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The A/R March Madness Final Four

There are only a few things that are as exciting as March Madness. Even if you don’t know anything about college basketball, you can still take part in a few weeks’ worth of non-stop basketball excitement! Your accounts receivable (A/R) team may be going through a season of “March Madness” as well, just not on the basketball court. Every part of your invoice-to-cash bracket is important, but really you need to focus on solving for your “Final Four.” We decided to put together an A/R Final Four Challenge that consists of four major hurdles A/R teams are dealing with.

Final Four Challenge #1 – Scalability

Most companies find themselves asking, “How can I scale to meet growth expectations and business objectives?” And even though they are aware of technology-based solutions, they may have issues navigating the ever-changing A/R technology landscape. Luckily, there is a solution that provides customers with payment transparency, accelerates your invoice-to-cash process, and can help cut back on manual, error-riddled processes. This slam dunk solution is automation.

Automation technology will do all of those things for your business, without replacing your starting A/R lineup. It almost sounds too good to be true, but the right technology can really help companies like yours solve for scalability issues.AutomationDirect solved for scalability by integrating an automation solution with  their ERP system to help raise their cash app match rate up to 90%.

Final Four Challenge #2 – Competitive Advantage

Everyone is always looking for a differentiator that helps them stand out from the competition. In sports, this is often known as an “X Factor,” or the one secret weapon that can help a team cut down the nets at the end of the season. For A/R teams, that competitive advantage can be supplying customers with a self-service portal where they can make payments, download payment information, and have complete billing and payment transparency.

However, there are many hurdles that can get in the way for success. Companies may be stuck dealing with short pays, expensive credit card processing fees, or the inability to quickly get process payment information. A self-service portal will be the buzzer-beating solution A/R teams are looking for.

PDI addressed competitive advantage with electronic billing and payment through electronic adoption campaigns.

Final Four Challenge #3 – Cost Management

The bottom line will always be a driving force for companies. Both basketball coaches and A/R teams are trying to get more out of the team they have. A basketball team wants to score as many points as they can without running out of energy and running up fouls. Similarly, an A/R team wants to increase cash flow without running up costs and spending too much time on manual tasks. The solution? An electronic adoption plan, along with an automation solution, can help lower days sales outstanding (DSO) and cut back on the amount of printed invoices that is sent out to your customers.

This strategy allows your A/R or basketball team to work smarter, not harder. It empowers your team to boost efficiency without burning out the clock and finance resources.

Here is how US Foods dealt with cost management using cash application technology.

Final Four Challenge #4 – Customer Satisfaction

Every company needs to be focused on their customer satisfaction because great service can drive sales, while poor customer service will drive customers away. Just as basketball teams are focused on winning the game, their fans are hard at work cheering them on. A happy fan base will always be there for their favorite team. But for companies, it’s important to always be focused on satisfying their customers and meeting their needs in order to keep those “fans” loyal. So the question remains, “how can you help keep customers happy with any business experience they may have?”

Accounts receivable is one of the most important customer-facing areas of the organization. It’s one of the departments that has the most interaction with customers after the initial sale. The customer invoicing and payment experience is, more than ever, becoming a unique competitive differentiator and also a deciding factor in whether customers remain loyal to a company. Offering a multi-channel approach for both invoicing and payments will always keep your customer in mind and provide the flexibility they’re looking for when choosing a supplier.

See how Thyssenkrupp addressed satisfaction with invoicing solutions that answered their customer’s concerns.

Final Four Bonus Challenge #5 – Risk & Compliance

Accounts receivable teams should always be aware of risk and compliance issues, as nothing is more critical to an organization’s success than the customer’s data. In basketball, a team on defense is focused on protecting their hoop and tightening up their defensive positioning. Similarly, you want to secure your customer’s data from any potential threats. How can you do that?

An A/R team that follows PCI compliance regulations and stays up to date on defense strategies against potential risks, is like a well-oiled machine. A customer that knows their data is secure will also be a happy customer.

See how Medela addressed risk and compliance issues with automation and a virtual card solution that took away 100% of manual data keying.

All A/R teams must face their own competitors every day, beyond just the month of March. And organizations face challenges beyond the ones mentioned here. But when you can tackle your own Final Four challenges through A/R automation, you will be on the way to invoicing and payment nirvana, and you may find your team has National Championship potential.

About the author:
Ryan Mitchell | Social Media Coordinator and Natalie Silverman | Director of Product Marketing

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