The Institute of Finance & Management (IOFM), specifically, a division known as The Accounts Receivable Network, recently interviewed and profiled one our clients, Sihl Inc. (Coventry, RI). The article is entitled: AR Automation Brings Big Benefits to Sihl Corporation. The following excerpts from the interview provide insight into the challenges Sihl had been experiencing in their day-to-day operations. If their challenges sound like yours, this case study on SIHL is a great illustration of how implementing an AR automation platform will not only produce a healthier cash flow, but happier customers.
Sihl is delighted with its new cloud-based, invoicing and accounts receivable management and payment platform. Before implementing the platform, invoice processing was highly manual. “Our old system would generate invoices daily using a program that would take information from our shipping department and populate a Crystal Reports,” said Jennifer Tavino, Senior Accountant at Sihl. “The invoices containing the information from the shipping department would be sent to our printer and automatically be printed out overnight.”
“Every morning I would come into work, collect all the print-outs from the printer, stuff the paper invoices into envelopes, and mail them through regular postal mail. As the accounting manager, I am solely responsible for accounts receivable. We had a part-time AR person who helped out, but she left right before we implemented the ARC system from VersaPay.”
The manual process was cumbersome for Tavino. It also hurt Sihl’s ability to maintain a healthy cash flow. And customers wanted a better system. “Many of our customers were requesting that we send invoices to them electronically,” she acknowledges. “However, we simply didn’t have any good way to accommodate their requests. The only way we could do it was to scan the printed version of the invoices into a PDF and then attach the PDFs to emails. With so many of our customers pushing for einvoices, we knew that in the interest of customer service and keeping our customers happy, we really needed to find a way to support their requests.”
“We came up with five or six companies that offered features that were very similar to what we were looking to implement. We reached out to them and interviewed them. We had quite a few conversations in which we discussed our needs, and we decided to go with VersaPay,” Tavino says.
Sihl found half a dozen customers who were willing to test the system. “Everything went great, and by the end of the week we had all of our major customers on board,” she says. “We are still in the process of bringing some of our less frequent customers onto the system.”
“We have also reduced our average days to receive payment significantly because we’re not waiting so long for invoices to get to customers and for payments to get back to us, which is fantastic for our cash flow,” she adds.
“Automating AR makes your life so much easier. It has saved time and money in terms of paper and postage. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to get invoices to your customers without having to do anything. Now that I’m not stuffing envelopes all the time, I have much more time to do my accounting job, analyze financial statements, and helping other people with their accounting tasks.”