In my QuickBooks Training Classes, the topic of Accounts Receivables and managing old invoices always come up. The rule of thumb is, the older the invoice the harder it will be to collect. With that in mind and 2012 is drawing to a close, and you still have numerous open invoices from this year. Sending statements may accelerate those payments.
Keeping your cash flow moving is a never-ending battle. And year end can be brutal: Your customers may have started letting payments slide to make room in their bank accounts for holiday spending.
There are a number of ways to encourage remittance of outstanding payments. One that I’ve seen work in some cases is the use of statements. QuickBooks makes this fairly easy for you to do.
Warning: Depending on the type of year you’ve had, you may not be in a hurry to get all of your 2012 income posted by December 31. If you’re considering trying to minimize your 2012 income for tax purposes, consult your tax consultant or contact our accounting firm for tax planning services.
Statements will typically show a history of invoices and payments against it. With a running balance in chronological order and at the end you see A/R aging report for all open balances for that for the Customer or Job. The amount of detail can be customized in QuickBooks.
Statement are Not Invoices
Of course, you probably send invoices for products or services ordered. Statements don’t replace them in most cases. They’re often helpful when you’ve already sent invoices and the customer hasn’t paid, since they provide a running account of transactions for a given period.
You can enter statement charges manually in QuickBooks, but I’ll focus here on statements that you auto-create as a reminder of past-due charges. To get started, click the Statements icon on the home page (or open the Customers menu and select Create Statements). You’ll see something like this:
It’s not as complicated as it may look, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Make sure that the Statement Date is correct.
- Decide whether you want the statement to include transactions within a date range that you specify or all unpaid invoices (you can limit these to transactions that are, for example, more than 30 days past due).
- Indicate who should receive a statement. If you choose anything but the All Customers option, a selection list will appear. You’ll be able to see the targeted list by clicking View Selected Customers.
- In the next column, click Customize if you want to modify QuickBooks’ standard template.
- Click the down arrow next to Create One Statement and select either Per Customer or Per Job.
- Put a check mark in the box next to any of the next seven options that you’d like to apply. The first three simply deal with what gets printed on statements and how they’re ordered. The next four let you further narrow down your targeted list.
Past due Invoices… how about Finance charges?
Your last step before previewing and printing or emailing your statements is adding finance charges to late payments, if this is something that your company does. If you haven’t set them up previously, you’ll have to do so in the Preferences window; go to Edit, Preferences... Finance Charges – Company Preferences
Also keep in mind that in QuickBooks Finance Charges are based on Annual Rate, and they will be charged based on number of late days as of the charge date, this is not automatically done, you would have to create the charges that come up as separate invoices in the statements.
Sending statements is like giving a gentle nudge – a reminder — to customers who are behind in their financial obligations to you. QuickBooks has other tools that can help you get your accounts receivable current, which I’ll be covering in other blog posting later.
Collecting outstanding debts is no fun, but it beats being behind in your own bills. Plus some customer has to be constantly notified because paying you may not be their top priority.
QuickBooks Video – How to Create Statement Charges:
Hector Garcia, RTRP
QuickBooks ProAdvisor & Registered Tax Return Preparer
QuickBooks Training Courses, South Florida