Dealing With Delinquent Customers
Statements and finance charges can help small businesses receive more timely payments from their customers.
There is a little setup in order to use finance charges in QuickBooks. Let’s look at that first.
Navigate to Preferences->Finance Charges->Company Preferences.
The first field asks for an annual percentage rate the finance charge computation should use. Keep in mind this is an annual rate. In the sample company, QuickBooks will compute what the annual amount should be, then divide to only charge for the appropriate period, usually one month.
What is the minimum amount QuickBooks should charge? This field should really be filled in. Otherwise, the amount could be very small, making it less than the cost of charging the fee.
A grace period is often a good idea. Where this is most useful is preventing a customer payment and a statement with a finance charge from crossing in the mail.
As an example, say the customer has terms allowing thirty days before payment is due. They pay on the thirtieth day. At the same time, finance charges are computed and statements sent by the business. The customer will receive notification they are late and have been charged a finance charge even though they paid on time.
Finance Charge Account allows the selection from the chart of accounts. Finance Charge income will post to this account. A best practice is to use an Other Income type of account.
Most QuickBooks users will charge from the due date as shown.
Rarely does anyone want to print an invoice for each finance charge created. Most companies will leave the final checkbox unchecked.
To calculate the finance charges, either the menu option on the Customer menu or the icon on the Home Page can be selected. The following window shows the Assess Finance Charges window from the sample company Rock Castle Construction.
Only one customer has overdue invoices as of 12/31/2018 (the date in the sample file).
The overdue balance is $3500. If we looked up the details of this balance, we would find an invoice that was due on 11/14/18. The amount is overdue by several weeks.
Ten percent (the amount of our annual rate) of $3500 is $350. At December 31 the invoice is forty-seven days late. The result of that calculation is a finance charge of $45.07.
Different states may have regulations controlling the amount that can be charged customers for late payments and when those can be assessed. Be sure when you set your preferences you are in compliance with these regulations in your state.
Do you charge your customers finance charges? Does it help you get paid faster?