To be effective in your collections efforts, you must have a process in place to handle the scheduling and execution of follow up activities. Traditionally, these activities have been handled manually. AR employees have relied on desk calendars or tickler files where they manually jot down whom to call and when. A low-tech clerical task, it does the job but it’s not efficient. If the account pays and you don’t need to place a follow-up call, you still have to dig to check status before aborting the follow-up. Also, if you are using a calendar, you may have the tickler notice in front of you but not the contact information you need. In the current AR environment, a manual tickler process is inefficient and time-consuming.
A step in the right direction is using a tickler notepad that comes as a part of many accounts receivable software packages. However, people frequently run into similar problems as when using a manual paper process. It’s easy to schedule too many follow-up activities since there is no visibility into the larger schedule. Workloads can get even more backed up than when using a paper method. While contact information may be a click away, the note in the online account file is still just a note – the collector still needs to look up account information and invoice status before making calls. They need to be processed in place to make an automated tickler file truly work.
What needs to occur is the integration of the tickler file and/or computerized notepad with the AR database. When this is done, you can then take steps to do the following:
Not only will these steps improve your efficiency, but the collections department as a whole will see an increase in productivity and performance. With a transparent, automated tickler process, the man-hours spent performing these tasks is greatly reduced.
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