Invoice-to-cash automation transforms an often-overlooked area into a competitive advantage.
Many wholesale distributors use digital technology to automate parts of their supply chain. However, digital tools can also transform your post-sale experience to set you apart from other vendors.
AR automation streamlines your manual, time-consuming processes by automating core elements including invoice presentment, collaboration, collections, payments, cash application, and bank reconciliation. It helps you get paid faster, which is critical when you’re faced with low profit margins and increasing cost of capital. It allows you to unlock money that is tied up in AR, improve your margins, better manage your cash flow, and ensure that you have the working capital you need to run your business.
Give Customers a Better Experience
AR automation improves the experience you provide to customers by giving them on-demand visibility into accounts. Customers can log-in through a customer portal 24/7 to view invoices and supporting documents, check the status of a payment, change their preferences, and more.
The online portal allows payments to be made via desktop, smartphones or tablets, meaning customers can pay at any time they want. By offering a range of payment methods customers can also pay you how they want – using credit cards, electronic funds transfers (EFT), ACH debit, or even checks. This convenience ultimately enhances your customers’ loyalty and gives them another reason to stay with you instead of buying from your competition.
Boost Your AR and Collections Teams’ Productivity
In addition to improving your customer experience, AR automation also makes your teams’ jobs easier. Since customers can log in at any time to view their invoices and payment records, you eliminate much of the back and forth between your AR team and your customers’ AP people. Your AR team won’t ever need to resend invoices and supporting documents again, as customers can access this information any time, with just a few clicks or swipes.
With AR automation, you can configure notifications to automatically follow up with thousands of customer contacts. Send automatic notifications when an invoice is due, when it becomes overdue, or when a credit card on file is about to expire, for example.
You can also communicate with customers directly within your AR automation platform on invoices and specific line items. If a customer submits a short payment for an invoice, you can require an explanation for why they haven’t paid in full. This gives your AR and collections teams clarity into payments and reduces the time that they must spend following up with customers.
Spend Less Time on Collections
AR automation also reduces the time that your accounting team and sales reps spend on collecting overdue invoices. First, by making it easy for customers to pay, you reduce the number of invoices that go into overdue status. Second, items that do go to collections are far easier to manage with automated notifications and real-time insights.
AR automation platforms give collectors a real-time view of their collections. These insights help collectors prioritize their efforts and focus on accounts that require human intervention. With AR automation, your collectors can bring in cash faster – helping you lower your bad debt and free up working capital.
Gain Deeper Insights into Your Company’s Finances
With real-time dashboards and analytics, you gain insights into your company-wide or divisional finances. You can even go granular by viewing specific accounts, invoices, and line items. Each member of your finance team can quickly find the metrics that they need to be more effective in their role and make smart decisions.
Average DSOs Without AR Automation
Building materials industry: 62.44 days
Industrial distribution industry: 64.84 days
Transportation and logistics industry: 48.02 days
Average DSO with AR Automation: 30 days
The benefits are clear: Automation makes your finance team more efficient, improves your customer experience, helps you unlock money that is tied up in AR, and reduces your operations costs. Ultimately, this improves your margins and boosts your profit.