There is no doubt in this thing that most of the activities of the business revolve around finance. It works like a fuel in every process of the organization. It doesn’t matter that a business is enjoying the optimum level of growth. Or on the other hand it is facing the severe financial crunch. In both phases, a business can’t avoid the usage of finance. That’s why; every local/export organization is really curios about the inflow and outflow of its finance. The finance people always try to smooth the cash flow by arranging finance from every nook and corner. The trade debtor is also one of the big sources where a huge amount of finance can be arranged. The export trade debtors arise when you make credit sales outside the country. This credit sale is normally pay through L/C (Letter of Credit) or TT (Telegraphic transfers).
If you are having exports through L/C, then it is normally considered a secure mode of payment. In this mode of payment, the consignee and consignor are gridlocked with each other. And in case of any misfortune, the Consignee’s bank makes payment of imported goods to consignor. But if the mode of payment through TT then there is no mediator involves in between the consignee and consignor. So, in case of any dispute or insolvency of consignee, no one can make payment.
Every business requires working capital to move on the business flow. And that can only be possible if the customer makes payment on-time. If you get timely sales receipt in your hands. Then you can easily forecast the trade receivable through strong follow-ups with your customers. Business operations usually get halt if the supply of working capital cuts off. Therefore, managing trade receivable is highly important matter in the world of trade.
Forecasting Export Trade Debtors:
When the goods are exported, an invoice is normally generated which shows complete information about shipment. It includes: the consignee’s name, Purchase Order number, Article Number, Quantity, Unit price, Gross amount and the terms of credit. Out of which, the terms of credit tells how long it takes to get payment from customer. So, we can say that the credit term is basically helps to forecast the trade receivable. Trade receivable payment date and days are normally calculated from the BL (Bill of lading) issuance date. (“Bill of lading” is a certificate issue by captain of ship to the consignor confirming that goods are on board and ready to sail”.)
To forecast the receivable, first we have to add shipping line’s loading plan date on ship. This plan is also called CLP (Container loading plan). So, the easy way of forecasting is to calculate the days from CLP date and add credit term days into this. For example, let’s say if the invoice date is 13th September 2018 and the CLP date is 21 Sep 2018. Whereas, the credit term for instance is “20 days from BL date”. Then, the estimated payment date would be 11th October 2018.
Other than the above credit terms, the DA (Documents acceptance) or CAD (Cash against documents) are also frequently using in export business. In this mode of payment, the consignee’s bank release payment as soon as it receives the documents. The credit terms normally varies from customer to customer. The shorter credit terms are considered prudent way of managing Trade debtors. By forecasting preliminary payment invoice date you can effectively produce budgeted cash flow showing the inflow and outflow of cash.
Management of Export Trade debtors
Once you have decided the forecasting of maturity date for debtors. Then the next step is to manage and ensure that business has sufficient working capital to reinvest and growth. Therefore, business needs to pay great amount of attention on the management of export trade debtors. The following are some techniques which are frequently using for managing the export trade debtors well.
Establishing Credit Terms Policy:
Credit term policy is normally established on the basis of credit check report which shows customer payment history. If credit check report states that it’s risky to give credit to the customer then you don’t just ignore it. Or neither, you can stop doing business activities with him/her. But on the other hand, you can robust your sale terms instead of stopping business with them. You can go for CAD – (Cash against documents) or COD (Cash on delivery) when goods are on board. If credit check shows that customer is worthy of doing business on credit. Even then the credit term rules say that don’t set a lenient credit terms of sale. And you should have a prudent sales policy with respect to credit terms.
The best way to establish credit policy is to follow your supplier’s credit terms policy with your clients. If your suppliers are offering tight credit terms then your business should also have tight credit term policy towards customer. And it must be continued until or unless the company is enriched by cash.
Regular Credit Check:
Regular credit check is also an effective technique for managing the export trade debtors. You can also take help from the credit check agencies who maintain the credit check on customer payment history. A regular credit check is really compulsory on credit worthiness of customer’s business. As this practice ensures this thing that trade debtors wouldn’t become bad debts (In case customer goes bankrupt). This credit check practice should be done for both existing and as well as for new customers. This check and balance really supports businesses to manage the export trade debtors well.
Offer Early Payment Discounts
If a business gets cash from its customer a bit earlier from the committed date. Then it could definitely create a positive impact towards the healthy activities of business. This is why, the business people normally follows various techniques to get early cash. They offer small amount of discount for those clients who make pay early than the agreed date. This thing can motivate the customer to pay the credit as early as possible. So, that he/she could avail the discount opportunity. It is observed that customer takes discount positively and hardly forego the opportunity. Early payment input finance into running working capital which can smooth the business flow too.
Outsource Trade Debtor Management:
Managing export trade debtor internally is a cumbersome process and uses a lot of resources. Therefore, companies prefer to hire trade debtor management servicing company. As these companies helps to manage the trade debtors with some management fee on collection of debtor. By outsourcing the credit control function you can avoid the cost of credit control function.
Factoring of invoicing or debtor financing is another prompt or efficient way of managing export trade debtors. In factoring, the company sells its debtor to the third party on discount price. And these companies in-return gives finance to the company after deducting the factoring fee. But this way doesn’t leave a good impression about the clients. As they perceive that the company’s financial position is not strong or facing financial crunch phase.
Invoice discounting is another way of managing debtors. In this way, the company sells invoice to bank or lending company. The bank or lending companies give funds to the company after deducting lending fee. The lender usually pays in full when customer makes the payment of the particular invoices.
Customer’s Supplier Portal
Most of the customers now have ERP – efficient resource planning supplier portal through which supplier can upload invoices electronically. The portal is connected to the shipping lines or forwarders of goods. And they provide declarations when they receive the goods after which maturity date triggers on the portal then. Export trade debtors can be managed easily because supplier portal provides maturity date along with the detail of payment showing the invoice number and value.
In the end, we can say that by designing proper credit sale policy debtors can be managed successfully. Having right strategy for managing export trade debtors improves the working capital position which eventually increases profitability and cash for company.