Bruno Mellado : B2B Payment Trends for SMEs
Bruno Mellado, Head of Payments & Receivables, BNP Paribas, spoke to us about what’s new in the B2B payments space and the possible implications for treasurers of digitalisation in B2B payments.
Payments innovations tend to focus on the B2C space, for obvious reasons. Why is it important that we give B2B flows similar prominence?
On the consumer side, around 70% of all purchases are made electronically from order to fulfilment. For businesses, only about 30% are treated digitally end to end from procurement to fulfilment but it increases drastically in the coming years. That means there’s plenty of room to digitalise how small businesses order and pay their suppliers–and also how they themselves get paid. Rather than processing this manually and checking emails to find out the status of payments, the entire workflow could easily be automated on fully digital process. In addition to the potential benefits of automation, there are new mandatory requirements to send B2B electronic invoices in the pipeline in Europe. This requirement already exists in other parts of the world, such a sin Mexico with its local XML format CFDI, and Brazil, which has regulations for various electronic invoices, covering supplies of goods, services, freight and more. The European Commission is progressing with its‘VAT in the digital age’ legislative proposal, which includes obligations around VAT reporting an de-invoicing. Following a public consultation in the first half of 2022, Commission adoption is the next stage due. Sovereign European nations have been implementing their owne-invoicing formats in the meantime, all of which need to comply with the European standard fore-invoicing. Many are looking at an invoice clearance model, where the national tax authority sees the invoice before it is issued to the recipient. This model requires authorisation from the EU to be implemented, something that Italy received back in 2019. Poland and France have also been granted authorisation and plan to roll oute-invoicing mandates in 2023 and 2024 respectively. Many other countries have also begun the legislative process that will lead to requesting authorisation. Small businesses will have to comply and be able to receive fully electronic invoices. This means that it’s no longer possible to work with paper, but also with PDF invoices, for example. Instead, it will be more like a dematerialised invoice in XML format–think of it like an Excel spread sheet with 130 + fields, one-third of which are mandatory
How do you seek to overcome these challenges?
To confront these challenges,it is essential that private banks and wealth managers adopt a holistic approach and seek out innovative opportunities. In the first instance they mustmake the decision whether to make or to a buy the necessary CLM solution. In the latter event there are further decisions required with regard to recruitment and training of staffand the integration with existing systems and projecting the scalability of the processes adopted. Then there is the stage of process management: Aligningpolicies and proceduresto dovetail with the existing organisation and current processesand adopting innovative workflow and process automation. This shifting of effort and responsibility to the front office requires training and upskilling of front officeand client lifecycle management teams. Consideration also needs to be given to the outsourcing non-core functions.
“It is essential that private banks and wealth managers adopt a holistic approach and seek out innovative opportunities in their approach to client lifecycle management”
What benefits can financial institutions expect to see from the implementation of client life cycle management?
Client lifecycle management is the glue that holds together investment clients’ experience - from their onboarding to their subsequent departure. It must encompass and facilitate all the intervening periodic and event driven reviews. However, the interdependencies of all these levers poses significant challenges in achieving operational excellence and efficiency in client lifecycle management.
Successful adoption of effective client lifecycle management can bring many advantages.A clearly thought through and implemented CLM strategy and system not only aids the delivery of superior client experiences but also ensures regulatory compliance, reputational excellence, operational efficiency, and risk management. In addition, the client lifecycle management mobilizes up to 30% of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) in front office, CLM teams and compliance personnel.Financial institutions can benefit from leveraging digital solutions, process management, organizational alignments, centralization through CLM to manage the clients’ lifecycle with increased effectiveness.