If you're using one of the many available accounting software packages for billing and accounts receivable processing, check it first to see if it prepares the aging schedule automatically. Most accounting software packages will prepare an accounts receivable aging schedule at the touch of a button, but always check, and don't forget to solicit your accountant's advice.
Using the receivables aging schedule
The aging schedule can be used to identify the customers that are extending the time it takes to collect your accounts receivable. If the bulk of the overdue amount in receivables is attributable to one customer, then steps can be taken to see that this customer's account is collected promptly. Overdue amounts attributable to a number of customers may signal that your business needs to tighten its credit policy toward new and existing customers.
The aging schedule also identifies any recent changes in the accounts making up your total accounts receivable balance. Almost every business has to deal with customers that are slow to pay; you should expect the same for your business.
However, if the makeup of your accounts receivable changes, when compared to the previous month, you should be able to spot the change instantly. Is the change the result of a change in your credit policy? Was the change in accounts receivable caused by some sort of billing problem? What effect will this change in accounts receivable have on next month's cash inflows? The accounts receivable aging schedule can help you spot these problems in accounts receivable, and provide the necessary answers early enough to protect your business from cash flow problems.