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Getting clients to pay invoices

Hello Everyone, I am new to this profession. (I have been a teacher for 27 years.) My boss wants me to send out invoices by email which of course I do. Then complains because we have a very high "outstanding balance" rate. Can anyone guide me in how to get these paid more efficiently and quickly? 1) Would it matter if I sent them via US Mail instead? 2) He wants me to write "Net 20" when I want to write "Due Upon Receipt". Would that make any real difference? 3) Also, how long do you wait until you send out the reminder notice? THANKS for your help. I have SO MUCH to learn. Kathy in Atlanta

Submitted by: Katherine Ebener


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Kathy, I have no idea what industry you are in or why an Administrative Assistant is invoicing clients. It would seem that the Finance/Bookkeeping Department would do that. The general standard for invoicing is generally 30 days to pay prior to any interest or penalties to be incurred. Then invoicing every 30 days thereafter until the account is resolved. Debbie on 7/19/2017 12:34:23 PM
Hi Kathy, Welcome to the profession :) It can be very rewarding sometimes. My organization sends invoices by email also. I don't think it matters whether you send them by email or US mail; companies usually paid upon receipt or within 60 days. Don't think it would make a difference if you put "Net 20" or "Due Upon Receipt". We usually allow two weeks before sending out reminder notices. I hope this helps and good luck!! Charlita Wright on 7/7/2017 7:41:44 AM
Hi Kathy, I spoke directly to our Accounting Dept and here is her advice to you: Email is usually the fastest way to get invoices across; US mail can get lost or misplaced. Writing Net 20 on them vs saying due upon receipt really does not make a difference. People are going to pay them when they want unless there are consequences. She can look at charging a late fee after that 20 day mark if she has net 20 on there. This will get those ‘outstanding invoices’ attention. I would send out a reminder invoice once the invoice reaches one week late. (That gives plenty of time for mailed checks to reach the company.) I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions Jennifer Shelton Ann Shelton on 7/6/2017 3:31:44 PM
The length of time needed to process an invoice probably depends on the size of the company. I work for a university, and we ask that invoices be sent directly to our Accounts Payable department, who uploads them into our imaging system and into workflow for department approvals. Since everything is electronic an invoice doesn't get misplaced or stuck on the bottom of a pile on someone's desk. If you're not sending them directly to Accounts Payable, I would suggest trying that and referencing the name of the person your company worked with. Quite often when invoices get sent to a sales person, professor, etc. it takes much longer for them to get to accounts payable. Accounts payable will usually know who has the authority to approve the expense, so that expedites things a little bit. Kay Klosowski on 7/6/2017 1:54:25 PM
I have worked in accounting for years. How you are sending them (email or US mail) should not make a difference. The norm is Net 30 days. However, it depends on who your customers are and how many people have to approve the invoice before it is paid; universities can take longer. I send a copy of the invoice, stamped "Past Due" after 30 days. If no payment in next 15-20 days, I place a phone call. As you have the opportunity, touch base with the person who is receiving the invoice and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them process. (It's possible that the company is experiencing a cash flow problem, which could make the boss touchy about the subject. Also, if the boss doesn't understand accounting, this could cause anxiety. Once invoices go out and the money starts flowing, everything should settle into a comfortable pattern for all concerned. It doesn't matter how large the accounts receivable balance is as long as people are paying your invoices in a timely manner.) Anonymous on 7/6/2017 1:40:58 PM
What are your invoices for? We issue many permits in our office. If payment is not made, the permit is not issued. Or the final inspection is held up until they pay on any fees still owed from their permit (or order). And vice versa, we do not pay until services are rendered. Sometimes if a contractor has not paid on something, it will hold up any future orders until they pay on their outstanding items. And sometimes they are dealing with too man locations, so the invoices makes several stops in the office we have sent to, so it is good to call them and get a central billing office. Our attorneys will not go after some small debts, however we can hold up the process or product depending on the payment being received. That usually gets them in to pay. Julie Minegar Stasi on 7/6/2017 1:08:31 PM
We run statements every month and issue those over email as well. Depending on the client's typical turn-around time for payment we may not send an invoice if 30 days or less past due. We typically issue statements around the 15th of every month. Often we find that if we copy the project manager of the project along with Accounts Payable we tend to get paid more quickly. Nancy Stracener on 7/6/2017 1:01:46 PM
I also send out invoices via e-mail - and ask that they confirm receipt - and don't file the invoice away until they do. Then I keep that e-mail confirmation. We do put 30 days on the invoice. If I don't get a confirmation in a few days, I send it to them again until I do. Then, after 30 days, if we have not received payment, the manager will call them - not I - we have never had any real issues. Janice Celedonia on 7/6/2017 12:58:14 PM

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