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Meeting New Business Demands.

Automated payables and receivables solutions for remote workforces.

In the spring of 2020 when most U.S. workers began working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies began altering their business operations to accommodate a virtual workforce. Hillyard – a leading manufacturer and distributor of cleaning and hygiene solutions for schools, healthcare facilities, businesses, industrial enterprises and convenience stores – was among those who quickly realized the need for adjustments. Two critical areas were its accounts payable and accounts receivable functions.

The increased demand for the company’s products, which meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for use against COVID-19, highlighted the need to streamline the company’s accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. The company was placing more product orders and fulfilling customer requests at a record pace.

“With more than 800 employees, many of whom were working remotely, and a dispersed workforce on the customer side, we needed a better online solution to simplify our business billing and payment processes,” said Jana Hessemyer, Chief Financial Officer. “We assembled a team with CommercePayments® who helped us navigate our changing business needs.”

Leveraging Existing Systems

For several years Hillyard has used Commerce Connections®, a comprehensive, web-based cash management system which helps  to manage account reconciliation. Through the PreferPay® feature, Hillyard submits a daily electronic file detailing its issued checks. As those are presented for payment, the Positive Pay function electronically compares them to the information provided, helping to protect Hillyard’s bank accounts from check fraud while also enabling a more efficient reconciliation process.

“While our existing systems helped us reconcile our payments, we needed a turnkey solution for customers who now needed an online option to make payments,” said Hessemyer. “Within a few weeks, CommercePayments® had us up and rolling with an accounts receivable solution, CollectPay Online®.”

Automating Accounts Receivable

CollectPay Online® is a fully-hosted portal that expands Hillyard’s customer’s payment options, such as:

  • enabling them to make payments online paying by credit card, debit card or debit to a bank account;
  • setting payment schedules; and
  • accessing bill summary information online.

The site has customizable features and a robust dashboard allowing Hillyard to identify and enter payments on behalf of its customers. CollectPay Online® also helps the organization collect accounts receivable more efficiently.

Preventing Fraud

Based on the success with CollectPay Online®, Hillyard is enhancing its own payment methods.

“We wanted to get our ERP systems operational for outgoing ACH payments, and the pandemic really pushed us to get that initiative over the finish line,” said Brian Schiermeyer, payroll supervisor.”

PreferPay® and ACH Risk Manager systematically alert Hillyard of potential fraud, whether it be an outside party using a debit card, an overage on a transaction limit or ensuring another entity isn’t using its routing and account numbers.

“Due to the increase in fraudulent ACH activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, ACH Risk Manager allows Hillyard to have control over money being pulled from its account, preventing fraudulent transactions from occurring.” 

“Businesses only have 24 hours to report a fraudulent transaction and the notifications help us stay on top of account activity,” said Tracy Jordan, Controller. “There have been two occasions where the CommercePayments® has identified and addressed fraud on our behalf.”

Maximizing Cash Flow

The Hillyard relationship with Commerce Bank facilitates a better use of its cash flow. The Commerce Bank team assists with maximizing cash flow through optimal interchange rates on merchant transactions, streamlining payables and receivables and automating loan activity.

“We don’t want our funds sitting idly and I appreciate how the Commerce Bank team finds ways for us to leverage that cash flow,” said Schiermeyer. “I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

Moving Forward

“The pandemic was the impetus for us expanding and enhancing our online accounts receivable and accounts payable systems,” said Hessemyer. “By doing this, we realized the depth and breadth of available solutions. We are continually looking at ways to increase our efficiencies and Commerce Bank is the ideal partner in doing that.”

“Our business needs are ever changing and Commerce Bank continuously provides solutions to fulfill those new demands. CollectPay Online® is a great example of a dynamic product suited for today’s environment that gives us the capability to efficiently collect payments electronically.”
Brett Carolus
Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer
Hillyard Companies

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