It’s simply not possible for any business to stay afloat and profitable if they aren’t getting dollars through the door. You might be the busiest consultant, employee or manager around, but if the work you are doing for clients doesn’t result in them actually paying you for the work – it doesn’t mean a cent. Literally.
In a past life I worked in publishing and one of the many hats I wore involved the production of the magazines. This would involve touching base with all our clients, reminding them of publication dates to ensure they got their ads to us in time. It became a regular fire-fighting exercise, with a combination of chasing payment, nurturing relationships and convincing clients not to cancel their ad (often at the last minute before press). Working in consulting, I’ve realised that all of this could have been avoided with being clearer upfront, invoicing ahead of time and nurturing those relationships a little more frequently. However, getting the money in the door was still going to be tricky.
So whose responsibility is it to actually get paid?
- Is it the person who won the work?
- The person delivering the work?
- The accounts department?
How about d) All of the above? The responsibility with getting paid starts from the very beginning of a project cycle, right from when you submit a proposal or quote to win the work. It’s imperative that you are clear on your payment terms and that these are not only agreed by the client, but then communicated to others involved in the project so that they know when they can invoice and for how much. Staying on top of your invoicing with upfront invoices, regular invoicing on agreed schedule and with clear payment terms can make it all a lot simpler to do business with your clients and get paid. It creates trust and ensures a “no surprises approach” for everyone involved. Everyone involved in the project needs to know what these invoice details are, if clients payments are up to date, and whether they can perform any more work until payment is received. It shouldn’t be accounts responsibility to chase money and remind you to let them know how much to raise an invoice for, it’s everyone’s responsibility to communicate this information and work as a team to get the best outcomes for every party involved.