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Christian Cruz took over as finance manager in 2017. He inherited a largely manual process of debtor management that used the resources of his accounts receivable officer and even the customer service team.
“Due to a lack of time, each week the customer service department would help the finance team to call our overdue customers,” says Christian.
On top of spending 2-3 hours each day making collection calls, Christian was losing four hours a week preparing email reminders—time he should have been allocating to preparing his budget and forecasting reports.
With some major retailers accruing up to 50 open invoices each month, it was a laborious task to go back and forth between NetSuite, Excel and Outlook to present customers with all of their invoice details.
“We didn’t have the time to contact every customer that was overdue, only the most overdue with the highest value.”
CW Systems set up ezyCollect to work with NetSuite in June 2019 and sent their first automated communications eight days later.
The volume of reminder emails being generated by CW Systems increased immediately, with the business having the flexibility to exclude customers from the automated sequence.
CW Systems’ second payment reminder in the multi-step automated sequence is the most effective in generating a payment but the pre-reminder notice, which Christian schedules for five days before an invoice is due, has been a happy surprise.
“With the pre-reminder email, we have a lot of customers paying early.”
Even collection calls are fewer and easier now. “The reminders are populated with all the information customers need, so if I have to call them, they already have everything in front of them,” reports Christian.
In addition, the new online payments facility makes collecting money a 24/7 reality.
“With a Pay Now button on our communications, we are receiving payments at 11pm and two o’clock in the morning as our customers find time to do their accounting.”
An added bonus has been the Pay by Instalments service available within the online customer payment portal. Credit-worthy customers can opt to settle their account in full by entering a payment plan with a third party finance provider.
“We get paid in full and that means our customer avoids going on account hold. They can keep trading with us while better managing their cashflow. It helps them and us,” says Christian.
CW Systems now has a standardised accounts receivable process that has eliminated the mess of spreadsheets and brought instant visibility to its outstanding cash balances.
“We can grab a picture from the dashboard of the value of current overdues and longest overdue customers. It really helps when communicating to management,” says Christian.
Time saved is the biggest return on investment for the busy finance team. “What used to take five minutes to send a reminder email with all the right information, now takes around five seconds,” reports Christian.
The boost to cash reserves as invoices get paid faster also has a major pay-off. Now, CW Systems can consistently pay its own suppliers on time or in advance, without needing to dip into cash reserves set aside for tax payments.
With a view to increasing their manufacturing arm, CW Systems now has the accounts receivable muscle to keep the cashflow pumping in the right direction.