If you have any experience in processing billing processing or accounts receivable departments, you know the headaches involved with invoicing your clients so you can actually get paid for your work. It's an unavoidable and ongoing part of the process, but fortunately there are a few ways you can improve your invoicing process and follow-up notices so your messaging is both polite and forceful. Here are 5 tips for friendly and effective invoice follow-ups:
1. Be Clear and Concise
During the negotiation or onboarding process, you should be very clear about terms for late payment and penalties. If collections for projects are causing major bottlenecks to your growth, consider requiring a partial deposit or payment before services begin. This will establish a monetary relationship between both parties and shows there's a dedication involved. Now that you're both committed to completing the project, the rest of the payment can come when services are complete.
Don't overcomplicate your messaging regarding payment - the contract should include terms associated with late payment and penalties. When sending reminders for payment collection, you should be upfront about your due dates and payment methods. The rest is up to them, but if you keep it short and snappy, your clients will get the message more easily.
2. Remind Them Ahead of Time
No matter the payment window or due date, you should approach each new business relationship the same way: flexible, but firm. Allow for payment within the given timeframe, but don't hesitate to send them a follow-up email or letter to remind them of the upcoming payment due date. First alerts are easy to ignore, but once two or three notices arrive, your payment will climb their to-do list.
Be friendly, but professional in your reminder. Reiterate your accomplished tasks for your client and include wording concerning your payment policy. While it may not mean much to them on the face of it, if you've provided a useful, quality service to them, a good client should feel obliged to pay you accordingly.
3. Call the Responsible Party
Whether you're dealing with an individual or a billing department, a phone call is harder to ignore than an email or letter. This step shouldn't wait until the account becomes delinquent or overdue, either - a friendly call or message on a voicemail inbox to remind them of their upcoming payment date is not only appropriate, but appreciated.
Moving this process to an outside party is usually a better option. Because there's no direct talk of money and no potential for wiggle-room or sob stories, your representative can be curt and to-the-point, having only a task to perform. Studies have shown that money tends to flow once things more easily once you stop calling on your own behalf.
4. Reassess Your Billing Process
Sometimes the biggest problems lie within. If your billing process is unprofessional, easy to ignore, or simply ineffective, it can be hard to tell without an outside perspective. Clients A.R.M. Consulting Services can provide this crucial insight, but following these general rules of thumb should help in the short-term:
- Ensure all of your documentation includes a clear and legible price, due date, and addressee information.
- Email reminders on a regular basis.
- Get it in writing: sign a contract or service agreement with all payment information and penalties included.
5. Leave the Process to a Professional
We can't emphasize this enough: keeping your collections and accounts receivable department separate but equal is a great way to minimize ill-will towards your company and ensure you get paid on-time and to the full amount. When you move your accounts receivable department to an outside service that works as an extension of your company, you can maintain the same level of team communication and interdepartmental cohesion while improving your collections process.
Clients A.R.M. was created to usher in a new, highly-effective accounts receivable service that isn't just another third-party solution. We act as a natural extension of your company and work with your team to recreate and refine your accounts receivable and billing processes to maximize your revenue and eliminate bottlenecks. Contact us today to discuss how we can integrate with your team and solve your revenue problems once and for all.