Project Description

Close up of individual using mobile phone to pay for a beverage at a deli counter.Imagine your customer, smartphone in hand. While waiting in line to order coffee, she unlocks the screen with her thumbprint, then uses your company’s app to log into her account, where she verifies the status of her last order. An email later that day alerts her that her invoice is available, which she views from her phone and pays right away, using the credit card data stored in her mobile wallet. She knows her account information is tokenized, so she’s not worried about fraud — even if she misplaces her phone.

Back at the café counter, she simply waves her phone over the credit card terminal to pay for her coffee, then checks to see how many customer loyalty points today’s latte earned. She loves the convenience of having so many digital channels and personalized communications and can’t imagine the world her parents and coworkers describe: making phone calls between 9 and 5 to place orders, receiving bills in the mail, and writing checks.

From science fiction to payments reality

Just a few years ago, this scenario might have read like science fiction. Today, it’s the new reality for B2C and B2B companies. From mobile technology, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to changing demographics across the population and faster payment methods, the way we do business is undergoing a fundamental transformation. We’re now more connected, more informed, and more eager to embrace new digital solutions.

Depending on how your organization reacts, this change can be an opportunity — or a threat. Here’s how it relates to your order-to-cash cycle.

    1. Develop your digital road map. Online orders, billing, payments, and customer service are no longer an option — they’re the new reality. Customers of all ages (but millennials in particular) expect a seamless experience no matter when or how they transact with you. Even B2B buyers appreciate the convenience of instant, online payments, such as credit cards or payment systems, rather than with purchase orders, invoices, and checks. That makes a proactive digital strategy a must.

The good news for business is that you don’t need to start from scratch to expand your collections process. Leading banks and fintech resources now provide prepackaged, modular solutions that deliver the latest order and payment functionality in days or weeks — and with far less impact to your budget or IT resources. Everything from electronic billing to mobile payments to automated order review exists, with most able to plug into your existing ERP or back-office systems.

    1. Protect your data. As quickly as payment innovations occur, cyber criminals follow. Data breaches hit record numbers in 2017, up 44% over the previous year, with more than 1,500 breaches reported in the U.S.1 With more connected devices, IoT attacks increased 600% in the last year.2 At the same time, campaigns targeting employees to expose system credentials continue to impact organizations of all industries.

It’s imperative for treasury professionals to keep pace with the latest schemes and fraud detection tools. It’s smart to tokenize customer account data, make sure your systems and touch points are PCI-compliant, and continually educate your staff on their role in the fraud protection process. Working closely with financial professionals and using the latest fraud detection tools can help safeguard your valuable customer data, your profits, and your business reputation.

    1. Automate your processes. Updating your receivables work flow is not just about benefits for your customers. There’s a tremendous opportunity for your business to increase your efficiency, boost your working capital, reduce your fraud risks, and gather stronger data for decision-making. All are possible when you take a step back and rethink the ideal experience, from how you present your bills and fees to how your customer pays you to how you post your data.

Consider:

    • What if your customers could use one portal to view and pay their invoices, branded to your company but without requiring custom development or hosting?
    • What if your customers could choose when, where, and how to pay you, without adding more channels for you to manage?
    • What if you could import a single, standardized file of all your receivables (checks, cards, ACH, and other transactions) directly into your ERP system?

While these expectations may seem daunting, even small changes can have a big impact. What’s important is getting started, so your receivables process remains a competitive advantage.

For more information, contact your treasury management representative.

1. Identity Theft Resource Center, “2017 Annual Data Breach Year-End Review.”
2. Symantec, “2018 Internet Security Threat Report,” Volume 23.