B2B Payments

How Supplier Focus Propels AP Innovation

Innovation in the accounts payable (AP) space continues to expand, with FinTechs looking to capture their piece of a growing market driven by businesses’ desire to digitize their operations.

AP automation is a popular target of corporates’ digitization strategies today, and according to new data released last week, researchers expect this industry to flourish at a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent between 2019 and 2024 — hitting a $3.1 billion valuation.

But corporate payers are not the only entities in charge of driving adoption of AP automation technologies. Suppliers continue to play an important role in AP technology adoption, with service providers realizing that in order for companies to be able to pay electronically, suppliers must accept electronic payments.

Beyond the transaction itself, FinTechs have also recognized the benefits of promoting collaboration between AP teams and vendors, as well as the opportunities of integrating AP platforms directly with suppliers’ back-office systems for more seamless payment acceptance, collaboration and data analytics capabilities.

Below, PYMNTS rounds up the latest examples of how AP innovators pull suppliers’ accounts receivable processes into the fold.

Vendors Key to Billtrust’s BPN Adoption

Billtrust, an AR technology firm, revealed last week that its Business Payments Network (BPN) solution was reaching an important milestone: 1 million payments.

The BPN is designed not only to facilitate electronic B2B payments, but to promote supplier adoption and acceptance, as well as buyer-supplier collaboration. Supplier payment preference is a key component of the BNP, allowing buyers and financial institutions to address B2B payments friction by allowing suppliers to receive payment in their preferred method without forcing buyers to change payment habits.

In a statement, Billtrust CEO Flint Lane highlighted that emphasis on the vendor as a key driver of adoption for the BPN.

“We set out to build a new network [that] ensures suppliers can keep pace with the innovation taking place in AP,” he said. “It’s supremely rewarding to witness suppliers receive payments faster from third parties and eliminate inefficiencies, all without asking their buyers to change their payment methods.”

Stampli Eyes Invoices as Supplier Collaboration Tools

Stampli, an AP startup, announced new funding late last month to the tune of $25 million. Investors at SignalFire led the round, while Hillsven Capital, Bloomberg Beta and NextWorld Capital also participated.

Stampli enables business users to process and pay their invoices on its platform with a focus on automated invoice approval. In a statement, Eyal Feldman, co-founder and CEO of Stampli, said AP is pervasive, “touching every department within a company.”

With that in mind, the company is exploring how to wield invoices as tools of communication — not only between departments within a business, but between a business and its vendor, viewing the supplier as an important participant in the process through which companies can address AP friction and more seamlessly pay their vendors.

HRS Targets Employee Hotel Booking Hiccups

Designed to address the payment needs of corporates, their employees and the hotels at which those employees stay, the newest B2B payment solution from global hotel solutions provider HRS, Invisible Pay, aims to simplify payments from businesses to hotels.

According to HRS, corporate travelers can face significant friction when paying for hotels while on business trips. The Invisible Pay solution integrates directly with hotels and their back-office payment solutions to support seamless payments on the buyer-side for more efficient expense management, while hotels boost their compliance, HRS noted, pointing to “secure data processes that minimize engagement” for hotel finance departments.

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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the December 2019 Mobile Card App Adoption Study, PYMNTS surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers for a reveal of the four most compelling features apps must have to engage users and drive greater adoption.

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