Last week, we had the privilege of being asked to attend the Accounts Payable Association 2022 Conference in Birmingham. I must admit that I knew very little about the AP department or the people that work in that sector. I didn’t know what to expect. I was never good at maths so wondered whether it would be all about facts and figures and accounting speak. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Despite this being the first big conference I have attended in the post-Covid era, I can’t remember an event where there was such a buzz of engaged individuals. A real treat.
Just shy of 400 people turned up to hear Jamie Radford, the Association’s founder welcome the delegates, more than 50% of whom were new to the event – which shows the thirst for people to get together, to share, network, learn and have fun. There was lots of fun. Michael Ryan, Director of Financial Transformation fired up the crowd with his trademark style and humour. The day was filled with great content from the AP community and with motivational speakers that injected energy, positivity, and a real sense of a group of professionals doing a brilliant job to develop their profession.
At the Good Business Pays stand, we were happy to welcome lots of members of the community and meet the people that are at the coalface of paying suppliers. Indeed, these team are often challenged – stuck between the priorities of their company to hang on to cash and the supplier asking when their invoice will be paid. A tough job. But we found no-one at all who was seeking to hold back cash from their suppliers. On the contrary, the issue of slow and late payment was discussed in the main event and there was agreement in the hall around the importance of paying suppliers fast and on time, especially the smaller ones. Jon Wood, the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors pointed out that slow and late payment represented a reputational risk.
Both views are, of course, the basis for the Good Business Pays campaign. We highlight both good and bad payment performance on our website and in the media more generally. At the AP Association Conference, we had a real-time feed to the payment performance data of all the 5000 reporting companies. We were happy to get visits from the AP teams of many companies and to share their own company payment performance on the screens. It was especially nice to be able to celebrate the great results from teams like the Landsec team (pictured), and we were able to capture the team proudly showing off the results of their work on the day.
So, the day was fabulous. We learned about a new community of individuals that do the work to pay suppliers, and we want to cultivate that relationship with this group of dedicated professionals. Next month, we will be announcing the winners of the 2022 Fast Payer Awards. To make sure the AP teams of the winning companies are recognised, we will work closely with the AP Association. It’s great to be partnering with them to make sure the coalface workers, those who have a tricky job to do every day, get the recognition they deserve!
Terry Corby CMgr CCMI
Chief Executive Officer, Good Business Pays CIC