Global 2020 B2B Payments Survey Underscores Importance of Cash Flow Forecasting and Process Digitization

Treasury And Cash Management


Germaine Lang

Nov 5, 2020

The 2020 B2B Payments survey results are in. This is the 4th year Bottomline and Strategic Treasurer have partnered to take the pulse of banks and companies across B2B payments to present findings on what respondents are planning to invest in, how fraud is impacting payments, and what the top drivers of change are, among other things. Across a wide range of roles, including CEO and CFO, treasurer and cash manager, more than 300 practitioners from around the world participated in this year’s survey to gather insight on the payments landscape and its future.

While this year’s survey results were collected amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, the survey and report found that companies and financial institutions continue to focus on managing operations, serving customers, and planning for the future – even as the dynamics of this focus pivoted as organizations found ways to successfully navigate disruption.


Planned spend

Technology and innovation investments continue to lead planned payments spend. In last year’s survey, visibility into the status of cash and the inefficiency of forecasting were listed as top challenges facing treasury, AP and AR functions. It’s no surprise then that the majority of planned spend for 2020 shifted to technology solutions which support data analytics for improved cash flow forecasting. Other top areas of spend include increasing the adoption of APIs for improved connectivity and continued investment in solutions that automate AP and AP processes.

Payments automation and the role of fintechs

Defining fintech strategies is also a top priority as 50% of respondents expect to increase their use of fintech payments solutions, up from 32% last year. Viewed increasingly as valuable providers and/or partners to the financial institutions serving them, businesses find appeal in fintech secure payment solutions that solve for needs at reasonable cost. The cloud-based nature of many fintech solutions is seen as providing value in cutting out infrastructure and onsite resource. Fintech partnerships also are viewed as helping organizations overcome one of the biggest perceived barriers to payments digitization, which respondents identify as the complexity of bringing disparate processes together on one platform. The right fintech solutions are perceived to help consolidate processes across an organization and integrate with existing platforms.

Fraud and financial crime

Concerns about fraud continue to grow. This year 52% of respondents reported an elevated fraud risk over the previous year – the highest since the annual survey was launched 4 years ago. Survey results also revealed the AP function is the area most often held responsible for fraudulent activity and loss, which could be explained by another barrier to payments automation adoption – the perceived complexity of addressing security and compliance concerns.

While this year’s B2B Payments survey results have some similarities to previous years – payments fraud concern is increasing, organizations still struggle in the move to scaled payments automation and forecasting is more important than ever – we are seeing some positive movement in these areas as well. The events of this past year have served as a catalyst to accelerate the move to digitization, despite the perceived barriers. With a seismic shift to working from home and contactless interactions, the move from manual to automated processes gained momentum and protecting those transactions became more urgent. The full impact of these shifts can’t be quantified today, but next year’s B2B Payments survey results certainly promise to provide additional insight.

To gain deeper insight into the state of B2B Payments and hear more highlights from the survey, watch this on-demand webinar as Strategic Treasurer and Bottomline discuss the results in detail and provide commentary on the findings. You can also access the full survey report, which provides supporting graphics and additional commentary: "B2B Payments Survey Report".


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Germaine Lang

Germaine Lang is the Managing Editor of SmartPayments with a strong creative and technical writing background across many industries. She also works to engage customers and relate their experiences with vendor products and services, positioning them as innovative thought leaders.
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