B2B Payments

Is Auto Billing Really The Best Option?

To auto-pay or not to auto-pay? That is the question for many B2B companies on both the buyer and supplier side. With digital invoicing becoming more common, it is easy to assume that automatic payments are the optimal choice. But is it?

No business wants a difficult process when it comes to managing invoices or in terms of paying its own bills. Automated payment modules can ensure that organizations never miss a payment and always remain on top of what other businesses owe them – and enabling that option may be a suppliers’ dream. But could auto-pay options also introduce fresh billing issues that could ultimately damage client relationships?

According to a Business2Community blog post, the answer is yes. However, it’s more important for companies to weigh their options and understand exactly what they would be gaining through an automated bill pay process. For example, auto-pay can improve a business’ cash flow and automate functions that are currently falling by the wayside, according to the story.

One key issue to keep in mind, though, is that not all customers would be willing to make the switch at first. However, B2B firms could transition some customers before others.

“It’s estimated that an electronic billing system can slash up to 65 percent of costs associated with traditional invoicing processes,” the story said. “If a portion of [buyers] approve auto-bill and others aren’t yet comfortable with it, measure the improvements auto-bill offers to your business and those of your clients who use it, in the sense of fewer required resources involved in invoice processing, and lower direct costs for things like paper and postage.”

Additionally, implementing a type of “test drive” can ensure accuracy of payment amounts and guarantee that a business can maintain any processes its clients require.

Firm Creates Automated Payments Platform

One example of a firm taking the automatic bill pay bull by the horns, so to speak, is Practice Ignition. The company is a client on-boarding and management accounting software firm and recently announced that it added a flexible payments platform to its cloud-based accounting suite.

According to The Herald Sun, the new feature streamlines the invoicing process by connecting it directly with clients’ banking systems.

Company founder and chief executive Guy Pearson said that his organization’s new payment option solves the issue of creating an efficient on-boarding and financial client management process.

“We’ve built the first payment engine that allows for professional services companies to have a direct fee connection to their client contracts,” Pearson told the Herald Sun.

“The era of accountants having to create and chase invoice payments is over, as we have now removed that costly and time-consuming task.”

Making B2B Billing Efficient

Practice Ignition is not the only organization opting for innovative electronic bill options. Just last week, Billtrust announced that it acquired cash application software development company Open Scan Technologies, Inc. The partnership represents the first end-to-end Invoice-to-cash infrastructure for B2B billers.

According to a company statement, Billtrust currently offers bill presentment and payment products and services that span online, email, mobile, IVR, bank and paper. By combining those areas with solutions from Open Scan, the two firms hope to improve customer satisfaction, reduce cost, and increase cash flow.

So, the question remains: To auto-pay or not to auto-pay?

With eInvoicing options evolving – such as the Billtrust acquisition – the transition will likely be much more streamlined than even a few years before. But it’s still important to weigh the cons, and be aware that a transitional period could put clients at ease and keep the process as smooth as possible.


Featured PYMNTS Study: 

With eyes on lowering costs to improving cash flow, 85 percent of U.S. firms plan to make real-time payments integral to their operations within three years. However, some firms still feel technical barriers stand in the way. In the January 2020 Making Real-Time Payments A Reality Study, PYMNTS surveyed more than 500 financial executives to examine what it will take to channel RTP interest into real-world adoption. Here’s what we learned.

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