6 hacks to stop you wasting time on payment collection

Payment collection is a major source of admin for any SMB. Claim back the time with these business hacks.


Australian and New Zealand employees waste three hours each week on unnecessary admin, according to research. That's dead time for your business – and payment collection is one of the biggest offenders.

The average amount of time for an invoice to be paid in Australia is 11.7 days past the payment date, according to Illion, meaning staff are spending a chunk of the working week chasing up late-paying customers. And when you factor in sending out invoices, collecting the payments and reconciling the cash, it’s easy to see how payment collection takes so much time and effort.

So, how can you claim back that valuable time?

1. Switch to online invoicing in the cloud

Impact: Speed up payment with electronic invoices

Almost one third of Australian businesses now use cloud-based software. The move to the cloud is particularly important since online invoicing speeds up payment and is included as standard with the major cloud accounting platforms like Xero and MYOB. Xero has found for example that their online invoices get paid an average 33% faster than invoices that aren’t sent electronically.

As well as managing your finances online, you can also quickly create branded electronic invoices and email them straight to your customers – removing the need to print and post hard-copy invoices.

2. Ditch manual payment methods

Impact: Eliminate the need to chase payments

If you regularly invoice customers, relying on them to make manual payments can be problematic – as control over the process sits squarely with the customer, rather than with you.

Choose payment methods that promote fast payment and get you back in control. If you're using manual 'push' payment methods, like bank transfer or one-time card payments, then move to an automated collection method like Direct Debit, standing order or recurring card payments – all of which will ensure you get paid as soon as payment's due.

GoCardless' own research found that 84% of small businesses using Direct Debit through GoCardless for Xero, spent less time chasing payments.

3. Automate your bank reconciliation

Impact: Save hours of time – no need to manually check bank statements

Bank reconciliation is necessary but time-consuming. But with the right software you can automate the whole process of matching your transactions to the bank statement.

Integrate your payment gateway with your billing software for maximum impact here. With GoCardless for Xero for example, payment is collected by Direct Debit and then automatically matched in your accounting software. GoCardless research found that three quarters of users spent less time on bank reconciliation since moving to GoCardless for Xero.

4. Remove the problem of expired cards

Impact: Reduce the hassle of failed payments

Rejected card payments cause real issues if you're collecting regular payments. By choosing a bank-to-bank payment method that doesn't involve a credit or debit card, or credit account, such as Direct Debit through the BECS system, you avoid having to deal with expired card details.

That reduces the wasted time spent chasing customers for new card details, and provides you with a more predictable and secure payment pipeline – giving more stability around the company’s cash flow.

5. Set up notifications for failed payments

Impact: Sort out failed payments faster

When your customers' payments fail, that creates admin and cash flow headaches for the business. So the sooner you’re notified about failed payments, the sooner you can act.

With the right payment software in place, you’re quickly notified of any payments that fail. For example, GoCardless sends an email to your inbox if the cash can’t be collected via the usual Direct Debit. The relevant invoice will then appear in the ‘Pending’ section of your invoices tab, and will also be marked as unpaid in Xero – so you’re always in control of any missing payments.

6. Automatically chase any late-paying customers

Impact: Credit control is much less time-consuming

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to late payments, and Direct Debit can remove the need to chase payment altogether. However, for those customers who still pay by manual payment methods, try automating the payment chasing process.

The smart features of your cloud platform, combined with an increasing choice of debtor tracking apps such as Chaser, Fluidly and Debtor Daddy give you control over your aged debtor numbers, and automatically send out chaser emails to customers.

‹ View all tips

Latest features

Get your invoices paid before Christmas

The Christmas period is nearly upon us and it’s the season to be jolly. But will you be feeling as full of festive cheer at the end of December when you find that your outstanding invoices haven’t been paid?

What I wish I'd known: Free e-Guide for bookkeepers and accountants

GoCardless talked to practice owners, advisors and accounting tech specialists to ask: if they could go back in time, what words of advice would they give to their younger selves?

How Direct Debit can drive key subscription metrics

How can Direct Debit impact the numbers you care about most? Find out as we explain the relationship between Direct Debit and three key subscription success metrics.

View all


Reference guides

View all