Accounts receivable (A/R) teams work tirelessly to meet B2B customer purchasing expectations and the growing demand for personalized buying experiences. However, too many B2B businesses are relying on manual, paper-based A/R processes and are ill-equipped to meet such demands. In fact, 44% of finance executives say their teams are limited by current technology.
Titled Automation and Manual A/R Processes: Capital Considerations to Grow B2B Businesses in 2020 and Beyond, a new MSTS report explores how the strategic automation of back office processes and quality partnerships can help B2B businesses optimize digital payment processing and streamline the A/R process — unlocking a superior customer experience to inspire loyalty and untether working capital.
MSTS, a global B2B payment and credit solutions provider, surveyed 300 U.S.-based B2B finance professionals about their processes for managing A/R tasks, such as onboarding, invoicing customers, managing incoming payments, collections, and overseeing A/P and A/R operations for their business. The report finds that 40% of finance executives say improving working capital management is the top department goal for 2020, and yet, 94% of B2B finance employees manually input at least some invoice or billing information into their A/R systems, contributing to errors that lead to late payments and decreased profitability. This points to an increased need for automated A/R processes that will unburden employees, and ultimately, meet finance executives’ goals of freeing working capital. Additional key insights include:
A lack of resources degrades the customer experience. For over half of B2B finance employees (56%) it takes more than four days to onboard a new customer when providing net terms. Not only does this delay time-to-sale, but it degrades the customer experience — and B2B buyers who face delays of more than two days during onboarding are less likely to complete a purchase.
Chronic invoice and billing errors increase DSO and trap capital. Manual invoice data entry processes and unique billing requirements often result in invoicing mistakes and delay payments: 39% of B2B finance employees say 26% or more of their late payments are due to a dispute. Late and delayed payments caused by invoicing and billing errors lead to an increase in DSO, reducing the working capital needed to extend terms to more customers and support further business growth.
Inefficient administrative processes consume time and resources. Resolving customer disputes, rectifying invoices and managing collections consume the bulk of A/R teams’ hours, and they are often forced to turn to the sales team for additional support: 78% of respondents say their sales team is involved in onboarding, credit limit increases, disputes and/or collections very or somewhat often, while 20% say their sales team is always involved with these activities.
“Financial teams have historically spent large amounts of time manually managing accounts receivable tasks,” said Brandon Spear, President at MSTS. “But given the rate at which B2B buyers’ expectations are evolving, it’s critical that teams have the time and resources needed to focus on nurturing the customer experience and growing buyer loyalty. At MSTS, we understand organizations’ many internal barriers to change. That’s why we’ve developed our solution with a headless approach and deep integrations to meet the needs of both buyers and sellers.”
For more information about how B2B finance teams can work with a strategic partner to automate A/R processes, download the full data report here. To learn more about MSTS, visit https://www.msts.com.