SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

July 08, 2008 11:55 ET

Electronic Payments Adoption Generates Bottom-Line Savings

New Study Finds That Best-in-Class Enterprises Save 38% per Transaction by Utilizing Electronic Payment Methods

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - July 8, 2008) - Payments and settlement, the final processing piece in the accounts payable puzzle, is typically wrought with manual methods, with as many as 65% of B2B payments made via paper-based checks. By utilizing electronic payment methods such as ACH (Automated Clearing House), commercial cards, and wire transfer, enterprises can reap the benefits of cheaper transaction costs and reduce the risk of fraud, according to a new benchmark report published by Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS).

The "E-Payables Benchmark Series: Electronic Payments and Fraud Prevention" report found that 82% of enterprises cite the reduction of overall payment costs as their main driver to focus on electronic payment methods. Rightfully so, electronic payment processes have allowed top-performing enterprises to drive 38% cost savings on every payment, a figure which indicates their superior level of performance above all other enterprises.

Best-in-Class enterprises have a higher percentage of payments processed electronically (80%), a key factor in driving significant cost savings on every transaction. These top-performing enterprises have leveraged a myriad of organizational and process capabilities to achieve this level of performance, such as:

--  Displaying cross-functional coordination amongst procurement, finance,
    treasury, and IT 1.4 times more frequently than their peers
    
--  Standardizing payment processes 67% more frequently than all other
    firms
    
--  Conducting daily reconciliation of payments 54% more frequently than
    all other enterprises
    

"While a majority of enterprises believe that adopting electronic payment methods is critical for the success of the A/P department, a majority of payments are made by checks," notes Amit Gupta, research analyst at Aberdeen. "Supplier resistance and lack of integration of electronic payment methods with existing accounting systems are the top barriers to adoption of electronic payment methods. By processing more than twice the number of payments electronically than their peers, Best-in-Class enterprises display significantly lower payment processing cost and reduced risk to payment fraud."

Based on the research, Aberdeen recommends that enterprises desiring Best-in-Class payment performance should integrate electronic payment methods (ACH, commercial cards, and wire transfer) with their existing accounting systems, as well as conduct spend analysis as a means of segmenting suppliers into preferred payment methods.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: American Express, Bottomline Technologies, PowerTrack/U.S. Bank, and SunGard. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4899.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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