How to Get Ahead In AR: 4 Tips
Guest post by Rachel Morris, AR Manager at Kodiak Cakes
At Kodiak Cakes, I started as an AR Specialist and was rapidly promoted to AR Manager with a team of three. Kodiak Cakes is a product company, and I come from a software background, first in AP and then in AR. This is my first non-software job, and starting as an AR Specialist helped me learn how my team works, but I knew I was ready to move up.
My AP experience helped me view Kodiak’s collections from a new perspective and solve problems they struggled with for a long time, which set me apart from my coworkers. Looking at overall strategy and process improvements as opposed to a narrow focus on collections helped elevate me past the specialist level.
Work With Sales to Get Ahead of the Collections Curve
A big challenge in AR is not having the correct contact information for customers’ AP. I worked with our sales team to refine client intake, informing the process from the AR perspective, since we work with AP all day. The sales team is thinking about closing the sale, not the nitty-gritty of working with AP.
This led to the development of a new customer intake form that gets AR the info we need upfront. Now, sales understand our needs better, and we’ve established clear guidelines for improving a process proactively.
Use Foundational Skills to Solve Problems Others Struggle With
Part of my job is processing deductions, which makes this role different from my software roles. Customers won't pay for expired or damaged products, and their backup for deductions varies considerably.
We process this data, convert it to Excel, make it more manageable using pivot tables, and import it into NetSuite so it's useful for other teams. This is another way I’ve applied my AP experience, my NetSuite, and Excel skills, to this AR role.
Whether it’s taking Excel classes or asking NetSuite admins for advice on working more efficiently, there are always more solutions out there. Being a person who can improve processes really helps me stand out.
Consult Your AP Team to Improve Email Success
AP is in control, and if they don’t want to pay you, they won’t. So, make it easy for them to pay you. I'm very specific in my subject lines: “This message is urgent” or “We need a response.” Then give the next step, the invoice number or the amount and date. Make the situation clear so they prioritize you.
I’ll ask my AP team how they would respond to an email. It’s valuable to open the conversation between AP and AR internally because your AP people are accessible to you and would love to collaborate.
Proactively Communicate With Senior Executives
You want open communication with the executive team. If there’s an issue, tell them before they ask. Part of that is improving your visibility to anticipate questions.
Their focus may be DSO, but don’t get stuck looking at collections from only one view. Look at customer buckets, total dollar amount, and days. Look at it from every angle, and capture everything so you have answers before questions are asked.
It’s better to be upfront than find yourself in a scramble position. If you're clear with them about the problem and the solution, they’ll trust that you’re on top of it.
How Tesorio Helps
Tesorio helps mid-market accounting and finance teams automate their accounts receivable workflows, get paid first, build customized campaigns at scale, and have predictable cash inflows. In a world where cash is King (and Queen!), Tesorio enables organizations, such as Kodiak Cakes, to turn their revenue into cash by improving their cash management performance while delivering great customer experiences.