Stock illustration: Businesspeople holding gears

Reaction time matters in countless situations and scenarios, including playing sports, engaging in conversation, driving, and—most dramatically—responding to a medical emergency. "Reaction time" refers to the time elapsed as the brain notices, processes, and reacts to stimuli in the environment. Our innate desire for a quick reaction time has deep roots in our survival instincts. Millennia ago, our ancestors needed to frequently take swift action to confront (or avoid) danger, and to preserve harmony and well-being.

While decidedly less life-and-death than a medical emergency, the accounts receivable (A/R) process is another area in which success requires excellent reaction time. That's because timing is everything when it comes to managing customer relationships, collecting payments, and invoicing customers. Without best practices guiding staff reactions to such events, the invoice-to-cash cycle can quickly become disorganized and discouraging, leading to disastrous results for companies and customers alike.

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