We recently interviewed our Financial Controller, Grant Ogston.
What was your background before you joined Maxi and how long have you been here?
I joined Maxi on 5th November 2001, previously I qualified as a Chartered Accountant with an accountancy firm Coopers & Lybrand (now called PWC). After qualifying I moved into industry and have worked in travel, drinks, office furniture and computers before joining Maxi.
How do you credit check new customers?
I ensure that I am dealing with the right company by looking at the company details on their correspondence to us and looking at their website. I then use a b based credit checker to get a credit report and decide on how much credit and on what terms we are prepared to grant. For regular customers I also apply for credit insurance cover to protect us against the risk of a large bad debt.
What is involved in customer set up?
The key is getting all the information right at the start, including rates schedule, invoice address and invoice, paperwork and reporting requirements. Once we have that the customer can be set up on our systems and our central pricing department can start invoicing.
What way can you invoice customers?
A lot of our customers use a self-bill system where they tell us what they are going to pay us and we need to check our records and advise of any variances. For other customers we send them a proposed invoice and they come back with any amendments before we raise our invoice. We send invoices out to customers electronically (via scan copies through e-mail, through their invoice portal or EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and we still send hard copy invoices to several of our customers.
What are some of the challenges you face?
Making sure we have the right information and systems in place to be able to invoice accurately and on time. I also need to be aware of the financial risks to the company and manage these risks e.g. bad debts. I get involved in the tendering process so have to understand other company’s data and assist the tender team to come up with correctly calculated and competitive quotes.
What advantages to having our in house programmers are there?
It means we have a very flexible system and can meet our customer requirements in a timely manner.