For many people that are used to working in offices, the work-from-home model sounds like a dream.
Until they try it, that is.
As many of us have seen, working from home isn’t a vacation. It's a different type of workflow that brings new challenges to the accounts receivable (A/R) collection game. And in our experience, companies may encounter three challenges in particular as they establish a new work-from-home paradigm.
Challenges of A/R Teams When Working From Home
1. Access to Data and Devices
One of the biggest A/R collection challenges to overcome is maintaining access to your devices and data in the work-from-home environment. Think about all the files, reports, and client information you keep on your work laptop. Invoices, past due notices, aging reports. You’ll obviously need access to all of this information to manage the collection process, but what about all those paper files that aren’t stored online?
And what about co-worker communication? You won't be near your team when questions come up or when you have questions about reports. As such, you’ll need a way to coordinate these details that eliminates the need for in-person contact.
Long-term, you can improve your accounts receivable management by eliminating paper documents whenever possible. You likely have some report data available when working from home, however, ideally, everything can be available online with an accounts receivable automation software. This will allow for easy access across the accounting department.
Make sure employees can access their work devices as needed, and start setting up a system for uploading critical reports and invoices that your team may need to reference over the coming months. If you haven’t already done so, this is an easy way to start accelerating collection of receivables in your work from home (WFH) setting.
2. Client Communication
Under normal circumstances, your calendar had at least 4-5 in-person appointments each day requiring your attention. Now, your appointments are scattered across the board and require a new type of communication portal, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
And as we’ve all witnessed, these video conferencing tools come with challenges of their own: poor connections, time zone differences, and background noise, to name a few. Over time, these challenges can make even simple tasks a chore.
Like our data access challenge, your solution here comes down to leveraging a smart A/R tool that makes communication with internal and external stakeholders simple. Find an online management system that lets all employees collaborate virtually and communicate on account work. As noted above, this is an easy way to host all documentation and tools your team needs to streamline and improve A/R collections:
- Set custom permissions for accounts
- Restrict access to documents
- Instantly back up records to the cloud
A cloud-based accounts receivable software will help eliminate some of the coordination challenges inherent to video conferencing & file sharing that is so prevalent in today’s Covid-19 world. There’s no need to share screens or send documents before a call, each team member has proscribed access to the information they need, at any time.
We’ve all felt it – the struggle to stay productive in a non-traditional work setting. And while some of your team may feel more productive working from home, others will find it a significant barrier. From disruptions to routine to data access to social isolation, working from home presents a slew of new challenges you may be unprepared for.
The best way to support productivity is to adopt a smart A/R tool that facilitates simple communication and productivity. If you’ve followed the above advice and set up an A/R automation tool to accomplish this, you’re already halfway there. This software can manage automated reporting, remind stakeholders when they need to make calls to customers, provide client notifications, and more to take the workload off your team’s shoulders.
Accounts Receivable Management In the Work From Home Era
Your main takeaway here is that nearly any repeatable, ongoing A/R collection task can and should be automated, leaving your team free to focus more on data analysis and direct client communication and problem-solving.
From a productivity standpoint, this strategy helps your team focus their energies on what they do best and eliminates the hassle of those manual tasks that are all-too-common in the average A/R workflow.