Billtrust Summit Recap Series | Part 3
Checking in on Billtrust’s Business Payments Network
During Billtrust Summit 2019, we had the chance to bring payables platforms, financial institutions and suppliers together to learn more about Business Payments Network (BPN), the supplier-driven, B2B payments network that we launched late last year in collaboration with Visa.
BPN was born out of a perspective we share with Visa that all previous efforts to streamline the delivery of electronic B2B payments have failed due to a lack of focus on what suppliers want and need to support their account receivables (AR) function.
While accounts accounts payable (AP) teams have begun to digitize payments and automate processes, AR teams continue to receive financial data with transaction data via multiple channels, in multiple forms, from multiple parties at multiple times. With disparate software, preferences and approaches to sending payments, the relationship between AP and AR functions remains friction-filled.
During a panel moderated by our own Nick Babinsky, VP and GM of BPN, and Christina Wagner, Sr. Director, B2B Partnerships and Innovation at Visa, we heard from finance executives at FedEx, Thomson Reuters, and Performance Food Group Inc. about where some of this friction stems from. While everyone was in agreement that trends are pushing organizations to create an Amazon-type customer experience built on a bedrock of digitization and bolstered by the ease of automation and self service, the gap that exists between buyers and suppliers makes it difficult to achieve this in today’s B2B payments space.
As a unique supplier-driven B2B payments network, BPN creates the connective tissue needed to sync payables and receivables platforms. This is achieved by providing a transparent registry of suppliers who are interested in accepting digital payments that fit their preferences and processes, and making it easy for buyers to deliver those digital payments directly to the suppliers’ acceptance platforms.
Looking at the other side of the equation, we also had a chance to hear from folks on the payables side about their experience thus far with BPN. Not surprisingly, the benefits that suppliers are realizing from BPN are being shared by their A/P counterparts. Here’s some of what they said:
“BPN increases our value to current and new customers.”
“Integration was seamless and efficient.”
“It’s an ecosystem where everybody wins!”
While estimates show that paper checks still represent roughly 51% of the U.S. B2B payments volume, there is further proof that BPN will cater to a growing need for common ground in payments. Already, Billtrust has automated over $1 billion in payments originating from payable providers now participating in BPN. Traditionally routed through email, automating these payments has eliminated almost 36,000 hours of manual data entry, processing and invoice matching against suppliers’ outstanding invoices. After hearing from happy customers and BPN participants, we know that these numbers can only continue to grow.
As businesses evolve, driven in part by an increased need for an enhanced customer experience, digital payments will play an increasingly important role for their ability to require less manual touch, improve fraud controls, enhance reconciliation, and much more. By closing the gap that exists between B2B payment platforms we can spur the adoption of digital payments and ensure that the benefits associated with them are enjoyed by teams and organizations on both sides of the equation.
We look forward to keeping you updated on BPN. Make sure to tune in again next week for our fourth installment of the Summit 2019 blog series. See you then!