“We were definitely ready to change,” said Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, the President and Chief Revenue Officer of Amsterdam News in New York, NY, when reflecting on the state of their tech stack two years ago. Bennett characterized the newspaper’s old software system as “remarkably antiquated.” Not only was it time-consuming to use, but the system “made it very difficult to extract global financial analysis and follow up with clients with overdue payments.” These inefficiencies resulted in large balances accruing. A recent analysis showed that under this old system, Amsterdam News had been collecting only 40 cents on every dollar sold on legals. “I remember looking at our old tech stack and saying, this can’t go on anymore,” shared Bennett.
In 2023, Amsterdam News partnered with Column to streamline. Bennett highlighted three stand-out reasons why their choice to go with Column has paid off.
The introduction of Column to Amsterdam News’ tech stack has catalyzed a significant improvement in payment collections for the paper. “Column has positioned us to get near 100 percent of every dollar sold on legals,” said Bennett. “The software’s advanced features help streamline prompt payment so that we realize as much of our actual sales as possible.”
Bennett attributes this impact to Column's increased financial transparency to the newspaper’s staff. “In the world we used to be in, our classified department would be managing the placement of insertions but wouldn’t have visibility into finances,” said Bennett. “Now they can actually see what’s going on." The once detached worlds of finances and day-to-day work now have a bridge, giving staff more clarity and insight into the underlying operations. Shaquana Folks, the Head of Legal, LLC, Classifieds at Amsterdam News, noted, “There’s a whole level of transparency that Column creates. At a glance, I can see exactly what’s going on with payments.” Column’s system makes it clear to both the client and to the newspaper who has paid and who hasn’t. “It’s a great tool to use to get past overdue balances paid before we help a client with their next insertion,’” expounded Folks.
Bennett added, “I’m a big believer that you don’t put your reps in a position of being collectors. They should be in the position of selling. But Folks is remarkably adroit at looking at a client’s past balances before processing more requests.”
Folks highlighted the three most impactful payment features that Column offers: payment alerts, invoice reminders, and the option for prepayment. “I get email alerts when clients make payments,” said Folks. “With our old system, it was hard to decipher which client had paid for their ad. I needed a hard copy record of it, or I’d have to import the data manually. On the contrary, Column notifies me when a client has paid, which makes it easier to follow up with the people I need to."
Contact for Amsterdam News:
Siobhan “Sam” Bennett
President/Chief Revenue Officer Amsterdam News
President/CEO AmNews Educational Foundation