Ever wish you could just snap your fingers and start getting your late paying customers paying on time? Dream of your delinquent accounts miraculously mailing you in a check? Sadly there is no (yet) discovered magic that can help make sure your invoices turn into cash, but diligent accounts receivable management can surely do the trick. Believe it or not, accounts receivable management is not as complicated as it seems. It’s about being specific, consistent and staying on top of those accounts. The more systematic you make it for yourself, the more simple it will be. Use our “Lucky 13″ cheat sheet and follow these simple steps to make sure your accounts receivable management is set up like a pro.1) Get Organized – If you are going to excel at accounts receivable management, you have to start from the very beginning. Be diligent in every step of the process but, most importantly, in who you decide to extend credit to. Net terms aren’t for everyone. Start by setting up a professional credit application that gives you a chance to get as much info as you can on these customers. Use this info to vet them so you are making proper credit decisions. (You can also enroll in this free email training program that will teach you how to make expert credit decisions). Once you’ve decided to move forward on credit with a customer, be sure you have a contract that clearly states the terms you are operating on and that that customer knows they must pay you. Also, be sure you are using a top-notch invoicing software so you have an excellent way to keep an eye over your accounts and get your invoices to customers as seamlessly as possible.2) Use the Credit Limit – Remember, the credit limit is something you and you alone decide, so take advantage of having this kind of power. Start extending more moderate terms with customers and let them know they can work their way up to more flexible terms. Not only is this an incentive but it allows you to really get to know customers’ payment habits before you give them too much room to breathe. It’s without a doubt the best way in accounts receivable management to ensure a customer will practice proper payment behavior.3) Creatively Communicate – With the doors that technology has opened, the customer relationship management game has completely transformed. CRM is actually one of the most, if not the most important part of accounts receivable management. If you have a strong and healthy relationship with a client, they are not going to want to jeporadize that. Be creative in how you connect with clients. If you are on social media (which you should be), be sure to follow them on every medium, constantly commenting on their updates and showing them your listening. Send emails just checking in, being sure to nurture the relationship beyond just business. Always take note of your customers’ special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, store openings, launches, etc. It’s about showing them you care and showing them your paying attention. It creates an emotional connection between you and your customer, making it harder for them to pull a fast one of you. Also, when a customer sees just how attentive you are, they will assume you are surely as diligent about your payments. You don’t mess around when you know someone runs a tight ship.4) Start Early – Don’t just sit around waiting for the customer not to pay you. Create a system that allows you to remind customers when they have a payment around the corner. If it is a week before payment is due, and you still haven’t received the check, shoot the customer a friendly reminder email simply reiterating the due date and how you accept payment. Don’t make it harsh in anyway; they haven’t paid late yet!5) Don’t Wait – Accounts receivable management 101: when you find out a payment is late, don’t wait. The longer you wait to collect, the harder it is. Go straight after late payments as soon as the due date has passed!6) Remind, Remind, Remind – This seems silly, but your customers might not know their payment is late if you don’t tell them. Believe it or not, some of them haven’t paid you because they just simply forgot. It’s your job to make sure this isn’t the case. As soon as the payment is past due, get a reminder letter in the mail. However, don’t just use a generic letter. Be crafty in your accounts receivable management and sculpt the letter’s language to be appropriate for the situation. If somebody is a chronic late payer, you might want to up the severity, where if it’s someone’s first time offense, keep it friendly. Check out these sample collection letters for great references.7) Stay Professional – The worst thing you can do when it comes to a late payment is to get emotional. Now don’t get me wrong, you should be emotional. In fact, you should be very, very upset that someone didn’t respect you and your work enough to make the effort to get your money in on time. However, don’t let these emotions cloud your decisions. Stellar accounts receivable management is about learning how to stay professional. If you are a small business owner, chances are these are your friends, or even people you see out to dinner, on the golf course, at church, etc. You don’t want to do anything to ruin the relationship. As they say, keep calm and carry on!8) Collection Call – After you have sent the letter and have received nothing, it’s time to get on the phone with the customer. This is a crucial moment in your accounts receivable management. You must, again, not let your emotions get the best of you and you cannot let the customer run the conversation. You need to prepare for the call and be ready to accomplish your goal. To do this, follow this excellent guide that will help you prepare for your collection call.9) Prepare for Excuses – The hardest part of the collection call is having to listen to the customer’s different excuses for not paying. No matter what, you have to be prepared to battle these. Although (in some cases) it is easy to sympathize, accounts receivable management is about action and you must require some from the customer. Get acquainted with the most common late payment excuses and learn how to respond to each one. Practice makes perfect and helps you get paid.10) Installment Plans – When you do come across a customer who seems to be in a financial hard spot and you really would like to help them out, installment plans are key. Having a customer pay you back in a smaller amounts over time is MUCH better than a customer not paying you back at all. It gets cash in your pocket immediately and says a lot to the customer, as you are doing them a huge favor. Work with the customer to create a payment plan that meets both of your financial needs. Ideally, it would be great to always receive all of your money up front, but in those moment you can’t, be creative in how you can help the customer pay you.11) Finance Charges and Rewards – Incentives go a long way, no matter what you are doing. Consider this when it comes to accounts receivable management. Are you adding finance charges for late payments? Are you giving customers a discount if they pay early? Whether it is to have consequences for paying late, or rewards for paying early, help give customers a little push in getting that cash to you on time (or early). It’s worth it, especially to see what kind of affect it has on your payments. If you are considering adding a finance charge, check your state’s usury laws to make sure you are not overcharging.12) Outside Resources – Businesses that excel at accounts receivable management do so because they know when to turn for help. There are many things you can do to help with late payments or delinquent accounts. Consider reporting late payments to the credit bureaus, which will affect those customers’ credit scores. Knowing you are reporting will certainly motivate them to pay next time. If you have particularly large or repeatedly delinquent accounts, consider calling a debt collection lawyer to help take legal action. And if you need cash fast, look into receivables factoring, which will help you get your hands on cash while a factor pursues your late payment.13) The Experts – When you are having huge issues with late payments or delinquent accounts, it is OK to turn to the experts (this is not saying you AREN’T an accounts receivable management pro). A lot of people are hesitant and cautious in using collection agencies and rightfully so. But if you are wise and do your research, you can find a company that will get you paid and treat both you and your customers right. It’s all about asking the right questions. If you find yourself in the position of needing to send accounts to collections, do your due diligence and you’ll find a partner who will make their first priority to get you paid, while letting you focus on the other things that are important for your business.
There are different types of services that are being offered by accounting firms. The scope of the services rendered by accounting firms varies in accordance with their knowledge, expertise and experiences. Some of the common services are the preparation of final accounts, external auditing, tax services, managerial advisory service, and accounting system design.External Auditing:External Auditing is one of the primary services offered by accounting firms. This primarily centers on the critical examination of financial statements by an independent CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for the purpose of expressing an opinion regarding the fairness of the contents of the financial statements. Instead, the CPA reviews samples of records statistically. Then, the CPA makes an audit report. This report is essentially a formal opinion or disclaimer, issued by the auditor as a result of the audit or evaluation he or she performed. It is to be noted however, that this does not include all of the accounting records being evaluated.Independence must be maintained by the auditor. Hence, he or she should not be an employee of the client company. It is very important for the external auditor to know the different provisions concerning the independence of an auditor. Otherwise, the audit opinion will be questionable.Tax Services:Also, accounting firms handle various tax services. The accountant prepares the clients’ income tax return (ITR), business and transfer taxes. In this set up, the accountant represents the client in tax assessment and investigations. It is necessary that tax accountants are constantly aware of the dynamic tax laws, BIR regulations and local tax laws affecting their client, in order for the tax accountant to give sound advice regarding tax minimization. Also, knowledge on the tax provisions serves as a guide for tax accountants in preparing the income tax returns of their clients, and other information being submitted to the concerned offices like the Bureau of Internal Revenue.Managerial Advisory Services:Likewise, an accounting firm may also provide Managerial Advisory Services. Managerial Advisory Services help in providing assistance to the management. Generally, accountants provide industrial advice to their clients regarding finance, budgeting, business policies, and organization procedures, systems, product costs, distribution and other business activities.Budgeting:Budgeting covers the efficient management of cash by anticipating or predicting monetary objectives in the future periods. Periodically, the accountant reviews the actual flow of cash as compared to what it should have been. The differences then are analyzed carefully by the management to determine the possible causes, whether this is a favorable or unfavorable scenario, and how it can be controlled. The reason why such analysis is being done is to improve the accuracy of projections and to narrow the gap between the budgeted and actual performance.Accounting System Design:An accounting firm may also render Accounting System Design services. This includes the evaluation of the company’s control system to find out any area/s of improvement. An accountant who works as a system analyst is the one who also designs the accounting forms and installs accounting procedures for the accumulation of accounting data. It may also include the setting up of a customized computerized accounting system for the client’s firm.
In spite of the recent global recession and rising unemployment, accounting jobs have remained in high demand. As firms feel the squeeze of a harsh economic climate, they have a greater need than ever for an accountant to help them manage their cash flow and resources more effectively. Thus, accountancy is still a lucrative and relevant profession to be in.Opportunities for accountants, either with or without proper certification, will increase as the number of accounting jobs are predicted to grow. Should you be looking for an accounting job, you will have to choose what kind of job you want. Accounting jobs vary, depending on the required specialization and role. The majority of accountants will undertake similar job duties and roles, like financial reporting and planning and budgeting. Also, they will advise management, clients or governments. Usually, the type of available audit and accounting jobs depends on your location and the duties you have to perform. These are some of the job types available:Public accountants are accountants that work for corporations or government organizations. Their duties will involve consultancy, taxation and specialized accountancy, such as forensic accountancy.A government accountant works in various government sectors, to make sure that spending is carried out in accordance with predefined laws, rules and department policies. They will have to keep accounting records for several government agencies, and analyze and interpret those records. Sometimes, government accountants will audit citizens in accordance with governmental laws and regulations as well.Internal auditors handle the auditing tasks of large companies to make sure there is adherence with company, industry and governmental regulations. They assist with monitoring financial activity within a company, to safeguard against fraud and waste. Management accountants keep and assess the financial data of firms. They might work for public or private companies, specific clients, or a nonprofit organization. They are important in the company, and are involved closely with decisions about business strategy and planning. Normally, their activities involve cost accounting, asset management, financial planning, budgeting and (occasionally) staff assessment.The salary received by an accountant will depend on several variables. These variables include the firm or individual they are working for, the location and the kind of accountancy jobs with which they deal. On average, a government accountant will make around $45,000 to $50,000 each year. A public accountant will have an average yearly salary of $55,000 to $100,000. An internal auditor could expect to receive a salary of roughly $45,000 to $200,000. The salary that an accountant can command will be based on their experience and qualifications. The figures mentioned above should be regarded as approximate, because some accountants can earn far more.Like accountancy, IT still remains a popular industry, with lots of IT jobs in high demand. Lots of IT graduates leave college every year, searching for a job in this sector. Many possess the technical expertise they learned from their degree, although they are not aware of what else is required to find and keep a job in IT. Possessing particular technical knowledge and skills enables you to earn a larger salary compared to other industries, where the number of job candidates outweighs the available positions.When looking for IT jobs, you will encounter several different job roles in the sector. Filtering your search for jobs, based on relevant experience and skills, can be time consuming. One possibility would be to use a recruitment agency. These agencies will match the most suitable candidate with a job that fits their experience and skills. The advantage of this is that recruitment consultants have useful contacts in the industry, who can offer better paid work.