The digitalization of the business world has accelerated at lightning speed over the past two years, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As manual operations became less common and headed for the dustbin of history, technology adoption accelerated in multiple ways during the outbreak.
With their staff scattered around the world and unable or unwilling to travel as the coronavirus spread across the United States and around the world, CFOs and other business leaders had no choice but to digitize their payment experiences – in many cases faster than expected or even wanted.
A recent study found that more than three in four accounting and finance executives (76%) said the global health crisis had accelerated their accounts payable (AP) digital transformation initiatives.
This transformation to more online channels means that vendors, suppliers and industry partners must innovate in both their consumer and B2B transactions, including bill paying. Recent reports have predicted that B2B e-commerce sales in the United States will surpass $1 trillion by the end of this year.
Financial institutions (FIs) can become the leaders of the digital revolution and better engage and retain corporate customers by offering these solutions. A recent study by PYMNTS found that nearly one in four (24%) large business B2B payments are still made by paper check.
“Enabling access to seamless bill payment can help end businesses’ continued reliance on manual payment methods, freeing up both time and resources and helping to build loyalty. corporate clients to their financial partners,” according to the April 2022 edition of the Next-Gen Commercial Banking Tracker®, a PYMNTS and FISPAN collaboration.
This month’s Tracker examines the latest trends and developments shaping the next-generation commercial banking space and how FIs can meet the changing needs of corporate customers through adaptable payment APIs.
Although the digitalization of the business world has certainly made serious progress in the last two years, this does not mean that the work is done and that there is no more work to be done in this regard. Many businesses continue to rely on existing B2B payment infrastructure, adding unsustainable cost and friction to the process.
A recent PYMNTS study found that 31% of corporate bank customers cite a lack of payment options as a significant issue for their organizations, and another PYMNTS report found that businesses are still struggling with payment delays. payment.
The pandemic has heightened this challenge, according to our study, nearly three in four companies (74%) that generate annual revenues between $25 million and $100 million say the health crisis has worsened their volume of late payments.
“Companies have moved to innovate their AP and AR processes accordingly, but many still face challenges in digitizing operations with the speed to keep up with competitors,” according to the Tracker.
Recent data from PYMNTS showed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of companies in the wholesale industry are now using more automated clearing house payments, but CFOs in another PYMNTS report cited serious barriers payments innovation as the reason they keep doing things. manually.
Reasons cited include the lack of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or cash management system capable of supporting disparate payment solutions and the inability to find the right technology partner to help them advance their digitization efforts.
“Banks have a key opportunity to stand out in the digital payments market by offering API-based bill payment solutions to help businesses overcome these hurdles,” according to the Tracker. “Using APIs enables FIs to deliver the personalized, digital bill payment experiences their customers need, both quickly and seamlessly.”
This is one of the reasons FIs are investing more in APIs these days. Recent PYMNTS data shows nearly half of banks and credit unions (47%) had invested in technology by the end of 2021, up from 35% in 2019 – and a further 25% planned to invest in APIs this year.
Our research also shows that banks view APIs as drivers of future revenue, with 90% of FIs we surveyed planning to use APIs to generate additional revenue among their existing customers. Financial institutions will want to prioritize finding the right technology partners to help them meet the growing needs of their business customers for simplified bill payment and other digital experiences.