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How coronavirus changed credit control – and tips to ensure your business still gets paid

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More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s turned our daily lives upside down and completely changed the way in which many businesses are operating.

In a bid to stay open in a global pandemic, lots of businesses invested in new systems and technologies to enable their employees to work from home, including cloud accounting software.

Although it was a big change at first, these new flexible working arrangements and cloud systems have worked so well that many are choosing to keep them in place in a post-pandemic world.

Online accounting software has streamlined both daily tasks and larger scale jobs for businesses at a time when they’ve needed all the help they can get.

Throughout the pandemic, millions of UK workers have been placed on furlough, so these automated systems enabled short-staffed companies to not only handle their own difficult financial situation, but also that tricky task of chasing payment from customers who may also be in a tight spot with money.

After months of hardship, the successful vaccine roll-out from the NHS means the roadmap out of lockdown continues to progress.

As we edge ever closer to normality, there are lots of questions about what the new normal may be for businesses.

What can we learn from the past year, how has coronavirus changed credit control and how can you make sure you get paid post-pandemic?

Here are the three main changes we’re predicting will come out of the pandemic.

1. Businesses are putting stability and security first

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what is coming around the corner and that it’s near impossible to plan for every eventuality.

However, with that in mind, businesses are likely to learn from this and remain a little more cautious.

There have always been those tough choices to make when it comes to picking a safe and secure project or taking on something that’s potentially a risk but may reward you with growth.

After living through such uncertain times, many business owners are likely to choose a stable project for the foreseeable.

Once industries and the economy start to settle back into a routine, we’re sure that those risk takers will start to make leaps forward once again.

But for now, the steady path is the most sensible one to take in 2021.

For some businesses, now isn’t a time for expansion, but a time to rebuild. Regular, consistent work is crucial to help businesses get their takings back to pre-pandemic profits, which will enable them to invest and expand later down the line.

Other businesses, customers and clients are all in the same boat, so smaller jobs that will guarantee pay are better than a big job that may not come through.

2. Paying on time is more important than ever: Make sure you get paid post-coronavirus

Back before coronavirus hit businesses, many companies, especially small businesses, often had informal payment arrangements with customers.

However, the rate at which the pandemic hit every industry highlighted just how important it is to be a little stricter with payments.

If you’re waiting too long, you don’t know what’s coming up that might impact your customers’ ability to pay.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having flexible payment options.

These are often a lifeline for startup businesses seeking services and are also great for managing your relationship with regular clients.

Despite this, it’s not wise to start letting things slip, with your invoices going unpaid for weeks or even months at a time.

There’s not always a one-size-fits-all approach and, depending on your industry, you may need to look at these on an individual basis, but an automated system, such as Credit Hound by Draycir, is an easy way to keep on top of late payments and handle some of your daily accounting admin.

Having all of this information in one handy place means there’s no sudden realisation that you’re owed by quite a few clients.

Imagine being able to give those regular late payers a heads up prior to their invoice due date, so they never miss a payment again.

These online accounting tools can also track patterns, so you can spot any new customers that may need stricter payment plans set in place before you get further down the line.

That’s more money in your account to enable you to pay your staff and start to regrow your company.

3. Choosing new clients will become more selective

Following on from the above point, it’s highly likely that businesses will start to be a little more selective of the new clients and contracts they take on.

Having a smaller number of clients that bring you regular work and stable payments is far better for business than a wide range of clients with ad-hoc work and lax payments.

Obviously, not all businesses will have the luxury to be selective.

But those that do will be looking to strengthen relationships with those dependable partners as they attempt to regain a steady income and start making money again.

As well as being selective with new clients, they may also start to look at clients with whom they have a bad history of late payments, so they’re not wasting precious time or money.

Final thoughts

After such a long period of uncertainty, it’s no wonder that companies are looking for reliable work and automated systems that will streamline lots of daily processes so employees can focus on driving business and generating revenue.

The rest of 2021 is sure to be a time that plays it safe. But while companies may not be taking big risks, there’s sure to be investment in automated systems and new, streamlined processes.

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