Should You Give a Discount for Early Payment?

If, based on past experience, J Co did not expect the customer to make the payment within 14 days, then the full $2,000 would have been recorded as revenue in the first instance. If the payment was made within the 14-day period after all, this would require an adjustment to reduce revenue by $60. Eric is an accounting and bookkeeping expert for Fit Small Business. He has a CPA license in the Philippines and a BS in Accountancy graduate at Silliman University. If you’re a QuickBooks Online user, you can add a discount to an invoice or sales receipt for customers who pay early by turning the Discount feature on. To do this, click on the gear icon on the top right part of your dashboard, select Account and Settings, and then choose Sales.

We believe all businesses can and should have equitable access to low-cost, convenient capital to grow and thrive. Get up and running with free payroll setup, and enjoy free expert support. CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Our best expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it. You’ll reduce the cost of doing business when a discount amount is more than the finance charges—including loan interest.

  • The longer a business waits to get paid, the more risks there are involved.
  • Not all small businesses have a full-fledged accounting team in place to track and manage early payment discounts.
  • Offering discounts cuts into your profits (though the benefits of early payment are often still worth it if your business has tight margins).
  • Because the Sales Discounts account is decreasing the revenue your business earns, you need to deduct the total from your business’s gross revenue at the end of the period.
  • A sales discount is a reduction in the price of a product or service that is offered by the seller, in exchange for early payment by the buyer.

Your chart of accounts will need at least one or two more accounts added if you want to take advantage and track early payment discounts. On the Accounts Receivable end, if you’re giving a discount to a customer, you’ll need to set up a the Sales Discounts account (in QuickBooks Online, this is Discounts/Refunds Given). And on the payables side, businesses can save themselves a ton of money by taking advantage of suppliers who offer these discounts (or tack on interest). When deciding your cash discount, consider your industry standards and competitors.

Accounts Payable Cash Flow: How AP Impacts Cash Flow and Your Cash Flow Statement

If you have a customer that pays you for 50 invoices you will need to go into each of those 50 invoices and apply the early discount. Afterwards you go to receive payments and apply the check to those invoices. If your business is in a period of negative cash flow, it can be very beneficial.

  • Filter to select the customer name and the invoice just paid by the customer.
  • If you opt for static discounts, customers may also take advantage of static discount terms attached to an invoice, deducting the discount without actually paying early.
  • AP automation software results in quicker three-way matching, faster approvals, and better cash management capability so you can take advantage of those early payment discounts if you desire.
  • However, if you feel comfortable with the current financial position of your business, offering early payment discounts may not be required.

Another common sales discount is “2% 10/Net 30” terms, which allows a 2% discount for paying within 10 days of the invoice date, or paying in 30 days. Before offering customers an early payment discount, consider your profit margin. After all, you don’t want to wind up with a low or nonexistent profit. Traditionally, early payment discounts businesscommunicationblog com are initiated by the supplier, which will offer discounts to customers when invoicing for goods or services. However, this type of arrangement lacks both certainty and flexibility. For buyers, early payment discounts mean a lower cost of goods and are likely to represent an attractive, risk-free return on the company’s cash.

Maximizing Early Payment Discounts: Proper Accounting Practices

To encourage customers to settle their invoices early and improve cash flow, many business owners offer an incentive. Payment terms such as “5% 10 net 30” mean a client can receive a 5% discount if their invoice is paid within 10 days; otherwise, they must pay the full amount within 30 days. In summary, early payment discounts create a mutually beneficial arrangement. Vendors benefit from improved cash flow and customer loyalty, while customers enjoy cost savings, enhanced cash flow, and stronger supplier relationships.

It is a cheaper option than your current borrowing cost

Implemented properly and used at appropriate times, early payment discounts work for both suppliers and customers. An early payment discount is offered by vendors and suppliers as a way to incentivize their customers to pay early. Prompt payment discounts (also known as settlement or cash discounts) are offered to credit customers to encourage prompt payment of their account. It is not guaranteed that customers will take advantage of prompt payment discounts at the point of sale as it is dependent upon whether or not the credit customer pays within the settlement window. An early payment discount is a form of trade finance, allowing buyers to pay a discounted amount to suppliers in exchange for settling invoices before their maturity date. Also known as a prompt payment discount or early settlement discount, it’s typically calculated as a percentage of the goods and services purchased.

The payment terms information includes your early payment discount. To write the terms of your early payment discount, write the percentage discount the customer will receive, followed by the number of days they must pay by to receive this discount. You can include your early payment discount terms directly on the invoice.

Demystifying Early Payment Discounts: A Comprehensive Guide for Modern Businesses

As mentioned above, tracking early payment discounts can be a nightmare if you’re still using a manual accounting system. Unlike quick discounts, which are offered at the time of sale and usually involve a cash purchase, an early payment discount is part of the terms that have been agreed upon by you and your customer. Any customer that you sell to on credit should have credit terms assigned to them in your accounting software application, which serve as an informal agreement between you and them. Traditionally, most prompt payment discounts are initiated by the supplier and offer a discount between 1% to 5% if payment is made early. But a new method, dynamic discounting, is also gaining in popularity that can be initiated by either the buyer or the seller, with terms agreed upon before invoicing.

Find out if others in your industry offer early payment discounts (and if they do, how much). Customers may be willing to switch to your business if they see that you offer more favorable payment terms. What happens if a buyer pays late or misses the early payment window?

Not only does it match customer choice, it provides stronger internal controls to prevent fraudulent payments. QB online was not designed to accept multiple payments from one customer with multiple invoices. When your customer pays early, you can go back to the invoice and apply the discount to zero out the balance. It’s well documented that an inability to improve cash flow is the No. 1 downfall of small businesses that fail to survive.

When the customer pays, it’s time to reverse the entry by creating a second journal entry. Debit your Cash account to increase it and credit your Accounts Receivable account to decrease it. Using double-entry accounting, create an initial journal entry when the customer purchases something before they pay.


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