The last two years have changed the way businesses and their vendors interact and pay. And while financial institutions have struggled to meet consumer needs, many are lagging behind when it comes to providing the same seamless digital experience for business customers, according to the “B2B Digital Payments Tracker,” a collaboration between PYMNTS and American Express.
Get the report: B2B digital payment tracker
Whether encountering barriers to customer onboarding or facing the challenges of integrating payments and invoicing capabilities into legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, banks are scrambling to adopt the new technologies needed to keep up with the digital transformations of many global businesses.
The search for operational efficiency
The pandemic has highlighted the need for greater process control and operational efficiency, Trina Dutta, vice president and general manager of B2B payment automation, global commercial services at American Express, told PYMNTS in a May interview.
Read more: Digital innovation improves B2B buyer-supplier interactions
As a result of remote teams struggling with paper, Dutta said, many business owners and chief financial officers (CFOs) are turning to providers — American Express among them — to help them make their accounts payable departments fully virtual .
“AP automation helps eliminate that manual paperwork,” Dutta said, adding that with fewer time-consuming tasks and required data entry steps, business leaders can focus on other projects that can help businesses grow.
Working on digital solutions
The PYMNTS survey found that financial institutions are working to improve their digital payment offerings for businesses of all sizes.
One-third or more of financial institutions are currently working or planning to work on three digital solutions for business customers to help eliminate the friction points their corporate customers face in B2B payment processes:
A unified view of cash flow management and forecasting. Fifty-five percent of financial institutions are working or plan to work on this solution.
Allow recipients to choose a payment method. Forty-six percent of financial institutions have this digital solution on their to-do list.
Data exchange between AP and Accounts Receivable for automatic invoicing. 33 percent of financial institutions plan to offer this solution.
Become a business partner
These digital solutions will join four others that financial institutions already commonly offer to business customers: account verification (offered by 89% of financial institutions), digital locks (82%), instant transaction confirmation (76%) and automatic matching. payments and invoices (48%).
Financial institutions are working with their partners to help them adopt and process more digital invoicing and payments, streamline their accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes, and plan for the future.
By becoming not only a bank but also a business partner, financial institutions can attract and retain corporate customers by helping them maintain satisfactory relationships with their own customers.
For all PYMNTS B2B coverage, subscribe to the journal B2B newsletter.
“Alcohol scholar. Hardcore tv junkie. Wannabe bacon enthusiast. Twitter fanatic. Subtly charming travel guru. Pop culture specialist.”