Companies are more aware than ever of the need to remove frictions from their receivables and payables processes, but for businesses that have relied for decades on the same manual payment tools and systems, incorporating faster payment methods is often easier said than done.
Smoothing out their B2B payment processes can be difficult, especially as the number of payment types businesses need to support expands. It’s essential for companies to have systems that allow them to manage all their disparate payments in one place — and easily incorporate real-time payments (RTP) and other tools as they emerge.
Thus, companies are looking to take the next steps in their migrations away from manual AR and AP processes toward digital-first methods.
A Coordinated Effort
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and RTP can play an important role in this process. Beginning the process of integrating RTP and ERP and other corporate systems to expand the repertoire of accounts receivable (AR) payment receipts functionality lays the groundwork for further innovation, coordinating the dance between finance teams, RTP solution providers and banks.
In the receivables space, businesses must support multiple payment channels, so integrating receivables is a major trend that will continue to evolve more rapidly. The benefit is enabling businesses to look at and manage all their receivables regardless of payment type or channel.
Supporting integrated receivables or other embedded finance capabilities is becoming critical as companies across multiple sectors look to move away from paper checks and manual accounts payable (AP) and AR processes in favor of digital-first methods.
One key barrier holding firms back is their inability to transfer not only funds, but all the accompanying information swiftly and easily. Data has always been the biggest pain point in the whole AR/AP process. The larger the company, the larger the problem in terms of the number of payments and invoices that they’re ultimately trying to process and then automate.
Fragmentation can grind corporate AR and AP processes to a halt. Different banks or financial players run off different standards, while other operators offer separate formats for invoicing and payments.
So it’s crucial for businesses to ensure they can easily see all their payments in one place, indicating that ERP systems and treasury solutions still play a key role in companies’ AP and AR processes even as they move to digitize them.
How companies’ ERP systems work also is crucial for their financial and technology partners to understand, as not taking these systems into account can severely hamper innovation. Ultimately, the corporations can’t adopt a new eBill delivery method, invoicing capability or even a new payment type, unless those ERP or treasury management applications support changes and new payment types and formats for those invoices and workflows.
Even if a corporation may want to adopt some of these new capabilities, it ultimately becomes a three-way project between the company, the technology provider and the company’s financial institutions.
Such collaboration can help open the doors for companies to take further steps in their digital transformations, allowing them to engage with expanding instant payment services, such as The Clearing House’s RTP network.
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