While businesses face the prospect of a possible recession, they are also confronted by the risk of employee turnover in a tight labor market. Last month, we explored how finance leaders can detect early signs of dissatisfaction and disengagement, and practical steps that they can take to get ahead of staff retention challenges.
However, even with a strong focus on employee engagement and a positive work culture, the nature of accounts receivable can impact job satisfaction and morale. Traditional tasks can be manual — and often mundane — while the role itself can be stressful given the bearing it has on company performance and success.
Whatever the reason, AR employees need the right tools at their disposal to eliminate the grunt work, create more value for their organization and ultimately, discover greater job satisfaction. Through automating AR tasks, employees can realize long-term benefits, both for themselves and for their business.
Visualizing the Challenge
CorneaGen, a healthcare business focused on transforming how corneal surgeons work, began working with Quadient AR in 2020.
The company was struggling with a slow manual dunning process. This was causing a massive headache for their employees. They were calling customers and not receiving replies, and their collections performance suffered as a result.
On top of this, AR reporting was extremely disorganized. Collectors did not have a system to follow, so they were managing portfolios in several different ways. This made it difficult to determine the actual state of a customer account. Of course, this not only frustrated staff and their stakeholders — it also led to write-offs because invoices were not being addressed efficiently.
And their AR didn’t offer customer-centric capabilities. Customers couldn’t access account details or make payments when they wanted. This led to difficult interactions and in some cases, customer churn.
The combination of these challenges created a difficult working environment for employees. Not only because of the daily impact the challenges had on job satisfaction and morale. They also made it harder for staff to meet KPIs and company targets and this compounded the issue.
Eye Spy a Smarter Approach
Using Quadient AR, CorneaGen’s team was able to automate the entire collections process, creating customized cadences for their customer demographics. This had a huge impact on employee morale by eliminating repetitive, manual tasks. It also transformed the company’s cash flow, cutting customer payment time in half!
Using Quadient AR, CorneaGen’s customers pay 50% faster!
Financial reporting became simpler, which meant employees could manage their portfolios more efficiently and easily communicate the status of accounts to stakeholders. The result of this was that write-offs were reduced by a whopping 70% as the team was able to make faster and more effective decisions on customer accounts.
For customers, the technology’s cloud-based portal enables them to access their accounts and make payments at any time, from anywhere. Finance professionals often express frustration about needing to routinely field basic customer questions on their accounts. The tool eliminated this problem, improving the AR team’s experience as their time is no longer spent responding to emails or speaking to customers over the phone. Instead, they can focus on the tasks that drive greater value and satisfaction in their role.
Smarter Work Equals Happier Employees
Understandably, the financial numbers — such as reduced days sales outstanding (DSO) or write-offs — are often the headline statistics. But given that AR employees deliver those results, it’s vital to consider how automation elevates their success and morale.
Firstly, using this technology results in skyrocketing performance and KPIs being exceeded. That means career growth opportunities, better compensation, and an increased sense of self-worth.
Staff can wave goodbye to the manual tasks that leave them feeling bogged down and dissatisfied and focus on value-added activities. "Value-added" doesn't just mean adding value to the organization. It also means adding value to that person's experience at work.
With improved reporting capabilities, employees are better able to communicate the value of their work to leadership. This leads to more productive and rewarding relationships. Reporting is famously a weak point for finance professionals and one that can have a big impact on their career. With a smart system to organize and communicate data, it’s far easier for employees to illustrate the valuable work they are doing.
And, when automation is used, customer relationships become an enjoyable part of the job again. Customers feel looked after and employees can spend their time nurturing those relationships, instead of having to manage them reactively when something goes wrong.
Unfortunately, this is often not the status quo when it comes to the standard AR environment. But it's a picture today’s AR teams should be showing to their managers and leaders. As CorneaGen demonstrates, it’s an achievable goal. It's better for the staff. It's better for business. And an upfront investment in the right technology is a small price to pay for the rewards that follow.
“Quadient AR has been a game changer for CorneaGen. When the global crisis struck, we faced significant collections challenges. Quadient AR enabled us to not only address these challenges, but also introduce more effective ways of managing AR, which has led to remarkable cash flow improvements and an enhanced customer experience.”
– Jaime Beadnell, Billing and Collections Manager, CorneaGen
As the manager of the AR team, Jaime has been thrilled that employees are receiving the praise they deserve for their hard work. The AR department is making a huge impression within the wider business and their value is being recognized.
They’re managing AR effectively, which is bringing in more cash. They’re enhancing customer experiences, which is improving relationships and reducing churn.
And, of course, retention challenges are being controlled more effectively as employees have discovered greater satisfaction in their roles and are being rewarded for their performance. At the same time, the business is flying high financially and able to bear the brunt of today’s economic challenges.