Can Make Better
business has its share of slow-paying customers and plain
old bad apples who won't settle up without making a fuss.
companies always seem to be embroiled in lengthy and
counterproductive billing disputes with their customers. Be
careful that your business doesn't fall into that rut. If you
find that more than five to 10 percent of your
accounts receivable are late because they are lying in
the "dispute" category, take corrective action to shift
them into the "paid" category.
Review your accounts receivable for signs
of collection problems, which generally fall into these
basic categories of customers:
pay, including companies that are insolvent,
bankrupt, or dealing with the death of an owner. Don't waste a
lot of time on these cases. There's generally nothing you can
do except get in line at the courthouse and hope to recover
strapped but able to pay. This includes companies
that could go to a bank and borrow the money. When these
people say they can't pay, what they're really saying is they
decided to pay someone else instead. A good accounts
receivable staff should be able convince them to pay your
pay, although they could, because of a billing
dispute. This includes companies that disagree with the
bill. Somebody in your firm should be responsible for
resolving these accounts within 48 hours. If it takes longer,
the problem generally magnifies and your customer might become
alienated in the process.
Once you have that overall picture, try taking these three
steps to get better results from that last category of
Set strict deadlines for resolving
Post credits and corrections immediately once
a dispute is resolved.
Notify customers that the disputes and errors
have been corrected.
Resolving billing disputes promptly gives you
a better chance of collecting past due accounts —
and keeping customers.