BlackLine Blog

April 19, 2021

AR Intelligence: Providing New Answers to Old Questions

Intelligent Automation
3 Minute Read

Brian Morgan

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At a time when companies are facing greater uncertainty, how can they free up cash that is vital to survival? How can we reduce days sales outstanding? How can we increase our working capital?

These are questions F&A organizations have been asking for decades, and they’ve also become targets to achieve. After all, cash is vital to the wellbeing of a business.

In late 2019, PwC released a report that showed that $1.2 trillion dollars of cash was being held captive on company balance sheets because of late payments by customers.

This begs the question, how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted this number?

There will certainly be a number of challenges going forward, with the desire to increase sales while managing the risk of late and non-payment. Many recent reports are estimating that business failures will increase by over 30% in the next 12 months.

None of these are new business challenges. But the challenges we’ve faced in the past 12-18 months have received great focus, and highlighted the need for good accounts receivable and credit management now. More than ever before, it’s clear that the way we’ve always done it is not a sustainable strategy.

So, we’re excited to introduce BlackLine AR Intelligence to help companies achieve their cash and working capital objectives.

AR Intelligence provides access to real-time, actionable information, such as customer financial behavior data, to enable F&A teams to better manage strategic and operational decision-making.

Let’s dive into the new solution.

Data Leads to Actions

It’s critical for credit and accounts receivable professionals to focus on tasks that impact business performance metrics and put more cash in the bank.

However, for many teams that are dealing with multiple data sources and increasing volumes of data, creating meaningful reports is no small feat. In fact, for too many, the reality is that by the time the reports are completed and circulated to stakeholders, they’re already out of date.

By removing the complexity from accounts receivable reporting and making it easier to consume and take action on this data, AR Intelligence helps teams deliver strategic guidance that drives value creation.

Actions Lead to Outcomes

AR Intelligence is built to provide decision intelligence for accounts receivable and credit professionals as they manage cash collections and balance the risk of late—or worse, non-payment—while providing credit to customers.

Equipped with a full suite of reporting capabilities, teams can spot trends around cash flow, payments versus terms analysis, and customer behaviors, including insights into both customer payment performance and customer sales. This means that accounts receivable and credit professionals are able to make more informed decisions using real-time decision intelligence.

In addition, a days sales outstanding (DSO) reporting package can reduce time to measure individual business units. That time can then be spent on deciding how improvements can be made, both strategically and operationally.

Becoming a Business Partner

The information that AR Intelligence delivers benefits not only credit and accounts receivable teams, but also the office of the controller, treasury, and perhaps more significantly, the sales operation.

Credit is provided to generate sales. Being paid is the fulfilment of the sales transaction. The data available in AR Intelligence benefits sales management and clearly demonstrates how the accounts receivable and credit management teams can partner with the business to help drive growth, rather than being limited to collecting outstanding debts.

Customer Feedback

But don’t just take it from us. Here’s what our customers are saying about BlackLine AR Intelligence:

  • “This is a great addition to the AR platform. Very powerful data that we would not be able to obtain. Data that could be critical in the next 12-18 months in terms of tracking customer behaviors and impact on cash flow.”

  • “Cash flow is critical to our business, so having this kind of insight is of real benefit.”

  • “We do some of the reporting, but it is ad-hoc because it is too time consuming. But some of the information here we could only dream of reporting on.”

  • “[AR Intelligence] enhances operational performance to see problems which would normally be overlooked because we don’t have the data.”

A Winning Combination

So, with a new approach to accounts receivable automation, BlackLine is combining the best-in-class operational excellence of its Cash Application solution with decisioning excellence from our new AR Intelligence solution. We believe this will transform the management of debtors and collection of cash.

After all, who doesn’t want more cash in the bank?

Learn more about how AR Intelligence can deliver accounts receivable automation and decision intelligence for your F&A organization while providing credit to customers and collecting cash.

About the Author


Brian Morgan