Building an accounts receivable team is one of those critical decisions that will eventually determine the bottom line for your organization. Imagine this – you are a rapidly growing company with a high volume of credit sales. However, all these sales won’t really contribute to your business growth until you get paid for the goods or services you have provided. And that is precisely where accounts receivable managers and collection specialists enter the picture.
Accounts receivable managers are the backbone of any finance team – essentially keeping track of due payments, dealing with customers, and ensuring that company cash flow remains healthy. But what are the qualities that are essential to high-performing collection experts? Let’s find out!
TECHNOLOGY KNOW-HOW: With the advent of technology, accounting & bookkeeping, as a function, has gone through a significant shift. In contrast to age-old methods, most collection-related activities are now digitized. Modern collection experts are expected to be adept with industry-standard tools that can help them track accounts, follow up with customers, collect payments and generate reports.
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS: Accounts receivable managers tend to deal with a high volume of statements and invoices, regardless of the company size or industry. In addition, they are also expected to track payments in real-time to avoid bad debts. Therefore, a collection expert needs to be organised as lost inventory, overlooked invoices, and missed payments can all leave a big dent in the company’s cash flow.
LISTENING SKILLS: Since collection experts deal directly with customers that are most likely to put forward the complexities leading to delayed payments, they need to be patient listeners. Effective communication with customers can strengthen relationships and help decide on payment terms that honour contract obligations and work for both parties.
PERSISTENCE: While empathy is a quality that can go a long way in building strong customer relationships, the final goal of every accounts receivable manager is to ensure that due payments keep coming in regularly. Having a persistent & firm yet formal approach to customer communications can help set clear payment expectations. Adopting such an approach will also help overcome any objections from the customer’s end and reduce the chances of delayed payments and bad debts.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL & ACCURACY: No matter how many accounts receivable automation tools you introduce to your business, there will always be some instances of calculation errors, duplicate invoices, etc. Collection experts are expected to constantly be on the lookout for such cases and flag them – even in high-volume processing. Therefore, having a sharp eye for discrepancies is a must-have skill for any accounts receivable manager.
PEOPLE MANAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION SKILLS: As an accounts receivable manager, you will be dealing with customers and seasoned collection experts within your team. Being a people person will go a long way in maintaining a good rapport with the customers and running internal teams efficiently. In addition, it is also essential for a collections expert to communicate articulately and efficiently.
PREDICTIVE, FUTURE-CENTRIC MINDSET: While it is nearly impossible to forecast how much money will come in through credit sales, successful accounts receivable managers stay on top of trends and build personal relationships with their customers to project collections. Such a future-centric mindset can go a long way in helping a business build & improve on its collections strategy.
RELATED CASE STUDY: QX worked with a leading healthcare recruiter to automate remittance uploading process using QX ProAR, the proprietary AR automation technology. Click here to read the case study.
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Originally published Jun 22, 2022 06:06:59, updated Jun 27 2022