Our story is simple – NEL Fund Managers were aware of the need for small businesses to be paid promptly through our work, financing growing small businesses. We regularly see how unreliable and slow customer payments can hold back a business and create cashflow problems.
Time spent chasing payments is a distraction from growing the business when our economy needs healthy local businesses. We have also seen some unfair treatment of small businesses, forcing them to put up with long payment terms for fear of losing their customer, so we felt it was important for all businesses to know who they could trust when bidding for work.
We knew NEL Fund Managers were already potentially compliant and saw joining the Prompt Payment Code as a means of promoting good practice. We did review our purchasing process and decided to amend the payment system to ensure compliance. It was very simple; instead of having only one month-end payment run, we introduced an extra mid-month run.
This meant suppliers, who may have been slow in invoicing missing out at month end, didn’t have to wait a whole extra month to get paid. We try to be a good customer, but sometimes invoices do get missed. Adding in the extra mid-month payment run meant we wouldn’t be letting down our suppliers if an invoice wasn’t processed perfectly by us. We approached our suppliers to be referees and they were delighted to help.
The latest Code enhancement to give priority to small businesses wasn’t a problem. We just assumed everyone was a small business. The small businesses still get paid promptly and the larger suppliers benefit from our desire to take good care of the smaller businesses.
The whole team take prompt payment seriously and try to hurry invoices to our finance team to be paid. The suppliers appreciate working with us: it means prompt payment and they are fair in their pricing, knowing we will be fair in return. I’ve spoken to a few of our local contacts and it’s great to see names we recognise as fellow signatories to the Code.
NEL Fund Managers is an employee-owned fund management company, based in Gateshead. The company is committed to strengthening the local economy by providing tailored funding solutions to small and medium-sized businesses across the North East of England.