Running a successful business means being proactive when it comes to managing collecting accounts receivable. Approximately twenty-five percent of companies fail because of late payments and cash flow problems. Keeping an eye on your company’s cash flow is therefore essential for financial health and stability.

In this blog post, we’ll provide insight into how receivable collection plays a role in maintaining healthy cash flow, and strategies on getting paid in a timely manner. Davis Business Law wants to help you properly manage your accounts receivable while protecting yourself from any potential associated risks.

Key Takeaways

  • Accounts receivable collections is essential for the financial health and sustainability of a business.

  • Timely receivable collection is necessary to improve cash flow, which your company can achieve through automated services, creating an accounts receivable aging report, and pursuing overdue payment.

  • Prevention is key. Obtain payment upfront and monitor customer creditworthiness to ensure successful accounts receivable collection.

The Essentials of Accounts Receivable Collections

Accounts receivable collections has an important influence on a company’s cash flow liquidity and is key to a company’s success and sustainability. When there is excellent accounts receivable management, a company is more likely to be financially healthy. Two metrics a company can use to measure its accounts receivable collection are the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio (ARTO) and Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).

To efficiently collect timely payment from customers, businesses should be sure to enforce clear payment terms while also keeping tabs on customer creditworthiness. Companies can also take advantage of automated systems and reminders for collection tasks to help track and follow up on delinquent customer payments. By applying effective collecting methods, you can keep your business’s cash flow healthy and up-to-date.

Defining Accounts Receivable Collection

Accounts receivable collection is a fundamental part of any business’s financial security, since collecting payments from customers keeps cash flowing. Therefore, it is important for a business to put a well-designed process in place, including payment reminders and effective invoices. One way to help the process is hiring employees who focus on accounts receivable management.

Accounts Receivable Management employees help create cash flow by communicating with customers about their debt, negotiating acceptable payment terms for overdue accounts, and generally collecting accounts receivable. Proper receivable collection management can provide stability to businesses, allowing them to reach maximum success financially.

The Importance of Timely Collections

It is essential to collect accounts receivable in a timely manner as it directly affects a company’s cash flow and overall profitability. To optimize receipts, businesses should implement automated services, create aging reports involving sales teams for collection activities, and pursue past due amounts with strategic training programs from their staff.

With effective accounts receivable management strategies, organizations can promote healthy cash flow and also increase customer satisfaction during collections processes. Strategies include encouraging customers to settle balances early through discounts or offers. Extending different types of payments options while offering prompt-payment reductions makes these changes beneficial to both the customer and the company’s bottom line.

The Best Strategy is Prevention

Receivable collections are essential for maintaining financial stability, which is why it’s important to take a proactive approach when managing delinquent accounts. Having clear payment terms and policies in place as well as obtaining upfront payment can help decrease the risk of overdue payments, while automated systems and tools will help monitor customer creditworthiness.

By refining the accounts receivable process, and adjusting collection strategies regularly, you can ensure that write-offs don’t frequently occur or the need to take more aggressive actions against delinquent customers, such as collections litigation.

Establish Clear Payment Terms and Policies

It is important to guarantee timely collections by developing distinct payment terms and policies. Credit procedures must start by relying on precise data sources to ascertain a customer’s financial standing and therefore know what kind of risk they pose to not paying. From there, customer contracts should include conditions such as prepayment requirements and early payment rebates in order to motivate clients to pay before the due date. Wait until agreements or contracts are signed before starting work to obtain additional assurance against potential debt.

Collecting Accounts Receivable: Get Payment Up Front

Advance payments provide a variety of advantages, like improved cash flow and stronger working capital, as well as enabling more efficient collection strategies. Businesses can look at methods such as asking for an initial deposit before the start of services, or establishing payment policies requiring complete prepayment from some customers.

However, there are potential downsides to requiring and obtaining payment upfront from customers. Downsides may include alienating buyers by requesting advanced fees, less revenue through early payment discounts, or returning revenue in the bank if orders get changed or canceled after a customer has already paid in advance.

Utilize Automated Systems and Tools

Utilizing automated accounts receivable too can considerably improve a business’s efficiency in its invoicing, billing, and collections. Automated systems can also promote better collaboration between management and employees within the finance department. These systems allow for payments via wire transfer, direct debit, credit/debit card, or an online system including instant or scheduled transfers of funds.

Such tools also facilitate sending out personal notifications to customers regarding overdue electronic invoices. Implementing contact management and accounts receivable management software helps in tracking contracts and checking on status updates concerning their respective invoices.

Monitor Customer Creditworthiness

Monitoring the financial health of customers is a major factor in collecting payments on time and avoiding delinquent accounts. A few effective methods to assess customer creditworthiness for small businesses include verifying credit reports, joining a business-specific credit circle, evaluating current debt levels and utilization rates against their available credits, as well as utilizing reliable third-party services for monitoring purposes such as GiniMachine, Tesorio, Dun & Bradstreet or Experian.

The primary criteria used when judging a customer’s credit worthiness are: payment history, equity compared to debt ratio, overall score from previous creditors, record with prior debt repayment , collateral position, if any, and finally how close they get to their maximum allowed indebtedness. Following legal guidelines while assessing risk and running credit reports is also very important.

Collecting Delinquent Accounts

When other attempts to collect debt have been futile and the debtor is unresponsive, it may be necessary to take a more aggressive route. In this instance, retaining a business attorney can prove essential for successful accounts receivable collections.

Lawyers offer invaluable insight into handling delinquent accounts with their legal knowledge on collection strategies as well as effective communication with those who are failing to pay up. An attorney will look after all related litigation matters throughout the whole process of pursuing payment from past due accounts.

When to Hire an Attorney

The use of an attorney for debt collection should be taken into account when attempts to recover the outstanding balance have been fruitless and contact with the debtor has proven difficult. By hiring a professional, one can ensure that checks are properly cashed or returned, all actions are legally justified by proper documentation, demand letters will reach their target in timely fashion and other aspects such as cost-efficiency and communication protocols must all be considered before making the decision. All these factors – expertise, legal knowledge, strategy employed, etc. – must also be weighed when looking at how best to pursue delinquent accounts.

How Much Will my Attorney’s fees be?

The fees for attorneys handling delinquent accounts may differ depending on the terms of their agreement with clients. Some lawyers charge a percentage from sums collected through debt collection. Other attorneys bill based on hours spent working on such cases at an established rate per hour. It is important to be aware of potential expenses before engaging legal help in retrieving unpaid debts.

Sizing Up Collectability

Organizations must thoroughly assess the customer’s capacity to pay and willingness in order for their collection initiatives to be successful. To do this, they can classify customers into categories, limit any non-payment risks and evaluate outstanding unpaid invoices as well as computing Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). By assessing delinquency collectability, businesses are able to effectively manage their resources while prioritizing related collection efforts.

Taking a Debtor To Court

When attempting to collect an outstanding debt, businesses must consider whether legal action is necessary if the debtor remains uncooperative or uncommunicative. Such a decision can be complicated due to its potential cost and time investment. Yet it may offer creditors additional power in recovering their losses.

The process of taking someone to court consists of obtaining proof from the courts that they have a right to claim back what’s owed them, serving documents related to this lawsuit on the defendant, filing said papers at applicable jurisdiction courts and attending hearings where evidence should be presented for judgment outcome expectations. If successful, such judgments grant access to powerful enforcement options like wage garnishments and property seizures aimed at reclaiming lost money.

Filing Suit

When seeking payment for outstanding accounts receivable, filing a lawsuit is one possible course of action. Preparing to file a complaint or petition in civil court first requires gathering essential information such as names and addresses of both plaintiff and defendant, the date the debt was incurred, the amount of the debt and interest, plus pertinent documents such as contract, invoices, or communication records.

For a business to have its best chance at succeeding in collections litigation, it should consult with an attorney before trying to file on its own. Courts have specific rules and deadlines that must be followed, or else your lawsuit may be dead upon arrival.

Once a business attorney drafts your lawsuit, they can even try to informally resolve the claim by informally submitting the pre-filed lawsuit to the debtor with a demand for payment. Sometimes, it is possible to negotiated a settlement with the debtor before a lawsuit even has to be file.

Serving the Debtor

When serving a formally serving a debtor with a lawsuit, it is important to follow that court’s rules of civil procedure and any applicable local rules regarding service. To be done right, service upon the debtor must be done properly and proof must be presented that service has been made either directly to the defendant themselves or through their legal representative. It may benefit any individual attempting this process to seek counsel from a business or collections attorneys for advice on completing successful service.

Getting the Judgment

In order to obtain a judgment in relation to debt collection, the creditor or debt collector must take certain legal steps. These steps include filing suit against the debtor and delivering them notice of such an action. If the debtor does not answer the lawsuit, it may be possible to obtain a default judgment and quickly obtain a judgment requirement payment.

If the debtor does answer the lawsuit, the court will provide an adequate opportunity for gathering and presenting evidence. There will be a trial either before a jury or a judge. Or, your business can seek a summary judgment, arguing to the judge that your case is so solid that no trial is necessary. After either a trial or summary judgment, the case will be decided either in favor of the debtor or the creditor.

Collecting the Judgment

Once a judgment is acquired, a creditor can use several strategies to retrieve the debt owed by the debtor. Different post-judgment collections methods include bank garnishment, asset seizure, and receiverships, each with different legal requirements associated with them. It is important for businesses involved in collections to discuss their best course of action with an experienced business attorney, as there may be potential risks involving money or property protected from being frozen or seized illegally. For instance, banks garnishment entails obtaining an authorized court document giving permission to detain funds inside a borrower’s account. Seizing assets requires a judicial ruling.

Bank Garnishment

Debt collection includes a technique called bank garnishment, in which a creditor obtains court authorization to confiscate funds from the debtor’s account until their debt is paid off. Once an order has been given against the debtor, they are legally obligated to freeze or take any money remaining in that person’s account. Debtors have rights when it comes to accounts being seized, including protection for exempt property and procedures like redemption of taken possessions.

Seizing Property

In debt collection, it is crucial to gain a legal judgment against the debtor and then pinpoint their assets. State laws must be followed regarding which types of property can be taken away from them. It’s vital for those in this situation to recognize what rights they have and seek qualified counsel if their possessions are being confiscated due to debt repayment. An experienced accounts receivable collections attorney can help you navigate this process.


When it comes to the accounts receivable collections process, a receivership is an arrangement where the court assigns a receiver to collect and secure any non-exempt property owned by the debtor in order to meet their debt obligations. This appointed individual has full authority over seizing assets from the debtor with permission of the court – as long as they are not legally exempt – and may liquidate those nonexempt assets for repayment of outstanding debts.

This method can be effective when collecting judgments, but can often involve extra costs and delays in processing times, plus there’s no guarantee that all liabilities listed on the judgment will be satisfied through this collection process alone.


Maintaining accounts receivable collections is paramount to having a prosperous cash flow and ensuring the economic stability of any business. By utilizing preventive strategies, observing customer creditworthiness, automating systems/tools for tracking payments and timely collection efforts – businesses can minimize delinquent account risks as well as guarantee on-time payment.

Should debtors refuse to pay up despite all attempts at collecting debts, it might become necessary to resort to methods such as seizing assets or garnishing bank funds in order to recover outstanding sums owed. By understanding the whole collections process thoroughly combined with appropriate approaches for invoicing customers, organizations are able to ensure financial health while still growing their organization through secure revenue inflows via effective receivable collections management.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps in the accounts receivable collection process?

The collection process for accounts receivable encompasses numerous steps which include: approving credit, the customer going in debt, the business mailing out invoices, managing collections efforts and addressing any disagreements that arise, writing off unrecoverable debts, processing payments and producing reports on the activity associated with accounts receivable collection activities, and sometimes pursuing demand letters and litigation to get paid.

What type of activity is collection of an account receivable?

Collection of an account receivable is an business operating activity designed to improve a company’s cash flow by receiving cash from customers through collection of what is owed.

What is a collection account in accounting?

When a customer fails to pay within the set time-frame for goods or services purchased, creditors may opt to hand over or sell the debt owed to a collection agency or debt buyer. This is what constitutes having an account in collections.

What is the importance of monitoring customer creditworthiness?

Maintaining healthy cash flow is dependent upon effectively monitoring customers’ creditworthiness in order to avoid delinquent accounts and ensure the timely collection of payments.

What are the legal steps involved in setting up a receivership?

By presenting a petition to the court along with proof of the debt, it is possible to arrange for a receivership. Notifying the debtor that this has been done must occur before the scheduled hearing date at which point a judge will make their ruling.