Tony Shepherd LL.M.(SYD),A.S.D.A.,A.T.C.L.


It must be hard being a corporate finance person, especially in global corporations, having to sit through the CEO's passionate proclamation of corporate values - integrity, collaboration, transparency, etc then basically be held to account on one pervasive KPI - get all the money we're owed in as quickly as possible, and delay paying money out.

For those who might not be aware, this arbitrage alone brings in millions of dollars each year for global corporations. Woah betide the legions of small suppliers, consultants, contractors and others who have provided product or services to these behemoths, who are then stoically confronted by nominated payment terms, often expressed as EOM (end of month) plus 45, 60 or even 90 days.

It gets worse. Nominated and actual payment terms often have very little in common. Numerous suppliers and providers find that submitted invoices are often sat on, unilaterally held until the month after submission before being put in the system, frequently lost between the division to whom product or services are provided and the finance group (requiring resubmission) or, most devious of all, have a small inaccuracy in the invoice (usually a mistaken entity or misspelling in the client notation) which is noticed by the corporate debtor, but not shared with the creditor until considerable time has passed. When followed up, the "mistake" is identified, and resubmission of the invoice is required, whereupon, the timeframe starts over.

The point of this note is that I decided instead of complaining or waiting for governments to catch up and legislate in these matters (which is happening), to invoke positive karma and wherever possible, reach out to corporate finance people of clients and connections on LinkedIn to seek to connect. I've also advised others to do the same.

My thinking was that if we try to personalise the process and build a relationship, we begin to break down these walls.

Anecdotally, the result has surprised me and others. On numerous occasions the finance invitee of a client or related entity will review the profile, and simply decline the invitation. Now, that's obviously their prerogative, but where someone often has numerous shared connections and if they look at a profile they will usually see reference to clients (their employer) within networks, why wouldn't they accept?

I really hope it's not because they see themselves as gatekeepers who would be compromised fraternising with someone on the other end of an invoice? Or worse still, playing to stereotypes of people in finance being indifferent to matters of human interplay and connection?  Given the values corporations are espousing, surely we've moved beyond this?

Thoughts - especially those from our corporate finance colleagues? 

Author description - Tony Shepherd is an Australian lawyer, communication & negotiation specialist who works globally advising & training teams to profitably manage commercial relationships. His contact no is 61 412 004 011 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


First published in LinkedIn on 19th June 2017 -