Payment Automation Emerges in B2B
B2B payments have gone through major changes in the past couple of years, and COVID-19 has only sped up that process. In an interview with Mobile Payments Today, Josh Cyphers, president of payment invoice technology company, Nvoicepay, identifies four emerging trends that are happening now in the B2B payments industry.
Paper Checks Continue to Decline
Paper checks still exist in B2B payments, but COVID-19 is really pushing companies toward fully automating payments. Now that accounts payable (AP) departments are working remotely, companies are trying to minimize the amount of manual work that requires trips to the office, or to employees’ homes to get them to sign checks. Suppliers are asking to be paid electronically because they get the money faster and they do not have to go to the bank.
Cash Flow Drives Digitization
Right now, B2B companies have a laser focus on managing cash flow given the current economic environment. Many companies are looking at extending payment terms to suppliers or delaying payments to help conserve cash. With an automated solution, all the payment approvals and workflow are online, and merchants have visibility into every payment as it moves through the system, which helps with control over cash flow.
Software Offsets Manual Work
Cloud-based software is enabling accounts payable departments to automate work they have previously had to do manually. That includes the handling of paper checks but also the work that goes into accepting card payments that are not automated. For example, a merchant may have to make multiple phone calls to find out who will take a card payment, and then phone a supplier with the card number, and then enter it into a terminal. But cloud-based software is enabling payment automation providers to transform that disjointed process, with all its manual touchpoints, into a single automated workflow.
B2B Payments Turn More Mobile
Having a cloud-based solution also allows accounts payable professionals to make payments anytime, anywhere. But up until the pandemic, that kind of mobile capability was nice to have, not a must have for most business payments. The construction industry is one exception; in that industry many of the people who approve payments are out in the field, so mobile capabilities are a real selling point for a payment solution. Now that AP teams have been out of the office, every industry is looking for payment solutions that allow them to work remotely as much as possible.
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