In the truck business, speed matters. And nothing slows down a payment like a paper check.

"We have 1,200 vendors and we make more than 1,000 payments per month," says Bradley Nuss, executive vice president and CFO of Nuss Truck Group. "That's a lot of checks to sign."

The Rochester, Minn.-based company provides sales and leasing of trucking, construction equipment, tools and other heavy machinery. It has deployed a cloud-based payments system from NVoicepay in an attempt to speed up its own outgoing payments to suppliers and other companies.

Nuss traditionally receives paper invoices, and the office staff manually types the invoice code into the company's accounting platform. Nuss then cuts paper checks, which must be manually verified to match the invoice and signed by Nuss or another top executive.

The company, which operates in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, is pairing image scanning from Kofax with technology from NVoicepay to capture information from paper invoices and handle the payment electronically.

The new system allows Nuss' executives to view current and past payments, images of the invoices, document backups and a list of pending bills.

"There was a scheduling issue before," Nuss says. "We would have to be in the central office to approve the paper checks. We can now do that anywhere we have a laptop. We're not married to our desks."

Nuss says he frequently travels to Europe and the technology allows him to approve payments while on the road.

NVoicePay's payment system operates on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform, which enables the NVoicePay to accommodate different payment modes, systems and data storage methods without installing local hardware. The system provides virtual card accounts so Nuss can control the amount paid and vendors can process payments through their systems. 

Unlike consumers, businesses have lagged in adopting technology that digitizes payments. About half of all business payments remain paper-based, according to CEB TowerGroup.

A number of companies are trying to modernize business payments. Bill.com integrates a payments dashboard into banks' small-business banking software to provide a view of incoming and outgoing transactions. BillTrust's InvoiceGateway is designed to integrate with a number of accounting programs, and Fiserv recently redesigned its business payments product.

Visa is also actively working to modernize business payments, using its connection to the SAP Financial Services Network to allow corporate clients of certain Visa Commercial issuers to route payment instructions to Visa via SAP.

Despite his interest in modernizing payments, Nuss has adopted a mobile app, mostly out of his preference to use computers. And incoming payments are still not entirely digital, he says. The company is collecting payments from customers as both check and ACH payments. Nuss Truck, which uses ADP to power its internal accounting, ERP and payments acceptance systems, may move to electronic payments acceptance in the future, Nuss says.

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