What is a new and effective way to reduce accounts receivable? What old methods still work well? (Sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health)

What is a new and effective way to reduce accounts receivable? What old methods still work well? (Sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health)

Consistency, prevention, and rewards are key to collections

Be consistent


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Consistency throughout the entire practice is crucial when trying to collect on accounts receivable. All team members, from office staff to technicians, should be on the same page when it comes to payments and payment plans. Veterinarians often fall short in asking for payment at the time of service because we're trying to rush from appointment to appointment. Just sending a bill can become a big problem for a busy equine practice, because things can slip through the cracks. Instead of sending a bill 30 days from time of service, collect on it as soon as it's written or put into the computer. This is where your office staff is invaluable when it comes to paper work and the time it takes to process and collect on invoices.

My practice issues credit for all first-time and out-of-town clients. Team members sit down once a month to call clients with outstanding balances over 90 days, and we won't provide further service until the old balance is paid in full. Having a laptop with up-to-date billing information is invaluable to our on-call practitioners that handle weekend emergencies. When all is said and done, the traditional method of collecting payment at the time of service is your best bet in reducing your accounts receivable.

Scott Strosnider, DVM
Lebanon Equine Clinic
Lebanon, Ohio

Stop it before it starts

The key to reducing accounts receivable is to stop adding to it. Reduce billing by collecting at the time of service. If a client is absent, hold the trainer accountable unless you have a valid credit card on file for the client.

If you have to collect, don't hesitate—just pick up the phone. If a call from your receptionist doesn't get a result, have the veterinarian who provided the service make the call. If owners have forgotten or become lax with payment, this is a good way to get their attention. If no payment is received, discontinue service. Remember the 80/20 rule—80 percent of your income is generated by 20 percent of your clients.

Vikki Trupin, DVM
Equine Veterinary Services
Pulaski, Tenn.

Reward good behavior

The best way to reduce accounts receivable is to try to eliminate them all together. We offer a discount on services that are paid for at the time of service. With the economy the way it is, our clients are usually happy to get the savings and are anxious to pay up front. We also offer a less substantial discount for people who are only buying medications. This has increased drug sales and allowed us to receive more rebates.

Valerie Smith, DVM
Vets on Wheels
Glasgow, Ky.