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Order To Cash Process Automation And Speeding Up The Cycle Tips

Order To Cash

I’d like to learn more about creative and effective processes, tips, principles, workflows, software, technology, management style and ideas of all kinds that may speed up the order to cash cycle and make it more efficient.

Practical examples and results much appreciated.

We’re in the software business and our cycle seems to be lengthening.

Answers

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

My initial answer will be short and offer some basic insight, you question involves many areas of improvement that should be explored before deciding that you need to change systems and tools.

The typical name for the overall process is "Quote to Cash" if you are searching for reference material in other venues this handle might be helpful.

The first step to speeding-up your order to cash process would be to talk with your accounting department because that is where the data ultimately travels to be stored and reconciled throughout the revenue, billing, collections, deferred revenue, customer deposits, payroll, development project accounting, inventory fulfillment, cost of sales. Accounting usually deals with the end of the line problems that should be solved upstream at the transaction initiation points. Essentially the Quote to Cash process effects most of accounting processes in some way or another. While the accountants may not think broadly about the entire process, depending on who you speak with, they will express frustration with information hand offs, and lack of supporting documentation, incomplete information, and issues with payroll corrections if there is a lot of project coding for software development.

If you have a contract management system and a revenue recognition and billing system those would be the first place to start your review. The finer issues like pricing may touch on company philosophy and strategic objectives, those can be fun conversations and will teach you much about how your company views its place in the world.

Within those systems and process, you will need to talk to your sales team and find out what the lags are in finalizing the deals. Is there any thing that can be done to remove obstacles there.

If new policies have been implemented or new internal controls they could be adding some time to the process.

If you have corporate customers, find out if they have implemented new policies to slow down their payment process.

The first assessment is to find out what the cause of the slow down is, see if you can make some internal improvements right away. If pure volume is the issue, causing the slow down, then it will be time to search for more robust tools.

As you know the point of thinking about this from Quote to Cash is to speed up the time it takes to get the cash in the bank from the sale.

This is not a purely analytical question, and you will find yourself working on qualitative considerations also, and factoring in the mechanical trade offs.

I personally like to find out more through conversation and having one on one meetings with the process leaders and ask them for referrals to the experts on their staff before I start talking about tools. Comprehensive information early can result in simple fixes. You won't know unless you ask.

Your question is very broad, it would be easier if the question were whittled to something specific if you have indeed found the strategic issue to resolve.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

I found we have these two free white papers that might help:

"Taking Control of the Order to Cash Cycle"

and...

"The New Realities Of Replacing Your Accounting System"

Enjoy! Best... Sarah

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