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How to avoid invoice fraud

According to UK Finance, UK business lost a total of £93 million in 2018 to invoice fraud, with the average payment to fraudsters being £20,750. To help you avoid losing potentially thousands of pounds, we’ve put together a list of things that you can do to avoid invoice fraud.

Scrutinise all invoices

It’s extremely important for you to scrutinise all of the invoices that you receive. The differences between a false invoice and a real one will be subtle, but if you look closely, you should be able to identify a fake. Common indicators of a fake invoice include a different phone number or contact name for correspondence, a change in payment methods, changes in the amount to be invoiced, a new signature, blurred logos, the addition to bank details that didn’t appear previously and email addresses with small changes.

Listen to your instincts

This might seem trivial, but it is important to listen to your instincts when analysing invoices. If an invoice does not seem genuine, it is probably a good idea to take a closer look at it. In order to stay in control of your payments, try and be more confident when refusing payments or unexpected information requests so that you don’t end up making a mistake under pressure. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Don’t click suspicious links

This is a general rule of thumb for using the internet, but in order to avoid invoice fraud, never click on the links that appear in an unexpected text or email. Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated than ever and it is now incredibly easy to create email addresses that look genuine upon first glance, but if you look closely, you might notice that certain names or words in the address are spelt incorrectly.

Check on suppliers

Fake invoices are often issued under a legitimate name with a fake bank account number or email address or under a false business name. When you’re taking on a new supplier, it’s a good idea to do your research into their business to ensure that they are legitimate and to search for their business address on Google maps. If their address is a PO box or a residential address, this could indicate that they are committing fraud. Where possible, if your existing suppliers get in touch claiming that they are changing their bank account or address, contact them directly to make sure.

Conduct multiple-stage authorisation

If you have the staff capability, it’s a good idea to hold multiple people responsible for the authorisation of payments. You could give the department or person associated with the expenditure responsibility for authorising the payment. The more people you have on hand to check each invoice, the more likely it is that someone will spot something suspicious.


If you’re looking to take control of your company spending in a secure and safe manner, get in touch with our expert team at B4B Payments today.

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How to be a top performing CFO

If you are currently a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or hoping to secure a CFO role for yourself, you may be wondering how to be the best, top-performing CFO possible. Below we outline just some of the skills and characteristics a CFO should have to ensure they bring as much value as possible to their organisation.

1. Transparency

It is important a CFO knows how to create and maintain a trusting, transparent environment. The financial status and figures of a business are an essential element of its foundation. If a CFO is able to be transparent about the financial position of its company, it helps to build trust and ensures all departments and employees are working on the same page towards the same goals.

2. Communication

While it may seem obvious to say that a CFO should have good communication skills, simply being able to communicate well is not enough for a CFO. A CFO should have a flexible communication style that allows them to adjust their communication techniques when working with different departments or individuals. Throughout the course of a day, a CFO may need to communicate with subordinates, board members, business partners, suppliers and the media, making a flexible communication style essential to ensure they can build strong, lasting relationships with everyone they communicate with.

3. Solution-orientated

In a leadership position, such as a CFO, many people will look to you for business solutions, not problems. For this reason, a CFO must adopt a solution-orientated attitude and not fall into the habit of being rule or compliance-orientated, as this can limit the effectiveness of their decisions.

4. Teamwork

Many managers and those in a leadership position may think teamwork is a basic skill that everyone should have mastered in adulthood. In reality, however, it can be difficult for many CFOs to be able to adapt their understanding of teamwork in a leadership position. As a CFO, it is your responsibility to build and strengthen your team. For this reason, a CFO should never look to shine individually or expect personal praise, they should focus their time and energy on ensuring their team is as functional and efficient as possible, rewarding them rather than looking for individual praise.

5. Innovation

As a CFO, you have the power to make innovative financial decisions and revolutionise your department. For example, a CFO could introduce prepaid business cards that save their financial team significant time and money. The CFO must choose where to include innovation carefully, to ensure these changes help improve the efficiency of their company.


If you’d like to learn more about how prepaid business card solutions could benefit CFOs, do not hesitate to get in touch with B4B Payments today. We ensure CFOs can keep control over corporate expenses in one, convenient platform, ensuring to improve the efficiency of their department. For more information, contact B4B Payments.

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The Pros (and cons) of being a cashless organisation.

It’s not uncommon for businesses to question whether they should adopt a cashless policy or not. Recent global events, such as the coronavirus pandemic, have led to an increase in credit and debit card payments. Digital wallet services like Apple Pay are also experiencing exponential growth, as increasing numbers of consumers and vendors embrace cashless payments.

However, in some industries – particularly in business-to-business environments such as wholesalers or supply merchants – cash is still commonplace. This article covers the pros and cons of switching to a cashless payments model and is designed to help you to determine whether going cashless is the right solution for you.

The pros of adapting a cashless policy

Save time – and money!

While businesses are expected to pay fees on credit card transactions, it’s worth noting that processing cash sales can take much longer. Ultimately, the time spent processing physical cash transactions could be better spent elsewhere. With cashless transactions, you’ll spend less time making trips to the bank, counting cash at the end of the day, and entering cash transactions into your accounting software.

Increased efficiency

A simple tap or swipe of a prepaid business card, credit card, debit card or mobile phone is much more efficient than giving out petty cash. If your business frequently experiences last minute or on-the-spot purchase needs, you may find that a cash-free solution helps to alleviate backlog in accounting.

Easier accounting and money management

If you’re frequently spending time poring over transactions while trying to determine why your expenses aren’t tallying correctly, it’s time to think about going cashless. With a cashless solution from B4B Payments, each transaction is tracked and receipt uploads are a breeze with the mobile app. This makes accounting more accurate and increases efficiency in the workplace.

Reduced risk

If your business keeps cash on the premises, you’ll always be vulnerable to theft. By switching to a cashless policy, you’ll improve the physical security of your staff and customers. Cashless transactions are also more hygienic – and your team and vendors will value this in a post-pandemic world.

Enhanced expense management

Going cashless isn’t all about finances coming in – it concerns your outgoings, too. Whether you’re purchasing from suppliers or covering the corporate expenses of field agents and reps, your expenses are easily tracked and managed when you go cashless.

Access valuable data

Cashless transactions generate a multitude of valuable consumer information. This data allows you to analyse the purchasing trends and spending habits of your card recipients and employees, which can be used to improve your financial strategy.

Cons of adopting a cashless policy

Increased card fees

One of the biggest bugbears for small-medium enterprises is the dreaded card transaction fee. To combat this, some companies factor card fees into their pricing structure, which could mean having to slightly increase the amount you charge your customers for your products.

*Pro tip- Read the fine print. Many prepaid card programmes offer cheaper rates from the outset, with hidden fees or margins on FX rates for transactions. Ω`

Some people prefer cash

For some organisations depending on who you’re distributing your cards to, cash is still king. In particular, older recipients of funds, are more accustomed to paying with cash and could feel alienated by your decision to adopt a totally cashless policy.

Is going cashless right for your business?

There are a lot of variables to consider before going cashless. Businesses in certain industries might benefit from going completely cashless, while others might still want to hold out before no longer utilising cash payments.

Whether you’re ready to take the plunge or not, having a cashless payment solution can certainly increase efficiency, provide you with better understanding of where your money is going, and streamline your accounting process. If you’d like more information, why not contact us to find out how B4B Payments could transform your fund disbursement today?

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Three tech tools every CEO should know

By Paul Williams, CFO, CloudCall Group plc

CloudCall enables its clients to communicate with their contacts directly from their CRM, maximising the effectiveness of sales and customer services teams.

Let’s be honest – sometimes Chief Financial Officers have a reputation for not being tech-savvy. But with so many examples of innovation, especially in financial services, we need to know more about tech than just how to work MS Excel.

As a CFO of a successful software company, I have a keen interest in how technology can enhance business performance. After having evaluated and implemented a number of innovations, I thought my list of the top three solutions currently in use here at CloudCall might be useful to other Finance professionals.

1. Customer behaviour + revenue = accurate forecasting

I’ve been looking for a way to improve the accuracy of my financial forecasting. As a cloud-based software company, our clients essentially rent our software so it’s a SaaS (software as a service) model. We have high levels of predictability of income from software subscriptions but the accuracy of our financial forecasting is heavily influenced by customer behaviour such as how fast they on-board users and ramp up usage.

Having reached the limits of what Excel can achieve, I have been looking for a more effective way to model this customer behavioural information together with sales and billing data to achieve more accurate financial forecasts.

We evaluated several solutions and trialled Microsoft Power BI. We found it stronger in its back-end connectivity to our systems than other solutions but its user interface was not so intuitive. That is likely to mean we need to spend more time and money on training and probably incur more operator mistakes.

We are currently piloting Salesforce and trialling its Wave Analytics solution. Like most Salesforce products, the user interface is very intuitive and visually effective, and early results show it to be very effective in marrying financial information with customer data to achieve the kind of powerful insights I need to better support the business.

2. Prepaid cards = expenditure control

Cash-based expenditure management really should be a thing of the past. The expense of handling cash, the unclaimed VAT due to lost receipts and risk exposure goes against virtually every principle that finance professionals hold sacred.

We assign credit cards for use by our executive team but we are a growing company and nurturing talent at junior levels. As part of their development, we foster a culture of financial accountability and trust – within certain boundaries.

We use the expenditure management solution of B4B Payments that enables us to issue Mastercard prepaid cards to our junior team members. We can stipulate when and where the cards can be used and drip-feed funds into those accounts. I remember several junior members of the team saying that they couldn’t travel for business if they had to initially fund it themselves as they didn’t have the spare cash. It’s an important courtesy to our staff that we don’t make our people fund company expenditure and then go through a tortuous expense claim process which may delay funds back to their own pockets to reimburse them. We can also give staff prepaid cards as gifts as rewards or for anniversaries, which keeps things simple and is very much appreciated by all those that have received them so far.

3. Customer view = opportunities for improvement

You’d be surprised at how many ways you can improve your business if you look in the right places. Technology can give you a unique view of your business and allow you to see it exactly as a customer does. Most of the time it’s good but sometimes it’s not – and that’s your opportunity to improve things.

I regularly listen in on sales and customer service calls (it’s ok, we have one of those messages that say calls may be monitored). I can easily do this through our CRM system, which is integrated with a great solution called CloudCall. Yes, it’s a key feature of our own software but it really offers a huge opportunity when agents are routinely presented with real examples of what they do well, and what they don’t do well to learn from. I really do use it myself. CloudCall technology will also help us with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) compliance as we will be routinely asking customers and prospects for permission to hold their data and record their verbal permission. I suspect we’ll get a much higher opt in rate over the phone than via email, and the CloudCall technology will help us to keep the permissions up to date.

The pace of innovation has reached unprecedented levels in recent years and I’m sure my list of top tech tips will be entirely different in a year from now. But the point is that we must not be intimidated by new technology or else we – and the companies we serve, will quickly fall behind.