Accounts Receivable (AR) is arguably the most critical process to any business. Improper AR management leads to a dwindling inflow of cash. Per a recent Paystream Advisors study, the biggest accounts receivable management (ARM) headache is getting paid in a timely fashion.1 Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents cited their days sales outstanding (DSO)—a calculation of how long it takes to get invoices paid—as their largest challenge.1 Business owners faced with cash inflow problems may have trouble paying employees, vendors and rent in a timely manner, leading to serious repercussions for a company’s bottom line, along with possible bankruptcy or even collapse.
While businesses understand the need for upping their AR productivity, it remains a struggle: 86% of companies have reported that doing more with their current AR staff is both one of their biggest challenges and a top priority.1
“It’s often viewed as a bait and switch when cracking down on clients for payment, and it shouldn’t be this way,” said Cleveland Brown, CEO of leading global payment processing provider Payscout, Inc. Companies can lose as much as $62 billion per year due to poor customer service,2 some say, in part due to a lack of establishing and maintaining rapport with customers both before and after the sale. Data released by Forrester indicates that 72% of businesses consider “improving customer experience” their number one goal.2
The way in which a company collects payment can have a direct impact on its success rate; for instance, offering flexibility with payment methods can make the payment process easier for the customer, which may then translate to a faster turnaround time.3 Additionally, if a business sells products or services internationally, different countries and cultures may have different payment preferences. Accepting credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, ACH payments, and online payments allows customers to pay in any manner they choose, and goes a long way in making the ARM process friendlier.
Brown pointed out, however, that a streamlined AR department is often easier said than done. “Whether your business is small or you don’t have the right tools for the job, businesses that need ARM streamlining assistance should consider hiring a reputable professional company to oversee the process.” Professional ARM firms ensure the accounts receivable process runs properly with up-to-date software, security, and verification tools to help clients remain compliant with government regulations. They also expedite the collection process since ARM is the firm’s core function, as opposed to being one of many tasks. Professional ARM firms also eliminate the potentially negative experience of a business owner collecting money directly from a client relationship.
Payscout serves many of the top ARM and debt collection agencies and accounts receivable management agencies in the U.S., recording a retention rate of 98.63% at the end of 2015. Payscout – now ranked among the top tier of servicers for the receivables management vertical – provides security, built-in PCI compliance, real-time automatic settlement, and no duplicate accounting or manual entry.
“If you want to keep customers coming back, you need to provide them with a good end game,” Cleveland added. “That means you wrap up the sales process with a professional ARM experience. If invoices are inaccurate or confusing, or if communication is slow or ineffective, they will be left with a bad impression. People are willing to pay more if they receive great customer service. Professional experience and value trump cost every time.”
With a primary mission of supporting the entrepreneurial dream one transaction at a time, Payscout supports the payment capabilities of merchants and financial service organizations. They provide direct connections to global, local, and alternative payment methods, as well as financial institutions and card associations, to increase merchant acquiring and issuing capabilities. Payscout’s focus is to simplify the merchant and customer experience to ultimately reduce payment costs and improve conversions for global payment acceptance.