Anything that disrupts a business’ cashflow is a serious problem that needs to be solved quickly. But, although they are more likely to be affected by late payers than large companies, many small and medium sized businesses do not take positive action against debtors.
There are a number of reasons for this:
Fear of losing customers
A large company will probably be better off without its late payers. In contrast, a small business that relies on only a handful of customers for most of its income will be reluctant to risk offending them.
No credit control system in place
Credit checks on new customers, prompt invoicing, timely reminders and a clear strategy for dealing with late payers are all common practices in large companies. Many smaller businesses deal with each problem as it arises and might treat individual late payers in different ways: with varying results.
Lack of staff / time
Large companies employ qualified credit controllers whose only role is to ensure that payments are received on time. In a small business, responsibility for invoicing, collecting and monitoring payments might fall on people who have several other duties to fit into a busy day. Late payments can go unnoticed and the person who eventually spots them might not know what action to take.
Chasing late payers is time-consuming, especially if the culprit is difficult to contact and doesn’t respond to polite requests. It’s a task that can easily slip to the end of a long ‘to do’ list. An experienced bookkeeper could always provide the support you need in this department.
Whatever the reasons – or excuses – for late payments, the consequences for a small business owner are the same. Money, which is rightfully yours, is not available to pay your own bills or invest in growing your business. In the worst cases, you could end up in debt or even lose your business.
Can you afford to ignore late payers? If not, using the services of a qualified bookkeeper, experienced in credit control, could be one business expense that will pay for itself many times over.