June 20, 2024

B2B Companies Embrace Invoice Financing to Drive Continuity

As businesses evolve, so too do the ways in which they pay and get paid.

After all, cash flow is the lifeblood of any business.

Against that backdrop, there exists a broader trend in the FinTech industry where innovative solutions are transforming the traditional landscape of accounts receivable (AR) and invoice financing.

There are three primary factors influencing the contemporary B2B landscape, Ben Weiner, senior vice president and global head of B2B Payments at Nuvei, told PYMNTS, citing prevailing high interest rates, the growth and challenges faced by small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and the increasing interest in alternative capital within the FinTech sector.

Weiner explained that high interest rates have narrowed the spread between prime rates and the annual percentage rates (APRs) for alternative capital, making such solutions more attractive.

At the same time, SMBs, although growing, face difficulties in accessing unsecured credit and are driven by “an often unrealistic” need for efficiency. Taken together, these realities have led to the concept of alternative capital gaining traction.

“This started back with the whole buy now, pay later (BNPL) craze on the consumer side, and it’s starting very slowly to trickle into B2B payments,” said Weiner, noting that high interest rates and inflation are putting a lot of strain on businesses, while at the same time, buyers are “really driving the balance sheets” of suppliers.

He explained that many smaller suppliers are “stuck between” large B2B buyers that frequently not just set the terms, but often pay beyond the terms, creating “an odd cash flow dynamic” for the suppliers.

Increasingly, suppliers are looking for the right tools to help them fight back and increase the certainty and speed of cash for their balance sheets.

Read also: Nuvei Launches Invoice Financing Service Integrated With Leading ERP Systems

Tapping AR Innovations for Business Continuity and Growth

To help solve for this issue, Nuvei in April debuted a cutting-edge invoice financing solution aimed at enhancing merchant cash flow. Invoice financing enables businesses to access cash within 24 hours by converting outstanding invoices into immediate working capital. It also enhances cash flow with one-click financing integrated into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

“Our mission is to balance the financial equation,” Weiner said. “We want to give suppliers the tools to take back control of their balance sheets.”

He illustrated the ideal use case of an SMB supplier receiving a large order with extended payment terms from a significant buyer. The supplier faces multiple financial obligations and growth opportunities that require immediate funding, but by using an innovative embedded invoice financing solution, the supplier can finance the invoice at competitive rates within their existing accounting processes, thus ensuring business continuity and growth.

Weiner explained that by embedding invoice financing solutions within suppliers’ ERP systems, modern solutions can ensure seamless integration and usability, addressing a pain point for businesses that may have previously been relying on external, often clunky, financing solutions.

At a high level across the B2B landscape, technology and automation are increasingly playing crucial roles in transforming AR processes. By driving efficiency from purchase order (PO) to cash, businesses can accelerate growth and improve margins. Innovations in AR automation, such as facilitating interactions on partial payments and eliminating manual processes, are helping businesses streamline operations and reduce friction.

“It’s important to remember that AR is sales, so when you do that effectively from an automated perspective, you should be able to drive growth and enhance margins,” Weiner said. “Funding more orders, bigger orders, and being able to make business decisions more quickly while eliminating manual processes like the three-way match” are all immediate impacts of embracing AR automation.

Ongoing Innovations in AR and Invoice Financing

Looking ahead, Weiner identified two key areas of innovation: expanding the total addressable market for invoice financing and using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The next step involves financing pre-invoice stages, such as PO financing, which could attract lenders with a higher risk appetite. Additionally, AI and machine learning can provide predictive insights, helping suppliers identify financing opportunities and optimize their cash flow strategies.

“Failing to modernize isn’t really an option,” Weiner said. “There are things like, ‘my customers all pay with paper check,’ but we know that effective buyer-facing portals will help drive that down. ‘Cost of accepting a credit card is too high,’ but we know that the all-in cost, considering time and labor and the lack of certainty, can shift that calculus … the real question is more about how many vendors do you want touching your ecosystem and your tech. Do you want point solutions or something more holistic?”

He added: “The common thread, at least for suppliers, is smarter decisions, more efficiency and taking control of working capital.”

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