In late July, the American Recovery Association (ARA) board sent an industry-wide survey to solicit feedback on invoicing problems with forwarding companies. Since the results of the survey were made public, the ARA Public Relations Committee has been actively engaging with Primiritus, MVTRACK, PAR, Location Services, and ALS, to discuss issues related to the industry’s invoicing processes.
The ARA PR Committee began each call acknowledging that the questions in the invoice survey should have been presented in a more neutral way, and made it clear a more scientific approach would be used on any subsequent surveys.
The board also made it clear that problems related to invoicing have plagued the industry for years, and that a solution to minimize harm to the agent network is paramount. A common theme we found from the conversations with our forwarding partners is the need for agents to improve their accounting practices, which indicated that part of the solution is education and enhancing agents’ business skills.
The forwarder representatives all agreed the submission of PAID past due invoices is a major problem for them. One forwarder mentioned that as many as 95% of the invoices they reviewed had already been paid. This indicates a considerable problem that needs to be addressed.
Each forwarder shared with us separately, their efforts to improve the invoicing process. Many are in the final stages of developing self-servicing portals for agents to check the status of invoices, with the main objective being to reduce the need to review invoices that have already been paid. Primeritus released such a system in late 2022, which appeared promising in initial testing.
Jeremy Cross, ARA board of directors member, emphasized the need for an invoicing system that is simple and user-friendly enough for even the smallest recovery companies with minimal resources to use effectively. The goal is to create a system that works seamlessly for the entire industry.
We acknowledge there is much work yet to be done to fully address the industry invoicing issues, including improving education for agents, implementing self-servicing portals, and simplifying invoicing systems.
The ARA board believes it will take a collaborative effort within the recovery sector to identify and address the invoicing challenges agents face. We will continue to focus on member education. But we need our software partners, like RDN and MBSI, to continue developing easy-to-use software solutions to help the client and the agent avoid the manual processes needed to identify all invoicing opportunities.
While the solution to the invoicing problems is not yet fully developed, what is clear is the invoicing process must be simplified to protect the agent network.