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Transport Bookkeeping

Original Paperwork

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I complete bookkeeping for 2 lorry transport companies.

1 is very straight forward with a good cashflow. The other, not so. It deals with mainly Polish transport companies. We receive all invoices via email and sales invoices are all sent via email with pdf's of related paperwork attached. Many of the polish companies insist of 'original paperwork' and take days of credit from postal receipt of original. Because lorry drivers spend many days, maybe weeks away from the office, there is usually a delay in receiving the paper copies. This means credit control is reliant upon when they receive the paperwork, so if it takes 30 days for them to receive the p/w, they then add this to their credit terms, so can be 70-80 days credit. We in turn have to wait to process purchase invoices, until this p/w is delivered. Therefore it all needs to be micro managed which is time consuming and costly and awful for cashflow. Does anyone else have any experience similar and any solutions?

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By David Ex
20th May 2022 11:54

I would have thought contract terms - including billing arrangements and credit - were a legal matter (Polish and/or English law). Certainly nothing to do with accounting.

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By tom123
20th May 2022 12:24

Fairly sure a huge proportion of my accounting life has ben spent dealing with billing, contracts, credit etc.. so not quite on the same page as you David :)

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By David Ex
20th May 2022 12:50

tom123 wrote:

Fairly sure a huge proportion of my accounting life has ben spent dealing with billing, contracts, credit etc.. so not quite on the same page as you David :)

You do what you do but the question concerns failure to either include relevant contract terms or to enforce them, neither of which is/should be the responsibility of the finance function.

I’ve helped fix the photocopier sometimes but that’s not in my job description.

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By D V Fields
20th May 2022 21:01

The Company probably needs to look at electronic submission of paperwork. Something like AdobeSign or similar might be a good starting point if they can get acceptance to those procedures.

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By DKB-Sheffield
20th May 2022 21:24

Is the Polish company following 'company protocol' or is it s Polish tax issue?

If memory serves me correctly, and in the dark and dismal past, didn't we used to have to have hard copy *original* invoices for tax purposes? I don't know enough about the Polish tax laws to comment on whether that is a legal requirement in Poland.

If this is a regular occurrence however, it's something that should be brought up at the next contract negotiation (probably not by you I hasten to add). Something along the lines of "our standard payment terms don't work in your case so, we need to reduce your terms or renogotiate our fees".

In my rare dealings with Poland, it's all been 'payment on receipt', or 'payment up front'. My Polish clients are my best payers - often trying to pay before handing their books over! They simply don't like credit and say it's not their custom. However, that's a very major generalisation based on a very small sample size!

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