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Why Pandemic-proofing your AR strategy is not enough

Launched in the eye of the storm

Call it good timing, if you will. We, at Data Interconnect, onboarded our first clients to the Corrivo platform in January 2020.  Our previous platform, WebSend would have been pandemic proof – in fact, those yet to move over to Corrivo have proved that the Invoice to Cash software platform envisioned and built decades ago was more than enough to enable tight cashflow management, cost minimisation and remote working during the disruption of 2020.

Since the onset of the Pandemic, we have seen a surge in interest from companies wanting to digitise their AR processes and enable remote working more efficiently. We were prepared for this. Many of our clients are global, with shared service centres or outsourced collections teams working remotely from head office. Enabling virtual teams, supporting collaboration and goal-focused working was always there.

Pandemic proofing your business, by moving to cloud-based AR software that will flex to fit any changes you make to your underlying business infrastructure (especially your ERP) is not enough. If you want a sustainable future you need cloud-based software partners that care, listen and respond and are ready to address regulatory changes that affect your ability to sell globally.

Listen and respond

As a British built, British run business we are colourful, diverse and embracing. Our employees, like the British population, have a wide range of perspectives, experience and skills. This alone creates the fertile soil for our healthy growth, but there is more. Two strands our corporate DNA make us highly adaptable, strong survivors and winners in the most challenging circumstances.  What are those strands?  We innovate, and we listen.

Listening to customers

We have a commitment to constant improvement that is not driven purely by the great ideas our technical team.  Our clients always come first. Real-life use cases, real-life scenarios and real-life problems are what we love to work. The real business problems of our clients are what stimulates us to evolve our product with every more elegant solutions. We do this by agile development methods. Not every AR software company is as responsive, adaptive and flexible.

Our roadmap process has many inputs, but always of prime importance are the real needs of our clients. We love solving client problems with enduring software solutions.  Our product is designed from three inputs: client needs, AR best practice and technology advances.

Clients come first

We call our ‘customers’ clients. the reason for this is twofold. Firstly, since we support them and their customers, we need to distinguish between our clients (suppliers) and their customers (buyers). Secondly, we sell to businesses that seek a high degree of customisation and tailoring to their needs. We’re not a ‘buy online’ company that provides a standard product. Our solution is designed to be configured precisely to the client’s specific industry and business needs.

In addition to building every client implementation around their needs, using our modular software platform, we are also committed to endurance – to making our solution stand the test of time and meet any changes within the client organisation or the markets they sell into. This is critical. The landscape for EDI and eInvoicing is changing fast and new regulations are coming in across Europe that means if you want to sell to a large business or public sector organisation you need to be able to create and dispatch your invoices in line with their format specifications.

Don’t buy into a software platform for eInvoicing that is not capable and willing to create and support new formats as they emerge or you may have invested in software with a very limited scope and shelf life. We not only keep abreast of changing regulatory requirements but we are committed to creating new solutions wherever and whenever our clients need them to access new geographical markets of sectors. In the UK, large supermarkets and public sector bodies, such as the NHS, already require invoices sent from machine to machine via EDI. In many cases, those customers account for a large proportion of our client’s sales and so compatibility with their systems is not an option, it’s a primary requirement.

Adapt and respond

Our large enterprise clients have grown over decades and have slowly digitised manual processes across different areas of the business. Many have retained some ways of working that are specific to their industry or grew out of their older,  business practices. Understanding this, we designed Corrivo to embrace client-specific data. Most cloud software platforms are born from genius techno-wizardry, not from real-life experience. They don’t accommodate their customers. Corrivo does.

Take client A, a global pharmaceuticals distributor that supplies packaged medicine to groups of high street pharmacies and hospital dispensaries. It has a specific way of categorising its medicines that is unique to them. They call it a therapy code. a one size fits all software platform would not be able to embrace this. The company, a £multi-billion enterprise, would have needed to run its invoicing without its categorisation, thus losing all management information associated with it from the past. Corrivo allowed them to continue sorting, searching and mining their own data on their terms. We adapt so you do not have to compromise.

Crisis-proofing

Corrivo lets our clients work effectively, even if they are working remotely. In fact, one of our clients specifically intended to create a centralised credit control team for all the group companies around Europe, despite the members of that team working in different locations. They chose Corrivo partly because it enabled tight teamwork and a focus on KPIs, without requiring them to install software in multiple offices.

The same client went paperless and allows its smaller business customers to access their invoices from their phones and tablets, via the self-service portal. Their operations were not interrupted when offices shut and no one was there to open the mail. They’d seen ahead of time that the best way to mitigate risks was to have expert support and a digital, ‘access anywhere’ archive of data that is fully supported and backed up.

Remote working, handling your global postal requirements and mobile access to portals for customers is not all there is to crisis proofing: good procurement teams will choose a supplier with the willingness and ability to meet any new format requirements that emerge as the adoption of eInvoicing progresses in Europe and globally, requiring anyone selling into those areas to send their invoices in line with specific rules. Compliance proofing is key to crisis-proofing your business.

Compliance and connectivity

Whether you sell domestically in the UK to public sector bodies or large businesses and use EDI for eInvoicing, or whether you sell to countries where there are either specific tax mandates, EDI format requirements or security protocols, you can be sure that the next decade will be ripe with changes.

eInvoicing adoption is ramping up, mandates are being passed in law around the world and the pandemic probably accelerated this. eInvoicing has grown because large buyers call the shots – they have a strong business case for using digital accounts payable software requiring eInvoices, and so they force their suppliers to comply.

The pandemic has caused economic uncertainty and a downturn, which makes the buy-side need for cost-saving measures even stronger. If you want to be ready and able to meet the changing requirements of your large buyers, you need a supplier who is also ready and willing to adapt, update, change and innovate to accommodate new needs. That is what we are good at.

For more examples of how we’re helping our clients meet new and changing compliance and einvoicing format requirements, connect with me on LinkedIn or contact me today: davidh@datainterconnect.co.uk

 

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