Simplify converting to B2B electronic payments by collecting vendor data to begin automation.
Paying your vendors using electronic payments (E-Payments) is a business “no-brainer.” Costs are significantly lower when money moves electronically versus on paper. The trouble is getting started:
How do you collect the ACH instructions for your database of thousands of vendors?
Just thinking about and trying to answer this question may lead you in one or another direction:
1) This will be a long process. We must get a work group, task force or strategic planning group together with IT and AP folks to start this process...The team needs to determine: Who will call the vendors; Who will collect the ACH instructions; Who will key data into the Accounting or ERP system; How will we keep this vendor data secure and so on.
2) Epayments seem to be more work, not less. We don't have the time, resources nor the budget to address this need right now. We've got a decent process...Let's keep business as usual.
ERP systems have tried to help companies migrate to E-Payments. Their solutions, however, generally only address issuing ACH payments. They don't provide much help, if any, getting the process running. They require you to contact each vendor to make the request to move to an electronic payment. If acceptable to the vendor, you must then collect the ACH deposit account information from the vendor and individually key in the detail within the Accounts Payable system.
Again, most companies have thousands of vendor relationships! How long would that take?
Vendor Management Services exist to help with this process. Many companies offer access to vast databases of corporate ACH instructions. Others provide one-to-one communications designed specifically for your vendor database. Others combine a communications program with a web portal allowing a vendor self-service model to collect ACH deposit instructions.
Any of these programs may work for your company. When researching vendor enrollment services, keep the following goals in mind:
1) You should own your vendor database at the conclusion of your vendor enrollment program. These are your individual relationships that are unique for your company. You want to keep control of the database.
2) Seek a vendor management service provider who can streamline communications and help you launch your E-Payment program in 90 - 120 days.
3) Work with a company that will help you analyze your vendor database then set a goal of converting 30% of your overall vendors, but 60% of your most frequently paid vendors to ACH.
4) Do not require a significant change to your current A/P process to make the move to ACH. Seek a program that allows you to issue electronic payments even when/if your accounting system can only issue a check file.
We wish you much success in migrating to E-Payments! Let us know if we can help you in any way.