The first two parts of our ePayments series explored the evolution of electronic payments and detailed some of the key benefits of the system, most notably the significant savings (up to 70%) that can be made per payment processed by doing away with old manual methods of settlement (i.e. the paper-based check), as well as the heightened visibility enabled in terms of spending and cash flow.
The second installment also considered the obstacles in the way of SMEs in particular who have yet to manage to find a means to embrace ePayments and finally retire checks and paper-based invoices to the waste paper basket. In this, the third entry in our four-part series, we’ll be exploring some more benefits of ePayments, this time focusing on resources, integration, and accounts payable (AP).
Indeed, it’s essential that the benefits of a more widely spread ePayments culture continue to be highlighted. The faster suppliers can be onboarded to the system, the quicker their cash flow issues can be curbed, and indeed the quicker the economy will benefit as a direct result. There can no disputing the value that’s driven in terms of savings, speed, and visibility as enabled by adoption of ePayments approaches, but there is yet more.
In today’s business environment, it’s critical that smarter systems and processes are put in place that support collaborative efforts in daily operational activities across an organization. Enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relations management (CRM), and spend management systems all would benefit from deeper integration and communicate with one another so that cash flow, spending, and other finance functions can be fully visible to all departments across the board.
ePayment methods are evolving to provide deeper business intelligence and visibility in this regard. Remittance information and procure-to-pay (P2P) processes also rely heavily on automated integration – something which the evolving nature of ePayments and its corresponding components is ultimately enabling. Indeed, Computer-to-computer processes naturally outperform manual processes in terms of capacity, volume, speed and accuracy, and businesses can track status and monitor performance of all finance functions much more simply through the concurrent generation of electronic logs and audit trails.
From data collection to processing checks, and from posting paper-based invoices to accepting and sorting them, every finance function is inherently wrought with resource issues that require man-hours and other administrative costs to complete. However, with the implementation of ePayments, the allocation of resources across the board is significantly minimized, as automated settlement methods in every corner of the B2B process replaces the manual methods. Money, time, and even physical storage and filing space are all reduced significantly – savings that no business can afford to ignore.
Accounts Payable (AP)
Manual methods of payment are, simply put, inefficient and a significant drain on AP staff’s time, which could be better spent on other financial projects. ePayments put an end to this almost instantly. Enhanced cash flow and spend data that the adoption of ePayments provides allows a more efficient environment to be cultivated, whereby procurement and finance can better collaborate, creating more time for the more critical enterprise issues to be focused on and addressed.
In summary, the value of ePayments goes far beyond the benefits of cost savings, cash flow visibility, and streamlined B2B payment processes, but throughout the whole of an organization as well. Whether it’s the AP staff’s valuable time, a company’s resources, or integration methods and P2P processes, ePayments offer the only truly valuable solution.