5 Holiday Tips to Treating Clients Well Even When They Owe You Money

The holidays may put a strain on you as an individual but end-of-year accounts receivable follow-up could put a strain on your business. It can be challenging to review overdue invoices and the potential of bad debt write offs and stay in the giving spirit. If cash flow is strained, a business owner may feel resentful of those clients who still owe on invoices. Treating your clients well, however, is necessary for retaining those relationships. B2B sales cycles take longer so your clients are important, even when their invoices are unpaid.

Here are 5 best practices for treating your clients well during the holidays, even when they owe you money.

Do Electronic Payments Cause Payment Delays to Accounts Receivable?

Delayed payments are frustrating to accounting and business owners. Following up with a client, your accounts receivable department may be told that payment has already been sent. Was it sent via snail mail? Has the check been received and but not entered into the books? Or has payment been made electronically and not been matched to the correct invoice? 

If accounts receivable is taking electronic payments, are those payments delaying the process?

U.S. Small to Medium Business Invoices Paid Faster

A recent global study revealed that American businesses get their invoices paid in an average of 23.5 days compared to businesses around the world. Small to medium businesses in Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK, Singapore, and Poland were also surveyed. Business invoices in France and Singapore were paid on average in 45 days.  Comparatively, these figures are positive but late payments are still a problem in the United States.

What challenges are U.S. small to medium businesses facing when attempting to get their invoices paid faster?

Are Your Clients Using Voodoo on Your Business?

Is your business feeling random pains in unexpected places? Are you experiencing struggle in your organization where there should be ease? You may have unwittingly given over the magic power to damage your business. Like handing a voodoo doll to your clients, a lack of on-time payments can cause discomfort and suffering.

Here's where your clients are "sticking it to you" and how to make it stop.

What is the Best Commercial Collection Agency?

Trying to find the best collections agency for your business can be a challenge. It would be nice if your business clients would pay on-time for the services or products you've already supplied. The relationships with those clients are still important and you don't want to break those ties with a court battle.

What is the best commercial collection agency for your corporate accounting needs?

Increase Cash Collections: Key Steps of Commercial Collection Services

Consider a typical cash collection cycle timeline:

  • After a sale, an invoice is generated within a few days. 
  • The invoice delivery time could be another 1 to 3 days depending on the delivery method. 
  • An average invoice due date is 30 days. 
  • Payments by check and mail could take another 3 - 5 days. 

If there are no glitches in the process, it may take more than 30 days to collect on a sale. If there is pushback on an invoice or the client isn't paying on time, the cash collection cycle could affect your business' cash flow, your ability to pay your own bills on time, including employees, and potentially damage the credit-worthiness of your own business. While shortening the collections process is ideal, increasing cash collections is also helpful.

Getting Paid

It’s good when you can use attributes like accurately, consistently, timely, and easily to describe getting paid…it’s not so good when you can’t. What can we do to get paid accurately, consistently, timely, and easily? One place to start: establish, test, refine, and implement systems and processes that are accurate, consistent, timely, and easy to use.   

Here are three good places to start...

Best Practices for Organizing Small Business Accounting

Small business owners, we recognize you have a lot to do. Starting a new business or growing a small one means that there's a lot of action occurring all at once. When too much happens too quickly, there simply may not be time to stay organized. A back office necessity, that is crucial to your business, is organized accounting and bookkeeping. 

At a minimum, here's what you can do to organize your small business accounting.

Why Slow-Paying Clients are Killing your Business

Nearly every business will struggle with cash flow problems at some point or another. The challenge is when your client's cash flow struggles affect your business' cash flow. You do have options to deal with slow-paying clients including collections, writing off their accounts, or even firing them as a client. If you're stuck trying to decide what to do next, have you considered how late paying clients put your business at risk?

How to Take Legal Action When a Corporate Client Refuses to Pay

When you sign an agreement with a new client, the assumption is that they will hold up their end of the bargain and pay their invoices. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned. If your client isn't paying, there are steps to take, before going to court, that could save the time and resources of litigation.

To increase your chances of getting paid, follow the steps below.