Accounts Receivable Training Manuals
The objective of effective accounts receivable training manuals or ‘best practices’ directs what you do and don’t do in professional collections. However, it is well-known for success in accounts receivable that is is not just what you say, but how you say it and that is supported by the characteristics of (very) effective collectors.
The Three P’s of Accounts Receivable Training Manuals:
For reasons that I belive will become clear, I am going to list the three P’s in reverse order of their development.
Procedures for Accounts Receivable Training Manuals:
These steps relate to the ‘how’ of tasks, actual steps to be taken, perhaps examples of documents. They are important for training new personnel and their simple documentation can provide a view of the steps to be improved.
In general, except for the newest team members, we recommend some flexibility for procedures. ‘These are the steps we have found that get us from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ in the shortest amount of time, but if you find a better way – fell free to take it. Our belief is that Judgement supercedes procedure.
Policies for Accounts Receivable Training Manuals:
Best practices are developed to ensure EVERYONE knows what you should do and should not. For example, your policy may be not to call a consumer debtor before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
While there may be the occasion for an experienced or seasoned individual to take different action, ‘judgement does not supercede policy’. But, if common sense and circumstances are strong enough for other action, it may be taken but should be reported to responsible management at the earliest reasonable opportunity.
In his thought provoking management book, ‘Up The Organization’, Robert Townsend recommended that if you must have a published policy document, put out a copy of the ten commandments. (I always think of Moses coming down the mountain and telling his brother, “I got him down to ten, but adultry is still in there.” We don’t agree with Townsend on having ‘no policy’, but agree with the concept of keeping it simple and easy to understand.
Philosophy for Accounts Receivable Training Manuals:
No flexibility here. A simple statement that everyone from collections to sales, customer service and beyond would understand. All policy and procedures flow from your policy, so take the needed time to craft and get input and buy in from everyone.
Here is an example:
“We will extend credit to our customers who we believe and determine have the ability and commitment to repay as agreed. Things happen, often beyond control or vision. When they do, we will work with our customers to support our business and theirs. However, where possible and reasonable, we do expect to be paid as agreed.