A client came to me the other day with a concern that the number of clients that owed him fees was growing, and getting worse over time. He used the case management software called Clio. Clio tells you who owes you fees, but it doesn’t do this kind of history, and its ad-hoc reporting capability is a bit on the thin side.
Clio does have solid data extraction though, and I was able to extract the client data for paying and non-paying clients. The twist in the mix here, was there was a third type of client, the partial-pays. The partial pays have paid part of their fees, then went into a collection status. While we want fully paid clients, the partially paid ones don’t really fall into the other two categories.
Making matters more complicated, we only have two and a half years of data. It’s difficult to get a trend with two and a half years, and what do you do with the half a year? You can extrapolate, or make a ratio. We really want to know if things are getting worse or better, so a ratio of non-paying to paying clients will work. After some data wrangling, this is what we came up with:
Our ratio of non-paying clients to all clients dropped last year, from 15% to 10%, and dropped again this year which is good
Our ratio of partially-paying clients to all clients also dropped last year, which is good. But this year it leveled off. This isn’t because the year isn’t over yet, you don’t show up in the partially paying client list until you start missing payments.
This is notional data, by the way. So, things got better last year, but we’re not doing better this year. The collections team needs to find more effective measures.