Why Finance Leaders Should Kill Spreadsheets

Capturing and handling data from accounting solutions to ERP systems has certainly evolved. We’ve moved from information viewed on printed pages to cloud-based business intelligence (BI) tools.  With new ways of processing information faster and with greater visibility, why in the world are so many executives still using Excel spreadsheets to manage critical accounts receivable (AR) and collections management data?

Mining information from different systems stored in various areas (such as an Excel-based aging report, collections call notes, ERP open invoice information, and cash application systems, just to name a few) is still exported, sliced and diced, and often manually compiled and pushed into a report. Then accounting has to dig into their email inbox, or navigate the share drive like Ferdinand Magellan, to gather the spreadsheets. It’s an upgrade over paper or not reporting at all, but still restrictive and does not provide immediate, actionable intelligence that today’s businesses need to remain nimble. While important data points that, once collected, deliver actionable BI, gaps in information exist that systems typically don’t capture (e.g., why customers are paying late, disputes or deductions, etc.)

Lack of visibility in AR and collections management is particularly apparent when managing:

  • Past due customers. A collector may receive a promise-to-pay, but the customer didn’t live up to their promise, and no follow up notes or reasons were captured. All the while, that customer continues to order product. Now you have capital tied up in the open AR, along with additional product being produced or procured from the supply chain.
  • Collections forecasting. Without the ability to easily uncover and report on late payment trends, recurring issues, and spot underlying problems, an accurate collections forecast is near impossible.

Accounts receivable automation maximizes ERP and other business application investments you’ve made by combining data from all systems to populate dashboards and centralize workflow. Introducing automated processes with algorithmic rules and strategies helps eliminate tedious tasks and allows you to focus on things that make a greater impact. No more spending countless hours capturing data from multiple solutions and putting findings in a spreadsheet.

Automation helps you prioritize activities and aggregate data — giving you the insight to perform pertinent tasks immediately. Details can be shared with your customers, making them self-sufficient, creating a greater user experience and providing immediate, automatic collaboration. And guess what? You get paid faster and avoid costly write-off or risk!

Aaron LeHew

As a Business Development Manager for Esker along with 15+ years of experience in manufacturing and distribution, Aaron background in process improvement throughout the Order-to-Cash cycle. Aaron has a passion for serving those looking to move beyond the status quo in order to retain and grow their business. Outside of work you will find Aaron chasing his 3 young kids, or training for local crossfit events.

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