Decades later, can something like this ever happen with B2B payments? In spite of hundreds of different ERP systems, an ever-growing number of accounts payable platforms and thousands of banks, I believe the answer is a resounding yes. In the U.S., surprisingly, we’re still cutting a lot of checks – fewer than we used to, but still trillions of dollars’ worth adding up to 42% of all B2B transactions, according to AFP. And after what we’ve seen this past year with remote workforces and challenges in mail delivery stemming from changes with the U.S. Postal Service, it is clearer than ever that there is a need for change in how B2B handles its financial processes. Simply put, manual processing and keying payments is not a long-term answer – we are moving towards mass digital adoption. These very factors are kick starting a movement away from a very-much-still-analog B2B payments ecosystem into a realm where consumers have already boldly gone.
So like those early ATM networks where interoperability was the key to creating universal compatibility, it’s time for all parties involved to work together to form a B2B network of networks to streamline digital payments and exponentially hasten adoption. Is this easy to do? Well, it is happening now. Payments networks have formed and are growing and constantly adding partners – accounts payable service providers, software companies and banks processing B2B transactions – to make them stronger.