Overhauling Order-to-Cash and Enabling Automation for a Retail Technology Company
Through an end-to-end technology design and implementation, Riveron helped a company transform its order-to-cash processes and better engage its customers.
Efficient order-to-cash management encompasses everything from processing customer orders, billing, and fulfillment to recognizing revenue. A leading provider of a retail point-of-sale technology platform was struggling to modernize its order-to-cash continuum and was ready to make technology-backed improvement to this business process. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) company hoping to optimize billing and payment systems and improve clarity throughout the process, seeking to work out issues both from an order-to-invoice and invoice-to-cash perspective.
To make improvements, the company needed to holistically serve its client base by automating invoices, streamlining order fulfillment, and enabling better collections. For instance, the SaaS company’s accounts often had two layers of clientele: the dozens or hundreds of retail locations they served and the parent accounts receiving the various invoices. At times, billing or fulfillment inefficiencies surfaced when it had been unclear whether each parent company account had paid for services rendered at sub-client locations. As these discrepancies surfaced, the SaaS company worked with Riveron’s team to examine data and hierarchies across accounts, products, and other integration elements.
The solution resulted in nearly 90% order-to-invoice automation of and approximately 50% reduction in employees’ manual efforts related to the invoice-to-cash processes.
How we helped
The SaaS company initially engaged Riveron’s business transformation and technology advisory experts to help select a new billing system. After completing the four-week discovery phase, it became clear that the company would benefit from reimagining its end-to-end processes, including order-to-invoice, invoice-to-cash, and redesigning the related accounting and revenue recognition processes. For the billing platform, the team selected Zone Advanced Billing (which is configured within Oracle NetSuite) to enable this strategic overhaul and allow the organization to simplify, connect, and help manage its workflows. At the heart of this transformation, Riveron worked with the SaaS company and focused on the following vital workstreams:
Transforming order-to-invoice processes: A detailed mapping of the Salesforce order workflow was done to synchronize all the key sales events, billing triggers, and order fields with the billing events within the Zone Advanced Billing. Further, all billing scenarios were documented to drive the right setup of billing profiles and the associated revenue arrangements. This mapping led to the full automation of order drops from Salesforce, and the subsequent creation of subscription records within Zone Advanced Billing.
Enabling better customer relationships through an invoice-to-cash transformation: The team worked to address several challenges that had bogged down the invoice-to-cash stage for the SaaS company, which had several payment methods and a highly manual cash application process. Because some of the payment processors were rigid about holding cash for up to 40 days before settling it back to the SaaS company, the team worked to solve the extended days-sales-outstanding (DSO) issues and address customers’ limited visibility regarding payments coming through. Based on these scenarios and the SaaS company’s unique needs, our team recommended the HighRadius Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) processing platform to unify and converge the integration of the invoicing and payments infrastructure. With this solution, the company could accept payments directly through ACH or credit card payments from the customers, which incentivized customers to migrate to this platform and avoid unnecessary payment processing fees and surcharges.
Creating unified master data and accounting processes: Clean data is a bedrock foundation of this transformation, since data can enable companies to take timely actions and make accurate decisions. Early in the process, Riveron’s team identified the need for a master data cleanup related to the SaaS company’s product and item data, customer and account information, and chart of accounts. The team then agreed on a robust inventory management approach to drive automated fulfillment and tackle events like return merchandise authorizations (RMAs).
We created a comprehensive program structure and roadmap to drive accountability across all aspects of the SaaS company’s order-to-cash process. The plan unified the vision for how the company manages each customer from the point of sale to invoicing, customer service, and timely collections. Specifically, the implementation of NetSuite with Zone Advanced Billing simplified the company’s workflow, reporting, and communication between other existing technologies including Salesforce, Celigo, and HighRadius. The configuration and streamlining of these technologies automated key aspects of the business, as well as improved the management and fulfillment of records and services.
What started out as an exercise in technology selection evolved into a strategic transformation, addressing the company’s key challenges to improve overall efficiency. The solution resulted in nearly 90% order-to-invoice automation of and approximately 50% reduction in employees’ manual efforts related to the invoice-to-cash processes. As a result of the automation, the company’s billing and invoicing accuracy improved to greater than 99%. Post-engagement, the company is now achieving a greater than 90% accuracy in overall master data and reporting.
The SaaS company worked with Riveron to accomplish a scalable solution that features an end-to-end solution, successful integration between various robust technology platforms, and healthy reporting structures. Overall, the newfound clarity offers a solid platform for future organizational health and agility.
Related considerations and key takeaways
In order to maintain health and offer opportunities to grow, today’s companies often need to modernize their accounting and finance functions with best-in-class technology. By routinely evaluating and updating technology systems, companies can stay competitive, maintain customer satisfaction, and safeguard margins amid market volatility.
Here are focal points for leaders to consider when seeking to improve operations by reimagining the order-to-cash cycle:
- Address the order-to-cash process in two segments. When examining how to transform business operations and roll out related technology enablement strategies, leaders can benefit from breaking down the order-to-cash approach into two stages: (1) order-to-invoice: the process of sales orders and delivery, up to the point of accounts receivable invoicing; and (2) invoice-to-cash: the cycle of delivery, invoice delivery, payment, and cash application. This approach gives the opportunity to define and appropriately respond to various clientele hierarchies and possible customer service issues.
- Ensure a connected approach between new technology and existing systems. A technology-backed transformation does not always require starting from scratch. When building their strategies, leaders should consider how to optimize each company’s existing technology systems. Then, an organization can make investments in new technology based on how the fulfillment methods of the business will correspond.
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