15 May Getting Around To It: Business Admin hacks from the front line Chasing Invoices
In an ideal world, invoices would progress like clockwork. With documents generated in a prompt fashion and paid within the agreed timescales. Unfortunately, all sorts of circumstances mean that it’s often not that simple. Your client may have had a change of personnel, or other such completely innocent scenario. However, for those occasions where payment is deliberately avoided, it is vital that you maintain a thorough process to monitor and chase your invoices.
The first thing to look at, then, is to appreciate the invoice process from your client’s perspective as well as your own. Understanding all of this can help you when it comes to chasing payment for your invoices. Many small business deal with other small businesses so incongruities can occur with different patterns of cashflow. So if you know that your fellow small business has a regular date for running payments, make sure that your invoice is issued with that date in mind. While showing understanding is great for relationship management, you must also maintain pressure.
This need to apply a level of pressure to ensure an unpaid invoice is paid is one reason that many small businesses outsource their credit control process. A virtual assistant as a separate entity is removed from the business. This brings with it a certain amount of power when it comes to what can become repeated communications about an unpaid invoice. In this way, a virtual assistant can persist with chasing payment without running the risk of spoiling a professional relationship between your business and your client.
Your Invoice Process
Sometimes, your own invoice process can have an effect on the speed with which you receive payment. How prompt are you in issuing your invoices? Even a short delay can mean that you have missed a payment run that will hold up your invoice being processed by your client. As an outsourced service, you can rely on your virtual assistant to regularly and promptly issue invoices, and even structure a streamlined invoice generation and logging system for you.
It is vital that when you communicate with a client’s accounts department, you record the details of each call. This means noting down the date of call, the reasons that an invoice may not have been paid and the date on which you should expect payment. In this way, any subsequent conversations will be more informed. This very methodical approach is something that a virtual assistant brings with them. VA’s are methodical in their work as they juggle the needs of different businesses. So they naturally employ these skills to invoice management. Great for your cashflow!