How The Supplier Guides The Accounts Payable Evolution

A PYMNTS Article Featuring Paymerang

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In a pre-COVID environment, accounts payable (AP) departments had three major struggles, according to Nasser Chanda, CEO of Paymerang.

The first was overcoming the burden of manual processes, from invoice ingestion and approval to payment initiation and reconciliation. The second was ensuring that payments to suppliers were made timely and accurately, and the third was B2B payments fraud.

Today, Chanda told PYMNTS in a recent interview, those challenges are largely the same – only amplified in a market marred by volatility as a result of the pandemic. As organizations’ AP departments move to overcome these elevated hurdles, automation technology and payment innovations will emerge as key tools to help them get where they want to go.

Yet unless AP departments and their technology providers consider the supplier in their innovations, organizations will not achieve the desired results in modernization, efficiency and security.

“I think that’s the future of business payments,” Chanda said of the opportunity to consider both buyer and supplier needs within AP departments. In the evolution from lockboxes to bank-sponsored electronic payments to single-payment-file capabilities, the next iteration of B2B payments will be synchronized workflows that move funds and data between B2B partners.

Fighting Fraud

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, fraud has blossomed to new heights, and AP departments haven’t been spared. It’s a pain point that hits both buyers and suppliers, whether invoices are forged or fraudulent payments are made. In any case, both the buyer and supplier are at risk of losing money and facing even greater inefficiencies in their workflows.

“Security has become even more important in terms of increased invoice and payment fraud, because now we’re all doing things by email,” explained Chanda.

Indeed, without the proper authorization checks, AP personnel are facing a growing risk of business email compromise (BEC) scams that dupe professionals through fake email addresses and impersonation tactics.

“There are two things in the AP world that support fraud. One is lots of email and not enough talking to each other, and the second is the urgency that has created of ‘let’s get this thing done right away,'” noted Chanda.

Integrated technologies that can automate invoice and payment authorization, while maintaining a secure electronic paper trail of transactions, are important for mitigating this threat.

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Colleen Crist

Colleen Crist

Colleen leads our national portfolio of channel partners and owns new business development and channel strategies. She is focusing on accelerating partner growth and expanding our footprint nationwide by developing new partnership initiatives. Her strategy and execution expertise spans all aspects of business development, product development, launch, marketing, sales and partner development. She leads our partnership team that drives end-to-end execution of corporate partner programs and is responsible for identifying, forging, scaling and sustaining our partnership strategy. Colleen is currently earning her Executive Master of Business Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business.