Debtors' control can be seen as the Achilles heel of a firm, without it a firm might have no money to pay staff salaries. Best practice for debtors' control entails the following:
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- Responsibility - of the lawyer who opens the file, to close it and to collect the payment from the client.
- How to bill the client - be sure what method clients prefer.
- Get your age analysis - a weekly updated age analysis is the primary tool for managing debtors.
- Ageing of debtors - unpaid accounts of more than 90 days = bad debtors control.
- Trust credits and the transfer to your business account - it is a management sin not to transfer your fee portion to the business account on a daily basis.
- Bills from sheriffs, advocates or experts - collect the expenses and pay them.
- Taking deposits and topping up when required - take a deposit from a client who you do not know.
- Use the correct language - when asking for a deposit put it in writing and be clear.
- Billing regularly practice - send smaller monthly bills and ensure clients pay them.
- Communication - billing can be a good form of communication.