<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/pJ1J8IhmrGOFijyr86vW" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">

Aiwyn: Addressing the Payments and Collections Challenge

By | Apr 2, 2024


What does success look like for payments and collections? Many businesses unconsciously set a low bar for success, which they define simply as money arriving within a specific (often generous) period, even if that period is outside the due dates. 

As a result the processes can include long Day Sales Outstanding (DSO) expectations, a significant amount of work required by finance or accounting departments following up on outstanding bills, difficulty increasing urgency during communications, and lack of flexibility regarding multiple payment methods, split payments, etc.

All of this represents natural unconsidered assumptions left over from the days when payments and collections processes had to be manual in every respect. There used to be no choice; it took time, it required resources, and that was necessary to ensure that the business continued to handle revenues. 

With automation lifting the burden of recurring and monotonous tasks from accounting and finance teams, it’s time to reconsider those assumptions. Payments and collections can become more efficient, more flexible for customers, and save on time and fees. It’s better for accountants, controllers, and leadership including CFOs, CTOs, CEOs and CIOs. The key to achieve this is to use automation to empower and expand the human touch. 

Upgrading the Payments and Collections Experience

Payments and collections can be an intricate process, even when billing details, customer satisfaction, and payment parameters are smooth and mutually agreed. 

Client payments can be unpredictable. Some clients prefer to split their payments up, others might use different payment methods each time. There's also the chance of missed payments or even accidental duplicates. All of this adds work, stress, and potential inaccuracy for accounting teams. That means time and other resources spent on chasing, correcting, and adapting payments.

The Impact of Automation on DSO & Collections Processes

Until recently, accepting higher DSO numbers than a firm would like was simply a cost of doing business. When every bill, reminder, and payment update had to be handled manually, there was a limit to how efficient it could be, even for the most dedicated and effective team. 

Now that automation can be used to streamline parts of the process, and free up human resources for the work that only they can do, that has changed. Lowering your DSO is not only possible but easily achieved, bringing money into the business more quickly and predictably. 

Leveraging automation in the payments and collections process results in:

  • Increased cash flow
  • Greater predictability
  • Increase in collected late fees
  • Savings on merchant fees by surcharging clients
  • Time savings for staff and partners

Barry Brown, CIO at MST 

“It’s all about improving the process after the bill gets sent with automation and reminders. Our clients never had a problem with collections or accounts receivable, we never have a problem getting it paid. It's about cash flow, getting it paid sooner, getting the money in the door. That’s why we use Aiwyn, to improve that.”

The Impact of Automation on Customer Experience

Leveraging automation within payments and collections processes has notable uplift for firms, but it’s equally important to appreciate the positive impact it has on customer experience.

Customers can easily have their preferences accommodated regarding the use of multiple payment methods, making partial payments, and so on. They are protected from the hassle of unintended duplicate payments, and can access clear records at any time. They benefit from a smooth, predictable experience of reminders, payments, etc. and also from the fact that their accountants now have more time to spend on the vital human aspects of the relationship, and on solving challenges and offering advice in areas for which human expertise is indispensable. 

Leveraging automation improves customer experience by:

  • Providing streamlined, predictable payments and collections processes
  • Making it easy to pay, and easy to remember to pay on time
  • Ensuring that double payments made in error cannot occur
  • Providing automatic emailed receipts
  • Highlighting the effort the firm makes to make payments easy for clients (leading to increased retention)
  • Freeing up time which can be spent elsewhere (as billable hours) according to client need

Stephen Pelcher, Director of Finance at Elliott Davis

“When we first saw Practice Automation, it was clear that Aiwyn created a solution that was built for the future and addressed the needs that we had in front of us. We trust our partnership with a business that prioritizes our clients' best interests like we do.”

Automation Empowers the Human Touch

The human touch is a foundational component of accountancy. In a profession which acts as trusted financial advisors and typically develops relationships with clients that span years to decades, the importance of the skills, knowledge, and understanding that accounting professionals share with their clients cannot be overstated.

Automation can’t replace any of this. What it can do is streamline routine and repetitive tasks, freeing up more time for people to do the things that only they can do. This allows firms to invest in more strategic advisory services, such as data analysis and insights, suggestions for improvements and efficiencies, financial planning and predictions, etc. 

Clients, in turn, benefit from an expanded range of services, from advisors who have more time to invest in keeping up with changes in markets and in the profession, and from more time being available for face-to-face interactions and personalized service. 

All of this is built on a pattern of regular automated interactions that ensure the base of the relationship is efficient, accurate, and easy. Leadership such as CIOs, CEOs, CFOs, Controllers and so on, can focus their attention on improving and expanding their business, services and customer experience, knowing that the day-to-day essentials are reliably taken care of. 

Aiwyn in Action

Elliott Davis, an independent firm of Moore North America, has been serving clients for over 100 years and is always looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction. 

Once they started working with Aiwyn to automate payments and collections, within just 3 months, Elliott Davis saw:

The experience Elliott Davis had with Aiwyn is representative of the kinds of results we see firms achieve with Aiwyn’s technology, because it is designed to streamline precisely the areas of payments and collections processes which otherwise cause friction and delay. 

Barry Brown, CIO at MST 

“The first day we turned on Aiwyn, we collected $60,000. It's all about client reminders. Previous to Aiwyn, we did a lot of billing on paper, and with that system, clients would get a bill and then it would sit in an inbox for a few weeks or months. With Aiwyn automating the billing and collections, we get paid a lot quicker.”

Aiwyn’s Payments Automation in Action

With Aiwyn, companies can bring automation to their payments processes to make them faster, easier for both firms and clients, and more efficient. 

Additionally, parts of the process can become more tailored to the nuances of the situation. For instance, many firms want to design an automated process to escalate as time passes. With Aiwyn, not only can you tailor the subject line, headline, and body text of the emails being sent out with statements, but you can also strategically begin to include client partners or additional recipients in CC or BCC based on the invoice's age, enabling you to engage key stakeholders at critical moments.

Streamlining the payments process with tailored automation is better for accounting firms as well as for clients. 

Firm benefits:

  • Shorter invoice-to-cash cycle: Firms can significantly reduce the time that typically elapses between sending an invoice and handling payment. 
  • Improved workload: Staff can significantly reduce the time they spend on manual processes connected to receiving payments, and can instead focus on other important tasks. 
  • Stronger control over the accounts receivable cycle: The cycle can be both automated and tailored. Pre-payments can be required, recurring payments can be included, and emails can be designed to escalate as time goes on. 

Client benefits:

  • Greater accounting clarity and organization: Clients find the experience of receiving, keeping track of, and handling bills to be smoother and clearer. 
  • Smooth recurring payments: Clients with recurring payments can now enjoy a smoother experience, resembling the ease of subscription billing they're familiar with elsewhere.
  • Easy access to records and tracking: Clients can easily access and explore records of all transactions within a central portal hub. 

Aiwyn’s Collections Automation in Action

It’s particularly valuable to bring automation to the collections process because the easier you make it for clients to send the money that’s owed, the faster they will do so and the more willing they will be to keep doing it. Ultimately, this is the business’ bottom line. 

Streamlining a collections process is in some ways similar to the investment that stores make in their checkout process. The better the experience, the more likely the customer is to complete the transaction and return another time. 

As with payments, the benefits of leveraging automation as part of collections benefits both accounting firms and their clients. 

Firm benefits:

  • Improved DSO: DSO cycles typically become shorter, and the firm can exert greater control and enjoy greater predictability.
  • Streamline late payment fees collection: When a client is past due with payments, it can be very worthwhile for a firm to collect late payment fees, both financially and as disincentive against this behavior becoming common. The more automated this process can be, the more firms are empowered to collect late payment fees. 
  • Reduced workload: Handling collections manually can involve considerable time-consuming and repetitive work. It’s an ideal target for automation, freeing up employee time for more demanding and satisfying tasks.

Client benefits:

  • Convenient, clear reminders and statements: Outstanding invoices are repeatedly flagged and resent, with all relevant information included. 
  • Fast, easy ways to pay: No need for clients to find and employ details such as client numbers or invoice numbers, which can add friction and delay.
  • Centralized records: Clients can access and explore records of all transactions within a central portal hub at any time. 

Barry Brown, CIO at MST 

“To someone considering Aiwyn, I would strongly encourage you to look at the tech stack, the innovation, and what they're bringing to market, and understand the progress they've made in such a short time. I wish we'd found them years sooner. I wish they'd been around years sooner, because everything we've gotten from them continues to be better than any other product that we have.”

Get notified on new marketing insights

Be the first to know about new B2B SaaS Marketing insights to build or refine your marketing function with the tools and knowledge of today’s industry.