Grateful to have a calamitous year behind us, companies across the mortgage spectrum have renewed energy and interest in finding ways to safeguard their bottom line.
One often-overlooked area is accounts receivable.
Ironically, after a year surviving on re-engineering the workplace and implementing technology advances—working from home and meeting via Zoom—focusing on personal relationships and sincere appreciation goes a long way.
The role of AR within a mortgage, real estate, default management, or title company may seem thankless compared with sales and production contributions, but no business survives without it. Salespeople may be credited with "closing a deal," but the deal isn't really closed until payment is collected.
Research now shows that improved relations between accounting departments within a vendor and its customer can go a long way to strengthening ties between companies. In the area of default title invoicing, where invoices are created to be ‘passed on’ to the servicer, being consistent and adding a personal touch is making the difference.
"Default title is not like a typical sales or refinance transaction within the other WFG divisions," said Dean Kirchen, SVP, WFG Default Title Services. "With a refi or resale transaction, there's a funding of money and everything is done when the file closes. With trustee sale guarantees (TSGs), we're advancing recording fees and issuing the title product and then we have to collect it."
He knows it’s imperative to make sure an invoice gets to the right person so payment can be returned by the last day of the month; otherwise, the statement won’t sync up.
"We have procedures in place," Kirchen said, "but what drives the procedures is nurturing a personal connection with every customer's accounts payable department. To ensure accuracy, we take the time to review each statement as it arrives from accounting, making sure that no file numbers are ‘missing’ and that it is organized by date order or file number order, or any other customer preference."
Taking time to personalize something as seemingly cut and dried as billing, Kirchen said, "directly benefits our bottom line."
Monthly invoicing and providing the most accurate information in a readable format is vitally important. This includes highlighting any aging receivables and adding key descriptors into the invoices and statements that clearly identify what the invoice is for.
"If we don't invoice and upload within 24 hours of that service being provided, we won't get paid," Kirchen added. "This way our client can get their fees (and ours) and we can get reimbursed for recording charges and advances of fees. It's truly a partnership."
The True Source of Collection Success
That brings us back to the importance of personal relationships. It's not unusual for the person who receives an invoice to be the same person that the sales team or another department within the company is approaching.
Kirchen goes on to say that so many of WFG’s customers have worked in the default industry for a long time. “We have a real history with them. They may someday work at another company and become an advocate for our business.”
"We're always thanking our counterparts for their continued business and acknowledging how hard the person in accounting works to send us the checks," he continued. In fact, despite the pandemic, WFG Default Title Services' collections in 2020 were the highest in the division’s history.
"Sometimes we just need to get back to the basics to find what works," Kirchen added.
For more information about how WFG Default Title Services helps optimize account receivables success on behalf of its clients, access the tip sheet here.