We talked to Edouard Beauvois, co-founder and CEO at AiVidens about anticipating customers’ payment issues and prioritizing collection efforts with Artificial Intelligence and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Edouard Beauvois: The family and I are doing well thank you. Luckily we have no cases of Covid in our immediate surroundings. It is true that we scrupulously respect all the instructions issued on this subject. It’s not easy every day, especially for the oldest of our 3 children, a 16-year-old teenager, who from one day to the next and for 11 months now has been socially and academically isolated.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded AiVidens.
Edouard Beauvois: As far as I am concerned, I have more than 20 years of experience in finance software. I have held various positions in Belgium and abroad, ranging from software consultancy to sales and marketing.
We created AiVidens just over 18 months ago. Our idea was to find an answer to a simple question asked by companies (even before Covid): how do you know when customers will pay you and when? We then looked into the problem and are proud to have found a software answer.
How does AiVidens innovate?
Edouard Beauvois: Our company innovates at different levels.
We are able to anticipate the payment problems of our clients’ customers. This makes it possible, among other things, to re-construct predictive cash flow statements and, at the same time, to determine the existing gap with traditional tables based on contractual data. This completes the treasurer’s view
We are also able to segment the receivables portfolios according to different payment profiles and risk typologies by exploiting both transactional data from companies and external data. We then use all of the calculated data to enable financiers to simulate different collection strategies, for example, to propose processing priorities for the different teams, as well as the preferred channels and tones for better collection.
Finally, all this is offered in the form of a standard solution.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Edouard Beauvois: From a business point of view the Covid effect is rather positive for AiVidens. It has indeed allowed us to accelerate the penetration of solutions like ours within the different companies. Cash is king and many people today want to have a clear view of the state of their customer relations from a payment point of view. Many also take advantage of this to optimize customer collection or improve customer satisfaction by proactively proposing, for example, to extend payment terms.
The only remaining obstacle is the fact that too many decisions are still postponed by companies.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Edouard Beauvois: No, we didn’t have to make a difficult choice from a human point of view.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Edouard Beauvois: We have had to re-invent our customer approach, both commercial and post commercial. There is no longer a single presentation or implementation without the use of video conferencing or call.
From a commercial point of view, we have also strengthened the relationship with our partners in order to capitalize as much as possible on existing customer bases and relationships already established between companies. In this respect, we can mention the partnership with SAP, with which we are already active in several regions.
As far as implementations are concerned, we have not seen our customers for almost 12 months now. We are getting closer to them through more regular contact and more information about our developments.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Edouard Beauvois: No subsidies or support of any kind from the government.
Your final thoughts?
Edouard Beauvois: I can’t wait for this to be over and for us to see our customers again in person!
It’s obvious that many of the practices put in place during Covid will remain, particularly in terms of customer relations and team management.