The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has experienced significant difficulty in their finance teams, with many of their suppliers waiting on payments for months.
One such supplier has now engaged the services of a debt collection agency to recover payment, saying that he is owed thousands by the charity and has waited many months for payment.
The NTS has alleged that problems with their new computer systems have caused the delays in payment. However, a number of the suppliers that are waiting to be paid had said that computer problems were blamed last year when debts were late.
One supplier, who chooses to remain anonymous, said:
“We’re chasing money at the moment. It’s a high four-figure sum. We’re only one of very many suppliers in the same position. It’s slightly unbelievable that the trust is behaving like this. They assured us last year that all their IT problems had been fixed. My underlying worry is that something’s wrong. We will keep chasing for the money; we need to claw that money back from them.”
In September of last year, the NTS was compelled to suspend member’s subscription payments during an overhaul of its IT systems. This was as a result of a small percentage of members having the wrong amount taken by direct debit from their bank accounts, or the money being debited on the wrong day.
Chief executive of the trust, Simon Skinner said:
“In stages over the past year, the trust has been introducing new IT systems designed to modernise its financial and customer services processes.
“Unfortunately these problems have taken longer to resolve than anticipated due to a proprietary software bug. We have been working with the software provider to fix this issue, and it is now resolved.
“In the interim, we attempted to notify all suppliers of the issues. We also offered assurances that we had manual systems in place to ensure that they continued to receive payments, but there were inevitable delays, in part due to ensuring the validity of invoices. We are now working hard to ensure all monies outstanding are paid as soon as possible.”
Mr Skinner added that the trust, which has over 335,000 members was in good financial health and that they are committed to making all supplier payments as quickly as possible.
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