Of credit professionals that are surveyed about what they wish they had to make their job better, you would be surprised at the responses. Most of these responses weren’t “a higher salary” or “bonuses”, but rather tools that they were missing out on. These AR professionals were wishing for a way to simplify the accounts receivable process. With all the great automation tools on the market, it’s not too surprising that many AR departments are simply wishing for the right tools to do their job efficiently. Below are the some of the most popular responses:

1. A way to get invoices to customers quickly and easily while also enabling customers to view and pay statements/invoices online.

  • “Most of our follow up and reporting is done manually and we still have to fax/email/snail mail invoice copies and statements. My hope is to get our website updated so that customers can view their balances, invoices and (hopefully) pay their bills. My argument being that if it’s quicker and more convenient, our chances of getting paid FIRST will increase. This would also cut down substantially on phone calls and allow my crew to focus more on the accounts that need the attention.”
  • “Getting my debtors to view their statements invoices, payment history online.”
  • “Would like to have a website where our customers could view their account balances and pay their account.”

2. Deeper insight and stronger reporting to know exactly where things stand

  • “I would like the flexibility to set the parameters based on our needs. While, on a weekly basis, it makes most sense to run our aging in 30-day buckets as you describe, John, there is also the need to keep track of what items are still on our A/R that are quite old, so running an aging with 1-year buckets or 6-month buckets or 3-month buckets, depending on our needs, would be very valuable.”
  • “if we don’t have tools that identify old items or mask them with recent credit, then we have problems that we aren’t even aware of, except in a very general way.”

3. Automated communications and payment reminders

  • “Reduce overdues, without calling clients and reminding them of payments due! No matter how proactive, there are still unnecessary overdues.”

4. Automation of collection priorities

  • “An automated workflow tool that allows prioritization of collection activity. Like everyone else, the collections module of my ERP was an afterthought of the programmers. We’ve gotten really creative with reporting mechanisms that get us partly where we want to go, but they all have to be manually generated by the Collections Supervisor.”
  • “Automation of daily collection priorities on my team’s desktops. I know it’s possible…but the cost is a challenge. If anyone has a bullet-proof solution at a bargain price, please let me know!”

5. A simplified credit management process

  • “It’s a very labor intensive to process credit applications. There always seems to be missing info, and the references regularly need a follow-up phone call to get them to respond. Oh and don’t get me started on all the paperwork; credit app, T’s&C’s, financial statements, personal guarantees, tax certificates, credit bureau reports. Then the hassle of objectively analyzing all the pieces. Not to mention the internal process of getting approvals and creating a customer master. I wish we could somehow eliminate all the faxes, the phone calls and the paperwork! If only there was a better way!”/li>

The recurring theme in these answers is automation. Everyone wants a way to get these mundane tasks done quickly. Using an automated accounts receivable tool not only fulfills an accounts receivable professional’s wish, but fixes a lot of business problems at the same time

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