CFOs Say Digitization’s Results Exceeded Expectations

CFO, b2b, digital shift

Companies made several improvements to their technology and operations following the pandemic’s onset in March 2020. Many chief financial officers (CFOs) say the crisis strongly influenced decisions to speed up work on projects, including those for payments systems digitization, anti-fraud protections and the use of artificial intelligence (AI). 

In a few key areas, the results exceeded the expectations the CFOs had when they decided to accelerate these projects, according to “Business Payments Digitization,” a PYMNTS and Corcentric collaboration based on a survey of 400 CFOs from U.S. companies that generate $400 million to $2 billion in annual revenues. 

Get the report: Business Payments Digitization 

Topping the list were efficiency gains. Sixty-one percent of CFOs whose firms accelerated digitization of their payments systems did so to make their organizations more efficient, and 91% of CFOs reported efficiency gains after digitizing their systems. 

Realizing Benefits of Digitization 

Similarly, 45% of CFOs who accelerated payment process digitization say they did so to improve management of cash flows or working capital, but 84% of CFOs could point to improved management of working capital when the projects were completed. 

In addition, just 17% of CFOs undertook digitization to reduce expenses, but 62% of CFOs say their costs lowered because of the digitization projects. 

And 30% of CFOs who accelerated payment process digitization say they did so to have more secure processes for customers and vendors, but 61% reported improvement. 

Only about a quarter or a third of CFOs say their reasons for accelerating the digitization of payment processes and systems were to provide new digital tools access, a transparent process or digital operations to customers and vendors, but 60% saw improved supplier relationships. 

Applying Lessons Learned by Others 

As payments go digital, balance sheets get healthier, and the CFOs overseeing it all get a holistic view of cash flow, too, Corcentric president and Chief Operating Officer Matt Clark told PYMNTS in a January interview. 

More CFOs, Clark said, are realizing that “the order-to-cash lifecycle has to be optimized in order to get the end results you want to achieve as a company.” 

Read more: As Business Payments Go Digital, Buyer-Supplier Relationships Get Stronger 

When the pandemic sent the economy tumbling into a downturn and created an unprecedented period of uncertainty, many companies responded by accelerating projects to digitize payments systems. 

Now, the companies that were slower to invest in digitized payments platforms can learn from the experiences of the larger companies that raced ahead of the pack. If they can apply the lessons, they will put themselves in a position to cut expenses and improve operating efficiency.