The Pandemic Paradigm: Impact on AR

Nicole Dwyer
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This week, it started en masse: employers creating new rotating schedules to minimize the number of bodies in the office, group conferences and meetings canceled or shifted to online only, and employees told to prepare to work from home

This pandemic is changing our work paradigm - for all businesses, including yours. Consider the layers: there is going to be a mass change in lifestyle for many people, as working from home is still the exception and not the rule. This is a shifting and unfamiliar landscape for many.

This shift means other businesses that you partner with will be managing their work differently. 

It means your clients will manage their schedules differently.  

It means your customers will manage their lives differently. 

It means your employees will manage their jobs differently - they will be managing your business differently.

It means your AR team will be managing your money differently.

Are you ready?

Your accounts receivables (AR) team is vital to your success on a normal workday. In today’s unprecedented business environment, their ability to operate is absolutely critical. Think about the tasks your team manages daily:

  • Record-keeping. Everything related to manually entering data, usually in different systems. 
    • ERP Data Entry
    • Creating & Sending invoices
    • Filing invoice to AP systems
    • Document Management
    • Keeping track of contact details – understanding where contact details are missing and filling them up with the up-to-date ones.
    • Supporting deduction codes
    • New Customer Onboarding
    • CFO & Sales Reporting 
  • Customer Follow Up. Keeping customers informed, responding to inquiries, collecting revenue, driving customer satisfaction.
    • Sending Collection Emails
    • Making Collection Calls
    • Processing Inbound Requests, such as emails and phone calls, and handling directly or passing on to the best resource. 
  • Investigating and Finding a Solution. Often complicated tasks that vary depending on the AR process of your particular company. This is where your AR Specialist is an expert - they know your business, they know your processes and procedures. And they know your customers.
    • Cash Application – find and apply correct remittance advice. 
    • Manage Disputes & short-pays. Research disputed delinquent account balances, offer and negotiate solutions for disputing customers, manage approval on short-pays & disputes, facilitate internal collaboration with the rest of the company.
  • Analytical. Data driven, complex and often the information is limited. Solutions to these tasks often require certain instinct, intuition, and experimentation.
    • Cash Forecasting – predicting the date when invoices are going to be paid.
    • Customer Risk Analysis. Establish customer risk levels and set credit limits. Root cause analysis of company losses. 
    • Collection Strategy. This includes prioritizing collection backlog, picking the right texts to maximize the collection, picking the best time to call, etc..

With this breadth of responsibility, how can you help your AR team function in today’s new, mandated pandemic paradigm? With a distributed team, how do you manage productivity and accountability? Your team needs access to a lot of different information, from different data sources, and needs to be able to communicate across internal teams and customers.

If your AR team already has a cloud-based platform for managing the credit to cash process, you are well ahead of your peers. A centralized solution that pulls together your customer data from all your different sources (ERP, CRM, etc) and provides access through the cloud will ensure not only that your teams are able to carry on effectively, but also that your customers will not feel a significant change in how they are supported. You can continue to drive your sales cycle, collect your revenue and provide outstanding customer service because everything your AR team needs to access to be successful is available in a single login. They just need an internet connection.

Here are just a few of the benefits to look for that will keep your AR team and your cash flow moving: 

  • Any time, anywhere access. If your employees are working from home, all they need is an internet connection and a computer to manage their tasks.
  • Prioritized task list. A smart AR system can automatically identify which customer emails and invoices should be addressed first. Your team stays on task no matter where they’re working from - home, office or Starbucks.
  • Comprehensive dashboard. A clear view into customer accounts and key performance metrics means your team can continue to make smart business decisions and support your customers throughout this period of instability.
  • Automated communications. Your team can focus on key strategic activities while your smart AR system sends automatic reminders and updates to customers regarding their accounts and open invoices.
  • 24/7/365 Customer service portal. Your customers have the benefit of running their business, and paying their bills, anytime and from anywhere. This flexibility and support for your customers translates into positive customer feedback and more proactive management of their accounts - which means more on time payments for you.

We don’t know when this pandemic paradigm will shift and work will go back to “normal”. Perhaps this is a permanent shift, and we’re only at the beginning. Today this is only speculation. But amid this uncertainty, what we do know is that we need our businesses to continue to provide products and services, and we need our communities to stay connected. A decline in activity on the customer side might be inevitable, and you may need to figure out new business strategies to compensate, but the day-to-day work of your AR team is still critical for your business to push through this challenging time. With a smart, cloud-based AR system, you can weather today’s unknown climate with confidence that your AR function is performing consistently, reliably and effectively. 

YayPay is a one platform, one system, one code base solution for AR teams at mid-sized enterprises.  Our solution leverages machine learning and automatic payment communications to accelerate collections, eliminate and streamline the manual effort associated with following up on late invoices, and report on KPIs.  YayPay integrates with multiple accounting, ERP, billing, and CRM applications, for a complete look into the AR process, from collections to cash application. YayPay is focused on developing smart tools for smart AR to help organizations improve productivity, predict cash flow and increase revenue.



Nicole Dwyer
About the Author

Nicole Dwyer is Chief Product Officer for YayPay, bringing more than 10 years’ experience in accounts payable and receivable technology to ensure YayPay continues to meet the needs of its customers. Having spent her entire career in commercial payments, Nicole understands high- and low-value payment systems, the complexities of how businesses pay and get paid, and has worked with distributed teams spanning the globe. She is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Residing in New Hampshire with her husband, daughter, and son, they spend their time outdoors and creating new adventures.

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