Q1: What do you
foresee as the biggest trend in your industry in 2017?
The biggest trend
I see for 2017 is even more companies embracing electronic payments. In the
past, companies made the majority of their payments with paper checks. However,
as the adoption of ePayments grows, there’s an opportunity for companies to
make more than 50 percent of their payments electronically with various
I envision this
as the biggest trend in 2017 because of the awareness factor. More and more
businesses are hearing about payment automation, and they can utilize offerings
like the one we’ve developed at AvidXchange, where they can leverage existing
supplier networks comprised of suppliers that already accept ePayments. At AvidXchange, we have a network of over 100,000
suppliers ready to receive electronic payments. That’s 100,000 companies that
have heard of the AvidPay Network, and so with continued awareness, companies
will be able to even move beyond the 50 percent mark.
disruptions do you foresee within the accounts payable industry during 2017?
I have a bit of a
biased answer because I see AvidXchange leading the disruption with our Invoice
Accelerator offering. What we’re doing is totally turning the tables on how the
accounts payables industry has operated since the beginning of time.
suppliers perform a service or sell a product, send an invoice, and then have
to wait some period of time to get paid. The supplier doesn’t have any control
over when they will be paid, because it is entirely in the hands of the buyer. One
of the benefits of being a supplier enrolled with the AvidPay network is that
they are able to tell us when they want to get paid, thanks to our Invoice Accelerator offering. This is a very radical, disruptive
offering in terms of changing the way an industry operates. We’re giving the
supplier power over their cash flow.
Q3: What are some
of the challenges that currently exist in accounts payables that need to be
addressed in 2017? Opportunities?
One of the
challenges I see in the accounts payable space is the confusion in the
marketplace around payments. A lot of companies say that they are focused on
payments but I think that it’s first important to delineate between companies
that offer consumer payments versus B2B payments. Then, within the B2B space,
define what is meant by, “we execute payments for companies.” It’s critical to understand the
difference between offerings that are truly full service and manage the entire
payment process versus offerings that may help with the shift to electronic
payments, but leave a lot of the onus on the company’s finance team to make it
successful. One of the keys to our success has been our ability to offer
a variety of different payment types. Historically, most companies used banks
to make their payments. Banks typically only focus on one electronic payment
type, which is usually either a credit card or virtual card. We manage all forms
of payment for our customers, whether it is a card-based payment, ACH, via a
third-party, or paper check.
Michael Praeger is the
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AvidXchange, Inc., the leading
provider of on-demand accounts payables management and automated payment
solutions. Since founding AvidXchange in 2000, Michael has been an active
participant and speaker on “payables and payment automation” at various
industry conferences and considered a thought leader within the industry in
developing creative solutions and best practices for payables and payment
Michael has spent the
last 20 years founding, managing, merging and selling technology and web
services-related companies. Prior to establishing AvidXchange, Michael was
Co-Founder of PlanetResume.com, a technology career enhancement and recruiting
site that successfully completed its merger with CareerShop.com and
CareerTV.net in November 1999. Prior to that, he was Co-Founder and CEO of
InfoLink Partners and InfoVentures, LP. Michael also served as an Associate
with Summit Partners, a Boston-based Venture Capital and Buyout partnership
with more than $1 billion under management. He received a B.S.B.A. in Finance
from Georgetown University. Michael is also a graduate of the “Birthing of
Giants” executive entrepreneurship program at MIT.