Industry sector:

Chinese catering: Cash from debtors

Restaurants and take-aways are mainly cash businesses, meaning that people pay for their meals by cash, cheque, debit or credit card when they order them - or right after eating them. But you may have some account customers who you invoice at regular intervals. These might include business customers who visit your restaurant frequently. After they have been sent an invoice but before they pay, they are your debtors. When they pay you, the payment is referred to as 'Cash from debtors'.

Payment terms

Agree payment terms with your account customers so that there's no confusion over when invoices should be settled. You might, for example, require all accounts to be settled every month, perhaps by a particular day of the month. Alternatively, you might state on your invoice that payment must be made within, say, 28 days of the invoice date.

Make an estimate of the income you might receive from account customers and enter that amount in the month in which the money will be received.

Consider what steps you will take to recover any overdue amounts and whether you will charge interest on these.

Your business stationery

Ask your local printers to produce some invoices for you for your account customers. They will be able to advise you on layout and style. You must have your VAT registration number on your invoices if you are registered for VAT.