In a foreign transaction, an open account can be a convenient method of payment if the buyer is well established, has a long and favorable payment record, or has been thoroughly checked for creditworthiness. With an open account, the exporter simply bills the customer, who is expected to pay under agreed terms at a future date. Some of the largest firms abroad make purchases only on open account.
However, there are risks to open account sales. The absence of documents and banking channels might make it difficult to pursue the legal enforcement of claims. The exporter might also have to pursue collection abroad, which can be difficult and costly. Another problem is that receivables may be harder to finance, since drafts or other evidence of indebtedness are unavailable. There are several ways to reduce credit risk,through such means as export credit insurance and factoring (see Financing Export Transactions).
Exporters contemplating a sale on open account terms should thoroughly examine the political, economic, and commercial risks. They should also consult with their bankers if financing will be needed for the transaction before issuing a pro forma invoice to a buyer.
Developing an Export Plan
Developing a Market Plan
Technology Licensing /Joint Ventures
Preparing Your Product for Export
International Legal Considerations
Shipping Your Product
Pricing, Quotations, and Terms
Methods of Payment
Financing Export Transactions