Every once in a while, technology comes along that is perfectly suited to doing an old job a new, faster, and better way. A particularly good example of this is the use of a computer and fax-modem to collect accounts receivable.
The most difficult parts of effective collections, of course, are keeping close track of the accounts in question and communicating regularly with each of these accounts both to investigate and to pursue every reasonable option for collecting the amount you are owed. The computer is a wonderful tool for both these processes, and adding a fax-modem gives you just the right device for delivering the information your computer generates.
A fax-modem, as you probably know is a device that converts information directly from your computer into a fax, without requiring that the information ever be printed on paper. Computer fax-modems send and receive sharper, neater images, and give you the kind of computerized
control over your faxes that you won't have with a conventional, paper-based, stand-alone fax machine.
Let's see how the collections process can be improved by computerizing your information and utilizing a fax-modem:
Step One: Identifying Receivables To Collect: In almost every business, regardless of how small, there are far too many active invoices and accounts to expect that the overdue ones will come to your attention by themselves. Without computerization, identify slow- or no-pay customers is a time-consuming, difficult process. But computerizing your business' accounting information, and particularly your accounts receivable, makes it much easier to get aging reports and identifying a pattern of slow- or no-payment by
certain customers or clients.
Most accounting software can create aging reports automatically, and some can kick out the items that meet certain criteria for lateness and perhaps for a minimum amount owed. (Remember the old joke: "This is the last time we're spending $0.29 to remind you that you owe us $0.19.")
You can thus give the computer responsibility each month for finding the accounts that need special attention to collections.
Step Two: Asking For The Receivables: It's fairly easy to have computerized accounting software generate duplicate invoices for overdue receivables. Normally, you would print these invoices, enclose them in envelopes, and mail them to your late-paying customers. Then you'd wait for the mail to be delivered, and wait again for a response by return mail.