Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mistakes Happen: Check Your Bills Carefully

Whether you are an individual making purchases from a store, a manager signing off a vendor bill for payment or a business owner making payment decisions, make sure you check the bills before you pay them because mistakes do happen. This is not a matter of somebody trying to cheat you, but simple mistakes such as hitting a wrong key or forgetting that discount you negotiated when you phoned in your order.

People generally do not try to cheat you, but even if they do they would be relying on you not checking. Many stores have a sign by the cash register: "Please check change before you leave!" That's not just because some try to claim to be short-changed, but also because some are short-changed because the cashier made a mistake.

If you are in business, you should double-check everything financial because genuine mistakes can be made, and that fact will not likely bother you until it happens to you. Then you have to prove that it was made, or in business it might not be noticed until an audit - and even then it might be missed. So you lose money - or gain money (why is that a lot less common?), depending on the error, but it needn't be like that!

Check your vendor bills against your order. Computers don't make errors but the people using them do. Make sure the addition is correct and that you have been charged the agreed price for each item. Also make sure that the items listed have been ordered - it wouldn't be the first time.

If you run a business and are deciding how to make payments, never pay by cash, no matter what the vendor offers you in the form of a discount. Use a credit card that offers a receipt when paid, and check your receipts against your credit card statement charges - whether you use a credit card or bank debit card, is immaterial. The point is you get a receipt with the payment that can be checked against your monthly statements to make sure that the bank or card issuer has not made a mistake - this is not uncommon!

If you are an individual purchasing goods from a store, check your receipt before leaving the store. The addition won't be wrong because cash registers are generally accurate - otherwise everybody would be charged wrongly. However, the items might be - cash registers often operate from barcodes that rely on humans coding the correct prices - and items! If multi-buy discounts are offered make sure they have been applied, and the same is true of any other form of price reduction.

Mistakes happen, and you would be remiss if you failed to carry out the proper checks to make sure that you are paying exactly as agreed for your purchases, whether from a mall store or a vendor to your business. Make sure your charges and taxes are applied correctly, and if not then complain. Fail to check payments, and you are costing yourself or your company money - something in increasingly short supply these days!


More information on running your business efficiently is available from B & M Financial Management Services, LLC at http://www.bmfms.com where you will also find help on several other issues that improve your business performance.


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