The Unique Relationship Between The Tech Industry and Debt


The fast-paced growth and high volatility of the tech industry can lead to accrued debt, meaning some of this debt inevitably goes unpaid. Let’s explore the tech industry's relationship to debt, and how debt collection services can benefit growing technology companies.





How Debt Is Accrued


  • Investing in Startups: Tech companies frequently utilize private equity or venture capital firms to get started.  Once they experience successful growth and a high volume of sales, some companies can experience delinquencies and potential charge-offs.
  • Limited Resources: Many tech companies operate with small staff serving a large volume clients. This limited manpower is usually depleted by sales and operations functions, making it challenging to collect payments efficiently.
  • Rapid Growth: The tech industry often experiences rapid growth, requiring companies to quickly scale their sales and operations teams. This growth can outpace their ability to manage accounts receivable, leading to uncollected payments.


Why Debt Goes Unpaid


  • Staff Turnover: High staff turnover, both within tech companies and their clients, disrupts established payment routines and communication channels.
  • Late Payments and Defaults: An increase in late payments and defaulted obligations can significantly impact the company's financial health. If these issues are not addressed promptly, the debt per client can grow, reducing the chances of resolution.

The tech industry is also highly sensitive to market trends. Trend sensitivity can quickly impact the financial stability of entire subsets of the industry. This volatility is less pronounced in more traditional industries.


Why Should Tech/Software Companies Partner With A Collection Agency?


Tech and software companies have unique financial needs and operational challenges that make partnering with a collection agency particularly beneficial. Here’s a detailed look at why these companies should consider this partnership:



Maintaining Positive Cash Flow


Positive cash flow is essential for the survival and growth of tech and software companies. These companies often operate on tight budgets and rely on continuous revenue to fund development, pay employees, and invest in new projects.

Unlike industries with more stable, one-time payments for tangible goods, tech companies often depend on recurring revenue from subscriptions or service contracts. Any disruption in these revenue streams can significantly impact their financial health.


Effortless Process


Partnering with a collection agency allows tech companies to concentrate on their core operations—such as product development, customer support, and sales—without being distracted by the complexities of debt recovery.
Collection agencies bring specialized expertise and resources to the table, efficiently handling the debt recovery process. This expertise ensures higher success rates in collecting overdue payments compared to in-house efforts.



Reducing Write-Offs


Effective debt collection reduces the amount of debt that tech companies need to write off, helping to keep overall costs down. This cost control is vital in an industry where profit margins can be thin and competition fierce.

Lower write-offs contribute to a healthier balance sheet, making the company more attractive to investors and better positioned for long-term success.
Writing off significant amounts of debt can be detrimental to tech companies, as they may not have the financial cushion to absorb such losses. Recovering unpaid debts helps avoid these write-offs, maintaining financial stability and ensuring ongoing operations.  

The funds recovered through debt collection can be reinvested into the company, supporting growth initiatives and innovation.

The Need For Collection Services


What makes the tech industry uniquely suited to have a greater need for collection services is its rapid growth combined with a typically lean staff. Fast-growing tech companies often achieve significant sales, meaning they have a lot of clients and generate substantial revenue. However, these companies usually operate with a small team, which means they may not have enough staff to manage everything, including the necessary resources required to resolve overdue payments.

The staff they do have might not have the specialized skills or expertise needed to handle delinquent collections efficiently. Collecting overdue payments can be a complex process that requires knowledge of legal regulations, negotiation tactics, and persistence.

Outsourcing this need to collection agencies becomes a smart strategy. Collection agencies specialize in recovering outstanding payments, allowing tech companies to resolve their receivables issues with minimal effort on their part. This lets the tech companies focus on what they do best—developing and selling their products—while ensuring they still get paid for their services.


The Order-to-Cash (O2C) cycle


The O2C cycle starts when a customer places an order and ends when payment is received. Accounts receivable management services, like those from NSB, can step in to assist with late or delinquent payments by streamlining and optimizing the collection process for you.

Order Processing and Invoicing:

  • Verify customer information, credit limits, and payment terms to reduce non-payment risks.
  • Ensure invoices are clear, accurate, and sent promptly.
  • Track invoices, due dates, and internal aging reports to manage the billing process efficiently.

Payment Collection and Cash Application:

  • Handle payment collection using compliant strategies that maintain positive customer relationships.
  • Manage reminders and follow-ups to ensure timely collections.
  • Accurately apply received payments to the correct invoices, reducing errors and keeping financial records up-to-date.

Resolving Disputes and Providing Insights:

  • Assist in quick, efficient resolution of invoice disputes to minimize cash flow disruptions.
  • Offer detailed reporting and analysis of receivables, providing insights into customer payment behaviors and overall financial health.

Understanding The Legitimacy of Debt Collection


When a debt is sent to a collection agency like NSB, it is important to understand that this money is contractually and legally owed to the client. The role of these agencies is to uphold the legally binding agreements made between the client and the borrower. Here’s why this distinction is crucial:

Upholding Legal Agreements

Debt collection agencies, including NSB, operate based on legal and contractual agreements. When a borrower fails to fulfill their payment obligations, it is the responsibility of the collection agency to ensure that these legally binding agreements are honored. This process is not about unfairly targeting the borrower but about enforcing the terms of a contract that both parties initially agreed upon.

Ensuring Financial Integrity

For tech companies and other businesses, maintaining financial integrity is essential. Unpaid debts can severely impact a company's cash flow and overall financial health. By collecting these debts, agencies like NSB help businesses recover funds that are rightfully theirs, allowing them to reinvest in their operations, pay employees, and continue to innovate and grow.

Ethical and Professional Approach

While the money collected is legally owed to the client, NSB approaches debt collection with professionalism and ethics. It is important to communicate with borrowers in a non-accusatory manner, acknowledging their situation while emphasizing the legal obligation to pay the debt. This approach not only helps in maintaining a respectful relationship but also increases the likelihood of recovering the owed amount.

Clarifying Misconceptions

Many borrowers might view collection agencies negatively due to misunderstandings about their role. It's important to clarify that NSB is not there to harass or intimidate but to ensure that the financial agreements are honored. Highlighting the fact that the money is rightfully owed to the client helps in reducing any stigma associated with the debt collection process.



When Is It Time To Work With a Collection Agency?


Deciding when to bring in a collection agency can be critical for your company's financial health. Here’s how to know when it’s time:

Serious Cash Flow Issues:

Even if your sales are high and you’re delivering a quality product, you might still have cash flow problems if your customers aren't paying you on time. This can make it hard to cover your own expenses and keep the business running smoothly.

Considering a Loan:

If you're thinking about taking out a loan because you're not getting paid by your customers, it means you’re essentially financing your customers' businesses. This is a sign that you need help collecting the money owed to you.

Exhausted Efforts:

If your accounting team has tried everything they can to collect overdue payments but the number of delinquent accounts keeps growing, it’s time to seek outside help.

It’s important to act quickly when dealing with unpaid debts. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to collect the money. A collections agency can step in and use its expertise to recover the outstanding payments, helping you maintain a healthy cash flow and avoid further financial strain.


What Are The Initial Steps For Finding a Collection Agency?



Understand the Reviews


When you read online reviews of collection agencies, keep in mind that many of these reviews are written by people who owe money and are upset about the collection process. This can result in generally poor reviews for many agencies. Clients who use these services often don’t leave reviews because they don’t want to reveal how they handle their internal collections processes.


Check for Compliance


Look for a reputable agency that values compliance. This means they should have the necessary certifications, licenses, and a Compliance Manager maintaining processes to ensure they follow all legal and ethical guidelines. Compliance is crucial to avoid any legal troubles and to ensure that collections are handled fairly.



Industry Experience


Find an agency that has experience in your specific industry. They will be more familiar with the typical challenges and requirements of your sector. Ask for referrals from companies similar to yours to ensure the agency has a proven track record in your field.



Benefits of Outsourcing Collections

In today's fast-paced business environment, maintaining a healthy cash flow is crucial for the survival and growth of any company. One effective way to ensure that your business stays financially stable is by outsourcing your collections.



Improved Cash Flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. Professional collection agencies specialize in recovering outstanding debts, helping you improve cash flow and ensuring that your business has the necessary funds for ongoing operations and growth. By outsourcing collections, you can turn overdue invoices into cash, stabilizing your financial situation and enabling future investments.

Focus on Core Business Activities

Running a business involves juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. Outsourcing collections allows you to concentrate on your core business activities, such as product development, customer service, and sales, without the distraction of chasing overdue payments. This focus can lead to increased productivity and growth, as your team can dedicate more time and energy to what they do best.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape of debt recovery can be complex and time-consuming. Collection agencies are well-versed in the legal and regulatory requirements governing debt recovery, ensuring that collections are handled in compliance with all relevant laws and are properly licensed in all States. This reduces the risk of legal issues and ensures that your business operates in a compliant manner.



Costs vs. Recoveries With Collection Agencies

When hiring a third-party collection agency, there are no upfront costs for NSB clients. Clients keep the majority of what is collected, and we retain a commission percentage based on the total funds recovered.


Costs and Potential Recoveries


  • Profit Impact: It may be a small segment of your receivables, but delinquent accounts are important from a profit standpoint. If you're operating on a 10% profit margin, writing off $10,000 in profit means you'll need to generate an additional $100,000 in revenue to make up the difference.

  • Timeliness: Timeliness can’t be emphasized enough. Time is not your friend when it comes to outstanding debt, and the longer you wait to take action, the less collectable your accounts become. National statistics show that debt accrued in many industries can decline in collectability as much as 8% per month.



Choosing The Right Collection Agency


Check Core Values

Start by reviewing the collection agency’s core values, which are usually listed on their website. This step is vital to ensure that their principles align with your company’s ethics and business practices. An agency that shares your values will likely approach debt recovery in a manner consistent with your company's culture and expectations.


Trade Associations

Determine if the collection agency is active in trade associations. Membership in these associations often indicates a commitment to industry standards and continuous improvement. Active participation in trade groups also suggests that the agency stays updated on best practices and regulatory changes, which can enhance their effectiveness and reliability.


Certifications and Licenses

Verify that the agency is certified, licensed, and bonded. These credentials are essential for ensuring legal compliance and professional reliability. Certifications and licenses demonstrate that the agency adheres to industry regulations and standards, which is crucial for avoiding legal complications and ensuring ethical practices in debt recovery.


Seek Referrals

Speak to other business owners and ask if they work with a collection agency. Referrals are an excellent way to gain insights into an agency’s performance and client satisfaction. Hearing firsthand experiences from other businesses can provide valuable information about the agency’s effectiveness, professionalism, and approach to debt recovery.

How to Evaluate Collection Performance


Evaluating your current performance against the performance of a collection agency is crucial to identify your current needs and ensure any agency you work with is effectively recovering debts for your business. Here are key metrics and methods to assess their performance:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


  • Recovery Rate: Measure the percentage of debt recovered by the agency compared to the total amount assigned for collection. A higher recovery rate indicates better performance.

  • Time to Recovery: Track the average time it takes to recover debts. Faster recovery times are generally preferable as they improve cash flow.

  • Cost per Recovery: Calculate the cost of using the agency's services relative to the amount recovered. This helps determine the cost-effectiveness of the agency.

  • Success Rate: Evaluate the agency’s success rate in recovering different types of debts, such as older debts versus newer debts. This can provide insights into their overall effectiveness.


Flexibility of Collection Strategies

The strategies offered by a commercial collection agencies can be highly flexible to suit your specific needs and preferences. Customized strategies are developed based on the client’s specific requirements and the details of their outstanding account portfolio.

A detailed discovery process allows for thorough onboarding, enabling the agency to align closely with your existing processes while enhancing them to achieve effective account resolution. This tailored approach ensures that the agency’s strategies are not only effective but also closely aligned with your company’s goals and operational style.

Additionally, ongoing communication and regular updates ensure that any necessary adjustments can be made promptly, keeping the collection process aligned with evolving business needs and priorities. This flexibility helps maximize recovery rates and maintain strong client-agency relationships.



NSB - The Trusted Partner You Need


We offer advanced recovery solutions and have been a leader in the industry since 1986, during which time we have supported hundreds of clients across dozens of industries. Few agencies offer the specialized expertise that we offer.