Modernizing AP Processing Survey Results
On this episode of the Treasury Update Podcast, Host Craig Jeffery sits down with Chris Clausen, Executive Director of Product Management at Deluxe Corporation, to discuss practices and plans for modernizing and automating accounts payable processes. They examine the influence of recent disruptions, the calibration of various pain points that drive change, and other motivators. Listen in to the discussion to find out more.
Craig Jeffery, Strategic Treasurer
Chris Clausen, Deluxe
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Episode Transcription - Episode 159: Modernizing AP Processing
Welcome to The Treasury update podcast, presented by Strategic Treasurer, your source for interesting treasury news, analysis, and insights in your car at the gym, or wherever you decide to tune in. On this episode of the podcast host Craig Jeffrey sits down with Chris Clausen, Executive Director of Product Management at Deluxe Corporation to discuss practices and plans for modernizing and automating accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. They examined the influence of recent disruption, the calibration of various pain points that drive change and other motivators. Listen in to the discussion. To find out more.
Craig Jeffery 0:51
Welcome to The Treasury Update podcast, Chris. I’m glad to have you here.
Chris Clausen 0:55
Hi Craig, thanks for having me today. We always appreciate getting on with you guys getting an opportunity to talk about the state of the industry, so thank you very much for having us today.
Craig Jeffery 1:05
We are going to be talking about modernizing AP, and this is the discussion, you know, has at its base, and extends beyond the base, a discussion of the survey the modernizing AP survey. I want to give the listeners, just a little bit of background about what took place with the survey. This was the second annual survey underwritten by Deluxe, run by Strategic Treasurer. It ran during the middle of March and finished in the middle of May 2021. There were over 150 respondents 84% were corporates, so it ran just about six weeks, there was 50 questions a little over 50 questions. No individual had an answer that many questions because the survey branched if you were a banker or service provider versus if you were a corporate practitioner. So, the vast majority of the respondents were corporate practitioners that covered a number of areas from pain points in the AP world, to the move to fully electronic, to discuss what drove people to automation and the blocking activities.
It also measured plans to move to a hybrid environment or a fully outsourced environment or back away from that, as well as attitudes and perspectives across much of AP. So, the survey was quite, quite comprehensive and we’ll factor in some of these points during today’s discussion, but I wanted to give that as background. So, everybody who was listening who took the survey, thank you so much. And thank you Chris and Deluxe for underwriting this seminal survey, it’s great piece of research that gives us such good information, but Chris I wanted to start talking about the driver’s automation, what moves people to automation in the AP world. And you know as a context of that so you know feel free to answer, you know what drives people automation but also the perspective of what the use see and how would you describe when an organization is fully or highly automated. Is this a spectrum is this a binary on off you’re fully automated or not? And then as you’re talking about that, maybe you could factor in some of the points that inhibit this activity, to block this activity, so you know factor in what, what we’ve learned from the survey but also, you’re in the space all the time talking and running the business in this area so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the driver side mission.
Chris Clausen 3:47
Great Craig, I could go on and on about that, there’s, there’s a ton of really interesting insight that came out of the survey that we did. And, you know, there’s some themes that emerge great in terms of what does it mean to be fully automated, but if I lean, particularly on my experience looking at, you know the 4 million businesses that Deluxe services and, you know, those businesses span all the way from micro, small businesses all the way up to large fortune 500 businesses. There’s some common themes that emerge there as well. But even for highly automated businesses in the electronic payments space.
There’s usually a variety of solutions being used to accomplish that state and even the most automated ones out there that we see in terms of businesses who have adopted electronic payments and are utilizing them wherever they can. Even those that are at the cutting edge of that front and have determined to eliminate paper-based payments, still have paper-based payments that they’re issuing. And there’s some reasons for that right. Very few electronic solutions out there, meet the need for all of the different use cases that need to be served. And so, each electronic solution out there has strengths, and it has some drawbacks. And so, the ones that are highly automated typically have adopted multiple electronic payment solutions to meet the breadth of their use case requirements, but even those that are at, what I would qualify as the highly automated and aren’t there. One of the best examples I can give is in the medical payments industry. We get large healthcare insurers that say ” Yep, we’re, we’re heavily automated or fully automated with electronic payment”, what they’re talking about is dollars. A lot of that, a lot of the dollars that they pay, actually, are electronic.
But if you look at the number of transactions, there’s still a long tail of paper-based transactions, and that kind of naturally leads into the second part of your question that you asked about are, what are some of the blockers right that block companies from being able to go to a highly automated or fully automated electronic payment solution? There’s a number of them. First and foremost is that a lot of the solutions out there don’t solve for all the use cases, right? So, they have to go through a process of implementing multiple solutions. There are other issues too, IT resources are always at a premium, right? And particularly during times in a pandemic like we see now, they’re even more strained to deliver all the different components that are needed across the business not just for payments. Management has a lot of competing priorities, right? Payments are one of them, the pandemic brought a lot of focus on that, right, with the disruption to normal AP processes. But the pandemic also disrupted other things too, logistics operations, supplies, staffing, all the different things. So, when you look across an organization, there’s only so many calories that can be spent for initiatives across the board, and electronic payment automation is competing against other really pressing needs. So that a blocker and then the last piece is articulating an ROI. We see this particularly at the larger business end of the spectrum.
So, as you get larger, you need to be able to articulate the spend you’re going to output to initiate the electronic payments and integrate. And that ROI isn’t always clear, or it’s really expensive right? A lot of these solutions that are out there in the market require significant change, whether it’s integration effort into your ERP system, or potentially process change, you know, all of those things. So, there’s a lot of different blockers out there, and being able to articulate ROI, being able to get this up the list in terms of priority. Being able to grab those precious IT resources. Those are all things that any business is going to be challenged with whether you’re a small business using an off the shelf, accounting software, all the way up to a fortune 500. So, you know, that’s some of what we see, Craig.
Craig Jeffery 8:27
Good information that you shared there and some insights that made me think of something else I was gonna ask you about how far along the financial supply chain makes an organization, you know, automated? Is it end to end within an organization? Or does it go to the other organization? Your payables, is someone else’s receivables and do we need to think about that as an end to end, internally to end to end to the external organization? And I was thinking about that in terms of the width of the automation, but you brought up an interesting point. You brought up healthcare you talked about. “Hey, some people say we’re highly automated.” And they’ve automated the transfer of value, but not the movement of information. So, I don’t know if there’s anything else you want to say on this that relates to the width or the depth or however you describe the other organizations, involving their organizations as part of that, and how much of that is making sure it’s not bifurcating information well, the trade or the activity, the settlement, the financial settlement, and the information that helps close the loop.
Chris Clausen 9:43
You’re making great points, as always. If you think about the difference between consumer payments and business payments particularly business payments require a robust remittance data. And to the degree that that data can travel with the payment from both a timing perspective, and even within the payment envelope itself that makes a big difference from a reconciliation standpoint. And so, different payees and payers across the spectrum have different degrees of competency level of being able to digest that data in electronic format. Different payment rails support remittance data going with the payment to different degrees, that’s part of the reason why you are seeing them leveraged in different use cases. So, when you talk about, you know, the, the bifurcation of payments, and remittance you’re really getting to one of the core challenges to true, electronic automation. Some of the payment solutions out there are focused on what, the funds and the movement of the funds, versus the movement of the remittance data that go with the funds, and where those two start to separate you’re actually adding reconciliation costs to the payee, and you’re going to create a friction point for the payee to actually adopt the electronic solution that you want to adopt. So it’s really important to understand that these things go together in business payments, and the folks who have successfully navigated these waters understand, with the different electronic payments solutions that they’re bringing to bear within their organization, they understand their payee group well enough to understand what their limitations are, they understand preferences of those payees, and they’re leveraging solutions that give choice, that work well within existing AP solutions and infrastructure and we’ll talk more about that later, I’m sure, but, you know you’re shining a light on exactly one of the big challenges to preventing full automation.
Craig Jeffery 11:56
You mentioned the, you know the ROI and sometimes ROI is a, I don’t want to call it perfunctory, I do want to call it perfunctory exercise that may be just pushed by the controllers group to say or finances, you’ve got to create this return on investment, which is made up of, you know, different parts fiction in other parts wish. And that is a way of supposedly force ranking which gets done, but there’s usually some type of management priorities that come about and that’s only one factor that goes into it. But, you know, when we look at the blockers from the survey what were the biggest blockers to becoming highly automated 42% said it was management priorities, 41% IP availability. Those two are massive and really significant and the third point which is when you also highlight was financial payback or ROI of automation that was 35% Those are the big three, that delay this type of activity. So really interesting points I don’t know if you have more on that because I want to talk about getting, you know, moving past the blockers and moving to fully electronic I don’t have anything else to close that that section as we conceptually moved to the other piece.
Chris Clausen 13:16
Yeah, I think we hit the big three there, Craig, and there are some other blockers. As you move down the list, but if you’re going to be an organization that is successful in going electronic, you’re going to have to knock those top three off. And, you know, the other ones are more specific to certain industries, things like that so I think he did a good job of highlighting the big three there.
Craig Jeffery 13:42
When you talked about IT availability and scarce resources management and have the priorities, maybe even the funds for resources but if you don’t have the ability to make it happen that is that stops, it stops things delays things and there may or may not be an opportunity. So yeah, thanks for sharing both information from the survey and from your experience. Now, as we talk about the movement to fully electronic, the first, the first question is, why does it really matter? Well, you know, why is this important to move to being fully electronic, either inside your organization or between your organization and others?
Chris Clausen 14:20
So that that’s an important question, right, because that starts to help any payments professional articulate why they need to do this within their business. And if you really think about it, before I get into some of the specific reasons, just big picture payments have been a commodity for this industry for the last several decades. There’s not a lot of ways to differentiate based on payments, or there have historically not been a lot of ways to differentiate using payments, but because there is an inflection point with technology now catching up to the underlying business needs, there actually is an opportunity for a business to differentiate itself based on payments. And that’ll be true for a while for years, because if you look across the spectrum, these capabilities are going to improve a number of things and this is going to you’re the heart of your question right? That the obvious one is cost structure, right, it’s going to give a business an advantage around, where it is improving its margins, driving costs out of administrative tasks and operational tasks that don’t necessarily provide a ton of extra value to the business, that expense to be reinvested into the business, so that the cost savings that fully electronic payments bring to a business are important. In addition to that, it also greatly reduces exception processing, and while exception processing also has a cost element to it right because every time there’s an exception, you are employing staff or FTE to help resolve it, it’s also a brand and experience perspective because for every exception that you have, you have a party who is likely unhappy with how that payment is currently resolving.
So, if you think about those two items, you know, from a branding and from a cost perspective, that’s important. But then if you also look at the ability to control your outputs in your inputs, your AR and your AP receivables and payables, there’s a huge cash flow impact to electronic payments, you now have control up to the minute as to when you make a payment you can hold on to those funds to the very last second, you could wait until the payment is actually due to make it you don’t have to try to predict lead times and pad your payment timeframe. In addition to that, you can see definitively where it is in its actual journey, you know, has the payment better received has it settled? All of those things give you a lot of insight into your cash flow, and on the receivable side there’s all equally a number of really great benefits from a cash flow perspective. So, as you look at, you know, why it’s so important to leverage these capabilities, you know, cash flow, brand, and experience, and then cost, right, the big, those are the big three that immediately come to mind that any business that is out there looking for an advantage, and most businesses are right it’s a, it’s a competitive world out there. If you can impact your cost structure if you can impact your brand, and you can manage your cash flow better. Those are huge competitive advantages in a marketplace.
Craig Jeffery 18:11
You know that the way you describe the defects or exceptions, impacting the brand was really interesting because lately I’ve been thinking about that as you know defect or defect management every exception is due to some problem, right, you didn’t pass information, something was done wrong, data was keyed or whatever, you know. Every exception is extraordinarily costly to the brand’s, like you said, then it can impact cash flow, it impacts the safety and the way you’re describing his brand was really really interesting because I’ve been thinking lately so much about what adds cost well defects what caused the effects, manual processes and broken processes, and, yeah, the impact flows to the brand that flows the cash, cash flow, I liked how you described that.
Chris Clausen 19:04
Yeah, you know, one of the most frequent use cases we see for exceptions is just an inquiry on the status. Where is my payment? I haven’t got to yet that is hugely expensive having to answer those questions, right, and electronic payments can give both the payer and the payee, an electric, do it yourself, you know, self-serve ability to see what the status of the payment is so that you don’t have to answer that question, as the payer anymore. So, it’s amazing how many, how much expense goes into just supporting “Where’s my payment?”
Craig Jeffery 19:43
That’s a good example, I’m gonna see if you have any stories that provide an example or a teaching moment on these categories with first off, I want to I want to probe into what you said on the cashflow improvement side of it. I’ll ramble a little bit, first, with some content, maybe to set it up so it’s not an easy question. I don’t want to give you a softball. I want to make it hard. If you can say I send my payment later, exactly when I want to at, that gives you control of your cash flow, but it’s still a zero-sum game between you and your who you’re paying to some extent. If it’s you’re transferring today or transferring three days from now. How is that, how would you describe that as a cash flow improvement given maybe expanding me on the limited way, I try to paint you into a corner.
Chris Clausen 20:38
So, think about it on the payer side first, then we’ll talk the payee recipient side second. On the payer side, what would happen under the legacy world is they would have to send out the payment well in advance of the due date to ensure that they would meet that requirement. Right? In some cases, I’ll go back to my healthcare example because that one’s industry right for electronification. They would have service level agreements, and regulatory obligations to get a payment, out the door, and prove that the payment was received within a certain period of time. So, they would lead that payment cycle, well before it was actually due. And by doing that, those payments would be received processed and settled long before that money was needed. So, if you think about it, you’re actually making the payment earlier than you need to that cash has now gone out of your accounts before you actually needed to send it out so from a cash retention and a cash liquidity standpoint, electronic payables give you an opportunity to improve your liquidity, which from a cash flow perspective is important particularly when there are unexpected expenses.
From a receivable side that seems structured gives you the opportunity to accelerate cash flow. So, you can offer terms within the electronic payment where you say, I’ll discount to get the payment in earlier. And that is much easier to manage and administrate with an electronic payment, than it is within a traditional legacy paper-based payment, right? Where you’ve got a lot more communication barriers and timing challenges to effectively realize those benefits. It can also delay, making payments as a payer, you know you can offer to pay more, past the deadline, right so there’s all kinds of opportunities that electronic payments insert into true cash flow management, which allow a business to meet its cashflow ups and downs. And if you really think about businesses, 50% of them fail in their first year because of cash flow issues. And as you go up market into the large fortune 500 cash flow is less important from, you’re going to run out of liquidity, but it’s more about maximizing that liquidity and if you can hold it longer, you can earn interest on it, and things like that so there’s a lot of different angles to play here. And what electronic payments really do from a cash flow perspective, is they give you the control over the timing to sufficient so that you can maximize both, you know, the interest that you’re earning and the funds that you have your liquidity. On the payer side and on the receiver side when you want to drive cash in or out and do you want to discount it because you have a pressing need for cash inflow. Maybe you need to make payroll, maybe you need to pay your landlord, whatever the case may be, you know, electronification gives you those options the old table methods, a lot of those, you really didn’t have that control, and that’s kind of the difference.
Craig Jeffery 23:58
I’ll give you a story that exemplifies your cash flow improvement by paying early, because some people I think you’re going to be skeptical and say, “No we pay, we pay when it’s due, we issued the check or the ACH, etc. For the due date so we’re not paying earlier” so that may or may not be the case. I just always remember that Ronald Reagan said trust but verify. And it’s like, I never believe what management says happened the way they think things happen in the way they happen is never 100% true. There are things that are true and accurate that when you go and you look in an area and talk me see what happened, you find, it’s not the way they think it is, that’s what they said. And that’s what sort of happens but I’ll give us examples, we’re looking at we’re observing we’re doing a working capital review. The AP the person that ran AP is an AP clerk who was plugging everything in was setting up things in the system, the system was set up to pay on due date, which was net 30 or net 45 I don’t remember the example, and their biggest vendor, who they paid about $100 million a year to. He’s keying the stuff into the system, you know, as he goes to select everything for this payment run selects his biggest customer changes all of them to pay early to pay when the runs going to go, you know quickly do a while we’re watching, like, what did you do. Oh we were moving, you know, Acme incorporated into the payment. But why is that well one time we paid late. The CEO came and yelled at us. There was a problem. And I’m not getting, I’m not gonna get in trouble anymore.
Chris Clausen 25:44
Craig Jeffery 25:46
Like, you know, that one person alone, because of working in a hard to less automated environment less electronic environment, moved up, you know, far more changes that any one or two things that, that we were doing to fix the inefficient working capital. It was just bet you wouldn’t see it based on pay, they’re paying according to terms, no, they were paying earlier because of the concern.
Chris Clausen 26:15
Well I can tell you, one of the, you’re highlighting a use case that really spotlights, what I believe is coming next for electronic payments. If you think about the rich data that is available through fully electrified or mostly electronified, businesses, there is an opportunity to do optimization strategy around your payment strategy. And I can’t tell you how many businesses that I see that if it was my AR shop or my AP shop, they’d be out the door, because what they’re doing is, what is easiest or most comfortable for them. Sometimes they’re changing first sometimes it’s that they don’t realize that the cost of what they’re doing is actually much more than the benefit, what they’re getting.
And this picture that the suppliers are getting the vendors of electronic payment solution are getting of these practices provide all kinds of opportunities for strategy optimization within payments and receivables, then I think what you’re going to see the industry do is start to provide tools and data that allow leadership to understand where, not only their company’s practices diverged from best practices, but also reveal a better view into those practices and what the true cost of those are, so the fact that you’re highlighting that as an example, I was kind of chuckling and smiling because we see that that kind of approach, frequently right? Because they’ve been burned once or twice, or maybe you’ve got a back office that’s looking for low friction, the easy button, right, to process payments, and, you know, there’s a ton of wasted expenditure in the industry around AR and AP that is still available for businesses to mine and reinvest into their businesses. That was a great example, Craig.
Craig Jeffery 28:29
I think we’re gonna have to do another webinar in the near future about rethinking AP and unexplored some of those topics altogether.
Unknown Speaker 28:39
Craig Jeffery 28:39
Yeah, that’s really, really, really, some good things to think about, I guess as we as we move on to this other category of progress, you know, is there progress on the front of automating progress on the front of using third party systems you know like, like the locks like that, that banks offer, and is there really a movement away from in house? And I want to go there but I also want to, you know sort of do the bridge on the previous sections, what, what is it that you see is important sort of leaders you know whether it’s AP finance or even Treasury as you look at AP. We have a lot of our audiences is treasury and there’s a, there’s a link there and AP. So, I want to make sure that they’re paying attention too is, what do they, what they need to know about the benefits and about realizing the benefits? And then we’ll shift into the, into the area of leveraging third party tech firms and banks.
Chris Clausen 29:38
Yeah, you bet. So, you know, when, you take a look at the spectrum of folks that are, you know, fully automated all the way down to those that haven’t even really begun this journey yet there are some very important things that get lost in translation, and one of those is that I need to make a leap from where I am today, to an end state in one big jump. And that is very difficult to do, very challenging to do there is a bridge path that you can take from where you are today to where you want to get to that doesn’t require that upfront investment to the same levels as if you wanted to make it, make it, one giant leap. And so, as we look at some of the obstacles that were out there, whether it is the IT resources whether it is the prioritization, things like that. It’s important to understand that there’s a lot of solutions on the market, you know, we’ll talk a little bit about some of the survey results that we saw in a minute, you know, that is showing that this is actually happening, right? There are a lot of solutions on the market that allow you to take a bridge strategy approach to get yourself there incrementally and start to realize those benefits before you have to make a leap to that end state, and one of the benefits of that approach is you don’t have to place big bets, necessarily, on which payment rails are going to win in the end right a lot of the industry is bringing a lot of new solutions to market right now. A lot of the solution providers out there, kind of require you to place a bet. Right? One solution versus another. And it’s important to realize that you can put a strategy together that allows you to not place those bets and still minimize your investment in infrastructure, expense integration, process change, all of those types of things.
So, you know, if I were saying one key message to your audience there is a path to get from where you are today to where you want to be that doesn’t inquire require you to do it in one giant leap, you can get there in stages. And by doing that, you can actually bring along your employees and your payees and accommodate some of their needs, because the one thing we see regularly is, even if you as the payer, you know the business that’s making the payments is ready to go, electronic, you have a wide variety of payees that are at all different stages of that spectrum. We need to keep that in mind because if you try to force that entire group to go to where you want, you’re going to create some really painful, painful friction for yourself and for them. But if you can put a strategy in place that allows you to accommodate where everybody is on the spectrum, and get there at their pace, and if you do that right, you’ll really enjoy the benefits, you know, we are seeing that because we have such a large customer base that we deal with. We are seeing customers that are using that strategy and being very successful at it. And that’s what’s driving the growth of electronic payment products and you can see it but the speed at which they’re growing there’s a reason why electronic payments is valued so highly in the marketplace today.
Craig Jeffery 33:22
So, I’m going to say that Chris Clawson is an incrementalist. Move in the move in the direction of where you’re going, no, no, backtracking but you don’t have to get there in one big leap.
Chris Clausen 33:34
I think if you look at some of the strategies that the industry has tried. I think there’s a lot of proof that it’s a really big leap to do it once with the results speak for that, you know, if you talk to some of the players that brought some of the really exciting new digital payment solutions to market there’s nothing inherently wrong with those solutions, but they don’t have nearly the uptake that was forecasted out of the gate, and the reason for that was a lack of understanding about how big of a jump that was, and that it was gonna take a staged approach to get from where you are to where you want to be
Craig Jeffery 34:20
Very good, Chris. Now, let’s talk about progress and not just progress on automation but progress or maybe we should say movement towards or sprint towards outsourcing or a hybrid approach, and a heavy move away from it. So, I’ll just cover a couple of statistics and maybe we can talk about what you see, either from the survey from the your customer base. So, the movement away from doing everything in house, whether you look at invoice receipt processing and imaging, vendor master records management, all the way down to payment file generation, each of those works off with a majority number because the majority of that activity is done in house, but all expect to see 18 up to 22% decline. In other words, move to hybrid where there’s more that’s done externally or moved to more outsourcing those particular functions are all at the same time, the growth in those hybrid models or outsource working off a smaller numbers sees a higher level of growth, but those range from 70 to 77% on invoice receipt processing vendor master records management, down to still significant growth as a percentage for payment file generation, for example, that’s 27% 36%, based on whether it’s paper or electronic. So there’s a big push to leverage your bank, to leverage your FinTech’s, to make that happen. I know that makes you happy because you sell those things, but I’d love it, love for you to give us a little more color and thoughts on that as a differ by industry size we just, we go unpack some of that.
Chris Clausen 36:03
We’re seeing an acceleration in the trend, and COVID obviously had an impact on that right because the pure disruption to your business’s operational model. But it’s bigger than just COVID. I think the industry, oftentimes talks about COVID as a catalyst and it is, but this was happening before COVID. And that acceleration curve that we were seeing was going up, as we went into COVID. So, as we look at our customer base, you know Deluxe is somewhat uniquely positioned to see behavior changes because we’re a 100-year-old check company paper based in house payments, you know, if you think of the paper check it’s an in house payment generated payment modality that has been around a while. So, we’ve seen the purchasing and behavior patterns there. But we also are providing electronic payment solutions now. And we’re seeing that same customer base, make that shift across from paper based traditional payment strategy to electronic based. And what I can tell you is that this is happening across the board, whether you are a small business, whether you have been in business for 30 years, or whether this is your first year. If your business leadership is, you know, generationally, baby boomers or whether it is millennials. All of those groups are making this shift, so there are some commonalities within those, those subgroups and within certain industry verticals, there’s different challenges, right? For healthcare, which is, you know I always go back to that because that’s one of the most complex ecosystems that are out there in terms of solving for electronification. That’s been one of the, one of the markets that has been slow to adopt electronification If you think about the complexity of the remittance data and the formats and, you know, you gotta have an EOB along with the payment that EOB has to fit within 300 different formats for it to be usable by the recipient.
There’s a lot of different things that historically have been preventing that but the technology at this point has caught up to the need. And those capabilities that are being brought together by industry players are creating kind of a set of solutions in the market that customers are becoming willing to adapt and use and those that were on the bleeding edge are now on the leading edge in terms of being fully adopted, they’ve acted as the trailblazers for some of the ones who are going to be falling here in the coming years. In terms of determining best practices solution types, things like that. But, you know, small businesses, they’re looking for something that’s going to plug and play into their accounting software usually that software’s off the shelf for larger businesses they’re supporting multiple payment types within multiple ERP systems. So, it’s important to understand that it’s not a one size fit all solution here, but what we are seeing is that when a business looks to its bank to help them solve this, if the bank is not ready or if it does not have enough solutions in its portfolio, they are evidencing a very strong willingness to go to a non-bank partner. And that shift is notable and visible, and they will switch banks, if they’re not getting what they need, even if it’s not their credit bank, they will you know there were our survey results back that up, right, in terms of what we were seeing. It is truly at an inflection point in terms of what we’re seeing, but what we are seeing is success. We certainly for our solutions have a lot of success stories about customers that have successfully made that shift, other solution providers have the same right. So, there are great shining examples for customers who have made this journey or are in the middle of the journey and what they’re experiencing, and overall, it’s a pretty darn positive experience. It’s why I’m excited to be a part of this industry right now. Because, very rarely in your career, do you get the opportunity to see a “see change moment” or inflection change moment, like what we’re seeing right now, it is happening in other industries already. It’s now happening in payments, and it’s a great time to be a part of that.
Craig Jeffery 41:22
Thanks. Thanks, Chris. Thanks for breaking up by industry as well and, and some of the background and why that’s the case. I want to, as we come to the end of the podcast, I want to just give you an opportunity to tell us any final thoughts. Any items to emphasize or something new that I should have asked you.
Chris Clausen 41:42
I think the, you know, the way I would sum things up is, there shouldn’t be a business out there that shouldn’t be seriously looking at an electronification strategy, because of the different solutions that are out there, the combinations of them that can be brought to bear, there is a path for just about every business regardless of whether you’re IP constrained or whether you’ve got a lot of competing priorities. You as a business can benefit from electronification, no matter where you fall on that spectrum. And the last thing I’ll say on that is, even if you are a business that likes to thump your chest and say we’re fully automated, you’re not, there’s still opportunity within your payables portfolio to electronify further, and there’s still significant costs sitting there. Even if the bulk of your dollars are already electronic, that you can get out of your business and you can improve both your cost structure, and your payees’ experiences. So, you know, regardless of where you are on the spectrum there is opportunity there for you. Don’t kid yourself that it’s too hard to do. That would be kind of what I would sum up, Craig.
Craig Jeffery 43:08
Yeah, there’s a couple of really good quotes out of that last section, Chris, thank you so much for your time. I hope we can have you back on the treasure update podcast and in the near future.
Chris Clausen 43:18
Thanks, Craig, we appreciate the time with you guys, you are always a wonder to talk to you and we very much appreciate our partnership with Strategic Treasurer.
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