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Don’t treat your customers like idiots (especially if you want to grow your business)

Happy Customers

When customers buy from you, please don’t treat them like an idiot.

Customers and fans are the future of your business.

This week I was researching business products that I could purchase to then give to my clients at end of financial year.  You see, as an accountant, EOFY is kind of a happy time for us -we tend to celebrate 30th June like it is Christmas.

I found some cool products that were made by another Melbourne business owner (as I like to support another Australian business).  They were having a sale which was even better.  Everything was falling into place.

I placed an order online and like most online purchases I had to pay for the items before I received a tax invoice.  Being the anal accountant I am, I did look up their business name on the Australian Business Register to make sure their business was legitimate.

So away I go, order placed….and I was really looking forward to receiving the products to send out to my clients.

But the next day, when I received the invoice….it took me by surprise that the ABN, Business name and GST status did not match.

“How to make an accountant upset 3 times in one invoice??”

So, knowing that with an invalid tax invoice I couldn’t claim the tax deduction nor could I claim the GST that I was charged, I contacted the business and requested a corrected invoice.

To be honest, I wasn’t surprised – as I see this all the time.  Business owners not understanding their legal obligations and getting their invoices wrong.  So I thought it would be a simple easy fix and we would all still be happy campers.

“However – what happened left has left me with a sour taste in my mouth.”

I was contacted by the business owners bookkeeper, who told me not to worry about the business name and GST and just to accept the invoice as is.  They told me they had a new ABN (which was not stated on the invoice), they were trading under a different structure (however the invoice was still in the wrong business name) and that I was worrying over nothing and to basically get over myself.  AND they had cc’d the business owner in on this email.

“So not only did they make me look incompetent but they were giving VERY bad advice to their client.  Something I was not willing to ignore.”

You see, you can’t issue invoices with an ABN and business name that don’t match, you can’t issue invoices with an ABN and GST status that don’t match.And if your bookkeeper or accountant is telling you this is OK – then I suggest you find a new one (and a better one) quick smart.

Sadly now, a product I was so excited about receiving and sending out – will forever remind me of a business and bookkeeper who are not willing to play by the rules.

And that is not OK with me.  Treat your customers with respect – especially when they are right.