Small to medium businesses (SMB) across the U.S. are still feeling the ripple effects of the pandemic with supply chain issues, rising interest rates, growing inflation and uncertain economic conditions. As we approach 2023, inflation is the primary concern. Thirty-seven percent of Main Street SMB decision-makers cite it as their greatest worry, and it doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon.
Most SMBs do not have a reserve of cash on hand to sustain their businesses through economic hardships, making it critical for them to seek solutions that offer savings and efficiency.
Solutions for SMBs
While economic hurdles negatively impact the outlook for some SMBs, they have also created an opportunity for financial institutions to offer payment solutions to help reduce costs and decrease stress for businesses while they figure out their next move.
Due to these challenges, some SMBs have been forced to find new operational processes or speed up their adoption timeline regarding payments, automating systems and offering B2B functionalities. Adopting these processes can help SMBs save time, increase operational efficiency and improve their bottom line by using long-term, cost-effective features.
To date, accounts payable (AP) teams have had to rely on paper-heavy, manual-intensive processes which cost the company time and money. Streamlining the process using AP automation can simplify outbound payments, ensuring their vendors are paid faster without manual effort from them.
Why Modernize AP Payments Now?
Employment Struggles: With inflation on the rise and the unemployment rate at 3.7%, SMBs are finding it difficult to compete with larger businesses who offer higher wages and better benefits. Seventy-six percent of owners say they have increased wages to respond to the challenges in the job market. One way to combat that is to replace tedious tasks associated with paying vendors for an automated system. This can alleviate the burden on current employees and reduce the need to hire new employees.
Cost Over Time: Investing in an AP automation system now would recoup your money over time with the cost savings from eliminating manual data entry, avoiding late payments and increasing operational efficiency. Additionally, AP automation ensures a consistent movement of funds and removes the need for paper checks. Sixty-seven percent of SMBs would be willing to pay for an all-in-one payment solution if the cost was approximately 1% of the payment amount.
AP Solution Features Essential for SMBs
AP automation solutions allow businesses to take their current payment procedures and turn them into simple, secure and adaptable processes. Businesses can pay vendors using digital payment methods, including virtual cards and ACH and the technology can integrate into an existing ERP system without any effort. Automation improves security to ensure volatility doesn't get in the way of operational efficiently. The best part is that SMBs can improve and optimize AP vendor payments without changing current accounting practices.
The AP Automation Difference
So why push for an AP automation solution to digitize outbound payments?
It’s estimated that paper-based processes cost up to $8 more per transaction than electronic invoicing. Going digital could collectively save U.S. businesses more than $100 billion.
The right payments providers can tailor a comprehensive AP solution to support:
- On-time payments for improved vendor relations
- Reduced paper processes and manual data entry
- Automated payment tracking and reporting for easy reconciliation
- Monthly rebates from virtual card spend
- Single source for payment management
AP automation can simplify how your business makes outbound payments - saving you time and money.
Transform Your Business
Payments are evolving quickly—just like your business should. AP automation helps businesses stay ahead of rapid changes in the payment landscape and fight economic uncertainty.
On the surface, automation eases the strain on your AP departments and eliminates unnecessary errors. However, when you look closer, AP automation provides a digital end-to-end vendor payment process to increase the effectiveness of your employees through any economic situation.
Payment technology providers like REPAY offer robust tools to enable AP automation for any size business. Start supporting digital vendor payments to simplify outbound payments and get back to what matters - your business!