The trend is clear – automation of business processes in professional service firms is here to stay.

Onboarding, templated advice documents, payments, client communications are all processes that have benefited from some level of automation already.

Automation is cost efficient, scalable and has fewer people management issues. But, does this mean providing a “high touch” personal service has no place? Of course not.

Professional service firms will always have clients needing advice for complex or important matters and this is where humans make a BIG difference. The real upside of automation and technology is it frees up resources to work on the holy grail: client relationships.

Searching for the right blend

Many firms are wisely using the COVID-19 environment to review current business processes. They are determining if some processes can be done more effectively (better/cheaper/faster) using:

a) technology (automate)
b) specialist third party resources (virtual/outsource); or
c) specialist internal resource (core)

Accounts Receivables (AR) has always been a challenge for professional service firms. It’s a job virtually nobody likes doing and is linked to high staff turnover and widely varying results person to person and firm to firm. AR can easily consume valuable resources that could be better spent on high-value / high touch services.

Can AR be automated?

Yes, at a low level, e.g. reminder notices and receipting of payments. That said, client contact around something as sensitive as payments needs to be handled very carefully and – ideally – personally. It is a great opportunity to reinforce your customer service brand.

Can AR be outsourced?

Yes, almost all the heavy lifting (e.g., making overdue calls) can be outsourced using technology to leverage results. With firms using smartAR’s virtual ledger management service the only time we have found it is cost efficient to use internal resources is when clients have scope or technical queries associated with the bill.

If your firm currently uses predominantly automated or internal resources to manage your collections it may be time to consider a blended approach.

The benefits are simple – a lower overall cost of collection and better resources available for high value work

To find out more about how our Virtual Ledger Management service balances automation with highly personalised efficient service, contact us for a chat.