Our client, Asian Business Publications Limited (ABPL), is a leading publisher that manages several publications catering to the needs of the Asian community in the UK. Over the last 40+ years, ABPL has built a committed base of readers and advertisers and with over 500 customers purchasing multiple advertisements across publications, effective credit control is essential to optimise cash flow.
As a publisher, ABPL sells ad space in its publications. In addition to this, the company also holds several events every year and sells sponsorships. Consequently, a large volume of invoices are raised every week. The company deals with several small to midsize businesses that do not have mature accounts payable (AP) processes – so it was essential to set up an efficient accounts receivable (AR) and customer relation process.
When a key employee managing customer relationship and collections left, ABPL witnessed a spike in the number of unpaid bills: a substantial number of invoices were overdue by 60 to 90 days. In addition to collecting the outstanding payments without impacting the customer relations, the agency also wanted to take the opportunity to streamline the AR and credit control process.
How QX helped
Our team worked closely with the ABPL’s in-house team to gain a clear understanding of their business model and their relationship with the customers. During the initial stage, QX helped the agency recover 40%-50% of their outstanding payments. At the same time, we introduced systems for a better customer experience and introduced reports that gave ABPL a greater visibility on key information related to the payments. To achieve this, we carried out the following activities:
- Created a Plan of Action for dealing with customers with long outstanding payments.
- Identified and passed on the list of customers defaulting on the payment to ABPL.
- Set up and enforced a procedure for query resolution for customers who disputed payments.
- Worked in close co-ordination with ABPL’s sales and accounting staff to resolve the queries and disputes.
- Set up and followed a system to chase customers before and on the date of the payment run.
- Produced Real Time Status reports to analyse performance and create an action plan for the future.
- Resolved most of the queries and reduced the amount of irrecoverable debt that was scheduled to be written off – close to £50,000 – by almost 30% in the first six months and a further almost 20% in the following months.
- Reduced average debtor days to within 20 days from the due date (with the exception of a few customers with longer credit terms) by streamlining the process for chasing payments and building a good rapport with the customers.