02 September 2021

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Online tools have allowed companies to streamline and simplify core administration processes for business and fuel payments.

The global pandemic has changed the way businesses think about payments and expenses, and the processes involved in managing them. Principally, this means a move towards more digital payment methods and management processes, using online and cloud-based systems to pay, view accounts and control spend.

This digitisation of core business management processes has been coming for a while. In the last 18 months, the digitalisation of the business payments and expenses sector has increased as companies understand the benefits of systems which allow them to manage and make their payments, and control their expenses through online account management tools.

Indeed, analysts Statista project that transaction values in the digital payments segment will show an annual growth rate of 12% over the next four years. This is due to businesses taking advantage of opportunities and some have developed alternative digital payment methods to aid businesses following the difficult year-and-a-half.

Whether businesses have had a successful period or have had a difficult time, both benefit from new digital payment methods that combine card and banking rails to offer smarter flexible working capital solutions when the customer needs it as an alternative to costly and unwieldy loans and overdrafts. These new solutions allow customers to pay invoices online in real-time, without the money leaving the company’s account immediately.

The advent of increased digitisation not only has brought simplification at the point of payments by expanding digital solutions, but it’s brought the ability to manage spend and gain visibility remotely via online account management tools. Take fuel as an example: after the driver has paid, managers can track fuel card usage and driver behaviour so they can see when, where and how much drivers are refuelling, helping to control costs further and see where savings can be made.

With 24/7 access to online account management tools, this means businesses can view and make a number of efficiencies in reducing administration at management level and fuel economy at the operational stage, at a time and place that suits them. All because of digitisation.

Simplifying and streamlining business practices

There has been a realisation that processes need to be simplified and streamlined for maximum efficiency. Confederation of British Industry research discovered that 94% of businesses think that digital technologies are a crucial driver of increased productivity while a survey by global business process consultants ABBYY of UK employees found they believe they are wasting more than 40 working days a year each on routine tasks that can be done by technology, and that 62% of workers want manual, paper-based, and overly complex processes to be simplified.

Neil Murphy, global VP at ABBYY, said: “We know that problems with business processes can cause huge bottlenecks and barriers for employees. It’s safe to say that ‘the way it’s always worked’ is often not the best route anymore – especially when technologies exist that can ease the burden.

Digitisation need not mean radical overhaul

Digitisation of business processes such as paying and managing expenses and fuel doesn’t need to mean radical overhaul, as the Harvard Business Review states: “Digital transformation means something very different from outright disruption, in which the old is swept away by the new. Change is involved…but more often than not, transformation means incremental steps to better deliver the core value proposition.

There is no doubt that digital often enables the elimination of inefficient intermediaries and costly physical infrastructure.

Online account management tools are usually easily accessed from any suitable location, with a login and user name and exist in an internet-based environment which means that there are no large infrastructure and development costs involved in implementing a multi-channel customer experience.

A tool such as Allstar Online, for example, provides customers a clean, simple dashboard view of their account, in which they can order new cards, cancel old ones or check recent transactions, access HMRC-compliant invoices and create bespoke reports.

Depending on what Allstar cards you have, you may be able to tailor individual cards to the user through setting spend limits by day, week and month, and control purchase categories by card, such as; stock, e-commerce and travel. All of these account changes can be completed in just a few clicks using Allstar Online.

Due to the ability to make digital payments, manage spend and gain visibility of driver behaviour, such portals cut out the need to make phone calls to call centres as online account management tools are a one-stop-shop. They allow businesses to get on with the job of being in control of their fuel costs and managing their employees spend – at a time and place that suits them.

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