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Breaking Down Barriers Between Customers and AR Teams

“Accounting departments are getting comfortable with the idea of transforming processes that have been largely untouched for years,” says Craig O’Neill, CEO of Versapay. In “The Way Payments Are Now Done,” O’Neill explores how his firm is seeing an increased adoption of AR digitization and automation among its clients, and how it’s changing the way people on both sides of a B2B transaction interact.

In the past year, we’ve seen that when the pressure’s on, businesses will embrace change much faster than we ever thought. The B2B payments experience, and specifically the accounts receivable (AR) function — which until recently had been steeped in manual and paper-based processes — is an especially compelling example of this.

I think back to a survey from last fall, when most businesses (seven out of 10) were only just starting to think about digitizing their AR. When you compare this to more recent insights from this past spring, this timeline has accelerated significantly — 93% of firms now say that they’re already implementing AR and accounts payable (AP) technologies.

Accounting departments are getting comfortable with the idea of transforming processes that have been largely untouched for years. Beyond that, they’re now clamoring to do so. They fully expect the improvements they make to payments and AR to catalyze and energize their customer experiences and accelerate cash flow. And they’ve had no choice but to do so, with teams distributed across multiple geographies and COVID-19 restrictions forcing them to critically review their normal payments routines.

Among our clients, we see a hunger for increased collaboration between their AR departments and their customers. The primary causes of payment delays can be traced back to a lack of access to information for both customers and accounting personnel. When customers have difficulty finding the answers to simple questions, like how much they owe, they’ve no option but to contact their vendor’s AR department through antiquated channels.

Phone and email are ill-suited for delivering quick responses, but what else can they do? Businesses that have embraced accounting digitization with customer experience in mind have been able to circumvent traditional payment delays by breaking down the information barriers that typically lead to invoice disputes and discrepancies.

By using an AR automation platform that fosters direct communication between AR reps and customers over the cloud, forward-thinking businesses have been able to eradicate the payment issues that have plagued them for decades.

At Versapay, we’re seeing increased adoption of AR digitization and automation, but it’s happening in a way that reimagines how people on both sides of a B2B transaction interact. Self-service customer payment portals are heavily influencing these changes – which isn’t surprising, especially considering that many companies operate outside of the confines of a traditional 9-to-5 business day due to the nature of their industries. Our clients involved in construction, for instance, need to enable their customers to make payments and access their account details whenever and wherever.

With Versapay, those clients are taking payments from contractors around the clock — whether they’re at home or on a rooftop. Versapay is facilitating the transition to a more collaborative model for B2B payments by going beyond automation and connecting AR departments with their customers over the cloud. This results in drastically enhanced efficiencies, accelerated cash flow and an unparalleled, streamlined payments experience.

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