23% of AR staff to handle payments
Businesses can now choose from a variety of payment methods when sending or receiving funds, meaning the businesses they do business with must maintain multiple systems to meet disparate needs and preferences.
As the payments landscape has grown more complex, it has also become more difficult for businesses to transparently and cost effectively manage their accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) processes.
As a result, companies allocate 23% of staff in their AR department to handling payments, according to the Next-Gen Digital Payments Report, a PYMNTS and Transcard collaboration.
See also: Next Generation Digital Payments Report
“There never seems to be enough hours in the day for AP and AR professionals,” Transcard CEO Greg Bloh told PYMNTS. “They spend their days doing manual, repetitive activities such as entering data, shuffling paper and finding information.”
Improve B2B processes
Most organizations manage their B2B payments through methods, channels, and tools as diverse as paper checks, automated clearing house payments, and virtual cards, all managed through separate accounting systems.
But more and more businesses have taken steps to improve their B2B payment processes, including moving from manual or outdated payment methods, such as paper checks, to digital ones.
Yet many depend on multiple systems or applications to manage their digital payments, billing, or other AR and AP processes, resulting in lingering friction even after advancing towards B2B digitization.
“Much of the blame can be attributed to payments and poorly integrated ERP systems,” said Bloh. “It doesn’t have to be like that.”
Integration of payments and ERP systems
To facilitate transformation, businesses need to find solutions that help them consolidate all of their payments in one place, allowing them to view and manage their AR and AP processes with greater clarity.
This is where integrating payment capabilities with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can play a key role. The solutions integrate multi-rail payment capabilities, seamless uploads of payout data to any ERP for real-time integration and integrated supplier and customer integration. The integration of payments and ERP systems can help businesses assemble traditionally fragmented B2B payments through a holistic platform.
It “removes most of the friction that bogs down the AP and AR teams,” Bloh said. “Payments can be made and received by any method. Discount data can be uploaded directly to an ERP without human intervention from an operator and reconciled in real time, and decision makers always know where things stand with their cash flow.
Free up time and money
For optimal transparency and fluidity, it is important that companies combine these integrated payment and ERP systems with other emerging technologies. Successful aggregation of ERP services into an easy-to-manage system requires application programming interfaces (APIs) to make the systems easier to use, for example. Automation can also help smooth out previously fragmented processes.
A recent PYMNTS study found that 79% of companies agreed that integrating AR automation improved their teams’ efficiency. It can also free up time and money, allowing teams to focus their energies on growing the business or strengthening relationships with customers.