On Payment terms and Collections
Today it’s no more enough to be a talented, highly-skilled voice actor.. as you have to be (at the same time) a good negotiator and smart salesperson. Perhaps those who are still working within local markets are not yet in need for these new skills as long as they are still depending on casting agencies which are acting as a gateway between them and their potential clients throughout their markets, however, when you attempt to penetrate global markets and breakthrough regional boundaries you’re going to take new -more difficult- terms and conditions than what you have previously used to deal with.
Dealing with a wide diversity of companies from the far east to the Pacific coast of North America imposes, in most cases, accepting unusually tough payment terms. As a general rule, you’re going to find yourself giving away the luxury of getting a pre-deposit or getting paid right upon delivery, while accepting payment terms of 15 up to 60 calendar days after submitting your invoice, and all of that always depending on:
- The bigger the company/enterprise you’re dealing with and thus, the more sophisticated their procedures and the time laps it takes to process your their payable invoices, which means your due payment is going to take longer to get collected.
- The bigger the volume of a particular project you’re working on, which means it’s going to take significantly longer time to go through quality control and review process at the client side, to get approved, thus the payment process eventually takes longer time to be initiated, some other times, for such big projects, your client could be waiting for his own client/partner to release their payment in order to pay you by turn.
Of course you are not forced to accept such conditions when offered for some project post by any mean, however for the sake of expanding your market outreach and penetrate global markets you will have to accept some different conditions and take over some risks.. it’s a part of the definite cost of business growth and market expansion.
When you deal directly with clients outside your regional domain you will find that the vast majority of small and medium enterprises prices their payable dues within 30-45 calendar days in average.
In some enterprises throughout China, Singapore and Europe payment terms could reach 60 calendar days, some others set the payment date in their payment policy to be (for instance) on the 15th of the next month of the invoice date, while payment terms of some others state that payments are settled on the 15th of the next month after 30 calendar days following the invoice (or delivery) date which could jump with the processing period to more then 60 calendar days.
When you’re about to start a new collaboration with some big enterprise and it’s the first time to deal with, then you encountered such tough payment terns, make sure to take these two steps:
FIRST: DO NOT start working, or deliver the requested recording, no matter how little it was until you get the relevant Purchase Order (P.O) or the equivalent document, from the department in charge, as this is the document which triggers the payment process and defines the payment date and all relevant details like your client’s preferable payment method. If you’re dealing with some mega -corporate like Samsung or Amazon, your payable dues will never get paid if the relevant P.O was not issued and signed off, even of the processing time agreed upon in the payment terms has already passed.
SECOND: Take a loot at the history of the brand and their business portfolio of that enterprise, if you found that you’re dealing with a business entity that has no history, don’t take that risk. The history of a brand is built by deep rooted credibility and good reputation more than anything else.
When some enterprise or company in South Asia, Asia Minor or Middle East tries to impose touch payment terms, do not go through negotiations with them, and leave an impression that such payment terms are a deal breaker. If they (or their clients) have already decided to use your voice, they will accept your terms at the end.
After getting the P.O and submitting your invoice on time, all you have to do is following up to collect the payment on time according to the payment terms agreed upon, however (sometimes) the payment don’t get processed just on time as scheduled !
When you’re dealing with clients and partners from all over the world you have to expect tackling different cultures and ethical backgrounds among different regions, which are reflected in clients’ commitment to process their payable dues precisely on time as scheduled and the way they are managing their payable accounts in general, it also impacts perceiving the fact that their business sustainability in global markets is radically depending on their brand credibility and commitment to their customers as well as to their vendors and providers.