It's that time of year where the office seems to be a little quieter. Running a business during this time can be a challenge because there's a continual rotation of your colleagues who are out of office on summer vacations. You may have not given much thought to how summer affects your cash flow. Your A/R department may be thin and your clients' accounts payable contacts may be on vacation too.
Summer vacations can affect invoicing, accounts receivable and collections.
Here's how to make sure you still have working capital through the fall...
Are Invoices Being Sent On Time?
The first step to being paid on time is sending invoices on time. If your point person for invoicing is at the beach, do you know if the monthly invoices were sent out? Set up and document your process for invoicing so that the task can easily be handed off. Or, if there's only one A/R person, set up reminders to get the invoices out the door before turning on your email out of office auto-reply.
Is Your Accounts Payable Contact Out Of Office?
If you have a good relationship with your client, you probably already know that their A/P person is hiking in the mountains. They may have even asked that you send your invoices early so that they can pay you before hitting the road. If they're your only contact and you haven't been paid, however, you may find yourself struggling to reach someone who can sign a check. Make sure you have several contacts as a backup in case of vacations or, worse, if your contact gets another job. Also, get phone numbers and email addresses so that when you need to follow up, you can talk to someone in person.
If Your Client is in the Woods, Does Collections Make a Sound?
The worst frustration is realizing that your client has no access to emails or phone calls because they're camping in the middle of nowhere. Again, a best practice is to have more than one contact and communicate often. Even if you don't have another person's information, does your client's out of office responder offer a backup?
This situation can be especially touchy because you don't want to punish your client for taking some time off, however, you do deserve to be paid. This may be a time to consider charging late fees on your B2B invoices. Or, if this is a regular occurrence, you may want to let a professional collections agency handle it. You may not need to send your client account to collections but you may need help cleaning up A/R, setting up a collections policy, credit policy or actual collections.
You deserve a vacation too but more than that, you deserve to keep getting paid during the summer months. Plan ahead and communicate often so your business is bustling by August.