Accounts Receivable Outsourcing: Validating Promises and Establishing Trust


If you haven’t read part one or part two of this series, please make sure to check them out.

During the sales process, vendors make a lot of promises. Most of the time, vendors are genuine with their claims, but companies should still do their due diligence in verifying the accuracy of these promises. Companies that don’t will often run into last-minute technology shortcomings, implementation issues, and general dissatisfaction as they ramp up to their go-live date. A sound and structured verification process increases your chances of achieving accounts receivable outsourcing success. Here are five areas to explore as you evaluate your vendors.

  1. Examine technology capabilities

To refine your shortlist, you should’ve already asked agencies about reporting schedules, collection systems and benefits, and business continuity plans. Now’s the time to delve into the nitty-gritty such as requesting system demos. Most software allows agencies to create test accounts to give you a clearer picture of workflows and report offerings with fictional—though very realistic—data. Getting a first-hand look at the interface and features of their collections, security, and skip tracing software will give you a better idea if their solution will address your specific needs with timeliness, accuracy, and flexibility.

  1. Dig deeper into security access

To do an efficient and thorough job, collection agencies require access to a large amount of personal and financial information. Privacy measures like tiered access models ensure account and client information are accessible only to those with the need to view them. Tiered access can also extend to physical security. Vendors who take compliance and risk management seriously will have implemented physical access measures, such as locking off key departments like finance and payment processing so only select people can enter these highly sensitive areas.

  1. Invest in a site visit

Many companies overlook visiting vendor sites largely because of travel costs but reading about a location and its team is vastly different from seeing it with your own eyes. Ask to sit in on the collections floor during high call volume hours and interview team members. A behind-the-scenes tour helps you gain a more realistic view and feel of the culture and environment your calls will be made from—far better than any proposal or sales deck could achieve. 

  1. Evaluate their compliance management

Compliance is a complicated and vital part of the collections process, but it’s more than just the rules and regulations agencies follow. Compliance management systems should be comprehensive and align business strategies with compliance seamlessly to help reduce risk and complaints. A system that monitors and tracks complaints, escalation, and resolution is just the beginning. To be most effective, this system should also incorporate agent training and auditing scores, as well as contractual compliance components.

  1. Investigate past relationships

References are one of your best sources of information because they’ve already been in your shoes making the same decision. They know what’s at stake and what’s to gain. Instead of just asking for an overall impression or summary of their relationship, press references on specifics. Consider what has you on the fence in your decision-making or what seems too good to be true. When able, call them. Don’t just email your questions. Keep in mind that not everyone will get back to you, so ask for at least five references that include both current and past clients. How and why they disengage with a client is just as important as how they work your accounts.

To optimize accounts receivable recovery, agencies must be able to leverage their technology, people, and processes in ways that address your specific challenges and needs. While it’s easy for agencies to say they can meet your accounts receivables outsourcing demands, it’s much more informative for you if they can prove it. These five areas are crucial to long-term outsourcing success and for building the kind of vendor-client partnership that makes a positive impact on your bottom line.

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