The Three P’s of activity management and your organization’s success.
In the first part of this series, we explored the key differences between Business Results, AR Objectives and AR Activities. Activity management is an essential part of the success of your finance team. For AR teams, activity management leads to a greater understanding of the team’s productivity, prioritization, and ultimately performance.
Productivity and Smart Activity
In the terms of accounts receivable metrics, productivity simply means “complete more activities.” The blueprint to managing productivity is to automate the activities that take away from collaborating with customers or other high priority finance tasks. These automated activities include reminders, notifications, and statements. And they’re incredibly important to keeping customer informed and payments on-time.
Another productivity gain is to automate transactional communications. Manual tasks take staff away from important conversations around onboarding, disputes, and payment plans.
Using automation elevates an activity into a “smart activity.” The “smart activity” are assignments for someone on the AR team to complete assisted by automation. Smart activities automate pre- and post-call administration such as assembling information for a call or recording details and follow-ups from a call.
Rather than updating spreadsheets with promises, follow-ups, or notes, all of this automatically stored and tracked. And, in turn, the notes are shared with all stakeholders. The finance team is able to work within one application with all the necessary information, while automatically capturing reporting and forecasting data.
The smart activities provide automation-assisted activities to your AR team. The high-value, high-touch activities such as negotiating a payment plan or resolving a dispute are the key ones to focus on.
Prioritization really is about completing the right activities at the right time. Today, this can be a huge challenge for AR teams. The key to managing prioritization is to automatically create team’s individual task list and set goals accordingly.
Through automation, finance leaders can define the relative priority of activities from first collection calls to credit reviews. For the AR team member, that means their next best task to focus on is front and center. Eliminating some of that clerical work to focus time and energy on delinquent accounts and settling disputes, results in higher productivity. Once you’re able to automate data entry and searching email inboxes for information, you can spend time on tasks that add value to the company.
The combination of a prioritized list and smart activities means more engagement with customers and ultimately increased cash flow.
If you want good accounts receivable management, you need a measuring stick for performance. This requires understanding of each individual’s activities and the results. The key to coaching and adjustment is to automate activity reporting. Leveraging tools to drill down into each member of the team to understand for a given period what their activities were, the influence they created, and the results.
Performance analytics tools can help you mentor and coach your team. AR coaching analytics help you to understand the performance of individual team members so you can focus on the skills that need improvement. Team members appreciate the feedback based on objective results by individual collector that AR coaching analytics can provide.
To manage collections performance, you ultimately need to manage activity. To manage productivity, automation is needed so that AR staff can have more calls and conversations. To manage priorities, there needs to be a way that to-do lists are automatically generated. And ultimately to manage performance, you need to examine and coach individuals to improve.
With a connected accounting solution, like award-winning Lockstep, for your finance team to coordinate work with customers and vendors, you can go digital and enjoy the benefits of office automation.