Business expense management within companies is a key strategic issue that relies on an excellent handle of financial and administrative processes.
In companies, the management of strategic purchases “is structured over several years, unlike Class C purchases”, which generate significant hidden costs. In fact, non-strategic purchases (e.g. furniture, office supplies, hygiene products, etc.) only represent 5% of company expenditure, whereas they are responsible for over 70% of hidden costs.
These hidden costs are mainly due to an outdated and time-consuming process for acquisition, payment and invoice processing.
Digitisation of transactions
According to Manutan, digitising transactions allows you to save up to 50% on hidden costs. While the average cost of a traditional transaction is €95, the average final cost of a dematerialised purchasing process is only €19: five times less than the traditional process.
Although purchasing processes are made up of several stages, i.e., approval process, invoice processing, etc., in the following article we will focus on a single element of the business purchasing management process: payment.
Electronic payment methods are a key part of digitising transactions, which, in turn, allows to optimise financial management, reduce costs and generate savings.
What is electronic payment?
Electronic payment refers to all payment methods that allow expenses to be incurred without the use of cash and simplifies online purchases. Since its development, this new payment method has radically altered consumer habits and the way in which purchases are managed.
Today, electronic purchases no longer only concern the private individual, but have extended to the professional realm. In fact, electronic payment methods are increasingly adapted to the needs and characteristics of professionals, especially during their business trips.
This being said, what are the main electronic payment methods?
Electronic payment comes in several different forms.
The first solutions adopted in the UK were bank cards, debit cards and credit cards.
The emergence of electronic payment methods is increasingly fuelling the movement towards a “cashless” society and accelerating the disappearance of physical money. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of cash has become less common and is even discouraged.
There is a range of corporate bank cards available to employees. All that needs to be done is to choose the bank card that best suits your needs and those of your employees.
Virtual payment cards are non-physical cards that have the same characteristics as a traditional card: a card number, a CVC/CVV code and an expiry date.
According to the “World Payments Report 2020” by Capgemini Research Institute, virtual cards are estimated to represent $740 billion in transactions by 2025, with a 22% growth rate.
This significant growth can be explained by the numerous advantages of virtual cards. This payment method not only facilitates online payments but also ensures a high level of data security.
In companies, virtual cards are usually combined with an expense management solution, which further automates the employee purchasing process, from payment to accounting.
This allows managers to monitor the expenses of their employees and allocate specific amounts according to budget plans.
As such, the virtual card is the best solution to engage business expenses in a secure, instant, and controlled manner.
As indicated by its name, contactless payment, also called mobile payment or NFC (Near Field Communication), is a payment mechanism that allows you to make payments without having to enter your bank card into an electronic payment terminal (EPT). One only needs to approach their bank card, Smartphone or SmartWatch to the payment terminal in order to make a payment.
Online payment refers to all transactions carried out on the Internet. These payments are made by transferring money through bank cards and online banking systems, such as PayPal or Skrill.
Why opt for electronic payment methods?
Electronic payment methods can be used anywhere and at any time, which makes them a flexible option that is well-suited to the needs of employees on business trips, especially when it comes to currency conversions.
Security and traceability
Eliminating the need to transport large sums of cash on a trip is reassuring for travelling professionals.
Electronic payment solutions considerably reduce the risks of fraud and theft. For example, virtual payment cards can be generated as many times as required for each employee and can be used to pay different invoices, since each employee has a virtual card with a unique card number and code.
Each transaction carried out by means of an electronic payment solution is also easily recorded and monitored in real-time via an application to which the card is connected.
Speed and saved time
Electronic payment solutions allow you to considerably save time. Online payments are made fast and easy, from any device. You can even download an extension on your favourite browser and save your physical or virtual credit card details, including the card number, code and expiry date.
In doing so, every time you want to make an online purchase, the fields in the payment form are automatically filled in.
Electronic payment solutions have been designed to facilitate payments and optimise financial management processes. In companies, the dematerialisation of payment methods promotes the autonomy of employees and allows them to save valuable time, especially if the payment methods are combined with an expense management solution like Expensya.
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