Blog: 5 Best Practices for Payables, Receivables Digitization – PYMNTS.com

Most chief financial officers (CFOs) in three key vertical markets — real estate, wholesale trade and industrial/ manufacturing — are digitizing their accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) systems if they have not already done so. 

That’s one of the findings of “The Strategic Role of the CFO,” a PYMNTS and Versapay collaboration based on a survey of 400 finance department leaders in those three industries. 

Get the report: The Strategic Role of the CFO 

Most respondents undertaking digitization of their AR/AP systems regard digitization as an opportunity to transform their businesses. They are digitizing as many AR/AP functions as possible to boost the overall lifetime value of customers. 

At the same time, CFOs for companies in these three industries have identified obstacles in digitizing their AR/AP operations — chief among them being a shortage of skilled staff and finding the right technology supplier. 

Following Best Practices 

To help CFOs overcome these obstacles, the report suggests a “C-Suite Checklist,” by answering questions about five best practices to consider on the path to AR/AP digitization: 

  • Have you cataloged customer information to integrate with your accounts receivable systems? 
  • Have you prepared clients for making automated payments on invoices from your business? 
  • Have you established how your workflows will change once the accounts receivable and accounts payable systems are digitized and how that will affect customers? 
  • Have you instituted new policies and procedures for your payments staff to reflect the new workflows? 
  • Have you trained employees on the conversion from manual to digitized systems? 

Doing Business in the Digital Way Preferred by Customers 

Digitizing AR/AP functions and payments processes has proven to be an intense focus for many companies, including those in the real estate, wholesale trade and industrial/manufacturing industries. 

CFOs realize that it’s time to leave manual, paper-intensive AR/AP services behind and do business in the digital way preferred by the customer, Versapay CEO Craig O’Neill told PYMNTS in an October interview. 

Read more: Going Digital is ‘Harder than Checks’ But Essential for CFOs 

According to O’Neill, CFOs have no choice but to adapt to today’s world, allowing their customers to pay how they want to pay. 

“If you can find a way to connect with your customer, make it easy and flexible for them and deploy technology that supports that, you can really get outsized results,” O’Neill said. 

PYMNTS’ research found that many CFOs have used a push toward AR/AP digitization as an opportunity to make critical operational interactions with their customers more efficient, ultimately improving those relationships while also improving cash flow. 

These changes make it clear that many businesses view the payments technology they implemented as a key building block to developing and sustaining more cooperative and collaborative relationships with customers. 

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