Missed Opportunity: Automating the Collections Process

It’s easy to wax poetic about the benefits of automating the credit-to-cash process.

  • You can reduce the cost of invoicing by up to 94%
  • You can improve your Collections Effectiveness Index (CEI) by up to 20%
  • You can improve your AR team’s efficiency up to 3X
  • You can increase cash flow up to 26%

Despite the obvious benefits, according to a recent survey by YayPay, 44% of organizations have their credit-to-cash (C2C) process “somewhat automated.”  Only 17% have a “fairly automated” process and none are fully automated.

With the change in business conditions due to Covid-19, the need for a centralized, cloud-based system to manage back office functions has become critical. With AR and collections teams now distributed, or with limited in-office interactions, they require access to various AR systems and data sources to do their jobs effectively. They need support for processing payments - ideally electronically. And they need to communicate with each other and with customers.

While the 44% number shows there’s plenty of room for companies to improve across the C2C process, there’s one area in the research that stands out as neglected when businesses implement automation for their AR teams.

Collections.

Less than 30% of organizations have implemented automation into their collections processes, and yet that is one key part of the C2C lifecycle that generates revenue for the business.

Over half the companies surveyed have no automation or barely any at all.

When employing automation to support your C2C process, you have an opportunity to increase your cash flow and accelerate your operations by ensuring that collections is part of that effort.  

Here are some key areas to consider for automation in your collections process:

  • Payment reminders. Reminding customers to pay you, in a professional, friendly and timely way, helps encourage on-time payments. You can use automated communications to send friendly “upcoming payment due” notices, as well as past due reminders. These notifications can be done via email or text.
  • Inbound requests. Automated responses to common inbound requests over the email or through your AR system can save your team a lot of time and manual effort. With smart machine learning technology that recognizes the type of request received, you can automate a response to ensure quick resolution - simple requests that could be managed through automation include things like unsubscribe requests, payment link requests, invoice copy requests or PO number requests.
  • Repetitive processes.  Cadences and workflows can be automated for follow ups and dunning letters, to track open rates, report on bounces and support internal and external notes, eliminating duplicating efforts when multiple resources are interacting with the same customer.
  • Process clarity. By implementing automation as part of your collections process, a systematic approach is established.  Having a set process that is consistent and clearly communicated ensures that customers know what to expect in the collections process, and this supports friendly, positive interactions with the customers.

Whether you’re looking to reduce costs, improve efficiency or decrease your Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), automation is a valuable strategy to support your business. As you evaluate your full C2C process, be sure you take advantage of the opportunities available in your collections process to gain a competitive edge and accelerate your cash flow.