For small and medium-sized retail businesses, cash flow is one of the most critical elements of success. When managed correctly, it can help keep a business afloat during tough times and aid its growth. One tool that can help retail SMEs manage their cash flow more effectively is accounts receivable software.
In a 2023 report by PYMTS, survey results show that retail SMEs are keen to explore tech that improves accounts receivable, particularly its capability to integrate with accounting platforms that help their team do more with less profitably.
Let’s take a look at how this type of software can benefit an organisation and what features to look for when shopping for the right solution.
What is Accounts Receivable Software?
Accounts receivable (AR) software helps businesses process customer payments more efficiently. It automates many of the manual processes associated with managing invoices, such as tracking customer payments and creating accurate records of payment activity. This automation saves time and reduces the amount of human error in data entry, resulting in better accuracy and improved customer service.
The automation and integration capabilities of accounts receivable software fit in with the trend of retailers towards simplicity in online platforms.
Benefits of AR Software
1. Cashflow management
Protecting cashflow is critical to retail traders due to the seasonal nature of the business. By automating the accounts receivable process, you can predict payments more accurately. This predictability aids in understanding your business’s cash position and safeguarding your working capital.
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2. Save time chasing overdue invoices and reconciling payments
Using A/R software can reduce the manual labour involved in collecting customer payments and handling accounting tasks such as collections and reconciliation. This means less time spent dealing with tedious paperwork and more time focusing on other areas of the business that need attention—such as marketing or customer service—which can lead to increased profits over time.
3. Better decision-making
AR software can also help retailers analyse trade customer data for more insights that can help them manage risk and improve relationships. Leveraging business credit scores, for example, can help retail SMEs identify potential payments issues of customers before they arise. Credit score data can also help businesses make better decisons on credit applications during onboarding.
4. Streamline payments
Modern AR software solutions also provide payment processing features that can help you reduce late payments. This integration allows you to provide friction-less payments to your trade customers not unlinke the ones you extend to retail customers. Online payment platforms, ‘pay now’ buttons and payment gateway on your e-commerce store are just some of the ways you can replicate the B2C experience in the B2B side of business. When your payment system is integrated to your AR software, payment processing is even easier as you can reconcile payments automatically to your accounting software.
Features to look for in an Accounts Receivable Software for retail
In the same PYMTS report, the conclusion is that retail SMEs are seeking platforms that can handle multiple tasks. When shopping for an accounts receivable software solution, there are particular features you should consider before making a purchase decision. These include:
- Cloud storage capabilities to securely store data online;
- Automated reminders to customers about upcoming or past due payments
- Integration with other accounting systems like QuickBooks, Netsuite, MYOB or Xero;
- Credit score reporting tools that provide insights into payment behaviours
- Customisable payment reminder templates for invoices that make billing more effortless.
- Frictionless payments features : online payments, e-commerce payment gateway, etc.
- Auto-reconciliation capabilities to automatically write back payments to your accounting software or ERP
Simplify cash flow management with AR automation
Overall, the trend towards simplicity in online platforms is expected to continue as SMEs increasingly embrace technology to improve their operations and competitiveness. With the right AR solution in place, SMEs can experience improved cash flow management without sacrificing accuracy or efficiency within their organisation.
AR automation software can help you manage your cashflow, so you can focus on what you do best – growing your business. Speak with one of our payments experts today to learn about options for your business.