In a six-part series, Brad Ewin from Chaser, industry experts in credit control, covers off the essentials every modern credit control function needs. This week delves into what it means to have an efficient credit control function today, and the array of amazing software available to automate the traditionally laborious task.
Traditional credit control is a time-consuming, error-prone task. Requiring a juggling of countless emails, phone calls, and written notes, it’s not hard to see why. Troublingly, research by RBS Invoice Finance has found that businesses spend an average of 130 hours per year chasing late payments. Even if your business is fortunate enough to be able to comfortably waste that amount of resource, the potential for human error means that if you’re still running a traditional credit control function, you’re at risk of falling dangerously behind the curve.
Fortunately, modern credit control no longer needs to be time-consuming and laborious. An array of powerful, intuitive, and affordable software is readily available today to automate your credit control, without losing the impact of the human touch. These automated credit control solutions are a perfect complement to finance teams looking to future-proof their cash flow. They offer the benefit of helping ensure an effective credit control function, while also saving them the time and resources, and reducing the potential for human error. For modern finance functions, automated credit control is the new efficient.
Never again should finance teams be manually sending customers reminder emails from their email client. Automated credit control software does away with the daily typing and scheduling. Customisable templates offer placeholders such as names, reference numbers, or monetary amounts, which are written once and auto-populated with invoice- and customer-specific data. Custom schedules then automate the sending of these reminders as you, and your customers, require.
Never again should finance teams be caught out by customers claiming they won’t pay because they haven’t received the invoice. Automated credit control software ensures they can’t miss it. By automatically importing the invoice from your cloud accounting software, your automated email reminders can include them as attachments every time.
Never again should finance teams worry about forgetting one unpaid invoice in a batch reminder to the customer. Automated credit control software intelligently groups all relevant outstanding invoices for that customer into one email.
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Never again should finance teams have to check their sent items to refresh their memory about an unpaid invoice. Nor should they ever scramble to consolidate info from multiple emails, phone calls, and scribbled notes. Automated credit control software keeps the entire communications history together in an easy-to-read, consolidated source.
Never again should finance teams kick themselves for forgetting to send ‘Thanks for Paying’ emails to their customers. Automated credit control software ensures your customers can be thanked for paying every time, fostering healthy customer relationships and helping prompter payment in future.
Never again should finance teams waste hours each week and see their cash flow starved by thousands. Automated credit control software puts time and money back into your business.
What your finance team can do
For businesses on the smaller end of SME, dealing with around 10-20 invoices per month, bare bones automated credit control can do. A specialised piece of software is not always necessary. Many cloud accounting systems include simple, built-in invoice reminder functionality you can begin using today, for free. While they won’t enable you to do all of the above, they allow you to send set-and-forget automatic email reminders to your customers to pay their unpaid invoices. It’s an easy way to dip your toes in the water of automated credit control - simply search your cloud accounting system’s documentation for information on the feature and turn it on today.
Larger SMEs with more sophisticated credit control requirements can opt for more robust add-ons or apps that integrate with their cloud accounting software. These offer features such as custom email templates and schedules, personalisation to emulate your regular email writing style and tone, as well as intelligent insights into the credit-worthiness of your customers and your overall financial health. Perusing the online add-on or app marketplace for your cloud accounting platform of choice in the categories of ‘Credit Control’, ‘Accounts Receivable’, or ‘Debtor Tracking’ should turn up several results. Free trials are commonplace, allowing you risk-free experimentation to find the solution that suits your business best.
Next week, we explore the importance of maintaining a single, consolidated communications history for each and every invoice in Part 3: Your Comms History is Your God.