For businesses of all types, the past year has driven home the importance of contingency planning, fortifying agility across operations and being well prepared — not only for disruptions and new paradigms, but also for opportunities.
Amidst a sea of new challenges, finance executives have been smart to take a hard look at their operations — recognizing where postponing improvements may have hurt business, identifying gaps or vulnerabilities and taking proactive steps to ensure mistakes are not repeated and that future-readiness is instilled across the enterprise.
This is particularly true when it comes to receivables and working capital.
Especially during challenging times, investing in future-readiness and operational preparedness pays big dividends over the long haul.
Shoring up and modernizing your Order to Cash processes will have an impact on every aspect of your finance operations.
To follow are three smart moves, and “investment opportunity areas” in O2C. Dollars strategically invested in these areas today will have a direct, positive impact on:
- Your balance sheet
- Your financial and operational resilience
- Employee and customer satisfaction
- Ongoing compliance
1) Modernize your technology
It’s clearer than ever before: falling behind on the technology front can leave your business progressively vulnerable in multiple areas. In Order to Cash, this means vulnerability at the financial heart of your business.
Whether from your ERP or an integrated solution, the right software can take you to the leading edge of the digital AR landscape — from order receipt, customer master data management and credit analysis to cash application. With digitally accelerated processes and automation, you gain a more cost-effective workforce and a consistently improved, enhanced cash flow anchored in best practices and standardization.
Smart automation can dynamically adjust collection methodologies to changing financial environments. Alerts and strategies for past due accounts can prioritize actions through workflows. CRM and AI tools can personalize customer interactions and enable more self-service. Chat bots can also drive efficiency, informed by machine learning and predictive analytics.
Do a rigorous evaluation to ensure you choose wisely both in terms of technology and any partner you work with to implement it. There are big differences between technology that will move you forward and streamline your operations and that which could leave you spinning in place.
2) Update and adapt your policies — with a customer focus
Adapting or updating your AR policies to address the real and ongoing challenges faced by your customers will strengthen those critical relationships and help you avert payment issues and shortfalls.
Focus on deepening your understanding of your accounts, strategically adjusting your collections process, developing strategic partnerships, closely tracking metrics and modifying your course to stay operationally strong.
A few ways to drive working capital excellence in your O2C process:
- Accelerate the billing process
- Monitor discounts and rebates
- Develop strategic outsourcing arrangements
- Track metrics
3) Partner with an O2C expert and ignite your success
There are many benefits that can substantially outweigh trying to manage O2C entirely in-house. From laser-focused subject matter and thought leadership experts, to leading-edge technology innovations, cost savings, better cash management and improved customer experience — there is significant advantage to working with a proven solutions partner.
Find a good fit for your organization and such a partner will help your rapidly zero in on the best steps to take to expedite O2C modernizations for the highest impact.
The most effective partners will bring a broad set of capabilities grounded in a strategic, technology-based approach. They should have future-ready technology, finance strategy experts and resources to enhance and maintain core business processes while fueling efficient, flexible operations that deliver transparency, control and cost savings across your AR landscape.
Want more actionable insights for your O2C and receivables operations?
About the AuthorMore Content by Phyllis Saavedra