I have suppliers that call requesting the payment date for an invoice that is not due yet.

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Q. (con't.)

This seems like a new collection tactic. I am looking for a standard email reply for these types of requests. I don't want to be rude, but this takes away time from AP. Any recommendations?

 

A.

Here is the response from Judy Bicking, our practitioner expert:

"The reason suppliers are asking for the payment date is that they want to make sure the payment will be made on time, since many customers pay late because AP doesn't have the invoice or it is awaiting approvals or is mismatched. This is their attempt at resolving these types of issues before the due date rather than after.

"If you want to know how to respond by email or letter, let them know everything you need to ensure they are paid on time: the level of detail and what specific information you are looking for on the invoice; AP's correct address, portal or email (electronic methods preferred, if you have them), making sure the invoices are coming to you, and not going directly to the purchaser; and their correct bank account information so you may make the payments electronically."

You can create a boilerplate email that you send to each supplier engaging in this practice. You will want to explain politely in the email that as long as these requirements are met, there is no need to call; payment will be made on time. (That's assuming you're not experiencing internal issues that are delaying payments.)

However, if the calls continue, you may need to call the AR manager and explain this by phone to discourage them from continuing. Of course, if you have a history of paying on time, that will add to your credibility. If there have been issues, that's also an opportunity to resolve them. Approach these calls with a problem-solving mindset and you'll likely get cooperation.

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