Accounts receivable (A/R) automation solutions add efficiency, reduce costs and accelerate cash flow in the best of times. However, it’s in difficult times like this COVID-19 pandemic — when there’s even more of a daily focus on liquidity and cash flow — that these tools shine just a little bit brighter.
Here’s an overview of three automated banking solutions that are enabling the A/R departments of Hancock Whitney clients to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the associated economic downturn.
Online Billing and Payment
Many organizations are experiencing efficiency and cash flow benefits by using our online billing and payment services.
With Biller Express, your consumer or business customers visit a secure website where they can see their invoices and make payments. The site can be customized with your corporate logo and colors, and accessed through a link from your home page. Once customers are at the Biller Express site, they can make a one-time payment or enroll in the system by creating a user name and password and indicating a preferred payment method.
A second online payment service, Biller Express Quick Pay, is geared to organizations that don’t necessarily issue invoices before receiving payments, such as nonprofits that accept donations or landlords who collect rent checks. Quick Pay allows companies to securely collect these payments electronically. The donors or payers simply visit the site and choose the amounts they want to send your organization.
Customer payments made through these services receive next-day credit, so you get good funds much faster than if you were paid by check through the mail. In addition, remittance data is transmitted electronically to your A/R system, allowing for straight-through processing and eliminating the need to have a staff member in the office to post the payment.
Check-and-List Payment Processing
Another Hancock Whitney service that can reduce manual payment processing — and accommodate employees working from home — is Bill Pay Direct Post.
When your consumer customers pay you using a traditional bank online bill payment service, their payments are typically converted into paper checks that you receive in the mail. Each check lumps together multiple payments and is accompanied by a list of customer names, accounts and dollar amounts. It’s referred to as a “check and list” payment.
When this happens, your business has to manually reconcile every entry and verify the accounts and payments due, which requires a lot of extra time and work at your office location.
Our Bill Pay Direct Post service captures payments from the bill payment service providers, consolidates them and presents your business with a single electronic remittance file for posting directly to your accounting system. It eliminates manual processing of check-and-list payments and you receive payment credit the next business day.
Another longtime treasury solution that’s even more valuable during times of crisis is Lockbox Services. Having customers pay you by sending checks to your office location requires onsite manual processing by your A/R staff. In contrast, with lockbox services, customers mail their checks to the bank, which deposits the payments to your account daily, electronically captures payment and remittance data, and sends you a ready-to-post electronic file. Treasury can monitor cash application remotely.
Valuable All the Time, But Critical in a Crisis
Automation that increases everyday efficiency by reducing the manual processing of accounts receivable has become more valuable than ever before. To learn more about how you can partner with Hancock Whitney to build greater efficiency into your accounts receivable operations and be better prepared to manage A/R in a crisis, contact your Hancock Whitney banker or Treasury Services Specialist.