Collecting on outstanding invoices is probably the least fun part of any job. It is an uncomfortable and, often times, frustrating task. Everyone’s personalities are different, but some are better suited to credit management teams than others. If you tend to be a hot head, that may be a bad habit to have when you’re collecting unpaid invoices often. If you’re considering getting into the accounts receivable industry, you should make sure you don’t have any of these personality tendencies. Often times, it will make the job much more difficult and even unenjoyable. For those who are looking to hire new accounts receivable clerks, make sure to avoid people with these types of personalities. It can lead to high turnover rates as they either won’t work well on your team and upset customers or won’t want to be at the job very long.
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Below are the five worst personality traits for accounts receivable clerks when attempting to collect on time.
There are many reasons you could be putting off collecting on that invoice. Some of us are just too busy and can’t touch it right away, maybe you’re not looking forward to giving your client a call or you just don’t like chasing clients down. However, procrastinating on sending out an invoice or giving the customer a call doesn’t work in accounts receivable. The longer you procrastinate, the less likely you will collect on the full amount of the invoice. Accounts receivable professionals need to be go-getters and organized, ready to tackle the accounts of the day.
So you’ve agreed upon a due date and the money still hasn’t come. Then you sent out a reminder and haven’t heard a word back. Of course, you’re getting frustrated, but suing every client who may not pay on time is not the best path to run down. It’s very possible that your customer had a legitimate excuse for not paying and you just needed to find time to talk to them, but suing prematurely can destroy your customer relationships. Court takes a long time, not to mention the lawyer and court fees you will incur. In the end, you may end up with a negative value and nothing to show for it. Accounts receivable professionals should know how to mediate with customers, using court as a last resort.
Dealing with one late payment after another can really start to get on one’s nerves. The number one rule of debt collection, however, is not to lose your cool. Jumping towards aggression ends up working against you as an accounts receivable clerk. Your late-paying client may be under a lot of financial duress at the time and an aggressive tone can just lead to broken client relationships and an unpaid invoice. Speaking professionally and respectfully can do more for your collections than The Aggressor’s threats.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from The Aggressor, there’s excessive empathy. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get the guts to push that client to pay on time. The client knows your weakness too and puts you last on the list for payment. Kudos for being a nice guy, but the ultimate goal is to collect the invoices. Accounts receivable professionals need to be able to find the balance between courteous and professional and laying down the law to gain payment.
Documenting every invoice is crucial when it comes to collecting. The Under-Documenter does not take notes on phone calls, is unorganized and can’t remember the last time a customer was contacted because he didn’t write it down. This leads to the under-documenter often being the dispute king. Without stored bills, invoices, payments received and other communications, you have no way of knowing what the truth is. All you need is one client to dispute an invoice and without documentation, you’re likely to lose out on some hard-earned money.
There’s a solution to all these bad habits that occur while collecting on invoices, though. Using an automated accounts receivable software eliminates the possibility of seeing one of these personality traits pop up in your accounts receivable clerks.
Automated accounts receivable software sends out reminders and collection calls for you, so The Procrastinator doesn’t have an excuse and the Empathizer doesn’t have to worry anymore. All communication and payments are documented, eliminating the possibility of an “under-documenter” on the credit management team. Automated accounts receivable software will get you paid 20 percent faster, leaving The Lawyer and The Aggressor with less to get frustrated about.