We all know the iconic scene in Friends when Ross and Chandler navigate a tight staircase with a large couch. Right now, many businesses are also yelling "PIVOT" as they transition multiple aspects of their business model in short order. For many businesses, it's pivoting to a work-from-home routine and ensuring their employees have what they need to accomplish their daily tasks and continue to be successful in their roles. For other businesses, its more extreme by pivoting their order and fulfillment process. Brick and mortar retailers are the most common example, who in many cases have had to shift to an online ordering and delivery system where one may not have existed before. And then there are the most extreme cases where manufacturers, distributors and retailers have shifted the very product set they make and/or sell to accommodate the changing demands of society. Through all these quick pivots, it's crucial to not "break the couch" and ensure critical pieces - like customer payments - aren't broken or lost in the process.
Remote Workforce Shift
Remote working brings about many challenges for organizations, and the AR department is no exception. For businesses that rely heavily on manual and paper-based processes, the current situation is especially tough. It’s important for finance leaders to make the necessary changes now, in order to position their company for survival in the months ahead, and an eventual return to growth.
You’re not at your office to print and stuff envelopes. Your customers aren’t at their offices to receive invoices in the mail. Making your invoicing process fully digital enables you to deliver invoices from your at-home office and ensures your customers can receive those invoices from wherever they are working. Beyond the usual arguments for going digital – time savings, eliminate mistakes caused by manual entry, and save envelope, printing and postage costs – digital invoicing can help ensure business continuity in today’s rapidly changing market, and will help your AR department to efficiently operate and ensure cash flow is stabilized.
Extreme Pivot in Operations
We recently worked with a company that not only shifted many of their internal operations to continue to function remotely, but they truly made the ultimate pivot and transitioned portions of their manufacturing business to address the growing demand for PPE in the medical field. This new line of business required a new sales and distribution method, and it was time to introduce their first online ecommerce platform. Imagine having never sold directly to the consumer, and never having an online shopping process - to having to turn up an ecommerce platform in extremely short order?! In less than a week, we were able to work with this client and their ERP system to launch a fully integrated ecommerce site for the rapid deployment and fulfillment of PPE equipment orders to hospitals and medical facilities worldwide.
While most businesses aren't facing a monumental task of launching a whole new division and sales workflow in 4 days, this trying time is definitely a challenge for merchants, manufacturers, distributors of all sizes. Technology is available to help the transition, and can be implemented faster than you may think. Whether pivoting AR to ensure it is easy for customers to pay and for AR department to process payments, or implementing a shift in how companies sell and receive payments, we are here to help.