Tips on government collections: How to get your money faster
The monthly CoreXalance Networking Function, for the media, was held on Wednesday, 27 August 2014. We would like to say a special thank you to Petrus van Biljon, from Mail & Guardian, who facilitated the discussion.
3 Sep 2014 11:00
To supplement the discussion held, CoreXalance has put a list of tips together that could assist in collecting money from government departments.
- Get an order number and make sure that the person placing the order has the authorisation to do so. Without this, you could run into challenges when collecting.
- WDTIST: The golden rule of working with government is Where Does The Invoice Sleep Tonight? It is vital to know where (and with whom) the invoice is at all times.
- Efficiency, patience and persistence: Follow up, follow up, follow up! It is your responsibility to ensure that the invoice reaches the payments section of the finance department and that it is authorised. You will also need to follow up "day by day, week by week" and if you have promised to follow up on a certain day, make sure that you do! Do not follow up a day before, or a day after, follow up when you said you would.
- It is important that you have the correct contact details for the correct people. These details can be found on the Order Form and the official Purchase Order document. It is a clever idea to keep all the contact numbers you can find in case you need them in the future.
- Another important aspect to keep in mind is that, once you have found the right people to contact, you will need to build a good relationship with them. Learn to trust them and make sure that they can trust you. When you have a good relationship with the right person, they realise that you are accountable to a boss who expects you to deliver payment of the account, just as they are responsible to do their job.
- In extreme cases, if an overdue amount is in 120+ days, contact a manager within the department and remind them that they are held accountable by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). This act specifies that "payments to suppliers are to be made within 30 days of receiving an invoice, unless otherwise specified in a contract..." (http://www.treasury.gov.za/legislation/PFMA/act.pdf)
- And finally, as a last resort should payment not be received within a reasonable time frame, lay a complaint with the Public Protector. In a recent interview, when asked what the Public Protector does, Thuli Madonsela replied that "when all other avenues have failed and all you're left with is to go to court, if the wrongdoing can be classified as a state action, you may request my office to review the administrative action of government. We'll decide whether the action was proper or improper, and aim to remedy it as best we can." (Read the full article here http://www.khulumaonline.co.za/mags/august_2014/index.html#/76).
Although collecting money from government or municipality can be extremely labour intensive and time consuming, there are many tools available to ensure that you do get your money. Join our discussion about this on LinkedIn and on Twitter, we would love to hear your stories!
If you require any further assistance, please contact CoreXalance (011 476 1533) or visit our website www.corexalance.co.za