For anyone paying attention to the ongoing conversation around the future of work, it should come as no surprise that from SMBs to the enterprise, automation is the fastest-growing area of technology investment. In an increasingly competitive environment, organizations are looking to leverage smart technologies to unlock efficiencies, boost productivity, and tackle the challenges of an evolving workforce.

Automation, as we think of it today – essentially, any technology that reduces human intervention – has been the focus of much hand-wringing, particularly in the 20th century. Think of every article you ever read with the title, “Are Robots Coming for Our Jobs?”

In fact, the opposite is true. In a modern economy powered by knowledge work, automation is part of the continual evolution of work. Research from The World Bank and Gartner predicts that automation will create a net positive impact on the global economy, at a value of $15 trillion by the end of the decade.

Gartner estimates that automation could result in a $15 trillion benefit to the global economy by 2030.

Accounts Receivable Processes are Prime for Automation

Forward-thinking IT and finance leaders are embracing this new normal, and identifying and evaluating opportunities to bring automation to their organizations. But how do you know where to start?

The Value of Automation

In general, automation initiatives can deliver value in any of three categories:

  • Efficiency – We can do things better.
  • Productivity – We can do more things, better.
  • Optimization – We can do different things, innovate and improve.
Efficiency, productivity, optimization circle together in a Venn diagram

From this perspective, accounts receivable (AR) offers an ideal starting point for bringing automation to your financial processes, delivering meaningful, measurable results in all three of these areas.

Here, we’ll look at the top benefits of accounts receivable automation, and how they deliver efficiency, productivity, and optimization to your organization.

Top 10 Benefits of Accounts Receivable Automation

Efficiency: Doing Things Better

Benefit #1: Better Results from the Systems You Already Know

When automation can include everything from the simplest tasks to full-scale digital transformation, business leaders are challenged with deciding where to start. One way to get started is by bringing automation to your existing systems, lowering barriers to entry while still making an impact.

Chargent Automated Collections is one real-world example. A powerful, configurable tool for automating your accounts receivable process, it brings together payment processing, collections, and customer data, right in Salesforce – where your customer data already lives, and your employees already work.

Benefit #2: 24/7 Reliability

Your business processes don’t have to keep business hours – automated AR lets you extend your operations to be available 24/7, 365 days a year.

You’ll be able to reach your customers at the time that is most convenient for them – and increase your chances of collecting outstanding revenue.

Benefit #3: Increased Revenue

Speaking of revenue… if we’re talking about doing things better, then arguably the #1 metric for improvement should be your revenue stream. AR automation helps you capture the low-hanging fruit of late and failed payments before they turn into lost revenue, lost donations – or lost customers.

Automating early-stage collections activities like dunning emails and payment retries makes it easy to capture payments that fail due to basic errors like expired cards or address changes, so you can collect more revenue without additional effort.

Benefit #4: Better Accuracy Saves Time and Money

Your AR team is awesome, but any repetitive, manual process (like sending collections emails) is prone to human error. In fact, a recent Gartner report found that finance departments can save time – as much as 25,000 hours of avoidable rework – by leveraging automation tools in their day-to-day processes. In short, automation means that fewer payments slip through the cracks.

0 Hours
Avoidable rework saved by leveraging automation tools in finance processes.

Benefit #5: ROI is Easy to Measure

The bottom line on automation is ultimately your bottom line. If you’re just getting started with automation, it’s much easier to recognize value, and make the case for new automation initiatives, when you quickly realize a return on your investment.

Automating accounts receivable processes like collections delivers immediate, measurable results like decreased customer churn, lower DSO, and improved cash flow. You’ll know that automation is working for your organization because you’ll see it across your financial metrics.

Productivity: Doing more things, better

Benefit #6: Deliver a Consistent Customer Experience

Every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to build a long-term, sustaining relationship. But if your accounts receivable efforts are focused on the time-consuming work of collecting late or failed payments, it’s likely that you are missing opportunities to create a great customer experience.

Automation helps you deliver the seamless experience that customers expect, and empowers your team to focus their attention on the small number of customers that require a high-touch interaction.

One common use case for leveraging automation to improve the customer experience is first-party collections – bringing your collections process in-house to reduce reliance on third-party collections services, gain more control over your customer interactions (and save money too).

Benefit #7: Let Data Drive Your AR Process

Among the best practices recommended by experts for successfully adopting an automation system is beginning with a process-first approach, rather than a mandate. They challenge would-be adopters to identify opportunities to improve a process, using automation as a tool.

AR automation lends itself well to a process-based design and offers opportunities to refine and improve your financial operations with timely, actionable performance data. A powerful, ready-to-report analytics dashboard, like the one built-in to Chargent Automated Collections, gives you deep insights that let you refine and optimize every aspect of your accounts receivable processes – in real-time.

Optimization: Innovate and Improve

Benefit #8: Tackle the Talent Crunch

For many employers, attracting and retaining talent is becoming increasingly difficult – and that trend is projected to continue for the foreseeable future. As the number of skilled workers declines, new automation solutions are needed.

Bringing smart automation to your organization can help you scale for growth without adding headcount, by making the most of your most valuable resource – your employees. Automating financial processes eliminates repetitive, unfulfilling manual tasks, and frees your AR team to focus their attention on strategic, revenue-generating work.

Benefit #9: A Powerful Tool for Finance Leaders

In a challenging economic environment, the path to finding new efficiencies and reducing costs runs right through the CFO’s office. Identifying opportunities for innovation is key to weathering economic uncertainty.

Consider some real-world examples from Chargent customers, who have used Automated Collections to quickly realize ROI through automated processes, and yield results like:

  • Lower spend on third-party collections agencies
  • Reduced involuntary customer churn
  • Mitigating the number of declined payments

Benefit #10: Strengthen Competitive Advantage

Now more than ever, every dollar, every customer, and every employee counts. Leveraging automation to deliver a better experience across the board can give you a significant competitive advantage.

Making it easy for your customers to pay for the services they value means they’re more likely to stay customers. Adopting an intelligent automation approach that leverages both digital tools and human expertise streamlines manual tasks to let your employees spend time on more meaningful projects. And doing it all in a smart, data-driven way brings predictability to your revenue stream and overall financial health.

Powerful Transformation

If you’re a finance leader looking to discover wins in efficiency, productivity, and optimization across your accounts receivable processes, we’re here to help. A powerful, configurable tool for automating collections activities, Chargent Automated Collections delivers immediate ROI by improving cash flow, reducing spend on third-party collections, and automating manual tasks so your team can focus on more strategic work.

Let’s talk about how automation can transform your organization. Contact us today to get started.