How do you continue adding user value to an Accounts Payable (AP) platforms and applications? Its users are typically under pressure to be more efficient and productive, so UX seems the obvious place to focus – streamlining functions and making it more convenient for them to navigate and complete their daily tasks.
With most Accounts Payable applications, there’s one element of UX improvement that’s almost always missing: payment execution. But any AP platform that’s been eyeing up embedded finance and the opportunity it provides, will know that this situation has reached its expiry date.
Three AP platform users that need an end to UX break points
If you’re developing an Accounts Payable application, you’ll be aware that your users currently need to cross UX break points between your AP platform and external traditional banking systems. These users – along with their needs and frustrations – usually fall into one of three categories:
- Head of Finance
Typically, heads of finance want to push for two things: greater productivity in their teams, and a consolidation of the digital tools those teams use. To do that, tools need to empower financial teams to do more individually as well as collaborate with other systems.
But at the same time, a head of finance’s job is to keep a sharp eye on risk management, meaning they – rightly so – can’t budge on compliance, so their tools have to match empowerment with increased observability.
- Accounts Payable Manager
Your key day-to-day application user. They’re responsible for processing bill payments, although it’s likely that they set up payables for execution by someone more senior. They usually don’t have the power to complete the process by themselves, and this can lead to bottlenecks.
What Accounts Payable managers want is greater autonomy to see the whole payment process through. This will enable them to be more efficient and feel more trusted in their role. For the same reasons, they also want to find a way to spend less of their time on manual data input and error handling.
- SMB Accountants
SMBs commonly outsource parts of their regular financial processes – including preparation of payables – to third-party accounting services.
With multiple clients on their books, these SMB accountants want tools that can collaborate effortlessly. They want a solution to the endless hopping between different platforms and portals to complete a single task or find the data they need, but they also need safely defined roles in order to contribute to the AP workflow.
Completing the picture for Accounts Payable teams
You probably already know that the three users above don’t exist in isolation from each other. They’re collaborating together every day – even if the tools they use don’t give them the interconnectivity they really need.
To pull together the entire AP process for everyone involved, a platform needs to give its users the power to:
- Store and move internal cash balances
- Allocate cash for budgets and payment needs
- Stage, check, approve and execute payments, often forward-dated or in batches
- Check the balance of external bank accounts and pull in funds for payments
- Orchestrate payments from those accounts without leaving the AP tool
- Reconcile completed payments back onto payables and accounts
This wishlist can seem like a lot of changes when you break it down, but checking it off doesn’t mean AP platforms need to change their business model or overhaul their roadmap.
If AP platforms can simply integrate payment execution, so that users aren’t having to cross break points between your platform and external traditional banking, you’ll have the Accounts Payable application that everyone has been looking for.
Why the impossible is now possible for AP platforms
However well an Accounts Payable platform works, it can’t really perform as a primary collaboration tool unless it also provides financial features that, until now, have been missing.
Historically the power to do this has been locked away behind a door marked “traditional SMB banking”. The developers of accounting and Accounts Payable applications couldn’t integrate payments into their primary features without becoming fintechs – and taking on all the cost, complexity and compliance burden that comes with building a financial system.
Luckily, integrating financial services into a platform no longer means embarking on the road towards becoming a fintech. Embedded finance is bringing this capability within reach for digital platforms, and Weavr’s solutions are at the forefront of making embedded finance easier, safer and faster to integrate.
So what does all this mean?
The innovation horizon extends further than you think:
- Accounts payable platforms can finally address persistent frustrations that still go unanswered by traditional SMB banking.
- There are new opportunities for automation of payment execution, so accounts payable managers spend less time manually inputting payable and account details.
- New opportunities for delegation of payment execution, so accounts payable managers could complete the AP process themselves, within defined parameters.
- Accounts can be accessed directly from within an AP platform, enabling multiple users to collaborate in the preparation and execution of payment runs, all with safely defined roles that can be set by financial controllers.
- All the while, the AP process will become more secure and controlled, with joined-up workflows reducing the opportunity for human error and managers able to observe every payment that takes place from the account.
Whether your offering is an application, marketplace or platform, embedded finance in productivity platforms is happening. If you’re looking to embed finance into your business, set up a meeting with one of our experts in your industry and request a chat today.
Want to learn a bit more about embedded finance? Check out our ultimate guide here.