In one’s personal life, the need to dig out the checkbook is increasingly rare; using a credit or debit card or an electronic check is often more efficient and reliable. Paper checks are steadily losing ground to other payment methods in business, too, including Automated Clearing House debits, wire transfers and company purchasing cards. The average organization now only uses paper checks for half of its transactions with other businesses, according to a recent article on CFO.com.
In general, electronic payments are good news for accounts payable automation — and for organizations that use integrated software like Chrome River INVOICE for financial functions, including invoice processing, business analytics and expense reporting. In the latest payments survey by the Association for Financial Professionals, respondents note several benefits of electronic payments, including better cash planning, lower processing costs and reduced fraud.
But the survey also notes several common barriers that organizations face in adopting electronic payments.
- Resistance from customers and suppliers to electronic payments. More businesses and individuals are comfortable with using electronic checks and mobile payments, but you should expect a few holdouts.
- Lack of standardized remittance data. Formats vary from business to business, making it difficult to align data during electronic transmission.
- Lack of software integration between electronic payments and accounts payable management. According to CFO.com, to truly benefit from these new payment methods, an organization needs the resources and know-how to implement a coordinated software solution like Chrome River INVOICE.
Paper checks probably aren’t going to vanish overnight, but they are on the way out. With the right tools and planning, organizations that make the switch to electronic payments can expect a variety of benefits, from improving cash planning to reducing processing costs and fraud.
We’d like to learn from your experiences. What obstacles and hurdles should organizations expect to encounter as they transition to electronic payments? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!
Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.