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How would you fix a chronic late payer if they were a key account?

Posted in Accounting on November 9, 2011
There are (4) comments permalink


Marylyn is the AR Manager with a team of three people working for her.  Martine, one of her employees, is very frustrated because for the third month in a row one of her assigned customers has not paid their bill on time.  Marylyn already warned Tim, the sales guy assigned to the account, that he needs to call the customer and get it fixed.  Tim does not want to upset his largest customer and asked that AR make an exception the last 2 times they were late.  It is obvious to Martine that Tim has not fixed the problem and she wants to put the account on hold. 

  • What should Marylyn do? 
  • What questions should she be asking and what actions should she take? 
  • What can she do to ensure this does not happen again?

Comments (4)

Managing4biz posted on: August 13, 2013

Sales should be aware that the customer is obviously having financial difficulties, it myght be a warning sign that one day could happen that it could go in bankrupcy, an then what? IOffer them to pay their bill and to make affordable purchases.

Managing4biz posted on: August 13, 2013

Being th fact that this is the 3rd time, it seems that AR waits till the due date to be concerned. Knowing that this customer is consistently being late AR need a system tio remind this customer of due date as well as of fees automatically attached them. Remember is one of the company''s largest customers, so is its liability!

AccountingManager posted on: April 24, 2012

I have been in accounting for a long time and this is always an issue. Sales guys always want to defend the customer and it is rare that they see that we are not a bank. That being said, I agree that if we have a list of agreed to key customers, it is a manageable situation for the good of the company. I would recommend that if a customer is defined as a key account, there should be a policy to define a link between the customer''s accounting group and the seller''s accounting group. If this relationship is established before any problems occur, then the likelihood that problems arise in the future would be minimized.

SalesAddict posted on: April 20, 2012

The question for me is how do you protect key customers from internal processes? I have been in sales for years and this is always an issue. Finally we came up with a solution to prevent future customer problems. We developed a key account list. Everyone on that list was tagged as needing special treatment. Accounting is not allowed to contact the customer. Sales is notified of any problems and contacts the customer directly. Exceptions to the rules and/or changes to the rules are made to accommodate the customer. For non-key accounts accounting contacts the customer directly. By setting these expectations before any problem occurs we are able to maintain good relationships both internally and externally.

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