Fintech Insights

Harmonizing the Payments Ecosystem

Steve Wiley, vp treasury solutions, FIS

June 29, 2021

As companies turn their attention to post-pandemic growth, they are looking not only for opportunities to expand their businesses, but also for areas where cost efficiencies can be achieved. And for many organizations, payments is an area that is particularly ripe for improvement.

While the payments landscape has evolved considerably in recent years, many companies have not yet adjusted their infrastructure and processes to capitalize on new opportunities for efficiency, workflow improvement and cost savings. To achieve these benefits, companies need to take a broad view of how different parts of the business interact with payments.

Payments is not a function unique to treasury teams, but one that spans multiple stakeholders, including IT, HR, accounts payable and accounting. These stakeholders can benefit from a payments optimization initiative in different ways – for example, treasury might focus primarily on the need for greater efficiency, whereas IT might be more focused on minimizing costs, and accounts payable more sensitive to workflow and controls

While each group of stakeholders has differing priorities and goals, what they share is a keen awareness of the importance of security, risk mitigation, and digitization in today’s challenging environment. A cloud-based solution that is secure and simple to implement can meet all of these needs, fulfilling different stakeholders’ requirements. In addition, vendors that offer managed services can provide further benefits by alleviating the IT burden associated with maintaining the system.

Given the many moving parts of a payments improvement initiative, integration is another essential requirement when companies set out to optimize their payments. Companies should aim to achieve state-of-the-art integration into the systems used to originate payments – an exercise that not only spans IT, AP, and treasury, but also means focusing on supporting payments that relate to specific business use cases. Companies should look for systems that enable them to centralize their payments processes, and also drive further efficiencies through capabilities such as least cost and fastest routing.

Above all, companies embarking on a payments initiative need to keep in mind the needs of all relevant stakeholders, rather than a single group. That means focusing on multiple goals – namely optimal connectivity channels, centralization and integration – in order to maximize the benefits of the project across the organization. As such, payment providers that offer an already established ecosystem can provide greater opportunities to drive cost efficiencies, optimize the use of payment channels, and centralize workflows.