A Guide to Automating B2B
Automating B2B (business-to-business) receivable payments can streamline the payment process, reduce manual effort, improve cash flow, and enhance overall efficiency. That’s quite an all-encompassing outcome, so let us unpack it through this short guide to automating B2B receivable payments:
Understand Your Current Process
Start by evaluating your existing receivable payment process. Identify the pain points, manual tasks, and areas that can be systemized. Determine the key steps involved, such as invoice handling, payment collection, reconciliation, and reporting.
Choose a Payment Automation Platform
Select a reliable payment automation platform that aligns with your specific business needs. Look for features such as electronic invoice integration capabilities, payment gateways, customer portals and reporting functionalities. Choose a system that consolidates invoices, remittance information and payments into one screen view. A popular option is eTreem’s Intelligent Payment Platform.
Implement Electronic Invoicing
Replace paper-based invoices with electronic invoices (e-invoices). E-invoicing allows you to generate, send, and track invoices digitally, reducing manual errors and delays. So often companies convert their invoices and remittance detail from their digital accounting systems, then manually distribute them via the US postal system. Considering how we pay for things in the rest of our lives, printing and mailing invoices is a “walk down memory lane” no one needs to take!
Offer Multiple Payment Options
Provide your B2B customers with multiple payment options to increase convenience and accelerate payments. These may include electronic checks or e-Checks, credit card payments and online payment gateways. Each option has different cost implications and processing times, so consider your business requirements and customer preferences.
Enable Recurring Payments
For regular, recurring payments, set up automated schedules to initiate payments at predetermined intervals. This approach is particularly useful for subscription-based services like contract maintenance, membership fees, or installment payments. This can be accomplished either through your accounting system or directly from your payment platform. Automating recurring payments ensures consistent cash flow, accurate financial forecasting and reduces administrative burden.
Consider Customer Self-Service Portals
Implement a customer self-service portal where customers can view invoices, make payments, and access payment history. Self-service portals empower customers to manage their payments independently, reducing the need for inquiries and manual intervention.The outcome of a self-service portal simplifies the payment process, enhances relationships with vendors, improves visibility and security – and enables receivables staff to focus on core activities while managing payments more effectively.
Implement Payment Reminders
Set up automated payment reminders to notify customers of upcoming due dates and/or notifications of overdue payments. These reminders can be sent via email VIA your integrated customer portal. Include relevant payment details and instructions with direct hyperlinks to your self-service payment portal. This can easily facilitate quicker and even immediate payments – you would be surprised to see how many conveniently pay it while they’re there.
Integrate With Accounting and ERP Systems
Ensure seamless integration between your payment automation platform and your accounting or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. This integration streamlines data flow, improves accuracy, and eliminates the need for manual data entry. This is a considerable savings, as the cost of invoice processing varies, but most businesses find it’s somewhere between $15 and $40 per invoice.
Streamline Reconciliation Processes
Automated reconciliation tools can match incoming payments with outstanding invoices and remittance information. Along with reducing manual effort and errors, reconciliation automation saves time, improves accuracy, and provides real-time visibility into payment status. This is where the right payment portal can play an important role, by giving customers the ability to review both invoice and payment detail – without the need to shuttle between different systems and screens.
Monitor and Analyze Payment Data
Leverage the reporting and analytics capabilities of your payment automation platform. Gain insights into payment trends, late payments, customer behavior, and overall cash flow. Use this data to optimize your receivable processes, identify areas for improvement, and make informed business decisions. Additionally, payment data analysis gives you insight into payment behaviors, trends, the rate of payment delinquencies and where you need to focus in managing them.
Ensure Data Security and Compliance:
Prioritize data security and compliance by choosing a payment automation platform that adheres to stringent security measures and offers data encryption, access controls, and secure storage. Establishing a secure connection between the user’s browser and the payment portal ensures that data exchanged between parties remains encrypted and protected from unauthorized access.
Continuously Evaluate and Optimize
Continually assessing the effectiveness of your automated receivable payment processes is essential to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and security. Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to define relevant measurement of the performance of your automated receivable payment processes. Conduct regular audits to ensure compliance, accuracy and security. Seek feedback from customers and your internal stakeholders. Identify bottlenecks or areas for improvement and fine-tune your automation strategy accordingly.
Successful automation requires careful planning, seamless integration, and ongoing monitoring. It’s crucial to align your automated receivable payment processes with your business goals and customer expectations to achieve maximum payment efficiency and customer satisfaction. and deliver a better payment experience for your customers.
Let us show you how eTreem’s Intelligent Payment Platform helps you process B2B receivable payments, streamline and automate processing; providing you with total visibility and control of your receivable payments.