Money moves fast, from you to your vendors and from your customers to you. So why are Accounts Receivable (AR) departments so often stuck in outdated, time sucking practices that create unnecessary errors, waste time and prevent your valuable talent from focusing on their essential work? Why not automate those practices and make it easy for your staff to do what they do best–help your customers pay you! You can revolutionize your AR operation by automating these 5 tasks:
1) Sending Snail-Mail Invoices. This is the 21st century. Last year 60% of companies preferred electronic invoicing, and for obvious reasons…it’s easy to track, lightning-fast to process and very more likely to be paid than a paper invoice that can be misplaced or simply thrown away. If you are reading this, your organization almost certainly already has the digital tools to distribute invoices by e-mail, including clickable links to allow for instant payment.
2) Sending One-Off Payment Reminder Emails. Customers sometimes need to be reminded to make their payments, but it can be confusing to figure out who gets the reminders and how to prioritize them. Should you be reminding people with the highest balances or the ones that have been outstanding the longest? How can you tell if someone is overlooked? Automating your reminder list with customized messaging makes sure everyone gets an appropriate reminder at the appropriate time, and no one gets accidentally added or left out.
3) Prioritizing Collection Calls Manually. Collection calls are as tricky to prioritize as payment reminders, and your customers like them even less. If you can generate collection call lists automatically, along with personalized call scripts, your AR team will be more successful and your revenue stream will flow more abundantly. Automated AR systems also allow you to track balances from purchase through the late payment and collection process with a minimum of manual intervention, which reduces the risks of billing errors and payment disputes.
4) Fielding Every Single Customer Inquiry In Person. While your organization is right to pride itself on its personal touch, your customers don’t have time to wait on hold while your staff rushes to answer phones. Automating your AR service options so that customers can use an online portal to resolve simple problems shows that you value your customers’ time and that you have highly-trained people on the phones when they’re needed. Tasks that your customers may be able to complete using an automated portal include:
- Update contact and account information
- Review account and order history
- Simple troubleshooting, guided by online manuals
- Register non-urgent questions and concerns via email
5) Compiling Data to Generate And Send Reports. AR isn’t just about collecting money, it’s about reporting how you get it and where it came from. Compiling reports manually not only takes an enormous amount of time, it’s very easy to make a mistake. Converting your AR reporting from manual compilation to an automated reporting tool will give you more control over the accuracy and timeliness of your reporting, as well as the option of creating and revising reports far more quickly.
You hired your Accounts Receivable team to manage your company’s central revenue stream. When you automate their purely administrative tasks so that they can focus on building customer relationships, you invest in their success and yours. When your customers encounter problems with their invoicing or their payments, it reflects badly on your organization.