Enhancing accounts receivable to think smart in 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge consequences on accounts receivable (AR), arguably more so than the financial crash in 2009. Companies relying on manual AR processes have struggled to keep pace, with office closures and restrictions putting a huge strain on team productivity and resources, due to the lack of cloud-based and automated tools.
This is nowhere more evident than in research from Sidetrade, which revealed that, since 11 March 2020, unpaid invoices increased by 23 percent in UK. As payment delays skyrocket, businesses will have a lot of unhappy customers to contend with.
What are the benefits of automating Accounts Receivables?
By moving away from manual, outdated AR processes, and towards accounts receivable automation tools, businesses can easily enhance efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, cashflow, and increase speed of payment of collection by up to 34 percent.
With access to real-time analytics and payment predictions, businesses gain better insight with reporting, while significantly improving cash flow. AR platforms leverage advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to complete manual tasks, resulting in less room for error, greater employee satisfaction and happier customers.
Customer relations is paramount for every business, which is why it has never been more important to meet customers’ changing expectations with faster and simplified payments. With timely reminders, quicker responses to queries and the ability to pay invoices with a click, customers are provided with more visibility and control than ever before.
How to get the most out of Accounts Receivables?
Our previous blog discusses the operational benefits of a streamlined AR process. In this blog we focus on what to look for to optimise customer experiences. To get the most out of an AR team and to ensure customers receive the best AR experience, organisations must consider the credit-to-cash process and how that impacts customer relations. By understanding what happens during each customer touchpoint, it is easier to define the most appropriate type of interaction. A few key things to consider, include:
1) Clear and consistent voice
A clear ‘voice’ is the first step when establishing customers’ trust, as it tells them who the business is and what it represents. Once customers know and trust a company’s ‘voice’, this should be followed immediately with consistent communication such as invoice reminders. Big or small, this consistency guarantees customer connection and loyalty.
2) Efficient delivery
Many tasks carried out today can be replaced with efficient solutions. For example, if customer’s invoice reminders are sent out manually, this can be automated to reduce potential errors. Phone calls can also be replaced with other forms of electronic communication, to avoid back and forth contact, and ultimately save time.
3) Knowing the customer
Knowing the recipients of all communication can determine the content and tone of the messages being sent by the business. This ensures the right people are being provided the suitable information regarding their account and what next steps may be required.
4) Escalation paths
Identifying escalation paths proves a business is taking care of the customer’s account at hand. This means the right parties, such as Sales, are involved from the get-go, and time is not wasted when it comes to decision making.
Businesses documenting the AR process can make better decisions when communicating with customers. A well-rounded communications strategy provides transparency and ensures complete customer satisfaction. To enhance these processes, an automated AR platform is the most efficient investment to make.