Slow collections of accounts receivable is something that needs to be recognized by a CFO and if not detected early enough can lead to Cash flow problems. Early detections of Slow accounts receivable is an important CFO Service and CFO Duty. Performing the calculation of Days Sales Outstanding or DSO can give the CFO a good indication of the speed of collections.
Doing business with customers who are traditionally slow payers is bad business. You may think you know these customers personally and they would never stiff you. You may even expect that they are going to be late payers. In the final analysis these customers will burn you. Get rid of these customers unless they are willing to pay upfront for your product or service. It is not worth the receivable risk.
Speaking of which, I have had clients who will not do business with companies who are in bankruptcy because that bankrupt company did not pay my client. What these clients do not understand is that companies in Chapter 11 are prepared to do business on a cash in advance basis. Take advantage of that, make money and improve your cash flow. Don’t hold a grudge because they stiffed you. Business is Business.
To enhance collections send out statements. Some customers wait for statements before they pay. Many a time I have seen customers return statements versus invoices with their payments to ensure proper credit. That means they paid from the statement and if the statement did not go out they would have never paid. Also, stay on top of customers through telephone contact. Even if you just leave a message the squeaky wheel get the grease.