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Risk management

From the day we are born till the day we die, we take risks. We have to, or else we wouldn't achieve anything. Whether it's risking a burned tongue because you can't wait for the day's first coffee, or sending money to someone you haven't met to win money on a lottery you haven't entered, risk is an important part of life.

The skill comes in knowing what the risk is, what the rewards are if it goes well, and the penalties if it doesn't.

In the first example, the risk is a burned tongue, the rewards are a hit of caffeine and being able to drive with your eyes open, and the penalties are walking around with a painful tongue all day. It’s a risk that is possibly worth taking. The rewards probably outweigh the penalties. The second one, maybe not so much. The rewards are non-existent and the penalties are losing your hard earned money.

In both cases, though, it's down to someone to weigh up the risk, identify any potential rewards or penalties, decide if it's worth it, and take steps to minimise the potential damage caused by the penalties.

In the corporate world, this can be easier said than done. Especially in the current economic climate when money and business cash flow is tight.

There are, however, a few simple processes that can be put in place to ensure you minimise any risk at the outset.

Firstly, you need a risk management strategy. This will differ in scale depending on whether you're a multi-national business employing thousands of people, or a self-employed accountant. The principles, however, are the same.

You'll need to cover a number of issues. Among these will be discovering what is the company's 'appetite for risk level'. Other components of the strategy could include items such as risk assessments on individual sections of the business, and risk evaluation, where possible risks are compared with the criteria drawn up under the risk appetite.

As an example, at Eazipay we are always getting approached by companies wanting us to take on their Direct Debit collections. Before we say yes, we put them through our risk assessment criteria. Naturally the criteria varies depending whether they are intent on collecting and processing £500 or £50,000 a month through us, but the principle is the same: we've no more desire to get stung than any other company, so we assess the risks and rewards before making a decision.

In addition to drawing up plans to protect the company against the risk occurring, there will also need to be a comprehensive guide in place for what to do if things do go wrong. Whether its nature wreaking havoc, a customer defrauding you, or an employee making a catastrophic error, you'll have to have plans in place to protect the company, in both financial and potentially reputational terms.

But risk management isn't just about a grand, overarching strategy. There are plenty of day to day risks that need assessing as well. Risks in the workplace, for example, to make sure your staff are protected from things such as slip and trip hazards or dark stairwells. Some risks, such as smoking in a fireworks factory, are relatively easy to quantify: risk = loss of entire stock, penalty = financial ruin, (reward = possibly the best fireworks display the world has ever seen!) Others, such as opening emails which turn out to be infected, are harder to evaluate.

Here, the duty of the person in charge of risk management is as much about educating staff as to their roles and responsibilities as it is making sure there are sufficient cable tidies.

And the guiding hand behind all this? Legislation of course. Even as we speak, there are people who wake up in a sweat that somewhere in the UK there is an unnoticed trip hazard, whose fantasies involve making our lives safer and our workplaces accident free. Are we grateful? Probably not. But these laws are important and should be one of the cornerstones of any risk management strategy, so take heed.

Luisa Grey is a director of Eazipay Ltd, one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing automated payment processing companies. Eazipay provides regular Direct Debit collection and processing services to thousands of SMEs and corporate organisations in a wide range of market sectors throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

For more information visit www.eazipay.co.uk

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James Simpson
SkinViva Ltd
Wonderful company. They offer a very efficient service with a quick turnaround time between Direct Debits being processed and the funds being transferred to your business. They provide good reporting that has helped our business gain a better understanding of our own clients. We've been with Eazipay for several years and all throughout that time we have received great customer service that has a very personal feel to it. It can often feel like you're their only customer!

★★★★★

Michelle
John Cashin Tuition
We have been using Eazipay for our private tuition business for approximately seven years and we couldn't be more impressed. Deciding to use Eazipay has been one of the best decisions we have made. It is so much easier for me now that I do not have to chase customers for payment, it's all done for us - like clockwork. The staff are so helpful, courteous, friendly and super efficient. A very professional service indeed. For me Eazipay are worth their weight in gold!

★★★★★

Mark Ward
Midland Tech
Midland Tech have been using Eazipay for nearly four years and the service has been excellent. It's easy to use, payments are received promptly, and customer service is very good. Emails are answered quickly, nothing is too much trouble, and everyone you deal with is very knowledgeable and friendly I would recommend Eazipay to anyone.

★★★★★

Oliver Thompson
CCCit
We have been using Eazipay to take direct debit payments from our clients since 2008. As a long standing customer our business could just not run without the assurance that we are going to get paid on time. Eazipay has allowed us to grow our business without the hassles involved in collected numerous monthly payments. We really appreciate all the hard work and expertise that the team at Eazipay bring to our business. Thank you from everyone at CCCit

★★★★★

Andrew Straton
Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
Eazipay have been collecting Direct Debits on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club since 2009 and we have never looked back! It has made our administration, run entirely by volunteers, so much easier and saved us large amounts of cash by not having to post reminders to members every year. Thank you EAZIPAY, you do a great job and I would (and have) recommend you highly to anyone thinking of using a Direct Debit system in the future.

★★★★★

Emma Statham
We have been using the services that Eazipay Ltd offer for some years now and cannot recommend them highly enough. in a nutshell, they offer an incredibly professional, personal , and faultless service allowing us to collect direct debit payments from some of our customers, hassle free. Natalie Terris is our account manager, and she is helpful, friendly and knowledgable. All our queries are dealt with simply and swiftly. All the Eazipay processes we use are simple to use. We wouldn't go anywhere else- Thanks Eazipay! x

★★★★★

121 IT Services Ltd
We started working with Eazipay in September 2013 and since that time they have made both our clients and 121 IT's life so much simpler. The staff are great, friendly and very good at what they do. Would totally recommend them, thank you.

★★★★★

Mark Wyatt
Telecom Network Services
Telecom Network Services has been a customer of Eazipay for 14 years, since I started the business. The staff at Eazipay are outstanding, always efficient and process payments accurately and on time everytime! I recommend Eazipay Ltd, they are a great company to do business with.

★★★★★

Steven Bourne
We have been a client of Eazipay for over two years now and the service is excellent. There is always someone available on the end of the telephone to deal with any queries and it is a very professional set up. The way in which the system operates is very straightforward and we save hours of time and hassle compared with using the old method of standing orders. I would thoroughly recommend Eazipay to any business which wants to make collecting money easy!

★★★★★

Emma Martineau
Phones 4 Business started collecting payments by Direct Debit in 2007. We chose Eazipay and have never looked back. I daren't calculate how much time I have saved in using Eazipay and staying with them is a no brainer! Why change when I have such a good supplier? It is service that counts; Natalie Terriss and the whole team are always very friendly, efficient and reliable. I have no hesitation in recommending them.

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