Learn how a smart accounts receivable platform can increase transparency and boost your bottom line.
When it comes to making money for the business, everyone is involved. From marketing and sales, through to operations, finance, and customer support, generating revenue is a team sport.
However, the accounts receivable (AR) department is the sole place in the business that tracks that revenue and ensures money comes in. This is why transparency across your teams and throughout your entire AR process is critical for your business to operate successfully. For each stage of your customer’s journey, it’s important that all the teams interacting with your customer are supplied with accurate information so they are able to best serve them.
Businesses face three major challenges when they lack transparency:
- Measuring team performance
If there isn't transparency in the AR process, you have no ability to track how well it's performing - or not performing (as the case may be). Without being able to see the process, or your team members' performance, you lack the insight to make necessary adjustments which can help improve your team's effectiveness. A slow, ineffective AR team means the actual business of securing and processing payments for business is slow and ineffective.
- Cross-team collaboration
Teams have a difficult time working together successfully when they lack visibility into each other's activities and cannot see the same customer touchpoints. This leads to miscommunication and frustration between departments, which ultimately impacts your business's ability to support customers.
- Inconsistent customer experience
When customers are supplied different information by different people within the organization, they are left struggling to understand the true state of their account. It's hard for them to get to the source of truth and access accurate information. This can damage your customer's trust in your team and business and can affect customer loyalty. In a crowded and commoditized market, customer churn is a very real threat.
A prime example of this is if you have a customer who is nearing a credit hold due to unpaid invoices, and your sales team is unware and attempts to upsell them. How embarrassing for all involved when the sale needs to be abandoned and a conversation about unpaid invoices takes place instead.
To drive a winning outcome for both your team and your customers, a smart AR platform provides transparency throughout the entire credit-to-cash process. Armed with a robust and flexible AR system, your teams are empowered to make faster and smarter decisions which accelerate cash flow and increase customer happiness.
There are four key ways you can use increased transparency to grow your revenue.
- Clear KPIs and reporting
Establish a clear set of metrics to measure the success of your AR efforts and your business. Making these metrics available through easy-to-read dashboards and reports enables you to better understand your business health and stay aware of market trends. This empowers you to be proactive rather than reactive.
Reports also help you improve your focus on the strategies and tactics that generate business growth. At a glance, you can see where your AR team is performing strongly and which parts of your process may require adjustments. This allows you to manage your people more effectively, as well as your overall process, to ensure operational excellence.
- Cross-functional access to data
Empower your teams to collaborate effectively and generate more growth and revenue through easy access to customer data - across any function. As your AR team works with sales, operations, customer support, and even legal teams, it is essential that everyone has access to the same data. This eliminates wasted hunting for the latest information. The support of cross-functional collaboration results in satisfied internal teams and quicker resolution times for customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction scores and faster time-to-revenue.
- A consistent customer experience
Organizations have an opportunity to build trust with customers in accounts receivable by offering them a great customer experience. When they contact your business and receive inconstant information from various people, the customer’s impression is that your employees don’t know their own business - and more importantly to them, that you might not understand their business. A consistent customer experience - supported by uniform information across all customer touchpoints - fosters trust and loyalty. And it is your most loyal customers who stick around with you the longest, and therefore spend the most money. They are also more likely to bring in referrals. Given that 72% of customers say they will likely switch after only one negative customer experience, your ability to provide consistency is critical to your business health and can offer you a significant competitive advantage.
- Online customer portal
An online self-service platform through which customers can manage their accounts will improve customer communications and accelerate cash flow. Customers who have the ability to review their invoices in their own time, flag issues for dispute, or pay through electronic channels, will respond more quickly and take up less of your AR team's time.
This provides an additional competitive advantage that will help cement your customers' loyalty and trust. An online portal provides end-to-end insight which serves to eliminate misunderstandings, cultivate closer collaboration, and ultimately drive faster payments.
There’s no doubt the credit-to-cash process is complex. It spans multiple stages from credit management to invoicing, dispute resolution to payments, deductions to cash application. And within these, there are plenty of chances for information to end up miscommunicated or lost, as it transfers between sales reps, AR and collections specialists, legal and customer support, and so on. Having a platform which spans this process end-to-end is essential to ensure everything flows smoothly and data accuracy is maintained.
The transparency a smart AR platform generates for an organization is critical to business success. When it comes to accelerating revenue, increasing efficiency, and ensuring customer satisfaction, you really can’t take chances.