With almost 2000 customers, compromising largely of small businesses, debtor management can be quite a massive task. About 85% of accounts are on 30-day payment terms. The owner at UC has a mentality that as long as customers keep purchasing and chipping away at their account he is happy to keep selling to them.
However, with the current market contracting due to a lot of manufacturing being shipped overseas, as well as the overall demise of the mining industry and increased competition within the bearing industry, there is a lot of increased pressure on cash flow.
The viewpoint of hoping for the best in this situation, with the very inconsistent chasing of debtors, only ends up with a DSO of 71 days, it is far too difficult to manage cash flow and ends up impacting inventory management and sales, as stock now needs to be financed by alternative means rather than cash flow.
From an accounts receivable perspective, three staff (1 fulltime and 2 permanent part-timers) members look after this function and it is extremely difficult to monitor such a large customer base. With a lot of customers only having accounts valued at less than $500 in arrears.
Debtor Management Objective
It was identified the highest objective was to reduce DSO to 38-45 days.
To accomplish this there were a few options looked at, one was getting the two part-time staff to go fulltime, as it was found with the current hours worked, they couldn’t consistently follow up all the customers.
Alternatively, the Add-on EzyCollect was put on the table, in my review of the debtor management segment, I found software that was so good that it could literally replace the functionality of staff members in the segment. EzyCollect was one of those Add-ons that did so with relative ease.
EzyCollect – Feature list
- It pulls through a copy of the invoice from Xero with ease and the customer information, actionable tasks and payment history are all in the Customer screen in EzyCollect including tasks to do yourself.
- There are templates to send follow up emails after a phone call saying “As per our phone call today, this message is to confirm that…”
- There is a “Thank You” email that pulls through any payments recorded in Xero and sends customers an invoice saying “Thank You for Payment”
- You can add your own email signature and branding to any invoices and they are completely customisable.
- You can exclude customers you don’t want to chase at all.
- There is a direct payment integration with Stripe, the payment service, which means you can put a “Pay Now” button right into your reminder emails and accept payment for the amounts owed.
- You can set an overdue amount threshold so that you don’t send reminders to people owing just a few dollars or rounding cents for example.
- You can request a credit check quickly and easily for any business in Australia or New Zealand through a direct integration to Veda.
- You can bulk email or even post your month-end statements automatically with their Australia Post integration.
- Automated collections, workflows and reminder notices via email, calls, SMS and fax.
- On-demand legal letters
- Automated legal escalation
These are just a few features that are integral to chasing debtors, and most of the above functionality rarely ever occurs in businesses with such ease and consistency. Once set up properly initially, it pretty much runs itself.
As long as you have one staff member actioning items as it is raised, EzyCollect does the rest. So really it was a no-brainer putting in such a powerful, affordable solution in place.
With the forced automation and reminder services working in a robot-like fashion to ensure debtors make payment on time, and legal escalation a few clicks away, you come to realise the full potential of such powerful add-ons.
UC is on the Platinum plan, which includes unlimited debtors, and unlimited users for $85 a month. Annually this equates to $1020.00. With the use of EzyCollect, both permanent part-time positions were made redundant, with the full-time staff member being able to manage the whole accounts receivables functionality by themselves. This saved UC almost $50k in wages a year.
I find it amazing how few businesses take advantage of these amazing debtor add-ons, the money you pay for the use of software like this is paid back 100’s of times over in money in the bank, customers take you more seriously, because of how consistent the service is. Not to mention the money you save with staffing and the headaches of dealing with staff doing their jobs correctly, turning up, or the disruption of staff with each other.
If you haven’t got a debtor Add-on in an industry that is rife with poor payers, I can’t recommend more highly getting a good debtor addon!
For the next instalment we tackle data entry:
Previous posts in this series:
Part 2 – Inventory Management
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