Please remember Robin Hood is a blueprint not an actual system yet. The FAQs imply it's happening now to make the concept easier to explain.

The Importance Of Prompt Payment
What Is The System?
Is There A Market For It? Is It Growing?
What Is The System About?
Who Would Own The Robin Hood Patent And System?
How Would Robin Hood Calculate The Late Payment Surcharge?
Does The User Calculate Inclusive Or Exclusive Of VAT?
When Does The Late Payment Surcharge Stop Running?
What Happens When An Invoice Is Disputed And Is Never Paid - Are the Penalties Payable?
What Happens If A Purchaser Does Not Agree With The Late Payment Surcharge?
What Is The Cost Of Joining Robin Hood?
Who Would Join Robin Hood?
Why Should Companies Join Robin Hood?
The Role Of The Public Audit Office
Why A User Cannot Delete An Invoice Once It Has Been Entered On The System.
How Would The User Nominate A Charity Of Their Choice?
Can Other Companies See The Invoices Being Issued?
If The User Does Not Use A Computer, Can They Still Send Invoices Through The Robin Hood System?
Without A Computer, How Would The User Know They Have Been Invoiced By A Robin Hood System Supplier?
How Would A Creditor Know They Have Been Paid If They Do Not Have A Computer?
Won't Customers Be Upset With Being Surcharged?
What Stops The User From Surcharging Their Customers Directly?
Could This System Encourage Late Payment Because Of Its Charity Aspect?
Why Would Companies Who Often Pay Late Themselves Want To Join?
Doesn't The Law Require The User To Send An Original Paper Invoice?
Would The User have To Change Their Terms And Conditions With Customers?
What If The User Does Not Care If Companies Pay Late As Long As Bank Interest Or Factoring Charges Are Minimised,
Could The Robin Hood System Automatically Take Care Of This?

Could There Be A Service, Which Enables The User To Do Online Banking?
Would The Robin Hood System Accept International Invoices?
Why Would Businesses Use This Service?
What Are The Unique Selling Points?
Future Opportunities
What Does Andronicos Want Out Of This?
Why Has A Satirical "Budget Speech" Been Written?
Why Is IBM Referenced In The "Budget Speech"?

       

The Importance Of Prompt Payment
To maintain a successful business, a supplier must make an adequate profit. Late payment is a major problem for UK businesses and can lead to serious cashflow problems for the supplier, which can reduce profits and threaten commercial survival. If a business is continually paid late it would have to raise its prices, borrow if it can, or go out of business.

The Robin Hood System can act as a catalyst to avoid this problem, while at the same time helping deserving causes and creating a new species of government taxation.

The following explains how the system could work.

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What Is The System?
The Robin Hood System is an electronic invoicing system, which uses the internet to raise and record business-to-business invoices. Rather than send them directly to customers and suppliers they would be transmitted either electronically or via a fax to the Robin Hood System, which would forward them on to the customer after automatically confirming all details with the sender. It could become the clearing centre for all reputable electronic invoicing systems. It would not be their replacement.

The Robin Hood System would then keep track of when invoices were paid, and send reminders to pay outstanding invoices. If invoices were paid late, then the Robin Hood System would collect a % surcharge (subject to suppliers' conditions) on the principal sum. Surcharge percentages would then be allocated to the charity or charities chosen by the supplier, pay the supplier's interest and bank charges and a portion kept as taxes.

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Is There A Market For It? Is It Growing?
In 1995, an average of 85% of domestic and 92% of foreign sales were made on credit terms, and over 52% of UK companies reported that late payment was a problem. Studies conducted at a European level suggest that late payment problems are indeed endemic to many countries in the European Community.

Nonetheless, suppliers rarely insist upon their right to interest on late payment, even when this right is stipulated in their contracts. Two reasons contribute to this complacency:

Businesses often do not have the time or resources to invoice for tiny amounts; and the suppliers may fear of upsetting their customers by imposing a surcharge.

The Robin Hood System responds to both of these problems with a resource-efficient invoicing system that encourages prompt payment while maintaining good customer-supplier relationships. It should appeal to a world-wide market.

Evidence also shows that the market is well equipped with the technology needed to use the Robin Hood system, even among the smallest businesses. In the small business sector, 83% of companies use a fax machine (as compared to 31% ten years ago), and the vast majority use the internet.

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What Is The System About?
The Robin Hood System would encourage purchasers to pay on time by giving businesses a method to claim and automatically collect a late payment surcharge, however small, from other businesses that pay their bills late.

The system could also automatically calculate and collect the surcharge through inter-bank processes via the internet.

The system would also address the problems caused by persistent late payers.

The cost would no longer be borne by the supplier but by the person who could control it - the purchaser.

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Who Would Own The Robin Hood Patent And System?
Government and groups of Governments.

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How would Robin Hood Calculate The Late Payment Surcharge?
The interest owed on a late payment could be simple, not compound interest. It would be up to the Government to decide on the amount, but punitive rates of 2% per month or part thereof for large public companies would be recommended!

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Does The User Calculate Inclusive Or Exclusive Of VAT?
The user could charge a late payment surcharge on the gross amount of the debt (including any element of VAT) but not pay VAT on the late payment surcharge.

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When Does The Late Payment Surcharge Stop Running?
A late payment surcharge stops running on a debt once the principal has been paid in full.

If the purchaser owes the principal plus a late payment surcharge, (unless payment is accepted on other terms), any part payment of the debt could go to reduce the amount of late payment surcharge. It would be a contractual matter, enforced by the Robin Hood System.

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What Happens When An Invoice Is Disputed And Is Never Paid - Are the Penalties Payable?
Any disputed invoices would need to be raised with the Robin Hood System. It would automatically deal with the disputed invoice and suspend or credit any surcharge.

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What Happens If A Purchaser Does Not Agree With The Late Payment Surcharge?
A purchaser may not agree with a late payment surcharge (for example, if the goods delivered were faulty and had to be exchanged, or they were delivered late).

If this happens, the purchaser may negotiate with the supplier to reduce or amend the late payment surcharge. Once this has been agreed the supplier would update the system. Sometimes the purchaser may be unable to reach an agreement with the supplier. In this scenario, they could decide on one of the following as a course of action:

To withhold the supply of further goods or services until the matter has been resolved.

To refuse to trade on credit terms with the purchaser in the future.

To negotiate with the purchaser to ensure that future invoices are paid on time.

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What Is The Cost Of Joining Robin Hood?
It is recommended that no charge for joining the scheme would exist, but a nominal fee of 1 £, $ or Euro for every invoice that the user issues could be applied. This small charge covers the processing of the invoice, reminders, collection of monies and possibly transfer of funds to charities. Much cheaper than posting invoices, reminders and recorded delivery.

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Who Would Join Robin Hood?
Initially all UK VAT registered businesses.

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Why Should Companies Join Robin Hood?
The user may find that invoices are paid faster and on time as their customers do not want to incur late payment surcharges as imposed through Robin Hood.
The user may enjoy a reduced overdraft due to better cashflow and would therefore incur less bank charges. The best scenario is for the Government to make it Law!

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The Role Of The Public Audit Office
This department is an independent Government Organisation that could undertake the policing of the Robin Hood organisation.

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Why A User Cannot Delete An Invoice Once It Has Been Entered On The System.
This would be a security measure to ensure consistency of the records and integrity of the database.

How Would The User Nominate A Charity Of Their Choice?
The user would be able to nominate a charity of their choice but it would have to be approved by the Charities Commission before it could be registered with Robin Hood. Not only would more UK charities be in the system but so could the amount (and percentage) they spend on administration.

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Can Other Companies See The Invoices Being Issued?
No. Only the user company would have access to their records. It would not be possible to see other companies private financial records. Lenders may have access to the system if the user allows them to. (For example as Debenture security)

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If The User Does Not Use A Computer, Can They Still Send Invoices Through The Robin Hood System?
Yes. All the user needs to send invoices through the Robin Hood System is a fax machine. Invoices sent in this way would be entered automatically. All records would be kept securely and an electronic audit trail would be created.

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Without A Computer, How Would The User Know They Have Been Invoiced By A Robin Hood System Supplier?
The Robin Hood System could use local delivery services, perhaps the Post Office to forward recorded delivery paper copies of invoices to organisations that do not use electronic invoicing.

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How Would A Creditor Know They Have Been Paid If They Do Not Have A Computer?
When the debtor pays their invoice, online banking would be able to notify the Robin Hood System that payment had been made against a specified invoice.

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Won't Customers Be Upset With Being Surcharged?

It would be the Robin Hood System - and not the user - who would be surcharging their customers. The user would never be involved in the collection of the surcharge.

If the law forced all companies to use the Robin Hood System everyone would be in the same boat!

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What Stops The User From Surcharging Their Customers Directly?
Nothing, except the administrative headache and workload it entails. Using state of the art technology, the Robin Hood System would neatly collate into one monthly invoice per customer the surcharges levied on behalf of all of its suppliers. The system would collect lots of small amounts which would add up to large donations to good causes and possibly subsidise personal taxation.

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Could This System Encourage Late Payment Because Of Its Charity Aspect?
Common sense shows that a punitive 2% interest surcharge would encourage most companies to pay on time rather than letting their debt accrue. If, however, some companies continue to pay late, charities - plus the creditor could benefit from funds these companies obviously have to spare.

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Why Would Companies Who Often Pay Late Themselves Want To Join?
Very often, smaller companies themselves are guilty of making late payments because they are waiting on payments from their customers. With the Robin Hood System, they would be assured of receiving more timely payments and in turn could pay their own debts on time. It would be better if the law forced everyone to join!

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Doesn't The Law Require The User To Send An Original Paper Invoice?
No. Many organisations already send electronic invoices via electronic data interchange (EDI). Changes announced in the 2002 budget by the Chancellor also make electronic invoicing easier.

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Would The User have To Change Their Terms And Conditions With Customers?
Yes, but it's easy. One paragraph explaining what their status as a member of the Robin Hood System entails could be added to their contract or invoice. Details would be included in Membership Packs of course.

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What If The User Does Not Care If Companies Pay Late As Long As Bank Interest Or Factoring Charges Are Minimised, Could The Robin Hood System Automatically Take Care Of This?
Robin Hood could automatically transfer a percentage of the surcharges it levies to the user's bank or factoring supplier. Additionally, the Robin Hood System would enable easy access to factoring services if required. The surcharges collected for late payments could be automatically credited to this service so that it too could cost the user nothing in interest payments. Financial institutions would be delighted with this form of Debenture security.

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Could There Be A Service, Which Enables The User To Do Online Banking?
Yes. Online banking would be convenient to use in conjunction with the Robin Hood System.

Would The Robin Hood System Accept International Invoices?
Eventually, yes.

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Why Would Businesses Use This Service?
The service the Robin Hood System would provide represents enormous potential savings for very little cost. Particularly for smaller companies, who cannot afford to spend time and money chasing invoices. An investment of £1 per invoice issued could mean a saving several times that, multiplied by the amount of invoices issued in a year.

Any company with late payment problems would immediately see the value because Robin Hood would collect surcharges on behalf of suppliers, positive customer-supplier relationships would still be maintained.

For larger companies, or companies not significantly affected by late payment, the Robin Hood System nonetheless streamlines credit management. Additionally, the charitable aspect of the scheme would be a very positive reason to take part.

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What Are The Unique Selling Points?
The Robin Hood System has two essential characteristics making it unique from any other invoicing service. Firstly, it utilises the internet for the instantaneous, secure transmission of invoices, which can never be "lost in the post", since their dispatch and receipt are automatically recorded. Because the system also sends automatic reminders on overdue invoices, it could simplify the task of credit management to companies of all sizes.

Secondly, the Robin Hood System would incorporate a charitable aspect. It would encourage participation by generating positive publicity for both the scheme itself and for participating companies. Members would all take part in building the largest charity clearing house in the world. The end result would be the Robin Hood System members would either be paid on time, or would earn enough money in surcharges to pay off all bank charges, factoring charges and the very cost of using the Robin Hood service itself!

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Future Opportunities
There are a number of additional services that could be made available to the Robin Hood System members free or at reduced rates. Examples of these services are outlined

Provision of internet start-up equipment and service to members
Free legal advice line
Inter-trading membership
Discounted services for telephone networks
Discounted insurance services
Discounted flights on participating airlines
Discounted internet courses
Video Teleconferencing
etc, etc.

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What Does Andronicos Want Out Of This?
Nothing financially. As the inventor of the patent, he would like a percentage of the monies to be spent on some global scheme, for example turning the Sahara desert into a huge food-growing region, or something else as grand, which could become a catalyst for global peace and the eradication of absolute poverty.

If the G20 countries together could average 5 billion pounds each by collecting lots of these little surcharges, 100 billion pounds per year could fund the interest payments on a trillion pound mega project to benefit the whole Human race.

At the end of the day, would you care if a few pounds were automatically taken from your corporate cashflow for good causes, if you had been tardy in paying a supplier?

Andronicos would love to hear your opinion relating to the Robin Hood Initiative.

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Why Has A Satirical "Budget Speech" Been Written?
Humour and satire are excellent communication tools. The "Budget Speech" has been included to enable the reader to understand how the Robin Hood system will work in practice.

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Why Is IBM Referenced In The "Budget Speech"?
This document has a wide circulation list, specifically to the American Congress, Senate, British Parliament and the House of Lords. A TV documentary is being produced and more information is sought, specifically from IBM customers and suppliers who wish to comment on IBM working practices. Please refer to this page for more information and email the author, if deemed appropriate.

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