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How Accounts Receivable Management is Like The Oregon Trail Game

You probably didn’t know that Accounts Receivable management in a SaaS business is a lot like playing The Oregon Trail game. Allow us to explain.

Team Maxio image

Team Maxio

June 15, 2021

If you went to grade school any time between the late 70s and the early 2000s, chances are you played The Oregon Trail video game. 

According to, the game was created to teach kids about the life of 19th-century pioneers, and the objective is to travel along The Oregon Trail from Missouri to Oregon. The goal is simple. As wagon leader, your goal is to get your wagon and those on it safely to Oregon without dying from things like snakebites, measles, or broken bones. 


Much like a wagon on The Oregon Trail, your invoice often has a long, long way to go before it makes it into the hands of your customer. Also, like The Oregon Trail? A lot can stand in the way of your invoice making it. 

It may not be as dramatic as snakebites or measles, but simple things like an address change can stop your invoice dead in its tracks. What’s more, if your customer disagrees with any of the line items on the invoice, say an implementation fee or timeline, the cycle starts all over again. 


Like on The Oregon Trail, your business needs food (aka cash) to survive. Collections are your hunting knife, and cash is your food. Think of inefficient A/R management like hunting for food with your bare hands rather than a sharp knife. 

Inefficient A/R management is time-consuming and error-prone. If you’re using spreadsheets to keep track of when invoices are due and manually going down a list to collect, odds are there’s room for improvement in your process. 


As mentioned before, there are many ways to die on the Oregon Trail. You could come down with a fever or catch the measles. You could even break a leg. “Death” in a business means that the business fails. 

In any business, but particularly in a growing SaaS business, there’s a lot of room for error. Perhaps you miss revenue targets and lose funding, or perhaps your valuation takes a haircut due to inaccuracies in your forecasts or other data. 

But the main reason SaaS businesses fail is that they simply run out of money. Cash flow issues are totally avoidable with the right A/R management controls and processes in place.


At the end of The Oregon Trail Game, your score is tallied, and points are awarded for survivors on your wagon, cash and supplies remaining, and the occupation you were given at the beginning. 

Much like the game, your business can earn “points” based on how efficiently you manage your A/R. Efficient A/R management means getting cash in the door on time, reducing DSO, and reducing A/R aging. 

The Cheat Code  

Like all great video games, The Oregon Trail has cheat codes that you can deploy to obtain food, medicine, and other resources. 

While there are no “cheat codes” per se for managing A/R, there are some specific processes and technologies you can put in place to manage A/R more efficiently. 

The SaaSOptics platform allows you to collect cash, run special reports, and measure the effectiveness of your collections process all in one place.

To learn more about how SaaSOptics can help you win the game that is SaaS A/R management, download the A/R Management Playbook today.

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