The pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have driven B2B payment pains to a new level.
Vendors that had once regarded late buyer payments as burdensome but unavoidable now risk going out of business if those business customers do not step up the tempo. Buyers, meanwhile, are struggling to manage their cashflows as they face declining revenue and handle slow payments from their own clients.
The Reinventing B2B Payments Report, a PYMNTS and American Express collaboration, examines how these kinds of strains — as well as the needs to create smooth, remote accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) operations — are prompting businesses to re-examine how they transact. Such concerns could inspire companies to rely more heavily on virtual credit card payments and adopt cloud-based and automated AR and AP tools.
Around The B2B Payments Space
Businesses that had long stuck with manual, paper-based AP processes are finding that these are more difficult to manage as the pandemic makes it important to allow staff to work remotely. Updating AP processes can seem daunting to many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), however. Julie Negrete-Anderson, chief operating officer and founder of AP automation tools provider OnPay Solutions, discussed in a PYMNTS interview how SMBs can avoid sticker shock and escape the work involved in overhauling processes by instead adopting one-off, integration-ready solutions for a more gradual modernization approach.
American Express recently launched its own digital AP solution that is designed to work with businesses’ existing accounting systems. The offering enables AP staff to select between a variety of payment options and issue these transactions remotely. There could be many SMBs in need of AP digitization, with a June American Express survey finding 44 percent of SMB respondents had been using primarily manual processes before the pandemic.
Suppliers are also looking to update their methods, and some are adapting new AR tools to help their clients pay them faster. Solution provider Billtrust recently debuted an offering that enables vendors to send emails containing digital invoices and smart links through which buyers can quickly pay. Efforts like these could see funds reach vendors sooner.
Find more about these and the rest of the latest headlines in the Report.
Askinosie Chocolate On Smoothing Pandemic-Driven AP Disruptions
Bean-to-bar chocolate companies must be sensitive to the payment needs of the cocoa bean growers on which they depend. Supporting farmers in developing countries can mean helping set them up to receive international payments and delivering timely or even advance payments during normal times as well as economic crises. These are not the only AP concerns that small chocolatiers must handle, either, as remote work necessities prompt SMBs to reconsider the role of paper in their processes.
In this month’s Feature Story, Shawn Askinosie, CEO and founder of direct trade chocolate company Askinosie Chocolate, explains the practices that enable money to smoothly and reliably reach global chocolate farmers and why he believes SMBs may become increasingly interested in app-based payments.
Download the Report to get the full story.
Deep Dive: How Virtual Cards Ease B2B Payment Pains During The Pandemic
Both B2B buyers and suppliers are struggling with economic uncertainty and want to keep as much cash on hand as possible. Those two needs often clash, however, because vendors hope to be paid promptly, if not early, while buyers may seek payment timeline extensions.
This month’s Deep Dive explores how virtual cards can bridge the gap, enabling suppliers to receive immediate compensation and buyers to delay payment until the card bills come due later. It also examines how virtual cards can help AP departments fend off rising fraud attacks.
Read the Deep Dive in the Report.
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