Enterprises looking to simplify and streamline payments flows are adopting digital technologies to make that goal.
Among B2B payment methods, credit card-enabled digital payments made via supplier portals or digital wallets have seen the largest increase in use of any payment type since the pandemic began.
In fact, 85% of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their businesses are making more card-enabled digital payments than they were in March 2020, according to “Reimagining Business Payments,” a PYMNTS and Billtrust collaboration.
Get the report: Reimagining Business Payments
Also experiencing growth are digital payments made via direct deposit or through account-to-account (A2A) methods such as PayPal, as 71% and 62% of CFOs said their organizations’ use of these two payment methods, respectively, has increased since March 2020.
Aligning Payment Choice and Streamlining Payments
Finance teams are investing in technology initiatives like these in order to adapt to the new world in which they realize remote/hybrid work models are here to stay, postal slowdowns and delays are permanent and many methods that used to work will no longer help organizations succeed .
Read more: 2021 Was the Year of Realization
To secure the new digital payments they have adopted, many organizations are turning to digital lockboxes.
A digital lockbox essentially is a central clearing house that can automate and process remittance information coming in from direct and indirect channels such as email, phone, accounts payable (AP) portals and self-service portals. Using technology such as robotic process automation (RPA), a digital lockbox can electronically connect to a firm’s accounts receivable (AR), AP and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, making sure the money received matches up with invoices and is ready to help balance the books.
Thereafter, receiving payments can be simplified using electronic means, such as contactless card payments, automated clearing house (ACH) transfers and wire payments. Payments on both sides are made more quickly and easily, and customers gain a sense of trust knowing their payments have been made securely.
Digital lockboxes offer speed, security and interoperability, giving both buyers and suppliers a way to align payment choice and streamline payments via one integration across multiple AP providers, card issuers, banks and ERP systems.
Optimizing Both Sides of the Payment Transaction
Using a digital lockbox as a central collection and distribution point for incoming payments can lead to some transformative changes, including improved overall customer satisfaction, reduced manual tasks, increased flexibility, better overall financial processes and more effective problem solving.
As the world becomes more connected and geographic proximity becomes less of a requirement for doing business, a company’s success hinges on making sure that processes such as invoicing and payments become digitized so that payments can be made and received over long distances safely and efficiently.
Digital lockboxes can help organizations not only track and expedite AR and AP processes, but also optimize both sides of the payment transaction with their customers. Otherwise, the status quo of slower payments and cash application will remain sluggish, and that may be enough to inspire prospective customers to go elsewhere.