Most would assume that when using an accounts receivable software, the only people that truly benefit from the solution are those in the accounts receivable department. It’s common
to make this assumption since those end users are the ones inputting data into the system every day, pulling reports and referencing the information in the software. However, this is a misconception.
Accounts receivable software has benefits across an organization, all the way from the CEO down to third-party services that you occasionally employ. When tasks are made more efficient and automated, more departments are able to access the necessary data and find meaning in it. This whitepaper is going to take a look at each department, including the C-Suite, credit and collections, customer service, IT and third-parties, that benefits from using accounts receivable software and how they can use it effectively.
The executives of a company truly don’t have the time to searching through disparate systems to find the information they need to make key decisions. However, many are because there are no other options. When executives begin using accounts receivable software, they are able to access all the information they need about cash flow in one place. The information is grouped into digestible and easily understood graphs and charts for quick decision making.
In order to make strategic business decisions, you need to have transparency throughout every department. When accounts receivable and cash flow information is hidden throughout disparate systems, a spreadsheet here, an ERP report here, a report pulled from CRM there, the process could take hours. After all the work is complete, you’ll realize not all the data was in real time which could affect the decision you’re making. Accounts receivable software contains real-time reports and insights into information like DSO, key performance indicators, weekly expected cash, etc. This allows you to do your job quickly and make better, more informed decisions.
You’ve got your hands deep in every bit of numbers that the company is producing, from taxes to accounts payable, budgets and accounts receivable. You need to know, easily, what is going on in each department. When using accounts receivable software you will know what your team is getting done and how it is getting done. You can set up emails that send critical alerts when an invoice dispute is spinning out of control, allowing you to make a final decision. You can also receive reports via email and check on the department’s progress.
CREDIT AND COLLECTIONS
The Credit and Collections department is an area of the business that is easiest to understand the benefits of accounts receivable software. These are the team members that will be using the software most often and entering data every day. Since accounts receivable software automates the invoicing and emailing processes, the credit and collections department is able to spend more time focusing on what matters most: calling and collecting from customers.
How well the collections department is doing in collections reflects directly back on the credit manager. If there are large bottlenecks with not many invoices being paid on and a lot of invoice disputes, everyone is looking at you. Accounts receivable software gives you transparency to see where the issues lie. You can keep an eye on how each collector is doing individually, assign specific accounts to a specific collector and see which accounts need escalated. Using an accounts receivable software benefits the credit manager because it gives transparency into the team, to know exactly how the department is doing.
This is the most obvious beneficiary to accounts receivable software. Collections representatives are able to put mundane tasks on auto-pilot. No data entry and sending the same email manually to multiple people, it can all be done through the software. When collections representatives aren’t wasting their time doing the same repetitive task, they are able to spend more time on the phone with customers actually collecting on the unpaid invoices. They are also able to keep the communications via email and phone, promises to pay, invoices and disputes in one place, creating more transparency for the credit managers and c-suite.
Customer service and collections truly walks hand in hand. In order to be able to collect from customers, it is important to maintain a strong, working relationship with them. A customer’s knee jerk reaction to feeling like they didn’t receive everything they should have and had a bad experience is to withhold payment. Accounts receivable software helps customer facing employees to create a better and more responsive experience for the customer. Even the customer can feel the benefits of using the software by being able to reach a representative within seconds and being able to self-serve bill payment.
Usually your sales team has a really good relationship with each customer. Without that solid relationship, you probably wouldn’t have sold any product or services. With accounts receivable software that is integrated into your CRM software, sales reps are able to check up on their accounts and see how the collections process is going. If they sense some trouble, they can offer some advice and helpful information to the collections team to keep the relationship in tact while also helping to get paid on time.
Everyone wants to be able to access information at the click of a button. The longer someone is required to wait, the more annoyed they get and the more likely they are to say they had a bad experience. If a customer wants to access their account information and past invoices, they can using accounts receivable software. They can also pay their bills with a click of a button through an automated email. This is all done through a customer payment portal in the accounts receivable software, giving your customers a better experience.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES
There’s not much a customer service agent can do for a disgruntled customer if they can’t see into their account information. Without the documentation on invoice disputes, shipment and pending online payments, their hands are tied. Accounts receivable software gives them this access. Further, customers don’t have to call in and wait on hold to talk to someone. They can simply log into their account and open up a live chat, which is logged into the accounts receivable software. This makes your customer service experience better and faster.
Anytime a new software solution is purchased at a company, the IT department has to spend days figuring out how it works, how to integrate it into other applications and how to deploy it on the server. This can suck up a lot of precious time. Further, the IT department is then worrying about another piece of software that they have to protect from any data breaches. Accounts receivable software is hosted in the cloud, meaning the IT department does not have to worry about extra space on the server or deploying it at all. Instead, an application like Lockstep Collect, is hosted on Microsoft’s secure Azure cloud. Customers and employees will then be able to access the application from anywhere.
Inviting a third-party to use your accounts receivable software may not seem like the most ideal situation, but it can actually have a lot of benefits. Using an inquiry user setting, you can set up exactly what you want the third-party to see. This way, they are unable to access any data that they shouldn’t be, but can gain access to everything they need to complete their job. This eliminates the need for creating multiple spreadsheets of data to provide them with their necessary data.
One of the hardest things to deal with when including a third-party collections service in your collections process is handing over the account information for customers. You either have to create spreadsheets to give to them or call them every time a new customer becomes delinquent. With accounts receivable software, you can simply give them access into the software and assign them the customers that need to be collected on.
Whether you have an in-house legal team or a third-party that you employ to help you with your legal collections, they can’t do much without a history of all communications between you and the customer. They need to be able to see what promises were made and broken, what efforts were put in to collect before legal actions were taken and more. All of this can be stored in accounts receivable software and subsequently retrieved by the legal persons as an “inquiry user”. They can then attach demand letters and legal notices to be sent to customers.
When dealing with outside bookkeeping services it can be really difficult to keep all the information clear and in one spot. Usually, information ends up in disparate systems or manual data entry is used to combine everything together. This leaves a lot of room open for errors and mistakes. Allowing your bookkeepers access into an accounts receivable software allows them to enter this data in as they go, as well as access the data they need to do their job.