How to Automate AP Series: Podcast #1
Paper checks have been extinct for nearly two decades in the realm of consumer payments. Why is it then, that paper payments still reign supreme in business to business transactions?
Julie Negrete-Anderson, COO and Founder of Onpay Solutions, breaks it down into two main factors:
- Loss of Control
- Perceived Difficulty
It took quite some time for many businesses to really nail down their current paper-based processes, and, while it is not nearly as cost or time-efficient to continue to rely on methods created in the 1970s, the move to digital payments can seem daunting to say the least.
For all their flaws, checks are easy to manage. To pay by check one only needs the name and the address of the supplier.
“The perception is that if you are going to change to electronic payments, it will be a huge burden. And to be clear, it absolutely can be a burden, if a firm makes the wrong choices and heads down an unproductive path. Electronic methods require more information, which means there needs to be a process around communication and verification, which could easily be a problem for firms if they don’t find the right partner to help with that.” - Julie Negrete-Anderson
At OnPay Solutions, we strive to partner with AP departments to streamline payment processes by taking the burden off of our partners during the onboarding period. It's really never been easier to eliminate paper payment processes and embrace automation - while gaining more control over financial operations, not less.
Our AP Automation solution offers a single gateway point to all the banks a company’s clients do business with, and provides an easy way for customers to send payments to payees.
“We believe in letting firms maintain control of their funds, and we want to give them a platform to do that in a more efficient and effective way than they are likely to come up with in-house." - Julie Negrete-Anderson
Only by providing a best-in-class solution that allows businesses to choose the way they want to structure their workflow and approval process will AP departments decide to make the jump to an automated payment process.
Killing the Paper Check in B2B Payments
There are still tens of billions of paper checks circulating in the ecosystem today. Even though a lot of progress has been made this year alone, there is still a ton of work to do before the majority of businesses can eliminate paper payments for good. Payors hold the keys to the kingdom when it comes to moving this market towards improved payment functionality. Without a clear solution that solves a major pain point, many will continue to cling to tried and true methods.
For smaller businesses, the choice may be much easier.
"None of these folks have calcified processes or any great commitment to managing payments. Many small businesses and individual proprietorships would be just as happy to hand them off, focus on their specialty area and never think about it again." - Julie Negrete-Anderson
However, for mid-market and enterprise businesses, digital transformation gets more complex. There are valid concerns in larger organizations that a project like this could take three to five years and cost tens of thousands of dollars. The critical thing to remember is that while those concerns have merit, a lot has changed in finance technology in the last five years.
"I think we have to do a better job of letting firms know that there are solutions like ours that can achieve these advances in a shorter period of time, with a fewer number of resources and with a lot of support that will get them through that process." - Julie Negrete-Anderson
Regardless of how complex your organization is, AP automation is only a few weeks away.
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