Improve AR / AP for better customer satisfaction
Not so long ago, offering flexible payment methods to business customers was largely reserved for innovative companies with well-staffed accounting departments.
But in the new landscape created by the pandemic and the shift from B2B and consumer commerce to online channels, digital payment capabilities are becoming essential to participate in the global economy. Today, customers expect to be able to pay with credit cards, alternative payment methods like PayPal, or real-time account-to-account payments. This has led suppliers to adapt to meet the expectations of their customers.
In fact, 40% of large companies expect the digitalization of accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) processes to improve customer satisfaction, according to The strategic role of the CFO, a PYMNTS and Versapay collaboration. The same is true for 32% of companies with sales between $ 25 million and $ 100 million and for 38% of companies with sales between $ 100 million and $ 1 billion.
“What we are seeing is a desire from buyers to get more involved and have more influence over the payment process, and in return we are seeing companies launching projects that should make major improvements in terms of effectiveness, ”said Craig O’, CEO of Versapay. Neill told PYMNTS.
Start to work collaboratively
Indeed, 92% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) digitize aspects of their AR and AP operations, PYMNTS found. These companies are pursuing digitization at the same level as large companies with technology teams and large budgets.
These efforts produce immediate benefits for SMEs. On the one hand, it allows them to accept a wider variety of payment methods and reduce their reliance on paper checks. About two-thirds of SMEs that have digitized part of their payment transactions say it has enabled them to increase their use of credit cards and traditional ACH. A majority of SMEs have also increased their use of real-time account-to-account payments.
“To increase productivity and accelerate cash flow, SMBs need to bridge the growing disconnect between their accounting teams and their clients, and start working collaboratively by sharing access to the same information in real time, in the cloud.” , O’Neill said.
Build strong customer relationships
The motivations for SMEs to digitize their AR and AP systems, however, go far beyond individual payment methods. The vast majority (93%) say they are looking for transformative changes that allow them to develop new skills that can change the way they do business.
Another almost universal motivation for businesses of all sizes is to benefit their customers and suppliers. Over 95% of companies said it was a reason to digitize AR / AP processes, ranking it # 1 out of a total of 11 motivations. SMEs see the digitalization of their operations as essential to have good relations with their customers and suppliers.
“Payments and AR are no longer seen primarily as behind-the-scenes activities that need to be done after contracts are finalized,” O’Neill concluded. “SMEs increasingly see these functions – and their transformation into digital and collaborative experiences – as crucial to building strong customer relationships, and this has all been accelerated by recent events. “