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Life & Work with Dee Bowden of Frederick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dee Bowden.

Hi Dee, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
About fifteen years ago, I worked for a small IT firm outside of Boston, where I am originally from. They hired me as a part-time collections specialist. They had $8 million worth of sales on their books but not in the bank. Every time I tell that part, I must pause because that is a lot of money. We are talking about a small IT firm, with less than 100 people. The sales team did extremely well, making $8 million worth of sales in software licenses and everything IT. The company billed for the services, but in the part where I come in, which is collections, they never did collect the cash.

I was given a list of accounts, and I am a believer, so I said a short prayer that said, “God, I don’t know what happened that they had this much money on the books, but not the bank, but I need you to show me how to resolve this.” After my prayer, I went to work and what I know about business-to-business collections, also known as Accounts Receivables, is that it is four things. Problem-solving, customer service, gratitude, and relationship building. This was a huge problem that had not been addressed; if it did not get addressed, it would be a bigger one. Now, as great as that is, this part of the story was life-changing for me and what made me create Collect the Cash! I recovered $6 million while working part-time in 60 days.

The CEO says, “Listen, I want everybody to come downstairs, and we’ll chat. We come downstairs, and he says, “Listen, I want to thank everybody for your time. I appreciate all your services, but we have made an executive decision. We are closing the company today; You’ve got thirty minutes to get your stuff and leave the building. This happened two months before the holiday season. So, after I picked myself up off the floor, I was stunned, “What happened here? Because even though I recovered 6 million dollars in unpaid invoices, and the company had a team of collectors, something else was wrong. More things happened inside the company than just recovering the money. Still, the fact of the matter is that there was that much money on the books, not in the bank, and I came up with this saying Collect the Cash: “The sale is not complete until the money’s actually in the bank.” From that, I realized that many small and medium companies get so focused on the sale, the next contract, the next product, and the next one that they neglect the back-end processes. I created Collect the Cash to teach small business owners that B2B collections are necessary to stay in business. All the old and owed money is not lost but recovered it. You need a strategy to collect the cash.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road. Collections for business to business are not exciting or fun. Most small companies don’t want to admit that they have cash flow issues, especially to an outsider. I have been on a mission to teach small companies that collections are part of the sales process and necessary in business. My journey to creating BCS Solutions and writing my book came from losing my job years ago, seeing how small businesses and those who support the dream of the CEO and work alongside them can have their lives turned upside down in an instant. I have a successful career in receivables management/contract administration. I wrote my book Collect the Cash as a resource for small business owners who need to create tracking systems for their sales and payments and to teach them not to be afraid to ask for the sale and payments.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I have been in receivables management/contract administration for over 10 years. I work with government agencies to close out contracts and recover unused excess funding. What I am most proud of is learning the various government agency systems, effectively closing contracts, and being recognized for returning $7.5 million in one year to one agency. My perseverance and approach to solving problems set me apart from others. I see problems as puzzle pieces that need to be examined to see where they fit and figure out the disconnects that interfere with things not going as smoothly as possible. I am also proud to have been featured in the following media outlets: Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Black Enterprise, and VIP Global Magazine.

We love surprises, fun facts, and incredible stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
My fun facts are that I love Ferris Wheels, Smooth Jazz, Hot Air Balloons, and Wine Tastings.

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