By Glenn Hofmann, KES Managing Director
As I am sure Accounting teams everywhere can attest, back office organizations such as Accounting have been under pressure for years to “do more with less”. The COVID pandemic has accelerated this pressure dramatically, as organizations have been forced to reduce staff while maintaining the same levels of service. At KES, we have worked closely with our NetSuite customers to ensure that the full capabilities of NetSuite are being used to automate tasks and improve efficiencies. Over time, we have consistently seen a number of common areas where leveraging tools have brought huge improvements in efficiencies. With this in mind, here are our top six efficiency improvement areas for your Accounting team – 3 for A/R and 3 for A/P:
- Dunning/Collections: Over and over again, we see organizations that handle collections by running an A/R aging detail, exporting to Excel, and then starting to do client follow-ups. This can be a huge time commitment, depending on the invoice volume, and especially now with many organizations stretching payments. We believe Dunning is an area that should be fully automated. Our KES A/R Toolkit includes an easy-to-configure and fully automated dunning module…you can be set up for fully automated collections management in less than a day! Best of all, you can also manage manual follow-ups within the same module to allow for both automated and manual intervention. Automating your collections process is definitely a fast way to free up time on your A/R team.
- Scheduled Reports: Many NetSuite customers do not realize that any report or search in NetSuite can be scheduled to send on a periodic basis. Want to send your weekly sales report out every Friday afternoon to the exec team? No problem. Want to send out past due invoices to sales reps or account managers every Monday morning for follow-up? No problem. Taking advantage of NetSuite’s ability to schedule reports means your A/R Team does not have to spend time exporting and emailing reports and can instead focus on more high-value activity.
- Invoice Email Automation: Sending and resending invoices is another area that we often see being done manually that not only requires time from staff, but can also be an ongoing interruption throughout the day. This is especially true if customers have multiple people that they want invoices sent to or if they request to have multiple invoices resent. Standard NetSuite does not have a great way to support this, so it typically requires manually typing in email addresses or downloading multiple invoices and resending. Here again, our KES A/R Toolkit can bring significant efficiencies. We allow the ability to mark multiple contacts on a customer record to receive the invoice as well as the ability to easily select multiple invoices to send in a single email with just a few clicks. Add this together with some workflows, and your A/R team can be very efficient when it comes to sending invoice emails. If you really want to bring efficiency and provide customers with self-service capabilities to view, print, or pay their invoices online, our KES Customer Portal is definitely worth checking out as well.
- Intercompany Vendor Bills: Many organizations are moving to a more centralized payments model, where one subsidiary pays vendor bills on behalf of other subsidiaries. This typically requires intercompany JE’s and often means these must be done manually. With our KES A/P Toolkit, we have fully automated the intercompany process. The vendor bill can simply be entered in the subsidiary from which it will be paid, and then the bill can be broke out by expense line to allocate to the various other subsidiaries. We then automatically create the intercompany JE’s for you. For centralized payments organizations, this can free up significant time.
- File Drag And Drop: One of the unfortunately best kept secrets is that NetSuite has a number of free add-ons that can be deployed to your account. One of our favorites is called “File Drag And Drop”. This add-on adds a file “drop area” on the top of your vendor bill (and any other records as well) so that you can easily drop attachments from Outlook or from your computer to attach to your vendor bill. This is much faster and easier than trying to manually attach the file using the “file” button and manually uploading files to attach. And best of all, it is free!
- External Approvals: A consistent theme we hear from A/P staff is the challenge around managing bill approvals. Most users would rather approve bills via email than log in to NetSuite just to approve a bill. They also want to have visibility into the previous approver (especially if the final approver is an executive). It is also difficult for A/P staff to track where approvals are sitting in the approval queue and to identify the appropriate person for follow up. The external approval feature of our KES A/P Toolkit addresses all of these areas. With this, we are able to set up simple or complex approval flows that send emails with scanned bills automatically attached (and coding, if wanted) for approval. We can also show the full approval history, allowing the user to view all previous approvers. They can then select “Approve” or “Reject” buttons directly inside the email. Based on the workflow rules, it will automatically approve or email the next approver, if appropriate. A dashboard search provides full insight into all unapproved bills and who they are waiting on for approval next. Organizations have found that this not only saves time, but also alleviates approver frustration and accelerates month-end close.
In summary, the above are some of the most common areas where organizations feel they lack efficiency. We developed our toolkits with this in mind, as the whole goal of these toolkits is to improve efficiency for your Accounting team. If any of the above sounds interesting and/or beneficial, we would love to hear from you.
Also, check out what our customers have to say about our KES SuiteApps!
“The A/R Toolkit dunning process schedule with the ability to carve out high-value targets has helped us to significantly maximize our cash collections. We had record highs for cash collections in the month of May, aided by the dunning, the conversations created, and the ability to have real time notes.” – Russ Gambrell, Terminus
“The A/P Toolkit has been great for our company. It has streamlined our processes tremendously. We utilize all of it. Bill approvals are so much easier. The header information auto copying to the lines, intercompany allocations, allocation of expenses…. all of these have saved us hours! Can’t thank KES enough for recommending this.” – Jenifer Felts, Mental Health Cooperative