4 treasury and payment strategies to improve cash flow

Manage cash flow

Streamline your business operations and free up working capital

Competitive companies and financial institutions are prioritizing a shift toward fully electronic treasury and payment strategies—more so than ever before. The bottom line: The 2022 Modernizing AP Processing survey, which polled more than 200 companies and financial institutions worldwide, reported that 77% of these organizations were motivated by cost savings, and 44% were looking to improve cash flow.

The report authors noted that a “sophisticated” accounts payable (AP) strategy can increase revenue—both directly and indirectly. For example, it can reduce the costs of manual labor (and human errors) of traditional processing. It can tighten up invoicing and payment processing cycles, so money enters accounts more quickly.Disclosure 1

Wherever you are in your business lifecycle or digital transformation, seeking expert advice—and a greater understanding of what’s possible and how to finance it—can help you unleash working capital to make other competitive moves.

See which of these top opportunities are already on your to-do (or done) list—and which spark ideas or questions for your relationship manager. 

1. Automate payments at each step of the process.

According to a recent report, Ardent Partners’ Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter, the biggest challenges in AP processing include the costs of processing manual checks, the difficulty managing details of vendor payment and banking information, and issues with gaining “timely approval” of invoices and payments.Disclosure 2

Harnessing accounts payable solutions that make your systems more secure and efficient can allow you to devote more resources to projects that can grow your organization.


81% of organizations experienced attempted or actual payments fraud in 2019 Disclosure 4

AP solutions to consider

  • Check solutions: Manage each step of your check payments, such as processing and reconciliation, timely and accurate cash flow reporting, and storage and retrieval of archived checks.
  • Electronic solutions: Help reduce your operational expenses and labor by going paperless:
    • Save money with automated clearing house (ACH) transactions and wire transfers.
    • Combine paper checks and electronic payments into a single payment stream.
  • Payroll management: Eliminate paper checks, reduce processing costs, improve cash flow, lower fraud risk, save time, and increase employee satisfaction with direct deposit.
  • Payments fraud protection: Minimize security risks and stop fraudulent attempts before your payment vehicles are compromised.

2. Accelerate collections with a hybrid approach.

Improve your cash flow through more efficient collections—accelerating receivables reduces the time and expense of paper check handling and ultimately helps your organization operate more efficiently.

Among respondents to the Modernizing AP Processing survey, 29% are planning to increase their spend more or significantly more for digital accounts receivable (AR) solutions in 2023 and 2024.Disclosure 1

Note: As suppliers, vendors, and customers may be at different places on their digital journey, it may be best to make new moves but keep the old options available, while automating what you can.


42% of businesses said having complete payments visibility (such as timing, amounts, and transaction status) would help make paymet processes more efficient Disclosure 5

What’s next for you?

●      Electronic receivables: Expedite collections with online payment services.

●      Remote check deposit: Deposit checks electronically to reduce paperwork and bank trips, while benefiting from later posting deadlines.

●      Merchant services: Offer all card payment methods your customers want—whether those are in store, online, or on the go—to help you reduce days sales outstanding.

●      Cash and check processing: Improve the flow of funds with lockbox, deposit, and cash-handling services.

3. Explore the array of commercial card programs.

The IT and consulting company Accenture projects that spending with commercial cards will increase 12% overall between 2019 and 2024, with an even bigger leap of 21% for virtual card spending alone.Disclosure 3

A commercial card program affords you more control over your expenses, helps you optimize working capital by extending days payable outstanding, and eliminates the hassles (and fraud risks) of check requests or petty cash.


Credit cards made up 11% of all B2B payments in 2020, of the $1.9 trillion in total global transaction value Disclosure 6

What’s next for you?

  • Corporate card: Manage employee spending, monitor vendor expenses, and effectively control cash flow. Some cards offer added perks like travel or purchase protection.
  • Purchasing card: Streamline purchasing, reduce costs, and gain total control over procurement and payables.
  • Virtual card: Initiate payments electronically using a secure, temporary card account number—without the cost and hassle of issuing plastic or printing and mailing checks.
    • Set transaction-level controls for each payment or purchase to regulate spending.
    • Optimize working capital by extending days payable outstanding.
    • Establish rich payment controls that—in tandem with the temporary nature of virtual card numbers—can help reduce the risk of payment fraud.
  • Consolidated card program management tools: Easily monitor and manage your corporate card, purchasing card, or virtual card programs through a web-based platform.

4. Maximize data usage to improve decision making.

Real-time data collection is a major benefit of employing more digital solutions, like those discussed here. Being able to see your account activity and run different types of reports (for various durations and on an array of key performance indicators) can help you optimize your investment and borrowing decisions. Such reporting can make it easier to obtain financing, make projections, and pivot more quickly, based on what the data shows.


Only 16% of businesses strongly agree that their global payments processes are very efficient Disclosure 7

What’s next for you?

  • Online reporting and transaction initiation provide convenient, flexible access to important account information, allowing you to:
    • Set your cash position.
    • Access information from multiple accounts—ideally all with one system.
    • Initiate time-sensitive transactions in a secure application.
    • Monitor and manage your purchasing card or corporate card program as a strategic part of your finance function.
    • Enhance security of sensitive account information through a centralized sign-on center, accessible only by with designated users.
  • Automated information delivery instantly imports financial data so you can:
    • View data in a spreadsheet or as an encrypted PDF.
  • Import data directly into your treasury workstation or accounting applications.
Wherever you are in your business lifecycle or digital transformation, seeking expert advice—and a greater understanding of what’s possible and how to finance it—can help you unleash working capital to make other competitive moves.

Want to adopt electronic payment methods?

Could digital payments help streamline and simplify your financial operations? Ask your Truist relationship manager how to implement electronic payments for your business, or read more about commercial information reporting and online and mobile banking.