“You got paid in full in advance, right?

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“You got paid in full in advance, right?

Huh? Where’d that come from? I’ll tell you.

Last week at the Wednesday morning online networking group the early birds are logging in for some pre-meeting shmoozing. Their little Zoom boxes are popping up, one after the other as the regular crowd shuffles in, some with coffee in hand (just like in person, right?)

A colleague — another bookkeeper says “Oh, what a week! I just signed a new client who hasn’t filed her income tax in 10 years and CRA is knocking on her door. So I’ve got a decade of bookkeeping and tax returns to do in a hurry. That’s gonna keep me busy for a while.”

That’s when I spoke up. I had to.

“You’re going to get paid in full in advance, right?”

She looked at me like I was from another planet.

“Uh no. Why should I?”

I could see some raised eyebrows, surprised looks around the ZoomRoom. Some people sat there with coffee cups half-way to their mouths.

“Because she hasn’t paid the government in 10 years. Why the frick do you think she’s gonna pay you in full and on time AFTER you’ve done the work?” (And no, I didn’t say “frick”.)

I could see some heads nodding and heard at least one “No shit, Sherlock.”

I went on “Do one year at a time. Get 75% up front. Get the balance BEFORE you file the taxes. Don’t lift a finger or reach for a pencil until the money is in the bank.”

And then the official meeting started.

You know, I’ve been doing this stuff for a LOOONG time. I’ve made some mistakes — personal, professional and financial. Some have been painful. None has been — so far — fatal.

But I made THIS exact mistake a few years ago (minus the tax returns part — I don’t do taxes) — and I STILL haven’t been paid everything that I’m owed. I doubt I’ll ever see the money.

It’s one of my goals to make sure that my family, friends, colleagues and clients learn from my mistakes — and avoid them.

So I’ve been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. Let me help you avoid that!

What about you? Got any similar stories where you advised someone — because you saw them about to make the same mistake you made?

Photo Credit: Hand with Some Canadian Money by Victor Ballesteros from Unsplash