MSPARK Improves Sage 100 ERP Accounts Receivable with Automation
Located in Helena, AL, MSPARK is a privately held national provider of direct mail, analytics, and digital marketing services. With over 4,000 customers, access to more than 22 million U.S households and with 98% household penetration in non-metro geographies, MSPARK is highly competitive and rapidly growing. MSPARK sends out thousands of invoices each month and must collect millions of dollars in credit sales; an immensely important task that directly impacts the cash flow and working capital that MSPARK needs for continued growth. Prior to the company’s implementation of Anytime Collect, MSPARK used a combination of their Sage 100 ERP system and spreadsheets to manually track and manage outstanding receivables. This was a cumbersome and inefficient process that slowed this fast-paced company down keeping them from their goals explained Kristy Criswell, Director of Credit and Collections at Mspark.
“It was very difficult to manage accounts receivable because we could not sort an aged trial balance by amount,” said Criswell. “That means collectors could have up to 200 pages of information to sort through and our highest dollar accounts were buried somewhere inside those 200 pages, not necessarily at the top where you would want it to be; making it a very long and tedious process.”
MSPARK was experiencing something that many companies have to learn the hard way, ERP systems are helpful in many ways, but they are limited in their ability to help companies optimize their accounts receivable management processes. “The accounts receivable function is a useless feature in an ERP system. We have over 4000 clients, $18 million per month in total accounts receivable and 15,000 monthly invoices, so without easy streamlined functionality, we were struggling to manage our accounts receivable and maintain DSO goals.”
The Search for a Solution
With their accounts receivable problems growing as the business continued to bring on more customers and send out more invoices, MSPARK set out to find a solution. After finding Anytime Collect online, MSPARK set up a demo and made the decision to purchase the next day.
“We chose Anytime Collect because it allowed simple sort options and a clearer picture of our collections information with the ability to have updated information each day in respect to aging, payments, and invoices,” said Criswell.
Automated Customer Communications
Because no two customers or situations are the same, Anytime Collect allows MSPARK to set up rules and workflows for different types of customers and accounts by credit class. For example, different credit classes can be setup for established accounts that have a different process than the activities and processes for newer accounts. Credit classes are a great way to manage collections processes that vary by industry, products or services purchased, or other criteria.
“I love credit classes!” Criswell said. “It’s simply amazing that we can automate the creation and delivery of customer communications based on credit class rules so that statements, letters, and other communications are delivered to our customers based on the workflow we’ve defined and the templates we’ve created. This all happens without having to use a full time employee saving us so much time so we can spend more time talking to our customers!”
Improved Reporting & Instant Access to the Metrics that Matter
Anytime Collect allows MSPARK to stay on top of their outstanding accounts receivables with detailed reports and a dashboard that provides real-time metrics so they understand how they’re doing and where they need to improve.
“Our ability to report on accounts receivable was extremely limited prior to Anytime Collect due to limitations of our ERP system,” explained Criswell. “Anytime Collect allows us to have updated information so we can be proactive instead of reactive!”
The Anytime Collect dashboard provides collectors, managers and executives a snapshot of what’s happening in credit and collections. The dashboard summarizes the account aging, days sales outstanding (DSO) trend, average days to pay (ADP), and a top ten customer list which can be sorted by aging category or cost of credit amount. Additionally, the dashboard provides a summary of credit issues and activities by credit representative for the previous and current week.
“I love the ability to segment balances by past due days. This helps us to proactively contact clients to ensure they have received their invoices ensuring they have scheduled a payment.”
MSPARK uses the Anytime Collect reports to quickly identify which customers have invoices that are coming due so they can place a phone call before it’s late.
“Anytime Collect has allowed us to adapt to changes so we can manage more accounts in less time with all the information we need to provide accurate and timely information to the customer. It also helps us segregate ‘focus’ or target accounts for that day or week – those accounts that require more attention than others.”
Increased Productivity through Automation
Paystream Advisors recently reported that companies who automate their credit and collections process spend 300% more time soliciting customers for payment than companies using manual or non-automated processes.
MSPARK has found this to ring true with Anytime Collect. Upon logging into the software, the collectors at MSPARK are given a prioritized action list, or “to-do” list, which tells them exactly what they need to do, when to do it, and why, with all of the information they need to complete the activity in one place. As collectors work through the list, items drop off and are replaced with new tasks.
“Anytime Collect allows us to spend much more time calling customers for payments rather than sorting through a 200 page report to figure out who we need to call next. We are more efficient because accounts are prioritized based on the criteria that we’ve configured within the system.”
Anytime Collect also automates communications making sure reminders and past due notices are always sent to the right people, at the right time so they can focus on settling disputes and other more critical activities.
“When we purchased Anytime Collect we hoped to eliminate collector’s making phone calls for every single account when an automated statement, letter or past due notice could be emailed directly to the client instead. Anytime Collect allows us to do that by using the integrated rules engine so we can automate those activities and spend more time managing accounts that require a more personal touch.”
Emails can be set based on account, credit class, or invoice specific rules. For example, MSPARK can set the system up where all customers who have invoices due in the next three days receive a friendly reminder email automatically and, as those invoices age – the system will continue to send reminder emails to customers and schedule follow-up phone calls for collectors based on the defined rules. Once payment is received, the system automatically closes any open actions related to that invoice. Further, Anytime Collect automatically tracks and stores inbound emails from customers which are then stored within the system providing a 360-degree view of every customer interaction – both inbound and outbound including email, phone calls, disputes, and more.
An Undeniable Return on Investment
MSPARK purchased Anytime Collect in July of 2013. Since then the company has seen amazing results including a 26% reduction in DSO, taking their DSO from an average of 38 days to 28 days – getting paid 10 days faster. Anytime Collect also helped reduce past due invoices from 18% down to 2% – a reduction of 88% in just one year.
Additionally, MSPARK experienced a significant reduction in the labor related to collections and has been able to reallocate their resources and reduce the cost of staffing their accounts receivable team. Prior to Anytime Collect the company had four full time employees and one part time employee focused on collections; today MSPARK has three full time collectors and one part time employee managing accounts receivable– something that would have been impossible without the application.
The Right Choice
“Anytime Collect works beautifully! It is very user friendly and can be sorted in any manner that you choose! It allows us to have current information on all of our clients including payments, aging history, communications, and new invoices. This system is more efficient for us! We no longer need to waste time working with spreadsheets and aging reports and the staff at e2b is always most helpful and willing to assist however they can. We simply couldn’t be happier with Anytime Collect and recommend it to anyone that needs a better way to manage their accounts receivable.”
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