Electronic Supplier Payments

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1 Electronic Supplier Payments Optimizing Working Capital through epayments Q Featuring Insights on... Current Demand for Electronic Payments Underwritten in part by enett International Utilizing epayments as Working Capital Management Tools Market Overview of epayments Electronic Payment Best Practices Top AP Automation Goals for 2013 Evaluating epayment Solution Providers

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Utilizing epayments as Working Capital Management Tools... 2 Electronic Payment Types... 6 Overcoming Road Blocks to epayment Adoption... 7 Electronic Payment Best Practices... 9 Electronic Supplier Payments Universe A Qualitative Analysis Next Steps to Electronic Payment Adoption Learn from the Innovators Evaluating the Solution Providers enett International Conclusion Research Methodology About PayStream Advisors... 27

3 Executive Summary Demand for electronic supplier payments is at a record high, up from 69 percent in 2012 to 72 percent in 2013, according to the finance professionals PayStream surveyed who reported they are actively seeking to increase their company s use of electronic payments, including Automated Clearing House (ACH) and Purchasing Card (P-Card) payments for accounts payable (AP). This year, 73 percent said they were writing fewer checks, up from 68 percent in Significantly 73 percent of finance professionals polled in PayStream s most recent survey reported increased use of ACH, 53 percent reported an increase in P-Card transactions, and 18 percent reported an increased reliance on electronic wire transfers. The scales have tipped from an over reliance on people and paper-based processes to the accelerated use of electronic supplier payments. Only 5 percent of companies surveyed said they wrote more paper checks last year, while virtually all change in ACH and P-Card use was on the upside. Twenty percent of finance professionals surveyed listed electronic payments via ACH as their automation goal for 2013, followed by Purchasing Cards. Only nine percent of respondents said they have not evaluated financial automation technology and have no immediate plans to do so. Key drivers leading to the increase in electronic supplier payments is the reduction in overall payment costs, such as staff, processing, etc., reduction of paper in AP and better cash management, including discount capture, penalty avoidance and on-time payments. This report covers electronic payments, which can be defined as any type of electronic funds transfer and includes wire payments, ACH, and P-Card payments. The report is based on the responses of more than 200 accounts payable and finance professionals polled in the third quarter of For more information on this and other research reports available from PayStream Advisors, visit PayStream s Research Library.

4 Utilizing epayments as Working Capital Management Tools In an effort to optimize working capital and extract liquidity otherwise trapped internally within the business cash conversion cycle, many organizations have identified opportunities in the payables areas of their operations. More companies are not only leveraging automation technology to contain costs and increase visibility, but to also reduce process cycle times, monitor and manage spend, prevent fraud and misuse, effectively capture vendor discounts and improve supplier relations. Broader adoption of electronic supplier payment technology, increasing supplier acceptance, and supplier onboarding programs have paved the way for a variety of working capital management tools including Dynamic Discount Management (DDM) and Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP), both of which allow buyers to time payments and take advantage of early payment discounts. A BIP is a type of business-to-business (B2B) credit card transaction that requires no action by the supplier. The supplier simply receives the payment as a direct deposit into its bank account, along with an electronic notification of the deposit. BIP s provide cost saving, revenue generating and security features not available with typical P-Card payments. A BIP provides buyers with a way to triple-dip by capturing early payment discounts, while earning card volume rebates, and taking advantage of the grace period between purchase and monthly statement date. An early payment discount or DDM is simply a discount offered for payment of a bill before the due date. The earlier a supplier bill is paid, the more a company can save. DDM is an emerging tool that is paying off for innovative AP departments, see Figure 1. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents are able to capture all available discounts offered. epayment solutions help reduce transaction costs and increase accountability by eliminating opportunities for lost paperwork and providing management with a quicker, clearer picture of exactly how a company s money is being spend, and why. epayments help organizations unlock cost savings, manage cash more strategically and achieve operational efficiencies.

5 Increased Stayed the Same Decreased Figure 1 Discounts Captured 73% 73% 74% DDM is an emerging tool that is paying off for innovative AP departments. 53% 41% 23% 24% 18% 5% 3% 8% 6% Checks ACH Wires P-Cards While suppliers are usually averse to taking on new costs and payment hassles, many suppliers now see the advantages of accelerated cash flow, even if they have to pay an interchange fee, as buyers, particularly large corporate accounts, stretch out payments. This trend is becoming much more popular with the proliferation of easy-to-use, free or low-cost supplier portals that interface with a wide variety of accounting systems. More companies are moving away from simply making payments, to a strategic payment solution that optimizes working capital, streamlines and automates the payment process, and generates bottom line results. epayments protect both the buyer and supplier, by adding transparency to each transaction and eliminating the need for manual processing of most transactions. Electronic data is easily uploaded to ERP systems, on both sides of the transaction, allowing for better planning, cash management and forecasting. These benefits are driving the increase in electronic payments, and the decrease in paper-checks, see Figure 2.

6 Increased Stayed the Same Decreased Figure 2 73% 73% 74% epayments Continue to Increase The use of checks continues to decrease, as epayments continue to rise. 53% 41% 23% 24% 18% 5% 3% 8% 6% Checks ACH Wires P-Cards While P-Cards as a form of electronic payment have been used for travel and entertainment payments in the past, PayStream analysts have discovered that more companies are now utilizing electronic payments in the form of P-Cards for payment of more non-traditional goods and services such as health care benefits and utility payments. Increase P-Card usage earns buyers rebates for highvolume card use, incentives from P-Card issuers and lower processing costs, all of which increase working capital. Building a case for epayment automation Payments are the final step in the P2P process. As more companies work to streamline the entire P2P cycle, epayments provide a faster, safer, less expensive and more convenient way to process payments. Tangible benefits associated with electronic payments include: Cost reduction resulting from reduced headcount, lower administration expenses and a decrease in printing and mailing costs. Reduction in the amount of paper in AP, especially with the use of Purchasing Cards to remove purchase orders and invoices from the process. Compression of the P2P cycle, resulting from the reduction in mail and check float. Increased ability to capture early payment discounts offered by suppliers due to shorter processing times.

7 Improved visibility into payments and overall spend translating to improved cash flow forecasting and risk management abilities. Reduction in the losses incurred resulting from check fraud, theft of preprinted checks and data entry errors. Positive impact on the environment as a result of going green.

8 Electronic Payment Types Electronic payments come in a variety of different forms. Historically, epayments have evolved into three main types, including: 1. Commercial Cards Commercial cards are unique in that they support the procurement function to purchase goods at the point of sale, and they also permit AP to automate the settlement process, thus simplifying the entire P2P process. Commercial cards have evolved into several types including Corporate Purchasing Cards, One Card, Fleet Card, Ghost Card, Virtual Card, and Single-Use Card. 2. ACH Automated Clearing House payments are the most frequently used electronic payment method. ACH payments are designed for large volume credit and debit transactions. 3. Wire Wire transfers are the most expedient form of payment. They are often used for high-dollar, one-off transactions, as well as international payments. None of the above electronic payment types are mutually exclusive from one another. Depending on an organization s level of innovation, technological savvy and diversity of supplier base, it can utilize a combination of different epayment types to satisfiy its unique financial business requirements and goals. As seen in Figure 2, epayments including ACH, P-Cards and Wire, continue to increase as checks continue to decline. For a free download of the entire report, visit PayStream s website here.

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