Your accounts receivable team stands between you and your cash. That’s too much power to be taken lightly. To successfully carry out their duties, AR professionals require immense insight and finesse. They’re not just enforcers; they’re part of your CRM team. And if they’re not properly informed, they can cause lapses in compliance that can imperil your business far more than a few late payments – especially if you’re an SMB.
Here are the top three qualities to look for in an effective AR professional:
They are respectful toward customers.
First off, it’s critical you hire someone who will approach your customers with respect. In fact, an unskilled AR person was our catalyst in founding TrueAccord. Rude bill collectors might get one bill paid, but you’ve probably lost that customer for good. There is a demonstrated economic upside to retaining even the customers who don’t pay on time. It’s also worth pointing out that cash is not the only form of currency you can receive. AR people are also in a position to uncover strong customer insights that can enhance the brand experience for everyone. Sometimes it’s not the talking, but the listening, that drives your bottom line.
They know the applicable laws.
Compliance with debt collection laws requires ongoing legal counsel. Without access to and supervision from lawyers, your AR person not only can derail individual payments, they can expose your company to debilitating fines. There are also missteps in etiquette that can have an equally devastating effect on the status of payment, such as contacting customers at the wrong time of day or via the wrong medium. For example, Thursdays and Fridays are the best days to capture and hold attention and email has a surprisingly lower open and response rate than direct mail.
They are entrepreneurial in spirit.
The ideal AR professional should be able to think holistically about your business. They should understand your overall goals and be familiar with fundamental business principles, such as the relative ease in retaining versus winning a customer. Most importantly, they think of themselves as brand ambassadors from the moment they send the first invoice until receipt of final payment. Check out our short e-book on the topic.
All of that said, there are some situations too big for a single AR person or even an AR team to handle. Scouring the web for AR best practices is not always enough for SMBs to effectively leverage what is often one of their largest liquid assets. TrueAccord specializes in advanced methods of collecting debt and can step in at any time with proven methods to dissolve an impasse.