Integration's role in commercial real estate payments tech

When it comes to commercial real estate payments technology, integration is key.

Today’s commercial real estate (CRE) payments landscape is increasingly digital-forward. CRE developers, property managers and operators are leaning more heavily on technology to ensure they can conduct business in a remote or hybrid environment, enhance their payment offerings to tenants and make it easier to disburse payments to vendors.

That trend is playing out across middle market businesses in all industries. In a recent Capital One and Morning Consult survey among 400 middle market leaders, more than half of respondents said they upgraded or implemented new technologies across payments, operations, customer experience, and supply chain and logistics within the past year.

While survey results showed that 56% of leaders found it difficult to implement and upgrade technologies, they reported quick adoption speed and high adoption rates among employees, customers and suppliers. When speaking to their payments technologies, 25% of respondents said that friction and a lack of interoperability across systems was their biggest challenge.

That sentiment reflects the driving force behind new integrations among CRE lenders and fintech providers within the payments space. The end goal? To provide CRE companies with seamless interactions between the software and technology provided by fintechs and the payments capabilities and solutions provided by banks. This allows CRE companies–primarily property managers–to be more nimble as they address their evolving business needs. 

Building automation into future payments strategies

Automation can help play a major role when it comes to providing a frictionless experience for accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) professionals. As part of their day-to-day operations, these professionals work with invoice management, account opening, tenant portals and payment portals to connect with vendors, financial stakeholders and customers. With automation technologies at work behind the scenes, AP and AR departments can drive efficiency through:

  • Process automation, which can help streamline repetitive tasks, such as escrow account opening, can also help drive tangible efficiencies, increase productivity and generate measurable ROI. 
  • Workflow automation, which can enable organizations to build standardized workflows using established business rules to automatically route files, tasks or data between systems or persons, with reminders and tracking to provide accountability. 
  • Analytics automation, which can be an efficient way to glean value from the large volume of data generated by CRE stakeholders, including lenders, owners and tenants. 

By increasing automation across the AP and AR functions, CRE decision-makers and their teams can spend more time focusing on their customers and their business strategy rather than manual or analog tasks, like processing paper-based checks. And they’re often able to make more informed decisions, too, which can lead to additional cost savings and revenue generation.

Integration as a key aspect of future technology enhancements

As CRE companies continue to implement new payments technology and software, it’s important to consider how those changes or enhancements might impact integration with key stakeholders–including banking relationships. Bringing financial stakeholders to the table can help companies avoid future friction and provide an avenue for early problem-solving.

Bank representatives can provide value by helping to ensure the new software or technology has the right approvals in place, including fraud prevention measures like secure file transfer systems and servers needed to communicate with banks more securely. The bank can also share insight about what payment capabilities might provide the greatest returns based on the company’s size and existing integration levels.

Collaborating on CRE digital transformation

While relationships remain a critical part of the borrower-lender dynamic, technology can enhance that human connection with a trusted advisor, rather than replace it. 

Lenders have a massive opportunity to encourage digitization and integrate with established fintechs to support clients on their payment technology journeys. Together, CRE lenders and fintechs can help provide the most relevant services and innovate on emerging payment needs within the industry.

This article was written by Stacey Doerrbecker, Treasury Management Team Leader in Capital One Commercial Banking.

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