Do you ever find that as soon as you start thinking about something, you see it everywhere? You know, like how there never seems to be only one shark attack at a time? Well, empirical data says this isn’t true and is just a type of confirmation bias, but it still just happened to me.
It was just last week that I wrote about some cash-flow issues that affect all businesses. In that blog, I said that one reason for that happening was not getting paid on time (or as quickly as would be ideal) by customers. Well, since that time, I also read a recent article on cpapracticeadvisor.com that spoke to that issue. When this type of coincidence happens, I think it is worth paying attention to, so I wanted to spend this week’s space looking at a few of the things brought up in that article.
The first thing I wanted to point out was how key communicating with customers is when it comes to solving these issues. Sometimes there is going to be a genuine dispute at the heart of why you aren’t getting paid. It is best to handle this as soon as possible if you want to get any of the money owed you. At other times, it may just be being overlooked or forgotten about. Here again, a plan for continued communication will help you get paid.
Something worth pointing out apart from that area, though, is invoicing as soon as work is complete. There is nothing wrong with charging for services or goods that have already been provided, so there is no need to wait on this task. The article also makes a salient point that the sooner you invoice the easier it is for the client to connect it to the job done. From a psychological point of view, it then serves you best to make that request for payment when your project is fresher in the customer’s mind.
It might also be worth thinking about the ways that you allow your customers to pay. Are you only accepting checks that they have to mail to you? Well, that’s going to take longer to get paid by its nature. But if you have some sort of payment portal where they can pay you electronically, be it through ACH, write transfers, electronic check, debit card, credit card … well, the more options provided, the easier it becomes for someone to get you your payment.
Also, if you are in a business that works on larger projects, it could be worth thinking about implementing some sort of installment plan. This may not work for everyone, or be something that ever business wants to do, but it’s possible that getting some amount of money for, let’s say, three months, would be more beneficial to you than waiting the same amount of time for the lump sum. (And of course, it is possible to add a convenience fee onto such an arrangement).
More than these actual nuts-and-bolts pieces when it comes to collecting, though, I would say that there is a more important part to making sure you get paid – the work you do. Providing quality goods and services are the best way to make sure you get your money. Everyone is willing to pay for something we find valuable.
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