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Success Story: Carriage Services Uses Lockbox to Dramatically Improve Cash Flow

Success Story: Carriage Services Uses Lockbox to Dramatically Improve Cash Flow

Carriage Services, Inc., is a funeral home and cemetery consolidator that owns 167 funeral homes and 32 cemeteries nationwide. The company began using lockbox receivables services from Cadence Bank and met with great success, including improved cash flow and greater efficiencies across the entire receivables process.

 

Advance funeral planning requires a Lockbox solution

 

Carriage Services allows families to decide in advance which premium funeral merchandise and services they want. This way, when a death occurs, the funeral plans are already in place, which reduces stress and worry on families at a difficult time. 

 

Families are typically allowed to make installment payments on their funeral plan for up to five years. With an average of 10,000 premium funeral service contracts per year, Carriage Services found lockbox receivables to be a useful tool for getting checks deposited faster and improving cash flow.  

 

New Lockbox solution needed 

 

With their previous lockbox solution provider, two separate lockboxes and DDA accounts were used for the company’s separate funeral and cemetery operations, which made it hard to reconcile and manage lockbox payments and bank accounts. In 2015, they began searching for a new receivables lockbox solution provider.

 

They wanted a lockbox solution that featured three things in particular, according to Assistant Treasurer Jennifer Flores:

 

  • Improved automation
  • Greater visibility
  • More functionality

 

But the new solution had to adapt to their system, rather than the other way around.  

 

Cadence Bank offers a centralized solution

 

What Carriage Services needed was a centralized solution to support its decentralized operating model. Cadence Bank provided them with:

 

  • A new receivables lockbox service that uses just a single lockbox for both the funeral and cemetery operations, enabling employees to see both funeral home and cemetery payments at the same time without having to flip from one lockbox to the other.
  • A greatly simplified, streamlined and more cost-effective lockbox operation. 

 

Auto-matching rate nears 100 percent

 

Since it switched to Cadence Bank for its receivables lockbox solution, Carriage Services’ auto-matching rate for payments and coupons hitting the lockbox has increased to about 98 percent. Each coupon has an OCR line printed on the bottom that identifies whether the payment is for funeral or cemetery operations, along with the account number and payment amount.  

 

“Matching this information accurately is critical to increasing payment processing efficiency, which is why increasing the auto-matching rate is so beneficial,” says Flores. 

 

Additional benefits have included:

 

  • Time savings. Cash processing employees are now freed up to spend more time on other value-added payment posting processes instead of having to match checks with coupons.
  • Increased visibility. About 2,100 checks and 3,500 ACH debits hit the company’s lockbox each month, and employees can now view all of this activity and upload ACH files through a single online portal without having to switch from one lockbox to the other. 

 

Watch a video in which Jennifer Flores discusses Carriage Services’ Cadence Bank lockbox solution in more detail: 

  

 

Learn more about how to streamline your payables process.

 

 

This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

 

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