BillingZone Debuts A/P Service

Teams with First Data on new accounts payable transaction management service

Pittsburgh — April 15, 2003 — e-Payments solution provider BillingZone this week debuted a new service designed to help large and midsize organizations transform their accounts payable (A/P) processes from paper-based to fully electronic.

BillingZone said that its new Accounts Payable Transaction Management service combines the provider's electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) services with the payment scale and paper document conversion capabilities of electronic commerce and payment services provider First Data Corp. to give businesses a turnkey alternative for automating and streamlining manual and paper-intensive financial processes.

An enhanced version of BillingZone's current apConnect product offering, the A/P Transaction Management service is different from full business process outsourcing, traditional EIPP and electronic data interchange (EDI) offerings, BillingZone said, because unlike with full business processing outsourcing, the new service enables the corporate A/P staff to maintain a "comfortable level of control" over key financial processes, including payment timing, vendor relationships and trade term negotiations.

According to BillingZone, the new service handles paper and non-purchase order transactions (unlike EDI) and is not limited to only a small portion of a company's invoices (unlike stand-alone EIPP) but instead covers all invoices and all payments. The provider emphasized that its customers can choose to outsource all forms of payments, including checks, ACH and credit card transactions, although the new offering would not compromise bank-neutrality of the BillingZone service.

The potential benefits of moving to a virtually paperless A/P process include lower processing costs through the elimination of manual invoice handling, and a more efficient A/P process through the acceleration of workflow and routing capabilities, and better discount utilization.

Additional potential benefits could include lower transaction costs compared to checks, as well as the opportunity to negotiate favorable trade terms for electronic payments, and improved cash management and the opportunity to analyze overall spend and procurement trends.

Technology consultancy Gartner has estimated the savings for an enterprise receiving 180,000 invoices per year and issuing 45,000 payments a year to 5,000 suppliers could add up to more than $800,000.

BillingZone is collaborating with First Data Corp., majority owner of BillingZone's parent company eONE Global, to deliver both document conversion and payment capabilities, key elements of the A/P automation service. This is the first service to result from joint development efforts between BillingZone and First Data.

BillingZone is also working with First Data to implement this service to streamline First Data's A/P process, in addition to other customers.

"By working with BillingZone, First Data has the opportunity to not only improve our own processes, but also to expand our footprint in the payments market," said Scott Scheirman, chief financial officer and senior vice president of payment services for First Data.