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Industry roundup: 22 April

Basware enhances accounts payable solution

Basware has announced it is enhancing its AP automation solution with a new user interface and additional functionality around invoice processing and exception handling. AP Pro is designed to increase the performance of invoice processing and deviation management. The new design is based on customer feedback and enhancement requests and features an actionable dashboard with improved search functionality and a one-stop-shop experience for all key AP tasks.

The solution is designed to allow easy tracking of invoices and to speed up the invoice processing cycle. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) based predictive analytics can further alert up to process bottlenecks and potential late payments, enabling clients to accelerate payments to certain key suppliers during these challenging times. AP Pro also introduces additional support for decentralised AP operations and shared service centres. Process-owners can monitor and allocate AP team tasks, which facilitates workload balancing and minimises the need for manual oversight over AP staff.

 

Barclays launches scheme to support large corporates during COVID-19

Barclays is extending its support to businesses not covered by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, and not eligible for support under the COVID-19 Corporate Finance Facility, through the launch of the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan scheme.

Backed by a UK Government guarantee, Barclays will provide lending of up to £50m for firms with a turnover of over £250m, and of up to £25m for businesses with turnover from £45m up to £250m, in order to help support them through issues associated with COVID-19.  The type of lending available includes term loans and revolving credit facilities of up to 3 years (subject to credit approval), with a minimum facility term of 3 months.

 

World Bank cautions against export restrictions

Speaking at a Virtual Meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers, Mari Pangestu, managing director for Development Policy and Partnerships at The World Bank, outlined four key messages for policy responses to COVID-19. The World Bank Group itself has committed US$160bn assistance to COVID 19 response over the next 15 months.

Three of the messages focus on concerted national actions:

1.     To facilitate the movement of food, agriculture inputs and labour. 

2.     Social protection programs for the poorest and most vulnerable.

3.     In the medium term, build longer-term resilience and prevention, including in the most vulnerable countries for a One Health Approach. 

The fourth point from Pangestu stressed that international cooperation is key to preventing world economic activity from slumping. As such, Pangestu called on countries to refrain from imposing export restrictions; and avoid unnecessary import barriers and build up of stocks. She noted that global grain production and stocks are at near all-time highs, making restrictions and building up national stocks unnecessary. Pangestu urged nations to avoid what happened in 2008 when trade restrictions amplified world food price spikes and caused 130-155 million more people to fall below the poverty line, especially in the most vulnerable countries. 

US ACH Network up 7.1% in Q1 2020; slowdown now expected due to COVID-19

The ACH Network in the US opened 2020 with a strong first quarter, as the number of payments rose 7.1% from a year earlier. Nacha says that the results were driven primarily through robust growth occurring prior to the slowdown of economic activity due to COVID-19.

For the second half of March, there was a slowdown in payments volume. That includes ACH, where the slowdown in economic activity has affected the volume of payroll payments, bill payments, and supply chain payments. This situation is likely to continue through the second quarter.

There were 6.4 billion payments on the ACH Network in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 423 million from the same time in 2019. Volume consisted of 3.7 billion debits and 2.7 billion credits. The total value of those payments was US$14.6 trillion, up 10.3% from a year earlier. Direct Deposits totalled 1.9 billion payments, an increase of nearly 4%. Business-to-business payments increased 11.7% with 1 billion transactions.

 

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This item appears in the following sections:
Payments - Disbursements
Accounts Payable Management
Trade Transaction & Payment Services
COVID-19
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