I came across this phrase listening to a Ted Talk recently and it really got me thinking about how we treat time. Are we really being smart or just using new technology to do what we have always done but in a digital format?
The only constant is time. Time has not changed. It carries on regardless. All the measures of time remain the same. Still the same minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year etc. I have said before that one of the ‘stupid’ questions we ask each other at work is ‘are you busy’ – because do you know anyone in normal circumstances who is not busy? At the moment, we probably have more challenges than at the beginning of the year, which is resulting in less time but more things to juggle.
So more time sounds like a no brainer right? But how do we actually make more time?
We don’t have enough…
In an ideal world, we would throw more resources at a problem. As managers and leaders, we have 3 key resources to call upon.
- Money: usually defined by the budget we have been given
- People: perform processes to achieve Results (Outcomes)
- Time: how we prioritise tasks to complete the Process
If our existing people are not making the best of their time because of restrictions of ERP systems or other process challenges, then throwing more money at the problem so we can hire more people to use their time, in the same way, is not the best way forward. So making the best of our resources is critical. Rather than reducing the number of people, can we think about reducing the number of activities that consume time that can be reduced or eliminated or replaced effectively? Likewise, instead of recruiting more people, is Intelligent Automation the way forward to efficiency?
If we could do something different that has been proven to deliver more time, and impact positively on outcomes and results – that’s a no brainer and you would be interested right?
Today’s Challenges using ‘old style’ solutions
Let’s be honest, it has taken the recent pandemic to make the majority of us realise that we didn’t need to do all those hours commuting to attend meetings and that we can have a zoom, teams or skype, Blue Jeans conference call and get the job done.
The systemic shocks set off by COVID-19 have accelerated the pace of change, prompting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to remark that, even back in April, economies had seen “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”.
For years we have been talking about Finance Transformation. For many finance functions order-to-cash, Accounts Receivable and credit management processes still depend on ERP systems supported by our old friends – Excel. It really is a love, hate situation! It results in too much time being spent on non-value-added activities, such as report generation and data key entry to perform critical operational and management tasks. Therefore, accepting the limitations of Excel and ERP’s is the only way to move forward when managing cash, debtors and the challenges ahead.
Now is the time to look at ‘best of breed’ solutions to manage debtor, multiple time and deliver significant outcomes with an outstanding return on investment. Put simply, If you could invest £10 and gain £50 return based on the assurance of so many use cases – that would be a no brainer investment right? Well, investing in Intelligent Automation is the same thing.
Investing today for returns tomorrow
What can I do that will create more time? For years we have measured the actions and tasks we perform by 2 simple measurements: Importance and Urgency. Neither metric has ever created more time, but simply acted as a self-management guide to prioritising what we need to do.
We have become intelligent in some parts of our time management. I will set up automatic payments like direct debit or standing orders so I don’t have to spend time every month making payments to providers. It was worth investing the time to complete the documentation because I know it would create more time for activities far more rewarding for my precious and scarce free time. The result being I have more time to do what I want to do.
So for example, if the need for the following can be reduced or eliminated tomorrow would you be interested:
- Keyed data into ERP from remittances from customers?
- Matching remits to electronic payments?
- Reducing the need for 80% of remits?
- Reworking mis-allocation of customer payments?
- Unallocated Cash?
- Credit controllers checking payments received before making collection calls?
So when resources are challenged by current workloads, and at a time when customer engagement is critical for managing risk and collections, where do you want your team members time focused? If we can multiply their time by removing those tasks that absorb time but do not create value that’s a no brainer scenario right?
Rapid Time to Value
The significance of making a change is that not only are you improving today and tomorrow, but you are making a sustainable change that will significantly change the whole process and credit team – I know this from experience. Implementing Rimilia Cash was one of the 3 catalysts to achieving CICM Centre of Excellence status and reducing Debtor KPI’s significantly. In hindsight, it became a no brainer.
Built for such a time as this
We know we are all facing challenging times at the moment and ahead. I believe that almost every business will be looking for:
- Effective Efficiency – reducing costs is one thing, being efficient is another, but utopia is being able to improve results and reduce costs of a process – a no brainer.
- Control – of how time is being spent by your team members. Being confident that time is being spent working towards results and not on workarounds or putting right yesterdays errors.
- Visibility – know when your customer payments have been allocated so the cash allocation and credit control team have full visibility of cash postings and a customers outstanding account. Because your team are now operating in real-time, there is no need for checking bank statements or other systems. Resulting in more time spent on delivering results.
Rimilia’s cash allocation solution can quickly and affordably deliver transformation to your credit teams processes and results. This will allow your credit team to focus on the challenge of collecting cash and managing risk of non, or late payment.
Product Marketing & AR Advisory Director