B2B Payments

Payables That Are All Gain and No Pain

What do you get when mash up invoicing software with payment processing? An accounts payables process that is all gain and no pain. That’s the promise of U.S. Bank’s latest corporate payments innovation. Jeff Pape gives B2B PYMNTS the scoop.

U.S. Bank and Nexus have teamed to create an end-to-end electronic invoice processing and payment service.

Put together with Nexus’ invoicing software, the bank’s own payment processing capabilities make for a “completely automated” accounts-payable management system, it said.

“The strategy behind bringing the two organizations together is to help companies reduce paper use,” said Jeff Pape, payables product manager for U.S. Bank Corporate Payment Systems.

But doing so doesn’t just lower operating costs and increase early payment discounts; companies are better able to “maximize working capital, enhance audit controls and redeploy staff to more strategic activities” as a result, the bank said.

The system “alleviates a pain point” in the procure-to-payments process, Pape said.

“Having seen the efficiency and cost-savings of payment automation,” customers now want to extend the benefits to the front of the procurement cycle by adopting paperless invoicing, he said. The new system allows for a “smooth, end-to-end work stream that produces greater accuracy, fewer exceptions and fewer calls from suppliers.”

Shift Underway

Invoices entered electronically can be viewed online or with a mobile device at every stage of the approvals process, eliminating the need to call desks in different departments and check for approval status. Clients pay transaction and software licensing fees for the service.

One in four organizations in the U.S. had electronic invoicing tools as of last year, up from one in five in 2012, the bank said, citing data from Paystream Advisors. While much of the early adoption was among Fortune 1000 companies, electronic invoicing by small and medium enterprises is accelerating.

Industries that produce high volumes of paper invoices at multiple locations are poised to benefit most from converting to the service.

One such market, commercial real estate, is the focus of U.S. Bank’s early efforts to gain acceptance.

Mobile Systems

People in the field “are focused on the next deal or project, not back office automation,” said Kathryn Albright, senior vice president and national sales manager for commercial real estate at U.S. Bank.  And the fact that they are only beginning to adopt “e-invoicing” efficiency and cost savings make them an even better fit for the service.

No matter the company size or the industry, though, gaining acceptance on the part of both suppliers and buyers is a chief concern

Clients want to know, “How do I get my supplier to accept the system?” Pape said.

To that end, the bank has spearheaded supplier enablement activities, such as demonstrating the value of getting payments earlier or assisting with implementation.

All Payment Types

"Nexus is expert at providing a channel for approval routing,” Albright said. This combines with U.S. Bank’s ability to make payments of any type, from virtual to ACH, to make a “best-in-class solution."

U.S. Bancorp with $364 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2013, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,081 banking offices in 25 states and 4,906 ATMs.

Nexus Systems is a provider of web-based applications that drive business process efficiencies and business process accountability, focusing on the accounts payable realm.

 

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