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New Data Shows Two-Thirds Of SMB CFOs See Payments Innovation As Key To Growth

March 2020 threw a wrench into the financial strategies of businesses across the globe, disrupting well-established norms in every area of their payments processes.

As chief financial officers (CFOs) can attest, the past 17 months have fundamentally altered the long-term growth plans of their businesses, putting accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) digitization front and center of their strategic visions. Ninety-two percent of all small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States alone are now working to digitize their accounting functions, and 63 percent are digitizing their customer and vendor invoicing processes. There are also 47 percent that are digitizing their payments processing and 26 percent digitizing collections.

It is clear that digital AR and AP innovations like these are high priority for the strong majority of the SMBs in the U.S., but what do these SMBs’ CFOs hope to achieve by implementing them?

In The Strategic Role Of The CFO Playbook, PYMNTS, in collaboration with Versapay, provides an overview of how SMBs are integrating AR and AP innovations into their businesses’ broader strategic visions. We surveyed CFOs from 400 businesses in 18 sectors across the U.S. to learn how the past 17 months have changed their innovation outlooks, the areas of their payments operations that they are now aiming to digitize and the barriers they believe are holding them back from achieving their long-term goals.

PYMNTS’ research shows that the 17 months since March 2020 have been somewhat of a revelation for CFOs at many SMBs. The financial challenges that arose in the wake of the pandemic have on one hand presented numerous challenges, while also driving an unprecedented interest in AR and AP innovation’s potential. Seventy-four percent of SMBs generating between $25 million and $100 million in annual revenue experienced delayed payments volume as a result of the crisis, for example, and 37 percent said it increased the cost of accepting payments.

The difficulty of managing these challenges has led CFOs at these firms to rethink their digital AR and AP innovation agendas. Ninety-three percent of the firms generating between $25 million and $100 million now say that they see digital innovation as an opportunity to transform their payments operations, and many have already made great strides in doing so, whether it is by paying with checks less often or using real-time payments more often.

These trends only begin to scratch the surface of a much broader story about how CFOs at SMBs across the nation are reimagining the role of AR and AP innovation, however. The Strategic Role Of The CFO Playbook explores the many ways that CFOs are rethinking their strategic visions and reshaping their businesses’ long-term financial goals.

To learn more about how CFOs are re-incorporating AR and AP innovations into their long-term business strategies, download the playbook.

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