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I am one of those business owners that does most of the admin in January to get it ready for HMRC,
and have found some invoices from February 2016 that have not been paid by the customer.

Is it reasonable to send them a reminder now, almost a year later? I am almost tempted to write it off as a bad debt, what do other people do with this?

The customers are not notorious bad payers, just busy in life, so I can assume they have missed these payments not on purpose.

And if you do contact the customer, what sort of tone do you take? Formal, apologising for not picking this up earlier..?

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  • PRO

    Hi Franne. Personally I would chase them up, it is certainly NOT unreasonable.  In view of the length of time since the invoices were originally issued, I would state in the reminder  that the matter has only just been noticed. I'm sure you can put it politely!  As you are considering writing them off anyway, you really have nothing to lose. Good luck with it. 

  • PRO

    Tut tut...naughty! :-))

    You already know this....you need to put something in place to ensure you're paid on time in future.

    I'd send your client s a polite letter/email/text or give them a call and explain  that you're doing your year end and note the unpaid invoices.

    Any reasonable client will pay up with no fuss.

    • Thanks Phil,

      I know! Pretty pifffed with myself that it has gotten to the state of working so much that I haven't taken the time to review what is going on at the financial end of the business!

  • PRO

    I would send them a very polite note stating that you've only just realised that they've not been invoiced. Raise the invoice and ask that it is paid within your normal payment terms.

  • PRO

    We check every month and send reminders for outstanding invoices, i didn't like chasing before but if you have done the work you deserved to be paid. 

    I would send a reminder and ask for the balance to be cleared within 2 weeks otherwise further action will be taken

    • Don't think there's any point in threatening further action yet......... if it's a small bill which I suspect it is, the customer will know it's a bluff, creating bad feeling and a definite reluctance to pay.............. a nice pleasant letter with a copy of the original invoice is really the best bet I reckon.  The friendly approach is always better than the threatening one to start with.

  • We give our customers 30 days, then they will get a reminder.  

    Do you chase an invoice almost a year old? Well yes I would, but I would pop a covering letter saying that the original must have been mislaid and you have just discovered this in your annual reconciliation. They will probably pay up, but if there was to be a problem with the customer paying, I wouldn't waste my time chasing too hard and put it down to experience. You're still trading, a new year looms, put it down to experience and move on.

  • PRO

    Hi Franne. 

    How do you do your invoicing and what are your payment terms.


    • I work with Xero, accounting package and normally invoice within a day or max a week from when I have done the work,

      I have a 14 day payment term.

      The flaw in my "system" is reconciling the incoming money with invoices send, hence I miss it when a customer has missed an invoice.

      Big promise to myself to spend more time ON the business instead of IN the business,

      but for last bookyear I am looking at £800 in missed money, which I could very much do with this time of year.

      • PRO
        I also use xero and if I have generated an invoice if it's not paid after my payment terms it's flashs red and auto sends a reminder to the customer. After setting up auto reminders every 7 days after they should be settled I never get any late payers....
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