The United States Postal Service (USPS), deep in the red, announced the closing of over 200 mail processing centers - a move that will add at minimum an additional day for most first class deliveries.
That's another day for invoices to reach customers and another day for the returning check payment. Cash flow will take another hit for businesses that continue to rely on this traditional method of customer payment. FindLaw, a Thomas Reuters business, and a leading provider of online legal information and Internet marketing solutions for law firms, writes in an article on cash flow basics that "One of the first things businesses can do to maximize cash flow is to audit billing, collections and payables systems for efficiency" even "requiring up front deposits or credit cards."
Now is the time. The USPS is clamoring to raise prices for all forms of mail delivery - they must. Next year the price of a first class stamp will go up to .45 and experts say it is not enough. For those merchants and businesses mailing invoices, statements, and repeat invoices and statements - the writing is on the wall. Traditional paper invoice and check payment is no longer cost effective.
Utility and pest control companies, professional services, B2B companies, and many others need to adjust old processes and incorporate electronic invoicing, click and pay, recurring ach (automated clearing house - i.e. direct debit!) and credit card payments. The cost of traditional collection methods is astronomical in comparison - and inefficient at best. Collections can take 30, 60 and 90 days - why not collect immediately by drafting your customers checking account as soon as services are rendered or products shipped?
Electronic invoices have customizable templates to incorporate company logos, etc., recurring payments can be automated - entered and forgotten- reliably debiting your customers account month after month with no further input by the merchant - with customizable receipts emailed upon debit.
With ACH payment processing and/or recurring credit card billing, collection costs can be reduced to a pittance with a transaction cost that pales in comparison to traditional methods.