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Cash Generation Using Customer Online Portals

Posted: 19 Dec, 2018

Using online portals to manage supplier payments is becoming more the norm in a B2B environment. Sainsbury's, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Amazon, to name just a few, use such portals and their suppliers must therefore understand how to use them and quickly identify any issues that may delay payment of sales made. Effective portal use is therefore critical to cash flow.

An urgent cash requirement, in a turnaround situation, can often leave little time to fully understand the customer base, the billing protocol of the customer and even less time to learn how to operate customer specific portals.

The Veritas team has worked in the turnaround environment, delivering cash generation and process improvement projects, for over 18 years. In recent years, we have seen a significant shift in the number of organisations operating through electronic portals and recognise the importance of not only keeping up to date on the portals that are coming into market but to also how to use them to maximise cashflow.

Submitting invoices electronically which exactly meet the customer requirements should guarantee that the invoices are processed without delay. Adopting a ‘debt collection’ stance with such customers will not result in any faster payment if the invoice has not gone through the right process. At Veritas, we have developed our online knowledge zone where we capture this information on an ongoing basis. Our credit management team are trained and experienced in utilising the various portals and understand the challenges and likely delays when portals have not been used correctly in the past.

Where there is a knowledge gap, we train the finance and credit control staff how to successfully process an invoice through the variety of different portals that exist, from how to upload the invoice, check the payment status and what to do if the invoices have been rejected.   We also can help where the portal has not been set up correctly or amendments need to be processed through the portal (such as changes in bank details).

Many of these systems will take the invoice upload date as the commencement of the agreed payment terms period and therefore delays in invoice submission / upload, will have an impact on cashflow.

In a business that is refinancing, any required changes to bank details within the portals can sometimes cause delays in payment and we have seen examples where requests for change of bank accounts have taken over three weeks to complete.

It is critical on any process improvement or cash generation project that we deliver, that we fully understand the sales order process and any billing requirements of the customer. Our knowledge zone enables us to utilise our existing experience of the customers and the portals that they use, filling the knowledge gap that your client may have and ensuring the sales made through these channels are paid for quickly.

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