For the last 30 years, I’ve been consumed with Accounts Receivable. I did it in-house for a large law firm for 17 years, and for the last 13 years, I’ve helped many companies improve their processes, to better manage their A/R. I wake up wondering if checks will be in the day’s mail, or if a credit card payment was processed the day before. And I go to bed thinking about who to follow up with the next day, and how to strategize the next day’s effort, so I get the most out of the day’s work.
A/R is not really my work, it’s my passion. I love helping people, and as crazy as it sounds, invoices get paid in the process. I build relationships with people and my clients increase their profits. Because I’m so comfortable in this work, and enjoy it so much, I think it should be easy for everyone else. Well, it’s not.
What made me realize this is the fact that I’m also writing a book about the business of A/R. I should wake up in the morning wondering what to write on the book, and go to bed thinking about new ideas for the book. But I don’t.
Writing doesn’t come easy to me and because it doesn’t come easy, I don’t make time for it like I should. Instead, I go to what is second nature to me, the A/R work. Don’t get me wrong, my clients love this, but it doesn’t get my book written.
The point I’m making is, until the person or persons responsible for your A/R, are completely comfortable with and feel empowered by their work, they will always look for something else to do first. And like my book, your A/R is never a squeaky wheel.
In order to solve my book problem, I hired an editor to help me. She’s fabulous, her name is Rhonda Fleming, and if any of you have thought about writing a non-fiction book, you should call her. I’m writing this blog for two reasons — to help you with A/R, and to help me get more comfortable with writing. The more you do something, the better you get.
The most common thing I see companies struggle with, is how to see their A/R as a tool for success. Sitting on the porch this morning, writing on the book, I noticed all the trees around me. And it dawned on me that A/R is a lot like the trees in my back yard. Just like trees have many purposes, so does your A/R. Trees provide protection from the sun, wind and rain. Your A/R can also provide protection for your business. Every now and then your business will incur a client that can’t pay you. Maybe their industry dried up, or their cash flow is weak. In any event, when this situation arises, the strength behind your A/R will protect your business from the effects of this occurrence.
Trees also provide oxygen. Your A/R also provides oxygen to your business. When your people know their work will be paid, they’re much more eager to do the work or make sales or network calls. This is how A/R provides oxygen to your business.
If your business was a tree, would it be growing?