Craig O'Neill, CEO
Struggling to process thousands of invoices? Caught up in pursuing customers over incomplete payments because they cannot find their invoice or are confused about the bill? Or perhaps you’re failing to keep up with customer expectations in the first place, not giving them the option of receiving their bills in digital form. Either way, it may be time for your business to rethink its accounts receivable (AR) automation process.
Ever since the pandemic hit, the automation of corporate AR systems and processes has been fast-tracked at many companies, a sweeping change that has become familiar to finance executives across the board. But the current AR scenario has a narrative beyond simply encouraging businesses to embrace automation. Even now, a typical AR exchange typically involves suppliers sending a message, sometimes electronically, sometimes by mail, to the buyer, which means there is no visibility on either side of the business whether the right person receives the invoice or not. A lack of connectivity between both parties still exists, and it’s only the first series of disconnected links between them. The result is a problem bigger than overdue receivables—it cripples the customer service offered by the supplier and experienced by the buyer.
Changing the face of traditional AR automation and tackling the rampant issues surrounding it is Canadian financial technology company Versapay. The firm goes beyond automating AR by assisting businesses in redefining it. Versapay connects the accounting teams of suppliers and buyers through a dedicated cloud-based portal, with both sides receiving access to the same information: invoices sent, disputes, partial payments, payment histories, supporting documentation, and conversations—all in one place. “We tend to call the other players the traditional AR automation players, because we have done something non-traditional and different,” points out Craig O’Neill, CEO of Versapay.
For example, the company recently helped Jacksonville, Florida-based real estate investment trust (REIT) Regency Centers reduce the time staff spent managing rental inquiries by more than 50 percent by making it easy for property managers and tenants to view account information and submit rental payments online. Prior to adopting the Versapay platform, Regency’s property managers had limited account visibility, to say nothing of tenants, only 25 percent of whom paid online. Only the company’s AR team had full access and received inquiries that should have been directed to property managers as a result.
A Distinctive Customer-Centric and Personalized Platform
Versapay’s unique approach involves connecting the varied stakeholders across purchase, sales, and delivery, helping them communicate and collaborate well. Versapay does not want businesses to just automate their AR but instead to transform it—by smoothing out the key business transactions of collecting and accounting for payments, the company smooths out the connection between two parties as well, which is much more transformative than automating the AR department’s work.
We call our solution collaborative AR because it is really about connecting and collaborating
The company’s collaborative AR network helps clients swiftly automate their core AR tasks, handling everything from invoicing to reminders to payment processing to omni-channel matching and reconciliation to posting payments to enterprise resource planning. Versapay also automates all the fundamental jobs behind the scenes, including delivering invoice information, billing information to the customer, following up on payment collections, and accounting for payments, and does so in a personalized, customer-centric manner. For example, the AR process invites customers to go online with a single click and not only see their invoice but also keep track of their payments, history, and interactions with their supplier’s AR department. Moreover, Versapay understands that buyers become busy, so when their due date is approaching, the platform helps suppliers send a notification to customers. O’Neill considers this ease of communication between parties key to Versapay’s 80 percent adoption rate versus 20 percent for competitors. “We call our solution collaborative AR because it is really about helping the buyer and seller work together,” he says. “There’s a reason our sales teams like to focus on how well our platform facilitates teamwork—it’s a feature that makes us different, not just better.”
Versapay also makes sure to not leave out clients who are still keen to use paper checks and invoices. With any payments conducted outside the platform, the business uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and image recognition technology to match the information about the payment to details about what the customer is paying for, resulting in 90 percent automation (any payments initiated within the Versapay platform, of course, process all data on what the customer is paying 100 percent automatically.)
Growing a Million Network Strong
Versapay has several stories about customers who have saved time and money and grown their business without being forced to grow their AR staff. One, in particular, illustrates their key competencies and broad customer base: “Versapay recently had a new client who was not yet live with the company’s implementation and handled AR processes the traditional way,” O’Neill says. One of its customers was overdue and pursued by a collector for repayment. Upon getting in touch with their customer, the client found they had lost track of their invoice, which is why the customer had failed to make their payment. The client told their customer they needed to step up their AR handling processes and introduced them to Versapay, which according to the client, has helped their customer automate, collaborate, and schedule payments effortlessly, thereby simplifying their entire AR practice.
Nearing three-quarters of a million companies on the network today, Versapay intends to see more than a million companies on the platform over the next year building stronger connections between suppliers and buyers by connecting to more sources of corporate buyer payments so that even big customers can be fully engaged on the network. Moreover, Versapay is going international, with plans to open offices in London, Amsterdam, and Sydney. “We are looking at scaling up in these three jurisdictions quickly, because we are seeing the same need for collaborative AR or AR automation in all those places around the world,” O’Neill concludes.