Tag Archives: payment automation


Why Automation is the Linchpin to AP Process Improvement

If it feels like your accounts payable team never has enough time in the day, you are not alone. One-in-five accounts payable teams are working longer hours these days, according to an online survey conducted by the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).  Incredibly, eight percent of accounts payable practitioners are working an additional two … Read More

Why 71% of AP Departments are Automating in 2020 and You Should Too

If it feels like processing payments to suppliers is taking longer, you are not imagining things. One-third of accounts payable practitioners are working longer hours these days, according to the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).  In fact, eight percent of accounts payable practitioners are working an additional two hours or more per day, which … Read More

5 Ways FinTechs are Better Than Banks for Payment Automation

Why choose a FinTech over a bank? After years of false starts, businesses are migrating away from paper check payments to suppliers. Businesses now make less than half of their supplier payments via checks, per the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM) 2018 Future of Accounts Payable Survey. What’s more, three years from now, businesses … Read More

Why Automation is the Linchpin to AP Process Improvement

If it feels like your accounts payable team never has enough time in the day, you are not alone.

One-in-five accounts payable teams are working longer hours these days, according to an online survey conducted by the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).  Incredibly, eight percent of accounts payable practitioners are working an additional two hours per day.  And many accounts payable teams would be working longer hours if their employer had not put a lid on overtime.

Adapting manual, outdated processes to a remote working environment has been hard on accounts payable teams.  The operational disruption caused by the sudden shift to Work from Home has resulted in new fraud risks, slower invoice approval cycles, more phone calls and e-mails from suppliers regarding the status of invoices, and more time spent chasing down information.

And the workarounds that many accounts payable departments have implemented during the shift to Work from Home – notably, using e-mail to approve invoices – really are not working.    

Before the shift to remote working, accounts payable already was bogged down with manual tasks:

  • Collecting supplier banking account details and tax documents
  • Opening the mail
  • Manually retrieving invoices from an e-mail box
  • Logging into a supplier portal
  • Keying invoice data and correcting inevitable errors
  • Matching invoices to purchase orders (POs) and shipping receipts
  • Determining invoice approvers and forwarding invoices
  • Chasing down information to resolve invoice exceptions
  • Uploading approved invoice information into a downstream system
  • Reconciling invoices and payments

All the while, accounts payable staff must keep track of dozens of business rules, best practices, regulations, and auditor guidelines for how they should approve invoices and pay their suppliers. 

With businesses leaning heavily on their accounts payable departments to provide better visibility into cash and corporate spending, and accounts payable departments being asked to do more with less, accounts payable leaders must find ways to free their staff to focus on higher-value activities such as data analysis, supplier management, stakeholder collaboration, and vender master cleanup. 

Why automate accounts payable

Now is the time for accounts payable departments to standardize their processes.  From invoice receipt and data capture to approval routing and payment processing, accounts payable departments with more consistent processes operate far more efficiently and with fewer errors than their peers.  In these departments, staff are taught the best practices for performing each function, and they do it that way consistently.  Moreover, staff continuously search for ways to improve their performance. 

The thing is that half of all departments have not begun their process improvement effort, according to IOFM’s report, Building an Action Plan: Key Takeaways from Top Performing AP Teams.

Payables departments have no time to waste in standardizing their processes.  And there is no better way to standardize accounts payable processes than with an automated solution.  The combination of automation with standardized processes delivers the improvements businesses desperately need now:

  • 58% improvement in cost-per-invoice
  • 19% improvement in invoice paid-on-time rates
  • 19% improvement in first-pass match rate
  • 58% improvement in transactions requiring correction

These statistics from IOFM show why automation is critical to process improvement.  Automation delivers the consistent processes that departments need to achieve optimal performance.

  • Access and responsibilities can be configured by role or user
  • All invoices are aggregated onto a single platform for standardized processing
  • Intelligent data capture and validation improves data quality
  • Automation enforces adherence to processes (workflow rules, segregation of duties, etc.)
  • Invoices can be prioritized for processing based on pre-configured business rules
  • Only administrators can determine process changes in an automated system
  • Automated retention ensures that images and data are not discarded prematurely
  • Complete audit logging ensures operator accountability
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI) make it easy to track operator performance
  • Real-time visibility into invoice workflows help managers identify bottlenecks

What is more, leading accounts payable solutions integrate with downstream systems, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting platform.  This facilitates the fast, seamless flow of information and eliminates the possibility of mis-keyed data, data latency, or misrouted information.

Achieving better operational performance is top-of-mind in times like these.

Automated accounts payable solutions provide the consistent processes that departments need to improve the metrics that matter – cost, on-time payments, straight-through posting, and accuracy. 

If your accounts payable department wants to improve its operational performance, Paymerang wants to speak with you. 

Email us now.

Why 71% of AP Departments are Automating in 2020 and You Should Too

If it feels like processing payments to suppliers is taking longer, you are not imagining things.

One-third of accounts payable practitioners are working longer hours these days, according to the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM).  In fact, eight percent of accounts payable practitioners are working an additional two hours or more per day, which is saying something when you consider the long days that most accounts payable practitioners logged before the move to remote work environments. 

These longer days can be attributed to trying to address the challenges created by today’s reality.  25% of accounts payable leaders say they are struggling to mitigate increased fraud and compliance risks.  22% of accounts payable leaders say their department has experienced a big spike in supplier inquiries regarding the status of invoices and payments.  And 20% of accounts payable leaders say that paying suppliers on-time, while staff work from home, is a major challenge. 

These sobering statistics illustrate the difficulty in adapting manual and semi-automated accounts payable processes to a remote work environment.  Only 9% of accounts payable leaders polled by IOFM say their department is fully automated with few or no manual processes.  33% of accounts payable departments have little automation.  And 14% of accounts payable departments process invoices and pay suppliers in a completely manual environment.

Manual processes create friction and inefficiency across the supplier payment lifecycle:

  • Key information is not captured
  • Data is poorly organized
  • Information is not timely
  • Systems are badly integrated
  • Labor costs are high

As a result, paying suppliers requires accounts payable practitioners to spend most of their working day bogged down on countless menial, manual tasks that distract them from higher-value activities. Manual tasks such as:

  • Supplier registration
  • Supplier data validation
  • Vendor record updates
  • Tax form collection
  • Sanctions screening
  • Invoice processing
  • Payment approval
  • Support for a range of payment methods
  • Remittance delivery
  • Currency conversion
  • Payment reconciliation
  • Tax reporting

This list goes on and on. 

On top of these manual tasks, accounts payable practitioners also must be mindful of dozens of business rules, policies, regulations, and auditor guidelines governing how suppliers get paid. 

The challenge of paying suppliers becomes even bigger as a business grows.

Growing businesses may have many different systems to integrate, complex processes to try to navigate and manage, and far flung accounts payable teams working across multiple sites.

All told, 84% of the typical accounts payable practitioner’s time is wasted on manual activities, IOFM benchmarking data finds.  In fact, most accounts payable managers spend more of their day on transaction processing than on the managerial tasks that they were hired for. 

No wonder that accounts payable has a reputation as a tactical back-office function. 

Businesses have had their fill of accounts payable inefficiencies.

71% of businesses plan to automate their accounts payable function further in 2020, according to IOFM.  Even businesses that are largely automated plan to deploy more technology.  Only 6% of accounts payable departments have thrown in the towel and say they have no plans to budge from their outdated, manual processes.

Automation eliminates friction across the accounts-payable lifecycle.  Invoices are aggregated onto a single platform.  Invoice data is effortlessly extracted, validated, and matched against purchase order information.  Invoices that require review or approval are digitally routed based upon pre-configured business rules.  Approved invoices are seamlessly uploaded into an ERP.  And a single file is used to pay suppliers in their preferred method.  And payments and invoices are reconciled in real-time.

In an automated accounts payable environment, staff only need to intervene when necessary.  The result is a function that delivers better business outcomes today, and greater scalability in the future.

This frictionless process is a far cry from the inefficiencies accounts payable is accustomed to.

Importantly, eliminating inefficiencies in the accounts payable lifecycle enables businesses to avoid costly late payment penalties, create more opportunities to capture early payment discounts, enhance visibility into cashflow and spending, strengthen supplier relationships, protect against fraud, and do more with far less.

Automating payments to suppliers is just what businesses of all sizes need in turbulent times.

Ready to eliminate inefficiencies in the way your business pays its suppliers?  If so, Paymerang wants to speak with you.  Contact us at sales@paymerang.com to arrange a no-obligation product demonstration. 

5 Ways FinTechs are Better Than Banks for Payment Automation

Why choose a FinTech over a bank?

After years of false starts, businesses are migrating away from paper check payments to suppliers.

Businesses now make less than half of their supplier payments via checks, per the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM) 2018 Future of Accounts Payable Survey. What’s more, three years from now, businesses surveyed by IOFM expect to make more payments to suppliers via Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment than paper check (38 percent versus 18 percent), and businesses expect to double the percentage of payments to suppliers made via virtual card.

Why are businesses so optimistic that they will finally leave costly, inefficient and risky checks in the dust? Seventy percent of them have a strategy in place to move to electronic payments, IOFM finds.

A key element of an electronic payment strategy is how to enable and support suppliers and execute payments. It’s tempting to use a bank to provide those services. After all, banks are trusted partners to businesses, and have financial expertise. But, in most cases, financial technology (FinTech) solutions providers are a better option for businesses as a provider of electronic payments solutions.

Here are five ways that FinTech payment solutions beat bank payment offerings:

1. Multiple payment methods

Banks make the most money on supplier payments made via virtual card. It’s for that reason that many banks only support virtual card payments to suppliers. This forces buyers to partner with multiple banks and/or third parties to pay suppliers in their preferred method or to take a one-size-fits-all approach to electronic payments. In some cases, a buyer’s credit facility bars it from using a competing bank’s payment solution.

FinTech solutions support checks, e-checks, ACH and cards. This eliminates the complexity of partnering with multiple payment providers, the negative impact of a take-it-or-leave approach to supplier payments, and potential interference with their credit facility.

2. A single payment upload file

Some banks support different payment methods to suppliers, but it comes at a cost. Each payment type is supported by a different part of the bank, each with its own systems and processes. This means that buyers must generate a file for each method of payment, log into multiple bank portals to execute the payments and reconcile multiple payment files. If something goes wrong with a payment, information is not in a single location.

FinTech solutions eliminate this hassle by allowing buyers to upload a single payment file for all their supplier payments. FinTech solutions then parse the file based on payment method. Batches then are approved, and items are marked as paid. Easy!

3. Proven supplier enablement and management

Strong supplier adoption is critical to the success of an electronic payments program. But most banks take a half-hearted approach to enabling and supporting a buyer’s suppliers. Most banks only target a buyer’s largest suppliers or those suppliers that accept virtual cards. The onboarding campaigns used by many banks does a poor job of collecting and maintaining supplier information, only last a few months, and they don’t address ongoing changes (“churn”) in a buyer’s supplier base. Some banks require payment files to be formatted in a particular way. And banks typically put the burden of program administration and support on the shoulders of the buyer.

FinTech solutions providers offer proven ongoing services for enabling and supporting suppliers, ensuring optimum supplier adoption and electronic payments program retention.

4. Bank agnostic

Using a bank’s payment solution typically requires a buyer to commit to the bank for other services. Bank commitments can significantly add to the cost of using a bank’s payments service.

FinTech solutions are bank agnostic. They do not require buyers to change their banking relationships. Payments can be funded from any bank account. And buyers can choose how they facilitate supply chain financing and early payment programs.

5. Innovation

Banks are in the financial services business, not the automation industry. Few banks own the payment solutions that they market to businesses. Some banks outsource their payments business to other banks or to third parties. This means that most banks have limited control over how quickly the solutions they provide can adapt to meet changing business needs or emerging payments technologies and strategies. And bank solutions cannot easily be customized (if at all) to address a buyer’s needs. The multiple, antiquated solutions that some banks use across different payment methods complicates matters.

Conversely, innovation is a FinTech’s core mission. By partnering with a FinTech, businesses can be assured they are using the most advanced technology for paying suppliers. FinTech solutions also are easier to use and manage than those offered by most banks.

Partnering with a bank for supplier payments seems like a no-brainer. But the solutions provided by FinTechs beat bank offerings in five important ways: support for multiple payment methods, a single payment upload file, proven supplier enablement and support, no bank commitments, and innovation.

If your business is evaluating payment solutions providers, Paymerang wants to speak with you.

Contact Colleen Crist at sales@paymerang.com to arrange a no-obligation consultation with one of our payment experts.