Digitizing business-to-business (B2B) payment processes that have long been manual is no easy task, but this action is becoming more necessary for companies operating globally. Organizations continue migrating toward digital channels and are beginning to incorporate newer technologies to assist their accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes.
Considering the cost of paper-based invoices in terms of both dollars and time, and the fact that they are one of the top sources of friction for businesses’ AP processes, it’s understandable that reducing the time and expenses that go into processing invoices is a top goal for companies.
In fact, 53% of companies plan to automate their invoice delivery processes, according to the Next-Gen Digital Payments Report, a PYMNTS and Transcard collaboration.
Get the report: Next-Gen Digital Payments Report
Centralizing Previously Siloed Payment Methods and Data
“The move to electronic payments was supposed to make it easier to disburse and collect funds, yet PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that roughly one-fifth of an AP or AR professional’s day is wasted on manual keying, paper shuffling and other tasks that could be automated or eliminated,” Transcard CEO Greg Bloh told PYMNTS. “Electronic payments have done their part. Transactions flow faster and with more data than ever.”
Interest in solutions like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that enable companies to centralize previously siloed payment methods and related data in one place for easy access is also growing. Leveraging these systems to aggregate financial processes can help companies more transparently track their incoming and outgoing transactions and allow them to flexibly respond to client’s and suppliers’ needs.
“The blame for friction in the commerce lifecycle rests with the lack of integration between electronic payment systems and legacy ERPs,” Bloh said. “No matter how much money businesses, banks and FinTechs invest in their payments systems, they will never escape inefficiencies, complexity and risk in their AP and AR processes without integration.”
Fulfilling the Promise of Electronic Payments
Businesses are beginning to consider ERP systems necessary tools for smooth daily operations, as 44% of supply chain decision-makers state that their organizations have either incorporated them or are incorporating them. ERP systems connect companies’ previously siloed solutions, and these functionalities make them particularly beneficial to businesses’ financial processes. Using ERP systems to manage AR and AP functions can give businesses greater transparency and enable them to process invoices and client payments more quickly.
Businesses are beginning to realize that it is necessary to overhaul their back-end processes as more firms move their B2B relationships and payments online. Companies that do not make these shifts will fall behind their more tech-savvy competitors as the industry continues to change.
“New technology is fulfilling the promise of electronic payments,” Bloh said. “By integrating with ERPs and bank API layers, these payments solutions enable users to make and receive payments directly from their ERPs while data is reconciled automatically in real time.”