While it may be impossible to guarantee timely payments from all of your accounting clients, there are certain things you can do to make yourself less vulnerable to late payments, and the many problems this can cause.  

Below are a few helpful tactics to encourage your clients to pay you on time:

Work with the right type of client

By creating a set of criteria and an evaluation process for all new clients, you can get a clearer understanding of who you might be working for. Here are a few things you can incorporate into your selection process:

  • Meet them in person or online, and conduct a short interview to get to know them better.
  • For clients switching from another CPAs service, try to find out why they are doing so, and if this has happened before.
  • Carry out a credit check to find out whether they are likely to pay on time
  • Check to see whether they may have any pending lawsuits or previous court cases with other accounting professionals.

Stick to deadlines

For your clients to be expected to meet their payment deadlines, it’s essential that you’re able to meet your own deadlines, and provide them with the work they have requested, on time. You should also send out your bill to clients as soon as you’ve completed the work, to give yourself a greater chance of a timely payment.

Request that clients pay upfront

Whether partial or full, asking for upfront payments from clients before you complete their work, can help reduce the chance of clients not paying you on time, and give your cashflow a bit of a boost.

Lay out a clear policy regarding late payments

Should a client fail to pay you on time, having a clear policy laid out that states what will happen should this occur, gives them a better reason not to pay you late in the future. Ideally, though, this should be enough to deter them from doing so, and your policy could include such things as:

  • A timeline for late payments
  • Discounts for early payments
  • Option to make recurring payments
  • Fee for late payments

Follow up with clients

If a client is a persistent late-payer, it may be that they are simply forgetting to pay you, or overlooking a deadline. When you notice that a payment is late, send a gentle reminder message.

Don’t make it hard for them to pay you

Nowadays, there are multiple ways for clients to pay you, but however they choose to do so, the process should be straightforward and efficient. For example, if you send electronic invoices to your clients, add a payment link to it so that they can cover the bill as soon as they receive it.

Take advantage of tech for tracking profits and boosting productivity

With help from the right technology, such as AI, (or an outsourced service provider with the right tech), you’re able to do the following:

  • Store documents safely online for both parties to access easily when needed
  • Identify patterns and predict trends
  • Gain insight into growth opportunities for the future

AI is already changing things for the better for so many accounting firms, it could do the same for yours.

Always remember that timely client payments are dependent on you providing them with a high level of service, meeting their requirements, and basically being someone they can’t live without (professionally speaking, of course!). Hone your services, follow the tactics above, and start getting paid in full and on time!