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Payment Predictions in 2016 from our CEO, BC Krishna | Part 3

2016 graphFor our last post in this series, we will focus on the evolution of AP.

How will the AP process evolve in 2016?

For those of us who’ve populated the boring, decidedly unglamorous backwater of invoice payment automation for all these years, it was encouraging to see a few lemmings throw themselves off the cliff in 2015.

Yes, Virginia, there may well be a Santa Claus.

Accounts Payable – invoice and payment processing – continues to be notoriously manual, inefficient, paper-based, ad hoc, risky, and poorly controlled for the vast majority of American businesses. However, proof of invoice payment automation value (for more than the largest billion-dollar enterprises) is palpable, and solutions (from companies like MineralTree) are now affordable, easy to install and use, and deliver rapid time-to-value.

Expect 2016 to be a big year in helping middle-market businesses become more aware of solutions that can automate invoice payments. Let’s say this – any financial controller or AP staff member that believes that manual, paper-based, ad hoc AP is the wave of the future is also likely to wax nostalgic about how great life was before antibiotics and the Internet.

Will businesses look to their banks for more efficient AP automation solutions in 2016?

Candidly, I don’t think so.

Banks are business critical, of course. Real businesses manage cash in bank accounts, and depend on their bankers to provide credit at critical times.

But I’d be a very rich person if I had a dollar for every time I’ve had a banker say to me – “but my business customers are not asking me for more AP automation solutions.”

Of course not! And we can fill volumes of manuscripts explaining why.

Quite often, business customers (and consumers in general) don’t articulate their requirements in neatly boxed, well-defined categories or take the leap to a next generation solution that addresses an unrecognized business need. Wasn’t it Henry Ford who said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses?” How many would have said they wanted an Uber-like experience when asked how they could have improved upon their taxi-ride home from the airport?

And, perhaps it is a sad commentary on the state of the industry that businesses do NOT think of their bankers as a source of innovative category-busting solutions to address business problems.

Indeed, bleak as this sounds, banks have a tremendous opportunity to be a natural business partner and provide solutions to long-standing problems in AP payments.

And so, no – I doubt that businesses would ask, but that’s not because the problems don’t exist. Progressive bankers offering AP automation solutions to their business clients would delight! Because it is so rare that banking solutions do.

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