Anyone working in a small to medium sized business knows that one of the biggest pain points is managing vendor payments. As a Treasury Management professional, our team regularly visits Accounts Payable (AP) departments only to find their AP clerks overwhelmed with paper and multiple processes to manage payments.
While 2019 was the year of person to person (P2P) payment growth (think Venmo, Zelle, etc.), it's predicted that 2020 will be a year of disruption for business to business (B2B) payments. With so much digital advancement in the recent past, AP departments are now primed to take advantage of automated solutions to streamline their processes.
As the demands and complexities of corporate payments become more and more sophisticated, so does the need for a streamlined payment system. However, many companies continue to rely on manual, paper-based processes that are historically vulnerable to fraud, more costly, and downright inefficient.
We knew our customers needed a solution that would help them transform their AP departments and take advantage of the innovation and technology available to them. Here are a few of their needs we identified:
• Simplify B2B payments in a single file upload
• Automate processes and move away from paying by check
• Increase visibility into cashflow by providing online tools
• Mitigate fraud in a secure and streamlined solution
• Modernize the AP department to align with changing technologies.
It sounds like a tall order, but with the proliferation of financial technology firms--and their partnerships with community banks--these tools are now available. Companies that have made the switch are reaping the rewards.
A manufacturer in the south suburbs recognized that more and more companies were moving to electronic processes. "We were ready to leave the paper processes behind and now our AP team is free to work on more strategic projects that will really help our business grow," their CFO commented after converting to Firnails AP, an online B2B payments platform offered by Signature Bank.
With a wider acceptance of virtual cards for B2B payments, many systems are now able to automate almost any type of payment, whether it's virtual card, ghost card, ACH, or paper check. Business owners have more visibility into their payments and cashflow and have the ability to approve payments from anywhere thanks to a digital and mobile presence.
As innovations like Finrails emerge, more and more top executives will see the advantages of an automated B2B payment system--not only in their AP department--but across the bottom line. This will be the year of forward-thinking CFOs and CEOs changing their old habits of paying by check and stepping into the new decade by automating B2B payments.
For more information on Finrails AP, visit http://finrails.bank/.
• Anne Doligale is Senior Vice President of Signature Bank in Rosemont