This year was a period filled with payments innovation that saw no shortage of impact on the B2B payments space. For accounts payable professionals, that means new tools and technologies to automate processes and tackle some of the biggest challenges in this area: late supplier payments, document management and data accuracy, to name a few.
Matt Clark, COO of AP automation firm Corcentric, offers his insights to PYMNTS about the direction the accounts payable industry will take next year.
A Look Back
“Innovations in the B2B payments industry in 2016 continued to transform accounts payable and accounts receivable globally. The growth in automation solutions and product offerings not only created greater efficiencies and cost reductions, it has paved the way for new strategies and technologies to streamline business processes further in 2017.”
“Businesses are looking to automate back-end processes in order to focus on their core competencies. In the past few years, B2B businesses have implemented piecemeal technology solutions from third-party vendors specializing in various components of the procure-to-pay process. In 2017, we can expect to see companies moving to single-source solutions and suites that can support all end-to-end financial processes, from indirect spend management to automated invoicing to payments.”
Interest Rates — And Payment Terms — Go Up
“Given that interest rates are rising and are expected to continue rising in 2017, B2B buyers, especially Fortune 1000 companies, will be looking to push payment terms out further and further, putting working capital and cash flow strains on certain suppliers. This creates an opportunity for third-party financial technology solution providers to combine technology and capital to bridge the gap these extended terms will create and provide supply chain financing. Utilizing this model, suppliers will receive accelerated payments, while the buyer will still be able to pay on their desired extended terms.”
“2017 will bring a greater adoption of companies being comfortable outsourcing the payments process in general. While outsourcing IT and automated systems have been ongoing trends for middle-market businesses, payment processing has remained one of the last back-end processes companies kept in-house. Now, with the abundance of holistic payment solutions (solutions that allow 100 percent of payments to be managed by a third party), financial executives can streamline accounts payable, while increasing visibility and accuracy.”
-Matt Clark, COO, Corcentric