Gamifying Accounts Receivable

This entry was posted on Jul 24 2011

Unbeknownst to many people, many successful businesses die due to a lack of cash.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it?

It is because most businesses sell on credit to other businesses. On paper, the company is profitable, but at the same time the company’s cash reserves, which they use to operate the business, dwindle to nothingness.

To combat this usually offer incentives for paying quickly, such as a 2% discount if the receivable is paid within 10 days. This is a good thing, as it can build up to significant savings for the paying company.

This idea of added incentives is well developed in sales, with higher discounts given to larger orders. This allows companies to show a larger paper profit, if a smaller margin, and attract investors. However, it does not keep the company afloat.

What I think a better solution would be, and is applicable outside of providing physical products, is better developing the payment portion of the business cycle.

Imagine this: A company gets .5% off their bill for paying within 10 days. They do this 3 times in a row, they get 1% off. 7 times in a row, they get 1.5% off. And so on and so on until a maximum discount is reached.

Outside of discounts, a company could offer other incentives to paying early by partnering with other business, like offering frequent flyer miles with a partner airline. Or perhaps hotel discounts. Or sales discounts with an electronics company.

If a company wanted, they could further increase the incentive for paying early by issuing a press release of top ten customers, not based on orders, but on payments. This would give the paying companies greater status and reputation, thereby increasing the incentive to pay.

So, by using game mechanics in one’s account receivable policy, a company can increase their chances of survivability, and not just post potential paper profits.

About jkempf

James Kempf, CEO of Cliché Studio, has made two games for Mercury Retrograde Press, learned from managing the comics at Criminal Records that John Stewart is the best Green Lantern, and once happily played a 12 ft. dwarf in Rifts.