Skip to main content


Optimizing Cash Flow: 10 Strategies to Collect Outstanding Payments. It is an inevitable part of running a small business; you will be chasing late payments. However, a recent survey of SMBs found that late payments force 36% of small businesses into cash flow problems leading to insolvency It is essential to have a strategy to collect late or missed payments and get them paid as quickly as possible.

As a business owner, maintaining a healthy cash flow is vital for sustainable growth and success. Dealing with missed or late payments can take a lot of work.

Maximize cash flow graphitic from optimizing cash flow 9 strategies post

Unpaid bills or invoices can disrupt your business operations, strain your resources, and impact your bottom line. This article will guide you through actionable steps and proven techniques to efficiently collect outstanding payments from your clients or customers.


Understanding Cashflow and Importance of Timely Payments

According to Wave accounting software, cash flow represents the movement of money in and out of your business.

Your cash flow represents all the transactions you make. When you have more than enough money in your account to cover your bills, you have a positive cash flow. But when the cash flowing out of your business (i.e. expenses) exceeds the cash coming into your business (i.e. revenues and income), that’s when you have a cash flow issue.


Therefore, timely customer payments are the lifeblood of any business. Delays in receiving payments can disrupt your cash flow, leading to missed opportunities and potential cash shortages. Making implementing strategies to collect outstanding payments imperative.

10 Strategies for Improving Payment Collection

Implementing Clear Payment Terms and Policies

Having transparent and well-defined payment terms and policies is crucial. Ensure that your clients are aware of your expectations regarding payment deadlines and the consequences of late payments. Clearly communicate these policies in your contracts, proposals, and invoices to avoid misunderstandings.


Streamlining the Invoicing Process

One of the critical factors in ensuring timely payments is having a streamlined invoicing process. A clear and concise invoice that includes all relevant details, such as a breakdown of services, payment terms, and due dates will facilitate faster payments from your clients.

Making invoices or bills accessible online has also proven effective in speeding payments. Customers often forget they received the bill, lost the bill, or made a purchase or agreed to pay a processing fee.


Track Receivables

Tracking receivables through your accounting software allows you to quickly spot a late payment. The sooner you act on a late or missed the more likely you will see payment in the full amount due.


Offering Incentives and Discounts

Encouraging your clients to make timely payments can be achieved through incentives. Offering early payment discounts or loyalty rewards can motivate customers to settle their balances promptly.


Personalized Payment Reminders

Sending personalized payment reminders first via email and text can be an effective way to prompt action on overdue invoices. Tailor the reminders according to each client’s payment history and relationship with your business. A gentle nudge via text or email can often be the catalyst for timely payment.


Establish Strong Communication Channels

Starting with email and SMS (text) messages, you can develop open and consistent communication with your clients. Effective communication can foster trust and facilitate smoother payment processes. Next, consider how easy it is for your customers to get the information they need when they need it.

Starting with your website, utilize chat, bots, FAQ, and knowledge bases to improve customer self-service and satisfaction. You should also review how easy it is to find access payment and account information across all your digital platforms.


Leveraging Technology for Payment Collection

Embracing technology can significantly improve your payment collection efforts. Consider integrating secure and user-friendly payment options on your website and invoices. To cater to different client preferences, provide multiple payment options, such as credit and debit cards, ACH/online transfers, and digital wallets.

IntelliPay offers twelve customer-facing payment interfaces, such as online payment pages, portals, and lightboxes. Each payment interface accepts credit and debit cards, ACH/echeck, GPay, PayPal, and Venmo payments and can be easily integrated onto any payment or invoicing website page.


Setting Up Automated Payment Reminders

Automating email or SMS payment reminders with secure payment links can save time and streamline your collections process. SMS or text messages have an average open rate of 98% with 91% of customers wanting to receive text messages from businesses.  Since SMS or text messages are almost always read and require only two clicks for customers to pay; research shows that 35% of customers will pay by text message.


Offering AutoPay or Recurring Payments

Offering options like auto pay and recurring payments are a viable way to reduce late payments. Each requires customer authorization, but that is where the similarities end. Auto Pay allows payments of varying amounts to be charged at pre-defined schedule: think utility payments. Recurring payments are a fixed amount the same time on a pre-defined schedule: think service agreement.

Make customers aware of your options and make it easy for them to find and set up the payment type that work best for their situation.


Make the Payment Process Easy

A recent industry survey of 2,676 U.S. consumers found that 19% of respondents said their late online bill payments were due to the process needing to be simplified. Among consumers aged 30-44, 38% said they couldn’t complete paying their bills online due to frustration with the process.  A lightbox floating over a payment page that is laid out like a credit card, is one example of making the payment process simpler for your customers.


Handling Late Payments with Empathy and Firmness

It’s important to remember that nine out of ten times, customers’ late payments are simply because they forget to pay you. When faced with overdue invoices, approach the situation with empathy, and offer alternative payment methods and auto-pay and recurring payment solutions to help them simplify paying their bills.

Rapidly rising inflation and economic uncertainty are weighing heavy on individuals and households. Unforeseen circumstances may have caused the delay. Again, offering alternative payment methods, like autopay or flexible payment schedules, may help. However, be firm when talking to them and emphasize the importance of paying bills promptly and avoiding the additional interest charges that are accruing.



Effectively collecting outstanding payments is a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy cash flow for your business. You can optimize your payment collection efforts by streamlining your invoicing process, offering incentives, setting clear payment terms, leveraging technology, and maintaining open communication. Remember to approach late payments with empathy while making clear the importance of timely payments.

IntelliPay can help business owners eliminate manual processes, simplify payments, and gives business owners the tools to get paid on time. To learn more or to get started, visit