Following-up on past due invoices: still using Excel spreadsheets?

Alexandre Louisy

Alexandre Louisy

Sep 25, 2019

Summary

Download our free Excel invoice tracking templateExcel’s limitationsMeet Upflow: a real-time customer invoice tracking solution

B2B companies often issue hundreds of invoices per month, and it's often quite a challenge to keep up with invoicing and late payments. The problem: outstanding invoices are grouped together in tools that are not suitable for following-up on invoices and sending payment reminders. Invoicing software, ERPs, and other accounting software don't provide financial teams with the ability to track each invoice's follow-up progress or to measure the effectiveness of their actions. The reason? 

These tools are not designed to address these types of challenges. Since they are lacking the right tools, 60% of B2B companies turn to an Excel spreadsheet to track customer invoicing. Excel is a solution that has the advantage of being cost-effective, but whose limitations quickly become apparent.

How can you put in place better systems to reduce unpaid invoices and get paid? Here are some guidelines to follow, and a few alternatives to Excel that you should consider.

Need help tracking your key A/R metrics? Have a look at our free spreadsheet!

Download our free Excel invoice tracking template

Whilst searching for solutions to assist with tracking invoices, we usually stumble across Excel invoice tracking templates like this one. It's a simple and commonly used invoice template. 

Here are some tips to help you get the best out of it. 

  • Define a suitable workflow for your customers.

  • Use the follow-up table to keep track of when you should initiate certain stages in your plan.

  • Update the follow-up table daily to get an accurate overview of your invoice status and customer receivables.

Excel’s limitations

Without access to the right tools, tracking receivables and outstanding invoices is often a manual, time-consuming, and repetitive task. It also hinders your financial team's efficiency.

Interestingly 60% of all B2B companies use Excel for tracking invoices. Unfortunately, it's a tool that is poorly adapted to most companies needs and whose limitations ultimately hinder a company's accounts receivable process. 

Note: If your company generates more than 1M€ in turnover, our experts recommend switching to a dedicated accounts receivable management solution to enable your teams to work more efficiently.

Without access to the right tools, tracking receivables and outstanding invoices is often a manual, time-consuming, and repetitive task. It also hinders your financial team's efficiency.

Interestingly 60% of all B2B companies use Excel for tracking invoices. Unfortunately, it's a tool that is poorly adapted to most companies needs and whose limitations ultimately hinder a company's accounts receivable process. 

A follow-up table that is not updated consistently can lead to inaccuracies when following up. Forgetting to send out a payment reminder on an invoice that has already been paid, requesting incorrect amounts, or even in some cases sending reminders for an invoice that is being disputed could have serious repercussions throughout the billing cycle.

In addition, following-up is a task that often involves collaboration between several teams (finance, sales, or even upper management). It requires team members to be perfectly coordinated with each other. 

Unfortunately, using Excel tracking templates to collaborate can be quite a frustrating experience. Some of Excel's limitations include lack of notification on invoice status and conflicts with other files. Moreover, if your team does not know who is responsible for which action, they won't be able to act in a synchronized manner to properly manage the follow-up process and ensure you get paid by the payment due date. 

Lastly, if the financial team is in the process of switching to a more analytical role as can be expected with financial tools being digitized, this shift will inevitably involve using tools that allow data to be collected and processed automatically and in real time.

All company's departments have begun embracing this shift towards digitalization of their business activities. Now it's up to the finance team to initiate their own transformation.

From data collection to analysis, digitization is transforming financial managers into the key holders of the company's financial data.

Meet Upflow: a real-time customer invoice tracking solution

Upflow is the leading platform for following-up on account receivables and invoice reminders for B2B SMEs. Upflow enables financial teams to get back in control of their receivables and facilitate their digital transformation. Here is why our clients recommend Upflow for customer invoice follow-up:

Better Cash Collection

Upflow provides your business with systematic cash collection workflows, in order to make sure you never forget about unpaid invoices . With systematic and customized reminders, your customers will pay faster. On average, our users see their days sales outstanding decreasing by 20% in less than 3 months, a significant improvement for their cash flows.

Simplified teamwork

Upflow centralizes all aspects of invoice tracking and allows you to alert each member of your team when they should perform a follow-up action. Shorten your average payment term by sending a customer reminder at the right time and to the right person.

Comprehensive dashboard

Upflow collects and consolidates all of your billing cycle data and allows the CFO to measure the impact of his or her actions and monitor their performance indicators progress in real-time. With Upflow, empowers you to meet your objectives!

With Upflow, say goodbye to your Excel payment tracking spreadsheet and digitize your invoice tracking process.

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