B2B Payments

Wholesale Change In Invoicing And Payables

As wholesale distributors compete on an increasingly global scale, automation is key to better cash flow management. But bridging a tech divide is crucial, according to execs from cloud ERP provider ADS and Phoenix Fire, which helped bring ADS and Basware, a procure-to-pay tech firm, together.

Much has been made in this space of the supply chain and its inefficiencies. Certain verticals have room for growth, in terms of making the process and flow of goods and even services more timely and easier to track when it comes to payments. Better efficiencies drive better cash flow management, and better cash flow management is a function of better handling of invoices coming in for payment and going out to be paid.

One industry — that of wholesale distributors — has lagged the technology adoption curve and thus benefits from attempts to maximize and streamline payments. In one recent announcement, ADS Solutions, which focuses on wholesale distributors, and Basware, which works within purchase-to-pay (P2P) technology, along with eInvoicing, have teamed up to help that vertical with its accounts payable management efforts. Another firm, Phoenix Fire, which focuses on building business partnerships, helped cement the relationship between ADS and Basware.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Ann Grace, director of marketing for ADS Solutions, and Daniel Ervin, CEO of Phoenix Fire, said that the relationship between Basware and ADS (which, Ervin said, helps Basware compete with, say, Tradeshift) points toward the trend of enterprises large and small bringing on board fully integrated ERP platforms built on the cloud. And that trend, maintained Ervin, might blur the “lines between SMBs and larger enterprises,” especially as smaller firms become more nimble in competitions with larger entities.

As for wholesale distributors, said Grace, companies in that arena “have been late to the adoption curve” for bringing the cloud to help with ERP processes. In fact, she said, many of the players here “operate on legacy systems” and, in fact, work with systems that are mired in technologies, such as DOS (disks). Tracking data, still significantly confined to manual processes and emails, can be cumbersome and certainly unwieldy, especially with invoices that can have thousands of lines. In this respect, for example, ADS has Accolent ERP software in place to help manage recurring payments, while Basware’s own technology works across a few dozen invoice formats. Additional functions that integrated cloud solutions can support extend to accounting and inventory control.

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