BlackLine Blog

July 31, 2023

Eliminate PTO Anxiety with Accounts Receivable Automation

Modern Accounting
3 Minute Read

Hilary O'Brien

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We’ve been talking about the challenges accountants experience when they think about taking a holiday from work and offered ways you can manage and mitigate these struggles, including by automating the financial close.

To continue our theme of how F&A professionals can unplug for a bit of summer holiday fun, let’s look at how automating accounts receivable (AR) processes can eliminate PTO anxiety.

Why Is AR So Critical to a Business?

Accounts receivable is a critical function for any business as it directly impacts cash flow and financial stability. Efficient management of accounts receivable ensures timely collection from customers, reducing the risk of bad debts and improving working capital. It also fosters strong customer relationships, as effective communication regarding outstanding payments enhances trust and credibility.

Because AR and the professionals who work in the department are so critical, and since the job can be a rollercoaster of long hours, tight deadlines, and never-ending responsibilities, it can be a struggle to find time for a vacation. However, it’s important to take time off to avoid burning out and to maintain a sustainable work-life balance.

It’s True—Accounts Receivable Can Be Stressful

Accounts receivable professionals often experience stress due to several factors inherent in their roles and responsibilities. Here are some of the key reasons:

Late Payments and Collection Challenges: Collecting cash from customers is critical to the success and well-being of every business. Dealing with late payments, non-responsive customers, and difficult collection situations can be highly stressful, as these issues directly impact the company's cash flow and financial stability.

Targets and Deadlines: Many accounts receivable professionals have specific targets and deadlines they must meet. AR leaders want to maximize and optimize their team’s time and energy by allowing them to focus on data-driven priorities. But many AR professionals still struggle to achieve these targets, especially in a challenging economic environment or with customers facing financial difficulties.

Customer Disputes and Complaints: Accounts receivable professionals may have to address customer disputes or complaints related to invoicing, payment discrepancies, credit issues, or service-related issues. It’s their job to protect profitability and maintain customer satisfaction with successful dispute resolution, which can understandably be stressful!

Communication Challenges: Effective communication with customers, as well as stakeholders within your organization, is crucial for resolving issues, maintaining positive relationships, and increasing efficiency. However, dealing with different personalities or uncooperative clients can create stressful interactions.

AR Automation Software Can Significantly Reduce Challenges

Accounts receivable automation solutions like BlackLine can significantly help reduce stress by optimizing accounts receivable performance, creating team capacity by removing manual processes, and providing critical decision intelligence. All of this can help ease your mind when it’s time for you to take a much-needed holiday.

If you’re not familiar with some of the benefits of AR automation, here are just a few.

Electronic Invoicing: Automate invoice processing to reduce manual invoicing costs, maintain compliance with e-invoicing regulations, and increase efficiency across your invoice-to-pay process.

Faster Cash Application: Speed up your cash application process using automation to instantly match customer payments to invoices and reduce unapplied cash by up to 99%. When customer payments are received, BlackLine Cash Application uses AI to accurately apply payments to customer invoices in your ERP. This eliminates manual accounts receivable processes, so you don’t have to worry as much when you’re out of the office.

Automated Collections Management: With BlackLine, automated recovery processes with escalating actions can be applied to specific customer segments to support collections activities and streamline outreach across customers’ preferred contact methods. Again, this automation can significantly reduce your stress level when you’re away from work.

Disputes Workflows: Even when you’re on holiday, you can be sure that you’re protecting profitability and maintaining customer satisfaction by accelerating dispute resolution with automation and preventing provisioning from being applied to aged debt.

Transparent Data: For your colleagues who may be covering for you while you’re on vacation, having access to clear and transparent data and workflows is critical. BlackLine provides quick access to data that is powerful for the AR team as well as other key stakeholders in Sales, Finance, and other departments.

Go Ahead—Take That Holiday

Before you take off to the beach or the mountains, here are a few key tasks to complete, which will be much easier if you have world-class AR automation software implemented at your company!

  • Meet with your colleagues so they understand exactly what they’ll need to cover while you’re gone and how to access the necessary dashboards and data so they can handle urgent matters that may come up

  • Double-check any automated invoicing and payment reminders

  • Create predefined collections workflows to handle different scenarios, such as follow-ups for overdue payments or resolution of payment disputes

  • Configure workflows to send notifications and alerts to necessary stakeholders


By leveraging accounts receivable automation software effectively and implementing the steps mentioned above, AR professionals can enjoy a stress-free vacation, knowing that critical processes are running smoothly in their absence.

Interested in learning more about how BlackLine can help? Request a demo today.

About the Author


Hilary O'Brien