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Payments automation is trendy. Should you take the plunge?

Trends come and go. Some are polarizing. Others are galvanizing. And still others set industry standards — determining which businesses will make it and which won’t.

When it comes to financial and business trends, we know that history is all over the map. But if we concentrate on the elements that power how the day-to-day work gets done, we can see how trends — especially those focused on the adoption of new technologies — set the course for the future.

Automation is an example. There’s hardly an industry that hasn’t been touched by automation. From paying for your gas at the pump to buying a car online and having it delivered; or from self-check out at the grocery store to having nearly anything you could want or need delivered to your doorstep within a few days, automation is ever-present. And while we might miss some of the human interaction automation has replaced, for the most part, automation saves time and money and enables businesses — and consumers — to put that time and money toward areas of greater importance.

Automation infiltrates most aspects of modern-day business. But over the past few years, a trend has developed in automation within the payments space of accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) departments.

Having dependable, high-functioning AR and AP departments is the cost of doing business well. But does it have to be as costly as it is? That’s the question many forward-looking banks and financial institutions asked when exploring ways automation could improve the businesses of their clients. The resounding answer was “no.”

Businesses can not only save time and money through the introduction of automation in their AR and AP departments, they also gain better control over their money. They can even earn money from an unexpected source by simply switching from manual, paper-heavy processes and workflows to an automated, electronic payment hub system.

We say “simply” because when done right, the process of switching is simple. Banks and financial institutions committed to the success of their clients’ businesses have developed their products and programs to make the process easy. From product design attributes like seamless integration into existing accounting programs, to not needing to host additional software, to program support for onboarding and even enrolling all vendor partners for you, automation can make running a business easier — and can be easy to implement.

Automation in the AR and AP space can consolidate all payment types into a single payment instruction file with a fully managed payments program so that you eliminate check writing costs, increase electronic payments, reduce reconciliation time, secure all payment data, improve cash flow, increase on-invoice hit rates and overall accuracy, and even generate revenue share by paying vendors with a virtual credit card instead of a check. And another benefit to payment processing automation is that it frees up more of your teams’ time for those higher-order tasks of greater importance to your business.

So, could your payment processes use some help? Should you take the automation plunge? The time just might be right to follow the trend. If you still aren’t sure, contact us today to learn how you can bring additional value to your accounting departments by leveraging automation tools.

CommercePayments® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank.

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