Adoption of Truly Integrated Receivables Solutions Grows Across Multiple Industries

Written by: Zac Robinson

August 18, 2017

Each day brings new announcements and news from the ever-changing world of payment technology. With so much new information coming at you each day, it’s easy to miss topics that may be valuable to you. So we thought now was as good a time as any to take few minutes to catch you up on some of the most recent news from FTNI.

Some of the recent highlights and trends we’re seeing include: food and beverage distributors are increasingly saying no to legacy payment processing silos; companies across multiple industries are looking to streamline and gain greater oversight into lockbox operations; and technological advances (and the efficiencies and cost savings they create) illustrate the difference that a seamlessly integrated receivables platform can make.

Distributors Say No to Payment Processing Silos

Leading food and beverage distributors in the US are increasingly looking to get rid of the siloed payments solutions that have for far too long increased costs and decreased effectiveness. As they work to tear down the legacy silos that have slowed down their accounts receivables operations with time consuming, error-prone manual processes, they are gravitating towards new payment processing solutions such as FTNI’s ETran Integrated Receivables platform that allow them to accept, process and post, any payment method, from any payment channel – all on a single, seamlessly integrated platform.

FTNI has brought on 10+ food and beverage distributors over the past seven months, including numerous top 25 and top 50 U.S. distributors. Additionally, FTNI has partnered with the likes of Frosty Acres Brands, GolbonNCR, and UniPro to create a network of partnerships and integrated capabilities to deliver additional value for our distribution partners and customers. In fact, FTNI’s ETran platform now supports the AR operations of distributors serving customers across every state in the U.S.

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Here is just a small sampling of some of the benefits our distribution customers have realized upon their transition to a truly integrated receivables platform:

  • Increased customer convenience – Convenient online payment options via FTNI’s online payment portal give distributors customers the ability to view, select and pay open invoices whenever is most convenient to them. Distributors can allow customers to pay via ACH or Credit Card based on each customer’s unique payment terms.
  • Faster payments in the field – FTNI’s ETran Mobile payment application enables distributors field representatives to securely accept check, ACH or credit card payments on the spot, while also easily associating the payment(s) with open invoice items via complete mobile invoice presentment and payment functionality within the app. This also helps accelerate exception handling, increase cash flow and reduce DSO as payments can be worked earlier in the day since AR departments no longer have to wait for reps or drivers to bring payments back to the office.
  • Decreased DSO – Delivering customers with more convenient payment options via a single, unified platform, combined with the ability to automatically update back office CRM and accounting systems has helped leading distributors such as Shamrock Foods decrease DSO by upwards of four days in some cases. After all, once you’re operating from a single platform, you have the oversight and efficiencies needed to free up your most valuable resources for higher value functions than posting cash for eight hours each day.

Here’s a consolidated view of our most recent announcements related to the foodservice and beverage distribution space:

But the benefits don’t stop with distributors. Read on for more recent news and success stories from the insurance, banking and securities industries.

The Lockbox of Tomorrow, Today

The lockbox is a tried-and-true method of gathering and processing payments. And 30 years ago, they were the gold standard—but with the advent of digital payments, checks are no longer the only way your customers pay. They’re still a factor, but there’s also mobile, ACH, credit card, pay by phone—you name it. Advances in lockbox technology are long overdue.

Physicians Mutual is a perfect example of the significant impact a truly integrated receivable platform can have on enterprise-level AR operations. The $3 billion, Omaha-based company is in the top 1 percent of its industry, with offices throughout the US. The insurance giant processes hundreds of thousands of checks and documents each month—and before adapting new lockbox technology, every one of those checks and documents required a manual review. It was a considerable expense, to say the least.

With so much staff time on the line, the company wanted to streamline, automate, and bring new efficiencies to its lockbox and accounts receivables operations. Physicians Mutual has partnered with FTNI to consolidate several legacy payment systems to our ETran platform, as well as launching new online payments functionality. So when it came time to revamp its lockbox operations, the company knew where to start. Physicians Mutual put ETran’s Advanced Lockbox Processing Solutions in place —and saw immediate results.

ETran accelerated our review processes by nearly 75 percent in the first thirty days of production,” said Greg Hopkins, Vice President at Physicians Mutual. “We went from having to manually review 100 percent of the check payments and associated forms within our lockbox operations, to reviewing only 20 percent of checks and documents scanned, and I expect that number to continue to decrease over time.  The efficiencies we have already realized are significant, to say the least.”

Beyond Dashboards: Better Payment Processing Solutions for Corporate Banking Customers

As the Internet has changed the way we bank, financial institutions have been given a daunting task: deliver a comprehensive range of services and solutions to their corporate customers that’s easy to work with, efficient to run, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to implement and maintain. Oh, and let’s not forget flexibly configured to be able to support unique business processes and workflows. As new ways to pay rise to the fore, banks have scrambled to keep up, adding one piecemeal solution after another to their portfolio of solutions.

Most banks are lucky if their “platforms” don’t look like a crazy quilt. They may opt for a low-cost solution that scrapes data together into a dashboard, but those don’t solve the underlying problem: there are too many disparate solutions cobbled together with separate interfaces, labor-intensive workarounds and way too many manual processes. They’re not integrated, and the hidden costs of that dwarf any perceived ROI from buying a low-cost solution.

But some banks, like Horicon Bank, are rising to the challenge. A leading Wisconsin community bank, Horicon Bank has started offering its corporate banking customers truly integrated receivables solutions that go far beyond the patchwork-quilt approach. This is no mere dashboard—Horicon Bank is offering its customers modular, easy-to-deploy, highly-configurable, receivables processing solutions that enable their corporate customers to use advanced RDC, lockbox processing, online payments, single and recurring ACH and credit card payments, as well as mobile payments (mRDC, ACH and credit card). And they’re doing it all with a single, seamlessly integrated platform, so that they can manage everything in one place. That reduces their maintenance costs, increases their ability to offer customers self-service, and improves the customer experience—regardless of what payment method or channel is being used.

“The traditional corporate banking customer relationship is changing,” said Bob Van Kirk, Vice President, Treasury Management at Horicon Bank. “Our corporate banking customers no longer see us as just their financial institution, but as a trusted partner when it comes to leveraging new technology and solutions across their financial operations. The demand for integrated receivables has been building steadily for the past several years and we’re excited to partner with FTNI to make this technology a reality for our customers.”

Streamlining Investment Payments with Straight-Through Processing

Just as the internet has impacted the way we bank, it has similarly impacted the way we invest. While the paper check has reigned supreme for years when it comes to investment payments, the shift to electronic ACH and credit card is well underway.

This trend was highlighted earlier this year as a recognized investments leader, Lincoln Investment, selected our ETran platform to support their check processing and electronic payment needs across its nationwide network of financial advisors.

Bringing a deep understanding of the securities vertical and over 100 corporate clients in the brokerage, RIA and insurance industries, FTNI’s integrated payment processing solutions help these companies achieve straight-through processing and seamless posting into back office applications such as Pershing, Thomson-Beta and Talisys.

The opportunity to consolidate not only our payment processing, but also the posting of those payments via FTNI’s ETran platform is a big benefit for Lincoln Investment and our clients,” said Chris Kelm, vice president, operations, Lincoln Investment.  “As we continue to evolve our operations surrounding payment processing, the ability to achieve straight-through processing on a single platform is a truly exciting evolution for us.”

This is just a small sample of the exciting news and notable successes we’re seeing as more and more companies and financial institutions realize the value and efficiencies true integrated receivables solutions can bring their AR operations. Stay tuned to the FTNI blog and our news page for all the latest news and content from FTNI.

Originally published August 18, 2017

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