Not quite paperless

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Preparing and mailing invoices is a time-consuming process and waiting for payments to be mailed back can be painfully slow, especially for small publications where maintaining a healthy cash flow is imperative.

Diane Kortus, president and publisher of Community News Publications in suburban Tampa, has found a solution that has worked at her newspapers for several years.

Small accounts pay for advertising by credit card, debit card or ACH debit each week when the ad is printed. The sales team captured the credit card or ACH information with a signed contract, but payments are not processed until the newspaper is distributed.

"We tell our customers that our proof-of-purchase is when our paper is delivered, so that's when we process their payment," said Kortus. "We often equate it to our clients' transactions with their customers. If you're a restaurant, you get paid after the meal is consumed; if you're a retailer, when the customer leaves the store with your merchandise in a bag. And at our company, we get paid every Wednesday when our readers receive their paper."

Most small advertisers prefer to pay when their ad publishes, Kortus said, rather than receiving a statement at the end of the month.  "Paying $100 a week is less daunting and easier on your cash flow than receiving a bill at the end of the month for $400," she said.

There are two other important advantages, Kortus adds. "We get our money when the ad publishes, which helps my cash flow, and I keep my reps focused on selling new contracts instead of wasting precious selling time collecting money."

Ad agencies and large advertisers with on-going contracts are still invoiced and have the traditional 30-day terms. But Kortus says her company mails only about 25 invoices a week out of about 150 advertisers.

Community News Publications owns The Laker and Lutz News. For more information, contact Kortus at dkortus@cnewspubs.com or call (813) 503-5213. 

Does your newspaper have a good idea for a special section? If so, send a brief description to Cindy Durham at cindy@snpa.org.

Mary Ann DeSantis is a freelance writer and former SNPA staff member.  She can be reached at desantis.maryann@gmail.com.

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