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Top 5 Strategies for Dynamic Reporting of Receivables: A CFO’s Journey

What you’ll learn

  • Understand the dilemma faced by the finance leaders of mid-sized businesses in reporting of AR.
  • Learn how automated reporting and analytics improve AR efficiency with boosted cash flow.

Hi, Meet Matt—He is the CFO of a Fortune 1000, Food and Beverage company. His primary responsibility is to assess and evaluate the company’s financial health and improve the organization's cash flow. Two years ago, Matt was struggling to keep the financial operations of his company running smoothly. The company faced constant bad debts, and the cash inflow was uncertain. The overdue receivables payments were piling up every passing month, increasing the deficit. When asked about the limitations Matt faced in the past, he listed the following as the primary concerns.

The dilemma of inefficient receivables reporting in a fast-changing world

1. Lack of visibility into performance and productivity:

With an increased customer base, it became difficult for the company to handle the data. The inability to track the progress of the team’s performance and productivity affects the bottom-line revenue of the company. Without visualization, Matt was unable to track significant operations of the company, such as:

  • The credit limits that the credit teams were setting
  • Past-dues turning into bad debt
  • Time and effort to collect the payment and close the open invoices
  • The volume of invalid deductions and write-offs

2. Lack of access to real-time data:

Reporting is a time-consuming process. Matt found it challenging to base his decisions on data that was weeks or even months old. Since the record-keeping and maintenance happened manually, Matt found it challenging to access real-time data and metrics.

Want to learn more about the benefits of real-time data in the mid-market? Check out this blog on the 7 benefits of real-time data in the mid-market

3. Process hindrances due to siloed workflows:

Many companies have seen a negative effect due to vital data and processes happening in silos. The workflow becomes siloed when teams do not share information, goals, tools, priorities, and strategies with other groups. This communication gap between teams leads to expensive errors that further affect the overall revenue stream.

Finance teams must stay updated with the latest information, including customer data, transactional details, and approval hierarchies. Lack of shared information infiltrated Matt’s company and impacted operations, reduced employee morale, and contributed to the organization’s product and culture degradation.

4. Time-consuming method of traditional reporting:

Traditional reporting requires excessive hand-holding in terms of workforce, user skill sets, and assistance from IT. As highlighted by Matt, traditional reports lack depth and vital KPI-tracking that is required for decision-making.

Some of the significant management reports were incomprehensible due to a lack of updated statistics—past-due amount, overall/departmental operational expenditure, working capital analysis, the total debt amount, etc. Creating the reports also made it challenging to keep up with the real-time data, which often resulted in outdated reports.

5. Improper decision-making:

To make crucial decisions, analyzing your company’s health is essential.

Critical Business Decisions Require Deep Analysis

Due to the lack of accurate reports and metrics, it became difficult for Matt to handle such critical decisions and get a buy-in from the stakeholders. To further tackle such issues, the company decided to go with AR integrations in the hope that it will help in running the cash flow smoothly. However, due to a lack of visibility into the company’s funds and the long and expensive integrations, the organization ultimately suffered the consequences of bad decision-making.

Adopting digital transformation: A post-automation success story

Within two years of implementing AR automation, the organization  scaled new heights as a Fortune 1000 company. With the help of reporting dashboards, analytics became more manageable for the company.

A reporting dashboard ensures that you visualize all the necessary information in a visual format and can drill down into each vertical of the report. After further discussion, Matt highlighted the primary AR functions that achieved tremendous improvement and contributed to the company’s growth.

1. Modern-day reports:

Today, Matt believes that having digitized reporting and analytics is more promising than manual keying-in of outdated information. The new method of automated reporting in receivables translates a company’s objectives into measurable metrics. It enables users to measure present vs. organization’s future goals accurately.  With the provision of different types of reports, businesses can drill deeper into the process.

Different Types of AR Reports

2. Predictive accounts receivables data analytics:

Today, businesses worldwide are using analytics tools to determine how data can be leveraged to solve problems and increase efficiency and revenue. With the help of integrated data aggregations, Matt visualized customer-tailored out-of-the-box AR analytics reports and  gained quick insights into the data. He  drilled down into customer account level information, to ensure that corrective actions could be performed.

Benefits of AR Analytics

3. Key performance indicators(KPI):

KPIs are the crucial metrics for critical analyses and evaluation of a company’s performance. With metrics such as:

  • Days Sales Outstanding(DSO)
  • Days Deduction Outstanding(DDO)
  • Receivables Aging
  • Accounts Receivables Turnover Ratio
  • Average Days Delinquent
  • Top-Paying Customers
  • Collection Effectiveness Index

4. Filtering important segments:

To visualize massive data properly, Matt advises using filters within the reports. The filter will provide customization ability to the users. These filters can vary across different departments, namely, credit and collections. With the help of these filters, you can segment your reports based on various categories including:

  • Customer Demographics
  • Types of Currencies
  • Collections Payment Amount
  • Customer Aging Buckets
  • Customer Risk Categories
  • Inventory Records
  • Company’s Past Revenue
  • Company’s ROI History
  • Revenue of Individual Subsidiaries.

5. User-friendly interface:

The most important feature of any dashboard is its interface. An easy-to-use dashboard ensures easy navigation, smoother workflow, quicker task completion, and fewer hurdles. Ideally, a dashboard should display the information clearly and efficiently and show the trends and data variations over time. The reports should be customizable and lay out essential widgets, data components, and essential metrics effectively in limited space.

6. Convenient decision-making:

With a clear insight into a company’s past performance and other financial records, CFOs can easily predict future performance with a simple analysis. Matt utilized these automated reports to extrapolate future outcomes, forecast the revenue, and estimate future cash inflow. Having an approximation that is most likely to be accurate in the future helps executives drive their company in a proper direction and prepare themselves for any roadblocks.

Moving forward with advanced reporting and AR analytics

With the ability to view real-time data and past information at one location and derive results from it, Matt could lead his company into Fortune 1000 within the next two  years. With insightful reports, he could predict the company’s future with utmost accuracy.

Automation allows users to perform more tasks in less time. With this technology, reporting and analytics have become much easier for many organizations worldwide. Easy-to-use dashboards and collating essential metrics in a visually-appealing format have helped many companies gain a competitive advantage.

At HighRadius, we help mid-sized business owners to realize their company’s potential and give them the most efficient automation solution to power their business model. Talk to our experts today to learn more about RadiusOne AR Automation Solutions.

Looking for free ready-to-use finance templates, calculators, and tools? Check out our Finance Toolkit.

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