While economic struggles will continue to dominate the headlines over the turn of the year, innovation must continue in the payments space. Cash flow is key to survival, so overcoming the late payment challenge has never been more important. Unfortunately, payments to small businesses were made 8.2 days late on average in September 2022 – the highest late payment time in two years.

One of the best ways to overcome late payments is with a method that has long been touted as the ‘future’ of B2B payments, and has seen steadily increasing adoption in recent years. Commercial cards allow businesses to extend days payable outstanding (DPO) to suppliers, thus maximising working capital while minimising the supplier’s days sales outstanding (DSO), also removing the cost of cash collection.

So, what’s next?

In the years to come, we can expect to see an increasingly close relationship between banks, fintechs and back-office system providers. Integrating payments solutions within a back-office system removes unnecessary processes and ensures accounts payable and receivable align with other areas of a business.

The focus in 2023 will be very much on optimising payment options. While companies previously needed to monitor multiple portals and manually track their payments, technologies like straight-through-processing (STP) are gaining traction as a way of automating such processes. Leveraging APIs to enable flexibility means that businesses will have more choice of payment types, terms and processes than ever before.

Another interesting development in payments will be the continued growth of Open Banking in 2023. In its wake are emerging solutions like variable recurring payments (VRPs), which are an evolution of the current direct debit scheme that allow a business to make a series of payments ahead of time to better forecast spend and facilitate more informed decisions.