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e-ccounting
July 2009

in this issue

Business Scenario
- Accounts Receivable - Part 2

Answer

Accounting Tip

Did You Know ?

Definition

Sandy's Recommendations

Next Issue - Accounts Payable - Part 1


 

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1. Understanding How to Read Financial Statements
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  • Business Scenario
    - Accounts Receivable - Part 2

  • What's the best way to track customer activity?

  • Answer
  • Customer / client activity when dealing with invoicing (in the June issue) and receipt of payment (below) are known in accounting as your Accounts Receivable (A/R).

    Component 2 - Receipts

    For computerized bookkeeping, when you choose the receipts screen, it is divided into two sections; (a) general information including:

    • Customer name

    • Receipt number (which can either be automatically populated or I suggest you use the customer's method of payment and number in this field). For example if they paid with a cheque - cheq #123 or with a credit card - V 123456 (the authorization number).

    • Date: use the date it was actually deposited rather than the date you received it, for cross - reference purposes when you are doing your monthly bank reconciliation.

    and (b) the bookkeeping portion of the screen will only require you to choose what items the customer is paying for, as it should list each outstanding item, you can choose to pay the full defaulted amount or over-ride the amount and apply a partial payment.

    Once you have completed the screen, if all the required fields have been entered you will post the entry. At this point all your reports will be updated.

    For overdue accounts, worse case scenario is to hire a collection agency. Sometimes, a stubborn client will be motivated merely by the Collection Agency letterhead. Keep in mind there are usually several options, so try and pick the one that suits your specific needs for each client.

    For clients that you want to contact yourself, a soft approach may be all they need, refer to your call or email as a "gentle reminder" or you are calling to check the "status of the outstanding item dated X".

    You may also suggest to the client that you come up with a mutually acceptable payment plan, with the idea that anything is better than nothing.

    There are specific reports for Accounts Receivable, please refer to the previous issue for more information.

  • Accounting Tip
  • When depositing non-Canadian cheques, use a separate deposit slip. This way the teller can apply the current exchange rate to the specific deposit and the total will be obvious.

    For bookkeeping purposes, you can either change the amount of the original invoice to reflect the exact amount of the converted deposit (if you do this, I would suggest you put the Canadian value in the description for future reference). Or you can apply the exchange rate to a separate income account specifically for Difference on exchange rates.

    There is no right or wrong way to do it, both are presented in the Income portion of the Income Statement, the idea is to choose one way and be consistent.

  • Did You Know ?
  • With many businesses suffering from the state of the current economy, sometimes receivables are not coming in as fast as the funds are required , resulting in cashflow issues.

    There are several options to deal with this, one very popular one is obtaining a business loan or line of credit. However, there is another option many businesses are not familiar with, known as factoring (see definition).

    For more Did You Knows?
  • Definition
  • Factoring

    Factoring companies provide funds in times where you need instant cash and you have a valid Accounts Receivable to use as collateral. Initially designed for the firms waiting for insurance payments, it has expanded to include needed cash for many reasons, ie. a COD delivery of material to complete a job, necessary funds during a recession, etc.

    The key element of factoring is the quick turn around time in receiving the cash. You may only need this service once in a while or on an ongoing basis. Each company is unique and is therefore handled on an individual basis. Factoring is a business which makes it's money on charging a fee based on a percentage, as well a certain % of the loan is held back as a reserve, which the provider can make interest on.


    For more definitions ...
  • Sandy's Recommendations
  • Filing your Receivables. While your invoices are still outstanding they should be kept in a file / binder, etc., for quick access to review on a regular basis.

    For smaller clients I recommend a binder. Keep the outstanding invoices in the front, perhaps in chronological order. Once the payment is received, staple the cheque stub or payment information on the invoice and indicate the date is was deposited, again for cross-reference issues. If a client is paying for more than one invoice at a time, staple the payment to one and on the other(s) state, paid, see invocie #x.

    These paid invoices can now be moved to the back of the binder, whether in numerical order or by client (whichever suits your needs).

    For larger companies, once the item(s) are paid, you may want to file by date, customer, etc.

  • Next Issue - Accounts Payable - Part 1

  • Learn:

    The two components of the Accounts Payable (AP) - and why we should not take short-cuts.

    • Using accounting software to properly record and track vendor / supplier activity.

    • Getting started, what information you should have on file for each vendor.

    • Part 1 - vendor / supplier bills: necessary data.

    • Available reports.
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