Performance Center power! Accounts receivable

I am calling on all accountants and bookkeepers! Do you want to up your game and challenge yourself? To add a very fulfilling skillset to your arsenal of advisory services and help your clients right away, delve into the Performance Center in QuickBooks® Online Advanced.

There is no better way to show you the POWER behind the Performance Center than demonstrating it in a few examples IRL – yes, in real life. My clients are attorneys, but these tips can be used across the board with all clients. Even better, the Performance Center is now available through QuickBooks Online Accountant, so you can try it for yourself and show it to your clients to help you decide if they are right for Advanced.

Accounts receivable

The accounts receivable aging widget is so helpful with my attorney clients. Accounts receivable can be a significant pain point, and having it right on the dashboard can help the partners stay on top of the data.

Want to stand out and excel above other accountants and bookkeeping professionals? Set this up in your clients’ data file in QuickBooks Online Advanced. Then, have a conversation with the client about how to improve this data. Set goals and implement improvements to the accounts receivable workflow. Here are my suggestions that have worked for my clients.

Top 7 tips to improve accounts receivable collection

  1. Email your invoices: The system can do this for you. Save paper and save a tree! No more paper check handling, too. In today’s world, where security is an issue, this method will make it easy for your customers to pay you.
  2. Accept credit cards: It always surprises me that law firms are resistant to this. Raise your rates to include the fees, and let your clients pay your firm using credit cards. I guarantee this one change, alone, will improve your cash flow to the firm.
  3. Intuit® Merchant Services: This is such a smooth way to implement technology and take this tedious job off the hands of your administrative staff. With Intuit Merchant Services, the client pays by clicking the link. They enter the payment method, and then enter the routing/checking number or credit card number. The system records the payment, sends the customer a receipt, sends you a receipt, and enters the payment and deposits it! Nowhere is the use of electronic payments more important than in 2020.

Source: Clio Legal Trends Report 2020

  1. Workflows for accounts receivable: With workflows, you set the system up to send out the reminders on the due date and when the invoice is overdue. You can filter it down using the client types, or just specific customers. It’s very flexible. Once the system is set up to work for you, another manual process is swept away by automation.
  2. Set up a policy and procedures with the accounts receivable staff: What happens when a customer doesn’t pay after a predetermined amount of time? Get the entire staff on the same page, with written policies and procedures for your firm.
  3. Consider customer payment plans: Depending on the firm, if their practice area includes family law, the funds to pay the attorney may be slim. But, if you create a workflow with a flat fee and progress billing, this is a doable system.
  4. Collections and write downs: We all know this is the last resort. Work with the attorney of record on how this should be handled. Attorneys are notorious for not following up on late payers. This is where we can assist the team. There are also firms out there that specialize in collections. Some are automated, such as the app CollBox, and some outside firms can provide a more personalized, softer touch.

The strategy meeting

When we have that initial strategy meeting on accounts receivable, we always start here. We talk to the staff to learn how it was being done, and see where we can make improvements to the system.

I often find that the clients’ staff is struggling with antiquated systems, and are often doing work that is redundant and clunky. The accounts receivable staff has trouble just finding the time to keep up with entering payments and bank deposits.

With the accounting team’s assistance at our firm, we can typically set goals, such as no invoices outside of 30 days in six months. We help collect, clean up, and streamline the processes with QuickBooks Online Advanced automation features. We implement these new workflows that include automation, which will also result in fewer errors. The staff is often delighted that we are there to assist and take the initiative.

The significant win here is improved cash flow and increased revenue. And, who wouldn’t want that for your client? Hey, we even have a widget for that in QuickBooks Online Advanced.

This is just one area where you can add a more advisory role to your customers. Having a plan and setting goals is the number one way to motivate the entire staff.

Want a deeper dive? Check out these resources and tips

Would you like to learn more about how to have that advisory conversation, using tools like QuickBooks Online Advance’s Performance Center? Join us at Scaling New Heights, where we do a session called “Role Play Your Way to Advisory.” I’ll be teaching it along with my sidekick, Matthew Fulton. We hope you join us for more on this very important topic.

It takes teamwork to get to this place. I find that the partners are often excited by the idea of 30-day accounts receivable.

These are just a few of the suggestions you can implement in your practice to add advisory services and use the power behind the Performance Center’s graphical user interface and features inside QuickBooks Online Advanced.

The time is now to elevate your practice and your services to include this high-level support with your clients. Not only will your customers appreciate the process, but they will also see an almost instant improvement in cash flow, and possibly a staff member that can do more high-level work than processing checks and creating deposits.

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