Being Honest Sucks....

in #life2 years ago


As a freelancer, you are pretty much in charge of your own finances and invoicing... and all of the crappy accounting that goes along with it. Somtimes, I wish people would make my life easier when they pay.... and just pay the amount on the invoice... not higher, not lower... and just reference the invoice number as well. I know it is just a little thing to add in or leave out... but it really makes a huge difference when you are trying to find invoices and match them to payments. I think next time I get an invoice to pay, I will try paying it multiple batches of random 2-5 euro deposits... just so I can get the crankiness out of my system... however, that said, I'm not likely to do that... because I'm just too aware that I'll be inflicting pain on the wrong person which will likely rebound back to me in a bad way... (So, is it because I'm a nice guy, or scared of the consequences?).

Now, more often than not... when going through my account and matching them up to invoices... I usually find that people haven't paid... and then it is time for quick round of reminder emails... after a couple of times, it get pretty annoying... but it is amazing how fast people suddenly remember to pay when there is a threat of a 10% late fee (which I apply after 3 weekly reminder emails...). Often, these are the teaching invoices (the music invoices are paid by organisations which have no problem paying on time... mostly...)... and I have little sympathy in the late payments from families that earn roughly 10-100-1000 times our family income! However, when the threat of the late fee comes up... BANG, the payment is there within the next day! I should start with that....

Anyway, very occasionally, there is an accidental double payment or overpayment... often the double payment happens in families when one parent pays, and then the other sees the invoice and does it as well... or perhaps they forget to mark it as paid... Ah well, those I usually find quickly enough as I should only see one payment per family per month.. so if I see two and they are identical, it is easy enough to bounce it back... sad to see the money go, but you really can't rip people off like that!

More tricky to find is the overpayments... I don''t normally check the actual amounts of the payments so carefully (I'm not an accountant....). At best, I will try to reconcile them every few months... just to double check when I send in the VAT quarter reporting. Unfortunately, this means that I've often already spent or allocated that money... and then I have to just pull the cash from somewhere to return the money (or reduce the next invoice...). Juggling money flows is one really critical part of being a freelancer... things come in at random times and with random delays... but bills need to be paid on time.

This last month saw two double payments... one relatively small one from a student... obviously a double payment as it was the same transfer in quick succession twice for the same amount. Probably an internet glitch and they didn't think that it went through... That was an easy catch...

The second was one that I only just sorted out today. A large payment from an orchestra... It was a touch tricky to figure out... as it HAD NO INVOICE REFERENCE! I had recently sent them an invoice for a different project (for a smaller amount)... so, my initial thought was that they had crazily overpaid! However, when they finally returned my email about 5 days later... it appears that they were paying for a project that was about 3 months past!

Well, now that I'm home... I see what they are referring to... and sadly, it appears that they had already and promptly paid for it back in July... so, it's going to be with great sadness that I have to bounce this money back out... My account looked so nice for a week... but I'm glad that I quarantined the money and didn't spend it. After all, it wasn't mine....

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I hate doing my accounts. It bugs me. And as a professional I am a CPA 🤣😂🤣. Today I did my tax return. So I feel your pain.

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Haha... so you do everyone else's stuff well? and then leave the pain and disorganisation for youself?

sometimes indeed bengy but it's not that bad I think. You can make new friends and you can make them trust you. It's being part of our lives but you still found a way to handle it.
have a good day

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Thanks... yes, in the end... honesty isn't directly financially rewarding... but it does pay of in non-monetary ways!

Oh, I am so with you on this! I loathe having to chase for money. It's even worse when it's a government department . What irks me is people who earn salaries who have absolutely no concept of what it is to literally earn every bean.

As you gather, I've been there and am still doing it!

Glad you sorted it and that you were so smart to "quarantine" that amount.

Oh... the government here is pretty good (mostly... although there was that one time when they asked for a chunk of money to be paid to them... and then reimbursed it the next week...).

Yes, the idea of really needing invoices to pay on time... and to be able to keep the cash flow moving and stocking up a reserve to smooth out the dips... it's really annoying and something that really is unique to a freelancer...

Wow man like that story. It is a bummer that managing money has to get the way of what you like to do.

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Yeah... it is annoying but a necessary evil..

That's gotta be tough! Both to keep track of it all and to have to bounce the money back. Ouch! But, being honest, may very well get you more business in the future.

Well... more to the point... best to bounce it back before I spend it and then run into problems when they eventually notice!

I'll start off by saying up front, I'm no businessman, but it seems that you could require them to include the invoice number or their copy of the invoice itself, in order for their payment to be processed, the way other big companies do.

I think your doing the 10% late fee, while not the same as requiring the invoice number, is a very similar solution to handling those who aren't paying on time.

But this all really sounds like a nightmare! I hate doing accounting work too, and even though paying bills is so much easier than when we had to write checks and mail our payments in, I still dread the 15 minutes or so it takes me to just log in to the sites where I pay my bills each month.

That's how spoiled I've become, LOL! I really hope you find a solution!

I try to avoid wielding a big stick sort of approach as much as possible... mostly as most of these orchestras and ensembles (and students...) have an ongoing working relationship (with me as the employee and they as the employer...). So, trying to avoid poisoning the relationship is really quite important as a freelancer... on the other hand, standing up for yourself is a tricky balance to manage as well!

Chasing people for money is not a fun task but necessary to keep your business running.

No it really sucks, but as you say... it is definitely necessary!

Truly is amazing how some who have the money have to be begged to pay their debts.

Helping my son with his accounting we find the old pensioners (he does give special discounts to) pay almost immediately, businesses seem to think because he is a small business they have the right not to pay, yes tedious, almost like extracting teeth, however when work is complete you expect payment.

Over-payments I normally advise the person that they have a credit on his books to be deducted from next accounting bill, unless the amount is large in which case we return immediately, each transaction movement costs over here.

Ouch, it costs for transactions over there? Luckily, here it is free transactions for EU transactions. It is a pain as other people would expect to be paid on time and in full... somehow, it doesn't seem to work the other way around!

I used to have the same issues when I sent out invoices for cellular accessories that I used to sell @bengy. 😠

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Ah yes, it is such an annoying part of the job!

I despise having to chase people for money..
If one can borrow from us, they should be sure to pay up..

Yes... it would be nice if they paid on time... sending reminder emails and phone calls is quite annoying... especially when they keep telling me that they forgot and will do it right away! does suck for your bank account, but not really that much for you, because now we all know that you're a nice person that doesn't rip people off like that :)

Hope that people get better with their's not something you can control, but hope as usual...

Haha... or is that just the image that I want to portray?!?!?

This. This is what irks me being a freelancer.

Yep... freelancing does have it's particular advantages and disadvantages.

You're a good person! I have no idea how you manage all those payments. I do not like book keeping and am very bad at mailing payments myself! I have three people I owe money to right now. Thanks for the nudge to get it done today.

Haha... yes, get on the payments!

Well, it is as much keeping a good and honourable relation with my employers... so it is as much fear of consequence as it is goodness!

I do think a mispayment fee, I.e. something to compensate you for your time when they make a mistake, would be legit, if you make sure your clients are aware of it ahead of time. Maybe they'd be a little more careful.

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It is tempting to make a fee for it... but as a freelancer, they are also my ongoing employers.. and that sort of thing tends to annoy them!

Could we just loose the invoices hahahah

Haha... NO.

That is the hardest thing about being a freelancer. And why I gave it up and went back to the full time working world. I found that I had to wear at least four hats — the company CEO, the sales and marketing department who networks, advertises, promotes the business on social media and brings in new work, the actual freelancer who completes the work, and the billing department! If I was doing the work I wasn’t marketing or collecting payments, and vice versa.

Hats off to you, @bengy. And kudos to you for being honest and fair!

Well... in my particular profession and specialisation... I have no choice! There are no salaried jobs in this particular sector... so, if I want to do what I do, then this is the work life!

Ugh, that's such a pain, but good on you @bengy for taking the high road and returning the money. Also...

budget congrats.gif

Sigh... I wish I could do that!

Anyway, it isn't much of the high moral road... it is the only choice, as it would eventually come out and be discovered at some point in time (probably...).

I appreciate your honesty @bengy! So refreshing to see :) With finance and accounting being my career, I am only too familiar with these types of headaches, lol Glad to be retired... I truly understand your pain!

Wow... you must have had to deal with much more than I would have to. I only have to keep track of a few handfuls of invoices at any one time. If you were in that field... then it would be much much more!

Thankfully we have Marian and nothing gets past her as she is as meticulous as Meticulai whoever he was.
But I hear your grievances and was in many such incidents in the past.
Especially if one has a huge outlay for the materials, complete the job to the customers stated satisfaction and then they start to invent excuses not to pay, well aware that you cannot afford to take them to court.
And others just refuse to pay outright. Yet others tell you that they have lost their job, or that there was a sudden death in the family, or the old lie that the cheque is in the post. I can go on and on, but in the end I shut the company down. Talk about honesty?
It was dropped into the littered ocean a long time ago my friend!

Yep... it is really annoying when you have to put the effort and investment in at the front... and then people don''t honour their part of the agreement. Lucky that you have someone that is completely on top of it!

Clean audits for Papillon every year over 18 years now my friend. I am blessed with a very meticulous wife.
When I was on my own, things didn't work so well and so I understand what you must be going through.
But all strength to you.

Well, you made a student very happy, I suppose :) So it's all a good thing.

Well.. the student was happy... but the orchestra was even happier!

I can totally related to this. Slow pays, late pays, no pays, and partial pays. Although, I have one client who emails me every year in October to remind me to include November and December invoices in one. I just got that email today.

Wow... that is a nice customer! I have a couple of students who remind me when I miss a lesson that I forgot to bill for!

Ah heck! At least you got a little lift to see your bank account rise even if just for a bit plus you get the bonus of a clear concious knowing you did the right thing and were honest!

Well, it was a really nice surprise for the time that it lasted... even though I was a touch suspicious when it arrived...

Wow, karma came through for you being honest - look at that nice upvote from @ocdb! Accounting is a hassle when you're self-employed! And it does seem like the ones with the most money have to be hounded sometimes. I think a lot of times ones who LOOK LIKE they have the most money are living beyond their means.

Yes... I would have to agree with that. People do live up to the edge and over their means... I have heard often that a truer measure of wealth is how long you could last if your income stopped immediately.

Anyway, I'm really happy that I was found in the ocd curation! I see you also got in the same edition! Congratulations!

Great job sir bengy! I hope the kids know how you handled this, well done!

Well... there isn't any need to tell them.... the money goes back, nothing more to say!

Howdy sir bengy! Got it. You're a good man sir bengy!

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