What to do when a customer won’t pay their bill and debt collection template. The ultimate cheat sheet to help you collect money owed to you without sounding pushy or desperate.
This case study will walk you through the system weaknesses and the cloud debt collection template we applied to this desktop based small business, to transform them from chasing debtors to getting paid in advance. No previous tech skills or accounting knowledge was required.
We brought an established business operating on Excel spreadsheets, Word documents with debtors ranging from 30 to 90 days overdue back to a healthy state.
The first area we identified as a system weakness was that they were emailing a Word invoice and requesting payment by direct deposit into their bank account.
The second system weakness was that they had no clear terms for payment due dates and allowed late payers although this was very upsetting.
The third system weakness was that they had all their customers (200+) in a spreadsheet
The fourth system weakness was that they didn’t use invoice numbers in numerical sequence, making record keeping a bit messy in Excel.
The fifth system weakness was that they didn’t accept credit cards
The sixth system weakness was that they emailed PDF forms to be completed with the email invoice.
PLAN OF ACTION
We worked on a solution to
Make invoicing customers faster and improve overall cash flow
The solution was to move their sales invoices and their customer database to XERO.
An online payment gateway including direct debit, credit card and BPAY was setup inside XERO attached to their business bank account.
They received training to enable them to do their own customer invoicing.
Their customer invoices now were digital with PDFs attached
Their customers could now pay online in two clicks.
We used an automation app to automatically reconcile deposits into their bank account with the sales invoices in their bookkeeping software, so each week it took them less time getting ready for their quarterly GST return.
They now use direct debit for recurring customers.
Direct debit allowed them to receive payment on the due date of the invoice which also enabled them to be paid in advance prior to carrying out their service.
THE NEW NORM
There are a few ways to get paid by direct debit.
1. The slowest most tedious way is to have your clients complete and sign a hand written authority form and then give this to their bank to activate. I don’t like this method as it involves too many steps and hand writing is always a risk area for human error.
2. Use PayPal recurring payment options. This is less work to setup for your clients and no forms or signatures needed. It’s great too because you don’t collect your customers financial details. They are collected by PayPal. Although this system still involves quite a few clicks to reconcile your business income records.
3. Our favourite method right now, there are always new better faster ways coming into the market, is to use a XERO app add on that collects authority from your client online inside your digital invoice. They tick a box after they’ve entered their bank details and voila, next time you create an invoice for them in your bookkeeping software, payment is taken automatically on the due date of that invoice. It’s great because you can stop and start it quickly without having to visit your bank or their bank. The most magical part is that it also auto-matches the deposit on your bank statement to their invoice, which is great if all your customers pay you the same amount and don’t leave any reference with their payment. No more unmatched deposits! No more chasing people who have already paid you!
Together we’ll design your profitable, systemised family friendly business.
But first we must talk about the myths surrounding debt collection and getting paid by your customers.
Debt collection myth no.1 – My customers will think I’m being pushy when I ask them to pay my bill.
When you’ve delivered a service as requested then you absolutely deserve to be paid on time!
Debt collection myth no.2 – It’s going to be an awkward conversation. I’d rather not call them.
Sometimes all it takes is one brief call simply asking if they received your invoice or your monthly statement.
There’s no need to get the violins out why you need them to pay you.
Just keep it factual because most of the time it just gets lost in the inbox of life! There are a million more fun/important things to do than a EFT transfer to a supplier sometimes.
Top tip – Setup online invoices for your customers to pay in just two clicks.
Debt collection myth no 3 – I’ll need to hire an expensive debt collector or write off the sale.
There’s no need to use a debt collector until you have gone through the process at least 3 times in this weeks freebie. It’s a simple routine I’ve used to collect debts as old as 11 months on behalf my clients.
KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
Be sure to download the freebie, our ultimate cheat sheet for simple debt collection, without feeling pushy or awkward.
If knowing your numbers isn’t high on your list of priorities we’re going to turn that around!
The wealthy are wealthy because they know their numbers!
Their profit margins,
Their sales margins,
Their tax plan,
Their investment strategy
Profitable businesses are profitable because they have systems
Systems to budget overheads
Systems to track sales
Systems to deliver products
Systems to collect payment
Systems to wow their customers
Systems to pay their team
Systems to plan their capital expenditure for the year
Systems to attract leads
SUCCESS COMES FROM LEARNING AND ADJUSTING
You’re saying to yourself now, that’s way too complicated for me,
It can be scary when you’re trying to figure out something on your own.
You can sometimes feel like all the stuff you’re doing is turning you into a secretary rather than a leader of your team.
None of us are born knowing how to run a smooth, systemised business.
It’s something you must learn from someone who has implemented it successfully.
I’m hearing from small business owners,
“I don’t have any free time to learn new stuff, I’m run off my feet as it is.”
And this is understandable when you are doing everything yourself.
We can’t run a profitable business if we’re guessing the path to profitability through trial and error.
That method simply takes too long.
When your business is taking years to turn a profit you can start to feel
At a tipping point
At a standstill
What if I told you that you CAN and WILL learn from the big players and use the tools THEY use to
track and know your numbers and make data- based decisions?
We promise to get you off the manual data entry, paper shuffling treadmill, and back to a simpler routine, you can maintain, for the long term.
I’m not good with tech, sounds scary!
We’ve worked with small business owners just starting out as well as large multi-national companies, clubs, charities and government departments.
We’ve all been afraid to do something at some point in our life yeah? But how good did it feel afterwards?
Good right? confident, courageous, fierce,
Money management is the same for us all.
Our vision for you to be saying these phrases we’ve heard from our students & clients,
“my life is so simple now”
“it’s made everyone’s life a lot easier”
“I’m getting paid in advance”
“I’ve halved my time chasing for payment”
Since meeting with you and having yourself show me how to set up XERO and apply it I have found that the XERO accounting system surely is saving me a lot of time.
There were some initial hurdles that I had to overcome …
I now find that a lot of people are paying their invoices in advance.
I have easily halved the amount of invoices that I have to chase.
I find reconciliation a breeze now that the XERO programme is intergrated with IntegraPay. (This made a big difference) [Aaron, happy student]
The output of simple money management systems is
Time to improve customer service
Time to boost team morale
Time to develop a new product
Time to follow a passion
with side effects like bigger profits and a healthier balance sheet.
Need a quick win, but have zero dollars to spare?
If you are still running your small business with Excel and Word and need a quick cash flow injection, then consider reissuing your customer invoices through PayPal.
You’ll need to have your business bank account connected to PayPal. This can be done online. You’ll also need to verify the business bank account with source documents.
Then you can create an online invoice and accept credit card payments online.
Keep the momentum going and be sure to download this week’s free cheat sheet so you can get back on top of your debtors and your cash flow.