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


Expert

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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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Master Book-keeper

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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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John 

 

 

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



Master Book-keeper

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

 



Master Book-keeper

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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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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.

 



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

(I only came here looking for fellow apiarists...)



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Master Book-keeper

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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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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.

 



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

(I only came here looking for fellow apiarists...)



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Master Book-keeper

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



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Master Book-keeper

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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  

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.

 



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

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Master Book-keeper

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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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John 

 

 

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



Master Book-keeper

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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  

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.

 



Expert

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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

(I only came here looking for fellow apiarists...)



Expert

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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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Vince M Hudd - Soft Rock Software

(I only came here looking for fellow apiarists...)



Guru

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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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Frauke
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Expert

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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

(I only came here looking for fellow apiarists...)



Master Book-keeper

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What are you using Vince?


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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.

 



Expert

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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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