When you look at the nature of traditional accounts receivable (AR) management—daily collections calls, sending endless reminders to clients who “forget” to pay you, and manual matching of customer payments to invoices—it's not surprising that many AR specialists feel their potential is being underutilized. So, what can your business do in the short-term to boost team morale while simultaneously improving the overall collections experience?
Automate the collections process
The answer lies in AR automation – intelligent software solutions that empower businesses like yours to take back time currently spent managing processes manually to enhance productivity and drive efficiency. But actually implementing such a solution can be challenging, so we’ve assembled eight strategies we recommend when looking towards collections automation:
1. Optimize your invoice delivery mix
When you limit how your customers can view and pay invoices, it’s unlikely they’ll be in a hurry to do so. Consider implementing an online invoice delivery solution with click-to-pay functionality so that your customers can pay you directly from the invoice. This will ensure speedy payment and eliminate manual work needed to settle collections.
2. Offer customers a self-service portal
Self-service portals empower customers to pay how and when they want, eliminating barriers for you to get paid. With a customer self-service portal in place, you’ll feel relaxed knowing your customers are in control of their payments and that your money is ending up in the right place, every time.
3. Select an intelligent collections solution
The right AR automation solution handles all the standard, yet tedious work your finance team currently does, but in the background. Intelligent collections software owns your collections process and ensures human intervention is only required when absolutely necessary (like when discrepancies or disputes arise).
4. Integrate your customer payments
Letting your customers choose how they want to pay is critical to effective collections process automation. Integrated payments means your customers can schedule recurring payments, pay outstanding invoices, make short or multiple payments, pay by credit card, or pay from their bank account. When considering AR automation, look for tools that can do all of this to ensure maximum efficiency for your business.
5. Move customer communication & collaboration online
When you automate your collections, your team will still need to be there to mediate disputes or answer customer questions, so look for a solution that enables you to work collaboratively online. When you work in real-time with your customers, you’ll easily loop in the right people so you can get the job done efficiently and reach a resolution quickly.
6. Opt for advanced cash application
Advanced cash application ensures that regardless of how your customers are paying you (e.g., checks, wire transfer, ACH, credit card, etc.), all methods are settling in the same place. With the right solution, your team will spend less time applying cash and more time maximizing it.
7. Use smart bank reconciliation
Accurate bank reconciliation is fundamental to your collections process. Receiving customer payments is useless if you can’t reconcile them! Look for smart bank reconciliation software that automatically resolves customer deposits directly into your bank account. Stay connected with global banks to maximize your efficiency.
8. Get real-time analytics
One of the most effective strategies for automating your collections is employing real-time analytics software into your receivables management. This software harnesses the power of automation to intelligently track all customer activities so your team can more precisely focus their efforts. Real-time analytics tracks online and offline payments and provides insight into key metrics like invoice deliverability and click-through rates. With this integration, you’ll understand your customers’ needs and be better equipped to serve those who need your help most.
There are many different ways your business can automate its collections process. The key is finding a solution that makes your team more efficient and gives your customers a frictionless experience. At Versapay, we do just this with our Customer-Centric AR automation solution, Versapay ARC. ARC was designed with your customer in mind; with an intuitive self-service, online payment experience, you’ll empower your customers with real-time data tracking, optimized invoice delivery, and online collaboration.