Automation is on everyone’s mind today. In this economy, businesses are looking for ways to boost their EBITDA margins with automation.
However, businesses must consider more than just cost savings when they research and implement automation. The “2022 CEO Survey: The Need for Responsible Automation” from Gartner® details the concept of responsible automation, which seeks to not only create economic benefits for businesses, but also to create social and environmental benefits for their employees, customers and community.
Many of the invoicing and billing activities performed by accounts receivable (AR) professionals can easily be automated, and doing so can significantly improve employee experience, accuracy and even environmental impact. This combination makes AR automation an excellent candidate for responsible automation.
Mitigating the Effects of Inflation, Talent Shortages & the Economic Downturn
Higher profits and lower costs are often the first benefits people think of when considering automation, and automating your invoicing and billing supports those goals. However, automation can also support businesses through many kinds of adverse market conditions as well.
Whether talent shortages are leaving your AR department understaffed or inflation is driving up the cost of your product, automation can handle the day-to-day, repetitive tasks of generating invoices, sending them to clients and collecting payments. If your staff is limited, this technology frees up your employees to deal with new customers or other value-added work.
A BlueSnap survey found that 56% of businesses with automated AR experience better customer retention and 53% experience an improved cash flow — two critical benefits when there is an economic downturn or inflation forces you to increase the cost of your products.
Invoicing and billing automation represents a highly beneficial form of responsible automation: it not only helps to improve profits, but it also sets your company up to weather economic downturns as well as hiring and retention challenges.
Improve the Customer & Employee Experience
Another key part of responsible automation is that it improves the experiences of your customers and employees alike. Many people have a negative view of automation because they believe it reduces the jobs available to people and creates frustrating, humanity-free experiences for customers. The BlueSnap survey found that 59% of survey respondents haven’t implemented more automated AR processes because of their concerns about it having a negative impact on customers, and 47% were concerned that automation will take the human element out of business.
But the same survey found:
- 67% of businesses with automated AR experienced increased customer satisfaction
- 25% say the morale of their AR team improved
- 67% saw their team’s productivity increase
Automated AR does not necessarily take the entire process out of human hands. If you are implementing this automation in the context of responsible automation, you should focus on automating the most repetitive and mundane tasks, freeing up employees to focus their energy on the interactions that benefit the most from a human touch.
When implemented responsibly, automated AR can create a better working environment for employees and improve the customer experience by reducing the burden on employees and enabling them to have more meaningful conversations with the customers who need their attention the most.
A More Sustainable Approach to Invoicing & Billing
According to the Gartner® survey, CEOs predict “environmental and social changes” as being one of the top three biggest shifts in investor or owner expectations. Businesses can expect to begin feeling pressure from stakeholders to show how they’re making the company more socially responsible — automated invoicing and billing can help do that.
By digitalizing more aspects of AR, the move away from paper invoices and checks allows businesses to conserve resources and dollars. This also allows employers to embrace remote and flexible working arrangements, which benefits workers with disabilities, parents, caretakers and many others. AR automation, or automating your invoicing and billing processes, enables companies to create a more equitable, diverse working environment for their AR team.
AR automation is a prime example of responsible automation that businesses should consider today. The benefits extend beyond company profits and the bottom line to create better experiences for employees and customers while also protecting a company’s cash flow through turbulent economic times.
If you’re interested in learning more about AR automation and how it can help you create a culture of responsible automation in your company, contact BlueSnap today.
2022 CEO Survey: The Need for Responsible Automation, 13 May 2022, Kristin Moyer Et Al.
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