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Accounts Receivable: Welcome to the Strategic Table

AR strategic seat at the table

3 minute read

The timing and predictability of cash receipts is on the radar of every CFO and CEO, given increasing global business dynamics driven by the ongoing pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical chaos. Does this mean that accounts receivable teams have (or have the opportunity to earn) a seat at the strategic table in 2022? Are companies giving AR teams the resources they need to deliver on increasing expectations? Survey results from the initial The State of AR: Trends, Headwinds & Opportunities survey suggest the answers may well be yes and yes.

The current state of the strategic role of AR among survey respondents shows just over 20% (Figure 1) indicated that AR serves an advisory role on strategic business matters with the CFO. That may not seem encouraging, but only 26% reported that they have no purview to strategic matters. That means that almost three-fourths of AR teams have the attention of the CFO, and with the right resources (people and technology) have the opportunity to offer and communicate more value to earn a seat at the strategic table.

Strategic role of AR in 2022

Companies were also asked to share their expectations of the strategic role of AR in 2022 relative to 2021. The results depicted in Figures 2 and 3 suggest that the strategic role of AR in 2022 is on the rise. 45% of companies indicated that the strategic role of AR will increase. The strategic role will be increasing at mid-market (101 to 1,000 employees) and enterprise (more than 1,000 employees) companies at 50% and 53%, respectively.

Strategic role of AR by year and company size

Earlier, we posed the question “will accounts receivable teams have (or have the opportunity to earn) a seat at the strategic table in 2022?” The results of the survey imply that the answer is yes. 41% of companies indicated that the role of AR coming into 2022 was an advisory role on strategic business matters with the CFO or as an occasional adviser on certain strategic matters within the business that relate specifically to my department. And, 45% of companies indicated that the strategic role of AR will increase in 2022.

Expectations for AR teams are on the rise in 2022. One objective of the survey was to benchmark the resources that AR teams would have at their disposal to deliver on these expectations. Resources were examined in terms of people and technology.

Regarding people, companies can upgrade the number of staff and the quality of staff in terms of their skillsets. 47% of companies surveyed report that they plan to add AR staff in 2022 (Figure 4) and 38% of companies plan to increase the professional development opportunities for AR staff relative to 2021 (Figure 5). Companies will be investing in people to empower AR teams to deliver more value in 2022.

AR staff expectations

In terms of technology, survey respondents were asked if they expect to see upgrades to AR-related technology in 2022. Over 60% of respondents expect yes with over two-thirds (68%) of those at enterprise-sized companies expecting such an upgrade in 2022.

AR tech upgrade expectations

It’s an exciting time to be an accounts receivable professional. Accounts receivable teams have (or have the opportunity to earn) a seat at the strategic table in 2022. Companies are investing in AR people and AR-related technology to empower AR teams to deliver more value in 2022

Stay tuned for our next blog related to The State of AR: Trends, Headwinds & Opportunities survey which will help companies benchmark the hurdles and opportunities for AR teams to delivering strategic value in 2022 and beyond.

Get your copy of the full survey.