Accounts payable (AP) automation is beneficial, and even necessary, for many businesses still bogged down by paper. But as the latest PYMNTS Next-Gen AP Automation Tracker report highlights, adoption of AP automation technology continues to face challenges. While nearly half of AP departments surveyed said reporting and data analytics are top priority, many teams struggle to accurately assess the return on investment (ROI) of AP technology.
The AP automation technology field, however, continues to press ahead with identifying those cost saving and revenue generating opportunities for business clients. Part of that journey includes a focus on vendors' accounts receivable (AR) challenges, which is crucial to finding success with newly-implemented AP tools.
This week's roundup of the latest stories of how AP solutions are tackling AR friction puts a new twist on the tactics, however: accounts receivable solutions that begin to focus on AP friction, too, providing even more evidence that the silos that separate payables and receivables are coming down.
Billtrust Broadens Business Payments Network
B2B order-to-cash solution provider Billtrust recently announced a partnership with commercial payments firm WEX, which will join Billtrust's Business Payments Network (BPN).
It's an expansion of Billtrust's offering that aims to improve accounts payable processes by tackling supplier-side friction. WEX will connect its commercial customers to the BPN, which promotes buyer-supplier integration to streamline B2B transactions.
“Our organizations share the view that supplier experience is a vital component to customer satisfaction,” said WEX Senior Director of Supplier Services Dylan Jones in a statement, adding that the partnership with Billtrust will enable WEX “to solve for the 'last mile' of automated settlement and reconciliation. This will enable frictionless payments to the suppliers of WEX customers.”
WEX's joining with the BNP came just weeks after Billtrust announced that the Network continues to see significant growth, having reached the $30 billion B2B transaction processing milestone in ACH and card payments.
Tipalti Collaborates To Ease Vendor Acceptance
Accounts payable automation solution provider Tipalti recently struck a series of partnerships to integrate third-party solutions for its business customers. One of those partners is YayPay, an accounts receivable automation software provider, a combination that demonstrates the AP industry's growing interest in addressing AR challenges — and vice versa.
“YayPay is pleased to have developed this relationship with Tipalti to help our joint clients better scale their global supplier payment and collection processes,” said YayPay Co-Founder and CEO Anthony Venus in a statement. “As companies grow and transform, they need to modernize their finance operations, transitioning AP and AR departments from cost centers to profit centers by providing tools that turn their finance teams into 'revenue heroes.'
“AP and AR automation are critical pieces of the overall equation to solve our clients' enterprise-wide cash flow management needs,” he added.
YayPay offers automation technology for AR professionals designed to reduce the risk of late payments and more accurately predict cash flow.
Citi's AR Tech Eyes AP Friction
Tipalti's YayPay collaboration reflects how, as accounts payable technology turns its attention to AR, accounts receivable solutions also have an opportunity to tackle AP friction by promoting a stronger, more seamless connection with corporate buyers.
Citi recently took this path with its launch of the Citi Global Connect platform, a cross-border B2B payments solution that integrates FX functionality and enables companies to collect B2B payments from around the world. Through a partnership with HighRadius, Citi is looking to address AP friction by adding capabilities of multi-currency pricing on invoicing, meaning suppliers can support their customers' currency preferences.
In a statement, Citi Global Head, Payments and Receivables Manish Kohli said the technology aims to break down silos.
“In today's digital economy, clients must scale quickly into new markets to remain competitive,” he said. “At Citi, we are arming our clients with the technology to enable expansion and sustain growth by automating key aspects of their core operations and improving the end-to-end user experience.”