In the face of the adversity brought on by the global pandemic, innovation has massively accelerated over the past 15 months. Every business, regardless of industry or size, has found themselves needing to rethink both their business model and ways of operating. As we fight through temporary shutdowns, virtual working, and materials and labor shortages, we are having to revisit what “business as usual” actually means. As we go through this global “rethink”, the space has been created for learning about and adopting new technologies that make businesses much more efficient.
This most certainly includes business-to-business (B2B) solutions which over the past year have seen an incredible spike in interest in the industry. Whether it is seen through new billion-dollar valuations or large acquisitions, B2B solutions are increasing as well as accelerating how businesses handle their goods, service, and monetary flows. This heightened interest in the space is being driven by the critical need for organizations to become more digital in the wake of the pandemic.
Digitizing B2B Payments
Regardless of size, all organizations have had to deal with the traditional accounts receivable/payable process that can be full of friction and delays. For a simple example:
A water heater manufacturer purchases parts from one of their suppliers:
- The water heater manufacturer raises a purchase order in their ERP/accounting system, prints that document, and sends it to the supplier
- The supplier receives that document and inputs the order into their ERP/accounting system
- When the parts are shipped from the supplier, the supplier will also include a bill of materials from their ERP/Accounting system and, soon after, will mail an invoice from their ERP/Accounting System for the water heater manufacture to compare with what they ordered on their purchase order and received on their bill of materials.
- If everything matches, then the water heater manufacturer marks the item as received in their ERP/accounting system and a check from the water heater manufacturer is printed and sent to a lockbox provided by the suppliers Bank
- Days after the check is mailed, the lockbox provider receives the check and keys that information from the check into a file capturing the payment data
- The supplier then receives notification of that payment and keys it as paid into their ERP/accounting system
Think about the number of hops we see in the example above from system to paper to system to paper, and on and on. This creates a massive amount of friction, people cost, and delay of funds that hampers the use of liquidity for the participants.
With the pandemic and the need to socially distance and concern about paper being a carrier of the virus, organizations saw the need to move away from this manual process. This presented companies with the opportunity to remove paper-based processes that were full of friction, and instead, automate and migrate these processes to the cloud. Cloud technologies exist today that take the majority of the friction out of the process and accelerate the transfer of money between companies.
This is especially useful for small to medium size businesses who often do not have the luxury of full accounting divisions. B2B solutions are allowing businesses to streamline their operations, to pay how they want, and to optimize the amount of cash that they have. By automating at scale, organizations can save literal days of their employee’s hours and allow them to focus on other tasks.
Why choose FIS specifically for B2B solutions?
FIS is a fortune 200 company committed over the long-term to taking the friction out of the monetary flows between businesses. We do this by:
- Automating workflows that professionals need to use to make their payments and to get paid
- Integrating to cloud-based ERP/accounting packages with one click of a button
- Connecting businesses to all payment rails and to financing partners so that businesses can optimize how you manage your cash flows
By removing friction from the process, automating wherever possible, and migrating to the cloud, organizations can set their brand up as an industry innovator.