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After B2B Payments Automation, Business Turn Focus to Serving Customers

Using automation in B2B payments is a key part to having a healthy and growing business, EVO Director of Project Management Marcy Stumpf told PYMNTS. She provided three examples that demonstrate the value of automation.

First, automation allows for connectivity between departments. So, when a customer calls into a business with a question about an invoice or payment status, any department can look at that invoice and see whether it’s paid.

Second, with automation, a business can have payments on file. They can see if there is a recurring payment that is automatically occurring, if it’s the correct size of payment and if the card or bank account is the one they want to use for that payment.

Third, automation allows a business to keep operating when an employee is gone. If an employee is going to be out for a certain amount of time, is leaving or is changing positions, the operations can continue.

“A business on automation can continue to run on autopilot, and not just autopilot, but there’s also a visibility across all of the functions of a business to allow them to continue to run business as usual,” Stumpf said.

Bridging the Gap Between Payment System and Accounting Back End

One piece of automation is recurring payments. In addition to allowing a business to schedule payments in advance, recurring payments allow the business to bridge the gap between a payment system and an accounting back end so that it no longer requires a manual process.

“Recurring payments is an instant efficiency … as well as a recurring solution to have a smooth process internally that’s going to do its own thing without a human having to check on it,” Stumpf said.

Automation also includes wallets and pay links. These provide a faster way of conducting business by eliminating the need to get an invoice, log in to a portal, find the invoice online, enter a routing number or credit card number, and then pay. With a wallet and a pay link, the user need only click once to see the invoice, and then use the payment method that is already saved.

Meeting the New Preferences in Shopping and Delivery

“If you think about it, as a consumer — whether you’re a business consumer or in your personal life — everything is on the go, and you’re on your mobile more often than you are on your actual computer,” Stumpf said. “So, we’re seeing that as more and more the norm in everyday life and also in business.”

Wallets and pay links have been especially valuable to those in wholesale management. With more customers wanting to order online and pick up products at curbside or have them delivered to their door, rather than going into the warehouse and getting the product off a shelf, these payments methods help keep things running smoothly.

“Its biggest impact is on the efficiency and the speed of how we run business today,” Stumpf said.

Focusing on Making and Delivering the Goods

Looking ahead, Stumpf said payment technology and service providers must cater to the needs of businesses as they change their operations, their business model, and how they go to market. With more companies going to a flex or work-from-home model, they will need to support the work even when they don’t have someone in an office. That’s just one of the changes small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are making in how they conduct their business.

She gave the example of a large-scale bakery that caters to 80% of the restaurants in its area. That business would reap the benefits of automation by being able to focus on making and delivering the goods rather than sitting in the back on a computer making sure invoices have been paid.

“I think the SMBs are going to be operating a lot more like a large business because that’s going to help their business efficiencies … run and have more growth in their business overall,” Stumpf said.

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