Every business that sells on payment terms wants one simple thing – for their customers to pay them on time. Unfortunately, the truth is that this is easier said than done. With Lloyds Bank reporting late last year that in the UK alone, SMEs are collectively owed more than £580 billion in outstanding invoices, there’s an oft-unspoken cashflow crisis sweeping the country.

Running an effective credit control function is a many-horned beast. There are emails, phone calls, and notes to juggle. Chasing customers must be done at the right frequency – too often and you harass your customer, not often enough and you lose efficacy. Not to mention knowing when to escalate chasing to the right people, as well as thanking customers for paying. Finally, pulling all this together in a sensible manner to develop the insights of who your good customers are, who your bad customers are, and how financially healthy your business is.

While many smaller businesses lump credit control duties under other roles, larger SMEs can benefit from having dedicated credit controllers. But even with finance team members dedicated to carrying out credit control, carrying it out without the appropriate tools makes it a time-consuming task, with plenty of room for human error.

Automated credit control solutions are the perfect complement to finance teams that want the cashflow benefits of an effective credit control function, but with the time-saving and error-reducing benefits of automation. Integrating with your existing cloud accounting platform, automated credit control software will allow you to establish customised email templates and chasing schedules to assign to your customers. These run constantly in the background to politely and persistently chase your customers’ unpaid invoices.

For some, smaller businesses, however, automated credit control solutions don’t always provide a return on investment. As a rule of thumb, if your business only deals with around 10-20 invoices a month, it’s not necessary to purchase software for you to be able to run an effective credit control function. Xero, for instance, has a free, inbuilt invoice reminder functionality that can be more suited to businesses that fit this criteria.

Beyond this, larger businesses with more sophisticated credit control requirements can opt for solutions like Chaser – the highest rated credit control software for Xero and winner of their Add-on Partner of the Year award. Chaser provides a rich array of features to save your business time and future-proof your cash flow, offering greater customisation and their signature automated humanity – the time-savings of email automation, without losing the impact of the human touch.

Their average customer saves over 7 hours every week on credit control and sees a boost of £22,000 of cash flow per £500,000 turnover. Some customers have seen thousands in unpaid invoices come in within hours of using it.

They offer a 14-day free trial, no credit card required, which you can sign up for here. If you have any questions, or just want to say hello, their friendly team can be reached anytime at support@chaser.io or @chaser_io on Twitter. Check them out at www.chaser.io.