Order to cash (OTC) covers a wide range of processes from sale initiation to collections. Diligent CFOs track key ratios to make sure this important pipeline works efficiently. However, the range of potential OTC problems can be overwhelming. If your metrics are showing an issue, where do you begin to look for a solution?
In our experience, the key is to commit to uncover the root cause of the problem. That is easier said than done, especially when you consider the number of decisions, staff positions and variables that affect each sub-process. The best way to approach this is to look at each process in turn, starting before the sale is ever made. Here is your blueprint for identifying the source of potential issues.
1. Begin by looking at the CRM.
Your sales team is shaping relationships with current and prospective clients all the time, and the CRM is their primary tool. Talk to the people who are an integral part of the pre-sale process, ask specific questions about the procedural and decision points that cause frustration and delays. What is a common obstacle to closing the sale? Would better integration between systems and processes be a boost to the sales team?
2. Next, look at revenue recognition and billing.
This step in the OTC process is co-created by the sales and accounting teams. In order to understand possible obstacles, you have to look at the interactions between the two teams in terms of systems and procedures.
Talk to both sides to get the full story. Does the accounting clerk sit around for days waiting on the signed contract from the sales team? Is the sales team frustrated by the lack of communication from the accounting side? How well does your technology foster collaboration across department lines?
3. Finally, look for trends in the collection cycle.
Is there a specific corporate customer that has been paying late, affecting the DSO trend? If so, explore whether that customer has recently changed something about its payable process. Examine the gap between your credit policy and actual collection record to determine whether the policy needs to change – or be better enforced.
If your team spends hours upon hours every month sending follow-up emails and sorting clunky aging reports, it may be time for a system upgrade. Today’s solutions can automate many of the time consuming steps in billing and collection processes.
Getting your OTC to be best in class
As you look at each sub-process, resist the allure of honing in on any one potential issue. Remember that the goal is to look for root causes of the slow-down across the entire company. Is there an internal issue? Is the problem caused by customers, and if so, how can it be fixed?
If volume is causing a bottleneck, your team may simply need better tools. Look for a solution that will offer a great ROI by automating routine tasks and boosting your collections. The right-fit platform will also free up your team’s time to focus on what they do best – managing client relationships and making decisions that will boost your company’s bottom line.
If you are frustrated by a slow OTC cycle and need a solution, give our team at YayPay a call. The right automated billing and collections platform can make a measurable difference!