While you may not encounter them often, disputes over payments can become a major problem and lead to your non-paying client or customer coming up with excuses not to pay you.

To avoid this happening it is necessary to identify why these late payment disputes happen and close any loop holes that can be exploited by debtors.

One of the biggest things you can do to protect yourself from disputes arising from late payments is to make sure you clearly state your terms of business on any contracts and invoices you send out to your customers.

Putting the wrong date on an invoice or sending invoices out late and not giving your customers adequate time to process invoices can often end up in disputes that might have been avoided terms were clearly stated from the outset.

Often over-zealous sales people can gloss over payment terms or agree something verbally that may not match up to what is hidden in the small print of contracts. So to maintain goodwill it is worth checking if all parties concerned are clear about what they are signing.

Sometimes the opposite is true and a client ends up dictating terms that are unrealistic in practice and this is then left to your credit controllers to try and repair the damage.

As long as your terms of business are reasonable then you should not be afraid to present them to your customers and to pursue them if they don’t pay on time.