To optimize collections, you first need to communicate efficiently and effectively with your clients. Obviously, this means your services should be presented so they see the value provided by your firm. This includes showing the due date—the actual date—on the invoice itself (this is a standard feature of BQE Core invoices). Due dates, along with finance charges, should be clear in your contract or engagement letter and discussed along with the project scope.
Even with clear communication, not everyone will pay on time. You must follow-up promptly. Many studies have shown that the older an Accounts Receivable, the greater the likelihood that the amount will not be collected.
Use BQE Core to Optimize Collections
To prioritize collection calls, probably decided by a manager, use the BQE Core report: Days Sales Outstanding. It shows the number of days since the invoice date. With it, you know how to prioritize collection calls. Then, to save time, use BQE Core to automate the generation of the report, so it is in your hands right when you need it.
For example, say you deliver invoices on the first of the month that are due on the 15th. You would schedule the Days Sales Outstanding report to generate on the 20th of the month to help optimize collection. You can also refine the report by grouping projects (and their invoices) with 15-day due dates. You can schedule more reports with groupings for other due dates.
With the report or alone, you can use the Invoice Collections feature in BQE Core. Because different managers and staff may be involved in collections, it is important to document all conversations and emails so that way, no matter who checks it, they know what a client said and promised. Also, with Invoice Collections, you can resend (email) an invoice and accept an e-payment while on the phone.
Save Time by Outsourcing Collections
To save time, you can also outsource the process of getting paid. You will define when and how they interact with your client, but place the collections burden on them. The best companies follow a proven, professional process that includes:
- Sending a series of emails and letters under your letterhead, reminding the client of the amount due. Each communication should be stronger than the last.
- Sending a series of professional legal collections emails and letters under their own letterhead—each stronger in tone.
- Frequently calling the client with scripts that follow professional standards.
For the first series of communications, you will typically pay a monthly fee. For the remainder, you’ll pay a percentage of the collected amount. For seriously delinquent accounts, it is better to receive something rather than nothing.
When choosing a collections service, consider the following:
- The cost versus the time saved by your firm (staff and managers).
- Check out the collections service process.
- Have the company representative explain the process.
- Ask for sample letters.
- Ask for references.