Send in the Clowns

Send in the Clowns

This month I had been planning to write about wasting time, and then a turn of events with a client changed my mind somewhat.  Prepare to hear of incompetence and ineptitude on a scale that I’ve rarely seen in nearly thirty years of working. 

We placed a candidate in October 2015 and sent out the closing invoice – in two currencies: the client’s home currency and our own billing currency (Thai Baht).  It’s worth pointing out here that the client’s currency is ‘stronger’ than the Baht; ie for one of their units, you get a lot of Baht.  The candidate started in January so, by then, the invoice was well and truly overdue.  We followed up and were assured – on a weekly basis – that it was being processed.

Then in February the client discovered that it needed more documentation so we could be set up to receive payments – things that hadn’t mattered before.  Oh well, we had no choice if we wanted to get paid.  I was pleased mid February to get an automated statement from the client’s Purchase Order system with a settlement date of 24 February.  Good, at last, I thought.  That came and went, and nothing.

We follow up.  It turned out they couldn’t pay against that PO because they – yes, THEY – had expressed it in their home currency.  Could we please provide more proof that we are in Thailand?  Why not, we’ve given them everything else.  We do, and mid March I get another statement showing that we will be paid on 30 March.  You’ve guessed right, it came and went and still no money.

But it isn’t all bad.  On 5 April, we had a breakthrough and we received some money – the right number in their home currency, but coming to us in Baht: a tiny fraction of what was owed.  We were stunned.  And this was from a major MNC, an individual whose title, if you can believe it, is ‘Accounts Payable Specialist, Global Process Organization’.  We think he should be fired for making mistakes like that.  Imagine if it had been the other way around and he paid out a multiple of many times the actual invoice.  So much for being an Accounts Payable Specialist!  His supervisors (and the whole company) might want to look at their hiring practices and then, if they still have jobs, their operating procedures.

In mid and late April it hadn’t been settled although we were seeing their internal emails instructing each other that it must be done ‘immediately’.  What a bunch of clowns.  Life’s too short to be messing around like this.  Finally it was, in the last few days of April.

As usual, let me know if you have any particular topic you would like to see covered here.

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