Data is no longer an afterthought for the C-suite and CFOs. Businesses are beginning to use and analyze data to make better decisions, gain a competitive edge, and improve the accounts receivable (AR) process.
A recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) for Google Cloud found that organizations that took a data-driven approach to their work during the COVID-19 were best positioned to navigate the upheaval of the past few years. These data and AI leaders achieved higher scores across all key performance indicators, such as profitability, market share, and customer satisfaction.
In particular, using high-quality data that was accurate and integrated across the organization proved instrumental in real-time decision making at critical moments. Today, companies need all AR data to reside in one place and a single repository from which AR applications can draw data.
Amid shifting CFO duties, the significance of leveraging valuable data cannot be overstated. Analytics plays a big role in that process, yielding insights for better operations and performance management. As PricewaterhouseCoopers puts it: "Trying to unlock the power of big data without data analytics is like trying to harness the power of the internet without a search engine."
And then there is the new emerging player: Artificial Intelligence (AI). This newcomer will not only elevate the significance of data but also empower companies to delve into predictive and in-depth analytics.
Why analytics is indispensable
Why analytics matters to your business:
- Improved decision-making
Make better decisions by providing you with a better understanding of the past, present, and future. This can lead to more informed and strategic decisions that are more likely to be successful.
- Increased agility
Help your business be more agile and responsive to change. With near real-time insights into current trends and patterns, analytics can enable you to anticipate changes and make necessary adjustments quickly.
- Enhanced risk management
Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them by analyzing historical data and trends.
- Improved customer satisfaction
With a better understanding of customer needs and preferences, you can improve products and services that are more likely to meet the needs of customers.
The shift to a future-oriented and unified order-to-cash mindset for CFOs
Without leaning more heavily on data, analytics and AI to help drive decisions, CFOs can’t possibly evolve in their role as strategic advisors for their CEO and the organization. This also means a shift to a future-oriented and unified order-to-cash mindset.
Source: Kevin Permenter, Research Director at IDC, partnered with Billtrust in Q2 2023, describing how CFO mindsets are shifting
Analytics should work for your role
How we perceive and harness analytics here at Billtrust will profoundly shift over the coming years. Gathering a disjointed set of data and presenting it in reports or dashboards for you to figure out isn’t going to help you strategically. Our goal is providing context to the data.
This transformation, rooted in an in-depth understanding of diverse user personas, is set to propel us all into a future where insights drive decisions and data orchestrates success for users of our solutions.
Not all roles are created equal. For AR specialists - experts in collections, credit, payments or invoicing - who work day in and out with our solutions and necessitate a distinct approach, precision is paramount in their universe. The imperative revolves around actionable insights, quickening the pace of collections, and optimizing invoicing for example. In their world, analytics is transactional. Ahsan Shah, Billtrust Senior VP Data Analytics: "These specialists ask questions about open invoices, paid invoices, payment statuses, and exceptions. They are trying to do a very targeted job. It is all about amplifying their tactical acumen."
For those who inhabit the realm of the CFO, our analytics take on a different hue. We acknowledge that their purview is expansive – they need a panoramic view encompassing industry dynamics, macroeconomic influences, and comparative performance. Their concerns are nestled in KPIs that mirror the financial pulse of the organization. Our mission is clear: to empower CFOs with analytics that elucidate their perspective, enhance their decision-making and guide them in steering the ship amidst changing tides. The CFO’s vantage point is lofty, and our data-driven prism seeks to illuminate their path.
|Possible Roles||Customer Rep, Cash App Specialist, Collector, Treasurer||AR Manager, Credit Manager, Cash App Manager||CFO, VP of Finance, AR Director|
|Focus||Looks for transactional reporting and basic analytics||On the look-out for competitive intelligence, wants to make analytical queries||Prescriptive insights, Generative AI driven cognitive workflows|
|Time investment||Works daily in the product||Moderate time spent||Barely spends in the product|
|Product||Product specific||Product specific||Cross-product|
|Desired outcomes||Minimize manual tasks||Gain team efficiencies||Seek insights to influence decisions|
"CFOs don't dive into the specifics of tasks; instead, they seek a comprehensive view of the entire business," explains Kiele Lowe, Billtrust VP Product. "Our distinctive position allows us to address their inquiries, given the extensive data flowing through our system. As they leverage more solutions from us, we can offer more dynamic analytics, presenting them with valuable data and insights that might otherwise be challenging to obtain."
Ahsan Shah: "We’re not just autonomous, analytics comes into play for different users and products. There could be a dashboard for exception management. There might be one for Days to Pay. Some dashboards are more curated for decision makers, while others are more transactional."
The unified goal across all personas and users is the ultimate liberation of cash flow. This rallying point brings together the varied analytics endeavors, showcasing Billtrust’s commitment to bolstering the lifeblood of any organization.