By 2025, $3.4BN.
This is the growth predicted for the accounts receivables automation market (Mordor Intelligence LLP). And this 12.3% CAGR is expected despite the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
Automation, robotics process automation and artificial intelligence are being deployed to manage the credit-to-cash process. These technologies help crucial business processes to continue to drive AR processes and cash flow - and even improve efficiency and cost management - during a time when employees are working remotely or have limited hours in the office.
These tools - automation. RPA and AI - have the potential to reduce an AR team’s manual tasks and activities between 60-80%. This is a huge cost benefit to the business - repetitive, low-value work is being done more quickly, with fewer errors and more cheaply than having a live AR specialist tackle it during business hours.
With more time available to them, AR teams can focus on higher value activities that generate and accelerate more revenue for the business.
But what does that mean?
How to further your AR education
The opportunity: furthering your AR education
As a member of an AR team, or as an AR manager, it’s time to consider the career path and educational options open to you and your team. In defense of AR automation, it is often stated, “now your team can focus on high value tasks.” But what does that really mean? What kind of training or re-skilling will your team need to take on to continue to contribute to your business success?
Here are a few ideas that your team can explore that will help them define their career paths while ensuring they continue to drive success for the business.
- Learn the technology. There are plenty of courses available online that provide not just education, but certifications, in technologies that are impacting AR, such as:
- Cloud accounting
- Digital currency
- Specialized software and integrations for workflow using APIs (application program interface)
Understanding the technologies that are being introduced into your AR department means you become part of the team that implements and supports new processes and workflows that take advantage of the benefits of the tools. According to the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP), understanding the new technologies will be highly beneficial as there will be a war for talent who can help manage the new systems.
- Learn process and change management. The technology side of the new tools being implemented is one angle, the actual business process and integration with the team’s efforts is another. Taking courses on process efficiency and change management puts you in the front lines of helping your organization adapt to the new procedures and manage training and onboarding for the tools so that everyone is working at maximum proficiency.
- Learn customer experience management. With new automation and communications in your AR and collections process comes new ways of communicating with your customers. Your customers will need to be trained to interact with you using your new tools, such as a self-service portal, or changing from printed, mailed invoices to electronic invoices, and to ensure customer satisfaction remains high, they will need to be curated and cared for throughout the process.
In addition, there’s a new opportunity to establish your brand reputation and cement customers loyalty. Now that you have new ways to interact and communicate with customers, you want to ensure that their experience with you, through any channel, is representative of the overall experience your business desires to provide.
- Learn about compliance and governance. Depending on your industry, your new automation technology may impact how your business manages accounting audits and maintains industry compliance. This could be a critical area for education as you determine how reports are now to be created and shared.
- Learn business analytics. This can be focused on understanding AR analytics and how to leverage that data to make smarter business decisions, or have a broader look at the business’ analytics across multiple departments. In either case, furthering your education in reviewing financial statements and cash flow reports, accessing the process data in real time to evaluate how the AR process is impacting your business, are all valuable perspectives to bring to the team.
Traditional business schools are an option for exploring online classes, as are organizations such as the Institute of Financial Management (IOFM) and the Credit Research Foundation (CRFP, both of which offer certifications and on-demand classes covering the breadth of the credit-to-cash process.
Now is the right time to consider what it means to spend more time on “high value tasks” for your team, and where you believe your talents and efforts might best be suited. Getting ahead of any changes by educating yourself on the tools, technology, business processes, and analytics that all impact a healthy AR team is just as smart as implementing a smart, cloud-based AR platform.