay by DD
  • Both have the same quarter
  • I put both on MTD within a few days of one another just in time for the June quarter end.

In one case, as soon as I submitted the return via my MTD software I got the same email I always used to get notifying me that the VAT return had been submitted, and the amount of £x.yy would be taken by direct debit on a particular date. On its MTD submission report, the payment indicator says something like "not available". In the case of the other company, where the submission report does mention DD in the payment indicator, I didn't get the equivalent email until this morning (spotted it on my phone); it's essentially the one about the DD, but for the detail I have to log-in to HMRC to see the actual message content. Two companies, same submission method, two different - i.e. inconsistent - DD notifications.

In the case of one, the commitments screen shows all of the 2019 VAT returns, starting from the Jan-Mar quarter, and all (now that this quarter is done) marked as fulfilled. In the case of the other, the commitments screen starts at the Apr-Jun quarter.

It's inconsistent between the information shown for the two companies, and the way the DD is notified.

 



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Those moments when you utter


My guess is that the MTD software on the first client is sending an email confirming the VAT return has been submitted, but the second client's software does not do this. HMRC do not send out these emails.

HMRC are legally required to send an email before taking the DD. I am not sure this always works, but it definitely does some times and it should always happen. Emails can be blocked in various ways.

Hence the inconsistency is between different pieces of software rather than MTD.

For example my software sends an email with the VAT status on it rather than sending an email when the VAT return is submitted.



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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


My guess is that the MTD software on the first client is sending an email confirming the VAT return has been submitted, but the second client's software does not do this. HMRC do not send out these emails.

Nope. It is the same software in both cases - the same installation even. It is local software running on my computer, and it is NOT sending the emails. They come from HMRC.

HMRC are legally required to send an email before taking the DD. I am not sure this always works, but it definitely does some times and it should always happen. Emails can be blocked in various ways.

Technically, what you mean is that (because the DD amount varies) they are legally required to notify you of the amount each time they take it. That just happens to take the form of an email. The emails are not blocked. (In both cases, the email address that HMRC has belongs to me, but is unique to each client and each has its own mailbox - I am in full control of what is and is not blocked.)

Hence the inconsistency is between different pieces of software rather than MTD.

Except it isn't because, as I said, it's the same software, running on the same computer - and the emails are sent by HMRC. (In point of fact, the email that comes immediately I submit in the case of one client is the very same email that I used to get for all such clients pre-MTD, when I submitted manually by logging in on the HMRC website).

This is inconsistent behaviour in the way HMRC's MTD set up works between one company and another.

 



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Those moments when you utter


Thanks for this. I wonder what is happening here as I am not aware of HMRC sending out "submitted" emails under MTD. Obviously their database could be flagged to send out emails on submission, but my experience is that this does not happen. If I remember rightly HMRC have justified not sending out emails on the basis that the MTD software can do this.

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Hi John,

Thinking back there is one key difference between the two example companies that might be relevant: The one now receiving the immediate submitted email wasn't on DD prior to the first MTD return; I finally got them to agree to DD payment in time for that first quarter, and therefore set that DD up just in the nick of time. I wonder if I may have therefore landed on a glitch in HMRC's systems - which is causing (a) that company to now get the submission/DD email, and (b) the lack of a payment indicator on the MTD submission report.

(That wouldn't explain the commitments screen showing different quarters for this year, though, unless HMRC's systems are really badly thought out - the DD set up shouldn't go anywhere near any part of the system showing what other returns are due and/or have been submitted).

Whatever the cause, though: I see inconsistent behaviour between different companies, and that annoys me.

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Vince - you may be right that the submitted email comes from a different DD analysis and also why it does not have the payment indicator. You will be able to tell next quarter.



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I suspect I haven't been clear: It was just in time for the return for Q/E June that I got them on DD - so this time around was the second time.

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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I wonder if one has a numeric period key and the other not.

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Today's FFS, well it was this whole week really. Common theme for me, Im afraid.

The folk who just want something for themselves. Never ever help others nor return the favour. Life's users. In life generally.

Ive had lots of enjoyment over the years from being an unofficial/official trainer and mentor but its rapidly diminished during 2019.

I should not let it get to me. I cannot push back the rising tide. But I will not swim in their murky depths.



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


Hi Joanne

Discouraging I know, but rejoice in the ones that appreciate your help and feck the ungrateful ones.

 



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 Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



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Leger wrote:

 

feck the ungrateful ones.

 


 lol.   Agreed.

 

Am thinking of taking the approach of certain of our Aweb friends - not answering unless the poster can give me something back, although I do find that idea a wee bit distasteful. It restricts my responses to about 5 people.  

Reminds me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNwcXtWFWic



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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Those moments when you utter


Just over a week into the new year, and a FFS already! \o/

When I arrived where I am today, I had a little discussion with the MD about their website, which they're having redesigned and moved to a new hosting. One of the problems is that they don't like the current host (and nor do I TBH). But today I dislike them a little more than I did yesterday - and cloudy rubbish as well.

This is because as part of that discussion, he mentioned that even though I pay each monthly hosting invoice on time (with one exception because I received it late) he gets a reminder email from them - before the invoice is even due. He doesn't like that and considers it to be an affront to send such things to a customer that always pays on time.

After that discussion, he forwarded the latest one to me.

It wasn't exactly what he described. It was dated today, and chasing the *November* invoice - which I paid in December, just before Christmas. My obvious guess: Due to the Christmas holidays, the hosting company hasn't updated their records. So I replied to it pointing out the date of the payment etc, and suggesting they should keep their records up to date if they're going to automate reminders. A reminder, really, requires that the recipient checks - so in this case is a waste of the recipient's time.

I had a reply.

It turns out, according to their system, we are *two* invoices behind on our payments.

*BUT*

Their system - which I can see is Freeagent - is automatically allocating payments against the oldest outstanding invoice. This is *FUNDAMENTALLY* wrong; if the payment includes a reference to the actual invoice being paid, and/or there is a remittance advice providing that same information (they get both from me), then the payment should be allocated against *THAT* invoice.

That way, their records would be able to identify exactly which two invoices have not been paid.

As it was, they sent me an account history going back twelve months showing the invoices raised in that period and the payments that have been allocated against them.

Unsurprisingly (to me) it shows an opening balance that equates to two invoices - wherever this two months issue started, it was more than twelve months ago.

I looked on my system, identified the first couple of payments shown on their report, and confirmed which invoices I was *actually* paying. I've detailed that in my reply - and the oldest invoice I have (without going to backups) versus the payment against it, suggesting if they can look back that far and compare, we can see if the problem started earlier or later.

I suspect one of:

1) At some point their system hasn't allocated (two of) our payments against (two of) our invoices, and those payments are either on the wrong customer account, or in a holding account.

2) I don't know if they've been using Freeagent for the entire time we've been customers. It could be a screw up when they switched to it, with two payments going astray (as per 1)

3) Similarly to 2, this automatic allocations rubbish - they may have been doing so manually up until a certain point, and a screw up may have happened at that point- so ultimately as per 1 again.

4) There are no gaps in my monthly invoices that I can see, and given it's a monthly invoice I would have noticed had I not received any (that late one mentioned at the start being an example; I realised and asked the boss to get a copy). So if there are any invoices I've not received, they must date back right to the very start of the hosting contract (i.e. the first one I received actually being the third invoice). That would be about five years ago - and if this is the explanation, those invoices specifically should be showing as outstanding on their system.

FFS.

Also: Why the holy hotplate are they sending a payment reminder for *one* invoice, when their system is showing two outstanding? Daft.


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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Subsequent email and reply...

In fact, I was wrong on point 4: There was a gap of one month; April last year. With a few years worth of monthly identical invoices, I just didn't see it.

That invoice, though, is the issue: The two month balance is their latest invoice (due in a couple of weeks) and *that* invoice (hugely overdue).

Although I didn't spot the missing one, my point remains valid: By automatically allocating invoices against the oldest one outstanding, they had that invoice as paid, when it wasn't. Instead, they were chasing for payment of an invoice that I *had* paid.

Automatic payment allocations are just wrong; they're flawed. The human brain is a much better tool.

Mkay?

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Have a very similar one with Stockport council's waste solutions company. Send a statement out dated a couple of days prior to month end and include an invoice for the 1st of following month. Statement is emailed. Invoice comes by post, but its just plain wrong to include something that is in advance.

Had similar scenario in past where matching things incorrectly as well.

Invoices dated 1st of month. At one point they suggested at one point they switch to D/D which they did....after a discussion about payment dates - could be 15th or 30th of month. Opted for 30th as invoice (and contract) states terms are a month!

Start getting increasing demands and mis-matching. Turns out if they took the D/D on 30th they were allocating it to next months invoice dated a couple of days later. Despite saying that then the o/s invoice they have showing would just be outstanding FOREVER, the numpty didnt get it!

Ended up having marathon strop with head of their department. Then escalated further. Promised it would be sorted going forwards. 6 months later - guess what - get a statement for the predicted forever to be outstanding invoice. Many many many calls.

Ended up I told owner of the business - just cancel the D/D and let them write to you.....which is what they did.

At which point after basically threatening to move the business to a commercial outfit, writing a long explanation as to their numptieness and referring them to their contract which states we have a month to pay, so why are we being penalised by paying straight away (well up front) for out invoices) I finaly got them to re-allocate all their payments and provide a statement showing only the CURRENT invoice was o/s. I know the girl who had to deal with it HATES me! Who cares.

Still get an advanced you owe us 'statement' pretty much every other month (when they must forget to manually override it) - I still (copy and paste) the complaint.

They suggested a standing order, boss said no. Now he pays on the due date. They told me as long as he quotes the invocie number it would be allocated to the correct invoice. Guess - what - no it isnt. He missed one payment (as bank app crashed mid payment and he wasnt sure if it went through! I said it hadnt - he wanted to wait until we got a statement. He paid the next month on time quoting correct invoice and yep - they allocated it to the oldest outstanding invoice.

NUMTIES, NUMPTIES, NUMPTIES!

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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Where I said April last year above, I meant April 2018 - it was April last year last year. Or something.

Anyway, yes - as you say, Joanne, similar problem.

And I suspect both are early indications of other related problems we'll start seeing in future - as more and more people/businesses rely on the automation element of these systems, and the staff in effect dumb down as a result, and not only have less of a clue what's gone wrong when there's a problem, but also less ability to drill down and FIND that problem. In both of our cases, rather than the companies/people at fault identifying and solving the problem, it's fallen on us instead.


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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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It must be the season for it. I have another very similar problem - same client, different supplier.

This time, the director forwarded me a copy invoice they sent him, saying they'd sent another copy (with no explanation), but it's one he already has marked down as passed to me. I check my system and, yes, received and fully paid.

A little later I receive a statement from the supplier. It shows that invoice partly paid, with £65 outstanding on it. (And one invoice on the statement that I don't have). So I rang them - to request a copy of that missing invoice (which a couple of hours later I still don't have) and to try to find out why there is a balance against an invoice I've paid in full.

Apparently, there has been a £72 credit balance on the account for some time, which they've now allocated. I point out two things:

1) Because of the way I pay (one or more invoices in full, with a remittance advice sent by email detailing what the payment covers) there shouldn't be a credit balance at all, ever, unless there's a credit note I haven't received.

2) Since I've paid that invoice in full, that they've allocated an old credit balance against it means there must be one or more additional invoices I haven't received. To pay the £65 balance on that invoice, from my point of view *I'd be paying part of the same invoice twice*

This conversation then went around in circles a few times; the first point in particular just wouldn't go in; each time I tried to make the point they kept repeating that I hadn't deducted the £72 credit balance from a payment.

In the end I suggested they send me some kind of transaction history going back as far as possible, and I'd compare with what I have and find the difference. Nope. Can't do that. The best they can manage is to send me month-end statements going back - which might not show up any oddities, because they're on 14 days payment terms. If they've raised an invoice and I haven't seen it, and they've allocated a payment for something else against it, it won't show on any statements.

I've no idea what software they're using, but it's clearly rubbish.

Then the person I spoke to said they wouldn't be able to do it straight away because they're needed on the front desk/reception. Which also goes a long way to explaining the problem - I strongly suspect their bookkeeper isn't a bookkeeper, but another member of staff who has just been tasked with 'doing the books'.

FFS!

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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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RE: Those moments when you utter "FFS"


VinceH wrote:

In the end I suggested they send me some kind of transaction history going back as far as possible, and I'd compare with what I have and find the difference. Nope. Can't do that. The best they can manage is to send me month-end statements going back - which might not show up any oddities, because they're on 14 days payment terms. If they've raised an invoice and I haven't seen it, and they've allocated a payment for something else against it, it won't show on any statements.

My first thought on reading that was:

I've no idea what software they're using, but it's clearly rubbish.

But you beat me to it lol.


 This is one area where I love VT.  I can print a statement to show just outstanding invoices or all invoices for any given period in the financial year (or previous years separate)



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 Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



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Those moments when you utter


Ditto with Sage - and in spades. The Report Designer - which is actually a separate piece of software that comes with it - offers a phenomenal degree to which you can customise reports. Literally every item of data within Sage is given a variable name, and you can pull those variables into reports (once the relevant category is linked to the report), and apply full programmatic conditions. It's one of the reasons I rate Sage (the software, not the company) so highly.

I was reminded of that very benefit yesterday shortly after my post above, and at the same company. And this does deserve to go in the FFS thread...

Until recently, they were using their own Sage for invoicing. (That's all they used it for; come month-end, the sales invoice summary gets exported and sent to me so I can import it into my own software - which happens to be Sage, but that's by the by).

They wanted something that would allow them to track the whole sales process, though - from the moment they get a call from a customer, to raising the invoice at the end of the month, and all the steps between (such as which employee carries out the work, or if it's a subcontracter, and if so who, the price quoted, etc).

They've now found something which should fit the bill, started trialling it in October, and it's gone live from the start of this month. It's supposedly cloud-based - in fact, it's a piece of software running on Windows, but the company accesses it from the supplier using RDP. And it's only a fairly small local business. I suspect, therefore, that it's not truly 'cloud' but really it's software written to allow multiple users running on a computer in their office - but that's just my gut feeling; not something I can say for certain.

But because it's "cloud" not surprisingly, it's paid for on an ongoing basis - a bloody expensive (IMO) ongoing basis.

And now that it's live, a couple of problems have cropped up. One (which isn't relevant yet, but will be come month end) is that to export the invoice summary for my purposes, the invoices have to be manually selected - as in click, click, click, click... until they're all highlighted. There's no option to click/drag, no menu->select all, no option to export all from/to a particular invoice number or date.

Fine if you're talking a couple of dozen invoices... but in this case it's typically between 150 and 200 each month.

They haven't discussed this with the software provider yet, but we know what they'll say based on something else that was discussed with them first - which is where this post came in; flexible report options (VT) and/or designers (Sage).

The company sometimes sends out pro-forma invoices. Which need to have the words 'pro-forma' on them.

Paraphrased:

"Can you add a pro-forma option alongside invoices?"

"That'll be an hour of our programmer's time, £60 please."

Bloody expensive software, on a subscription basis, and they want to charge additional money to add a simple feature to it (which no way should take an hour unless it's really badly written) - the result of which would mean they have better software to sell (sorry, rent out...) to other people.. That's just wrong.

(But it means we know what they're going to say when asked to make it more practical to select invoices for exporting!)

FFS.

(For the moment, while they're being argued with, the solution was send the normal PDF invoice to me to edit in the words Pro-Forma - but that's not practical in the long run).


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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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