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

Alex Louisy, CEO
Alex Louisy, CEO
Sep 25, 2019

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, ERP, and other accountancy tools 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 issues. Since they are lacking the right tools, 60% of B2B companies turn to an Excel spreadsheet to track customer invoicing. A solution that has the advantage of being cost-free, but whose limitations are quickly made apparent.

How can you get better organized to get paid? Here are some guidelines to follow, and a few alternatives to consider.

Download our free Excel invoice tracking template

To assist you in setting up your invoicing tracking process, we usually stumble across Excel invoice tracking templates like this one. It is a simple and widely used template, but it does require a few tips to make it useful:

  • Define a suitable workflow for your customers.
  • Use the follow-up table to be informed of when to initiate certain stages in your plan.
  • Update the follow-up table daily to get an accurate overview of your customer receivables.

Download

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.

Excel’s limitations

When lacking the right tools, tracking down receivables and pending invoices is often a manual, tedious, and repetitive task. It is also a situation that hinders your financial team's efficiency.

60% of all B2B companies use Excel for tracking invoices, and is a tool that is poorly adapted to their needs and whose limitations prevent companies from being truly efficient when collecting receivables.

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 repercussions throughout the billing cycle.

In addition, following-up is a task that often involves several teams (finance, sales, or even upper management). It requires team members to be perfectly coordinated with each other. One area where the Excel tracking templates can be a real nightmare: lack of notification, conflicts with other files, and if your team does not know who is responsible for what action, they won't be able to act in a synchronized manner to properly manage the follow-up process.

Lastly, if the financial team is in the process of switching to a more analytical role as can be predicted 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 the company's departments have started this shift towards a more profound 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 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 anymore. With systematic and customized reminders, your customers will pay faster. On average, our users see their days sales outstanding decreasing 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, give yourself the means to meet your objectives!

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

Discover Upflow