Most would agree that automating manual processes via credit to cash (C2C) platforms is a practical business decision towards achieving continuous working capital improvement. Moving from basic blocking and tackling to a highly automated, analytic- driven platform brings considerable efficiency to the enterprise. Recent BPO industry discussions refer to such automation as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), bringing a new stage of possibilities to the core of any business, specifically within Finance and Accounting.
The use of effective collection platform automation strategy reduces manual processes by an average of 11%, lowering overall cost of collections by 23%. If you have not yet moved away from legacy practices or improved your technology platform, this is a novel way of attacking productivity. Most enterprises have attacked this segment of their business either as a working capital initiative or as an alternative to outsourcing, yet the question remains — how do you achieve the next level of automation to further win the DSO wars?
Let’s start with the options: With continuous improvement objectives, collection platforms need to increase efficiency and lower total costs of ownership. The challenge is — which model is right for your enterprise: ERP Tools, Domain Specific Application (The wrapper) or obtaining the advantage through outsourcing?
- ERP – Add on modules and designed collection software applications
- Wrapper – Purchase a collection tool from a software vendor
- Outsource – Use the collection platform and processes provided by an outsourcing partner
Still, another option exists which has mostly been abandoned with the exception of very specific in-house applications. This is the ‘build model’ and while we have seen some extraordinary results of such builds, most outsourcing relationships deliver these innovations both in technology, as well as with complete end to end C2C processes.
Understanding these three options, and assuming you have already taken one of these steps as the enterprise continues to obtain best in class metrics, what would be your choice for next level efficiency?
Businesses will continue to look for quicker cycle times to achieve cash flow or find ways to create flexible risk mitigation strategies. So, where do you obtain next generation and gain RPA today? Have you see this automation in action? Most might answer no, yet that doesn’t mean that the technology doesn’t exist. Auto cash applications, deduction matching, auto credit line algorithms and intelligent workflow as a stack exist and are alive and well in more places than you think.
An exciting era of advanced automation in this segment of finance is evolving, as the push for continuous improvement persists and is demanded by both the buyer and supplier. Continuous improvement is the mechanism which drives innovation beyond the immediate challenge towards long perpetual shifts in how we do business.
The digitalization of processes in C2C such as with credit applications, invoicing, connecting payments and mass data referencing for reconciliation are all fragmented in the enterprise today. Come tomorrow, such technical and cultural shifts in business processes will be the standard, allowing for the next generation of automation to emerge. Implementing automation throughout the business won’t replace the relationship built between collectors and customers, but it will help drive efficiency and free up time spent on manual processes, shifting the focus to customer satisfaction.