Hit a Hole-in-One by Automating Your B2B Supplier Payments
If you’ve ever played a round of golf, you know shooting par is hard, and hitting a hole-in-one can feel nearly impossible! But with lots of practice and dedication, both a par and a hole-in-one can quickly feel within reach.
If you know anything about Accounts Payable (AP), you know that manual, repetitive processes are also hard, costing your organization time and money. It can feel nearly impossible to be productive in other areas of your business when you’re spending hours signing and mailing paper checks every month. However, with the right AP automation partner, you can streamline your payments process in no time, creating greater efficiency, control and revenue within your AP department.
Historically, Golf and Country Clubs have been hesitant to embrace change, as it’s often associated with risk and technical complexities. Clubs across the nation still rely on manual AP processes and pay their suppliers with paper checks rather than investing in automation. In the United States alone, over 50% of business payments are still made using checks. Simply issuing and depositing check payments costs U.S. businesses between $26 and $54 billion annually.1
If hard work leads to a hole-in-one in golf, what’s the key to fully transforming your Club’s AP department into an automated powerhouse?
- Convert your paper check payments to virtual card payments. A virtual card is a unique 16-digit card number that’s created solely for single-use between a buyer and supplier. They are highly secure with a predetermined amount and expiration date. Once payments are processed the card cannot be used again. As an added benefit, virtual cards are accepted by most vendors and suppliers that accept credit card payments. It’s estimated that global virtual card spend will reach $5 trillion by 2025.2
- Automate all payment types. With AP automation, you can still pay suppliers with their preferred payment method. Even if your suppliers are not willing or able to accept virtual cards, that doesn’t mean you need to revert to manual, paper check processing. Most automated payment providers also offer check services that will take care of the printing, signing, stuffing and postage for you. Another alternative is electronic payment via Automated Clearing House (ACH). With ACH, the provider can push funds straight to the supplier’s bank account or drive bank-to-bank transfers. It’s another option for automating AP that delivers funds faster and more efficiently than a paper check, usually within one business week and with zero fees for the supplier.
- Integrate with your existing accounting software. To fully streamline your AP process, find a solution that will seamlessly integrate with your existing accounting software. This will allow reconciliation data to get passed back to your accounting software automatically and reports can be accessed as needed directly from the platform. Most providers will handle setup and implementation for you with ease.
- Create a net new revenue stream through rebates. Receive revenue from rebates earned on virtual card transactions. Many automated AP providers will even take care of enrolling your suppliers on your behalf. They will reach out to your suppliers on an ongoing basis to fully maximize your monthly rebate opportunity.
- Reduce Fraud. With traditional payment methods, such as checks, fraud is an ongoing issue. More than one million checks a day are forged in the US and losses from check fraud total $18.7 billion annually. With an automate AP solution, you will mitigate the risk of payments fraud by establishing concrete approval processes, identifying invoice discrepancies, and flagging vendor errors. In addition, you’ll gain full visibility of your payment activity, 24/7.
AP processes that are traditionally associated with repetitive and mundane tasks have been reinvented with innovation and simplicity. With a small investment in time, you can be on your way to transforming your Accounts Payable into a more efficient, revenue generating department. Now that’s MUCH easier than hitting a hole-in-one!
1Monga, Vipal. “U.S. Companies Cling to Writing Paper Checks.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 10 Mar. 2014, www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-companies-cling-to-writing-paper-checks-1394494772?tesla=y. 2 Juniper Reseach “Virtual Cards – Consumer & Business Adoption – Competitive Analysis – Market Size – 2020-2025,” Juniper Research