Payments Digitalization Allows Businesses to Tap Spending Insights and Improve ROI

PYMNTS asked business leaders for their take on how to plan for the rest of 2023, and what they are telling their teams to focus on. Matt Clark, president and COO of Corcentric, says to succeed in an uncertain economy, businesses need to focus on streamlining business practices. 


The year 2023 has so far been filled with competing — and often, diametrically opposed — economic themes. From interest rate hikes to bank failures to inflation cooling to ongoing supply chain shortages, the best way to sum up the quarter is with a Magic 8 Ball response: “Ask Again Later.”

While the economic uncertainty is unlikely to abate anytime soon, our message to customers has been remarkably constant — focus on what you can control and forget about the rest. We can’t predict the future or change what we are not sure of, but we absolutely can focus on doing more with less and processing more in the businesses we run. 

The payment friction in B2B commerce is a constant struggle for suppliers who want to get paid faster and buyers who want to pay slower. What’s more, it continues to be messy, with analog, manual and error-prone connections between the two. The impacts of this lack of control are felt at an enterprise level, impacting businesses’ top and bottom lines. And that doesn’t include buyer/supplier disputes that can arise, leading to lost time and funds on both sides of the equation. This is not something any organization wants to deal with, especially with a cloudy economic forecast lurking in the background.

It is simply the reality of the situation that we are dealing with today — and it’s widely accepted that this is nothing more than “BAU” for B2B. But it doesn’t have to continue to be this way.

We are now seeing a universal trend emerge with companies applying — and optimizing — technology and automation to streamline business practices while simultaneously preparing for future uncertainties. Advancements in innovation and process automation have helped spearhead organizations’ ability to better anticipate, manage and even predict financial risk.

In today’s environment, organizations need an efficient means to unearth actionable data, unveil new insights and capture meaningful analytics in real time. Having such a tool kit with technology solutions and automated processes can proactively guide sound payment decision-making and allow companies to steer through uncertain times and even “future-proof” their business.

 As we look to the future, my advice for companies would be to embrace technology in strategic payment functions to improve cash flow and consistency and anticipate operating and financial requirements. In doing so, they can gain a greater understanding of purchase patterns, cash flow management and payment cycles. With the right technology and capabilities in place, companies can simplify critical business processes to deliver greater ROI, productivity and efficiency.