NEW ORLEANS -- A key issue corporate treasurers face is getting smaller business partners to move away from checks and pay electronically. Now, a new educational tool from the Remittance Coalition may finally bridge that gap.
During a Sunday pre-conference roundtable at Payments 2015, the Remittance Coalition introduced its Small Business Payments Toolkit, which is intended to encourage the adoption of electronic business-to-business payments and remittance information exchanges by small businesses.
The toolkit explains payment types, describes electronic payments like automated clearing house (ACH) transactions, offers advice on working with bankers, and provides tips on avoiding payments fraud. It lists resources for further information and education on payments.
The Remittance Coalition encourages corporate treasurers to share the toolkit with their trading partners, and is openly looking for ways to get the word out on it. Attendees at the meeting brainstormed ways that they could do this.
A financial professional in attendance suggested holding presentations at regional AFP chapters, to make corporate treasurers aware of the resources so that can share it with their small trading partners. “I would imagine the regional AFP chapters would be more than happy to share this material,” he said. “Our regional AFP does monthly meetings where they get folks in and hold sessions. It could be great not only for the companies that attend, but also the companies that are working with them.”
Still, there is one more obstacle to get around when trying to reach small businesses on payments. “You can talk to a small business until they’re blue in the face, but making payments isn’t their business,” said another attendee. “The first thing they’re going to do is ask is, ‘Does my vendor support this? Does QuickBooks support this? Does Peachtree support this?’ I’ll tell you what, we need to be pounding on those vendors’ doors.”
The attendee agreed that the toolkit is a great piece of information, but if corporate treasurers and banks can’t get it into the hands of small businesses’ vendors, then it will have trouble gaining traction. “You have to get to the businesses, but you’ve also got to get to the people that handle the payments,” he said. “And the same message has to be heard by both parties in a language they understand.”
Phase 2 of the Toolkit project is already underway, noted Claudia Swendseid, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The second phase will involve introducing small businesses to emerging payments (mobile, virtual currencies, EMV, etc.)Download the Small Business Payments Toolkit here.