In this post, we talk about tips to handle your accounts receivable in a recession. Thank you to Brad for putting together these videos!
Brad has been in the credit and collections industry for the last four significant recessions. He has also helped companies in various industries, including construction, finance, food, media, distribution, retail, transportation, petroleum, and many more.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and so it is with your accounts receivable in a recession. In this interview he talks about:
- Protecting your receivables
- Watching for warning signs
- And what he is seeing in our current economic time
We divided this Brad Lohner interview into smaller, digestible "chunks" which you can watch below. Enjoy!
What is the feedback in the collection industry of what you’re seeing right now? Are things getting better or getting worse? What is true and actually happening?
- Hospitality, supply, and media industries are impacted the most
- Construction is doing quite well- now is the time to build
We talked earlier this year with credit industry expert Jay McKeown about businesses hitting a wall with the subsidy program ending in September. Can you speak on economic updates post-September?
- The Canadian government elected to extend until July of next year
- Use the time to get your expenses under control
- Get your A/R scored and find problem spots
- Pandemic has created a short-staffed team and inventory cannot be penetrated quick enough
- PCM provides outsourced accounts receivable services for both short and long term projects
- Pull a credit report
- How are they paying your essential suppliers? You become a "nice to pay" supplier
- Other data sources- your sales team, departure of key people, a credit or industry association group
Advice for those who tighten their systems but then get their favourite or long-time customers delaying?
- Are they avoiding or dancing around your questions?
- It's your responsibility as a credit professional to mitigate that risk
Would you recommend incentivizing customers to pay early/ on time? Or is it more a matter of I shouldn’t have to incentivize you to pay your bills?
- Are early pay discounts getting you what you need or are you giving money away?
- Shrinking margins plus a high-needs customer may or may not be worth it
- C.O.D. (cash on delivery) can be a good way to establish a relationship with a new company with little to no credit data
- You don't walk into the bank and expect to get a loan without giving them any security
- Joint & several liability clause example- reach out to Brad
How do you balance grace with your clients while upholding standards for payment? Especially now when everyone is going through a pandemic?
- Carefully- we have all been impacted in some way
- People can smell insincerity from a mile away
- Trust but verify
- At least 4-5 times in my life I've helped companies deal with accounts receivable in a recession - we are going to get through this
- A 10-day demand letter is risk-free: if your client pays, it's free. If they don't respond they should have gone to third-party collections anyway.
This was a very insightful conversation with Brad Lohner about the current economic state and how to deal with accounts receivable in a recession. Hopefully, you get a few key takeaways from it!