I love December!
Where I hail from (the frozen tundra of Minnesota) snow is on the ground, lights are strung on trees and houses (and the occasional family pet) signifying that the holiday seasons is in full swing. It’s a wonderful time of year where even in the midst of the hectic schedules people go out of their way to be neighborly and greet one another with holiday cheer. Listen closely and you will hear the familiar “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “Seasons Greetings” being offered all around…along with the occasional “Happy Hannuramakwanzmas” from those uncertain which season to greet. But there is one seasonal exchange heard more than any other at this time of giving…
“How would you like to pay for that?”
That used to be a simple question to answer…Cash, Check or Credit. But with the innovation and proliferation of consumer payment options these days (ApplePay, Google wallet, PayPal, debit cards, bitcoins, retinal scan, etc.) the answer is not always so clear. In fact, there are so many choices to consumers now that I am thinking of re-writing a classic Christmas song for payment: “On the first day of Christmas, I paid with ApplePay…”
No doubt there has been plenty of innovation recently in the consumer payment space, most of it focused on convenience and ease of use, with security playing a role lately in such things as ApplePay’s tokenization. Because for the consumer, convenience and ease of us in executing the transaction is of primary importance to meet the goal of escaping the hordes of holiday shoppers and the madness of the malls at this time of year (trust me, I know…Minnesota is home to the Mall of America after all).
But in the realm of B2B Payments, where up until recently innovation has been virtually unknown, the convenience of executing the transaction and moving funds is really not an issue. It’s just not all that complicated. For B2B payments, moving money is the easy part. Connecting the massive amounts of data associated with that payment to the receiving party, however, has been difficult to achieve. And yet this is the critical need in B2B Payments.
What matters to businesses paying and being paid is the ability to see with certainty when a payment is being made and what exactly that payment is for. Unlike single transaction consumer payments, B2B payments often contain payment for multiple transactions (invoices)…sometimes hundreds! And companies depending on these payments need both visibility into payment timing and the ability to apply that payment quickly and accurately in order to fuel their cash flow and grow their business.
Take the case of Hayden Professional Services, a provider of cell phone tower construction services who depend heavily on contractors and thus monitor their cash flow closely. According to Hayden, “We need to be able to see what’s pending and when money is going to be deposited in order to move forward [with our projects]. But typically, we would just get a notification that an invoice has been paid.”
But that changed recently when one of their large customers began using AribaPay, an innovative new B2B payment method that provides full visibility into payment status and certainty of payment timing, along with easy access to detailed data that shows what a payment represents at the invoice and line-item level.
Now according to Hayden, “AribaPay has been a good tool to help us get caught up with payments we are due because it’s tracking everything…The time we used to spend chasing after things can now be put toward getting new projects executed.”
Trying to figure out what to get your suppliers as a gift this season? How about the gift of certainty of payment timing and a payment transaction they can unwrap to find it filled with the information they need?
Happy holidays indeed!