Managing Your Cash Flow

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The sunny side of cost cutting

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How to score an own goalI was asked by a client to audit the phone bills and we found expensive calls to premium line numbers. I reported this to the finance director, who said we should investigate. We rang the number expecting to hear some erotic male or female making suggestive comments. Instead it was the Arsenal hot line. And the person making all these calls was in fact the managing director!

Video killed the radio starOne client wondered why his phone bills were totalling £4,500 a month. I discovered that the numbers for a national radio station and a primetime quiz show were appearing on a daily basis on this company’s bills.

Everybody needs good neighboursOne unusual story about fuel bills concerns a client paying for their neighbour’s energy bill by mistake. What happened was a leading energy company had sent the neighbour a cheque for £2,000 as a refund by mistake, and the neighbour had cashed it. Eventually the energy company coughed up another £2,000 for my client.

The mistake came about due to the wrong address being used on the envelope, although both were very similar. My client was No. 1 XYZ Road, the neighbour’s office was Unit 1, XYZ Industrial Estate, XYZ Road. My tip is to check that the post office and your suppliers have your correct postal address.

You get what you pay for or do you?Meanwhile, I was called in to solve the mystery of why a careers office had such high electricity usage. Investigations revealed they were paying for the electricity at the fire station next door.

Lights on but no one’s at homeA rugby league club had a campaign to cut energy and installed lots of monitoring equipment to ensure lights were switched off at night. A few weeks later the night usage increased. Further investigation revealed that the night security guard was scared of the dark and so turned all the lights back on.

Light bulb momentFinally, a client who worked at an energy company told me a story about the days when energy saving light bulbs were new and expensive. One of his colleagues worked out a cost justification for fitting energy savings light bulbs and got investment from the board to do this. He was then asked to report back on savings and found that all of the high priced energy saving light bulbs had been stolen and substituted with standard bulbs!  

*Mike Andrews is senior cost management consultant from Auditel Related articlesCost-cutting chaosIs your business in a mess?How to survive an economic downturnPicture source

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