Today’s treasury professionals face a common set of challenges when it comes to payments processing. The North American market for B2B payments is $25 trillion and yet, in the U.S., more than 50 percent of these payments are still being made by paper checks.1 Add to this, many organizations are burdened with handling paper invoices and matching remittance data. These manual, highly inefficient processes can be a tremendous burden on an organization’s accounts payable (AP) staff. On top of that, inefficient and expensive paper payment processes make it difficult for accounts payable to know its cash position in a timely manner, making decision-making on how best to disburse funds less precise.
Fortunately, advanced electronic payables solutions are addressing AP concerns and making it possible to drive tremendous efficiency in payables processes. AP departments are now able to achieve automation around payments and invoices, helping to eliminate cumbersome paper processes and reducing the risk of fraud. In addition, organizations can use these solutions to improve supplier relationships by simplifying the supplier payment process, while reducing cost and improving the bottom line.
Transforming Payables into an Efficient Machine
Fifth Third Bank has introduced a game-changing electronic payables solution called Expert AP. This innovative, full-service, B2B AP solution manages everything from invoice receipt to actual payment and allows AP departments to run more efficiently, while positively impacting the bottom line. At the same time, suppliers benefit from additional payment and enhanced remittance options.
Fifth Third is the first bank to partner with the Mastercard B2B Hub powered by AvidXchange, an end-to-end automated platform that converts payable processes traditionally done by paper into an electronic transaction. This technology maximizes electronic payments using virtual cards and enhanced automated clearing house (ACH). As a result, businesses won’t face the burden of costs or potential errors associated with manual accounts payable processes.
The Expert AP solution begins by routing all inbound invoices, regardless if they are paper or electronic, to a centralized location. Invoices are formatted into an easy to ingest format, and then routed through a customizable approval workflow tool. The solution removes the expense and headache of handling paper, while more importantly providing faster and increased visibility into any invoices coming due.
Expert AP also optimizes the way clients pay their suppliers, by removing the challenges of managing supplier payment preferences, handling payment exceptions, and minimizing fraud. Clients simply send a payment instruction file of what suppliers they would like to pay. The solution will engage suppliers to identify their preferred payment method, and execute payments to those suppliers. Expert AP also will manage any payment exceptions or operational issues such as payment returns. All account information is stored within the Expert AP solution, minimizing the risk of fraud by limiting account exposure.
The Value of Outsourcing Payables
A fully outsourced payables solution, such as Expert AP, can be seamlessly integrated into a treasury organization’s existing AP processes. In this way, it becomes possible to have all domestic supplier payments migrated to a mix of virtual cards, enhanced ACH, and/or outsourced checks as appropriate for each supplier. And because Expert AP engages directly with suppliers to identify their preferred payment method, rates of conversion to electronic payments tend to be significantly higher. The case for the virtual card and enhanced ACH payment options is reinforced by the value of the enriched remittance data accompanying these payment forms deliver.
Added benefits of Expert AP include seamless connection to accounting/ERP systems, enabling the AP department to receive information on all approved invoices from suppliers – quickly and easily. At the same time, the solution’s portal providers both buyers and supplier with much needed visibility to payments and associated data.
Advance your AP automation goals by streamlining the end-to-end payment process for your organization and your suppliers. Contact Fifth Third to see how Expert AP can transform and optimize your payables function.