Categories: B2B Payments

FinTech Sits Between Buyers And Suppliers For Faster Payments

Faster B2B payments can strengthen buyer-supplier ties, but accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) objectives are not always aligned.

This week’s look at the convergence of AR and AP explores the technologies that sit between business partners to find common ground and accelerate the B2B payments flow.

Goldman Sachs Strengthens SAP Ariba Ties

SAP’s Ariba Network aims to address B2B payments friction on both the AR and AP side by enabling more seamless connectivity between suppliers and buyers. Augmenting the solution for cross-border B2B payments is Goldman Sachs, which recently announced its addition of its Global Payments capabilities within the SAP Ariba Netwrork.

The integration means suppliers can be paid in their local currency, while payers can pay in their own preferred currency and gain real-time payment tracking with automated reconciliation capabilities. In their announcement, the companies highlighted the improved buyer-supplier relations with both sides of the transaction able to conduct business in the way that works best for their back-office processes.

Fuji Xerox, Esker Expand Partnership Into AR

Last year, business process automation firm Esker announced a partnership with Fuji Xerox to connect joint corporate customers to AP automation technology. Now, the partners are expanding their collaboration into the AR arena.

The companies recently announced their AR partnership, with features that not only support businesses’ collection and cash application processes, but streamline processes for vendors’ own customers. The AR automation tool boosts efficiency of invoice delivery, credits, collections and payments to accelerate the order-to-cash cycle, with reduced friction on the AR side also aiming to accelerate payments by reducing friction on the AP side.

WideOrbit Discusses the ‘Customer’s Customer’

In a recent conversation with PYMNTS, Paul Jaffe, senior director product, WO Payments Suite at WideOrbit, discussed the importance of not only providing AR solutions for media sellers, but of also servicing those sellers’ own customers — and their AP operations — to accelerate B2B payments in the media and advertising arena.

“Sellers are really looking to help their cash flows and automate workflows,” he said. “One of the main focal points is around automating AR and collections — and focusing on our customers’ customer.”

That means strengthening buyer-supplier relationships through seamless onboarding and self-service capabilities that reduce as many barriers as possible for media sellers’ customers to make payments on invoices.

Upflow Lands Funding for AR Tech

Upflow, based in France, recently announced new funding to the tune of $2.7 million for its technology that aims to combat late supplier payments. The company, which secured the investment from Kima Ventures, eFounders and angel investors, positions itself between a business’s bank account and their own business customers to track invoice payment patterns.

Although marketed as an AR tool, the company interacts with both buyers and suppliers, automating payment reminders for customers that tend to pay late. The technology also automatically marks invoices as paid and applies that cash to a vendor’s bank account on a daily basis, reports noted.

Payhawk Talks Cards’ Value for Buyers And Suppliers

Speaking with PYMNTS, Hristo Borisov, co-founder and CEO of commercial card and expense management startup Payhawk, explored the value proposition commercial cards have for both buyers and suppliers.

For FinTechs, the opportunity lies in mixing payment rails, with the company’s corporate card platform able to operate on top of companies’ existing bank accounts. This means that businesses can transfer funds to their Payhawk accounts to use commercial cards without having to switch banks entirely. As more businesses explore use-cases for card adoption, AP is a particularly valuable application, said Borisov, although any solution must address both AP and AR friction.

For Payhawk, that means mixing payment rails and enabling businesses to make SEPA payments from their Payhawk commercial cards when paying supplier invoices — a feature the company will roll out some time in the future, Borisov said.

Proactis Simplifies Early Payment Discounts

In an effort to aid businesses facing cash flow constraints from the coronavirus pandemic, Proactis this week announced this week that it has launched a simplified version of its invoice payments solution, dubbed bePayd.

The tool sits between AR and AP operations to accelerate payment to suppliers while offering buyers a discount. To further address friction on both sides of the B2B transaction, Proactis noted that it has reduced the burden on the corporate buyer, noting the tool “can now be deployed with no meaningful effort from the large buyer.”

It’s a solution Proactis said can enable corporates to support their own small suppliers, which is key “during this time of need,” the company noted.

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The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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