Actually, it's a little bit more than that. Specifically, it's the lifeblood of a business, whether it be a lemonade stand on the street corner or a book publisher. And when it comes to the latter, we all love to see an endless stream of book sales roll in. But turning that mounting stack of purchase orders into cash receipts involves more than sitting back and waiting for checks to arrive. Wholesaler accounts payables departments may try to be diligent about meeting payment deadlines, but let's face it: they deal with an enormous amount of paperwork every day. So don't rely upon them to process your payments on time. Take it upon yourself to make sure they are on top of your accounts and you will, in turn, maximize your cash flows. Here are some helpful tips to make this happen:
Maintain updated contact information for the person who deals directly with your account and that person's supervisor. The former will help make sure you're paid on time, the latter can make sure things get processed if Plan A doesn't pan out.
Be persistent when inquiring about payment status. One e-mail or phone call, often not returned, won't get you anywhere. It's not that they are ignoring you; they handle many accounts, and yours can get lost in the shuffle. Don't allow that to happen. Stay on top of the person who won't get back to you. The squeaky wheel does get the grease. At the very least, at some point your contact will simply get tired of you trying to track them down, and you'll get a response.
Don't wait for your account statements to be requested in order to process payments to you. Find out when they're normally due, and set up a schedule to generate and send them on--or ahead of--schedule.
At the end of the day, if someone owes you money, don't hesitate or apologize for being aggressive and proactive when trying to collect it. You don't have to break any knees (unless it's absolutely necessary) to stay on top of where your books and your money are.