Posted - 24/08/11 | 0 Comments

Charging them up to the top of the bill

What will your holiday bill total? And what about all your trips – business and social – over the whole year? A few thousand, £5k, £10k or more?

Most of us are finding ways to cut back or be smarter with our money. Last-minute deals, loyalty cards and promotions are a great money-saver.

But, according to Aol Travel, the Duke of York’s travel total has headed in the other direction. The site says he’s doubled his travel costs to £358,763.

Trips in a chartered aircraft to Kuwait, Bahrain and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia cost taxpayers £88,612. Trips last year by Prince Andrew also reportedly included £121,810 for one tour of Italy, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Of course, it’s worth stating that Prince Andrew has been promoting British business in Asia and the Middle East. And if these trips deliver a net profit for the country, then maybe all those air miles would undoubtedly offer good value for money? That’s another debate.

However, the Taxpayers’ Alliance is not impressed. “There is no need for lavish spending and it is especially insensitive at a time when millions of taxpayers are tightening their own belts,” says spokesperson Emma Boon.

– The Queen’s accounts for the 2010/11 are published for anyone to pour over at the British Monarchy web site. Overall, spending reduced by 5.3%.

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Posted - 08/08/11 | 0 Comments

Paper invoices create 3 million tons of carbon a year

Cast your mind to earlier this year, the news was littered with unexplained deaths of animals across the world. 5,000 blackbirds fell dead out of the sky in Arkansas, and 40,000 dead crabs were reported from Maryland, New Zealand and England. So were these the sign of an apocalypse or are they just adverse effects of global warming?

2011 has been labelled the International Year of Forests by the UN to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining them for future generations. This is hugely tied in with the push from the European Commission to adopt broad scale e-invoicing by 2020, as they point out the environmental benefits as well as the cost saving ones.

They make a valid point as the stats scream for themselves. In 2009, 30 billion invoices were sent across Europe, resulting in approximately 90 billion pieces of paper being printed out.* This created a carbon footprint of approximately 3,000,000 tons, or 90,000 return flights from London to Sydney.  If, however, these were sent electronically 12.6 million trees could have been saved. Looking at those figures, it is easy to see why environment issues and e-invoicing go perfectly hand in hand.

* http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/19160848-1c23-11e0-9b56-00144feab49a.html

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Posted - 04/08/11 | 0 Comments

Patients’ patience comes at a price!

Who’s time is more important: their time or your time?

No-one likes to be kept waiting, whether it’s at the bank, shopping checkout or at the dentist. But one woman decided to write a prescription of her own … for her doctors.

According to MedPage Today, the Californian businesses woman invoices doctors if she’s kept waiting too long.  In one instance, she billed an eye doctor about $150 for about a 45-minute wait – deducting the amount from the clinician’s bill.

Of course, she tries to avoid waiting in the first place – by requesting either the first appointment of the day, or the first one after lunch (a very useful tip for us all!).

But if the doctor is going to be late, she insists their staff give her a call – if they want to avoid a bill for her time sat waiting. Apparently, it works! She’s been doing it since 1969!

What’s more, news of this story – and others – has created a wider debate in the USA.

In a YouTube video, Pamela Wible MD takes up the case of a friend who spent 35 minutes in a paper gown before walking out – and billing the doctor. They paid up.

Dr Wible’s own blog suggests some interesting ground rules on the issue. And there’s an idea that patients should synchronise their bill to the doctor’s own hourly rate.

Apparently, a plastic surgeon in New York City gives out Starbucks gift cards if patients wait more than 15 or 20 minutes. Meanwhile, some other US doctors offer wi-fi in their waiting rooms – so patients can exercise more patience.

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