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The double-payment challenge

“Your business will have made some unnecessary mistakes. Even your finance department will almost certainly have paid the same bill twice during the last year! The challenge is to find that double payment,” he says.

He advises entrepreneurs to clear a day in their diaries to go through every invoice and check every payment for the past 12 months. "I guarantee you will find fiddled expenses, costs you thought you had cut out years ago and several bills that really raise your eyebrows," he says. "As you systematically sift through the records you will learn a lot of new facts about the business you thought you knew in detail.

"Before the end of the day you almost certainly will have found an account that has been paid twice.”

He also says entrepreneurs no longer have an excuse not to put right the mistakes of the past. “For years you’ve put up with things that you knew were wrong but you didn’t tackle the problem because: you didn’t have the time; there were more important things to do; you didn’t have the heart to tell George or Glenda they were doing a job that was no longer needed; you didn’t the courage to cut out someone’s pet project; or you simply couldn’t be bothered,” says Timpson. “You now have no excuse. Sacred cows have to go. In difficult times you can’t afford luxuries. This is the perfect opportunity to stamp out irrelevance and nonsense in the name of common sense.”

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