Basware, the leading provider of e-invoicing and purchase-to-pay solutions, predicts 2015 as the year of global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, fuelled by several key trends that will speed up economic growth, including innovative financing and e-payment solutions, the growing reliance on social and mobile computing, advanced analytics and increased imperatives from governments around the world to remove technical barriers and create open, interoperable business ecosystems. The continued corporate focus on increasing cash flow will also drive the urgency to create a connected global economy.
“B2B commerce will become more agile and responsive as organisations increasingly rely on innovative, online and real-time invoicing and payment solutions to break down trading barriers and country borders,” said Esa Tihilä, CEO of Basware. “The corporate push to improve cash flow and the implementation by governments around the world to create a supportive e-commerce infrastructure will further fuel the adoption of e-invoicing and alternative financing options. This will help make connected global commerce a reality for organisations of all sizes.”
Basware predicts four key trends will transform B2B commerce over the next twelve months:
New real-time, online payment and financing options will drive a new era in consumerisation of B2B
Cash flow continues to be a constant concern for businesses of all sizes as companies continue to hold onto their cash at all costs and extend payment terms to suppliers. These common practices create major cash flow pressure for trading partners, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses, many of whom are reluctant to take on debt. Traditional B2B factoring options are time-consuming, involve a high degree of risk and are costly for borrowers.
E-commerce, open networks and interoperability will continue to be game changers in 2015. The growth of business commerce networks that enable real-time e-invoicing, along with worldwide payment networks, are enabling new payment options as well as the establishment of a new online financing marketplace. As the next frontier in the consumerisation of B2B, innovative e-payment solutions for businesses are speeding up settlement by enabling immediate, electronic payment once an invoice is approved. These online and real-time trade financing solutions, such as Basware Pay, along with new, innovative financing models, are the disruptive technologies for 2015, changing the old way of doing business. They are removing suppliers’ dependency on buyers for cash flow, and radically transforming the one-sided relationship that has favoured the buyer, to a mutually beneficial B2B commerce experience.
Social, mobile, and the cloud as the new normal
The boundaries of time and space continue to be dissolved, as financial executives are demanding mobile access to apps anytime, anywhere. Processes, such as invoice review and approval, can move ahead efficiently and unimpeded regardless of travel schedules, enabling companies to better manage and control their payables and realise early payment discounts and other benefits. Accounts Payable (AP) departments will rely more heavily on social capabilities within business commerce networks to communicate with trading partners and address issues in real time.
As in the consumer world, the cloud has become standard for today’s finance executives, and they are more readily relying on it to cost-effectively manage their applications and resources, and access them seamlessly anytime and from any device.
Government to continue to make e-invoicing the standard worldwide
There is continued push from governments around the world to adopt e-invoicing to decrease costs, improve tax compliance and efficiency and reduce fraud. With governments receiving up to 30 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product from VAT and sales taxes, ensuring tax compliance is also a key issue that is spurring e-invoicing adoption. More than 50 countries around the world are in various stages of implementing e-invoicing initiatives. To promote borderless commerce, the EU is moving ahead to make e-invoicing required for government suppliers by 2015 and the standard method for companies to conduct business shortly thereafter. The U.S. Federal government has begun implementing the Invoice Processing Platform at 74 organisations to cut costs and improve efficiencies, resulting in approximately $5 to $6 million in savings (about $20 an invoice) to date.
Analytics to uncover value throughout organisations
Organisations will continue to rely on analytics more heavily than ever before to drive business results. Analytics solutions are identifying procurement, spend and payment trends; optimising processes and technology; and uncovering opportunities for accelerated payments and other strategies. By leveraging analytics, organisations are realising improved cash-to-cash conversion cycles, days sales outstanding (DSOs) and days payment outstanding (DPOs). Additionally, the insight into spend, cash flow and working capital enabled by automated analytics will propel a closer collaboration among internal departments, such as AP, Finance, Procurement and Treasury and extend to external trading partners. In “Intelligent Finance Organisations: Research Summary,” a recent study by CFO Research, in collaboration with KPMG, business analysis was cited as CFO’s top priority for implementing technology initiatives.