Debt recovery from Flint Bishop supported a FTSE 100 company to recover £2.5m from bad debts that had been written off.

Once achieved, we improved the company’s processes allowing their bad debts to decrease by £26m.

History

Prior to our involvement, debt recovery was managed entirely by the organisation’s internal credit control team. Although the team was made up of experienced professionals, they were ineffective in claiming what was owed to their business.

There were two main reasons for this:

  1. Their debt recovery efforts were against professionals and involved technical issues that made each debt complicated.
  2. Each debtor usually had a legally-qualified person advising them. This meant that on top of each debt being complicated, they were often contested too.

This situation resulted in a build-up of over £2m in old debts, which had previously been written off as uncollectable. Because the amount of money they were writing off each year was increasing, the effects were becoming more problematic.

The role of Flint Bishop

We advised the company that even if they are old and complicated, writing off their debt was not always the only option available to them.

We were confident that by building them a bespoke debt recovery system and improving their internal processes, we could recover large amounts of written off debts and reduce write-offs in the future.

Although they were sceptical of our chances of success, they were interested to see how our ideas and approach could help them.

The actions we took

As the business allowed us to meet with their finance teams and analyse the processes that were currently in place, we were able to gather sufficient information to build a bespoke system.

1. How could we work with their existing internal credit control team?

They wanted their team to continue to issue invoices and chase debts, but wanted to use Flint Bishop to chase the debts that they were unable to collect, starting with their old, written-off debt book.

2. How could we collect their debts without upsetting their clients?

Just because their clients owed them money, it did not mean that the company wanted to cause any ill-feeling or lose the opportunity for future trade.

The analysis was completed by Chief Executive, Qamer Ghafoor, who dedicated 10 days to obtaining a thorough understanding of the client’s order-to-cash processes, which included two visits to their Head Office, analysing their debt processes, payment terms and conditions and policies.

Based on these findings, we built and presented a debt recovery system that included:

  1. New terms and conditions for their sales team to use to improve the likelihood of getting paid without dispute or delay.
  2. New and robust processes for their control team to follow to get quicker payments.
  3. New template letters and precedents so their team could immediately answer common excuses often used by their debtors to delay making payments.
  4. Legal training to ‘up-skill’ their team and give them confidence and practical legal tips on how to improve cash flow.
  5. A workflow to show the most efficient way that we would work with their credit control team.

At the core of this offering was access to our online case management system.

This meant the business’s finance teams see new referrals of book debts, understand what the position was on any case and see all the correspondence in relation to a particular issue.

They could also pass on information to ensure that the work was done as efficiently and as quickly as possible by both parties.

Next steps

Once the system was in place, it very quickly evolved to address common queries and created increased efficiencies, particularly in the early stages.

For instance, we continued to add letters and precedents to their communication process in the early stages of the project to ensure that we had an answer to every possible question raised by debtors.

The result

In just 18 months, we recovered over £2.5m in debts the company had previously written-off.

The new system increased the efficiency of their debt recovery operations, so much so, that their bad debt reduced by a staggering £26m in just two years.

Why was it so successful?

We believe that building a bespoke debt recovery system for our client enhanced their ability to reclaim money that was owed to them.

Unlike most firms, we do not view debt recovery as a standard ‘factory process’ or offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ off-the-shelf package. We aim to get to know each of our clients to ensure that systems are built to their needs, allowing us to collect the debt as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

Please contact us today and find out how we can help you improve your cash flow by collecting your debts and improving your order to cash processes.