3 best practices to uplevel your order-to-cash process

O2C best practices

Order to cash (O2C) is the most important financial process for any business. After all, it’s what turns an order into revenue. 

It’s also your opportunity to make a good first impression on your customers, as it allows them to receive the goods and services they purchased quickly and effortlessly. 

Despite its ability to grow your business and provide a positive customer experience, many businesses’ O2C are still at a low level of maturity and depend on manual processes. If yours falls into this bucket, or even if your process is more developed, there are a few best practices that can help you get to the next level. 

You can read on to learn about 3 of them.

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Our O2C maturity model can help you determine where you stand and what you can do to move up to the next level.

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1. Review your existing process and look for inefficiencies

Before you figure out where you need to be, you need to know what your O2C process looks like from end-to-end.

You’ll need to assess a few things:

  • What platforms does your O2C touch? 
  • Which aspects of the process are done manually? 
  • Which (if any) steps are automated?

If you have manual touchpoints in your O2C, you’ll want to get the perspective of the person or teams performing those tasks. 

For example, let’s say your sales reps have to manually invoice customers. Asking sales reps how this process works will give you a clear idea of where the inefficiencies are. Does it require a lot of manual data entry? Are there points where data can become misaligned? What happens when clients fail to pay on time?

Based on the responses, you can better determine where and what to automate, which will help you build out your O2C maturity roadmap.

2. Study how similar companies run their O2C processes 

One of the best ways to identify improvements is to look at the rest of the market. 

What does the process look like among your competitors? Your peers? How does this manifest in their customer experience?

Identify a few companies where you notice a lot of growth. Chances are if they can scale that rapidly, they have an O2C process that supports that level of growth. Do some digging to find out what they’re doing, and think about how you can apply those lessons to your own O2C.

3. Assess how you can move along our O2C maturity model 

Now that you have a vision for where you are and where you need to be, you need to create a roadmap to move up the O2C maturity model—which you can think of as a series of levels, each containing certain automation capabilities.

A visual that breaks down each level within the O2C maturity model

For example, if your O2C process is at a low level of maturity and dependent on manual data entry (level 0), you’ll need to focus on eliminating those manual touchpoints first and foremost.

An entirely manual O2C is only appropriate in a few specific cases, such as early stage small businesses with low order volumes. However, the vast majority of companies can’t sustain themselves––much less grow––at this level. 

Every milestone on your O2C maturity roadmap should focus on shifting toward not just a high-performing O2C process, but to a predictive and proactive model that’ll easily scale with growth (level 3).

It’s also worth noting that the steps to uplevel your process can look different at a higher level of O2C maturity.

Let’s say you have automations in place to take care of the data entry problem, but your sales team spends a significant amount of time chasing down late payments. This will be the next area to address on your automation roadmap. 

Automating payment reminder emails allow customers to receive clear and timely communication, all but ensuring they make their payments soon after receiving them; all the while, your sales staff is freed up to handle more productive tasks.

Benefits of improving your order to cash process

So what can you expect from performing these best practices? Here are just a few benefits you’ll likely see.

  • Better customer experience: When transactions are frictionless, your customers can receive your product sooner and see value from it faster.
  • Greater scalability: Building a more intelligent and connected O2C allows for greater flexibility and adaptability as your organization grows and as the business landscape evolves.
  • More time savings: By automating out those repetitive but necessary tasks, your team can spend more time on more productive projects.
  • Exceptional accuracy: When you’ve connected all your finance and sales platforms and implemented data syncs that keep your data aligned, errors are drastically reduced, leading to improved reporting and revenue recognition.
  • Elevated visibility: Manual O2C processes can often create black boxes around data. Connecting your enterprise apps and automating your O2C can make data more visible and accessible to those who need it.
  • Enhanced reporting: Improved data hygiene results in easier, more accurate reporting.
  • Improved cash flow: Recording and recognizing cash becomes faster and easier than ever.

Transform your O2C process with Workato 

To get to the next level of O2C maturity, you need an automation solution capable of connecting all of your enterprise apps and on-prem systems in a way that’s intuitive and scalable. That’s where Workato comes in.

Workato, the leader in enterprise automation, offers a low-code UX and enterprise-grade governance and security features to help you integrate and automate successfully at scale.

If you’d like to learn how to harness the power of Workato for your O2C process, you can schedule a demo with one of our automation experts.