BlackLine Blog

August 09, 2021

AR Intelligence: Turning Data Into Cash Flow & Delivering Insight Into Operations

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

BlackLine Quarterly

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Do you know where your money is? If you want to run a successful business, you’d better.

Finance professionals know better than most that turning revenues into working capital is fraught with difficulty. Companies with poor cash allocation practices can miss out on collecting payments. They can alienate customers through erroneous account suspensions or unanswered claims-paid queries, and see reputations damaged by delayed or difficult auditor engagements.

BlackLine’s AR Intelligence solution responds to these challenges by giving companies access to real-time views of customers’ financial behaviors. The solution features pre-configured, interactive dashboards with real-time reports into information, including the following.

Customer Behavior Insights

Delivers sales and payment performance data, such as invoiced sales by month and cash by month, and the correlation/variance between the two.

Tracks and measures payment terms, outstanding balances, cash collected, and debt positions across the customer base and shows how customers actually pay against those terms.

Payment Forecasting

Forecasts weekly collections and measures accuracy by using real-time customer payment behavior data.

Analyzes the relationship between the volume of customers and the value of debt outstanding, showing results such as debt by value, count of invoices by value, and count of customers by value.

Bank Utilization

Shows customer accounts linked by the same bank details or sales ledger accounts linked by payee details to help users see how customers are paying and for which accounts, leading to a better understanding of overall exposure/risk.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)

Delivers automated calculations around the time it takes to collect a payment, such as cash collected last month, customers by balance, customers with the most debt and debtor day value by month.

These and other details are typically available in companies, but they’re hard to get at.

“Information about things like cash flow reporting and cash collections is extremely time-consuming to try to mine from the ERP,” [SM1] says Brian Morgan, director of product marketing at BlackLine. “It’s even more time-consuming to make it presentable. So companies typically don’t do it, or if they do, they get it too late to have much of an impact on a fast-moving business.”

“Getting this information quickly helps companies optimize working capital, increase cash flow, greatly improve financial performance, and be better prepared to make faster, more accurate business decisions.”

Help for the Controller & the Organization

The AR Intelligence solution benefits the controllership in a number of ways, according to BlackLine Director of Solutions Marketing Molly Boyle.

“While there are many unique functions within the office of the controller,” she says, “they’re all interdependent, and the company’s cash position is particularly important.

“Having intelligence around customer payment trends is a huge benefit to accounts receivable, of course. But the benefits of cash analysis can assist tax, treasury, financial reporting, and corporate accounting to name a few other functions within controllership.”

Boyle notes that BlackLine’s AR Intelligence helps decision-makers in other parts of the organization, too. These range from sales leaders, who might be negotiating customers’ payment terms, to the CFO and executive management.

“The faster and more accurately companies can provide business intelligence on areas like customer trends and cash, the better prepared they are for entering into new business models, making new investments, or considering mergers or acquisitions,” she says. “That’s why all of these areas, from Finance and Accounting up to executive decision-making, will benefit from BlackLine’s AR Intelligence solution.”

Read our latest issue of BlackLine Quarterly for more stories like this and become better prepared to take advantage of new opportunities that will undoubtedly arise throughout the year.

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BlackLine Quarterly