Few things are more important to your small business than your customer accounts. After all, if you can’t accurately collect on your accounts, it won’t be long before you are out of business completely. For many people with a small business – especially in the start-up stages, it is important to set up a clean, accurate database and then look it over on a regular basis to make sure your data hygiene stays intact.
Keeping accurate customer records is extremely important in your business. If your accounts are not correct, you may miss out on billing or you may overcharge your customers. Either one is a mistake. You want your record keeping and accounting practices to be streamlined, accurate and professional. Let’s take a look at the information you should retain on each customer account.
- Obviously, the first thing you record is the customer’s name. Make sure you have both the business name and the name of the owner, as well as the person who handles the finances, if that is a separate individual.
- For each transaction, document what type of payment was used. Cash, check, money order? Keep clear records of what type of currency was used for every sale, that way if anything comes into question, you have the full story at your fingertips. In addition, record the check number or reference number on every single transaction. Don’t cut corners here – you need to be able to call up any individual transaction in case of a problem.
- Record the date billed, the terms of credit, if any, and the date the account was paid. Note if the payment was in full or a partial payment. If an account is payable in XX number of days, clearly state that on the original bill, or state that the bill is payable upon receipt. Use a single policy for all of your customers to avoid confusion. When payments come in, record the payment received as well as the balance outstanding.
Making sure the basics are covered when billing your customer accounts saves both time and money. Establishing a simple, yet complete procedure allows you to quickly gather necessary data. Having complete and accurate data helps you avoid wrong addressing, duplicated mailings and errors in personalization of your mailings. Check your database regularly to keep things current.