This Week in B2B: Digital Innovation, Data-Driven Insights

Interoperability is viewed by many to be the holy grail of business-to-business (B2B) innovation.

By enabling systems to work together seamlessly, businesses can reduce costs, improve accuracy, enhance security, and foster better relationships with their partners.

Businesses want flexible and customizable workflows, and providers are working to make it happen. Digital transformation is accelerating, with businesses moving away from paper-based and manual processes towards electronic methods.

Businesses are looking to automate B2B payments to reduce errors, save time, and cut costs, while keeping up with evolving regulations and tax requirements across different jurisdictions.

That’s why the top B2B news PYMNTS tracked this week was around embracing innovation, digitizing payments workflows, and transforming compliance from a cost center to a growth engine.

The Innovation Imperative

“Companies need to adopt new technology,” Claudia Villasis-Wallraff, head of data driven treasury at Deutsche Bank, told PYMNTS this week. “And with this, I not only mean adopting API connectivity, but also cloud functions and artificial intelligence.”

Echoing that sentiment, Michael Haney, head of product strategy at Galileo Financial Technologies, stressed to PYMNTS in a separate conversation this week that many banks are no longer feeling the need to build, own and operate their own data centers, to purchase hardware, to build everything in-house. They’re becoming more comfortable, he said, with getting their infrastructure, platforms and software in a service model from the cloud.

And the marketplace is responding.

Trovata on Wednesday (June 26) introduced an embedded banking solution designed for corporate bank accounts. The new Multibank Connector includes an extensive library of direct-to-bank APIs to power financial services.

Payments platform Airwallex integrated with financial software provider QuickBooks, per another Wednesday announcement, in order to improve multicurrency reporting for businesses.

And that same day, Tabs added revenue recognition to its artificial intelligence-powered billing and financial operations platform for B2B businesses. The new Tabs Revenue Recognition module helps businesses manage and recognize revenue, ensure compliance with accounting standards, and improve accuracy and efficiency, the company said.

Elsewhere Wednesday, Zip added a generative artificial intelligence (AI) procurement assistant to its spend orchestration platform, along with two other AI-powered capabilities — document extraction and intake automation — to help companies streamline procurement.

Last but not least, Weave also on Wednesday launched an experience platform for healthcare practices with multiple locations, including dental service organizations, vision, veterinary and medical groups. The company’s enterprise experience joins its existing platform designed for small and medium-sized healthcare businesses,

Digitizing Payment Workflows

Getting paid is crucial to the livelihood of businesses, no matter their size, and that makes the accounts receivable (AR) function critical to growth. The shift from legacy payment systems to digital solutions is proving to not be just a trend, but a necessity.

“It’s not just the visibility, it’s the real-time visibility and being able to take that data and transact and make decisions based on that data in real time,”  Ari Widlansky, managing director and U.S. chief operating officer at Esker, told PYMNTS this week. “This is where you can unlock value across the entire invoice-to-cash experience.”

That’s why Finexio on Tuesday (June 25) added a new fraud protection solution to its accounts payable-as-a-service offerings. The new Finexio Shield is designed to secure B2B payments, preventing fraud while also optimizing and delivering supplier payments.

Bluevine on Tuesday launched a Mastercard-powered small business credit card that provides 1.5% cashback on all business purchases, merchant discounts and a range of business tools. The Bluevine Business Cashback Mastercard integrates with other elements of Bluevine’s banking platform for startups and small businesses, allowing cardholders to access both their card and their Bluevine Business Checking account from a single dashboard.

Elsewhere, Sovos and PwC Ireland partnered to help organizations implement eInvoicing and eReporting to comply with government mandates across the European Union and the world. The collaboration brings together the capabilities of Sovos, supplier of the Sovos Compliance Cloud platform, and PwC Ireland, a provider of assurance, advisory and tax services, the companies said on Tuesday.

Compliance Is a Constant Challenge

Keeping up with evolving regulations and tax requirements across different jurisdictions is a concern for businesses.

PYMNTS took a look on Monday at the various approaches C-suite leaders, particularly CFOs, are embracing to manage 2024’s year of regulatory anxiety. After all, when it comes to compliance, businesses need to grow up — quickly — to compete.

B2B onboarding and know your business (KYB) programs are critical processes that set the tone for company relationships. Effective onboarding can lead to higher customer satisfaction, retention and long-term partnerships. Less effective onboarding or supplier relationship management can have results that are disastrous.

As for actual regulations that require compliance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has extended the compliance dates for its small business lending rule pursuant to court orders, it was announced on Tuesday (June 25).

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