Christmas carols are a love/hate relationship, there is no middle ground. You either absolutely love this time of year, or you can’t stand the constant cheer. “The 12 Days of Christmas” has been labeled as the “holiday’s most annoying carol” by Vox, therefore FTNI felt it was necessary to revitalize this classic with an integrated receivables spin, quite possibly the only way to save this dying carol.
These days, not many people have a use for 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, or 6 Geese a laying (especially those reading this blog), but true integrated receivables (IR)? Yes.
Over the past three years, we have seen steady growth in the demand for truly integrated receivables. Especially as more providers have entered the market claiming to provide truly integrated solutions, but really only providing dashboard-driven solutions that leave clients still having to manage multiple accounts receivables (AR) platforms. As a vehicle for growth, integrated receivables may just be the best gift you could give your AR department this holiday season, and we’re here to tell you why.
Without further ado, we present to you, "The 12 Gifts of True Integrated Receivables".
The First Gift of True IR: Consolidation of AR Processes and Technology
Dashboard-driven solutions not cutting it for you anymore? They look cool, feel cool, but they slow down your processes. It doesn’t take a Christmas miracle to get all payments from all channels moved to a single platform!
Whether you're looking to move from legacy disparate, siloed AR systems, or from dashboard-driven solutions that only let you look, but not touch, all your AR activity, you're still left to deal with the management and ongoing costs that surround multiple solutions. Those days are gone. Any Scrooge who tells you otherwise is disillusioned by the "ghost of AR past" and desperately grasping to justify an outdated and inferior solution rife with hidden costs disguised as cheaper prices.
The Second Gift of True IR: Complete Oversight and Control of All Your AR Activity
Christmas puts quite the responsibility on parents, as oversight of present duty falls directly on each parent. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see all of your presents, both near and afar, by way of a single click? With true integrated receivables, complete AR oversight (and control) is at your fingertips on a single platform.
Keep your employees focused on valuable tasks and unique exceptions through the use of a flexible data structure that adapts to your business needs, not the other way around. Employees that are tasked with managing a specific location or even payment method (e.g. checks, ACH, credit card) can focus on those responsibilities, while approved users at corporate can be allowed to have a top-down view of all receivables activity and operations.
Now, if it were only that easy to see and control everything on Christmas morning...
The Third Gift of True IR: Straight-Through Processing (STP)
An estimated 56% of U.S. organizations still use siloed receivables and payment processing systems, resulting in $1 billion in added operations cost annually. Accept, process, AND post payments in a single pass. This is what is required to be able to provide true straight-through processing. If your receivables are trapped within siloed payment processing platforms, that presents a major roadblock to your success. After all, even if each of those siloed solutions did provide straight-through processing capabilities (talk about a Christmas miracle!), you'd still be left with separate maintenance, licensing and monthly fees between the systems. You'd still be managing multiple systems and additional costs that can be eliminated with a truly integrated platform.
STP has been called the “Holy Grail” of the receivables capabilities, and we believe rightly so. Imagine being able to keep your internal resources focused on the highest value functions and exceptions while automated business rules streamline everything else. Imagine how different your AR operations would look when you have the full confidence that your FTE resources are maximizing every interaction they have. It's easy to forget sometimes, but each time one of your team members has to look at a payment, it costs you money!
But what if your company manages multiple banking relationships, you might ask. Well, have no fear, true IR platforms can help you there too. Seamless abilities to settle to an unlimited number of banks is built in. Need to make a change in the future? No problem! At the same time, if keeping multiple banking relationships isn't a requirement, a true IR platform can help you realize the efficiencies and cost savings resulting from reducing the number of banking relationships you have to manage.
The Fourth Gift of True IR: Increased Efficiencies
With true IR solutions, you can rest assured that AR employees will no longer have to spend time writing deposit slips and taking them to the bank, manual posting and cash application to back-office systems goes bye-bye, and stringing reports together from multiple payment systems becomes obsolete. According to Paystream Advisors, "Companies who are using accounts receivable automation software spend only 6% of their time prioritizing their activities, only 6% of their time gathering information for collections calls, and 62% of their time communicating with their customers about payment."
Here's just a small sample of the big benefits our clients across multiple industries have seen through efficiency gains as a result of adopting a true IR platform:
- 80% reduction in time-to-process (waste services success story)
- Consolidation of banking relationships from 25+ down to six (nonprofit success story)
- DSO cut by more than four days (distribution success story)
- $250,000 in infrastructure cost savings and thousands of development hours surrounding PCI compliance efforts (insurance success story)
- 80% increase in items posted directly to back-office AR systems (long term care success story)
- Acceleration of of lockbox processing review operations by nearly 75% within first thirty days (insurance success story)
Automation, whether vast or strategically implemented, is the way of the future, and with true integrated receivables, the future looks bright.
The Fifth Gift of True IR: Proactive Security and Compliance
Ongoing costs and IT requirements can make compliance efforts, such as PCI, burdensome and expensive for many companies, especially large enterprises. Rid your company of the heavy lifting and mounting expenses of annual PCI audits by embracing a true IR platform and provider this holiday season to help shoulder the burden of ongoing PCI compliance efforts. Cloud-based, true IR providers should ensure that security and compliance features are available at both the application and hosting layers.
While the decision to accept credit card payments will always bring with it the responsibility of the annual checks and balances associated with PCI compliance, an outsourced true IR technology partner can help simplify the process, lighten the load for your IT team(s), and significantly reduce associated costs. After all, any platform that claims to provide IR solutions would clearly fall short without the inclusion of credit cards and the necessary security and compliance associated with this popular payment method.
While the weather outside may be frightful this time of year, with the help of a true IR partner, ongoing security and compliance efforts shouldn't keep your IT team from rocking around the Christmas tree with the rest of your company.
The Sixth Gift of True IR: Extreme AR Flexibility, Modularity, and More
Ever heard the expression that you have to eat the whole elephant in one bite? Thanks to the disparate, costly and never-ending cycles associated with AR platforms of the past, implementing new solutions could feel more than a little weighed down. With a true integrated receivables solution, you don’t need to hear that old cliché ever again.
A major component of today's leading true IR platforms is a highly-flexible and modular design. Simply select the areas (payment methods and channels) where your company has the most to gain, whether it be through the addition of an online payment portal, mobile payment app to help field representatives more efficiently and securely accept payments or enhanced remote deposit capture to streamline check processing at one or multiple locations. All these options and more, should be readily at your disposal on a single platform that consolidates seamless, real-time oversight of payment activity across all payment methods and channels through a single interface to ensure you always have the most up-to-date and accurate picture of your AR activity.
If there is one thing that is absolutely guaranteed, it is that your business needs will change, most times much sooner than you may even think. Your AR platform should accommodate those changes without forcing you to add additional layers of complexity and cost. Automate the processes that can be automated and allow your most valuable resources (your employees) to focus on exceptions that require their attention and add value to your customer relationships. This is exactly the sort of flexibility and freedom a true IR platform should bring your organization.
There's never been a better time to prepare your business's AR operations for the long-term with the flexibility of truly integrated receivables solutions.
While it may not rhyme as cleverly as the original holiday-inspired tune, we're hopeful that the first half of our journey into the "12 Gifts of True Integrated Receivables" has proven entertaining and informative. Be sure to check back next week as we reveal 'Part 2' of this post and unwrap the final six gifts of True Integrated Receivables.
Originally published December 12, 2017.