How can medical suppliers manage AP portal requirements?

Blog | August 15, 2022

Reading time: 5 min

By Kaitlyn Grotkiewicz, Billtrust Sales Executive

For medical suppliers, getting paid just got a whole lot more complicated. Discover the radically simple solution to the AP portal problem.

Suppose your company supports the medical industry with supplies, equipment or services. In that case, you’re likely facing a tough new challenge. It’s recurring more frequently than ever: What to do when your customer, whether a hospital or medical practice, mandates you deliver invoices into their digital accounts payable (AP) portal?

Getting paid just got a whole lot more complicated. You have various options for coping with this challenge, most undesirable. But before we examine those, let’s lay out some background.

The AP portal challenge for medical suppliers

AP portals, or procure-to-pay portals, are increasingly deployed by the accounts payable departments of many large hospitals and medical practices. They automate the acceptance and processing of invoices, which creates great convenience for the AP teams within those organizations. They often mandate that medical companies use those portals for invoicing.

This is part of a bigger trend in B2B toward faster, more buyer-centric selling experiences. B2B buyers in all segments want sellers to digitize, modernize and deliver greater convenience and efficiency.

This creates headaches, though, on the medical supplier side. A supplier has to deal with multiple customers, and each is pressing the supplier to use its specific AP portal. In working with medical suppliers, I’ve seen how there are over 200 distinct AP portal providers their buyers may use. Each comes with its own array of individual and different requirements, bogging down supplier accounts receivable (AR) teams and multiplying inefficiencies.  

As mentioned above, a medical supplier has multiple options for dealing with AP portals. Some of these “options” present new and frustrating hurdles for your organization: 

  • Option: Dedicate your IT staff to an electronic data interchange (EDI) project. Home-growing your own solution can be a project that takes many months, consumes a lot of resources in development and maintenance, and may never be complete since new portals may arise or existing ones change their requirements.
  • Option: Manually key invoices into your customers' portals. Note how I used the plural: Invoice keystroking is labor-intensive enough and already subject to human error when you’re dealing with only one AP portal, but remember what I said above: Many medical suppliers already have to manage a lot of portals. Doing the math on the costs involved here will give your CFO a migraine.
  • Option: Say no to the request. Is this an option? You’re putting yourself at risk of losing the customer. Since more hospitals and practices are adopting AP portals, you stand a chance of losing most or all of your business with every customer who expects you to do as asked.
  • Option: Outsource to a third-party solution. This depends on the solution you’ve chosen. Is it proven in practice, with an admirable track record and validation from others in your industry? Picking the wrong solution and provider can leave you in nearly as bad a situation as any other option.

There’s a glimmer of hope for that last option: You’ve got to pick the right solution, backed by the right provider. 

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A radically simple solution to the AP portal problem

That “right” solution should automate and streamline the process of submitting invoices to multiple AP portals, so they’re entered on time and in the proper format for each portal. No more endless keystroking (or mistakes!), and you can show customers that you’re happy to embrace their mandates.

With the automation capabilities of Billtrust’s Business Payments Network (BPN) Invoicing, a medical supplier can ensure they’re not only submitting invoices with certainty and ease, but they can check the status of their invoices across all of their customers’ AP portals.

Diagram demonstrating BPN connection services for a business

Here’s how BPN Invoicing works: It’s an automated, web-based AR solution where you send your invoices and data to just one place, and we handle the rest. Period.

If that sounds radically simple, that’s because BPN Invoicing was designed to be exactly that. We’ve got built-in integrations with 200+ AP portals. Even if a buyer has built its own portal, with its own peculiar requirements? Just shoot those over to us, and we’ll set up BPN, so you can also deliver invoices seamlessly into their system.  

Thanks to automatic status updates, you’ll also be able to carry out quick exception handling. You’ll have 24/7 access to a central dashboard where you can review submitted invoices and manage exceptions if any crop up. Plus, you’ll be able to monitor every step of the approval process for every invoice.

how billtrust's invoice delivery works graphic

There’s no problem with re-sending an invoice, either. We can submit a corrected invoice as often as possible for you to get paid.

Solving bigger AR issues for medical suppliers

Most companies have different teams dealing with invoices and collections, respectively. In the medical sector, invoicing and collections can happen in entirely separate branches of an organization.  

That means an invoice submitted into an AP portal and approved with an assigned payment date might appear delinquent to a collector since they don’t have access to the invoice status.

BPN solves this knotty little problem by creating a centralized place everyone in AR can access to review invoice statuses.  

That’s just one example of how BPN and other Billtrust solutions solve issues that you should no longer have to wrestle with. The level of risk and complexity created by accounts payable (AP) portals and traditional B2B payment processes even before shouldn’t be acceptable for anyone. Not anymore.  

BPN and Billtrust mitigate the risk and remove the complexity for medical supplier AR teams. They can focus their time on more important matters, like providing better customer service even as you’re paid faster and taking control of your cash flow as never before.  

Let’s also not forget another BPN benefit: It helps with your potential for selling to more customers in more regions, thanks to its global portal integrations.  

For medical suppliers, the challenges of dealing with AP portals might seem daunting. It takes a unique and best-in-class digital B2B payment technology to overcome them. Really and truly, BPN is that one-of-a-kind solution.

Want to find out more?

Just contact our Medical Sales team at [email protected] or visit Billtrust BPN Invoicing. We’re eager to share even more about the groundbreaking features and benefits you’ll get to enjoy by partnering with Billtrust.