PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

This Week in B2B: Declaring Independence From Paper-Based Payments

When it comes to business-to-business (B2B) payments, every transaction is an adventure.

That’s because B2B payments aren’t your straightforward stroll in the park. Unlike consumer payments, B2B transactions are characterized by their complexity.

Large transaction values, detailed invoicing, and approval processes create a multilayered environment. Companies must manage this complexity with precision, ensuring that every detail is accounted for to avoid costly errors.

Success in the B2B jungle requires a robust survival toolkit. Integrating payment systems with accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is crucial for streamlining processes and ensuring accuracy. It’s like having a Swiss Army knife for your financial needs.

As the B2B trends and themes that PYMNTS has been tracking this week reveal, businesses are using that Swiss Army knife to cut out the paper-based processes from their workflows and embrace digital solutions across their operations and payments.

Read more: This Week in B2B: Digital Innovation, Data-Driven Insights, FinTech Partnerships

Digital Payments Bring Data Insights

Leveraging B2B payment data for insights into spending patterns and commercial relationships is also top of mind for businesses. PYMNTS on Wednesday (July 3) unpacked how data analytics in B2B payment processing offers businesses a lens through which they can understand their transactional data in real time.

This capability enables companies to identify trends, forecast payment volumes and detect fraudulent transactions with greater accuracy, transforming how businesses handle payments, extract insights and fortify supplier relationships.

And data is also transforming the supply chain capabilities of companies large and small.

“The integration of AI [artificial intelligence], ML [machine learning], and vast computing power, coupled with an abundance of data, has transformed our approach to demand forecasting, inventory flow, and cost optimization,” Parvez Musani, SVP, End-to-End Fulfillment, Walmart U.S. Omni Platforms and Tech, told PYMNTS in an interview posted Wednesday.

As he put it, “The best times are yet to come for supply chain innovation.”

Elsewhere, there was the news on Tuesday (July 2) that FleetUp and RoadFlex have integrated their solutions to automate fleet expense management and fuel management, from data collection to reporting. Together, their fleet management solutions help fleet owners and administrators streamline their operations, the companies said.

Leaving Paper Behind

We are nearly a quarter-century into the 21st century, and finally, B2B processes and payments are catching up to the rest of the digital-first world.

And with the news Monday (July 1) that accounts payable (AP) automation and procurement solutions provider Basware has integrated with Amazon Business to streamline purchasing and procurement for business customers, capturing the white space opportunity B2B digitization represents is top of mind for forward-thinking companies.

PYMNTS explained on Tuesday how firms can best ride the wave of B2B payments innovation.

The first step is staying abreast of what is happening in the marketplace.

Mashreq has launched an application programming interface (API)-enabled instant payment solution for its corporate and institutional clients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This offering is integrated with the Central Bank of the UAE’s (CBUAE) Aani or Instant Payments Platform (IPP), facilitating low-value payments for corporates in real time, the company said in a Monday.

Also on Monday, the State Bank of India reportedly launched a web-based invoice financing solution for microbusinesses and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), while pharmacy management solutions firm PrimeRx debuted PrimeRx MARKET, an online marketplace for pharmacies, the company said Tuesday.

When it comes to B2B payment innovations like virtual cards, PYMNTS took a look at why, historically, supply enablement has been an obstacle that businesses face when adopting B2B card payments — finding that things are changing, with supplier-friendly card solutions improving business cash flows.

“In the B2B space, supplier enablement has always been a bit of a barrier,” Jill Docherty, senior vice president of issuing at Nuvei, told PYMNTS. “There’s been a barrier where suppliers don’t accept cards, so businesses can’t pay them with cards.”

“The ecosystem has evolved … and we are now starting to see a rising of the tide in terms of supplier enablement,” Docherty added, noting, “There’s been lots of demand on the buyer side to pay with cards, but we haven’t had similar acceptance on the supplier and seller side.”

And in other news, PYMNTS dissected Monday how companies across sectors are finding that — from lead generation and automated sales, to personalized outreach and forecasting — AI can create more effective and efficient outbound strategies, driving higher conversion rates and better customer relationships while saving on resource and labor costs.

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