PYMNTS Intelligence Alternate Banner June 2024

27% of CFOs Say They ‘Definitely’ Need More AR Automation 

Chief financial officers (CFOs) are looking at automation to improve their accounts receivable (AR) processes.

Sixty-seven percent of CFOs say their firms “probably” need more automation and 27% say they “definitely” need more, according to “Automation Clears the Path to Getting Paid on Time,” a PYMNTS and Billtrust collaboration.

This interest in automation is being driven by CFOs’ interest in improving AR functionality and efficiency, tackling payment delays and errors, and streamlining AR processes by eliminating the need for archaic manual procedures.

Interviewed for the report, Billtrust CFO Robert Purcell said: “Effective collection strategies that automate as much as possible can help finance teams move toward a more strategic mindset and focus on higher-level tasks beyond the manual side of things.”

Automation is also proving its value among organizations that are receiving payments and want to get the most value from that data, Zachary Lynn, head of revenue operations at Boost Payment Solutions, told PYMNTS in an April interview.

“It’s not only from data they receive but also data that we remove from their environment,” Lynn said. “The data they receive, like remittance data and the payments data that they can reconcile into their AR software, is extremely valuable to help their operations. At the same time, removing certain data from their environment makes them more operationally efficient.”

Mike Ferretti, CEO of Great Harvest Bread Co., told PYMNTS that, before automation, he would be confronted with a foot-high stack of documents, all needing to be signed, each time he went to the office.

Now, with automated solutions in place, he only must review six or seven exception items each month. “That’s just added hours to my life,” Ferretti said.

For CFOs considering automating their processes, PYMNTS Intelligence suggests considering the experiences of peers who have already made the shift.

CFOs who have already automated their accounts payable (AP) and AR processes have reported positive results. For example, three-quarters of these CFOs said automating AR customer service has had a direct impact on customer conversion cycles.

These CFOs also said AR automation has improved cash flow and mitigated late payments, invoicing errors and repetitive manual processes.

The report concludes: “With the global AR automation market projected to reach $3.8 billion at an annual growth rate of 11.8%, it is clear businesses are prioritizing and benefitting from process automation.”