Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently hosted its annual conference on trends and developments in commercial cards and payment solutions. The agenda of this year’s conference, entitled “Connect with what’s next,” highlighted the increasingly important role of electronic payments to assist companies with their working capital management. The conference included presentations by BofA Merrill experts as well as senior leaders from the payments industry, including corporations and state government agencies, who have successfully transformed their payments processes. It also provided an avenue for BofA Merrill to unveil new product innovations.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen card-related solutions experience rapid growth as companies seek greater control and transparency over their expenses,” said Kevin Phalen, head of Global Card and Comprehensive Payables. “Today, we find ourselves in a new normal, where CFOs and corporate boards expect visibility into their day-to-day cash holdings as a way to manage exposure and maximize funding. The Payments and Card conference is an important forum for facilitating industry dialogue around the means by which companies in every region of the world can achieve these objectives.”
The conference included participation from more than 220 company representatives. Attendees were invited to a number of panel discussions, breakouts and workshops around various topics, including:
- Updates on the changing landscape of business-to-business payments with a specific focus on economic and regulatory impacts.
- Sessions to help companies prepare for expanding their card program globally.
- An overview of new and emerging payment technologies including CHIP and PIN and Mobile.
- Evolving uses for commercial prepaid products across industries, with a particular focus on: energy and power; general industries; healthcare; consumer-retail; media and telecom; public sector, and higher education.
Among the industry experts who presented at the conference were Wayne Best, chief economist, Visa, Inc.; Dan Morrell, assistant treasurer, Walgreen Co.; and Jennifer Matey, operations manager, Supply Chain Management at Mayo Clinic. Ron Insana, business news journalist from CNBC and MSNBC, gave the keynote address.
The conference also provided an opportunity for BofA Merrill to promote its innovations and new capabilities, including:
- New user interface for Works®. Launched earlier in the year, BofA Merrill demonstrated the design and navigational advantages of the new user interface of the proprietary card management software.
- Receipts Imaging on Works®. With the new receipt image functionality, clients can now upload receipt images from their personal computer, and attach them directly to a transaction, expense report or reimbursement.
- Expansion of global footprint. The company recently announced plans to offer card solutions in new geographies in Europe and Latin America, including: Guatemala, Honduras, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s critical that our innovations and expanded capabilities directly solve for the issues our clients are experiencing, and so we are very grateful for the time that our clients spent this week with us sharing their insights and challenges,” said Phalen. “We are committed to being a leader in the business-to-business and commercial card space, and continually introducing new products and services that address our client needs is fundamental to that goal.”