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Avoid These Six Debt Collection Pitfalls

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Small Business News


Avoid These Six Debt Collection Pitfalls 

Your ability to collect a debt owed to your business hinges on the processes and policies you have in place. You can avoid some of the most common mistakes and improve your chance of successfully collecting a debt by understanding where problems often arise. Your LegalShield provider law firm is ready to help you understand the laws that govern collections, draft letters to debtors and assist you in taking further legal action if necessary. Call your LegalShield provider law firm if you need assistance with a collection matter or have any questions.

  1. “We didn’t have a payment policy or written contract.” Handshake deals and verbal agreements are difficult to legally enforce. It is essential to have a signed contract for any product or service for which payment will be made at a later date. Your contract or agreement should include a uniform payment policy. Your policy should include exact due dates or a timeline for payment, the name of the individual or business responsible, accepted forms of payment and any potential fees or interest for delinquent payment.

  2. “Our accounting records are a disaster.” Accurate and detailed records will help you quickly identify and manage delinquent accounts. Your customers and clients should know exactly where their account stands. Provide itemized invoices that include a specific due date for payment. If an account is delinquent, include the total amount owed, the number of days past due, the original due date and any late fees or interest owed.

  3. "We waited because we didn't want to upset the customer." If a customer's account becomes past due, consider placing a hold on the account and contact the customer. The longer a customer's account is delinquent and the more debt they accrue the more difficult collection becomes. You may have to make the determination to stop providing additional services or products until payment is made. Always remain professional and courteous.

  4. “We don’t have any documentation but I remember talking to the customer.” Good accounting practices will insure you retain copies of bills and invoices. You must also document your collection efforts. Your records should include letters and emails, as well as the dates and times of any phone calls or meetings. This information will be extremely important if legal action becomes necessary.

  5. “I was so mad I couldn’t stay calm.” Remain professional and friendly during each interaction with delinquent customers. It is illegal to threaten, harass or intimidate customers who are unable to make payment. Never threaten an action you are not willing or legally allowed to make. Making the issue personal or becoming aggressive will hurt your chances of successfully collecting the debt and could land you in legal trouble.

  6. “I didn’t really think the attorney could help.” Utilize your LegalShield small business membership. Call your provider law firm for assistance with collection matters. Your attorney can help you understand the law, draft a collection letter on your behalf, review your contracts and answer other legal questions you may have. If a collection letter does not resolve the matter, your provider law firm will advise you on additional legal remedies available to your business.  

 

For more information about LegalShield or IDShield for yourself, your family, your business, or your employees, please contact Kenyatta Turner, Independent Associate at 602-367-1069 or KenyattaTurner@LegalShieldAssociate.com.  Worry Less...Live More!

 

Tags:  accounting  Bookkeeping  contracts  CPA  debt cancellation  debt collection  family-owned business  finance  financing  legal advice  legal services  small biz  small business  Taxes 

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Basic Bookkeeping Tips For Small Business

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Friday, August 29, 2014

Bookkeeping is an important and necessary part of owning a small business. However, you probably weren’t a bookkeeper before you became a small business owner. You are bound to make some mistakes along the way. Fortunately, most of these mistakes are pretty easy to fix. Use these basic bookkeeping tips for small business owners to help you learn the ropes and avoid errors.

  1. Choose the best accounting system for your business. There are two main options - cashed based accounting or accrual based accounting. In a cash based accounting method, you count your income when you get it and count your expenses when you pay them. With the accrual based accounting method, you count these things when they happen instead of when they are paid. So what’s the difference? Well, there will be a difference for your business if you keep an inventory or make transactions on credit. If this is true for your business, the accrual method may be a better choice for you. In fact, the IRS may require a business to use the accrual accounting method if they keep an inventory or have more than $5 million in sales. If you don’t keep inventory or deal with credit transactions, a simple cash based accounting system should work just fine for you.

  2. Keep daily records. This is simple, but extremely important. Make an accurate daily record so that you are aware of the financial situation of your business. It doesn’t matter what system you use; just choose one and stick with it. Once your system is in place, it will only take a few minutes to keep up with it each day.

  3. Treat checks with as much care as cash. You probably write a lot of checks, and you get envelopes full of canceled checks back from the bank. It’s easy to fall into a routine and pay little attention when writing checks, but take a moment and slow down. Review all of your checks carefully. If you make a mistake, it is your mistake, not the bank’s mistake. You will have to deal with the fallout. Review cancelled checks personally; this way, you will be aware of any unauthorized checks before anyone else gets the chance to remove them.

  4. Request a bank statement that cuts off at the end of the month. This is useful because it syncs your bank statement with your other monthly records, so you are comparing matching time frames. It’ll be a lot easier to balance your statements and track expenses this way.

  5. Leave a trail. You should be able to retrace your company’s financial activities easily. Keep business and personal accounts separate. Keep your checks and invoices in order, and don’t skip numbers. If you need to go back and check something later, it will be much easier this way.

  6. Use software. Even for a very small business, using a bookkeeping software program will make your record keeping much simpler and more organized. Let’s face it – the time of the old ledger and pen system has come and gone. You can do everything you need to do, and even back up all of your important records, if you do it on your computer.

Originally posted on NAWBO. Written by Kjell Andreassen, a managing partner of Acceler8.

Tags:  accounting  Bookkeeping  HR  NAWBO  Small Biz  Small Business  tips 

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