An elderly woman using a tablet to process a payment with a virtual card

Automating Payables: How Virtual Card Numbers Can Drive Efficiency and Security


Making the right choices when it comes to migrating to EAP can be daunting, which is why it’s always a good idea to work closely with a trusted banking partner to help ensure success.

In the never-ending quest to create greater efficiency and security in the payables function, treasury organizations are rapidly automating payables by moving from paper-based functions to electronic processes. In fact, according to the RPMG Research Corporation’s 2015 Electronic Accounts Payable (EAP) Survey, EAP spending grew by 33% between 2014 and 2015. The survey found that 72% of respondents expect EAP spend to increase over the next five years. 

While many have moved in this direction, there’s still tremendous opportunity for businesses to electronify Accounts Payable (AP) files and implement electronic payment systems, and reap the treasury rewards.

Automating and Digitizing Payables: ePay to the Rescue

Innovative new electronic payment tools are allowing treasury to automate and digitize payables, creating a more effective and efficient payables function. For example, Fifth Third Bank, National Association offers a comprehensive electronic card payables solution that can help treasury electronify its AP process.

Fifth Third’s ePay helps businesses transition to a greater volume of electronic payments by supporting supplier payments using commercial cards or by generating a one-time-use virtual card number for business-to-business (B2B) transactions. The ePay solution adds cash management capabilities to the bank’s electronic AP tool, offering real-time visibility into account and payment status, payment scheduling capabilities, spend data analytics and reporting. Equally important, ePay provides vitally important security features that enable program controls for fraud and risk mitigation.

The Virtues of a Complete Cash Management Platform

Amongst the many benefits of using a robust and complete management platform such as ePay, treasury is able to issue supplier payments in real-time, which gives them greater flexibility to manage working capital and cash flow.

Treasury also gains greater control with the ability to schedule payments to meet business needs. ePay enables treasury personnel to make payments immediately, or set them up days, weeks, or even months in advance. In addition, this electronic payment solution lets treasury customize payment details such as payment numbers and invoice data, dramatically improving the efficiency around reporting and reconciliation.

And with security top-of-mind for most companies, ePay offers better control of AP processes, enabling treasury to restrict access to data and payment activities as warranted. The use of virtual card numbers also enables treasury to keep funding accounts confidential, further mitigating the risk of fraudulent transactions.

From Manual to Automated

Digitizing accounts payable processes has been a challenge for many organizations. However, virtually every treasury professional recognizes that manual processes - from data entry to payment issue resolution - are cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient. Electronifying AP processes can bring much needed automation to the treasury function. Automating payables can deliver faster reconciliation and reporting, as well as more cost-effective and secure processing, making the treasury team a more effective, value-added partner to the organization.

Making the right choices when it comes to migrating to EAP can be daunting, which is why it’s always a good idea to work closely with a trusted banking partner to help ensure success. Fifth Third Bank, National Association is constantly enhancing its innovative treasury solutions to ensure you have the most advanced technology available. Now is an ideal time to automate and digitize payables, so you can achieve a more effective and efficient payables function.

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