Accounts receivable are an asset, but in order to be of value, they have to be converted to cash. Although some companies may enter into factoring arrangements and pledge receivables, most cannot. So basically you cannot use receivables to pay your employees or buy new equipment.
What is accounts receivable?
Accounts receivable (A/R) are defined as balances due services or product that have been provided or delivered. The definition also states that that these balances have not yet been paid. They are simply a promise to be paid. Once you are paid, and only when you are paid, do you have income. Too many small business owners confuse accounts receivables with income.
Small business owners all too often delay hiring a collection agency because they have fallen in love with their receivables, and believe those nice big numbers, even when the accounts receivable are not yet collected and yes, even if they are a year delinquent.
My advice is always the same: Break up with your receivables, even if breakin’ up is hard to do.
You must have a plan for managing your accounts receivables.
If you do not manage your A/R, they will manage you. Your cash flow will suffer. You will find there is not enough money to pay your creditors, your employees, or yourself. A small business plan for accounts receivable management should include a plan and timetable to reach out to delinquent customers. The timetable must include a deadline for the process of forwarding delinquent customers for third-party collection and/or litigation. Your approach must be consistent and you must commit to it.
The math is simple.
If you are holding off hiring a collection agency because you are put off by the collection agency rate, you are only hurting yourself. Remember, you have not been paid. Once an account is delinquent you have in effect suffered a loss and you have nothing.
0 Times any rate is always 0
Some breakups are harder than others. But in the case of your accounts receivable, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.