As another year draws to a close business people everywhere are saying that 2012 has been a tough year. It has been tough retaining customers and keeping market share and it has been tough paying creditors. Smart business people have been tightening the belt, keeping an eye on recurrent expenditure and postponing or cancelling non urgent capital expenditure.

Smart business people have also been making sure that their cash flow is not further hamstrung by delinquent debtors. In all of the financially distressed businesses which we have seen this year, every one of them could have alleviated some of the distress by paying closer attention to the collection of debts.

It is only a little thing but it requires constant and sustained attention. It is much easier to collect a debt which is a week overdue than one which is three months overdue.