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Cut the Check: How Paperless Progress Future-Proofs B2B Payments

business finance people

Money in and money out always matters, but cash flows come to the forefront in uncertain times.

And today’s macro environment is increasingly driving a strong argument for better B2B payments.

That’s because there is significant room for improvement within commercial transactions, where legacy B2B payment processes continue to be heavily reliant on, and encumbered by, traditional billing methods and the manual processes they bring along with them like invoice reconciliations and (still) the signing and mailing of paper checks.

While the elimination of paper-based methods isn’t as easy as turning on a digital transformation switch, by starting with B2B payments firms can get a first glimpse look at the benefits of a broader enterprise modernization as well as enjoy the right now value-add benefits of money movement visibility and organizational certainty around cash flow.

After all, having the right tools can drive a smarter focus on stronger financial results and open up the doors to greater downstream efficiencies as the adoption of digital processes reduces operational costs and enhances overall transaction transparency.

Isn’t it about time to turn B2B payments from a cost center into a competitive advantage?

Read more: Death by Paper Cut: The Hidden Costs of Checks

Evolving Business Payments Into a Secret Weapon

PYMNTS Intelligence finds that modernizing financial infrastructure via automation and digital transformation initiatives is a critical way for businesses to not just stay afloat, but remain viable in a today’s competitive marketplace.

And it isn’t just the data alone that shows this — industry leaders are saying the same thing.

“What makes B2B payments such a great market is the presence of true white space, which is rare in payments today,” Ben Weiner, senior vice president and global head of B2B payments at Nuvei, told PYMNTS.

“Innovation in B2B payments is heating up,” Tom Randklev, global head of product at CellPoint Digital, told PYMNTS in a separate conversation. “And it’s centered around the ongoing digitization of the space, which brings a lot of optimization around operational efficiencies, cost efficiencies and just a better way of moving money.”

Moving to electronic B2B payments and automating functions like accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) can help businesses better address mission critical areas like cash flow, liquidity and working capital shortfalls, all of which are only growing in importance within the context of today’s environment.

“Our view, honestly, is that the movement of money is fairly commoditized. The real value add is in the automation and the reconciliation,” Seth Goodman, chief revenue officer at Boost Payment Solutions, told PYMNTS.

That’s because automation opens the door to a whole new context of value-add benefits for B2B players like richer and more actionable data, improved commercial relationships, cash visibility, customer support, freed up labor, and above all a growing comfort and familiarity with effectively leveraging digital solutions, which is a necessity for success in the 21st century.

See also: From Tradition to Transformation: B2B Enterprises Hit Generational Inflection Point

The B2C to B2B Payments Effect

Drew Edwards, CEO of Ingo Money, told PYMNTS in a recent interview that everyone is interested in “the question of turning [payments] into a money maker as opposed to a cost center.” Treasurers and other finance professionals, he said, are weighing the costs of issuing and accepting paper checks versus other faster (and online) payment options such as virtual credit cards and push-to-card transactions.

A lot of the interest in this ultimate question of streamlining B2B payments has sprung from the seamless, convenient, and above-all digital experiences decision makers now find themselves encountering in their daily lives.

By aligning B2B payment innovations with those already seen and realized in consumer settings, organizations can create experiences that not only delight their own end customers, but also maximize their own cash flows.

“There is value in convenience; it makes customers more sticky,” Eric Foust, vice president of banking partnerships North America at Trustly, told PYMNTS, noting that there can be a cost-to-utility value trade-off when it comes to certain B2B payments innovations, particularly as the market evolves and matures. “If businesses aren’t focused on what’s next, they are missing out.”

The growth areas are particularly potent for smaller firms, who can find the benefit of freed up labor resources to be advantageous to higher-order strategic planning.