Outsourced Credit Control for Accountancy Firms

Sterling have been providing outsourced credit control service for accountancy firms since 2006. Our accountancy sector clients range in size from a few Partners to top 50 firms with £15m turnover. For the larger firms we provide service daily, with multiple staff managing their sales ledger. At the smaller end we work proactively for as little as a half day per week, but answering incoming calls throughout the week so that our clients benefit from a full time credit control team at part-time cost.

Collecting unpaid invoices

We have improved cash flow by at least 20% for all of our clients, and have improved cash flow for a top 50 firm by over 35% (whilst at the same time protecting their sensitive customer relations). Our approach also reduces instances of bad debts and helps the accountancy firm to improve the overall order to cash process (for example ensuring engagement letters and contracts are in place with personal guarantees if authorised by the partner).

You can find testimonials from accountants using our credit control service here: credit control service testimonials

Chasing payment whilst protecting relationships

Retaining strong client relations is of key concern to each accountancy firm we deal with, both with their business clients and individuals. Client contacts can be business owners, high net individuals, accounts payable departments or sole traders out on site. Sterling have developed an approach that treats the clients sensitively whilst educating them to pay promptly.

Unlike many of our competitors, Sterling do not adopt a call centre approach to outsourcing credit control. Each of our client’s is allocated a named credit controller responsible for their sales ledger, working as part of a small team and reporting into a team manager, so that trained absence coverage is available as well as escalation to management level.

Sterling’s credit control service contacts clients on behalf of each accountancy firm under their brand, so our staff appear to be working at the firm’s office. We work as an extension to the client’s business, working directly on the firm’s sales ledger, adding notes for every action so the Partner and managers have a real time view of our dealings with their clients. We follow a defined process, working in a customer service oriented manner to ensure that clients pay promptly and happily. When a client invoice is overdue the service protects the Partner – Client relationship by taking the awkward discussion away from the Partner. This process has been described as the ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach by our customers. In addition to protecting the Partner the service has been seen to improve client relations by improving query resolution and responses to client billing inquiries.

Tailored Order to Cash Service

Service is tailored to each client, and can be adjusted to suit an increasing or decreasing requirement. Often we will assign more resource to the credit control team in the first months of service to get the ledger in good order quickly, reducing the aged debt in particular to improve the firm’s cash position. The client can choose which items of the order to cash process to outsource to Sterling, and the service can evolve to meet the changing needs. Service items can include but are not limited to:

  • New client take on including credit checking
  • Invoice production and statement runs
  • Collections
  • Payment allocations

As well as providing outsourced credit control Sterling provide a separate debt collection service, collecting one off debts on a commission only basis. You can see more about this service here: https://sterlingdebtrecovery.com/accountancy-firms/

Liaising with the Accountancy Firm

Sterling are flexible in how we liaise with the firm. With some firms we liaise with a single point of contact in the firm’s finance department, whilst with others we liaise directly with partners, with monthly partner ledger review calls and quarterly meetings. We work in the way that best suits our client whilst making recommendations if for example improvements in query resolution are necessary.

If you would like to find out more please Contact Us.

You can also read more about how it works in practice in this article “Credit control outsourcing done right” and in this “Case Study“.