The past decade has seen numerous industries and departments adopting new technologies as a way to improve their workflow. This is obvious whether you go to a manufacturing facility or stop by a customer support center.
Around 84% of companies, specifically those who are open to innovation in the payment sector, state that automation and new technologies could give them many benefits and especially reduce mistakes. At the same time, 81% believe that it would reduce their costs, while 70% of them think that it would reduce the strain on their employees.
Evidently, there’s a lot of interest in the implementation of new technologies. And to be fair, more than 25% of companies have already adopted some form of technology that improved their processes, specifically in the payment automation department.
On the other hand, 59% of businesses have not applied payment automation in any form. And while automation carries a host of benefits – from cost reductions to better productivity and speed of delivery – they are still not utilizing its full potential.
Historically, the B2B industry has always been lagging behind the consumer industry when it comes to payment innovation and the adoption of new technologies.
But, are tech providers adopting their own technologies and principles?
Paper Pushing In Numbers
It’s true that companies are using cloud services more and more. Around 80% of companies want to move forward with a paperless, technology improved workflow. And yet, despite the convenience and inexpensiveness of the cloud, many businesses continue to push paper.
This is evident in, well, how much actual paper we still use.
Research has found that an average employee in an office setting spends 10.000 sheets of paper excluding notebooks and other office supplies. This equates to around $750 per year, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you remember that you have to spend this much per employee.
For those concerned about the environment, it means that each employee uses the amount of paper equivalent to a tree. Unsurprisingly, 45% of that paper is thrown away.
Paper wastes a lot of time too. Experts estimate that around 25% of calls to the help desk have something to do with printers.
It’s clear that this is not effective or productive. But it’s a problem even at the source of innovation.
Payment Automation and Tech Providers
Tech providers are notorious for their usage of antiquated forms of organization, be it paper planners or Excel sheets. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that but a streamlined workflow could offer more.
It translates to the financial departments as well.
Most tech provider customers pay for their services through checks, which is strange in an industry which is otherwise ahead. They don’t offer many alternatives.
It’s safe to assume that not all B2B tech providers do business this way, but there are anecdotal evidence and reports which claim that some of them do. Archaic systems can’t provide one element, crucial to the modern world: speed.
Payment innovations offer processes completed in a fraction of the time it would take to perform financial operations through conventional systems.
One of the most popular examples of automation helping companies make the “necessary evil” work easier is accounts payable. The power of the AP department on the entire company is undeniable. If you don’t have good AP processes in place, you can lose the trust of your vendors and create numerous fees.
Automating AP means that the very process of payments, orders and invoices is easily tracked. A lot of repetitive, time-consuming work is taken out of your financial team’s hands which makes them happier and frees their time for more creative work. Similarly, mistakes are reduced, the process is faster and more productive.
Payroll is something often left to poor HR managers or general managers to tackle. The truth is, they don’t have the financial education to handle it, and it takes a lot of their time. That time could be better spent on the work they know how to do. As a business grows, payroll management usually doesn’t scale and it becomes a huge waste of resources.
Outsourcing an accountant to deal with it is also only scalable for a short amount of time. But it’s not suitable in the long-term. And even accountants love automation because it takes a great deal of boring work off their hands and gives them time to deal with more important things.
It’s not just payroll and AP that can be automated – many procedures can. Implementing technology into the workflow in a way that makes life easier for everyone is the key to productivity and efficiency.
Clearly, many companies are realizing the benefits of this and moving forward with better solutions. For those that still haven’t implemented payment optimizing procedures, it’s a good idea to look inward and see how their systems work. There’s still a lot of work to be done in this area across industries, but adopting what you preach may be the first step forward.
Kristina Perunicic is a freelance writer with Optimist. She has a background in marketing and management. In addition to writing and editing, she occasionally consults local startups on their digital marketing strategy. She loves reading, volunteering, and spending time with her family.