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How to be the first in line for payment | 7 top tips


With the end of many Government support schemes on the horizon, we will likely see more businesses facing financial distress and a rise in late payment as the year progresses.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting paid on time by your customers.

So, here are seven top tips to help you get to the front of the queue when it comes to payments.

Be prepared

Preparation is key in all aspects of business, but it’s particularly important when it comes to credit control. A well thought out and efficient credit management strategy should be at the heart of everything you do, providing continuity and best practice throughout all financial business aspects. By clearly setting out a day-by-day strategy from before an order is placed until the invoice is paid, your team can adopt a co-ordinated and professional credit control procedure.

For tips on how to build an efficient strategy take a look at this blog.

Encourage early payment

One of the easiest ways to get your invoices to the front of the queue is to incentivise early payment. Early settlement discounts can provide an incentive for customers to pay promptly, ensuring you get paid within terms and reducing the cash flow gap between paying suppliers and receiving payment.

Discover how early settlement discounts can help your business here

Focus on getting paid

No matter what stage of your customer relationships, your focus should always be on getting paid. Before any order is placed you need to focus on gathering as much information as possible about the customer and their ability to pay. You can achieve this by using account opening forms and credit checks. This should be done for both new and existing customers routinely.

Then, once the order has been placed you need to make sure that you stick to your credit control strategy.

It can also be beneficial to only incentivise sales teams once payment has been received. This ensures that they only focus on the customers who are likely to pay.

Download our essential credit management handbook for more top tips

Invoice on time

Sending invoices quickly and accurately as soon as an order is fulfilled can speed up the payment process significantly. For example, if there are any disputes, you’ll have more time to settle them with the customer. You can also make the process even faster and more efficient by emailing the invoice rather than posting it.

For 10 invoicing mistakes to avoid take a look at this blog.

Review your ledger regularly

It’s vital to regularly review your sales ledger as part of the credit control process to ensure that your customers’ payment activity is always monitored and that you know precisely when an invoice will exceed its credit terms. Without this knowledge, your credit control process will lose its efficiency, punctuality and performance.

This blog post gives four reasons to regularly review your sales ledger.

Stay in touch

Building a strong relationship with your customers won’t just improve your chances of getting paid on time, it could also encourage them to purchase more goods and services from your business in the future.

Make regular courtesy calls to your customer throughout the credit period to continue building that relationship and ensure that your invoice stays front of mind.

Discover what to cover in a courtesy call here.

Take action

As soon as an invoice goes overdue it threatens your cash flow, so it’s vital to take action quickly.

If your internal efforts aren’t having the desired effect or are consuming too much time, use a debt collection agency to recover your outstanding debts. Often, simply introducing a third party will encourage the customer to pay, and a debt collection agency will use all its expertise to recovery payment quickly.

Once your customers know that you take any late payment seriously they will be less likely to try delaying payment again.

Get an instant debt collection quote to discover how much we would charge for successfully recovering your unpaid invoices.


At Hilton-Baird, we not only understand how difficult it can be to get paid on time, but also how burdensome credit control can be for businesses of all sizes.

That’s why our outsourced credit control service dedicates time, attention and expertise to improve results and give you the time and resource to focus on core business issues.

Benefits of outsourcing your credit control include:

To find out more about our outsourced credit control service, please call 0800 9774848 or request a call back.


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