Businesses large and small have embraced technological solutions to work more efficiently. But when it comes to making payments, paper checks are still a mainstay in many companies. And when a business sends out 200-250 checks a month, the time it takes just to sign and mail them really adds up.
Integrated Payables is a web-based platform that can process payments from an Accounts Payable team as checks, ACH, wires or virtual cards. It also helps companies improve operational efficiently and free up resources while reducing exposure to internal and external fraud. As Bremer Bank Specialized Solutions Director Joe Chow puts it, “Integrated Payables might sound fancy, but I like to think of it as a way to streamline your process.”
“It might not seem like a lot,” he adds. “But every envelope that you’re not stuffing is time you’re spending with a customer, time you’re spending with somebody else to help through a project.” When a key finance person is a leader with a long and varied list of duties, Integrated Payables can be especially beneficial. “A lot of times the CFO plays 15 different roles in an organization,” Chow notes. “Integrated Payables lets them step out of the business for a moment, think about a process, automate it, and then ultimately focus on their other financial responsibilities, from reporting to leadership to giving additional insights into the business.”
The Bremer team works to make sure that the transition to a digital payments solution is as simple as possible for every customer. “We work elbow-to-elbow with our customers,” says Chow. “Each business is unique so we take the time, ask questions, understand their needs and then talk to them about what we can do to help solve some of those issues.”
One of the most common concerns is making sure that the process works for and benefits both he company and its vendors. As Chow puts it, “People want to know: ‘Are we going to have to change the way people work?’ And the answer is no.” With every individual customer, the Bremer Bank team’s approach is centered on what works best for both the company issuing the payments and the vendors who receive them. And that support continues from preparing for implementation through launch and beyond.
With many companies transitioning to work from and other remote work practices in response to the pandemic, security concerns related to data breaches and fraud are also on the rise. Integrated Payables preserves access to critical financial data with increased security, including tools and support to safeguard the system from internal and external attacks and 24/7 monitoring and management.
Once a company implements Integrated Payables, financial leaders are often pleasantly surprised to find that they have even more insights into the financial operations of their company. “One CEO was very clear that they really liked signing those checks” says Chow. “It gave them a level of control; it gave them a level of transparency into the process. And as we worked through it what we found was that the level of control was really enhanced through Integrated Payables.”