Q1: What do youforesee as the biggest trend in your industry in 2017?
The biggest trendI see for 2017 is even more companies embracing electronic payments. In thepast, companies made the majority of their payments with paper checks. However,as the adoption of ePayments grows, there’s an opportunity for companies tomake more than 50 percent of their payments electronically with variousmethods.
I envision thisas the biggest trend in 2017 because of the awareness factor. More and morebusinesses are hearing about payment automation, and they can utilize offeringslike the one we’ve developed at AvidXchange, where they can leverage existingsupplier networks comprised of suppliers that already accept ePayments. At AvidXchange, we have a network of over 100,000suppliers ready to receive electronic payments. That’s 100,000 companies thathave heard of the AvidPay Network, and so with continued awareness, companieswill be able to even move beyond the 50 percent mark.
Q2: Whatdisruptions do you foresee within the accounts payable industry during 2017?
I have a bit of abiased answer because I see AvidXchange leading the disruption with our InvoiceAccelerator offering. What we’re doing is totally turning the tables on how theaccounts payables industry has operated since the beginning of time.
Traditionally,suppliers perform a service or sell a product, send an invoice, and then haveto wait some period of time to get paid. The supplier doesn’t have any controlover when they will be paid, because it is entirely in the hands of the buyer. Oneof the benefits of being a supplier enrolled with the AvidPay network is thatthey are able to tell us when they want to get paid, thanks to our Invoice Accelerator offering. This is a very radical, disruptiveoffering in terms of changing the way an industry operates. We’re giving thesupplier power over their cash flow.
Q3: What are someof the challenges that currently exist in accounts payables that need to beaddressed in 2017? Opportunities?
One of thechallenges I see in the accounts payable space is the confusion in themarketplace around payments. A lot of companies say that they are focused onpayments but I think that it’s first important to delineate between companiesthat 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 thedifference between offerings that are truly full service and manage the entirepayment process versus offerings that may help with the shift to electronicpayments, but leave a lot of the onus on the company’s finance team to make itsuccessful. One of the keys to our success has been our ability to offera variety of different payment types. Historically, most companies used banksto make their payments. Banks typically only focus on one electronic paymenttype, which is usually either a credit card or virtual card. We manage all formsof payment for our customers, whether it is a card-based payment, ACH, via athird-party, or paper check.
Michael Praeger is theCo-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AvidXchange, Inc., the leadingprovider of on-demand accounts payables management and automated paymentsolutions. Since founding AvidXchange in 2000, Michael has been an activeparticipant and speaker on “payables and payment automation” at variousindustry conferences and considered a thought leader within the industry indeveloping creative solutions and best practices for payables and paymentautomation.
Michael has spent thelast 20 years founding, managing, merging and selling technology and webservices-related companies. Prior to establishing AvidXchange, Michael wasCo-Founder of PlanetResume.com, a technology career enhancement and recruitingsite that successfully completed its merger with CareerShop.com andCareerTV.net in November 1999. Prior to that, he was Co-Founder and CEO ofInfoLink Partners and InfoVentures, LP. Michael also served as an Associatewith Summit Partners, a Boston-based Venture Capital and Buyout partnershipwith more than $1 billion under management. He received a B.S.B.A. in Financefrom Georgetown University. Michael is also a graduate of the “Birthing ofGiants” executive entrepreneurship program at MIT.