Announcing new features for real-time, AI-assisted reconciliation. Learn more →

Learn

What is Cash Application?

Welcome to Learn, where we provide straightforward, easy-to-understand definitions of the payments industry.

Follow us

Cash application is a critical process in the accounts receivable (AR) cycle that involves matching incoming payments to corresponding invoices, addressing any discrepancies, and accurately posting the payments to the appropriate accounts.

Cash application ensures that businesses can efficiently manage customer payments and collections, ultimately contributing to healthy payment operations.

The Benefits of Implementing a Robust Cash Application System

Implementing a robust cash application system offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved efficiency: Automated systems can process payments and remittances faster and more accurately than manual processes.
  • Faster collections: By quickly matching payments to invoices, businesses can reduce their Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and improve cash flow.
  • Reduced errors: Automation minimizes the risk of human error, ensuring more accurate financial records.
  • Better visibility into cash flow: Centralized systems provide real-time insights into payment status and cash flow.

How Does Cash Application Work?

The cash application process involves several key steps:

  1. Payment and remittance aggregation: Collecting payments and associated remittance data from various sources, such as checks, electronic payments, and customer portals.
  2. Invoice matching and deduction coding: Matching payments to corresponding invoices and identifying any discrepancies or deductions.
  3. Cash posting: Applying the payments to the appropriate accounts in the company's ERP system.

Manual cash applications can be time-consuming, prone to errors, and may lack visibility into the payment reconciliation process. These challenges can hinder the efficiency of the AR process and create potential discrepancies in financial records.

Common challenges include:

  • Dealing with multiple payment formats and remittance sources
  • Matching payments to invoices when remittance data is incomplete or inaccurate
  • Managing exceptions and short payments
  • Integrating cash applications with other AR processes, such as collections and deductions

As noted in our 2023 State of Payment Operations report, over 8 in 10 decision makers (82%) report that up to half of their payment operations are still done manually.

Automating the cash application process can address the challenges associated with manual reconciliation. Benefits include:

  • Increased efficiency: Automated systems can process payments and remittances faster and more accurately than manual methods.
  • Improved accuracy: Automation reduces the risk of human error, ensuring more precise cash posting and financial reporting.
  • Faster processing times: Automated invoice matching and cash posting allow businesses to apply payments quickly and efficiently.
  • Enhanced visibility: Centralized systems provide real-time insights into payment status and cash flow.

Implementing Cash Application Software: Key Considerations

When implementing cash application software, key considerations include:

  • Choosing the right solution: Evaluating software options based on features, scalability, and integration capabilities.
  • Data migration: Ensuring a smooth transition of historical payment and invoice data into the new system.
  • User training: Providing comprehensive training to ensure that staff can effectively use the new software.
  • Continuous improvement: Regularly assessing the performance of the cash application process and identifying areas for optimization.

Best Practices for Optimizing Cash Application

To optimize the cash application process, businesses should focus on:

  • Automation: Implementing automated systems to streamline payment processing and invoice matching.
  • Data accuracy: Ensuring that customer and invoice data is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Clear communication: Establishing clear channels of communication with customers to resolve any discrepancies or missing information promptly.
  • Timely processing: Prioritizing daily cash applications to ensure that payments are posted accurately and efficiently.

Cash Application Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common challenges associated with manual cash application?

  • Common challenges include dealing with multiple payment formats and remittance sources, matching payments to invoices when remittance data is incomplete or inaccurate, managing exceptions and short payments, and integrating cash application with other AR processes.

How can automation improve the cash application process?

  • Automation can increase efficiency, improve accuracy, speed up processing times, and enhance visibility into payment status and cash flow.

What are some key considerations when choosing cash application software?

  • Key considerations include evaluating software options based on features, scalability, and integration capabilities, ensuring a smooth data migration process, providing comprehensive user training, and continuously assessing and optimizing the cash application process.

Try Modern Treasury

See how smooth payment operations can be.

Talk to sales
More from

Learn

Understand the underpinnings of one of the most critical and time-consuming processes in finance today and explore how it’s being brought into the 21st century.

Bank reconciliation is the process of verifying the completeness of a transaction through matching a company’s balance sheet to their bank statement.

Read more

Continuous accounting is the ongoing process of updating a business’s general ledger with reconciled bank statement transactions as soon as they become available.

Read more

Financial reporting empowers businesses to make informed financial decisions by identifying trends and tracking performance. It also offers insights into a company's assets, liabilities, and debt management strategies.

Read more

Month-end close is a critical process where the accounting team reviews and records financial transactions to close out the month.

Read more

Recoupment refers to the recovery of spent or lost funds, especially in business operations.

Read more

Incoming payment details are notifications that a company is going to receive a payment it didn’t originate—meaning the receiving funds were not initially requested.

Read more

Account reconciliation is the process of reconciling an account balance against a set of financial records to ensure that the balance is complete and accurate.

Read more

Balance Reconciliation is the process of verifying and ensuring: -That the expected and actual balances in a given account are correct -That the actual balance of an account is sufficient to cover planned transactions

Read more

Batch processing is a method of processing various types of transactions. As the name suggests, transactions are processed in a group or “batch.”

Read more

Cash application is a critical process in the accounts receivable (AR) cycle that involves matching incoming payments to corresponding invoices, addressing any discrepancies, and accurately posting the payments to the appropriate accounts.

Read more

Cash reconciliation is the act of matching your company's accounting records of cash activity with the official records provided by your bank.

Read more

Multi-step reconciliation is the process of dealing with three or more systems of record, that all need to be reconciled against one another.

Read more

Transaction reconciliation is the process of matching two different data sets at the transaction level. This allows companies to verify that transactions have happened appropriately.

Read more

The 10-K is a comprehensive report mandated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that publicly traded companies must file annually. This report provides a thorough overview of a company's financial performance over the past year.

Read more

A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides a snapshot of a company's financial position at a specific point in time, usually at the end of a reporting period, such as a quarter or a fiscal year.

Read more

The cash conversion cycle (CCC)—also sometimes called the net operating cycle or cash cycle—is a financial metric that measures the time it takes for a company to convert its investments in inventory and other resources into cash flow from sales. It represents the length of time, in days, between when a company pays for raw materials or inventory and when it receives cash from selling the final products.

Read more

Subscribe to Journal updates

Discover product features and get primers on the payments industry.

Subscribe

Products

Platform

Modern Treasury For

Case Studies

Insights

Documentation

Company

Legal


Popular Integrations

© Modern Treasury Corp.