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7 Accounts Receivable Goals for Success in 2023 (and the Technologies That’ll Help You Achieve Them)

Published on 12 min read

In this blog, we cover 7 accounts receivable goals every AR team should look to achieve to ensure success in the coming years, alongside the technologies that'll help you achieve them.

AR professional climbs a staircase to achieve their accounts receivable goals

Setting effective accounts receivable goals and objectives is critical to accelerating cash flow. And digitally transforming your AR processes to both automate and make them more human is crucial to achieve some loftier objectives—like retaining top-tier accounting talent, for example.

AR teams who rely on manual processes, however, will encounter roadblocks and impediments to growth. It’s unlikely that these teams will achieve their long-term accounts receivable collection goals or fully realize their function’s potential. Conversely, those who embrace automation—and recognize that goals should contribute to building engaging customer experiences—will enjoy more sustainable cash flow and heightened customer lifetime values.

But automating your accounts receivable should not be a goal unto itself. And that’s because the AR function has implications beyond just facilitating revenue and should be seen as a key touchpoint in your overall customer experience. Instead, automation should be a tool that helps you achieve your goals. Yes, you should inherently want to be more digital, however automation alone will not bridge the communication gap that so frequently causes payment disputes and gives AR teams headaches.

That’s why in this article, we’ll cover 7 accounts receivable goals every AR team should look to achieve to ensure success in the coming years, alongside the technologies that’ll help you achieve them. Any—or all—of these goals should be on your list for 2023, but it’s all dependent on what you’re hoping to accomplish—and on how much you’ve digitized and transformed your accounts receivable to date.

Click on a goal to jump directly to it:

  • Goal 1—To eliminate manual, routine, error-prone, disjointed accounts receivable tasks, and automate activities such as invoicing, payment reminders and payment processing
  • Goal 2—To facilitate B2B payments and offer your customers a more convenient payment experience
  • Goal 3—To automate the cash application and financial reconciliation process
  • Goal 4—To increase the bandwidth of your AR team so they can focus on higher value strategic tasks (and less on administrative, tedious tasks)
  • Goal 5—To improve your customers’ payment experience and your AR team’s communication with them
  • Goal 6—To attract and retain top-tier accounting and finance talent
  • Goal 7—To provide your customers and AR team shared access to the same information and data over the cloud

💡 Consider this: there are many accounts receivable goals and objectives that finance teams can strive to achieve. These might include some more tactical—like sending invoices without delay—and others more strategic—like choosing to bill your customers electronically or to enact a new system for resolving disputes. The seven goals we highlight in this article tend to represent the top goals B2B companies should focus on this year.

That said, while we’re putting forth the most important goals to consider, it’s our recommendation that you first are clear on the factors impeding your existing processes. Elsewise your struggles will persist, regardless of your aspirations.

Unsure what challenges you’re currently experiencing? Take our 6-minute assessment and identify the most pressing problems your AR team faces today.


What are accounts receivable goals and objectives?

Accounts receivable goals and objectives are tangible, achievable, actionable intentions that finance leaders set for their AR teams or for the broader business. They provide focus and targets for the business to work towards. And today, most businesses view digitization as a key part of goal setting.

However, despite digitization being more important than ever, few businesses have fully digitized their accounts receivable department.

Spoiler, even the highest-adopted AR automation tools have only been embraced by less than 50% of the 1,000 executives we polled on the state of digitization in B2B finance.

That said, businesses are beginning to digitize AR—in fact, those that already have are seeing significant efficiency gains. However, many businesses have a long way to go.

We know this, because 60% of those executives agree that their company’s AR departments haven’t yet been prioritized as much as other departments for digitization. So, how strategic your finance leader wishes to be—or how transformative their aspirations are—will often depend on how many of your accounts receivable processes have been digitized. Luckily, there’s no better time than now to focus on digital transformation.

7 accounts receivable goals to set in 2023

Without further ado, here are 7 accounts receivable goals and objectives you should consider setting to ensure your business is well-equipped to accelerate cash flow, drive efficiencies, and deliver exceptional customer experiences:

Goal 1. Eliminate manual, routine, error-prone, disjointed accounts receivable tasks, and automate activities such as invoicing, payment reminders and payment processing via digital transformation

If you haven’t already, put this accounts receivable goal at the top of your list for 2023. You stand to gain major time-savings from transforming your accounts receivable, and much of this comes from bettering tasks like invoicing, collections reminders, payment processing, and reconciling information in your ERP. These are the typically routine tasks that eat up much of your AR team’s time.

Eighty percent of finance executives happen to report reducing time-consuming, error-prone processes as a top benefit of AR automation.

The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

  • Shared, cloud-based supplier and customer portals provide centralized real-time views of your customers’ invoice and payment history, helping you avoid the need to compile and track fragmented data across multiple places—like notes, spreadsheets, and outdated systems.
  • Automated internal notifications and other timely prompts keep you on task and focused on your collections priorities.
  • Automated customer notifications with customizable email templates and dunning notices help you engage customers before they become delinquent.
  • Automatic reconciliation of digital payments posted directly back to your ERP help simplify the process of posting to and balancing the cash receipt journal.
  • Omni-channel electronic invoicing allows you to issue, track and automatically deliver electronic invoices and statements to your customers.

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Back to the list of goals

    Goal 2. Facilitate B2B payments and offer your customers a more convenient payment experience

    There are many advantages to being able to easily and securely accept payments online from your customers preferred payment methods—including credit, debit, ACH, virtual cards, bank payments, and more.

    Benefits include improvements to cash conversion, faster payment collection and processing across all sales channels, and optimized processing costs—making this accounts receivable goal highly desirable. In fact, 70% of finance executives report the ability to accept digital payments as a top benefit of AR automation.

    The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

    • Integrated payments and omni-channel payment acceptance make it easier to accept a greater variety of digital payments and post them directly back to your ERP, helping you deliver the flexibility customers demand.
    • Embedded payment functionality within invoices makes it easy for customers to pay their invoices and for you to accept payments—from anywhere.
    • Fully customizable payment rules—including automatic recurring payments at the individual customer level, credit card surcharges, and fee exemptions—let you stay in control of the payment experience.
    • Flexible invoicing means fewer unpaid invoices as customers can pay for individual line items or group invoices together.

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    Goal 3. Automate the cash application and financial reconciliation process

    Cash application is an important part of your business, but doing it manually brings challenges, such as:

    • Decreased speed and accuracy
    • Longer days sales outstanding
    • Less working capital when you might need it most, and
    • Compromised relationships with your customers

    With advanced cash application automation technology, you’re able to harness powerful tools that make your cash application process smarter, faster, and stronger. Having this capability makes capturing and reconciling payment data easy, eliminates data entry errors, and speeds up cash flow.

    The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

    • Self-service online payment portals empower customers to pay at their convenience and dictate which payments apply to which invoices, taking the work out of cash application.
    • AI-powered advanced cash application technology leverages machine learning to automatically match traditional payments like checks and wire transfers with remittance data and open receivables.
    • Custom settlement routing allows you to easily settle incoming payments to the appropriate bank accounts.
    • Optical character recognition digitizes messy remittance information like illegible characters, unstructured formats, and missing information and quickly and reliably analyzes and normalizes it.
    • Integrated exception handling lets you easily identify unapplied payments and seek clarification from customers via familiar, chat-like collaboration tools.

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    Back to the list of goals

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    Goal 4. Increase the bandwidth of your AR team so they can focus on higher value strategic tasks (and less on administrative, tedious tasks)

    Help your AR team do what it does best: drive the business forward—not spend hours performing administrative duties.

    In solving inefficient processes, you open the door to greater career development for your team of AR professionals. Automating the tedious, time-consuming work AR teams perform regularly—like preparing invoices, making collection calls, and processing payments—and empowering them with the technologies needed to prioritize customer experience, frees them to perform more strategic work.

    Achieving this accounts receivable goal will make team members happier and more engaged as they get exposure to greater challenges that will set them on the course for career growth

    Seventy-five percent of finance executives report increasing bandwidth for accounting and finance teams to take on strategic initiatives as a top benefit of AR automation.

    The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

    • Shared, cloud-based payment portals centralize customers’ invoice and payment history, providing your AR team with real-time visibility across all accounts and saving them the hassle of compiling important information from multiple sources and systems.
    • Omni-channel electronic invoicing lets your AR team automatically create, issue, track, and deliver electronic invoices and statements to customers, eliminating the need to physically print, prepare, and mail invoices—and receive payments the same way.
    • Built-in dispute management and chat-like online collaboration tools help your AR team engage customers faster, at the source of the problem—the invoice itself—without relying on clunky communication methods like phone and email.
    • Digital payment acceptance means customers can receive and pay bills online in minutes using their preferred payment methods at any time of the day, empowering them to self-serve without an AR professional’s assistance.

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    Back to the list of goals

    Goal 5. Improve your customers’ payment experience and your AR team’s communication with them

    Miscommunication in the invoice to cash process leads to tangible, negative effects on revenue. Fortunately, AR automation tools do have the capability to remedy that. And yet, not all AR automation solutions are created equally; and most traditional solutions don’t improve communication between your team members and your customers.

    That’s why when looking to achieve this goal it’s important to seek out AR automation tools that prioritize ease of communication and collaboration between you and your customers. These tools can bridge the gap between AR being either exclusively hyper-efficient or a core contributor to customer experience—and can ensure AR teams are delivering not only against their efficiency targets, but simultaneously building flourishing, collaborative payment experiences.

    Sixty-five percent of finance executives report fostering a culture of collaboration and an excellent customer experience as top benefits of AR automation. Meanwhile, 35% recognize that their existing difficulties communicating with customers are preventing them from capturing revenue faster.

    The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

    • Real-time, two-way, chat-like collaboration tools help AR teams resolve issues by engaging their customers at the source of their frustrations—directly on the invoice in dispute.
    • Digital payment acceptance lets you meet your customers where they are, by encouraging easy, secure payments using their preferred payment methods
    • Shared, cloud-based supplier and customer portals allow for direct collaboration between your AR team and your customer’s AP team throughout the entire order-to-cash process.
    • Automated cash application unites account information and payment history while simultaneously facilitating digital transactions, for faster—discernible—payments your customers don’t need to clarify, and accelerated cash flows.

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    Back to the list of goals

    Goal 6. Attract and retain top-tier accounting and finance talent

    With record numbers of employees choosing to leave their jobs in the last two years, or quiet quitting in their seats today, finance leaders who want to avoid the damaging impacts of high turnover should turn their attention to the accounts receivable goal of enabling long-term remote work and prioritizing employee satisfaction.

    Digitizing the billing and payment process can ensure work from home continuity by eliminating the tedium of collecting on outstanding receivables, and empowering AR professionals to take on strategic work. In fact, 73% of finance executives report an improved ability to attract and retain accounting and finance talent as a top benefit of AR automation.

    The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

    • Advanced automation helps AR departments focus less on routine tasks and become more integral parts of the customer service team. The automation of manual, routine, and error-prone tasks also frees AR teams to focus on more strategic work, unlocking potential opportunities for career advancement.
    • Electronic invoicing and digital payment acceptance streamlines the AR process, relieving accounting talent from having to be physically in-office to send and collect mail.
    • Cloud-based collaboration tools make it easy for team members (both inside and outside of the AR department) to communicate no matter where they’re located, helping accommodate employees’ desires to work remotely long-term.

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    Back to the list of goals

    Goal 7. Provide your customers and AR team shared access to the same information and data over the cloud

    Delivering always-on access to complete, shared invoice and account information helps eliminate tedious manual workflows and create superior customer experiences. The latter is an increasingly sought-after competitive advantage that’s ripe for prioritization from within accounts receivable.

    Sixty-five percent of finance executives report that providing shared access to information and data over the cloud is a top benefit of AR automation.

    The AR software technologies that can help you achieve this accounts receivable goal

    • Shared, cloud-based supplier and customer portals grant real-time visibility across full customer invoice and payment histories, giving AR teams everything they need to know about their customers— and customers everything they need to know about their accounts—in one place.
    • Integrated internal communication channels help AR teams answer their colleagues’ questions, request information from them, share documents, and loop team members into discussions.
    • Collaborative conversation tools allow for invoice line-item communications to take place, over-the- cloud, between your customers and your AR team. Customers can register disputes in real-time and your team can address them as swiftly, making your team a collections force to be reckoned with.

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    Regardless of which accounts receivable goals you strive for, remember that automation alone is just one piece of a very large puzzle. The AR function has influences beyond capturing revenue and should be seen as integral to your overall customer experience initiatives.

    To bridge the communication gap that so frequently infects AR and causes payment disputes; and to accelerate cash flow and drive efficiencies, you'll want to transform your accounts receivable. And to do so, you'll need the right technologies.

    Take our 6-minute assessment and get your personalized accounts receivable transformation roadmap. Learn exactly where you are in your digital AR journey, how you stack up against peers, and how to set your AR team up for success.

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