3 New Year’s Resolutions for Your A/R Operations in 2021

Written by: Ashton Steffl

January 5, 2021

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Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against most people who intend on making and keeping a New Year’s resolution each year. In fact, according to a 2018 U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail to last even a few weeks, let alone the whole year1.

So, why is there such a high failure rate with New Year’s resolutions?

Because of a lack of follow-through.

Most resolutions are either too difficult to keep, or they are not specific enough to maintain. In order for a New Year’s resolution to withstand the year, it has to be sustainable. Yet, with all of this, most people still want to uphold the tradition of creating and following their resolutions.

So this year, why not focus your New Year’s resolution on not only a sustainable goal, but also one that will positively impact you, as well as your business, for many years to come?

2020 taught us a lot. Businesses were forced to adapt to working nearly 100 percent remote, and while the capability of doing business online almost exclusively has been in place for quite sometime now, in 2020, it became a reality. And we’re not out of the woods yet.

No doubt, every organization within your business was impacted by the vast disruptions of 2020. But from our vantage point, for many businesses, one of the hardest hits was accounts receivables (A/R). With employees relocated to home offices, and the same to be said for their customers’ accounts payables (A/P) counterparts, a slowdown in payments, and therefore revenue, was a very real thing in 2020.

As we enter 2021, we believe it’s time to set some goals to help your A/R team modernize their processes and systems with the help of a truly integrated receivables solution.

Integrated receivables (IR) has risen to the spotlight over the past several years, and is making waves not only in the Fintech landscape but within numerous industries, by helping to streamline and automate companies’ A/R operations on a single platform. By implementing an integrated solution in the new year, your A/R team will have complete oversight of all incoming payment methods, from any payment channel, and will have more time to focus on higher value functions thanks to the benefit of automated cash application into your back-office system(s).

So, as you start 2021 perhaps it’s time to focus a few of your New Year’s resolutions this year on a solution that will adapt to your business needs and help you streamline and automate your A/R operations.

Here are three timely resolutions to bring in the new year with the help of a truly integrated receivables solution: 

1. Utilize a Cloud-Based Solution

Resolve this year to bring your A/R operations onto a cloud-based software.

Cloud-based solutions, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), mean significantly reducing or eliminating all costs related to on-site hardware and software, as well as the dedicated staff needed to manage the blinking lights of those on-site systems.

By upgrading to a cloud-based A/R software this year, you are deploying a seamless solution with none of the costly investment, maintenance and overhead attached to legacy on-site systems. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that businesses must be able to adapt to remote workers and customers at the drop of a hat. That’s tough to do if your operations are tied to legacy, on-premise systems, processes and hardware.

2. Offer Contactless (Online) Payments to Your Customers 

As we very well know, 2020 was a year of hyper disruption due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have historically operated with the majority of employees onsite were abruptly forced to adapt to most―if not all―employees working remotely which introduced a myriad of new challenges to processes and systems that are heavily dependent on employees being in the physical office environment.

For many businesses, a high percentage of customer payments continue to be made via paper check―50 percent according to a recent Mastercard Business Payments report.

Especially for companies that still receive high volumes of check payments, COVID-19 drastically accelerated the demand for enabling contactless online payments for customers. In fact, according to a 2020 PYMNTS.com report, 83 percent of businesses have changed their A/R processes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though contactless online payments are not a new solution in the digital space,  high demand within B2B organizations due to social distancing guidelines has significantly increased the demand and adoption of this payment channel.

Offering self-service online payment options is a natural extension and evolution to your current A/R payment options and processes, and allows your customers to benefit from this convenient, contactless payment channel. By adding the ability for your customers to make payments online everyone wins―your customers gain the convenience to safely and securely make payments when and where they want, and your A/R team gains complete oversight of all incoming payments from a single user interface that also includes associated remittance (invoice/statement) details that can automatically be posted into your back-office system(s).

You can learn more about how contactless online payment options can benefit your customers and your A/R operations in these recent blog posts:

4 Ways to Modernize Your A/R Operations Right Now

How Integrated Receivables Solutions Help Accounts Receivables Operations Thrive in a Time of Hyper Disruption and Social Distancing

3. Modernize Processes with Modularity

The systems and processes utilized within your current A/R operations likely weren’t put in place overnight, but rather accumulated over time as new business needs and customer demands came into existence. Therefore, it would be irresponsible to suggest that your current systems and processes be shifted all at once to a new technology platform.

Instead, we recommend resolving to add an A/R platform in 2021 that features a modular design and allows you to start with your most pressing A/R challenges and then grow utilization over time to cover additional payment methods and channels―all within a single system.

As we’ve written previously in a post entitled, 5 Things True Integrated Receivables Is, and 5 Things It Isn’t...

Leading integrated receivables solutions should enable you to start where your business needs are today and conveniently expand your use of the platform over time. Solutions that force you to implement (and pay for) more than the services and capabilities you need today, lack the modularity of a truly integrated solution.

For example, let’s say that your business still receives the majority of your customer remittances in the form of paper checks. As we already mentioned, this is still very common for businesses within the B2B space. Chances are that you would like to start transitioning some of those payments to ACH or even Credit Card. But to do so in a manner that forces your wishes upon your customers would likely lead to unnecessary frustration among your customers and friction within your A/R operations.

Instead, the addition of convenient, contactless payment channels such as online payments and automatic debit (Autopay) solutions can help you pave the way for increasing electronic payment acceptance among your customers at their pace. The addition of electronic payment options over time, and with the support of coordinated customer communication, can deliver a great customer experience while also helping to increase customer adoption.

Implementing a modular receivables processing platform allows you to kick-start your 2021 A/R resolutions with a solution that starts where your business needs are today, and seamlessly expands with you and the payment needs of your customers for years to come.

With any of these three actionable resolutions, your A/R operations will be aligned to start 2021 with goals that can be maintained and built upon well into the future. By implementing an integrated receivables solution this year, you are setting your business, and your customers, up for success.

Best part? No diet or dry January necessary.

Happy New Year!


1.  U.S. News & World Health Report, 2018
2. Mastercard Business Payments 2022 Report, 2018
3. B2B Payments Innovation Readiness Report, 2020

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