按時付帳單的好品格

By Jim Mathis

按時付帳單的好品格

幾年前,當我與妻子還在照片沖洗業服務時,我收到柯達公司的高階主管寄來一封信。對那麼一家大公司而言,我們實在是非常小的客戶,所以我有一點緊張。雖然我們每個月向他們買了幾千美元的膠卷、化學藥水和照片用紙,但對位居財星雜誌前500大公司的柯達而言,那金額實在太微不足道了。

當我打開信時,我驚訝地發現內容與我預期的相反。那是一封讚揚的信,感謝我們準時付款。在我們與柯達公司作生意的15-20年間,從未延遲一天付款。這樣的好品格值得柯達的副董事長親自寫一封信道謝。這點我對自己很滿意,但令我更印象深刻的是,柯達公司居然肯定我們財務的可靠性,並且願意花時間寫信道謝。

這讓我想到最近妻子與我在我們家開了一堂「戴夫‧拉姆齊財務平安大學」(Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University)的課程。我察覺自己不再像多年前那樣準時支付帳單,但在開課後的幾個月,我決定恢復在每筆帳單最後繳費期限前就付款的好習慣。

所有的生意都建立在關係上。人們樂意與他們喜歡的人做生意,包括那些迅速履行義務的人。若讓別人寄發了「逾期未付款」催繳通知,那麼很快就會使雙方關係惡化,同時消息將迅速在業界流傳,於是延遲付款的一方就很難再找到供應商。對那些想成為耶穌基督「職場使者」的人而言,如哥林多後書5章20節所描述,按時付款這樣的行為是一個可以向外人見證,我們信仰上帝所養成遵守誠信的品格。

以下是聖經給我們的一些相關原則:

在小事上能忠心地履行義務,便有資格承擔更大的責任。當我們被委託更大的事務之前,常常是因為我們在小事上展現了可以被信賴的品德。「人在最小的事上忠心,在大事上也忠心;在最小的事上不義,在大事上也不義。倘若你們在不義的錢財上不忠心,誰還把那真實的錢財託付你們呢﹖倘若你們在別人的東西上不忠心,誰還把你們自己的東西給你們呢﹖」(路加福音16章10-12節)。

準時付款可以使人得到財務自由。迅速付清貨款就能減少利息的累積,更能贏得供應商的信任,也可為公司的成長以及當我們對原料需求增加時鋪路。「富戶管轄窮人;欠債的是債主的僕人」(箴言22章7節)。

迅速付款使我們在人群中脫穎而出。在現今的世界,企業普遍都會等到最後期限才去付款,努力迅速付款顯示此公司及其人員(不論是業主、高階主管或員工)的誠信。「我的弟兄們,最要緊的是不可起誓;不可指著天起誓,也不可指著地起誓,無論何誓都不可起。你們說話,是,就說是;不是,就說不是,免得你們落在審判之下」(雅各書5章12節)。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。最近他開了一所攝影學校。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思討論題目

根據你的經驗,與你的企業交易的人們和公司是否會快速付帳單? 你一向都如何面對付款義務--你是否快速付款?或者你都等到最後期限才付款? 你是否同意由支付帳單的方式可以顯示出我們是否誠信可靠?或者你認為在其他領域展現出誠信才是更重要的? 請舉一個例子說明,你或你認識的某人,曾經因為即使對極微小的事,都以很忠心的態度處理,於是在一段時間後就被賦予更大的責任與權力。

註:若你有聖經且想看更多有關此主題的其他經文,請參考以下經節:箴言10章9節,13章1、3節,20章7、14節,21章5節;歌羅西書3章17節;雅各書2章14-17節

THE INTEGRITY OF PAYING BILLS ON TIME

By Jim Mathis

Years ago, when my wife and I were in the photofinishing business, I received a letter from a high-ranking official at Eastman Kodak. I was a little nervous that Kodak might cancel our account, since we were very small for such a large company. Even though we bought a couple thousand dollars in film, chemicals and paper each month, that was still a very meager amount by Fortune 500 standards.

I was surprised when I opened the letter because it was the opposite of what I expected. It was a letter of commendation, thanking us for paying our bills on time. In the 15-20 years we had been doing business with The Eastman Kodak Company, we had never missed a discount or were even one day late in paying our bill. That level of integrity deserved a personal letter from a vice president of the company. I was pleased with myself, but even more impressed that someone at Kodak would recognize our financial reliability and take the time to write a letter.

This came to mind recently as my wife and I were leading a "Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University" class in our home. I have not always been as faithful in paying my bills on time as I was years ago, but in recent months have made a renewed commitment to paying our bills before their due dates.

All business is built on relationships. People like to do business with people they like, including those who are prompt in meeting their obligations. Having to send "Past Due" notices can quickly sour relationships, and people who are slow to pay soon run out of suppliers. For those wanting to serve as “marketplace ambassadors” for Jesus Christ, as described in 2 Corinthians 5:20, such diligences provides an unspoken witness to the character of the God we follow by faith.

Here are some related principles the Bible gives to us:

Faithfulness in obligations, even small ones, qualifies for greater responsibilities. We often must demonstrate we can be relied upon in small matters before we can be entrusted with greater things. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else”s property, who will give you property of your own?" (Luke 16:10-12).

Paying bills on time provides financial freedom. Prompt payment of obligations minimizes the accumulation of interest, and can pave the way to gain the trust of our suppliers as our companies grow and our need for resources increases. "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7)

Prompt payment will enable us to stand out in the crowd. In an environment when it is so common for businesses to wait until the last possible moment to pay bills, a commitment to pay promptly speaks a lot to the integrity of the organization and its people, whether owners, top executives or employees. "Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned" (James 5:12).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

In your experience, how prompt in paying bills are the people and companies that deal with your organization? What is your typical practice in paying your obligations – do you pay them quickly, or do you tend to wait until the absolute due date? Do you agree that the way we pay bills makes a statement about our integrity and dependability? Or do you think other areas are more vital in terms of integrity? Explain your answer. Give an example of a time when you – or someone you know – demonstrated faithfulness in carrying out even menial tasks that over time resulted in being given greater responsibilities and authority.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:Proverbs 10:9, 11:1,3, 20:7,14, 21:5; Colossians 3:17; James 2:14-17

Show More