Drive More Value Into Your Card Program

Why evaluating multiple e-payables partners for your card ecosystem is good for your business


Implementing leading-edge transactional technology is a high priority for the C-Suite. To gauge its importance, Forbes Insights conducted a survey of 1,001 mid-market C-Suite leaders on behalf of Capital One in late 2020. According to the survey, more than half of respondents (58%) are taking steps to invest in capabilities like payments technology, real-time payments and mobile/digital payments. 

If you have plans to invest in these technologies, it’s important to know how they can impact and benefit your broader payments ecosystem. 

Today, your business probably relies on a card program: plastic cards for your T&E and purchasing, maybe a virtual card for optimizing your AP program and, in some cases, buyer initiated payment streams.

This approach can help maximize the benefits from your accounts payable strategy. Having one provider for your entire card program seems like a great way to drive an efficient AP program. There could be one portal to log into, one account manager to deal with and one rebate structure to manage. This approach was adopted in the late 1980s with the invention of the PCard, and is still the dominant approach to card programs across corporations today.

But if you entrust a single provider with your entire card ecosystem, you may not be getting the best value possible.

 

Explore Moving to a Best-In-Class Ecosystem

It’s impossible to be the best at everything–and that is especially true with card products. Keeping up with technology requires investment. That’s why one bank may excel at travel and expense card programs, while another may offer an exceptional rebate program with a sleek user interface for its virtual card.

Today’s business environment makes it imperative that you consider unique offerings from multiple providers for your entire card program—especially when it comes to e-payables programs.

 

5 Ways to Drive Value Into Your E-Payables Program

According to the Forbes Insights survey, executives who are investing in transactional technologies identified they are expanding mobile/digital payments among both customers (46%) and suppliers (45%). 

As more companies seek to implement and enhance these technologies, it’s important to choose the right provider and the right structure for your e-payables program.

Historically, e-payable programs originated within the Finance and Treasury departments; however, programs that deliver best-in-class outcomes have cross-functional alignment among the Finance, Treasury, Accounts Payable and Supply Chain departments. It’s especially important for these departments to share a unified message when communicating about the program and its value to vendors. Here’s how you can ensure your program delivers convenience, rewards and benefits that support your business needs:

  • Financial optionality: Look at providers that offer a full range of credit options, like shorter terms for yield-based returns, longer terms to help with working capital goals or the perfect mix of both. 
  • AP automation: Compare virtual card providers to identify how they can align with your existing systems and workflows, such as procure-to-pay, invoice approvals and payment disbursal. Find the solution that best meets your suppliers’ account receivables processes at scale. Choose a product that offers both single-use and recurring-use cards, can remit payment to a supplier in multiple ways (secure email, portal, phone and interactive voice response) and features customized spend controls.
  • Rebates: Consider the rebate options associated with the program. Determine the frequency at which the rebate is paid out (monthly, quarterly or annually), and identify how the rebate is calculated (transaction size or interchange generated).
  • Control: Select a commercial virtual card that allows you to track vendor payments in real-time.
  • Reporting: Beyond detailed vendor account information, look for a program that can also provide robust reporting, including remittance information to enhance reconciliation. And if you require customized reporting, determine whether the provider can meet that request.

What to Look for in an E-Payables Partner 

When choosing e-payables partners, look for providers with resources that will support your business from program rollout through integration. Strong partners will be able to share industry best practices that you can deploy within your own program. Your partner should also be able to help you optimize your program over the long term. Key indicators of a good partner include:

  • A dedicated implementation team that understands your industry
  • A system that seamlessly integrates with your ERP or accounting system
  • Reporting capabilities that include benchmarking and data analysis
  • Flexibility to configure spending controls and authorizations
  • Experience delivering e-payables solutions at scale
  • Ability to support onboarding vendors who are set up to accept virtual cards today

To make sure you receive competitive terms for each e-payables solution that works for your business, choose multiple banking partners and their best-in-class solutions.

 


 

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