How long did it take you to renew your Netflix subscription this month? No time at all, I would reckon, as algorithms helpfully extended it with no intervention on your behalf, sparing you any associated headache.
Consumer billing is easy these days, especially when it comes to digital services. If a payment takes more than a quick fingerprint scan, the user would probably take it as a personal insult.
In the business-to-business (B2B) world, things could not have been more different. This section of the financial realm has been moving at a significantly slower pace, so much so that it prefers to handle such things by hand. And it shows.
In 2021, the average days sales outstanding (DSO) – a metric showing how long it takes a business on average to have a sale paid – stood at 53 days. As one can imagine, a delay this long is not good for the company’s cash flow, and even though that is a problem in itself, there is more than just the delay here.
B2B payment is usually a complex, multistage process. In the most basic terms, it includes issuing an invoice, waiting for the counterparty to cover it within the period stipulated in the service agreement and reconciliation, or matching the invoice with the appropriate banking statements. As every stage comprises its own steps, what you end up with is a process incorporating about a dozen stages, with lots of manual work.
Naturally, if every payment, whether inbound or outbound, takes so much time and effort, scaling the business turns into a challenge. Companies have to hire dozens of accounting specialists to run their accounts payable/receivable departments as they work to expand their operation.
This, of course, means more money flowing away from the operational core of the business. Furthermore, this much human involvement leaves ample room for errors, including duplicate payments and transfers to the wrong bank accounts.
Globally, domestic B2B payments are projected to hit $54 trillion in 2023, which makes for a colossal, yet highly inefficient, market. This inefficiency is what Anchor, an innovative Israeli fintech start-up, takes aim at with its unique platform that automates the entire process end-to-end.
Anchor’s platform allows businesses to create electronic agreements, a more versatile and a non-blockchain version of smart contracts, if you prefer. These agreements establish the terms and conditions for their subsequent collaboration, including payments, and work as the single source of truth for the automated payments. The system also takes in companies’ banking details.
With this setup in place, companies can issue, pay and reconcile invoices in a fully automated way. This streamlines the entire payment cycle by transforming it from a complex and bungled process into something that a business can do in a few clicks.
As a result, the DSO challenge is no longer there, as payments always come in on time, and the business is free to invest the money that went to the AR/AP team in developing its product or accelerating the marketing efforts. Errors are also no longer a piece of the puzzle, as businesses can eliminate them simply by double-checking everything at the setup stage.
While consumer billing has turned into a sleek and borderline-effortless experience on both sides, B2B payments are still an almost medieval headache that needlessly burdens businesses of any scale across all industries.
A platform removing this pain point is more than a boost for their bottom line – it’s the key to turning their cash flow into an actual flow, not a roller-coaster ride, and the relief for a hurdle holding back their growth. By alleviating this pressure, Anchor helps companies focus on what they do best without having to waste time and money on chasing down their clients for payments.