The Collections Center is a new feature in QuickBooks 2011, however, it is also available in QuickBooks 2012, 2013, and 2014; that help business owners and Accounts Receivable personnel manage their Accounts Receivable by easily identifying customers with overdue or nearly overdue payments, by “flagging” them – without having to run any of the following reports, to find out this information:
- Collections Report
- Accounts Receivable Aging Detail
- Accounts Receivable Aging Summary
- Open Invoice Report
Additionally, this feature also provides the ability to efficiently contact customers with requests for payment of overdue invoices, or to remind them that a payment will soon be due.
To enable this option, begin by going to the Customer Center. Select the Customers & Jobs tab. Right-click in the Customers & Jobs List and choose Customize Columns from the options that appear.
This displays the Customize Columns window. In the Available Columns window, scroll down and click on the Days Overdue and Overdue options, and click the Add button. This will move these options into the Chosen Columns window.
Use the Move Up/Move Down buttons to arrange the Chosen Columns into a more logical order, for example: Active Status, Name, Balance Total, Overdue, and Days Overdue. Click Ok when you have finished.
Now, when you access the Customer Center and look at your Customer & Jobs List, you can easily see which customers have past due or almost due invoices, and how many days overdue their payments are.
A red graphic with an exclamation mark indicates that an invoice is overdue (as shown in the screen shot above), while a yellow graphic (not shown), indicates that an invoice is “almost due”.
The number in the Days Overdue column is calculated by QuickBooks based on the Due Date of the invoice and Terms that you assigned to each invoice. To make sure that the number of days overdue is being calculated correctly, it is advisable to check each open invoice and make sure that you have assigned Terms. If Terms have not been assigned to an invoice, QuickBooks then calculates the Days Overdue based on the Date of the Invoice.
NOTE: You can change the way that QuickBooks uses the due date by going to the Edit menu -> Preferences -> Reminders -> Company Preferences and:
- in the field next to Overdue Invoices, enter the number of days AFTER the due date of an invoice that the invoice is overdue.
- in the field next to Almost Due Invoices, enter the number of days BEFORE the due date that an invoice is almost due.
The “View” menu, located at the top of the Customers & Jobs tab, will allow you to temporarily change how your Customer/Job list is sorted – by Customers with Overdue Invoices, Customers with Almost Due Invoices, Customers with Open Balances, Active Customers, or by a Custom Filter. I did notice though, that viewing or searching for Inactive Customers or Jobs is not an option, and I’ve submitted feedback to include this as a program enhancement.
Having this information readily available without having to run and review reports is only one of the improvements that Intuit made this year to help business owners stay on top of important Accounts Receivable information. The menu at the top of the Customer center now includes a Collections Center icon.
When you click on the Collections Center icon, QuickBooks launches a new window containing the actual Collections Center. The idea behind the Collections Center is to help you quickly and efficiently manage collecting money from your customers. It lists in one place, but in individual tabs, all overdue and almost due invoices. You can then send email reminders to a single customer or multiple customers, and it tracks notes about your collection efforts.
- You can sort how the information is displayed by clicking on the Customer Name, Balance, or Days Overdue headings.
- Enter or Review Customer notes – each customer or job has its own notepad to keep notes. For example, when you send a collections email, QuickBooks enters the date and time as a new note. You can then review or add your own notes from the Collections Center.
- The Collections Center provides a warning when the customer or job record does not contain an email address. Click on the warning icon and QuickBooks automatically displays the customer or job record so that you can enter the email address without interrupting your workflow or thought process.
- Clicking the Select and Send Email icon provides you with the ability to mass email all customers with overdue invoices.
When you click the Select and Send Email icon; QuickBooks automatically wants to send a mass email to all customers and/or jobs who have overdue invoices with an email address in their record.
- To send an email to a specific customer and/or job, you must manually uncheck those that you do not want to send an email to. Currently, there is no way to select all/select none, to make this part of the task easier, and I’ve submitted feedback for this functionality as a Product Suggestion. You can do the same by going to the Help menu -> Send Feedback Online -> Product Suggestion.
- You can now send email using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail/Windows Live, Outlook, or QuickBooks E-Mail.
- The email reminder is ONLY sent to the main email address in the customer and/or job record.
- Use the CC and BCC fields to send copies to someone else in your company (if using the mass email function), OR use them to hold the alternate email addresses in the customer and/or job record, when selecting a single customer and/or job. Additional recipients can always be added before the email is actually sent.
Notes that are automatically entered in the Collections Center (date & time invoice reminder was sent) can be viewed and edited/updated in either the Collections Center by clicking the Notes icon or in the Customer record Notes section.
All in all, this is one of the most useful improvements in my opinion that Intuit has provided for business owners in a long time and one that I will be implementing in our own business.
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