Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, the advancement of technology. How does it affect you, and why should you care?
Not too long ago, on a beautiful Saturday I went for a bike ride on a route I frequent. At mile six, there is a gentleman who has a bike repair shop that has been in the same location for as long as I can remember. I never had been in there, well, because I never needed a repair near that location. This bike ride was different, at mile five I had a blowout, no spare and quickly became desperately in need of a repair. I hiked the bike to his shop and ask if he could help. The old repair man was happy to serve me as I questioned, “Do you take credit cards?” He nodded and continued to fix my tire. He quickly finished the repair as I pulled out my credit card to pay him. That was when he pulled out an old outdated flatbed credit card imprinter that I hadn’t seen since the 90’s.
I’m sure you can imagine that I was taken aback to find that he still uses such an outdated and manual process in an era that people can pay using a smart phone. And, consider this: how many steps went on after I left…he just started the payment process in my presence.
What is the problem?
To the old bicycle repair man, there was no problem. He took my credit card payment, and I was on my way. He was stuck in a way that worked for him and was happy with it.
You may ask, how does this correlate to Accounts Receivable?
Technology and process improvements are continually evolving. In fact, Moore’s Law explains how technology doubles every two years. We can easily get caught in our old ways of working with little interest in new techniques or processes in which we operate.
How does this correlate to Accounts Receivable Automation?
Research by NACHA, tells us that Accounts Payable departments are ironing out inefficiencies, and moving their payment methods from the check to electronic payments. With that said, Accounts Receivable is being bogged down with a relatively new manual process that comes courtesy of remittance emails. In many companies the A/R Specialist is still manually posting each payment into their ERP, just as the old bicycle repair man is imprinting the credit card to accept payment.
Introducing yourself to new ways and ideas can enrich your day to day experience, freeing up time you once dedicated to manual inputs. Machine learning and (AI) Artificial Intelligence have been deployed are can automatically extract the remittance details to then match payments to invoices and apply cash with only a few clicks.
How does this affect your working capital?
On a macro level, the working capital within any organization creates the lifeblood for operations. How quickly your Accounts Receivable can receive the money, apply it to the business, and put it to work, empowers every department. Being up to date and in-tune with automated cash application systems improves Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), increases in customer satisfaction and reduces the likelihood to leverage debt to cover payables.
Is there a correlation between the old bicycle shop and your Accounts Receivable Department?
There probably is. Can you imagine if the old bicycle shop had a rush of repairs each day? The owner would have manual overload of card processing to complete. But considering that he only has a credit card customer here and there, he doesn’t feel the pain. Same goes for your Accounts Receivable Department; if you manually input a remittance email here or there, it isn’t a big deal, but if you have a staff member that repeats the process most of a day or week or even several hours a day, then considering an automated approach is not far-fetched.
Consider an automated accounts receivable system, please see below.
Accounts Receivable: 6 Ways to Free Up Cash and Strengthen Working Capital