The Accounts Receivable Game Plan: How to improve your AR process

Blog | February 2, 2018

Reading time: 4 min

In honor of the big game this weekend, we are putting together a game plan for accounts receivable success. Before your team can even call a play, you must first know your strengths, weaknesses, and the players involved. Once you’ve figured out these variables, you can start putting the ball in motion as you move down the field. Here are some of the most important plays you need in your larger accounts receivable (AR) game plan:

Football in front of a chalkboard with team movement drawings

1. A way to directly integrate into accounts payable systems

Everyone is looking for a quick technology fix to get a competitive edge, especially your customers. To save time and money, your customers are buying new accounts payable platform solutions to ease their workload and automate invoice processing. Unfortunately, these accounts payable (AP) networks are creating an expensive and time-consuming challenge for your accounts receivable team.

If you can automate the tasks of creating custom integrations with each of your customers’ AP networks, and send invoices reliably, you will not only save time and money, you will increase cash flow, reduce your days sales outstanding (DSO), and use your resources to handle more strategic tasks within your organization. You’ll get total visibility into your invoice delivery process, and improve customer relationships by providing outstanding service and support. Best of all, you can scale your business and add new customers without adding resources or running into AP network compatibility issues. The key to this accounts payable (AP) play is robotic process automation (RBA). An easy way to get a first down and continue your march down the field towards the end zone without any humans getting in the way.

2. Your company needs a way to automatically process virtual credit cards

Suppliers are faced with ever-changing buyer payment preferences which lead to significant costs and complexities within accounts receivable teams. Over the last five years, virtual credit cards have been the fastest growing form of B2B payment and suppliers are now beginning to see the impact. Virtual credit cards are sent to suppliers via email – originating from customer commercial banking platforms – and introduce immediate manual keying and cash application challenges.

Accepting virtual card payments is like protecting your quarterback from the oncoming defensive rush. The last thing you want is your quarterback to be blindsided by a pass rusher. Similarly, the last thing your team needs is to worry about high credit card fees, keystroke errors and PCI compliance concerns. You need a solution that captures those virtual card payments from your customers or third parties, eliminates keying of credit card payments, optimizes interchange fees and protects against that rush by ensuring PCI compliance.

3. Know how to transition customers from paper to electronic invoicing and payments

It’s crunch time, your customers invoices have been sent out and you are waiting to get paid. The only problem, you are up against the clock and their paper checks might not get to you before time runs out. Even a "hail Mary" might not be able to save you. Luckily there is a solution: electronic adoption (eAdoption). An electronic adoption play will help you convert your customers from manual, slow paper checks to electronic invoicing and payment.

An “eAdoption” program works with your customers to get through the “growing pains” of the payment transition, using proven methods to help get your customers down to the red zone towards electronic invoice delivery and payment channels. On the football field, eAdoption is like a play action pass that makes the defense think the offense is running the ball, but the quarterback keeps the football and throws it down field. Electronic adoption can help you harness the power of your customer data and connect you with the largest electronic B2B ecosystem to make your campaigns more targeted and more effective, while identifying benchmarks for industry best practices. The greater percentage of customers who transact electronically, the greater the opportunity to reduce days sales outstanding (DSO) and lower your costs.

Ask any football coach and they will agree, every game plan needs a series of plays designed to get a first down, a way to successfully protect your quarterback from blitzes, and an established play action pass game. Similarly, ask any accounts receivable (AR) professional who follows industry trends, and they will tell you that you need to be investing in an accounts payable (AP) invoicing integration solution, a way to accept virtual credit cards, and an electronic adoption program that helps you with best practices.