Declaring War on Receivables --Dickeson
10) Don't make collection threats until absolutely necessary and then take the action threatened if non-payment continues.
11) Remember that getting the collection is part of "selling" a job.
12) In a phone call, ask for the oldest invoice first.
At all times be patient and don't raise your voice, but be resourceful and tenacious; have a touch of ruthlessness, but with compassion. Never forget that you're "selling" the collection for the job. Don't be afraid of being thought of as a pest.
Take full advantage of e-mail. That's your hold on advanced productivity. Get the e-mail address for the Chief Financial Officer, or the person in charge of paying bills—accounts payable. But don't rely solely on e-mail. There's no substitute for a phone call or even a personal visit, if local, or by the salesman, if remote. Don't be a wimp. Ask for the money. Make sure the customer knows how important money is to you and to the future relationship of your companies.
Get Consumable Cash
By the way, there's no harm in asking for a deposit for the paper, ink and outside purchases for the job. If you get the deposit you'll at least have that important part of the receivable collected—in advance.
Whatever you collect from that point on is a portion internal process value you've added to the raw materials.
With collection you're involved in the process of printing—an entire process—not a one-step operation. Learn to empathize. You granted the credit in the first place so you're in the customer's business—you're a banker/printer—like it or not. It's time for you to put your sleeve guards on and behave like a banker.
It's not necessarily the fault of the CFO that accounts have drifted past normal collection periods. The real fault lies with our monthly general ledger accounting—our intelligence system. Those reports it gives us are artifacts—reconciliation of balance sheets—two weeks after the close of a month.