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Will the flu defeat your A/R team?

I have the flu.

I know I’m not the only one. It’s that time of year when winter sets in and the flu bug makes its way throughout every office and business in America. Whether or not you get a flu shot, this illness seems to affect every business. I’ve spent the last week myself battling the symptoms and have to say it is a butt kicker.

I cannot help but think of how many of those back office employees, the ones who are so important to A/R teams, and what happens if one of those folks comes down with a cold. How quickly does that company’s ability to get invoices out the door or incoming cash applied slow down to a trickle? And if a few people are out sick, do all A/R functions come to a complete halt?

Business woman with a cold working in front of a laptop computer

I cannot help but think of how many finance professionals truly believe that their organization has A/R automation when really it’s their great team doing many tasks manually. When only some parts of the process are automated, or the solution doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, smart people have to jump in and manually process data about invoices and payments between the various solutions. This “so-called automation” gets exposed when people are out sick, when a team is downsized, or when there’s an emergency. Unless you have a truly automated invoice-to-cash solution that provides a nearly touchless experience (except for the exceptions), you’re going to discover that you’re not as efficient and automated as you thought.

When companies solve processes by adding more resources, it only delays potential efficiencies. I have met teams with vast experience and lots of tribal knowledge, which is great. There is a high value on employees with experience, but it’s a waste of resources to have those effective employees with all this knowledge spending their time manually handling billing or cash application.

Most companies want to utilize their industry resources more effectively, I bet your experienced employees would feel more valued if they were using their accumulated knowledge for strategic tasks instead of simple data entry. Every day is a chance for you to maximize the talent you have hired around you. By giving that talent the tools and opportunities to use their skills, you will bring out the best in that talent and your organization will benefit.

A/R automation gives those effective tools to your talented people so they are not wasting their talent on the daily grind of manual processes. More importantly, when outside influences affect your staff, whether it’s bad winter weather or the common flu bug, your organization’s cash flow won’t be stopped just because someone takes a sick day.

Every organization has different A/R requirements, and handles invoice-to-cash processes in unique ways, but there is a common evolution that virtually every organization experiences through years of growth and maturation. As organizations develop a strategic vision, they can shift from expensive, time-consuming, manual processes to secure, fast, automation. This transformation doesn’t happen by accident, but requires careful planning and consideration. Call Billtrust for a conversation about your A/R process and we can find ways to optimize together.

About the author:
Scott Nugent is Partner Enablement Manager at Billtrust. He can be reached on LinkedIn

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