A guide to selecting the best B2B payments network solution

Blog | August 30, 2022

Reading Time: 5 min
How to find the right solution that checks all the boxes for your business.

Is your Accounts Receivable (AR) team overwhelmed and overstressed? Chances are they’re stuck in time-consuming and tedious manual processes. 

To “meet customers where they are”, many businesses across all industries have gradually adapted to their customers' requests to pay in almost any way possible. That includes via paper checks, ACH, credit card payments made via email, virtual credit cards and (maybe most labor-intensive of all) requiring you to use Accounts Payable (AP) portals, each with particular requirements and protocols.  

The digital B2B payments landscape continues to evolve: There’s enormous growth anticipated through at least 2030. That means your AR staff and systems can expect more demands. Because of this, it's no wonder that finance leaders want the best B2B payments network solution.

So an AR team needs to contend with all of these factors – at the same time. It’s a lot to manage. If that team still uses traditional, hands-on processes, the bottlenecks, employee stress, risk of error and costs are significant.

diagram made of icons explaining digital lockbox for digital payments via BPN and cash application

What are the costs and risks of getting “stuck” in outdated AR processing?

The trap that AR managers and their teams face? You may have made these incremental accommodations to customer payment requirements for years. But it can be hard to realize how they’re truly affecting your business's bottom line – whether SMB or enterprise. But this “dirty dozen” roster of accumulating costs and risks can impact company performance:

  1. Delays and labor costs of processing and reconciling paper checks
  2. The inconveniences of physical lock boxes
  3. The costs and delays of opening emails one-by-one
  4. Employee burnout from the repetitive drudgery of manual tasks
  5. Customer service complaints and reputational damage
  6. The customization required for invoicing via each separate AP portal
  7. PCI issues in accepting credit card payments
  8. The cost of interchange fees
  9. The need to use (and safely record) multiple logins and passwords
  10. Human error caused by all of the above
  11. Data vulnerability
  12. Slowness in receiving payments, regardless of payment format

The bottom line: It’s already expensive to meet your customers where they are if you’re not using a streamlined B2B payment network…and it will only get more costly as time goes on. This is why you need the best B2B payments network solution, one that reduce your costs.

How much could you save?

Based on insights gathered from multiple current customers we use in our ROI calculator, we project that payments network users who upload 750 invoices to AP portals and process 650 virtual card payments and 450 ACH payments per month may exceed 300% ROI.

payments network ROI graphic

How to evaluate the AR needs of your business

Understanding how your current AP processes are affecting your business is crucial. To see where you currently stand, conducting a formal or informal audit of those processes is the best place to start. Best of all? By including people from your AR, finance, sales and leadership departments, this collaboration can build understanding between cross-functional teams. 

An audit can also set the groundwork for implementing a modern digital payment network solution embraced by all stakeholders because it benefits employees, customers and the bottom line in measurable – and usually immediate – ways.

What should be involved in such an audit?

  • Ask your AR team about their pain points
  • Consider feedback from your customers, obtained via your sales team or by asking customers directly
  • Calculate the hours your AR team spends on manual tasks
  • Determine how many of your customers are paying by:
    • Check
    • ACH
    • Credit card info in emails
    • AP portals
  • Set measurable goals for performance improvements

Download the ultimate guide to digital accounts receivable

Billtrust ebook - ultimate guide to digital accounts receivable cover thumbnail
Get top tips and fresh insights that will help you control your cash flow and your daily calendar of AR tasks.

What to look for in a digital payment network solution

Finance teams and companies that realize the benefits of modernization – and recognize the costs and dangers of standing pat with outmoded AR systems – are turning to digital payment network solutions. 

What criteria should you use to evaluate a payment network solution? Suppose you’re working at a large enterprise. In that case, you should be looking for a truly global, state-of-the-art solution that can solve present-day problems and serve as a business growth asset by allowing you to quickly and efficiently scale your AR efforts across multiple regions, portals, and customers.

Here are the key questions to ask in assessing a potential payment network solution:

  • Does it empower you to present invoices to hundreds of AP portals?
  • Is it partnered with many payment providers, including card issuers?
  • Does it offer an integrated digital lockbox?
  • Will you have proven customer support that’s focused on your business success?
  • Will it provide exceptional speed and ease of implementation?
  • Does it enhance PCI compliance?
  • Will it reduce your DSO?
  • Does it minimize disputes?
  • Will it significantly cut manual drudgery, keystroking, et al.?
  • Will it allow you to scale without adding headcount and redeploy staff to more strategic work?
  • Does it give you easy access to the global B2B payments and banking universe to support business growth and reach?

Key questions to ask in assessing a potential payment network solution

Choose the best payment network solution for your company.

Does any solution check every box?

It might seem like only a “unicorn” business payment network – a.k.a., a nonexistent one – could check every box on that list. But that’s not true. You can use the best B2B payments network solution in the market today.

Billtrust’s own Business Payments Network  extends order-to-cash functionality to all the buyers and third parties that require interactions with AR teams. With BPN from Billtrust, you’ll achieve unprecedented digital payments by radically simplifying and accelerating how you get paid. Plus, you will free your AR team to focus on more productive tasks, like resolving disputed invoices, expediting payments, and reducing DSO.

Learn why accounts receivable (AR) teams like yours have turned to BPN to deliver hundreds of thousands of B2B invoices to over 200 different AP portals. You don’t have to be a Billtrust client to leverage BPN, as it’ll integrate with any AR platform. But it’s a cornerstone solution in getting yourself unstuck from the costs and frustrations of outmoded AR processes.