“Collaboration Portals” or “Supplier Portals” are being implemented by many companies to facilitate billing, payments and problem solving between companies, their employees, and their external partners, especially customers. This has important benefits for streamlined customer service, efficiency, and improving cash flow.
Having the seller and the buyer on the same platform removes much of the “friction” (i.e., time delays, paper-pushing, and overhead expense) in managing receivables, collections, payments, and disputes. There is no question that it also accelerates cash flow. A Collaboration Portal can streamline your Order-to-Cash Operations. Here are some ideas for you to consider:
- The portal must be intuitive and simple to use but the system must be flexible to accommodate not only your way of doing business but also your customers. Simplicity of design is essential to gain adoption by customers. Paradoxically, “simplicity” of the user interface is very hard to achieve, and usually requires an expert in UI design.
- The portal must accommodate workflows that are specific to the type of deduction or dispute which will drive the dispute to the appropriate person or department, at the right time, along with the right information and backup documents. The workflow should incorporate checklists, approval options, and escalation steps based on the value and type of the dispute.
- All activity should be captured with time stamps creating a strong audit trail. No longer will long and disconnected email chains be mishandled creating a documentation nightmare.
- Deliver disputes directly to departments such as Pricing, Customer Service, and Warehousing listing items and action steps for which they are specifically responsible. Attached to each dispute should include the documentation they need to render a decision. Your Sales Department can help early in the resolution of promotions and pricing deductions by getting information directly in their inbox for easy approvals and rejections, even via a sale reps mobile phone.
- Including Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) self-service will delight your sales department and smaller customers. The objective is to automate the processing and payment (via ACH or credit card) of invoices possible through web technology. They will also be able to retrieve invoice copies, dispute invoices and make payments, resolve deductions without the emails and left messages, and eliminate redundant entry to accounting systems that are a time-wasting burden to business people. As a result, mid-market and smaller companies are adopting EIPP to simplify their businesses.
- “Out of the box” workflows will not be successful for Order to Cash when dealing with large customers, which have unique operating procedures, coding, and rules. The system you choose should enable the customization of the portal for all major customers, and user-controlled custom workflows not requiring your IT Department to do.
In summary Collaboration Portals are not just the new thing, because of their many benefits for both all parties, they are also here to stay. It’s the definition of a true win-win.
Smyyth LLC – Credit-to-Cash Technology and Managed Services
Smyyth and its Creditek division provide world-class end-to-end or modular Outsourced Services and Carixa tm Credit-to-Cash software-as-a-service (SaaS), Receivables “Cure” projects, and Consulting to enable companies to attain extraordinary cash flow and profits using best practices for managing credit, accounts receivable, collections, deductions, disputes and cash application.
The Carixa™ Credit to Cash platform streamlines operations, slashes costs, and increases profits. Smyyth technology and services are built on Six Sigma principles and are SSAE16 compliant.