Struggling with overdue payments? Here’s how to get paid faster

August 17th, 2021 by Practice Ignition Team 5 minutes read

When you got into the accounting or bookkeeping business, you probably made that career choice to put to good use a number of your skills and strengths. Things like analytical skills. A knack for numbers. Strong attention to detail. And, as an entrepreneur, a genuine desire to help clients problem-solve and develop their own business potential.

But here’s the thing. Maybe you didn’t go down this path to do stuff like pitch, sell, or market to clients, much less chase them to pay you on time—all job aspects that we’ve flagged because they fall into a broad category of awkward conversations that accountants and bookkeepers everywhere find themselves having. In fact, at Practice Ignition (PI), we hear a lot about how these conversations create serious stress for even the most productive, high-functioning accounting professionals.

“There’s a lot of fear around selling services, billing for them, and then collecting money after a deliverable has been met,” says Joshua Lance, PI’s U.S. Head of Accounting and founder/managing director of Lance CPA Group. “While the fear is understandable, it’s a huge roadblock for accountants and bookkeepers. It’s a classic example of ‘being in your own way’—making it harder than necessary to run your business effectively.”

Think about it. The very subject of money has a tendency to get unpredictable between business owners and clients, among business partners, and even for people in their personal relationships. Avoidance is a common strategy for folks who just don’t want to “go there.” But in your line of work, you really can’t afford to not get paid for what you do. Not only does it not work out on paper, but it communicates to your clients (and employees!) that you’re not in control of your business.

So how can you easily get paid in a more stress-free way? What’s the path that will help end conversations around late payments, even eliminating receivables altogether?

Start with “value.” Think hard about what you are worth to your clients, particularly the clients you most love to serve. Ask yourself, “What do I bring to the table that creates real or unique value and validates that value.”

Being that you’re in the business of numbers, you should easily be able to get clarity around your operating costs. But “real value” goes beyond the bottom line. Beyond what’s tangible, it’s putting a price to things like the:

  • degree of security your provide your clients

  • efficiency you provide in delivering your services

  • nontraditional solutions you bring to their business

  • your experience in certain industries

  • high level of true partnership they get with you

  • accessibility to you and your expertise

  • paying it forward, for example, through charities to which your business donates

  • “wow” factor that you strive to deliver

Drilling down, try this exercise, considering those points above:

1. Commit to writing out the benefits you provide

Put them down on paper or store them in the cloud. Unsure of your responses? Or feel your list is a bit too short, not capturing enough? Get some feedback from clients, co-workers, Practice Ignition customers, or other trusted people who can help you get clarity. With some objective feedback, you’ll be surprised about just how valuable you are to people.

2. Assess and analyze your list

Ask yourself what dollar figure would you assign to all the benefits you bring to the table. How can you build more value into your business model going forward?For example, if you bring in systems to save yourself and your clients time, money, energy, etc., then that’s a big value-add for your business. The Practice Ignition service library makes it easy for you to consolidate your service offerings and price in one place.

3. Apply what you’ve learned

Circling back to “awkward conversations,” once you’ve determined your value or taken action around improving upon it, this value becomes key to really everything you do for your clients. For starters, when you “get” your own value, you naturally feel more confident about who you are, what you do, and why it matters. And this leads to feeling more in control of your business—you’re in the driver’s seat, not the client—which is huge. Why? Because here’s the truth:

Your ideal clients don’t want to “control” your business or you.

They want to trust you.

And another big takeaway: Those who have any issues with not feeling in control may not be your ideal client. Meanwhile, those who embrace it won’t mind when you make changes because they’ll trust that you know what you’re doing both for your own business and theirs. They also won’t mind having what Lance calls “value conversations,” which focus on value first, changes second. What kind of changes exactly?

Enter automation. Specifically, if you automate your marketing, pricing plan selection, contracts, invoicing and receivables (hooray!), this can save you HOURS of work and, without a doubt, all the headaches that go with it. As we like to say, “from proposal to paid,” you’ll have it made. Then, with automation and other tools that eliminate awkward conversations around receivables, you’ll find yourself with more time on hand. And that is time you can choose to use to not just grow the value of your business but up the number of positive, productive conversations with those ideal clients you serve—and deserve!


Want a deeper dive? Check out our on-demand webinar, “Get Paid For Your Value”

Learn how to start getting paid for your actual value, plus get a number of key strategies and tips that can eliminate receivables altogether.


Ready to stop chasing payments?

Streamline your payments process and get paid faster with Practice Ignition!

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