Traditionally, systems such as treasury management, procurement, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and card management have been delivered through installed programs on the desktop platform. Now, however, these systems are becoming available through other platforms and channels – namely, the cloud and mobile devices. Corporate users and financial professionals all along the cash cycle are now facilitating payments and other core activities using mobile platforms.
Steve Murphy, Director of Commercial and Enterprise Payments, outlines some of these activities and scenarios, while looking ahead along a seven-year growth trajectory to project the expected value of corporate and commercial spend initiated through mobile channels in 2025.
Today: The commercial mobile landscape at a high level
Currently, mobile is being used to facilitate various direct and indirect payment activities and a handful of other services for commercial customers.
One of the most common transactional scenarios is corporate proximity payments – that is, ones carried out in face-to-face environments. These are usually executed via a commercial card platform that allows employees to use the company card for purchases while traveling for business.
Commercial cards can also be used remotely when employees use them to book flights or accommodations through travel management systems, for direct procurement at the company via phone, and for web interactions.
There are also indirect payment scenarios where designated approvers such as CFOs and AP managers are using mobile to execute both bulk and single payment releases throughout the AP workflow as invoices are received and processed for payment.
Tomorrow: Potential uses and growth areas for mobile
Mobile has the potential to let these employees do more with less effort.
For instance, loading that commercial company card into a mobile wallet platform would enable traveling employees to use it directly at the point of sale as a contactless physical card – a tap-and-go scenario. Enabling employees to manage expenses on a mobile device as they go would save them the time and headache of filling out reimbursement forms while traveling – and free the rest of the organization from having to process them.
But Murphy says it’s safe to dream bigger. Making existing functions even more seamless is only the beginning of what’s possible.
Mobile could help coordinate interactions between departments to improve project management and CRM activities. It can provide clients with more capabilities in online banking, beyond the card management tool that has already become commonplace.
As business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces show an uptick, Murphy predicts that these will become a good market for virtual card usage and e-procurement systems because of the potential for more frequent integration up front for card-based selections in e-procurement – compared to today’s accepted “buy now, bill later” approach.
Consider an indirect payment scenario where approvals and releases are required as part of the accounts payable (AP) workflow as invoices are received and processed for payment.
Looking ahead to 2025, Murphy expects the value of corporate and commercial spend initiated through mobile channels to grow exponentially. He predicts that remotely-initiated mobile payments will begin to accelerate in 2021, driven by further digitization of the care cycle.
Meanwhile, proximity payments will follow a similar slope but at a slower pace, which will hinge on merchant adoption and access, plus a greater number of issuing banks and payment service providers offering capabilities.
What does all of this mean? When it comes to mobile, the sky’s the limit in these early days. We simply don’t know what we don’t know, and can’t begin to imagine what we can’t imagine.