Accounts Receivable Tip: Diversify to Get Paid

Are repeated email reminders not getting your “please pay me” message through? How about 30, 60 and 90-day invoices, or repeated weekly phone calls?

In our experience, sending one type of message again and again won’t get great results. Why not? Because:

It’s easier to miss. What if your customer rarely checks email? Or hates talking on the phone? Or has a sleepy assistant managing their paper mail? We had one CloudBooks user tell us that his customers sometimes have thousands of suppliers to pay – an email reminder just doesn’t cut through the noise.

It makes excuses easier. Customers have a ready way to explain away non-payment: “Gee, I never got that invoice.”

It may not be LOUD enough. The best collections and AR people know that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The trick to getting paid is making sure your invoice rises to the top of your customer’s accounts payable stack.

That’s why CloudBooks offers a full range of follow-up tools to help you get paid. Sure, other companies may focus on just one tool, like email reminders. That does make follow-up easier for you, but it doesn’t address the essential other half of the equation: making sure you actually get paid.

This brings us to the 2012 Document Management study from the Institute of Financial Operations. The study shows exactly why using many approaches is the key to success in accounts receivable. The IFO talked to accounts payable and receivable personnel in the corporate, government and nonprofit realms, asking them specifically about print invoices.

A few gems from the study:

  • 83% of respondents admitted to losing between one and 225 invoices a month
  • 2% said their workplaces lose between 226 and 350 invoices a month
  • Only 15% said they never lose invoices

This tells us a few things: First, digital payments may be rising, but a lot of businesses still prefer to get printed paper bills. This is why we’re huge fans of printed invoices here at CloudBooks. We physically send them out on our customers’ behalf, and they’re a central piece of our business. Second, there are a whole lot of misplaced invoices out there—and one (or more) of them may be yours.

Our recommendation? Add new follow-up methods to your accounts receivable mix. If you normally send print invoices, send an email or pick up the phone now and again. A friendly discussion may be exactly what’s needed to make sure your invoice is the next one paid.

And if we may humbly suggest it: try CloudBooks. That’s why we’re here: to help you use every possible tool to get paid.