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Poll: Do you consider a competent accounting department of your client a top priority when doing business?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:44
SITE STAFF
Feb 6, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you consider a competent accounting department of your client a top priority when doing business?".

This poll was originally submitted by Yasutomo Kanazawa. View the poll results »



 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Member
German to English
+ ...
No Feb 6, 2014

It has never even crossed my mind. Many of my clients don't have an accounting department, nor even an accountant, they are just one-man bands!

 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:44
English to Russian
+ ...
No Feb 6, 2014

What matters is client and his decency, not his accounting department. In fact, I work with clients who do not have such thing as accounting dept at all

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:44
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I never think about it, but . . . Feb 6, 2014

I fell afoul of a dysfunctional accounting department many years ago. It was a major international organization, so I knew they would pay me eventually, but it took more than two years for them to straighten out the problem and fork over the $9,000 that they owed me.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Feb 6, 2014

Getting paid is obviously a priority... and if a competent accounting dept. is part and parcel of that, then yes. However, it's not something I usually have to worry about.


[Edited at 2014-02-06 08:49 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Feb 6, 2014

You don't need a competent accounting department to pay a bill

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, definitely Feb 6, 2014

If this question means "Would you work with a company that does not pay on time?"
Interaction with accounting depts is basically limited to billing of invoices. Once invoices are sent, the rest should be straightforward - you wait to get paid on the specified date.

Inefficient depts., however, can waste your valuable time and cause you financial distress/stress, as Muriel points out.

The bottom line is this - I don't work with companies that don't pay on time - which, unfortunately, you can only learn after embarking on a business relationship with them. I mean, it isn't kosher to ask a potential customer beforehand if their accounting dept. is going to mess around with you, is it! I wish we could. It would save us all a lot of time and aggravation. icon_biggrin.gif

However, like a lot of you, I don't have to worry about this (simply because I don't work with companies that don't pay on time).


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, we can Feb 6, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

...I mean, it isn't kosher to ask a potential customer beforehand if their accounting dept. is going to mess around with you, is it! I wish we could. It would save us all a lot of time and aggravation. icon_biggrin.gif


Once, nay, several times bitten, I now do this when starting a collaboration with universities or any similar offical bodies where an accounting department is a potential rocky shore on which to founder. Usually a half-joking "Is your accounts dept. going to er... mess me about?" is enough to pre-empt things like late payments, lame excuses or untimely requests for justification of my tax records or whatever...


 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:44
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
not really Feb 6, 2014

Some of my clients have accounting departments which seem highly disorganised; some clients don't seem to have a dedicated accounting department as they are too small; some have a very streamlined accounting department. As long as they pay on time, and are able to answer basic questions ("what is your VAT number?" would be one) I don't mind and anyway, as Julian said, you only find out about these things if something goes wrong, then leave them and never come back...

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I admire you Feb 6, 2014

neilmac wrote:

Julian Holmes wrote:

...I mean, it isn't kosher to ask a potential customer beforehand if their accounting dept. is going to mess around with you, is it! I wish we could. It would save us all a lot of time and aggravation. icon_biggrin.gif


....
Usually a half-joking "Is your accounts dept. going to er... mess me about?" is enough to pre-empt things like late payments, lame excuses or untimely requests for justification of my tax records or whatever...


@Neilmac
As we say over here, "You have big 'kintama'."


 

Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 20:44
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
before 2012 and now Feb 6, 2014

When a bill is small I do not ask even about.

But in 2012 I worked for international company with a SAP sytems so it took almost 10 months so pay a simpla invoice which was refused and sent me back due soma formal request by mail. So since then if a company is big I alway ask how their system works. In Hungary the normal deadline is 8 days from the date of the invoice but a paper-based invoice shall be mailed by post.

If the company is big with a complicated departments, or a payment is state-founded, you can wait for the payment until the day of your death.

Let's see a nice example extracted from my contract: "The Parties state that the budget of Principal is defined pursuant to the measures of the relevant Government Decree, whereas the rules of financial management of Principal are governed by Act CXCV of 2011, and therefore Principal’s ability of fulfilment can occasionally depend on the decisions of the organizations defined in legislation referenced above."

So I think in these cases is very important to know where the financial department is and who is the person responsible for your invoice...


 

dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:44
Italian to English
+ ...
Yes, to a point Feb 6, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

neilmac wrote:

Julian Holmes wrote:

...I mean, it isn't kosher to ask a potential customer beforehand if their accounting dept. is going to mess around with you, is it! I wish we could. It would save us all a lot of time and aggravation. icon_biggrin.gif


....
Usually a half-joking "Is your accounts dept. going to er... mess me about?" is enough to pre-empt things like late payments, lame excuses or untimely requests for justification of my tax records or whatever...


@Neilmac
As we say over here, "You have big 'kintama'."


This is so funny. I have actually made a university professor pay me in advance out of his own pocket against the payment from the university accounting department which took some 6 months to sort out. I knew it was going to happen when he requested the translation, so I took steps to protect myself. Didn't feel in the least embarrassed about doing it either I continued to work with him for several years thereafter, too.


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:44
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes, definitely .. Feb 6, 2014

if this means they are serious and well organized and pay bills on time.

However, some "Accounting Depts." have made their own complicated rules, which they expect you to achere to, including but not exhaustively:

- you have to log in to their site with a code
- use a particular browser
- remember all kind of details on your inovice (which the PM have not always noted)
- attach the PO
- collect 'all' your invoices and submit them at the end of the month
- or you have to submit your invoice within a specific amount of days
- or you cannot submit your incoice before the end client has given feed back

And recently a new one: As I reminded the Accounts Dept. that their term of payment of 45 days was overdue, they answered: "Oh, but we don't count the week ends".
Well, in my book that means net 60.


Recently I declined a job because there was too much bureaucracy for a small job, incl. a 9-page vendor contract.

So, I wish all agencies would be as much on the ball to pay invoices as they are for us to keep deadlines!

OK, I know, there are also good ones, let's hold on to them.


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:44
English to Russian
+ ...
Again Feb 6, 2014

I'll feel suspicious if I see an accounting dept with expensive furniture, latest computers and imppecably dressed stafficon_smile.gif) BTW crooks do need good accountants while small businesses try to save on them

 

Kate Deimling
United States
Local time: 14:44
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
No, not really, because I usually can't be sure until I'm working with them Feb 6, 2014

I'm not sure how to ascertain whether there is a competent accounting department or not until the first invoice is due. I agree with other commenters than sometimes a one-person agency pays just as fast (or faster - one of my collaborators pays me within 1-2 days via Paypal) than a large agency with an accounting department. Some accounting departments forget and need reminders, others don't...I certainly prefer the second, but I'm not in a position to refuse work from the first!

 
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