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Rise of the Vendor Portals

Rise of the Vendor Portals

Is Your Accounts Receivables Department Adapting or Reacting?

In the past several years, most major retail organizations have moved to portal software to manage their accounts payable function. Ideally, this solution allows their suppliers to:

  • Maintain and update their contact and payer information
  • Submit invoices electronically
  • Log in and check the status of payments due 24/7
  • Deal immediately with transaction disputes and check their status

A vendor portal (sometimes called a supplier portal) allows organizations to efficiently collaborate with vendors, suppliers and contractors in a secure, online environment. In many cases, the traditional accounts payable clerk role is greatly diminished or eliminated. Many corporations no longer offer a human or accounts payable telephone number. All correspondence regarding payments, disputes or deductions are handled through the portal.

Now, portals for some vendor A/R departments can be a boon by further enhancing their own automation capabilities. Aligned and automated portal solutions can potentially speed up cash flows, lower DSO, reduce deduction write-offs and increase payment-forecasting abilities. For other A/R departments without a well-managed internally built software interface, however, portals can be a nightmare — causing deductions and DSO to increase as personnel struggle to use a variety of vendor portal solutions or avoid using them at all.

The difference between these two outcomes is the skill set of your current A/R personnel. But it’s also the software tool sets they use to align and automate the variety of portals they encounter. Due to the rapid change toward these vendor portals for large corporations, we predict that adoption of agile and aligned A/R processes/software solutions as well as personnel training will be a critical investment for complex organizations in the next few years.

Because there isn’t a standard vendor portal solution, your A/R specialist or analyst role will either have to become proficient at each customer’s unique software portal interface or risk slow/no payments for your organization. Key personnel will need to have the skill sets to understand the different requirements of each customer’s interface and use internally built software matching tools to efficiently manage the hundreds or thousands of invoices and documentation contained in yours and your customers’ payer systems.

Need assistance with identifying gaps in your current internal accounts receivables processes and software solutions? The Credit Department can help prepare you for the rise of the vendor portals.

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