An account correspondence refers to bookkeeping records that stem from the double-entry system of economic operations. The need for such a correspondence arises to ensure uniform reflection of all the account operations. By following all the instructions for using the appropriate plan for the compilation of bookkeeping records, a standardized accounts correspondence is established. There are many ways to record correspondence of accounts such as documents, account registers or other bearers of accounting information. When a correspondence of accounts is initially entered in primary documents, it is termed as an entry. Accounts correspondence can have many forms like an invoice, statement of accounts, delivery challans and many other financial transactions. To understand the nitty-gritty of correspondence of accounts, one will have to define a collection letter, which we will read in detail in this article.
For managing accounts receivable, bank personnel needs to communicate with their customers. A collection letter plays an important role in this communication strategy. To define a collection letter in simple terms, it is a written notification sent to a bank customer stating details of his past due payments. The first collection letter to the client is sent as soon as an invoice has gone past the due date. The tone of the collection letter changes as invoice keeps going unpaid. A payment collection letter that was sent for an invoice gone unpaid for 15 days would have a different choice of words than a letter that is sent after the payment is 90 days overdue. Collection letters become more persistent with time.
A collection letter is like a nudge to the customer to send payment or to call them and discuss the matter. A collection letter, also known as a dunning letter, must be polite yet firm and have clear instructions on how the customer can make the overdue payments. A collection letter is an important component of any business. It is an effective way to influence a debtor to pay his or her dues and also maintain goodwill with the customer. The credit facilities that exist in the business world have given rise to collection letters and their importance cannot be overlooked.
Credit is defined as purchasing and receiving goods and products without the need for immediate payment. The credit facilities to the buyer have helped businesses to expand hence the tradition of credit facilities has flourished. However, at the time of settlement, if the buyer does not respond, the seller needs to take the help of dunning letters. As long as credit facilities remain in the business system, collection letters would hold importance. A credit collection letter must be discreet and should not be threatening or demanding.
A collection letter must include:
the name of the original creditor and his company
the debt collecting agency that represents the lender (if there is one)
the full debt amount
additional costs and fees (if any)
If the collection note is a final one (demand) or is a letter before action, it would also have the last deadline for payment. After this deadline payment is crossed, a case will be filed in court and the small claims court procedures will proceed.
A payment collection letter or debt recovery letter is usually dispatched by either the creditor or the DRA (Debt Recovery Agency). A collection note can also be sent by a debt buyer who buys default profiles from the lender who then becomes the official owner of these delinquent accounts. A debt recovery solicitor can also send a debt collection letter.
A Collection Letter Should Be:
Firm but not demanding
Persuasive but not forceful
Tactful but not sarcastic
Polite and considerate
Should show concern for customer’s best interests
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It must be considered that as an initial communication, one does not send a collection letter to contact the customer. In the preliminary phase, one would either send an email or call up the customer to let them know that an invoice due date is approaching. As soon as the payment goes overdue, the first collection letter must be sent in the following format:
Days past due
The amount that is due
Mention previous attempts to collect the amount
A summary of the customer’s account
Instructions on what customer needs to do next
The actual due date for payment. One must not use vague terms like “In the next 10 days” but mention the exact date when the amount was due
Your contact details
Q1. What are the Different Buyer’s Profiles that Require Collection Letters to be Sent to them?
Ans: Buyers who need collection letters to be sent to them fall under these seven categories:
Buyer is negligent in paying or has weak business policies for adjusting the dues.
The buyer does not give much importance to small credit amounts.
Buyer delays payment since the amount is being used in his current business.
Buyer only wants to enjoy the discount and other credit benefits.
Buyer is financially weak.
Buyer is naturally slow in responding and paying.
Buyer is a fraud.
Q2. What Does a Collection Letter Sample Look Like?
Ans: A first collection letter sample would look like the one depicted below:
Dear Mr Peter,
It is a friendly reminder to let you know that your account is past due. According to our records, an amount of INR 10,000 is currently 10 days past due. We have sent you a detailed copy of your account statements. If by any chance you have not received these messages and documents, we have provided a summary of your account below.
Invoice number: 12345
Invoice Date: 01/03/17
Amount: INR 10,000
Due Date: 05/03/17
Days past due: 10
We would appreciate it if you could let us know the payment status of this invoice. Please connect with us or send your payment of INR 10,000 to the address below by March 05, 2017, in case you have not already done so.
ATTN: Accounting Dept.
Road number 12
Defense Colony, New Delhi
If there is some mistake or you are unable to pay this time, please contact me at 900-800-1234, so we can rectify if there are any errors or have another arrangement for the payment plan. Thank you for your prompt reply to this letter and continued business.
Q3. What is a Collecting Agency and How Do They Make Money?
Ans: The 3rd party collection agencies are separate from the original creditor. They work out the debt on behalf of various lenders. These 3rd party collection agencies mostly work on a commission that they receive as a percentage of the debt recovered by them for the original creditor. Collection agencies can even buy off bad debts from the original creditor. They work primarily through phone calls and letters. The letters are mostly computerized with a friendly tone of a gentle reminder which may gradually progress to ultimatums. Letters are all pre-written and not personalized for each debtor.