Wajiha Danish | October 21 2022
Running a business is an overwhelming job! If the money is limited it becomes more difficult. Cash flow problems can convert into a big fiasco if not dealt with timely. If the problems prevail this may lead a small business to have trouble with clients, supplies, and products.
If the problems are prevalent, a smart move to conduct business is by offering services on net terms. It is not necessary to look out for clients who have significant cash amounts, the firm can offer flexible repayment schedules to its clients, having pre-fixed net terms payment options.
For instance, a client can get service immediately but can make a payment in a preconceived grace period such as 30 days or 60 days and sometimes 90 days as well. This flexibility allows the clients to go for the services and repay the vendor before the payment is due.
The net terms are a win-win situation for both the clients and business owners. Let’s find out how these net terms of payment work.
The net terms work on predetermined conditions. In most cases, the business entities give their clients options of making payments in 30, 60, or even 90 days. This is known as net-30, net-60, or net-90 terms of payment.
A lot of business owners also offer discount payments so that the clients are encouraged to pay sooner. Business owners offer 2 to 4 percent discounts to urge clients to repay their pending payments within the first 10 days of their grace period.
Most of the clients take longer to pay, even after the net terms have ended. This can put small businesses in jeopardy regarding how to operate their business efficiently and they rush towards other means of funding to keep their operations going. During these circumstances, business owners offer net payment terms including charging interest rates on late payments.
Net terms have their own share of pros and cons like anything else. Let’s have a look:
o Competitive advantage
It has been noticed that net terms can be used as a competitive advantage over peers to extract payment in a flexible form from clients.
o Increased Sales Volume
Businesses that offer net terms can drive out more sales as compared to those that do not offer them. As these businesses attract those clients who have cash flow issues but are eager to buy a given product.
o New clients
Businesses attract new and more clients because of flexible net terms and payment options. Prospective buyers who have a disturbed cash flow cycle opt for net terms as they are usually more flexible and offer discounts in the payment as well.
o Loyal customers
Net terms pave way for good client relationships. The clients do business with you and they become your loyal and long-term clients because of the adjustable payment schedule. A happy client would always recommend you to their friends and family, and this is a very valuable way of marketing, word-of-mouth for your business.
o Potential bad debt
Delayed payments can become unpaid, leading to potential bad debt, which can be a very risky situation for a business. If a client is not making a payment despite reminders, you might have to write it off as a bad debt. A lot of bad debt accumulation can cause major financial issues for a company, making it difficult to manage financial operations.
o Cash flow issues
Payments lag can cause issues in the cash flow cycle. The downside of net terms is that the companies who offer these conditions cannot escape. The clients might not be able to pay you back by the given deadline, therefore it can become quite a problem. Sometimes it becomes quite cumbersome to run after the clients and get your own money back.
o Lesser profit margin
With net terms payments, come the discounts such as early payments, etc. which can decrease your profit margin. Sometimes businesses hire different collection agencies to get hold of the late payments, which further decreases the profit margin. Therefore, net terms lead to the profit margin becoming thinner.
o Additional accounting
Net terms lead to additional accounting work for the operational department of the business. You need to keep a track record of the account which has availed the net terms and when they are due to make a payment. This can be hectic sometimes and lead to the hiring of newer resources.
Cash flow is bound to suffer once you offer net term payments scheduled to your clients, even if you receive the payments on time. The situation becomes bleak if the payments are delayed from the client’s end.
This kind of situation makes it hard to gauge the cash flow cycle letting the businesses make drastic measures to curtail the situation.
To curtail the adverse effects of net term payments on cash flow you can opt for any of the following solutions.
o Usage of tech-savvy accounting tools
You can incorporate tech-savvy accounting tools into your business to maintain your accounting departments and cash flow.
These online tools provide convenience to business owners by managing and keeping track of the payments collected and payments due.
Cloud-based accounting tools also provide various strategies to maximize cash flow.
For instance, you can give the option of online payment to your clients which can assist your clients.
These tools can also automate reminders for late payments or charge late fees if payment is made after the due date.
o Trade credit
Trade credits enable businesses to grow. If payments are delayed and business owners require cash for the cycle then trade credit firms provide finances to them.
Net terms payments are a win-win condition for both customers and business owners. Businesses should take complete advantage of net terms.
Net terms help businesses grow in the longer run. It increases the cash reserves and assists in maintaining long-term clientele by providing discounts and flexible dates of repayment.
Wajiha is a Brampton-based CPA, CGA, and Controller with 17+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University and is a Chartered Certified Accountant. Wajiha spearheads Monily as its Director and is a leader who excels in helping teams achieve excellence. She talks about business financial health, innovative accounting, and all things finances.