Rolling with the punches: Accounts Payable for resilient supply chains

Key takeaways

  • Supply chain disruptions and global uncertainty mean that supply chain resilience is increasingly a strategic asset, and Accounts Payable teams have a significant impact on building this resilience.
  • Strengthening supply chains requires new perspectives that understand and address the needs of a range of suppliers, offering value-added services that support supplier growth and financial health.
  • Through the right payment tools that offer flexibility and a full range of payment options, Accounts Payable teams can support the cash flow and forecasting ability of suppliers. By working with supplier networks like Bank of America’s, firms can support and enhance the digital journey of their suppliers to build resilience through automation and rapid decision-making.

The economic volatility and supply disruptions of the past few years have brought far-reaching changes to supply chain management. The result is that the stability and transparency of supply chains have emerged as top priorities and strategic assets for many firms.


Accounts Payable functions have the ability to shape and fortify the crucial connections that build resilient commercial ecosystems. Yet, what actions can Accounts Payable teams take to improve the management of supply chains? Furthermore, how can they leverage new tools and perspectives to build real supply chain resilience?

A new perspective on supply chains

As more firms focus on nurturing robust supplier relationships, fresh perspectives on supply chain management are emerging. Buyer and supplier pain points are oſten shared through different lenses in the organization. With a holistic approach to supply chains, companies are increasingly offering value-added services to suppliers as part of a business strategy.


For Accounts Payable teams, the selection of payment mechanisms and systems can add value for suppliers through timing and a range of payment options. Checks have historically been a simple payment solution for many suppliers because they are aligned with traditional processes. However, payment methods have emerged that offer opportunities for process efficiency and digitization. Along with data, these tools can enable and empower the right suppliers to grow as your business grows.


There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Supporting the needs and health of suppliers at various points of their digital journey requires adaptability and optionality.

Here are five ways Accounts Payable can help build supply chain resilience:

  1. Start with a payment strategy. Segment your supplier base to understand different supplier capabilities and what they need to grow. Create specific payment parameters for each supplier segment along with prioritized value-added services. Ensure that your payment strategy aligns procurement, treasury and payment objectives.
  2. Help suppliers plan their cash flow. Payment flexibility and rich reconciliation data improve cash flow visibility and predictability. This allows suppliers to forecast more accurately and to more effectively control their business through times of uncertainty and stress.
  3. Boost supplier cash flow. Healthy suppliers have strong cash flow. Payment choice for the supplier can help improve their control of cash flow. Paying on time, or earlier through virtual cards, also ensures suppliers have cash when they need it.
  4. Centralize, simplify and secure supplier data. Centralized supplier networks offer efficiency and automation benefits to both suppliers and buyers. Partnering with a supplier network provides a central source of supplier data to reduce accounts payable complexity and cost. They also utilize robust supplier validation methodologies that reduce instances of payment fraud.
  5. Support the digital journey of suppliers. Providing value for suppliers requires meeting them wherever they are along the digitization journey to support the move away from checks and manual processes. Whether their needs are for scheduled reporting, processing remittance in an email, or a customized accounts receivable file, options for remittance details must match the level of payment digitization.

The role of Accounts Payable teams in nurturing resilient suppliers cannot be understated. With new perspectives and a coordinated strategy, Accounts Payable and the payment systems and tools they employ can foster the health of suppliers. By supporting growth and digital adoption, they enable the whole supply chain to meet future business needs. The insights from supply chain transparency and accounts payable data also speed up decision-making so that smaller suppliers can weather volatility and uncertainty.


While digital payment adoption may face some hurdles, the opportunities for data, insightful business decisions, and higher levels of automation are significant. At the end of the day, accounts payable and receivable are different sides of the same coin, using the same data. Therefore, an investment in accounts payable systems and tools should lead to improvements and value-added capabilities that are shared with suppliers.


Achieving ambitious aims for supply chain integration will require partnering with suppliers to truly understand and address their pain points and needs. It will also require the right technology and payment partners. Bank of America’s comprehensive payment solution offers a growing network of over one million suppliers, along with the payment, remittance and data tools to automate, streamline and secure your supply chain.


Our comprehensive payment network also allows your suppliers to access a global network of buyers and digitization capabilities through a single point of access. This single source for automation can give them the ability to rapidly scale their digital adoption and seamlessly tap into new growth opportunities.


Speak to your Bank of America relationship manager to understand how our comprehensive payables solutions can help your Accounts Payable team adapt to whatever may come and empower your businesses to excel through resilient supply chains.