Vendor self-service portals are the future of accounts payable. These portals allow vendors to view, add, and maintain information via an integrated online platform, simplifying the entire buyer/supplier relationship. This is especially useful when vendor payment information needs to be updated, suppliers are looking for insight into invoice or payment status, and new digital payments such as virtual cards are available for processing.
More importantly, vendor self-service portals benefit both the vendor’s AR team and buyer’s AP department. Below, we highlight the several benefits of vendor portals as well as the different processes that are simplified by this technology.
Vendor Self-Service Portals and AP Departments
Vendor portals, also known as accounts payable or supplier portals, are an extension of an AP automation platform that make it easy for AP departments to oversee third-party suppliers with a secure management system.
Usually offered in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS), vendor portals are hosted, maintained, and supported by a solution provider like MineralTree. This means you don’t have to provision any hardware or infrastructure or worry at all about system maintenance.
Streamline Processes with a Vendor Self-Service Portal
Supplier portals remove the need for manual updates throughout the end-to-end AP process. By automating and recording process updates in real-time, portals make it easy for vendors to get their questions answered without buyer intervention and can significantly streamline both AP and AR workflows.
Since all the information maintained in these portals, including payment information and invoice and payment status, is updated automatically and readily accessible, buyers and suppliers alike benefit from complete 1:1 visibility. With a provider like MineralTree, you even benefit from simplified vendor onboarding. In fact, we even support continuous supplier onboarding by reaching out to suppliers on your behalf to help them get started with portal access, virtual card payments, and more.
Another key feature of a vendor self-service portal is that it eases supplier management. Anytime suppliers have questions about payment status, or they need to update their payment details, they can do so through the portal without having to call your AP department. Information is automatically updated in the system so that your suppliers have complete visibility into real-time data. MineralTree’s Supplier Central goes one step farther, making it so that suppliers only have to enter updates to payment information or preferences once for it to be shared to all buyers using MineralTree.
Benefits of a Vendor Self-service Portal
We’ve already described some of the benefits of a vendor self-service portal, but there are certainly more. In fact, both buyer and supplier realize a multitude of benefits by using a service like MineralTree’s Supplier Central, as described below.
Many of the benefits for the buyer (your AP department) consist of features that positively influence vendor satisfaction and relationships, include the following:
- Simplified supplier management: Because portals provide real-time visibility into invoice and payment status, your AP team will likely field fewer phone calls and emails with questions from suppliers.
- Automatic invitation to portal sent to suppliers: You don’t need to worry about enrolling new vendors; this is handled automatically for you.
- Easy virtual card payments: With a platform like MineralTree, virtual card payment options are part of the service. Vendors can easily opt into this payment method, and you can reap the associated benefits of security and efficiency, along with cash-back rebates.
- Supplier analytics dashboard & reports: Not only do these portals simplify and automate many vendor interactions, but they provide data and analytics to help your AP department track important metrics.
- Secure exchange of account information: These portals make it easy to keep track of up-to-date payment and bank account information and provide a level of security far beyond traditional methods.
Every buyer knows the value of good supplier relationships. The following vendor benefits help support these vital relationships:
- Real-time access to invoice & payment status: Suppliers have the ability to log into the system whenever and wherever they want to instantly access invoice and payment information.
- Downloadable remittance details: There’s no need to wonder about or track down payment details because vendor portals keep all associated information in one place, making it easy to find. Suppliers can also download those remittance details for their records with the click of a button.
- Easy virtual card payments: We list this as both a buyer and supplier benefit because virtual card payments are one of the easiest, safest, and fastest ways for vendors to get paid.
- They work just like a credit card, except the 16-digit token is a randomly generated one-time code.
- With MineralTree’s Supplier Central portal, opting into virtual card payments takes almost no time at all and vendors can easily access all available virtual card payments for processing.
- Secure exchange of account information: Suppliers have the ability to input and update account information at any time, securely.
- Neither the vendor nor the buyer need worry about the liability of maintaining sensitive account information since this is all handled by the portal provider.
- Multifactor authentication and other account features provided by servicers like MineralTree keep this information safe and secure.
- Suppliers only have to enter new account information once: With Supplier Central, once information is updated, it’s automatically shared to all MineralTree customers–no need to update information with each buyer separately. Suppliers also benefit from one consolidated view across customers.
- Supplier analytics dashboard & reports: These portals provide suppliers with full access to data and the ability to analyze it and create reports.
Suppliers can customize their own KPIs and metrics such as days sales outstanding (DSO), credits outstanding, and so on.
This information can help with managing cash flow and forecasting incoming payments.
It makes it easy to see who pays late and who pays on time.
Analytics makes it easy to connect payments to customer obligations or performance.
MineralTree Supplier Central: A Vendor Self-service Portal
MineralTree offers a vendor self-service portal called Supplier Central. This portal allows suppliers to view invoice and payment information for all MineralTree customers in one central location. Suppliers are able to gain insights, save time, simply reconciliation, and securely manage their payment account details, while buyers reduce their need to perform manual tasks such as gathering supplier details and sharing updates to payment status.