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A strategic perspective on invoice-to-cash

Are faster B2B payments a near-term reality?

Topics: Disputes, Payments

There is one goal that every company has in common – the desire to get paid faster.

We’ve seen some fairly significant shifts towards digital invoicing and payments on the consumer front. And proof that the submission and processing of payments can be accelerated.

But as you are well aware, B2B payments is an entirely different beast.

There was a study done by Accenture back in 2015 to predict how the finance organization would be completely redefined by 2020. In short, the analyst stated that ‘The finance organization will evolve from an expense control, spreadsheet-driven accounting and reporting center into a predictive analytics powerhouse that creates business value.’

He went on to say that finance-staff productivity will increase by two to three times and the costs of the finance organization will decline by 40%.

How you ask?  Well, according to the analysis, in 2020 at least 40% of transaction accounting work will be automated or eliminated by robotics. More automation, faster collection and automatic processing of payments.

In turn, this leaves a slew of time for finance roles to finally focus on strategic business initiatives – decision support, predictive forecasting, and performance management.

If you’re confident that you’re on the track to be at this state in 2020, kudos to you. But from what we’re hearing – and more importantly seeing – this is not the case for most suppliers.

The reality is a bit bleak. 92% of invoices in the B2B space are still document-based – whether that be paper, PDF, excel, etc.  And when it comes to payments, there’s still a massive amount of offline activity occurring.

There was a recent AFP study that was done across industries to determine the prevalence of STP, and specifically e-payments, in the B2B space. This found that more that 44% of suppliers are receiving paper check payments and although the consumer space has seen some decline of check payments over the past few years, most research shows the numbers staying consistent or even rising on the business front.

The other big dinger that continues to cause angst is the lack of – or inadequate – remittance data. Suppliers are reporting that 75% of the remittance advice received from customers has to be manually rekeyed, reformatted, or reconfirmed with the customer.

So this begs the question – are faster B2B payments a near-term reality?  And what’s the bridge to get us from where we are today to the preferred state of 2020?

Check out Globys Payments to see how we’re helping suppliers to bridge the gap.