11.16.2022 | Posted by Erik
How the Holiday Season Impacts Your A/R
While the holiday season brings good times and cheer, it also tends to be the slowest time of year for many businesses – and not just in terms of sales. The holidays can also dramatically impact payment timelines.
There are a number of reasons why:
- People often take vacations during the holiday season
- Many businesses close their doors for at least a couple days
- Mail delivery is slower due to high holiday shipping volume
- Holiday corporate events and end-of-year planning may get in the way of business as usual
- If other companies aren’t getting paid, they may delay paying their own vendors
Considering all these factors, there’s no wonder many businesses experience some slowdown in payments in the last two months of the year.
As an accounts receivable outsourcing firm, we’re familiar with this seasonal payment slump. With the holiday season quickly approaching, we wanted to share some numbers to help you know what to expect – as well as some insider tips for preparing your business to weather this slower season.
By the Numbers: A Look at What to Expect
When it comes to receiving payments this holiday season, expect them to slow down. Even though some companies might pay invoices early to use up their budgets and prepare for the new year, you should still expect invoice payments to slow – especially around December.
How do we know? Well, payment collection is what we do as accounts receivable outsourcing experts, and we’ve found that the holiday seasons are always pretty slow. This is why we decided to pull some hard numbers to see how significantly payments slow down for all our customers during the holiday season – and even we were shocked!
We knew things got slower, but we were surprised by how much payments actually stall during the busy holiday months.
Take a look at our payments from last year’s holiday season:
As you can see, from October to February, things slow down significantly. By December, the average payment is more than 20 days past due. That’s painfully late. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to prepare your company for what’s ahead.
6 Tips from an Accounts Receivable Outsourcing Firm to Prepare for the Holiday Slowdown
We’ve learned a thing or two in our years of managing A/R during the holiday season.
Here are six steps you can take to prepare.
1. Expect It to Be Slow
Things don’t hurt nearly as bad when you’re expecting them. The same concept applies to payment slowdowns. If you know it’s coming, you can do things to prepare, like accounting for your cash flow in case things get tight.
2. Touch Base with Your Past-Due Customers
Take time to reach out to all your past-due customers and ensure they have everything they need to pay. Start talking to them and addressing issues today, so things don’t bleed into the holiday season.
3. Don’t Underthink January
People often think everything will go back to normal once they get through December. But January tends to be slow, too. The best thing you can do is ensure your customers have everything they need to pay when they return to the office after the holidays and expect it to take a few weeks for things to even out in the new year.
4. Make Things Easy
The less friction you have in your payment process, the easier it’ll be for your customers to pay. Make payments as easy as possible for your customers – especially during Q4. Consider incorporating things like payment links and online payments and be sure to invoice on time.
5. Keep Your Team Motivated
Your team is also likely to slow down a bit during the holidays. They’re often juggling family events and festivities and are excited about getting some time off, which is completely understandable. Still, it’s important to keep your team motivated during this period. Find ways to make them feel appreciated and keep the mood festive while also encouraging them to stay on top of their responsibilities so that collections don’t fall behind.
6. Reach Out to Your Big Customers
Do you have any large customers whose payments you depend on to keep things running? Now is a good time to proactively reach out to them. Thank them for their business, wish them a happy holiday — and casually check in to see if they foresee any changes or difficulties on the horizon.
Take Extra Precaution This Holiday Season with Outsourced A/R
The holidays should be a time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished and spend time with family and loved ones. But if your payments fall behind, it can be hard to feel very positive. That’s why we recommend taking time now to prepare for the inevitable holiday slowdown, so you aren’t up the creek without a paddle when the festivities roll around.
If you really want to get on top of things, consider working with an accounts receivable outsourcing firm. At Axim, we help ensure our customers get paid, even when things slow down. Contact us today to see how we can help you prepare for the holiday payment slump.