BillTrust will provide access to Open Scan Technologies' Order to Cash (O2C) services in an effort to increase visibility into business payments processing.

BillTrust's paper and electronic invoicing payments tools will be integrated with Open Scan's O2C process management for business payments. O2C refers to the management of the different steps in corporate procurement, billing and payment.

"There are disparate sources of payments, more so than just five years ago, and it's a big pain point for businesses to manage remittance," says Mitch Rose, a senior vice president at BillTrust, which also offers business payment and management products such as Invoice Central and Customer Care.

The combined BillTrust/Open Scan services include account linking, rules-based payment routing, short-pay, decoupled payment correlation, and payment importing from lockbox, scanned or electronic sources.

A particular challenge is matching B2B payments with accounts receivable information, says Tim Oliver, director of product management for Open Scan. "It's a pretty labor intensive process, so businesses just throw bodies at it or pay their lockbox provider. Or they do a combination of those two things," he says.

BillTrust and Open Scan are broadly pursuing B2B payments automation, a category that lags consumer payments in adopting automation. About 50% of business payments are still paper-based, according to CEB TowerGroup.

A number of other companies are also trying to automate business payments, including and Fiserv.

"Electronic payments is being sold as a panacea for businesses, and people wonder why automation isn't greater than it is in business payments. Most of the time it has to do with a supplier having to match payment records [from automated and manual processes]," Oliver says.

Another challenge comes from managing records for partial automation—suppliers may receive bills electronically, but still make payments in cash, Oliver says. "The company has automated bill delivery but they still have the [management] issues," he says.

BillTrust, whose clients include Kraft, Under Armour, Land O'Lakes and CDW, just released a new version of Invoice Gateway, an invoicing product with a redesigned user interface for bill organization, invoice filtering, communicating invoice disputes, and integration with accounting programs.

BillTrust also offers other billing products such as Invoice Central and CustomerCare, and Rose says businesses are starting to increase their use of electronic payments. The shift to electronic payments increases speed and creates a need to manage a more complex data flow, a strategic need that businesses are just starting to embrace, Rose says. "We have a ways to go, [electronic payments] are still in its infancy in many ways," he says. 

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