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Best Practices: How to improve your accounts receivable process through automation?

January 31, 2022

Automating accounts receivable processes would allow your teams to effectively cut down the time spent on, and the costs associated with registering customers through lengthy email correspondence, distributing invoices manually, answering customer inquiries, and sending and tracking invoices. The time saved by the teams can then be used to concentrate on strategic goals and other value-adding tasks.

Automation can collect payments faster as it reduces the dependency on humans to mail invoices and conduct regular follow-ups with clients.  

Therefore, as you streamline your accounts receivable process through automation, you would not just save time doing recurring tasks and reduce human error, but you can also decrease your DOS (Day Sales Outstanding), adding numerous cashflow benefits to your business.

Here is a guide with five best automation practices you need to implement to improve your accounts receivable process.

Offer customers their preferred payment methods

Following up with customers who have pending payments can be a cumbersome task. This is because when it comes to making payments, different clients have different SOPs that need to be met before the payment can be processed. Some companies need a digital invoice to release payment. Some organizations require you to attach a purchase order to the invoice before they can process a payment.  

Multiple requirements by the customers mean that your teams must engage in long email threads with multiple attachments to make sure that the documents required are delivered on time. Automation software can help your teams create automated workflows through which documentation requests can be generated automatically and attachments can be sent to the customers without unnecessary delays.

Streamline customer enrollment

Through automation, your customer enrollment process can also be streamlined as you can create an easy-to-navigate customer registration portal. The customers can then be prompted to digitally enter their data on their own, without having to spend time chasing after them for information. The customer portal app will have custom forms that clients can fill in at their convenience. Once filled, the data acquired will be sent to the main database for processing. This will save the time of customers as well as your business staff.

Offer online bill paying options

Decreasing the wait time for payments is crucial to ensure the efficiency of your accounts receivable process. It is difficult for people to go to the bank and wait in a queue for their turn to make a payment. Many people also prefer paying using a credit card. Offering them the option to pay online will allow them to pay you anytime and from anywhere. Payment links can be generated through automation software and sent to your customer’s email automatically, hence allowing them to pay online without any hassle. This will also eliminate the delays caused by customers missing paper invoices or statements.  

Streamline invoice dispute management process

You should have a process in place for your collection teams to deal with invoice disputes. There should be a set plan for recording invoice disputes so you can ensure that it never happens again. Using process automation solutions such as Power Automate, the accounts receivable team can automate processes such as identifying and itemizing all discrepancies in the disputed invoice, finding issues in pricing or quality, invalid purchase orders, solving double-billing errors, and highlighting any payment that has already been made. Using simple low-code/no-code methodology, anyone with basic IT knowledge can develop time-saving workflows to automate these tasks.

Track your accounts receivable KPIs to enhance your workflows

Automation is not a one-step process. Iterations must be carried out based on workflow performance, to make sure that the automation tools are being used to the maximum benefit.  

To fulfill this purpose, you need to consider tracking your accounts receivable KPIs. Software solutions such as the Microsoft Power Platform allow users to not just automate workflows but also let them build a complete success framework. Through the success framework, you can monitor and track your KPIs and use trends and reports to gauge progress and set future goals.  

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