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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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7–16. Set Up Automatic Fax of Overdue Invoices

The most common request that a collections person receives from a customer is to send a copy of an invoice that the customer cannot find. To do so, the collections person must either access the accounting computer system to print out a copy of the invoice or go to the customer’s file to find it. Then the collections person must create a cover letter and fax it and the invoice to the customer. In addition, the fax may not go through, in which case the collections person must repeat this process. This process is typically the longest of all collections tasks—a collection call may only take a few minutes, but faxing an invoice can take several times that amount.

Few companies have found a way around the faxing problem. Those that have done so automatically extract an invoice record from the accounting database and fax it to the customer—all at the touch of a button. To do so, a company must link the invoice file in the accounting database to another file containing the name and fax number of the recipient, combine these two files to create a cover letter and invoice, and route the two records to a fax server for automatic transmission, one that will keep transmitting until the fax goes through, and then notify the sender of successful or failed transmissions. The advantages of this approach are obvious: immediate turnaround time, no need for the collections person to move to complete a fax, and automatic notification if there is a problem ...

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