It is an important step to get your invoicing out the door, but it is equality important to keep up on status of the invoice.
How long has the invoice been out?
Has the client actually received it?
Do they have any questions about it?
When do they think they are going to pay it?
Now the follow up can be woven into the conversations that the project manager is already having with the client.
First, the project manager needs to be in the loop. They need to know the payment status of every invoice; they need to be able on a simple dashboard or simple report to look at their projects and see what the outstanding balances are and to know where that project sits. Then when they are having a conversation with the client and they happen to have an outstanding balance or the balance is starting to get out there past say 30 days (if you do billings in Net30) you can begin to ask questions and drop hints to the client such as: “I am just following up on the last invoice we spent out, did you see any challenges with it, or do you think there will be any problem with getting that paid?” If the client says there will not be any problem, then once again they have made the subconscious contract and commitment to you to pay their bill. Secondly, by just having these conversations or asking these questions you become squeaky wheel -hopefully a non-annoying one, but it is a fine line!
Think about it, they have five companies they owe money to and you are they only one asking about it, whom are they going to pay first? Most often they are going to pay the person asking about the money first. They want to get you taken care of so they can stop answering your questions and avoid the embarrassment of telling you no or that you can’t get paid right now. If the other folks are not going to ask for their money, that’s fine. What you want to do is get your money in as fast as you can.
So just follow up with the client by asking simple questions:
“Did you get our bill?”
“Do you have any questions about our billings?”
“Are you going to approve it for payment?”
You can also put it on yourself:
“I know I didn’t clarify a reimbursable and I just wanted to make sure you didn’t have any questions about it?”
“Did you need to see backup for the time that we spent?”
It is critical though that you put this information in the hands of your project managers so they can have these conversations. In most cases there doesn’t need to be a direct phone call to deal with invoice payment unless you have a slow payer or other issues (that I will cover in another post) however, it is very simple to just bring this up conversationally when you are already discussing other items on your projects.