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The Check is in the Mail...

June 18, 2009
by Tim Tolan
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“The check is in the mail” is actually much more cliché’ than you might think these days…

In fact more and more businesses are experiencing a major lag in getting paid due to the challenging economy we are in. Guess what? The business partner you have decided not to pay on time is also delaying payroll and accounts payable to their vendors and business partners and the trickle-down effects are…well you get the point. It’s happened to me and it’s not fun. It’s also being felt by healthcare providers. I don’t get it…

When a service-provider offers their services to your organization in good faith and in the spirit of partnership - they expect to be paid based on the terms of the agreement. Period. It’s just good business. I realize their may be times when cash flow is tight – I get that. What I don’t get is having a customer avoid communicating their intentions regarding their financial obligation to pay for services we have provided. It’s not that hard to pick up the phone or send an e-mail to let your partner know what’s happening. In most cases they will understand – but more importantly it allows them to plan their own cash requirements and gauge when they can pay their own obligations.

I have almost finished my rant on this topic…. Almost.

I had a client stiff me a couple of years ago for a very large fee for an executive we placed. I had another client recently ask for terms to pay the balance in monthly payments for a year (WHAT?). Yep - this topic is fresh on my mind. Like others in the HCIT space, late payments have an impact on my firm while it also impacts my own business partners. It’s just plain wrong. If you agree to pay for a service and you receive that service – you should pay according to your agreement and let your partner know if you can’t.

It’s plain and simple to me. I’m just saying…

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Comments

I hear you Tim. Unfortunately, I think when things get tight many companies play games with their accounts payables. Unfortunately such a method of improving cash flow can have serious long-term effects on important business relationships. I'm fairly certain you won't be doing any more placements for the companies that "sent you the check just this morning."

Anthony: I am also fairly certain (OK I'm positive) I will quickly opt out of engagements where there is no value exchange. I also look for signs early in the relationship and if I sense that it will be a struggle to collects our fees - I will suspend or cancel the search. It is not worth the headache and life is entirely too short.

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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