Understanding accounts receivable and accounts payable is crucial in business. Simply put, accounts receivable is what customers owe you, while accounts payable is what you owe suppliers. The accounts receivable cycle, also known as the order-to-cash cycle, is a series of steps that companies follow from when a sale is made on credit to when the payment is received and recorded. The right automated solution helps your entire AR process run smoothly, as the system handles your tasks the exact same way from end-to-end. This means fewer deviations from your well-oiled AR machine, saving time on burdensome, manual tasks. And since 61% of late payments are a result of incorrect invoicing, billing errors and duplicate payments might be costing you more than you think.

Most companies only send a customer balance or memo without listing the outstanding invoices. It’s usually in a separate document and this is confusing for your customers. This is something that should be automated, ideally through a customer portal or receivable automation software. This clarifies what your customers owe you and when they need to pay you. Preferably, your company should be offering online payment methods to speed up this process.

They are considered a liquid asset, because they can be used as collateral to secure a loan to help meet short-term obligations. Accounts receivable (AR) are the balance of money due to a firm for goods or services delivered or used but not yet paid for by customers. Accounts receivable are listed on the balance sheet as a current asset. Any amount of money owed by customers for purchases made on credit is AR. Optimized accounts receivable management allows the accounting team to focus more on strategic initiatives rather than administrative duties, leading to higher employee satisfaction and better strategic outcomes​. Make it as easy as possible for clients to remit payments by creating self-service customer payment portals, accepting a range of payment options, and enabling payment plans or subscription billing​.

Best Practices to Improve your Accounts Receivable Management

It assists businesses in efficiently tracking and managing the money owed to them by their customers. By integrating with various ERP systems, Tesorio ensures every invoice is accurately tracked and followed up on. An example of AR management could be a company implementing a credit policy that includes thorough credit checks on potential customers. This company might also use an automated system for sending invoices and payment reminders and regularly review its accounts receivable aging report to identify and address late payments. This cycle helps maintain a smooth cash flow, ensure timely payment, and manage credit sales effectively. By understanding and implementing this cycle, businesses can improve their financial health and customer relationships.

Other receivables include non-trade receivables like interest receivable, tax refund receivable, and insurance claims receivable. AR is the amount owed to a business by its customers who have purchased goods or services on credit. Using accounts receivable financing can help overcome cash flow challenges, providing immediate access to funds, financial stability, and flexibility. It’s a practical solution for businesses, particularly SMEs, struggling with liquidity issues. This ratio sheds light on how well a company’s credit policies work and how fast it collects payments.

Realizing the importance of AR management is the first step in the right direction. You can then formulate a comprehensive AR policy and set procedures accordingly. This will help ensure that your company can effectively manage its accounts receivable and avoid any potential bookkeeping for franchises issues that could arise. Inaccurate invoicing due to insufficient technology can lead to customer disputes, prolonged cash collection periods, and increased operational costs. These inaccuracies can decrease customer satisfaction and result in financial losses.

Generating invoices for the customer

Properly managing accounts receivable is crucial for a company’s cash flow, as delays in collecting payments can lead to cash shortages. But imagine sending out a bill to a customer and forgetting about it – it’s easy to see how money could get lost! It helps businesses extensively track the money that they’re owed, making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Accounts receivable management is the process of ensuring that customers pay their dues on time.

Best Accounts Receivable Software for Businesses

Automatically process and analyze critical information such as sales and payment performance data, customer payment trends, and DSO to better manage risk and develop strategies to improve operational performance. Transform your invoice-to-cash cycle and speed up your cash application process by instantly matching and accurately applying customer payments to customer invoices in your ERP. Nestor Gilbert is a senior B2B and SaaS analyst and a core contributor at FinancesOnline for over 5 years.

The inability to apply payments on time and accurately can not only lock up cash, but also negatively impact future sales and the overall customer experience. Understand customer data and performance behaviors to minimize the risk of bad debt and the impact of late payments. Monitor changes in real time to identify and analyze customer risk signals.

The accounts receivable turnover ratio shows how fast you collect payments. Immediate access to cash is a big plus point of accounts receivable financing. It’s particularly beneficial for small businesses struggling to secure traditional bank loans.

Customer Records

When a distributor or manufacturer makes a sale they incur hard costs for the inventory and labor required to fulfill the order. When a service organization secures approval for a new project they allocate expensive resources to provide the service. The key to a successful business is the ability to get paid as soon as possible on the products or services they provide. You rely on your accounting system to create the sales order and the invoice, but then your accounts receivable software takes over. AP and AR automation tools like Nanonets can automate invoices, track payments, and send reminders, increasing efficiency and reducing manual errors. This optimization of accounts receivable processes can significantly improve cash flow management.

Multiview ERP

Increase accuracy and efficiency across your account reconciliation process and produce timely and accurate financial statements. Drive accuracy in the financial close by providing a streamlined method to substantiate your balance sheet. AR software should enable customers to self-serve their payment needs. It must also provide a wide range of online payment options in order to cater to any specific, preferred payment method.

Simply sticking with ‘the way it’s always been done’ is a thing of the past. AR software provides businesses with better, more reliable means to reach out to customers from anywhere, anytime. Sage Intacct offers a wide range of out-of-the-box features with customizable functions to fit various conversion funnels and purchase orders. This cloud-based solution empowers users with tools to enhance efficiency to grow their businesses. Choosing the right tool to manage money coming into your business is really important. It can help you keep track of payments and make sure there is a steady inflow of cash.

The credit period is often short, ranging from a few days to a year. Most customers want to pay you on time, and it’s often your fault they pay late. Either you didn’t send the invoice early enough for them to make an on-time payment, or there was a problem with the invoice, and they won’t pay until it’s fixed. What’s the impact of these preventable issues on customer satisfaction? Consider that about 50% of all invoice issues are related to missing or incorrect purchase order information on your invoices – a problem that is very much preventable. While AR management refers to the specific processes used to gain understanding of and collect owed payments, accounts receivable is the broader set of steps it supports.

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