5 top tips for getting paid before the holidays

Atradius news

Christmas is coming, which means it won’t be long before accounts payable teams start winding down for the holidays. If you want to get paid this side of January, you need to act now.


Image of a paid invoice stamp


The first two or three weeks of December can be among the busiest of the year, both personally and professionally. Christmas shopping has to be done and holiday arrangements made. At work, the end of year is often a time to review progress, make a final push to meet targets, and check in with valued clients and customers.

It’s also a short month for most companies, with many (if not most) employees taking up to 10 days off between Christmas and New Year. That includes accounts payable staff - the people who deal with your invoices. If you want to get paid before Christmas, it’s essential to take the holidays into account. That means acting in early December.

Of course, you could wait until January to be paid, but that might put pressure on cash flows in what is already the leanest month of the year for many businesses. With economies struggling, you might not want to start 2024 in debt.

So how can you make sure you get paid before everyone packs up and leaves for the holidays? Here are five useful tips.

Invoice early in December

If your invoicing is automated, invoices will be set to send on a specified date every month. It’s worth bringing this date forward during the holiday season, to make sure the payment can be processed and approved before finance departments shut down for Christmas.  Remember, the people dealing with payments will be trying to squeeze as much as possible into the first half of the month. Invoices that arrive in the last week or so before Friday 22nd may well be ignored until January.

Make your invoices stand out from the crowd

Financial administrators are likely to be sent a glut of invoices in the first two weeks of December, so make yours stand out from the crowd. You might decorate it in a festive way, or include your good wishes for the holiday season from an animated digital Santa. Perhaps add a short video, or a nice image that draws attention, so your invoice ends up on top of the ‘to-do’ pile.

Make your terms crystal clear

If you send an invoice in plenty of time, it’s not unreasonable to ask for payment before the holidays. Make your payment terms and due dates crystal clear on the invoice. It might also be worth a phone call with your customer contact. It’s a good time to go over plans for next year, thank them again for their continued custom, and offer them your good wishes for Christmas and the new year. You can also take the opportunity to mention that you have just emailed an invoice and highlight when payment is due.

Get to know the payments people

Your main contact in client offices might be the person who orders your products or services or a supplier account manager. It’s also worth getting to know the person in accounts who pays your invoice. At least get a name, email address and number. That way, if a payment is delayed or you need to know when the last date for invoicing before Christmas is, you have a direct contact. Nurture the relationship with a thank you note or online Christmas card. When you have a personal relationship with the payments people it’s more likely you’ll be included in the pre-Christmas payment run. Or the pre-summer holiday one, for that matter.

Switch to digital invoicing

If you haven’t yet switched to online invoicing, it might be time to do so now. Online invoicing is one of the easiest ways to make sure invoices are paid on time. Even quite basic invoicing software will automate the process and ensure invoices and payment reminders are sent promptly throughout the year. That saves time for your finance team, removes the risk of invoices getting lost or hidden at the bottom of a pile of paperwork, and makes sure they get to the right person straight away, without having to be routed through an internal postal system. In addition, digital invoices can include clickable links to a range of payment methods, giving customers easier ways to settle bills. The easier you make the payment process, the more likely you are to get paid on time.

There are other - perhaps more extreme - ways to make sure your invoices are paid before Christmas, such as offering a discount for early payment. But in most cases this shouldn’t be necessary. Forming good relationships with the people who make payments, and sending clear digital invoices promptly, is usually all it takes to ensure invoices are always paid on time, at Christmas and throughout the year.   




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