In conjunction with the Emerging Payments Association Asia (EPAA), Currencycloud organised a roundtable discussion with a select group of payments professionals to discuss the challenges of SME payments as well as the benefit and limits of digital solutions. We invited Joanne Walker from EY and David Helen from Regional Australian Bank to join us as expert speakers, in a session that was moderated by Lance Blockley of payments consultancy The Initiatives Group.
We highlight here the key touch points from that session.
Holistic approach to payments required in today’s B2B payments landscape
With SMEs selling a multitude of products and services, exclusively online or offline, each scenario has its own payment system challenges and needs, so much so that EY research of over 900 SMEs globally found that it is "very difficult to service the diverse needs of SMEs and micro-SMEs".
For example, confirmed payments trigger changes in stock levels for physical products. Payments against invoices must be reconciled to those invoices, and the larger the number of invoices, the more overwhelming this administrative task becomes. All payments in and out need to reconcile with the SME account systems, like Xero or MYOB.
Nevertheless, seamless payment processes are vital for customer retention. Research conducted by PYMTS showed that as many as 91% of consumers “feel a satisfying checkout experience substantially impacts their willingness to shop with a merchant again.”
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, providers should be looking into creating scalable and compatible solutions that can integrate with a myriad of systems across the SME spectrum.
Digitalisation to fuel SMEs success
Digitised solutions cannot be viewed as an end in themselves but rather as a means to solving genuine problems experienced by SMEs. This requires a new approach by both banks and fintech companies to ensure their solutions fit into the broader business operations needs of SMEs.
Banks have built resilient and secure systems to comply with regulations and protect their customers and their data. However, their cumbersome paper-based application processes tend to slow down access to finance. On the other hand, fintechs work digitally within banking processes to make it easier for SMEs to access funding using their predominantly online model.
The roundtable discussion generally agreed that partnerships between banks, financial institutions, and fintechs offer increased opportunities for banks and payment service providers to deliver new services in terms of cost and time.
A partnership approach is still in the early stages and actualisation remains on the horizon. Banks, financial institutions and fintechs should adopt a philosophy of partnership so they can work together to provide the best possible solutions for customers.
By collaborating with relevant and experienced payments specialists like Currencycloud, SMEs can benefit from services and solutions that integrate with their business operations and enhance the customer experience at the same time. Ultimately, SMEs will be best served when all players in the payments ecosystem work together to provide the services that meet their underserved needs.
To discover how Currencycloud can streamline digital payment solutions for your business, speak to our team of experts now.