Impress Suppliers with Paperless Processes

You have just clinched a deal with a new supplier. The terms are great and their product is ideal for you. Now you need to hold up your end of the agreement and make sure you have a good system to pay them with, so find a way to make that as easy as possible.

As trade is going global, sending around checks and invoices on paper is no longer feasible and definitely isn't fast or reliable enough. With many other things, payments have got to go online.

E-payments have been gaining popularity in recent times. The Ardent Partners ePayables 2012: The State of the AP Market report stated that 55 per cent of companies had turned away from manual payments and this trend is set to rise.

Going paperless with a Corporate Card can make things cheaper and quicker and, what's more, you have the freedom to check information from anywhere in the world - A bonus if you are always on the go and a sure fire way to ensure money is going where it needs to.

E-statements: Faster, cheaper and more reliable

Late payments will cause tension between you and your new supplier. However, without accurate, current information on where money is in your business, having the finances in place to meet payment deadlines can be a delicate balancing act.

In the past, getting information on the state of your account was a slow process. You need to be able to see incomings and outgoings before making a payment, but this can be challenging when you're waiting on bank statements to come through and for departments to file their expenses.

When information does come in, however, a commonly recurring problem is that the data is a couple of weeks out of date and these kinds of inaccuracies make trade a challenge.

One of the top bugbears for accounts payable departments, as noted by Ardent Partners, is a "lack of visibility into invoice and payment data". Indeed, this was cited by 25 per cent of businesses.

E-statements can be accessed at any time so that you can stay up to date with all your incomings and outgoings when you need them, giving a real-time view of accounts.

Improving trade relations with global partners

Globalisation means your supply chain probably extends around the world. This can become an issue when you have to pay suppliers, thanks to different time zones.

Across the Asia Pacific foreign payment delays are common, often due to the complexity of the payment procedure, according to the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for November 2013. In fact, 28.4% of the total value of invoices in Asia Pacific to foreign B2B customers are unpaid by the due date. This is up 7.6% from a year ago.

Those who go paperless, however, can schedule in timely payments, while benefiting from the freedom to check accounts at anytime from anywhere in the world.

Planning then gets a lot easier as making payments to suppliers and checking that they have gone out can be done while you are travelling across the globe, meeting with new customers, partners and securing new deals.

The case for paperless

Before procuring new services you need to know you have the money to do it and your knowledge of the situation has to be as up to date as possible.

Ardent partners found that for 27 per cent of businesses, improving cash flow and working capital is the main driver of e-payments.

Many a relationship turns sour over money, so to impress suppliers and stay in the black, its important to have total control over financials - something that becomes difficult when relying on paper processes.

With an account with American Express, you can keep an eye on your accounts at all times and make sure you are completely up to date with what's going on.