Demanding digital for payments and invoicing

Demanding digital for payments and invoicing
Bottomline Technologies' Andy Lilley says digitisation efforts must extend to payments and invoicing

Caspar Herzberg |

This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.

For much of the last ten years, investment in financial technology has been focused on meeting a stream of financial regulations and transactions inside the system of record. But a shift towards business efficiency and improved service levels is now taking place, especially with customer delight being at the forefront of growth.

Today’s companies are more aware then ever of how they want to consume their technology – whether that be through a cloud, hybrid or on-premise model. We hear the term ‘digital transformation’ used a lot, and a major part of this is the acceptance of cloud technology.

As part of this shift towards business efficiency, Bottomline Technologies has moved more than 5,500 customers to a cloud-based business solution suite, PT-X, which includes payments and financial document automation functionality.

According to AIIM, removing paper from business processes can improve efficiency by up to 300%. Despite this, research by PayStream Advisors shows that around 70% of invoices are still received by organisations as paper or plain PDF documents. To truly make a digital transformation and capitalise on the opportunities it offers, automating and digitising processes is key.

There are several technologies that can help release financial resources for redeployment. AP Automation significantly reduces manual grudge work by automating the extraction and validation of invoices. Additionally, payments technologies provide other obvious benefits, such as ‘know your customer’ checks which immediately validates and verifies customer and supplier data in a fraction of the time.

By automating compliance, exceptions and manual filing of documents and payments, tasks can be significantly reduced. Removing the lag in the end-to-end financial process and improving visibility and control can free up resource and enable those higher value tasks.

I am a firm believer in the idea that standing still is the fastest way of going backwards. If, when invoicing or carrying out other financial tasks, you make it difficult for your customers to buy from you, they may not choose to do so again. Customers want these processes to be transparent, collaborative and easy in this digital world.

From a document automation perspective, Bottomline’s PT-X payments and business solution suite offers a service that gives clients an insight into how their customers are responding to invoices. They can monitor the patterns of individual customers and proactively identify where to invest their time and effort when looking to reduce aged debt. Enhanced visibility and control – which paper-based systems and processes and even emailing PDFs cannot fully deliver – means that you can identify where best to deploy resources. The result is tactical increases to operations and strategic improvement to business processes.

We are living in a digital world. It is not a question of should businesses embrace digital transformation, but rather how will they if they haven’t already?  

Andy Lilley is regional director for financial document automation at Bottomline Technologies


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