walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Losing Saturday Delivery Is Personal


Emily Badger notes that freelance writers are paid by check, and particularly when later days in the month are Saturdays, the prospect of not getting paid before the rent (etc.) is due can be daunting.

Couple things to point out here:

(1) Freelancers have been complaining about the difficulty of the companies they supply paying them late and only by check for a while now.

(2) Freelancers do not necessarily understand that what this really means is that the accounts payable department of the people they are selling to is ... not particularly automated. Certainly, a lot less automated than we might innocently imagine. The time to process an invoice is shockingly long (think: over three weeks. Typically. In a not unusual case).

It's a problem, no doubt about it. But this isn't unique to freelancers. This is what _every fucking business which supplies stuff to another business deals with all the fucking time_. The difference between freelancers and Every Other Supplier is that a lot of the other suppliers don't collect their Saturday mail until the following Monday.

Suppliers cope with delays associated with invoices in a variety of ways. They borrow money to cover their costs. They pay _their_ suppliers late. They try to build up a cash cushion. While companies with lots of suppliers moved to eInvoicing for other reasons, once they'd gotten well along in the process, they noticed that they could actually get a significant discount from suppliers by paying them Really Fast (this should not have been a surprise; this is how Amazon exists on margins that destroy everyone else).

So it is worth remembering that. If you, as a freelancer, find someone to sell your work to who reliably pays really promptly, they will probably convince you to take slightly less money for your work because you are so happy for the promptness of the payment.

And we really all ought to be expending a bit more of our blogging energy poking at why eInvoicing is taking so freaking long to take off, especially here in the United States. Our expectations are lower, and fewer companies _have_ expectations. Why are we putting up with this? (Answer: elsewhere in the world, tax compliance is so heinous they _had_ to automate sooner. But never mind that now. http://www.paystreamadvisors.com/eResearch/eResearch.cfm?eResearch=Global%20Electronic%20Invoicing%3A%20The%20State%20of%20AP%20Automation%20Worldwide).
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