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What Is the Ideal Accounts Receivable Process?

There's no way around the fact that cash flow problems affect many small businesses today.

Accounts Receivable

The problem is only made worse if a small business hits some kind of emergency, which could put them on the brink of collapse. This reality makes the account receivable process even more important and why the search is vital for small businesses.

Figuring Out Invoice Timeline

The first thing small business owners have to do is figure out when invoices need to be sent out. This is a big question because it gives the small business owner an idea of when they might receive payment for the services they gave or the products they sold. Some business owners try to make things easier and less confusing by sending the bill out once a month, usually at the end of the month.

Other business owners prefer to send the bill to each customer after the services are given or the product is purchased. The second option is a little more complicated, especially for small business owners who haven't switched to an accounts receivable AI process. Sending invoices at random moments could complicate things, and that could lead to human errors, which can delay things.

Move Towards the Digital

Another important step that small business owners need to take is to figure out how to become more digital-friendly. There are a lot of things that can be done. The most obvious and helpful would be to use accounts receivable collections software to help automate this process. As mentioned earlier, failing to do this and relying on regular employees can lead to human errors.

On top of that, this task can be time-consuming. If there's a way to automate this task, then employers are wasting the time of their employees. These folks could be working on something else that's more pressing or something that can't be done through automation just yet. Small business owners also need to make sure payments are now digital as well. This is not to say that small businesses shouldn't accept checks or other traditional forms of payment, but digital payments are quite popular and should be acknowledged.

Payments and Penalties

When small business owners are trying to figure out their ideal accounts receivable process, they probably are going to have to think about payments, discounts, and penalties, depending on if the customer or client paid. Some business owners decide to offer their clients or customers an opportunity to earn a discount if they pay early. This is a pretty good idea that encourages folks to pay what they own as quickly as possible.

Small business owners should be able to see some cash flow stability because everyone wants a little discount. Other business owners decide to give their clients or customers a late payment penalty. This is an effective way to get folks to pay what they owe or get a little extra when they do. No one wants to pay more than they owe, so most of them will likely pay on time to avoid these penalties.

Maintain Current Customer Data

The next thing that needs to be addressed is customer data. The reality is customers are always changing their information, but they don't always tell the small business owner. This is the reason a small business owner needs to make an effort to keep their data up-to-date. All sorts of data might need to be changed given enough time like contact information, address, name, and payment information if the customer has shared this type of information with the small business.

The employer needs to assign a team of specialists who'll make sure to contact these customers to get up-to-date information on all of them. This is something that needs to be done a few times throughout the year. Doing this is going to be time-consuming, but it's worth the time invested because it'll make communication between customer and business better. Don't overdo it because customers don't love to be hunted down either.

These are just some things a business owner can think about if they are trying to modify their accounts receivable process to make it more suited to their business. These are general suggestions; there's probably much more a business owner can do as long as the owner talks to an account receivable specialist.

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