Payments Digitization Fits the Bill for Lower Costs, Greater Transparency

Payments Digitization Fits the Bill for Lower Costs, Greater Transparency

Tangoe is in the business of helping customers reduce expenses, and one of those expenses is the cost of manually processing payments on both the payables and receivables sides. That’s why the firm has not only automated its own payments processing but also offers its customers the tools to follow suit, CFO Joel Jeselsohn told PYMNTS.

The 20-year-old company provides a technology expense and asset management solution. It seamlessly integrates with hundreds of providers globally to deliver reporting and insights to help customers manage their IT, telecommunication and mobile devices, Jeselsohn said. It manages 15 billion expenses, has 14 million devices under management, and processes about 400,000 invoices monthly for its customers.

When it comes to paying vendors, Jeselsohn said, “Yeah, we absolutely do it electronically. My preference is actually not to pay vendors one by one. I prefer to do it through a platform.”

Tangoe also offers that service to its customers. “So, we do have a solution. It’s not mandatory. It’s optional, but we do have the option for our customers where we step into their shoes and pay their communication providers directly.”

Challenges to Change

According to Jeselsohn, when it comes to of automating or changing workflows, the hardest parts are twofold.

First is digitization and automation. The systems need to be in place. The data needs to flow the right way. The cost centers need to be there. The integrations need to be there.

The Biggest Opportunity

According to Jeselsohn, the biggest opportunity to digitize the finance function is to create an end-to-end process from the intake of the invoices, whether it’s coming from CRM all the way through ERP and then paying out.

He looks at three cycles:

  • Record report, which is the accounting backbone of the system.
  • Order to cash, which is all the billing invoicing, and collection.
  • Procure to pay, which is the vendor side, the expenses, and the payments out to the vendors.

“I think digitizing all of that, automating it, and creating seamless processes is key,” Jeselsohn said. “And it allows you also later on to create a proper function that can get all the data from the systems, create forecasts, create projections, whether it’s on the balance sheet … or cash flows.”

Macro Trends

According to Jeselsohn, inflation has been a multifactorial phenomenon.

There are different things that caused inflation to rear its ugly head,” he said, “It started with COVID, then the supply chain crisis and then the war in Ukraine.”

He said inflation has not yet led the company to slow payments to take advantage of higher interest rates, nor has he seen any evidence of that elsewhere. He said companies are focused on increasing cash reserves, but more out of concerns about the possibility of an impending slowdown or outright recession.

Knock-on consequences include low unemployment and a corresponding tough labor market.

To cope with the problem, the company has made offshoring initiatives. It has also made efforts to keep remote workers engaged by keeping them up to date, providing transparency about results, creating excitement around the product and what the company does, and making sure that every individual understands exactly what they do and how they contribute to the success of the company, because if they don’t, they will check out, Jeselsohn said.

“We are fighting even more over talent because companies are going hybrid or even work remote 100 percent like we do,” he said. “So, you can hire people anywhere, and the fight over talent is not only now in your local territory, it’s actually global.”

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