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What AvidXchange’s CEO Thinks 2017 Will Hold for the AP Space

 Q1: What do you foresee as the biggest trend in your industry in 2017? 

  

The biggest trend I see for 2017 is even more companies embracing electronic payments. In the past, companies made the majority of their payments with paper checks. However, as the adoption of ePayments grows, there’s an opportunity for companies to make more than 50 percent of their payments electronically with various methods.

 

I envision this as the biggest trend in 2017 because of the awareness factor. More and more businesses are hearing about payment automation, and they can utilize offerings like the one we’ve developed at AvidXchange, where they can leverage existing supplier networks comprised of suppliers that already accept ePayments. At AvidXchange, we have a network of over 100,000 suppliers ready to receive electronic payments. That’s 100,000 companies that have heard of the AvidPay Network, and so with continued awareness, companies will be able to even move beyond the 50 percent mark.

  

Q2: What disruptions do you foresee within the accounts payable industry during 2017? 

  

I have a bit of a biased answer because I see AvidXchange leading the disruption with our Invoice Accelerator offering. What we’re doing is totally turning the tables on how the accounts payables industry has operated since the beginning of time.

 

Traditionally, suppliers perform a service or sell a product, send an invoice, and then have to wait some period of time to get paid. The supplier doesn’t have any control over when they will be paid, because it is entirely in the hands of the buyer. One of the benefits of being a supplier enrolled with the AvidPay network is that they are able to tell us when they want to get paid, thanks to our Invoice Accelerator offering. This is a very radical, disruptive offering in terms of changing the way an industry operates. We’re giving the supplier power over their cash flow.

 

Q3: What are some of the challenges that currently exist in accounts payables that need to be addressed in 2017? Opportunities? 

  

One of the challenges I see in the accounts payable space is the confusion in the marketplace around payments. A lot of companies say that they are focused on payments but I think that it’s first important to delineate between companies that offer consumer payments versus B2B payments. Then, within the B2B space, define what is meant by, “we execute payments for companies.” It’s critical to understand the difference between offerings that are truly full service and manage the entire payment process versus offerings that may help with the shift to electronic payments, but leave a lot of the onus on the company’s finance team to make it successful.  One of the keys to our success has been our ability to offer a variety of different payment types. Historically, most companies used banks to make their payments. Banks typically only focus on one electronic payment type, which is usually either a credit card or virtual card. We manage all forms of payment for our customers, whether it is a card-based payment, ACH, via a third-party, or paper check.

 

  

  

  

About Michael Praeger 

  

Michael Praeger is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AvidXchange, Inc., the leading provider of on-demand accounts payables management and automated payment solutions. Since founding AvidXchange in 2000, Michael has been an active participant and speaker on “payables and payment automation” at various industry conferences and considered a thought leader within the industry in developing creative solutions and best practices for payables and payment automation. 

Michael has spent the last 20 years founding, managing, merging and selling technology and web services-related companies. Prior to establishing AvidXchange, Michael was Co-Founder of PlanetResume.com, a technology career enhancement and recruiting site that successfully completed its merger with CareerShop.com and CareerTV.net in November 1999. Prior to that, he was Co-Founder and CEO of InfoLink Partners and InfoVentures, LP. Michael also served as an Associate with Summit Partners, a Boston-based Venture Capital and Buyout partnership with more than $1 billion under management. He received a B.S.B.A. in Finance from Georgetown University. Michael is also a graduate of the “Birthing of Giants” executive entrepreneurship program at MIT. 

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