How Self-Service Access To A/R Data Helps Finance Teams Improve Cash Flow

Richard McLean

Every business, particularly in today’s complex and volatile operating environment, is focused on enhancing performance. Finance organizations are increasingly looked upon to help the company set and achieve strategic business goals while continuing to ensure business stewardship. This requires specific skills and technology that can help deliver rapid and ongoing business value. Our role as CFO is to work with business unit leaders to implement strategies that squeeze more cash in the door. To that end, how you run your account receivables (A/R) process can have a big impact on financial performance.

In many companies, finance teams are bombarded by requests from sales, customer service, and other areas of the business for updates and information about the payment status of customer accounts. When your A/R team is busy fielding these requests and building reports, they can’t focus on work that has a positive impact on business performance, such as collecting payments, and your cash flow can suffer.

This may not be an issue in some industries or parts of the world. But in locations such as India and Southeast Asia, where the markets are less mature, chasing payments is a reality that our A/R teams face. They require more time, more engagement, and more effort to collect payment. It seems that whoever shouts the earliest and the loudest gets paid first. If you’re not in there shouting, you may not get paid until you do.

The right software and technology can help you manage this entire process more efficiently. By working from one integrated finance platform and providing self-service access to account information, sales and service can get the insight they need. When they can see every invoice that’s been issued and its real-time status right from their mobile device, your A/R team is freed up to focus on chasing the cash and reducing your days sales outstanding.

Having quality analytics on the front end of your finance platform enables finance to further uphold the call to deliver strategic value. The ability to gain access to data across the entire organization in real time gives you clear visibility into performance to make better-informed decisions. You can then strategically adapt structures, processes, and business models to new growth opportunities.

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Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 18,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.