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40 politely-worded templates to get invoices paid

Understanding aged receivables: A comprehensive guide | Chaser

Understanding aged receivables: A comprehensive guide | Chaser

Efficient financial management is essential to succeeding in today's competitive business environment. This is particularly true when it comes to managing aged receivables. Finance professionals and accountants play a significant role in maintaining healthy aged receivables (AR). Therefore, they help establish and maintain a firm financial base for businesses.

Businesses can reduce AR, increase cash flow, and stimulate growth by incorporating automation in their accounts receivable processes.


Understanding aged receivables

Aged receivables are outstanding client invoices for supplied goods and services. They are unpaid debts for goods and services provided. "Accounts receivable" is another term for aged receivables.

It is important that finance professionals efficiently manage AR, as it is an indicator of a business's financial wellness. AR has a direct impact on cash flow and liquidity. The greater the ratio of receivables to income, the worse your financial situation.

The accounts receivable aging report provides detailed insight into your aged receivables and measures the stability and financial standing of your clients. A decline in receivables collections could mean business is slowing down or the company is taking on more credit risk.


Root causes of aged receivables

Clients, especially those with extended credit periods, frequently fail to make their payments on time. The following are a few reasons why receivables may take longer than expected to materialize:


Lost or undelivered invoice:

Misplaced or undeliverable invoices could lead to unpaid invoices. Checking your records ensures your invoices get to the right client. Collaboration and periodic reviews by the billing and sales teams are essential to prevent your invoices from being unpaid.


Disputes that need resolving before payment:

Payment delays may result from questions or disputes identified in invoice figures or pricing. Most customers remain silent when they dispute an invoice to avoid conflict. The issue with this is that it will take longer to receive payment. Invoice disputes usually stem from one of the following factors:

  • A problem with the product or service
  • Incorrect rate charged
  • Discrepancy in payment terms

To prevent unnecessary disputes, ensure invoices are correct and openly display payment terms. However, it can sometimes be difficult to anticipate these problems. For instance, when a customer gets a price discount but the billing department is unaware. To avoid such disputes, constant communication among different departments is essential.


Invoices sent to the wrong address:

Dispatching invoicing the wrong customer or address is yet another genuine reason for aged receivables to stay pending for long. This could happen when clients relocate their offices or when several clients occupy a single office building. For this reason, it's critical to monitor outbound communications from your clients closely.


Poor communication:

Aged receivables can also result from poor communication. For example, a client may not be aware of any outstanding debts, and businesses may fail to send prompt reminders about upcoming payment deadlines. 


Effective communication with customers helps address such issues. These include sending regular statements or reminders via email or phone calls. Furthermore, quickly resolving customer issues can help build confidence and enhance payment compliance.


Procedural inefficiencies:

The success of a business may suffer from ineffective aged receivable management practices. This includes credit incentives or payment options that negatively impact your AR process.

Most businesses have an AR guideline that outlines their billing and collection procedures. However, not every business follows through on that policy.


Cash flow issues:

Your client's cash flow problems could limit their ability to pay off your debt. This could be due to economic fluctuations or late payments from their clients. In these situations, they may have other past-due invoices besides yours. That said, effective communication is crucial. Your customers can tell you the truth about what's happening and when to expect your payment. You will then be able to make an informed financial plan for your business.


Implications of aged receivables

AR can significantly impact your cash flow, profitability, and overall financial well-being.

Bad debt write-offs increase with the length of unpaid accounts, negatively impacting the company's liquidity and capacity for growth.

The following are some effects that dated receivables have on businesses.


  • Poor cash flow: The income statement shows a decline in cash inflow due to an increase in aged receivables. This may reduce earnings per share and have a detrimental effect on profitability. In contrast, cash inflow increases as receivables drop, resulting in more net cash.
  • Inability to pay suppliers: Poor cash flow makes it difficult for businesses to honor their suppliers' obligations. This also affects your creditworthiness, which may result in suspension or a reduced credit limit.
  • Inability to repay investors: This hurts your creditworthiness and may result in suspension or a reduced credit limit.
  • Debtors consume more time over new business: This is especially true for sole proprietorships or small businesses, resulting in even deeper financial issues. Company resources spent following up delayed payments denies the company a chance to source new business. 
  • Ultimately leads to bad debts: Aged receivables may eventually become bad debts. To recoup, you may need the services of a collection agency or attorney, adding to your expenses. However, collection efforts often result in the recovery of very little or none of the debt. Bad debts also reduce the accounts receivable asset account. This will reflect as a drop in your total assets in the books of accounts.

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Strategies for aged receivables management

Finance professionals can reduce the aging of receivables in several ways. Some of the key approaches are: 


Implement a credit policy

A credit policy consists of regulations that specify how you give credit to your clients. It also describes how you collect payments and the amount of credit you extend. A credit policy outlines terms and conditions, reduces credit risk, and clarifies expectations. A clear AR policy helps differentiate between potentially good and problematic customers.


Your credit policy should align with your objectives, market standards, and client profiles. Ensure that your employees and clientele are aware of it. Periodically review the policy and make any necessary changes.


Automate your invoicing

Automating your billing is one way to streamline your AR process. Manually invoicing clients has drawbacks. For instance, invoicing can be inconsistent, slow, and error-prone. Automating your billing allows you to ensure accuracy and speeds up the process. 


Accounts receivable software can automate invoice creation, delivery, and monitoring. This could improve customer satisfaction, increase cash flow, and save time.


Monitor your aging reports

Monitoring your aged reports is another critical step toward optimizing your AR process. Aged reports are records showing the amount owed by each customer and the duration. They help identify overdue accounts, prioritize recovery efforts, and assess the effectiveness of your AR process.


Offer multiple payment options

Different payment methods facilitate payments and make them simpler and more convenient. Additionally, it can minimize processing fees and strengthen consumer loyalty. The options should also meet security standards, your business needs, and clients' preferences.


Regular client communication and updates

Invoices sent to incorrect addresses due to incomplete or outdated records may result in late payments. Businesses can avoid such problems by regularly updating their customer database.


You also need to schedule periodic billing reminders for your clients. You can base these reminders on completion status, shipment dates, and due dates.


Software for AR automation can also schedule invoices. You can also outsource communication services, freeing up your time for other essential tasks.


Track your key metrics

Key metrics are indicators of your AR process efficiency and its impact on your business. Tracking them allows you to assess the profitability and effectiveness of your AR and establish your strengths, weaknesses, and potential growth opportunities. Days Sales Outstanding, Collection Effectiveness Index, and Bad Debt Ratio are a few metrics to monitor.


Implement accounts receivable software

Software for AR can be an effective tool for automating, streamlining, and optimizing your AR process. AR software may boost business growth, save time, cut costs, and enhance compliance.


Leveraging automation in accounts receivable 

Accounts receivable management tools, like AR automation software, are essential for business success. AR software enables businesses to manage their outstanding debts. 

AR software automates invoice creation and delivery, monitors payments, and generates reports. It also automatically sends notifications and reminders to clients and staff. Automation reduces error rates, saves time, and provides insights on payment status. Therefore, it allows AR teams to identify and address any problems promptly. Furthermore, it safeguards client relationships while reducing bad debts and improving cash flow.

Additionally, you can track and assess your key performance indicators automatically. This provides you with insights and recommendations that help you make better decisions. As a result, you'll be able to boost your income and optimize your processes.


Efficient AR management is critical to maintaining a solid cash flow statement. It also enables you to sustain a healthy cash flow while investing in your growth. A reliable tracking system is essential for the efficient management of aging receivables. 


Aged receivable software is an important tool for managing AR. This helps you prioritize invoices to track first and guarantee you get paid on schedule.

Utilizing tools like Chaser's accounts receivable software can revolutionize your AR process by simplifying, automating, and humanizing the process of managing unpaid invoices, and summarising all client payment data and insights in one concise location.  Speak to an expert at Chaser today and learn how we can help you secure your business's financial health.

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