Construction Financial Managers Weekly ReviewEvery Friday, we will select a few in-depth articles from the week that we think are worth your valuable time as a construction financial manager (CFM). We look for compelling articles not only about financial topics, but about business, technology, and life, that challenges you to think about your role as a CFM in different ways. We’d love to hear from you about how we’re doing, and to have you join our community by subscribing to receive this weekly post by email.  Follow #CFMReview.

 

collections and lien automationsCollection Automation For Humans – Can It Exist.  The Wall Street Journal published an article this week suggesting that “It’s Time To Take Artificial Intelligence Seriously.”  The article focused on software that wrote email subject lines. Machine generated subject liens out-performed human-generated subject lines by a convincing margin.  Humans, in other words, were more responsive to machine generated sentences than human generated sentences.  That’s quite astonishing.

It’s also a wake-up call to companies who are not leveraging artificial intelligence technology.  According to Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp.’s CFO Kevin Cook, as quoted in another WSJ article, confronting new technology is necessary because companies that “don’t change…fall by the wayside.”

What does this mean for credit professionals, collectors, and other financial professionals in the construction industry?  Well, what about collection automation technology?  Is it possible to use artificial intelligence technology to take the load off your collectors?  To improve the performance of your accounts receivables?

Yes, and here is the article that explains it all:  The Secret To Automating Collections Without Losing the Human Element.  Here is the high-level:

  • Relationships matter
  • Look for places where human actions are redundant
  • Automate actions taking too much time
  • Measure the policy
  • Say Thank You
  • Stay Human

 

Financial Risk and Risk ManagementIs There Really A Shortage of Construction Workers.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the “shortage of construction workers” cry may have been a bit over exaggerated. According to the article, “Is There Really A Shortage of Construction Workers,” the warnings don’t quite make sense:

Anecdotal concerns about a shortage don’t quite add up for many economists, who say if there was truly a shortage of skilled construction workers, then the share of construction workers who say they’re seeking employment and can’t find any would be lower…

So are builders’ complaints of a worker shortage not credible? Not necessarily. Anecdotal and survey data suggest builders may face a shortage of specific laborers in certain markets, even though concerns about a widespread labor shortage may be over the top.

There is a lot of very interesting data in this article, which can help anyone who is feeling a slight labor shortage squeeze determine whether the squeeze is real, or if they  just need to look a bit harder at their problems.