In response to the growing trend of businesses seeking to streamline expense management systems1, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today announced the introduction of Visa Accounts Payable (AP) Automation, a new service designed to help large and mid-sized businesses reduce costs associated with expense management, purchasing and accounts payable processes.
Visa AP Automation is an enhancement to Visa's portfolio of commercial payment products and services. The integration capabilities are enabled by Visa Data Integration Services, a suite of new commercial payment tools and applications that includes connectivity, file mapping, data enrichment and transformation solutions that can help businesses and banks eliminate time-consuming data integration implementations. Specifically, this service provides solutions that are designed accelerate time-to-market for new products and services while decreasing internal resource requirements.
"Helping businesses save time and money through more efficient B2B payment solutions has always been at the core of Visa's strategy to provide industry-leading commercial payment products and services," said Darren Parslow, head of Global Commercial Solutions, Visa Inc. "With the introduction of Visa AP Automation, it is now even easier for companies to eliminate costly check and paper-based processes and enjoy the potential cost saving and efficiency improvements associated with Visa Purchasing card transactions."
Electronic purchasing card transactions can be more efficient because they require less time and fewer resources than traditional invoice processing and reconciliation. According to the recent Visa AP Automation white paper2, companies can achieve significant cost saving by automating the accounts payable function. Specifically, research by Aberdeen estimates that fully automated companies can save $10.87 per payment - approximately $1.1 million in savings for businesses processing 100,000 B2B payments per year. Visa purchasing card programs also provide detailed invoice reconciliation reports to help match invoices to payments more easily, helping companies save both time and money.
Integration with ERP Solutions and Expense Management Platforms
As a central component of these new solutions, Visa AP Automation integrates directly with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and company expense management technologies to automatically convert existing paper based invoices and payments to more efficient electronic transactions. To help enable seamless access to Visa Purchasing card services, Visa has established alliances with global ERP provider Lawson and data integration solutions leader Hubspan. Using Lawson and Hubspan technologies, companies can more efficiently generate accounts payable files that integrate with Visa's AP Automation solution.
"With today's competitive business environment, companies need to maximize their investment in ERP systems," said Terry Plath, Vice President Business Development at Lawson. "Integrating B2B payments into those systems can immediately extend that investment and provide a ripple effect in streamlining operations across departments and even extended supply chains."
"The ability to seamlessly integrate data has been an impediment to more companies automating their payment processes," said Trisha Gross, President and CEO at Hubspan. "Our alliance with Visa can help eliminate these hurdles by providing companies with the on demand data integration solutions designed to meet the needs of even the most complex business environment utilizing a proven and rapid implementation model."
U.S Bank Pilot Visa Data Integration Services
"U.S. Bank is committed to providing its customers with innovative payment solutions, and exceptional customer service backed by the best tools technology can provide," said Jeff Pape, Senior Vice President of Product Management at U.S. Bank. "Visa's new data integration services allow us to effectively integrate our existing Payment Plus automation product and provide our customers with access to best-in-class tools to manage their expenses and reduce operating costs."
Controlling Spending and Optimizing Cash Flow
By integrating purchasing cards with accounts payable transactions, Visa can dynamically adjust payment parameters to provide flexible authorization and payment terms, match approved invoices and help reduce the risk of unauthorized card usage. Data integration can also provide better visibility into company expenses and greater control over outgoing payments. Because suppliers charge a Visa account, businesses can make consolidated payments after receiving a statement from their financial institution, thus providing more flexibility in the timing of payments and managing cash flow.
Automating Supplier Payments
The Visa AP Automation service requires minimal effort for company accounts payable professionals to use. Companies simply provide their approved supplier accounts payable files and Visa AP Automation turns payments to accepting suppliers into electronic transactions through a Visa Purchasing card account. Once the data is converted to a consistent electronic format, the service enables streamlined processing of approved supplier accounts payable files, matching purchasing card payment parameters with invoices, sending remittances to suppliers, and providing detailed payment data reports for account reconciliation.