Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Credit and Collections

Accounts Receivable: Money which is owed to a company by a customer for products and services provided on credit.

I spend part of most days in the office focusing on our Accounts Receivable. Seems like a larger part lately. I chalk that up to the times. Business is tough out there and just about everyone is feeling the pinch. Still, if I plan to keep my business in business and as far as I know, my family, employees and vendors are counting on that, I have a responsibility to collect what is owed to us. 

Over the years I learned much of what I do in this area from my Dad. He told me many times that there is nothing more important in business than collecting your Accounts Receivable. Makes sense. If you don't you go out of business. I guess the good thing about our Accounts Receivable is that the majority of it is collected within our terms (or very close) through our normal monthly statement process. God bless those customers that handle their debts this way! 

Unfortunately, not all customers fall into this category and that is where the real work begins. Over the years we have developed steps to take at different points in the collection process depending on how the customer is handling paying off the debt. They range from friendly reminders to using a collection agency / attorney. Of course we do everything reasonably possible to avoid that last option but sometimes nothing else works. The most important thing is to treat the customer with respect throughout the process but remain firm regarding the intent and efforts to collect the debt.

Please feel free to share ideas, comments and suggestions.

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