Let’s set the scene: A customer visits a store, picks up an item, pays with his credit card and walks out. This is an extremely simple process, and it’s similar to how online payments work too.
However, when it comes to B2B businesses, things can get a lot more complicated. There are invoices and quotes to prepare, potentially multiple departments involved that have different budgets and guidelines, plus countless hours of organizing involved, especially as transactions grow in size.
If you accept B2B transactions, you’ll need to consider the systems you have in place. Do you accept checks? Do you accept credit cards? Have you considered the security implications of accepting credit cards, such as adhering to PCI compliance? The list goes on and on.
A poorly organized payment system can hold you back, and even damage your business. To help you mitigate potential chaos, here are the typical pain points of B2B payment systems and how to resolve them.
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face as a B2B business is auditing. This could involve anything from IRS investigations to creditor and investor reviews of your business.
These audits can bring a business to a halt. For these audits to be successful, you’ll need all your transaction details, reports and documents on hand. This can be extremely time-consuming, especially if you’re working with paper documents.
It’s far easier to move everything to a digital format, even if it’s just onto your intranet or LAN [local area network]. This means you can vastly decrease the processing time as everything will be in one place, ready to search and [review] at your auditor’s will.
If an error occurs with a transaction, such as a missing recurring payment or bounced check, it can take hours to search through documentation to resolve the issue. Furthermore, documentation can be damaged, misplaced or destroyed accidentally if it’s in paper form. In instances like this, having all your files and documentation online can be a real lifesaver and promote better security.
This means setting up an organised and well-maintain digital filing system where you’ll be able to search, find and locate everything you need, without having to worry about sifting through dozens of filing cabinets looking for the document that you need.
Using an automated and digital system like this is also beneficial because it allows multiple employees to have access to these accounts and folders while reducing the risks associated with physical documents, which can be lost, stolen or improperly accessed.
Managing your payments with a Virtual Terminal that has built-in user access controls can give you more control over who on your team can look at sensitive payment information or take actions in the system like issuing refunds.
Remittance information refers to the documents you might create, hold and store during and after a transaction with a customer. These documents typically include invoices, reports, receipts, customer numbers and other customer identification documents.
Of course, during and after the transaction, the invoices must be sent to the right person, the right addresses and, most importantly, the right customers. In the event that something goes wrong with a payment, such as incorrect bank information, incorrect customer information or an incorrect amount, the transaction will need to be monitored, and these documents need to be found.
This is fine if you’re handling, say, ten customers, but what happens if you’re dealing with thousands upon thousands of customers? Things are going to get very complicated, very quickly. This is why it’s important to try and aim for as much of a digital infrastructure as possible.
Digital storage is easier to search through quickly and is reliable. The more manual tasks you can cut, the more efficient and effective your business’s payment system will be.
There are many potential pitfalls B2B businesses face when managing their payments — many of which are due to the fact that they use physical documents. Moving to paperless, digitized documentation will help mitigate the chaos of managing B2B client data and payments. Take things a step further by moving to green technology that makes paper receipts a thing of the past. You’ll save time digging through paper receipts in the event of a dispute as well as reduce your paper-related expenses.
Does your business take B2B payments? What tactics have you used to address issues related to B2B payment management? We’d love to hear from you!