Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Top 10 Tips For A Secure Business Future

For all businesses it is a somewhat uncertain adventure when dealing with new customers or suppliers, one which is some instances we as business owners or managers have to take all the information given to us and make an assessment as to deal with these new subjects. 

My many years experience in the finance industry have given me the knowledge that no one has a crystal ball and all we can do is attempt to protect our business selves by gathering as much information as possible to ensure we do not end up with bad debts on our ledgers.

Now, this is where Creditserve can help, our system provides an online, instantly available, affordable and up to date credit checking system which allows you to carry out credit checks on your new and existing customers and/or suppliers to ensure they have the financial means to honor payments/contracts.

Key Features: 
Instant credit checks online 
Clients can access Creditserve's online credit checking service for instant reports on a company’s credit rating and financial history.
 
Extensive range of credit reports 
Reports range from in-depth business reports, including full accounts and credit ratings, through to simple registered information, we also offer Companies House documents and live monitoring service.
 
Beneficial rates 
We offer extremely cost effective rates for one off credit checks. Regular credit checks should form part of your credit management routine on new customers, defaulting customers and those seeking an increase in their credit limit and therefore an annual subscription is often the most cost effective way to credit check your customers and suppliers.
 
Up to date information 
Our range of credit reports are updated on a live feed to ensure they include the most recent and accurate information.
 

Debt Recovery Service
Creditserve also offer this back up service to the online credit reporting and work on a no collection-no commission basis. We work on all cases on pre legal basis and add costs and interests to the debt value which you are entitled to from the time the debt becomes overdue.

 
Crucial Top 10 tips for all credit control departments:- 
1. Always perform credit checks to ensure you know your customer
2. Get your customer to complete a credit application form
3. Wherever possible obtain a personal guarantee from company directors
4. Get a signed contract incorporating your terms and conditions
5. Give your customer a credit limit and review this regularly
6. Invoice on time and ensure details are accurate
7. Phone your customers before payments are due to ensure there are no queries
8. Send monthly statements
9. Use properly drafted collection letters
10. Consider outsourcing your non paying accounts to a reputable debt collection agency like Creditserve Collections


If you would like any further information please feel free to contact me on 01992 414222 or email martin@creditserve.co.uk LinkedIn Martin Brown or follow on Twitter @creditserve

Monday, 14 May 2018

Interesting Credit Control Advice...

Whilst we all believe we are doing the correct up front checks and due diligence when opening new accounts many thousands of businesses in the UK fail every year simply because they are owed money and can’t juggle the cash flow. 

Systematic, well planned credit control practices must be put in place right at the start otherwise your company will join the mountain of other failed companies. Checking references, getting credit reports and examining company business information is a sign of strength for a business and lets your customers know you are serious about your credit control procedure. Please see some of the pointers we would suggest when setting up new and potential customer accounts:-

1. Get a detailed application form filled out correctly by your potential customer.

So many businesses are in the rush to get orders that they do not do the necessary groundwork when setting up customers, in some instances not even knowing the correct legal entity or billing address. All of these minor details can slow up getting paid on time!

2. Do the necessary credit checks on ALL customers small or large.

When you are looking to supply a customer you need to carry out a credit report, these reports are instantly available online through credit reference agencies and can be purchased on a 'Pay As You Go' basis at under £10 per search or within packages which can cover you for a unlimited credit reports, usually on an annual agreement basis. 

In my professional opinion reporting bundles are the way to go as you get so much more within them, such as the ability to monitor customers, enabling you to receive any changes that take place, professional business advice and amongst other things freedom to utilise the systems when you need to.

3. Stick to your credit limit and credit terms.

From the outset you will need to be tough as customers will look to bully or bluff a higher credit limit from you, so stick to your limit! This also happens when it comes to payment with some customers looking to set their own terms of payment. You will need to be firm, but fair and not waiver because if you allow them an inch they will no doubt take a mile! 

You could even make a telephone call or send an email gently reminding your customers that payment is due on a certain date, this shows good customer relations but also that you have your finger on the pulse.

4. Don't be afraid to use debt recovery agents to recover outstanding monies owed to you.

This is one step that businesses do not grasp as much as they possibly should. You can utilise the professionalism of an outside debt recovery agency without costing yourself or your company time and lots of money. Any debt recovery agency worth its sort will not charge upfront fees, they simply apply a commission charge if and when they are successful. 

Obviously doing the chasing and sending letters has an expense to your company, so if you are getting nowhere with a delinquent debtor why not pass it on to the agency and let them recover the money for you. 

Usually a good commission rate is between 7 - 12% on any monies recovered, but remember it is your right to add costs and interest to the debt from the date it becomes overdue.

If you would like to know more or have any questions please email me on martin@creditserve.co.uk or follow me on twitter @creditserve

Monday, 22 January 2018

International Business Credit Checks 2018

INTERNATIONAL CREDIT REPORTING

Do you know who you are dealing with?

Although the world has become a smaller place since the dawn of the internet many companies continue to take unnecessary risks when entering into business transactions with customers both domestic and internationally.

Gathering information has never been easier when trying to assess a potential customers identity and therein creditworthiness. However is the information you can obtain on the customers websites really something the allows and encourages a sound business decision to be made upon? 

This is where online credit reporting allows companies to make the most informed and sound business decisions instantly. These reports are extremely detailed, providing a whole host of information such as incorporation details, financial accounts, group structure, risk analysis and recommendation along with payment data. It is also a very cost effective way of obtaining the most up to date information on a potential or current customer.

Credit reference agencies can offer credit reports on either a pay as you go basis or within packages to specifically suit our customers requirements. However very few have the coverage of Creditserve. 

Please see the range of countries below which we can provide instant reports in:- 
  • Online overseas credit reports available in the following countries:- Belgium, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA (PAYG basis £30 + VAT per report)
  • 2 hour turnaround overseas credit reports available in the following countries:- Albania, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Greenland, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

 OFFLINE INTERNATIONAL CREDIT REPORTS:-

With regards to offline international reports we can offer reports on companies in any country worldwide on a 5-7 day turnaround (depending on country, however in most instances information will be provided much sooner than this time line) on a pay as you go basis. Please view a list of countries via the link: http://reports.creditserve.co.uk/Company/OverseasCompanySearch.aspx(Reductions in price for package purchases)

If you have any questions or potential requirements please do not hesitate to contact martin@creditserve.co.uk or call on 01992 414222

Kind regards

Martin Brown
Creditserve Business Information Ltd

Monday, 20 November 2017

Money Laundering Regulations 2017

Money Laundering Regulations 2017

The Government has published new regulations transposing the 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive into UK law. These are effective from 26 June 2017.
The regulations build on the current regulatory framework although there are some specific, and potentially significant, changes that you need to be aware of.
The CCAB has published their draft AML guidance for the accountancy sector. This draft guidance has been updated for the 2017 Regulations and sent to HM Treasury for approval later this year, after which it will be published as final.

Whole firm risk assessment (s.18)

Identifying and assessing risk was an important theme running through Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (MLR07) and firms were encouraged to assess the risks faced by the business, as well as the risk that clients would be involved in money laundering or terrorist financing.
The regulations set out a more prescriptive approach to this firm-wide risk assessment. There is a requirement for a written risk assessment and a list of factors that you must take into account. These are:
  • information provided by ICAEW, as your Supervisory Authority on risk factors in the sector;
  • your customers;
  • the countries or geographic areas in which you operate;
  • your products or services;
  • your transactions; and
  • your delivery channels.
You can continue to use Chapter 4 of the CCAB guidance (Tech 04/08) to help you perform your risk assessment. This chapter encourages you to design the nature and extent of your AML procedures based on:
  • the nature, scale, complexity and diversity of your business;
  • the geographical spread of your client operations, including any local AML regimes that apply; and
  • the extent to which operations are linked to other organisations (such as networking businesses, agencies or outsourcing suppliers).
The regulations accept that the nature of the risk assessment will depend on the size and nature of your firm. The overall risk assessment of a small firm may be quite succinct – the most important part is that you properly identify and assess the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing and that your assessment is documented.
During 2018, we may perform a themed review of firm-wide AML risk assessments. From this review, we can identify areas that firms may find difficult and provide feedback and guidance. In order to do this, we may ask a sample of firms to submit their risk assessment to us.

Internal controls – officer responsible for compliance (s.21a)

Firms must now appoint a money laundering compliance principal (MLCP) and that individual must be on the board of directors (or equivalent management body), or a member of senior management, where appropriate to the size and nature of the business. Sole practitioners with no employees are exempt from this requirement.
Firms must also appoint a nominated officer (i.e, the individual nominated to receive internal suspicious activity reports and who assesses whether a suspicious activity report should be made to the National Crime Agency (NCA)).
All firms currently have an MLRO under MLR07, where this person is sufficiently senior then they can act as MLCP and nominated officer.
If the MLRO is not sufficiently senior and an MLCP must be appointed, the MLCP’s name must be communicated to ICAEW within 14 days of first appointment.
Please send information on this appointment to Paul Simkins, Director of Quality Assurance, ICAEW, Metropolitan House, 321 Avebury Blvd, Milton Keynes, MK9 2FZ.
However, ICAEW will presume that the MLCP is the same individual as the firm’s registered MLRO unless the firm informs us otherwise.

Internal controls - screening of relevant employees (s.21b)

Where appropriate to the size and nature of the business, firms must now assess the skills, knowledge, conduct and integrity of those employees who are involved in identifying, mitigating, preventing or detecting money laundering and terrorist financing in the course of business. This includes those staff whose work is relevant to compliance with the regulations.
You will already assess your staff for competence, conduct and integrity. You must now make sure that these assessments include money laundering.
You must also regularly train your staff in how to recognise and deal with transactions and other activities which may be related to money laundering or terrorist financing.

Internal controls - independent audit function (s.21c)

The draft regulations say that firms must establish an independent audit function to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of the firms AML policies, controls and procedures. Sole practitioners with no employees are exempt from this requirement.
You should already be performing a money laundering compliance review, which we believe addresses the requirement for an independent audit function. You should make sure that your Money Laundering Compliance Principal is responsible for performing this review. You should perform a compliance review regularly and where you identify any recommendations, you must monitor the firm’s compliance with these recommendations.

Policies, controls and procedures: (s.19 and s.20)

MLR07 required firms to have policies, controls and procedures to prevent activities related to money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as data protection requirements. A written record of training must be maintained.
The regulations build on these by requiring you to document these policies, controls and procedures and that your senior management approves them.
There is also a new requirement for firms with overseas subsidiaries and branches to establish group wide policies and procedures that comply with UK requirements:
  • If you have a subsidiary or branch that operates in an EEA state, you must make sure that the subsidiary or branch complies with the money laundering laws of that state.
  • If you have a subsidiary or branch that operates outside of the EEA, then you must make sure that the subsidiary or branch complies with the UK regulations. Where this is not possible because of local legislation you must inform ICAEW and implement additional procedures to address the money laundering risk.

Client due diligence (CDD)

The regulations keep the core requirement that you must perform client due diligence before you establish a business relationship and when you identify any factors relevant to your risk assessment that have changed. These include:
  • your client’s identity has changed;
  • you have identified a transaction that isn’t consistent with your knowledge of your client; or
  • the services you are providing to your client have changed.
You must still identify the beneficial owner and verify them (on a risk sensitive basis) but the regulations state that you can’t rely solely on Companies House registers of beneficial ownership.
There are three key changes to the CDD requirements:
  • You must now also complete CDD where you only perform company formation services, even if that service is a one-off service for that client. (s.4(2))
  • You must also identify and verify the identity of a person purporting to act on behalf of your client.
  • You must obtain and verify the name of the body corporate, its registration number, its registered address, and principal place of business. You must also take reasonable measures to determine and verify the law to which it is subject, its constitution (set out in governing documents) and the names of the board of directors and its senior management. (s.28(3))

Simplified Due Diligence (SDD) (s.37)

Under MLR07, SDD was the default option for a defined list of entities eg. listed companies.
Instead the regulations embed SDD into the risk-based approach. You must still perform CDD but you may limit that due diligence based on whether you think simplified due diligence is appropriate. The regulations gives a list of low risk factors where SDD may be appropriate, which is similar to the list of entities in MLR07 (ie, credit or financial institutions) but also includes customers in  geographical areas of lower risk.

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) (s.33)

The rules around EDD are significantly different under the regulations. There is a defined list of situations where you must apply EDD. These are:
  • where there is a high risk of money laundering or terrorist financing;
  • in any business relationship with a client established in a high-risk country;
  • if the client is a Politically Exposed Person (PEP), or a family member or known close associate of a PEP;
  • in any case where the client has provided false or stolen identification documentation or information on establishing a relationship;
  • in cases where you identify that the client has entered into transactions that are complex and unusually large, or there is an unusual pattern of transactions, and the transaction or transactions have no apparent economic or legal purpose
If your risk assessment identifies that you should carry out EDD, then you must, as a minimum:
  • as far as reasonably possible, understand the background and purpose of the transaction, and
  • increase the degree and nature of monitoring of the business relationship to determine whether the transaction or your business relationship are suspicious.
You may also choose to perform one of the following measures:
  • seek additional independent, reliable sources to verify information the client has provided to you;
  • take additional measures to understand better the background, ownership and financial situation of your client, and other parties to the transaction;
  • take further steps satisfy yourself that the transaction is consistent with the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship; or
  • increase your monitoring of the business relationship, including greater scrutiny of transactions.
The regulations give a list of risk factors that might indicate that there is a high-risk of money laundering or terrorist financing. You should consider these when assessing if EDD might be appropriate (s.33).

Customer risk factors

  • the business relationship is conducted in unusual circumstances
  • the customer is resident in a geographical area considered to be an area of high risk
  • the customer is a legal person or arrangement that is a vehicle for holding personal assets
  • the customer is a company that has nominee shareholders or bearer shares
  • the customer is a business that is cash intensive
  • the corporate structure of the customer is unusual or excessively complex given the nature of the company’s business

Product, service, transaction or delivery channel risk factors

  • the product involves private banking
  • the product or transaction is one which might favour anonymity
  • the situation involves non-face-to-face business relationships or transactions, without certain safeguards, such as electronic signatures
  • payments will be received from unknown or unassociated third parties
  • new products and new business practices are involved, including new delivery mechanisms, and the use of new or developing technologies for both new and pre-existing products
  • the service involves the provision of nominee directors, nominee shareholders or shadow directors, or the formation of companies in third countries

Geographical risk factors

  • countries identified by credible sources, such as mutual evaluations, detailed assessment reports or published follow-up reports, as not having effective systems to counter money laundering and terrorist financing
  • countries identified by credible sources as having significant levels of corruption or other criminal activity
  • countries subject to sanctions, embargoes or similar measures issued by, for example, the European Union or the United Nations
  • countries providing funding or support for terrorism
  • countries that have organisations designated by the UK, the EU or other countries/international organisations as terrorist organisations

Politically exposed persons (PEP)

The regulations require you to have procedures in place that will identify whether a client, or the beneficial owner of a client, is a PEP or a family member or known close associate of a PEP.
A family member of a PEP includes their spouse, civil partner, children and parents.
A known close associate of a PEP means:
  • an individual known to have joint beneficial ownership of a legal entity or a legal arrangement or any other close business relations with a PEP
  • an individual who has sole beneficial ownership of a legal entity or a legal arrangement which is known to have been set up for the benefit of a PEP;
When you identify a potential client is a PEP, you must assess the level of risk associated with your client and the extent of any EDD that you should perform on that client. As a minimum, you must:
  • obtain senior management approval for the relationship;
  • take adequate measures to establish the source of wealth and funds; and
  • perform enhanced ongoing monitoring of the relationship.
When a client ceases to be a PEP, you must continue to apply your EDD procedures for at least 12 months (or longer if necessary to address the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing). However, if your client is a family member or known associate of a PEP, you can stop applying EDD procedures as soon as the PEP status ends.
In determining whether someone is a known close associate of a PEP, obliged entities are allowed to rely only information they already hold or that which is freely available in the public domain.

Reliance on third parties (s.39)

If you place reliance on the CDD of a third party, or if a third party places reliance on your CDD, you need to be aware of the changes under the regulations.
If you are relying on a third party, you must obtain all relevant information. You must also enter into a written arrangement that confirms that the firm being relied on will provide the relevant documentation immediately on request.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

International Business Credit Reporting

INTERNATIONAL CREDIT REPORTING

Do you know who you are dealing with?

Although the world has become a smaller place since the dawn of the internet many companies continue to take unnecessary risks when entering int business transactions with customers both domestic and internationally.

Gathering information has never been easier when trying to assess a potential customers identity and therein creditworthiness. However is the information you can obtain on the customers websites really something the allows a sound business decision to be made on? 

This is where online credit reporting allows companies to make the most informed and sound business decisions. These reports are extremely detailed, providing a host of information such as incorporation details, financial accounts, group structure, risk analysis and recommendation along with payment data. It is also a very cost effective way of obtaining the most up to date information on a potential or current customer.

Creditserve offer credit reports on either a pay as you go basis or within packages to specifically suit our customers requirements. Please see the range of countries below which we can provide instant reports in:- 
  • Online overseas credit reports available in the following countries:- Belgium, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA (PAYG basis £30 + VAT per report)

  • 2 hour turnaround overseas credit reports available in the following countries:- Albania, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Greenland, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

 OFFLINE INTERNATIONAL CREDIT REPORTS:-

With regards to offline international reports we can offer reports on companies in any country worldwide on a 5-7 day turnaround (depending on country, however in most instances information will be provided much sooner than this time line) on a pay as you go basis. Please view a list of countries via the link: http://reports.creditserve.co.uk/Company/OverseasCompanySearch.aspx. (Reductions in price for package purchases)

If you have any potential requirements please do not hesitate to contact Martin@creditserve.co.uk or call on 01992 414222

Kind regards

Martin


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Creditserve Collections - Debt Collection Services

Debt Collection Services 

I would like to confirm that we are a specialist credit management agency and in addition to our debt recovery service we also offer an in-house legal service for undefended actions.

Accounts passed to us for collection are written to on the same day by first class post. If the debtor does not respond we make contact with them by telephone within 2-3 working days in order to qualify the debt. Thereafter we would report to you on our progress. If legal action is necessary to recover we would obtain your authority to do so. We deal with all undefended actions in house.

Litigation is a last resort, we choose to focus on effective telephone techniques to bring about payment and negate the need for legal action which can be costly and protracted.

Under the late payment legislation you are entitled to charge your debtors interest and compensation and these amounts are calculated, added to your debt and passed on to you if recovered.

Initially, debts are accepted on a 'no collection no commission basis' and I confirm that our commission charge on successful recoveries is 7% and this is payable on all payments received by yourselves or us from the day after our letter is sent.

If it becomes necessary to issue legal proceedings our fees are on a sliding scale and I would refer you to the attached schedule. Once an account has 'gone legal' Legal Fees and Disbursements are payable irrespective of the eventual outcome of the case.

In order to accept your instruction we would require a copy of the outstanding invoices or a statement, it is also useful to have telephone or fax numbers or an email address for your debtor. It is also useful to have an account application form completed by your debtor. 

Please feel free to contact me via martin@creditserve.co.uk or 01992 414222 if you have any questions relating to our services.

Kind Regards

Martin Brown
Creditserve Business Information Ltd
  

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Creditserve New Upgraded AML/ID Verification Reports

Creditserve New Upgraded AML/ID Verification Reports

Tuesday 23, June 2015

We are pleased to announce that on the 18 June 2015 we upgraded our AML/ID verification reports which are available from www.creditserve.co.uk. These reports contain the following verification checks:-
  • Instant verification of owner's identity.
     
  • Identifies insolvent individual's
     
  • Verifies UK & International passports
     
  • Verifies unitility bills
     
  • Certifies credit/debit cards
     
  • Verifies bank account information
ADDITIONAL SEARCHES AS OF 18 JUNE 2015:-

As part of the upgrade we can now offer you two additional additional search options, which are:-
  • Property Register Search - This will confirm if the subject of your enquiry is names on the Land Registry as owner or joint owner of the property, it will also confirm the Land Title Number.
     
  • Bank Match Live - If you have the Individual's bank account details Bank Match Live will verify if the account provided does belong to the subject.
*Please note that these additional searches are not obligatory but carry a credit per additional search if chosen* 

We are pleased to be able to provide a special offer of 25 AML credits for only £100 + VAT, however greater reductions in price are available for larger packages.

If you have any questions or would like to see a sample report please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Kind Regards


Martin Brown
Creditserve Business Information Ltd
01992 414222
martin@creditserve.co.uk


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

UNLIMITED CREDIT CHECKING PACKAGE

We are pleased to be able to offer our 'Silver Package' for a one off annual subscription outlined below:-

1 YEAR UNLIMITED UK & IRELAND CREDIT CHECKING PROPOSAL

For a one off subscription of £350.00 + VAT we will provide access to the following information:-

ü Unlimited access to online credit reports on all limited companies in both the UK and Ireland
ü Unlimited access to individual directors reports on every director in both UK and Ireland
ü Access to Companies House image documents
ü Unlimited access to sole traders and partnerships in UK
ü Unlimited access to online monitoring of any limited companies of your choice
ü Online overseas credit reports available in the following countries on a PAYG basis (£30 per report):- Belgium, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
ü  Access to offline credit reports in any country worldwide on a PAYG basis (Please see website for further details)
ü  Debt recovery letters and procedure on a ‘no collection no commission basis’ (If successful only 7% commission of what we recover is charged) 

If this package is of interest please feel free to contact me directly and quote MBOFFER and I can provide a no obligation demonstration of the system. 

Please contact me directly on either martin@creditserve.co.uk or call me on 01992 414222.   

Kind regards

Martin Brown
Senior Account Manager
www.creditserve.co.uk
01992 414222

Monday, 5 January 2015

NEW YEAR OFFER: UK UNLIMITED BUSINESS CREDIT REPORTING PACKAGE

We are pleased to be able to offer our 'Silver Package' for a one off annual subscription outlined below:-


1 YEAR UNLTD UK & IRELAND PROPOSAL

For a one off subscription of £350.00 + VAT we will provide the following information:-

ü Unlimited access to online credit reports on all limited companies in both the UK and Ireland
ü Unlimited access to individual directors reports on every director in both UK and Ireland
ü Access 200 to Companies House image documents
ü Unlimited access to sole traders and partnerships in UK
ü Unlimited access to online monitoring of any limited companies of your choice
ü Online overseas credit reports available in the following countries on a PAYG basis (£30 per report):- Belgium, Czech Rep, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
ü  Access to offline credit reports in any country worldwide on a PAYG basis (Please see website for further details)
ü  Debt recovery letters and procedure on a ‘no collection no commission basis’ (If successful only 7% commission of what we recover is charged) 

If this package is of interest please feel free to contact me directly and quote MBOFFER and I can provide a no obligation demonstration of the system. 

Please contact me directly on either martin@creditserve.co.uk or call me on 01992 414222.   

Kind regards

Martin Brown
Senior Account Manager
www.creditserve.co.uk
01992 414222