The turmoil that has been generated in the economy by the uncertainty of Brexit has left the news and been replaced with other world leading events and catastrophes.  But there are matters that still need attention.

One is the non-payment for work, or services rendered.  A case in point, over the weekend my wife and I enjoyed a very nice hotel and excellent food in paying the bill this morning, I discovered that due to their error the food and wine had not been included in the final bill.  What would you do? I did the responsible thing, corrected the error and paid the full bill. Failing to do so would have been fraud.

Time and again I come across matters in my professional capacity, dealing with disputes where work has been ordered, the price inflated because of extras, without keeping adequate records and then litigation ensues in the hope that one, or the other backs down.  This wastes an awful lot of time, effort and incurs significant costs for both parties, without any material advantage. It is often disadvantageous because the brand and reputation of the company, or of the individual is badly damaged. With the advent of social media, publication can exacerbate a bad situation and there is nothing worse than the loss of reputation.

When we founded the North East Initiative on Business Ethics we ran a campaign called ‘Pay Fair’.  This had a significant beneficial impact on the regional economy.

I am concerned that we are drifting back into a bad situation.  Paying late, or not paying at all, might seem to benefit for cash flow but it is a short-term view that will damage reputation and lose business.  Try the longer-term view and build that reputation for greater turnover and higher profits by paying on time.

Kevan Carrick – Chairman and co-founder, North East Initiative on Business Ethics