Why Banks Should Offer Invoice-to-Pay Services to Business Clients
Every bank and financial institution wants to grow its revenues.
Increasing revenues can help banks drive profitability, generate cash to invest in new products, fund geographic expansion, and build a bank’s capital base to absorb losses during tough economic times.
It’s no wonder that banks with the highest revenue growth over a five-year period had a market share that was 1.2 times higher than banks with the lowest revenue growth, according to a Deloitte study.
Virtual card and business-to-business (B2B) Fintechs are at the forefront of driving that growth. According to Juniper Research, the number of virtual card transactions will exceed 121 billion globally by 2027, increasing from 28 billion in 2022 – representing growth of 340 percent. The growth of virtual cards and invoice-to-pay services represents a tremendous opportunity for banks.
This article shows how offering invoice-to-pay services to business clients can help banks generate new revenues, protect existing revenues, and attract lucrative new clients.
The biggest invoice-to-pay challenges
Few finance tasks are as burdensome to a bank or financial institution’s business clients as the process of approving and paying the paper and electronic invoices submitted by suppliers. According to the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM), controllers ranked accounts payable (AP) as the most labor-intensive, paper-intensive, and time-consuming finance and administration (F&A) function – topping notoriously inefficient tasks such as accounts receivable (AR) and payroll.
What is it that makes the invoice-to-pay process so onerous to businesses?
Manual processes, slow cycle times, inadequate visibility, and the high risk of fraud are the biggest invoice-to-pay challenges that businesses face.
Businesses know they have too much riding on their AP function to rely on manual and semi-automated processes. That’s why automation is the top priority of AP departments, per IOFM.
Seventy-seven percent of AP departments plan to deploy invoice processing or payment automation technology within the next year, either for the first time or by replacing or augmenting their existing tech, per IOFM. In fact, 44 percent of AP leaders who describe their department as being “largely automated” have plans to deploy more invoice processing or payments automation technology.
The rising interest in AP automation among businesses is a golden opportunity for banks and financial institutions of all sizes to extend their treasury services and offer invoice-to-pay services.
What are invoice-to-pay services?
Invoice-to-pay services enable banks and financial institutions to help their business clients overcome their biggest AP challenges.
While a bank or financial institution may tailor the AP services it offers to the unique needs of their business clients, invoice-to-pay services typically automate the receipt, approval, posting, payment, and reconciliation of paper and electronic invoices from suppliers.
Few banks or financial institutions have the internal resources or market expertise to develop the invoice-to-pay functionality that their business clients need or to integrate with the countless ERP and accounting software packages that their business clients employ. And with pressure rising on businesses to do more with less, business clients cannot afford to wait while banks build out their invoice-to-pay offerings.
Fortunately, banks and financial institutions can partner with Fintechs to source invoice-to-pay platforms and accelerate their time to market and increase their revenues. Some Fintechs offer invoice-to-pay partnership models tailored to a bank or financial institution’s needs, including white-label relationships, technology-only agreements, full AP program management services and referral arrangements.
How businesses benefit from bank invoice-to-pay services
Banks are likely to find a receptive audience for their invoice-to-pay services. Using a bank’s payables service instead of a Fintech solution can offer a business several advantages, including AP financing, cost savings, faster payback, streamlined technical support, reduced risk of payment fraud, seamless integration with legacy systems, best-in-class technology, and an ability to free staff to focus on core competencies.
Banks also can help business clients grow and optimize virtual cards. And working with a bank may also provide a business with more opportunities for earnings credits, the convenience of sourcing a variety of finance services from a single entity, and access to credit, so the business doesn’t have to work off a goods fund model.
How banks benefit from offering invoice-to-pay services
Offering invoice-to-pay services can deliver big benefits to banks and financial institutions.
- New revenues. Invoice-to-pay services offer banks and financial institutions a lucrative new revenue stream and an opportunity to upsell existing treasury clients. Invoice-to-pay services also help migrate more suppliers to card payments, which grows a bank’s interchange revenues.
- Stronger customer relationships. Meeting increasing customer demand for invoice-to-pay services can strengthen a bank’s client relationships and protect its existing treasury revenues. Invoice-to-pay services also position a bank as a tech-driven partner in a client’s success.
- Expanded market opportunities. Invoice-to-pay services help attract clients that otherwise were not have been a good fit for a bank or financial institution’s treasury services. Invoice-to-pay services can be tailored to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, from startups and fast-growing mid-sized businesses to large enterprises, allowing for a broader customer base.
- Enhanced treasury offering. From improved cash flow visibility and new early payment discount opportunities to supply chain finance and built-in tools that increase payment terms, invoice-to-pay services extend the value of a bank or financial institution’s treasury portfolio.
- Cross-selling opportunities. Invoice-to-pay services are a gateway for banks or financial institutions to cross-sell treasury management services, lines of credit, working capital loans, and other financial services to business clients, increasing revenues on existing accounts.
- Competitive advantage. Competition for business clients is fierce. Invoice-to-pay services are a compelling product that can provide a bank with a powerful competitive advantage. Invoice-to-pay services also help small banks level the playing field with large competitors.
Offering invoice-to-pay services can be a key driver of a bank of financial institution’s success.
Banks and financial institutions are eager for ways to grow new revenues, protect existing revenues, and attract new clients. Offering integrated invoice-to-pay services – cloud-based solutions that automate the receipt, approval, posting, payment, and reconciliation of supplier invoices – enables banks and financial institutions to do just that. By partnering with a Fintech that offers an invoice-to-pay platform, banks and financial institutions can enhance their competitiveness in the market.
 Deloitte, “Growth in banking: unlocking the full potential”