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Take steps to avoid late payments from clients

There’s all kinds of benefits to be reaped from becoming a freelancer or a contractor, but it comes with its share of problems – one of which is getting paid regularly from clients, who can be notorious for taking forever to get back to you.

It can lead to all kinds of complications if you don’t get paid on time; you can run into trouble paying your own bills if your cashflow isn’t constant, unlike a permanent worker, where you get a regular pay cheque. However, there are things you can do in order to encourage clients to pay regularly and on time and thus avoid any such untoward occurrences.

The Association of Chartered Accountants’ senior SME advisor, Manos Schizas, spoke out recently on the benefits of organisation when it comes to sending out invoices and collecting payments. It’s incredibly important to set up a collection and invoicing routine and then sticking to your routine, which includes sending polite reminder notices well before the payment is due, Mr Schizas remarked, especially when there are some client who keep an eye out for disorganised freelancers in order to take advantage of by paying late.

The SME advisor warned that there are even some clients who may use the fact that your payment and collections sytem is disorganised as a rationalisation for not paying you on time. The best way to avoid such a fate is to ensure you’re presenting yourself as a hard target for such activity, which will discourage opportunistic customers from trying to pull a fast one on you.

Other advice given by Mr Schizas included gaining a greater understanding of how each of your clients handles their payment system. Once you know what each client needs in regards to invoicing, you can tailor each invoice you submit to them to integrate with their systems much more seamlessly, he added.

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