Companies want more automation and outsourcing for receivables process
The most important improvement goal for companies in their receivables management is to achieve a reduction in the amount of manual input and an increase in the level of automation, especially in order processing, invoicing and accounts receivable. This is particularly so in companies sending out more than 10,000 invoices a year.
About half of all companies in Finland, Sweden and Norway have already outsourced their payment reminder and debt collection functions. To improve the efficiency of their receivables processes, companies are now turning their attention to outsourcing the management of accounts receivable and invoicing.
This is evident from the results of a survey of the receivables processes of companies in Finland, Sweden and Norway, commissioned by OpusCapita.
Low cash levels, efficient invoicing processes
Companies have generally improved the management of their working capital. Cash levels are low, and incoming amounts move quickly through the system.
Demands for extended payment periods have brought further challenges to the management of sales receivables. In B2B transactions, individual invoices can be particularly significant if there are relatively few invoices altogether and their totals are large. It may therefore be critical whether or not an invoiced receivable is paid a week or two weeks earlier.
“Receivables turnover has been one of the main focus areas for improvement in recent years. The idea is to convert receivables into cash one way or the other, and to minimize outstanding receivables by improving the invoicing process as well. This is common to all the Nordic countries,” says Kari Martelius, Solution Director at OpusCapita.
Financial professionals in companies are well aware that invoicing is a key process visible to customers, and invoice accuracy is essential for maintaining customer satisfaction. By taking the process forward and by connecting added value services to invoices, customer satisfaction can also be increased.
Sales invoices go electronic
Companies wish to send their invoices electronically. The Nordic countries have progressed in this at different rates. In Finland, the progress in electronic consumer invoicing has been slower than in other Nordic countries, but in B2B invoicing Finland has been leading the way.
“In Sweden and Norway, electronic B2B invoicing is very topical right now. In Finland we are further ahead, and B2B e-invoicing is no longer a strategic decision. Most businesses have already responded to the e-invoicing requirements of their partner companies and of public entities,” says Martelius.
He also explains that there are ever fewer companies sending out invoices themselves. Companies are no longer printing out invoices but are instead letting a partner take care of sending invoices and acting as intermediary, and this is not necessarily even being perceived as outsourcing any more.
Outsourcing decisions are becoming more urgent because of the need for companies to make savings, and due to the successful experiences of the first wave of companies that have outsourced.
“Outsourcing of accounts receivable functions has been going on for several years already, and the feedback from companies has been very favorable. These positive signals are contributing to the rate of outsourcing of other parts of the receivables process,” says Martelius.
Kari Martelius, tel. +358 50 5700 184, firstname.lastname@example.org