The global pandemic presented itself to be one of the most abrupt, transformative shifts amongst organizations around the world, and its resulting effects will last into the future.

Here is a list of considerations that will continue to reshape the “new normal” for organizations moving forward.

1. Quantifying Results Beyond Rebates 

Prioritize duty of care within your organization. Recognize your responsibility to your employees who travel and conduct business by implementing a virtual card program to avoid lost cards, reimbursements, and receipts.

Initiate touchless payment, easy reconciliation, and real-time visibility into payment/transaction history. The popularity of virtual cards and contactless payments were apparent before the pandemic, however the need for contactless payment adoption has accelerated worldwide due to the pandemic. Due to the impact of this expanded usage, contactless payments have, and will continue to have, more market traction and user acceptance. Not only will safety and security be the key driver, but convenience and simplicity will contribute to full user adoption and acceptance within your organization moving forward.

2. Leveraging Technology

As technology continues to transform the payment industry through digital platforms, banks are slow to innovate. No matter the industry, all businesses will find more value when embedding financial technology as it is a critical component to business growth.

Technology also enables the progression of financial inclusion and global market adaptation. With successful participation in the digital economy, organizations can thrive and maintain a competitive advantage. Embracing change is never easy, however, businesses need to be prepared to respond to the permutable shifts within our digital economy in order to quickly adapt and keep pace with ever-changing market dynamics. Before the pandemic, and still true today, organizations need to examine all touchpoints of their organizational spend beyond the traditional spend report and invest in unified technology, or platform, through single API integration. Companies that shift from a transaction mindset to data-analytics will reap the benefits of letting technology do the work for you and your organization.

The importance on creating a payment system accessible for all has increased severely. When organizations begin considering financial technology embedded within software, they can begin focus on revolutionizing and optimizing their organizational spend. FinTechs are the present and future. Partnering with the right FinTechs can bring game changing solutions. The correct partner can ensure growth and sustainability in supporting direct and indirect payments, moving your business away from outdated, time-intensive and cumbrous processes tied to static systems. Additionally, a partnership can be a differentiator and a strength your competitors shy away from.

3. Target Your B2B Spend  

With Travel and Expense (T&E) spend significantly down due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty organizations have tied to post pandemic spend, B2B spend offers significant opportunity to grow your organization’s card program.

To position your company for success, your existing payment process needs to be assessed and a strategy implemented to offer multiple payment types with multiple payment terms to create consistency for your existing and net new supplier base. The ideal payment term strategy will offer more favorable terms with potential discounts for electronic payments (i.e. credit card and ACH) linked to an ePayables/PCard program with rebate driving consistency, efficiency, and automation. Automating B2B payments eliminates checks, reduces costs, enhances data visibility, and allows for faster payment and electronic remittance for easy reconciliation. Additionally, pushing out terms creates working capital positioning companies with healthier cash flow and purchasing power.

4. Solidifying Supplier Relationships 

Organizations need to begin shifting their focus to spend optimization. Through identification, leverage, and development of a strategic roadmap; organizations can achieve workflow improvement and significantly impact their bottom line.

By assessing your current state, you can build a plan and strategy to align with your go-forward company imperatives to drive meaningful change and hit realistic goals. An effective starting point would be to analyze your spend in order to locate savings opportunities, streamline sourcing events, and establish preferred supplier programs to increase long-term-cost savings and implement a plan that focuses on the lifecycle of each supplier relationship. Shift your focus to reducing non-strategic costs that no longer exist in a post pandemic environment and invest in areas that will create growth and revenue.

5. Ask For Help

The pandemic forced many, if not all, organizations to make tough decisions  including lay-offs and furloughs. Now, as organizations begin to rebuild their workforce, they should consider asking consulting companies for help.

It is important that organizations find ways to stand out, stay ahead of the competition, tighten their operations, and increase their revenues. Choosing to use an experienced consultancy will allow an organization to grow, rather than simply trying to maintain the current status quo. Consulting companies are able to advise, implement, manage projects, and strategize for growth. Additionally, a consultancy can give an objective viewpoint and provide experience from working within various companies and industries, which allows for more diverse ideas that could not be provided solely by employees within an organization.

Lastly, the expenses involved in hiring a consultant are scalable, organizations are able to receive exactly what they need and match them to projects completed. Consultants provide a significant amount of value and higher level of expertise for an organization so that next year’s project (initiative) can become this year’s project (initiative), accelerating organizational growth and vision.

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Andrew Greene, Managing Director of Payment and Expense Optimization (PSO)