How to streamline accounts receivable and remote work teams

Blog | Oct 05, 2022

Reading time: 8 min

Remote work is becoming the norm. And, as with any other job, there are some skills you need to have and know in order to do the accounts receivable job well.

If you're like most businesses, your accounts receivable (AR) process could use a little streamlining. 

And if you have a remote work team, optimizing your processes is even more important so everyone can communicate effectively and efficiently. 

Below are a few tips to help you streamline your accounts receivable.

Which are the key activities of remote AR departments?

Managing your teams and receiving payments from customers can be a tricky business - especially when everyone is located all over the world. 

That's where remote accounts receivable departments come in. 

Like your in-office one, your remote accounts receivable department is responsible for a company's incoming payments, processing customer invoices, issuing refunds and applying payments to the correct invoices. Businesses would have difficulty running without efficient accounts receivable management; companies would have trouble operating. 

Some key activities of an accounts receivable department include: 

  • Round-the-clock processing customer invoices 
  • Issuing refunds 
  • Applying payments to the correct invoices 
  • Generating reports 
  • Maintaining customer records 
  • Reconciling bank statements

In addition to their traditional tasks, many remote accounts receivable departments are  responsible for providing customer service. This means that they need to be able to handle inquiries and resolve issues quickly and efficiently. 

As the first point of contact for many customers, these departments play a crucial role in ensuring that businesses maintain a good reputation. They need to be well-organized and staffed with knowledgeable and experienced employees.

The bottom line? 

Accounts receivable is a crucial part of any business, and your remote accounts receivable department plays a vital role in its operation. 

By performing the key activities listed above, your AR department ensures you receive payment for their goods or services. 

And thanks to the work of the accounts receivable department, you can keep their doors open and continue to serve your customers, regardless of whether or not you house in-office staff. 

What are the five most frequent mistakes made by remote accounts receivable staff?

There’s no doubt that, in accounts receivable, there's a lot of pressure to keep things running smoothly. After all, it's the AR department’s job to ensure that your cash flow keeps coming in. However, even the best remote AR staff can make mistakes from time to time. 

Here are five of the most frequent mistakes made by remote AR staff:

the most frequent mistakes made by a remote accounts receivable staff
  1. Not staying organized: When working with numbers all day, it's easy to let things get a little out of control. Ensure the team stays organized and keeps track of all invoices and payments.
  2. Forgetting to follow up: It's essential to follow up with customers who haven't paid their invoices yet. Otherwise, they might forget or decide not to pay. Send reminders and follow up regularly to ensure everyone is paying on time.
  3. Not keeping accurate records: This one can come back to bite you! Make sure your team has correct records of all transactions. This will help prevent any misunderstandings or errors down the road.
  4. Failed collections attempts: Sometimes, despite your best efforts, customers won't pay their invoices. If this happens, don't hesitate to contact a professional collection agency. They can help you to receive payment.
  5. Not taking advantage of technology: There are plenty of excellent accounting software programs out there that can make life easier. Ensure you're taking advantage of these tools to streamline accounts receivable and avoid mistakes.

By avoiding these common mistakes, remote accounts receivable staff can help ensure that payments are processed promptly and efficiently.

Pros and cons of handling AR remotely

The age of the internet has brought many changes to how businesses operate. One area that has seen a significant shift in how receivables are handled. 

In the past, companies would have to send invoices and wait for payments to come through the mail. This could lead to delayed payments and wasted time tracking late payments and has led to  some advantages as well as some disadvantages, including:

  • On the plus side, remote receivables management eliminates the need for paper invoices and checks. This saves time and money and reduces the risk of lost or stolen payments.
  • In addition, online receivables platforms typically offer a variety of features that can help businesses keep track of payments and late fees.
  • Finally, remote receivables management allows businesses to accept payments from anywhere in the world.

There are some potential drawbacks to remote receivables management as well:

  • First, a business must have access to a reliable internet connection.
  • Second, companies must invest in the secure payment processing software.
  • Finally, there is always the risk that sensitive customer information could be compromised if stored online.

Despite these risks, remote receivables management can be convenient and cost-effective for businesses to manage their finances.

Download the ultimate guide to digital accounts receivable

Billtrust ebook - ultimate guide to digital accounts receivable cover thumbnail
Get top tips and fresh insights that will help you control your cash flow and your daily calendar of AR tasks.

How do you streamline accounts receivable and remote work?

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, more and more businesses are allowing employees to work remotely. While this arrangement can have many benefits, it can also make it challenging to keep track of invoices and other accounts receivable (AR).

Here are a few tips to help streamline AR for remote workers:

  1. Use a single sign-on (SSO) solution for your remote workers. They can access all their applications and services with a single set of credentials, making it simpler and more convenient for them to work from home.
  2. Ensure your invoicing and payment processing systems are compatible with remote work. Your workers can easily submit invoices and receive payments regardless of location.
  3. Use cloud-based solutions for your accounting and financial needs. Your team can access their data and tools from anywhere, making it easier for them to stay productive while working from home.
  4. Set up automatic payments to ensure that invoices are paid on time and minimize the risk of late fees or interest charges.
  5. Hire a dedicated AR specialist. They can act as a single point of contact for all questions or concerns related to invoicing, payments and collections.
  6. Get organized: The first step to streamlining your work-from-home setup is to get organized by creating a dedicated workspace, setting up a regular work schedule, and developing a system for keeping track of deadlines and tasks. By getting organized, you'll be able to work more efficiently and avoid potential distractions.
  7. Invest in technology: Having a reliable computer or laptop, a high-speed internet connection and the necessary software for your job. Investing in the right technology will enable you to work more effectively and stay connected with your team.
  8. Stay connected: Using video conferencing and chat apps to keep in touch, sharing files and documents electronically and maintaining regular communication. By staying connected, you can collaborate more effectively and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  9. Be efficient: The final step to streamlining remote work is to be efficient with your time. This means being productive during work hours, taking necessary breaks and avoiding distractions. By being efficient, you'll be able to get more done in less time and improve your overall productivity.
  10. Set office hours: When working from home, it can be easy to let work bleed into other parts of your life. To avoid this, set office hours for yourself and stick to them as much as possible to create a healthy boundary between work and life.
ways to streamline accounts receivable and remote work

By following these tips, businesses can help ensure that their remote workers can stay on top of their accounts receivable.

Automating your accounts receivable processes

There are many good reasons to automate your accounts receivable process, but here are just a few:

  • Save time - You can free up your staff to focus on other critical tasks by automating tasks like invoicing and collections.
  • Improve accuracy - By eliminating manual data entry, you can reduce the risk of errors and ensure that your records are up to date.
  • Increase efficiency - Streamlining tasks like invoicing and collections can reduce costs and improve your bottom line.
  • Enhance customer service - By providing self-service options for customers, you can make it easier for them to pay their bills on time and avoid late fees.
  • Reduce stress -  Handling routine tasks via automation allows you to focus on more essential tasks and avoid feeling overwhelmed by paperwork.
  • Accelerate cash flow - When using accounts receivable software, you can improve your cash flow because invoicing and payments are automated.
the top reasons to automate your accounts receivable process

Tips for automating your accounts receivable:

  1. Use automated invoicing software: With automated invoicing software, you can generate and send invoices automatically. This means no more missed deadlines or late payments!
  2. Set up automatic payments: You can set up automatic payments with most banks and credit card companies. This way, your customers can pay you without forgetting to write a check or make a payment online.
  3. Online billing: Online billing can streamline your accounts receivable process. By sending bills electronically, you can reduce paper waste and save time on postage. Plus, your customers can view and pay their bills online – making it easy and convenient.
  4. Keep good records: Good record-keeping is essential for any business – but it’s crucial regarding accounts receivable. Be sure to keep track of all invoices, payments and credits systematically so that you can  stay organized and avoid mistakes.

Automating your accounts receivable process is a great way to improve your business’s bottom line. By taking advantage of technology, you can save time, reduce costs and make life easier for you and your customers. So why not give it a try?

tips on how to automate your accounts receivable

Make your remote AR team happy

There's no denying that the transition to remote work has been a challenging one for many businesses. 

But with a little effort, it is possible to streamline your remote accounts receivable teams and improve communication between your remote workers and accounts receivable. 

Following the tips outlined above can reduce time spent on administrative tasks and get paid faster. So what are you waiting for? Get started today and see the benefits for yourself!