Accountants…. Action Required Now to Assist Businesses to Reduce Debtors!

Have you contacted your clients to ascertain their debtors’ days outstanding?  How many of your clients have debtors’ days outstanding similar to the average figure determined in a worldwide review that identified Australia as having the “longest debtors’ days outstanding in the World”?

The review, covering 80 countries, determined that Australia had an average debtors’ days outstanding of 56.4 days which was substantially higher than any other country!

This is a national disgrace!

If accountancy businesses are performing as the “trusted advisor” to a small/medium enterprise surely this means proactively assisting your clients to get their debtors’ days outstanding close to 30 days as part of the job description.

Where do you start?

The key components of a sound debtors’ system include:

  • Debtors’ Management System
  • Digital Collection Processes
  • Written Systems’ Manual

An effective debtors’ management system requires:

  • Debtors due diligence review being conducted, at least, annually.
  • Written applications for credit.
  • The application is properly checked.
  • Referees are being contacted.
  • A “Welcome to New Customer” letter being written to every new credit customer introducing the business’ team, confirming their credit limit, identifying that the business does not send debtors’ statements and confirming that the business’ terms of trade are that individual invoices are to be paid on the due date stated on the tax invoice.
  • Close monitoring to ensure that the signed Terms of Trade Agreement and Retention of Title Agreement are received back from the customer before any sales are made.
  • Procedures to determine whether the new customer will be registered on the Personal Property Securities Register.
  • An awareness of the problems that a liquidator’s “preferential payment claim” letter can cause.
  • Calculation of Debtors’ Aged Analysis promptly at the end of the month.
  • Calculation of Debtors’ Days Outstanding throughout the month. Identifying this very important Key Performance Indicator to the team in an attempt to motivate them to work towards reducing debtors’ days outstanding.

Digital Collection Process

Being awarded the dubious title of the “longest debtors’ days outstanding in the World” should be a wake-up call to small/medium enterprise operators and accountants of the necessity for many thousands of small/medium enterprise businesses to move with the times and instigate a Debtors’ Digital Collection Process such as that offered by IODM.

No one likes telephoning or writing letters to debtors seeking payment.  Because of this, it’s not a job that is done when it should be done within a business; it is normally deferred.  It is far better to utilise technology to make the contacts with debtors.

You can introduce your clients to the IODM system and this will enable your client to customise various aspects of the system that sends SMS messages or emails to customers to alert them of an approaching date for the payment of a tax invoice and to then prompt them if payment is not made on the stipulated date.  This process has been proven to significantly improve debtors’ days outstanding for the businesses that are utilising it.

Written Debtors’ Systems Manual

In this day and age of technology and computerised accounting systems it’s not good enough that a small/medium enterprise does not have a written Debtors’ Systems Manual to guide the team through all aspects of the debtors’ management process, including the treatment of documents such as Terms of Trade and Retention of Title Agreements and the registration of a customer on the Personal Property Securities Register.

Far too many small businesses do not have a written system.  The person responsible for debtors relies on notes and verbal communications that have been received from the previous person in charge of debtors and other team members.

The Australian government Small Business Ombudsman has indicated that she will be having discussions with government departments and big business to encourage them to make payments to small/medium enterprises by the stipulated due date for payment of tax invoices.  Whilst this is commendable there are other activities that accountants can instigate to contribute to overcoming this problem.

Many SMEs do not deal with government departments or big business yet still have a very high debtor’s days outstanding figure.  I believe that this has been caused through a neglect of appropriate debtors’ systems and the lack of appreciation of the improvements that can be made through the utilisation of a Digital Debtors’ Collection System, such as that offered by IODM.

Accountants and business advisors can play a significant role in reducing debtors’ days outstanding back to a far more appropriate level than what it currently is at – 56.4 days – a national disgrace!

ESS BIZTOOLS, ESS BASIP and IODM have combined for the promotion of the “Improving Debtors’ Days Outstanding Strategy”.  We know that partners and senior managers are busy – but your SME clients need assistance now on debtors’ days outstanding.  This is where we can assist.  The “Improving Debtors’ Days Outstanding Package” includes 1 hour of mentoring to your team to adequately prepare them on all aspects of debtors management.

Would you like to know more about the IODM system?  If so, click here.

A special webinar jointly host by Damian Arena, Managing Director of IODM and Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS is being presented on Wednesday 5th April 2017 at 12:30pm AEST.  To register for this webinar please click here.  A special webinar – “Virtual CFO Services” – a must for accountants is being presented on Tuesday 11th April 2017 at 12.30pm AEST.  Click here to register.

If you require any additional information on the “Improving Debtors’ Days Outstanding Package“, please do not hesitate to contact me or on any of the products or services produced by ESS BIZTOOLS, ESS BIZGRANTS and ESS BASIP please contact us at


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Peter Towers

The accountancy profession is changing… some would say quite dramatically, in that accountants are being continually advised to expand the range of services being offered to their SME clients, beyond the traditional income tax, corporate compliance and audit work“. Peter Towers, CEO ESS BIZTOOLS Click to download your free copy of “Surviving the Emerging Accounting Profession Challenge

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